Wednesday, July 12, 2006

To Blog or Not to Blog: Making Money (Article)

To Blog or Not To Blog: While Making Money Online

Making money online through blogs has been a very popular venture of late. While blogs are free and very appealing, are they just as good as designing your own website?

One of the biggest crazes associated with making money online these days centers around blogs. Only in the last year or so has web-logging or “blogging” (a fancy way of referring to an internet diary which can be make public) really been a major way of communication on the world wide web. Its initial intensions were to provide internet users a place to share their feelings, opinions and ideas. Of course, everything in the world these days that starts out simple with good intensions becomes tarnished by the desire to make money. I hate to admit it, but I am not an exception to this rule, either.

I became an internet marketer about 7 months ago and like most affiliate marketers, my roots began through reading eBooks. Many of the recent “updates” to these money-making programs focuses on using blogs as a means of an inexpensive (free) place to create landing pages (pages which you link your potential customers to in order to promote your product).

There are three main ways to promote products:

1) Promote products by directly linking to the seller’s website. This is fairly competitive these days.
2) Create your own landing page by having your own website.
3) Create your own landing page by having a blog or using a free website.

I have tried direct promotion with little luck in the past. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is irrelevant and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) services (like Yahoo Overture and Google Adwords) is very competitive. This is because services like Adwords will only allow one sponsored URL per search. High niche keywords and unique keywords are required to even compete (and be seen) if you plan on having a modest advertising budget. A landing page is much more successful and easy to promote, in my opinion.

Do you create your own website or use a free website, like a blog? Let’s review the pros and cons of creating a blog (versus your own site).

Blog Benefits:

1) Cheap: They are free! Creating your own website requires you to pay for domain names and monthly hosting fees.
2) Little to no web design experience required. Excellent templates and designs already available. Creating your own website requires some technical expertise or additional fees in paying someone to do it for you.
3) Flexibility to create your own unique, content and ad-copy. Same with creating your own website, just broader.
4) Excellent for Search Engine Optimization. Blog sites such as Blogspot are linked with Google, which improves your probability of high, free search results.

Blog Cons:

1) Lack of flexibility of design. You are usually constrained to the templates and designs that are offered by the site.
2) Possible sponsored ads on your site that you do not get paid for. Blogspot allows you to add your own advertising, such as Adwords, but most require that they place their own ads.
3) Some free sites and blogs disallow your own domain name. This creates ugly, non-memorable website URL names. The free sites that allow unique domains names usually delay its activation by months.
4) Not professional looking. This may not be a bad thing, depending on the type of product you are promoting.
5) Lack of vistor track-ability. Being able to trace links, clicks and visitor statistics can be very critical to a successful campaign. Blog and free sites may not provide the accessibility to install tracking code.

The Verdict:

I have done both free blog and creating my own website in the past and I have found much more success with your own website versus a blog or free website. Being able to track my visitors can be extremely useful. I spent the time to learn web design and now, adding new content to my site can take LESS time now than with a blog. Price-wise, a domain and host can cost less than $10 per month. While I was able to make money through my blog, sales almost TRIPLED with my own site.

While I promote making your own website, there are definitely benefits to having a commercial blog. Specifically, the SEO of a blog can be rather powerful! Ideally, my best suggestion is to create your own website that sells your product while creating and maintaining a good-content blog that links two-way links to your site.

- Matthew Bredel

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Making Money...While On Vacation!

Well, it is truly NOT great to be back! I wish life was a vacation all of the time, but that is our goal, right? Leave the 9-to-5 job behind and find that golden ticket to leisure and fun. This vacation was my first true "test" of having my affiliate marketing campaigns put on auto-pilot. I went up to the mountains for 10 internet, 3 TV channels and a LAN telephone. (As much as I miss those things, it was great to go without it for awhile!). But as you can imagine, I was so itching to find out how my affiliate websites and blogs were going. Did my Adwords ads need fixing? Was Overture going to replenish my funds if they went dry? Were people going to come looking for my blogs and find no new posts?

As much as I was tempted to find an internet cafe, I held back. When I got home last night, I was literally scared what I was going to find concerning my affiliate sales, click statistics and livlihood of my websites. I have put a lot of effort over the last few months to create these things to let them go to pots. The moment of truth came...I first checked my Clickbank sales and...

...I couldn't believe it! I had some of the BIGGEST sales days of my online money making career! There were even some over $100 days, which is really good for me at this time! I was so excited not only to have all of the sales, but to find that everything had been working to clock-work! GoogleAds continued to get me my predicted clicks! Overture DID replenish my funds. A few more articles had been approved and released. All was well in my world of blogs and websites...and I wasn't even here!

This is encouraging me to do one thing right now...TAKE MORE VACATIONS!