Turn your blog to cash

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  How would you feel if I told you, you can form a career out of sitting on your couch and simply writing your ideas online? It may sound too good to be true, but getting paid to write about what you love is a new wave taking over the blogosphere.

"You're not going to come out of the gate and make money immediately but with the cultivation you can continue to grow your site," said Lucas Shaffer, the owner of "Stand and Stretch", a company that helps individuals and businesses enhance their social network.

He says what you write about will play the biggest role in making money, "There's a phrase out that says content is king. If you have great content, you have great followers and you have the ability to make money."

One of the best examples of that is a website called Muscogee Moms.com .

Website owner Charlotte Bowman said, "We really didn't have a website that was a central online resource for parents."

Charlotte Bowman started the blog as a calendar page for family-oriented events going on in her community, but then advertisers started knocking on her door, "A girlfriend of mine really liked the site and wanted to advertise her business. And because she was a friend we worked together to come up with what we have now."

Shaffer says more often than not, the first income you'll see from your blog could come unexpectedly, "You typically can't go out and make that happen, these things tend to happen organically. Just write, have passion for it, make sure your topics are remarkable and remember that content is king. Do all these well and you will have someone come up to you and say "I want to advertise on your site"."

If you are taking a more aggressive approach, you have to figure out how much an ad space on your blog is worth.

Bowman explained, "I had to price the site, figure out what size ads I wanted to offer and then I had to figure out what perks I would give the business owners. It was very much a learning curve."

Shaffer added, "Look in your market at other blogs that are talking about similar things and most of the time if someone is doing a successful job at monaziting their blog, they already have an advertising structure set up. You would go and find their advertising section and the information they display already and make readily available for people who are trying to sell ads on their space."

The next step is sizing and pricing.

"We have the directory listing where business can list their contact information and a description of their business and get a link back to their website if they have one. We also offer advertising on our calendar page which is a great value in my opinion because that is where the traffic is. They hit the homepage then they go straight to the calendar page. Then we offer sponsorships on the homepage," said Charlotte Bowman, who tries to keep her advertisement prices similar to previous years.

But Shaffer advises, don't let just anyone put an ad on your blog if their product or service has nothing to do with your topics, "You'll have to look at your market and if your blog is centered around one particular market, you have to make sure that you focus your ads in that area. Sometimes I don't think you'll deal with a lot of people who are looking to buy ad space on your site who aren't already looking at you and your market and who you cater to. So some of that filters itself out on its own."

Bowman says although she hasn't taken this route, there are other companies that will help generate money to your blog, "You could sign up to be an affiliate for an advertising conglomerate. You would get a commission every time someone clicked on the ad and you'd get a commission every time they actually purchase something from that company. Or you could do like I do and just target local businesses. I have deliberately chosen not to use Google ads because I want this blog to be a resource for local parents."

Once you take the plunge into selling advertisements on your blog, you have to be prepared to make it a full-time job, so you can see the benefits.

"It's definitely made more money than I ever anticipated. And it definitely has the potential to just grow. No, I am not replacing my husband's income anytime soon but it has definitely been nice for our family," Bowman added.

The experts say you can increase your ad prices based on the amount of traffic you receive, the number of other blogs that link to you and just by following the simple rule of supply and demand.

Some business people will pay you to blog for their websites, and if your blog gets big enough, you could even land a book deal out of it.

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