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6 figure blogging 1 6 figure blogging 1 Document Transcript

  • Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Call 1 Transcript Editor’s notes: These transcripts have been edited for accuracy and clarity. You will notice differences between these transcripts and the audio recordings. Intro and Overview Andy: Welcome to our first call, for Six Figure Blogging. It’s our pilot. It’s our first. If it was a ship, we would smash a champagne bottle against it! Thank you so much everybody for calling in today. We have sixty-seven people on the phone. And from all over the world. I know we’ve got people from Singapore, Australia, South America, Europe, North America so this is truly an international effort. Darren, I am floored. I am absolutely floored! Darren: Tonight are we going to be talking about the why and how, blogs are good for making money online. We are going to start off with some why’s I think Andy, is that right? Andy: Yes, this is our overview for today, just so that you all get the framework for what we’re doing, today’s first part is how blogs make you money, and then the why. Then we’re going to be talking about learning from the existing probloggers and networks that are out there and we’re going to wind up with the preview of next week as well as some field work for people to think about or to even do over the next week. So take it away, Darren. Why Blogs Make Money Online Darren: Excellent. We’re going to start with why blogs are good for making money online. I want to start by saying that blogs are not the only way to make money. Just looking at the variety of people that have signed up for this course, a lot of you have already experimented with making money through affiliate marketing, through designing websites, through consulting, which is fantastic. We don’t want to build up blogs as the answer to every question that you might have for making money. A lot of people get trapped into that and build blogging© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 1http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging to be something that it is not. Having said that, blogs really do, in my mind, are ideal for making money online in a variety of ways. Probably the main thing that I love about them is that they are very flexible, very adaptable, and they are very easy to get into. They are a type of thing that can grow with you. For me, that makes it ideal for someone who knew nothing about the internet, and nothing about putting up a website, to actually be able to start a business in quite an easy, simple way at first, in a free way is fantastic. The other thing that is great about blogs is that they rank well in search engines. Great. So really, blogs rank so well in search engines for a variety of reasons. Just by the fact that they update new content on a daily or on a weekly basis. Search engines love regularly updating and changing pages. The fact that they have a site structure where there is a category is ideal for search engines as well. I guess in a sense, each category on your blog becomes a separate blog, a separate page in of itself, which is something that search engines react really well to. Blogs interlink within a blog, which again, is another search engine optimization strategy that a lot of the other top sites try to build it into their sites but blogs do it automatically. Andy: Along with a lot of traditional websites sort of shy away from being interlinked. Darren: That’s right. And blogs naturally link between themselves very well. They are interactive and they attract back readers and that sort of technology actually builds natural relevant links between websites, which is probably the main factor about building search engine traffic. So they really work well with search engines. As I said, they’re highly flexible and adaptable; they’re easy to set up. What I love about them is that the overhead that I have as a professional blogger is very low. I have friends, who are in business, who started up businesses and had to outlay lots of money up front to set up a business. All I had to outlay was my time. I already had a computer. I already had internet access. I paid a little bit© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 2http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging for some hosting, I paid a little bit for some design, but the overhead’s very little. I probably paid about two or thee thousand dollars a year in overheads to bring in a hundred times that in terms of income. So my friends are all very jealous of me in that regard. I think also another beauty of blogs is that they also lend themselves very well to niches and we’re going to be talking about niches next week. I think that is another reason that they actually do quite well in a commercial space. We know that in business these days that small is good and tight niches and tight focuses on topics and on expertise is doing really doing well in the wider business world at the moment and so blogs are great in those terms. Any other factors that you’ve come up with Andy? Andy: I think you covered most of it, just to reiterate the tight focus and the niche is the superstar part of it all, that the content is all geared towards a certain focused niche instead of having this broad website that a niche would that is focused on the website and is content focused, it really helps to grab those search engine results and get readers interested in that particular hyper focused niche. Darren: Yes, the other thing I would say is that blogs are bringing in and creating community along with loyalty, brand loyalty and the fact that they do have comments that there are a variety of tools that build community on a site. That is amazing community to build on blogs and that is a great basis for building an income stream as well as you build a loyal readership. There are many reasons that blogs are suited to making money. Having said that, there are some factors that you want to work on. It’s not just as easy as that. For instance, ranking in search engines is not just a matter of having a blog, you can do a lot of things to increase the chances of that which we will be covering in six weeks in our metrics section. Andy: Now do you want to talk about the voice that blogs are written in and that seems to really attract readers that it is a pretty fresh, human voice in exception to traditional websites?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 3http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Darren: Yes, again, that it is probably a trend in large business as well that people are actually wanting to know the people who make the products. I know in Australia, at the moment, there a lot of businesses that are doing very well are around personalities and around people rather than about these big anonymous machines that sits in a big gray building and you feel like you’re in an institution. People actually want something more personal. They go to the local shops a little bit more here in Australia now because they want to know the person who’s making their coffee. So there is that sort of sense in blogs as well, that people can actually know the one who is coming up with this content. It’s not just some nameless machine that is spitting out content. It’s actually a real person. I think that is something that loads itself to blogging very well as well. Do you want to move onto how blogs make money Andy? Andy: Yes, I think we covered the whys pretty. How Blogs Make Money Darren: Excellent. Really, what the meat of this call is about today is looking at introducing some of the ways people are actually using blogs to make money. I want to run through about eleven income steams that you might want to consider adding to your blog. One of the traps that I see with a lot of blogs is that they discover AdSense and they never look wider than AdSense. I’ve discovered a whole group of bloggers the other day who didn’t know anything about affiliates marketing for instance. I’m going to run you through eleven different types of things that may suit your blogs better then AdSense. That fact is that AdSense isn’t the answer to every blog and really, you want to combine some of these factors together depending upon the goals of your blogs, depending on your traffic levels and a number other factors which we’ll examine at the end of this sort of little states.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 4http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Income Stream #1: Blogads Darren: The first one I want to look at is Blogads. If you go to http://www.blogads.com, you’ll see there, a system of putting ads on your blogs that a lot of bloggers are using quite successfully. I want to use one of my blogs as an example here. If you go to digitalphotographyblog.com, that’s one of my older blogs that’s on digital cameras and you’ll see that on that blog, it will lead you through to another domain that is just easy to tell you the Digital Photography Blog name. You look on that, on the right hand side there, in the side bar, you’ll see at the top of the right hand side bar, a search tool and underneath that, you’ll see a AdSense ad, and underneath that you’ll see five Blogads. They’ve all got the same size, the picture on them, and the first one. The first one, I’m seeing is looking to buy a camera is making money from digital photography. There are five of them there. They are what are called Blogads. If you go to bottom of those Blogads, it’s the fifth one down, you’ll a little thing that say, “see your message here.” If you click on that, it will take you to Blogads. Blogads is a system that is designed by Henry Copeland. A lot of political bloggers traditionally use Blogads. I was looking at the Daily Kos, the other day. He’s charging five thousand dollars per week for his premium position Blogads. Five thousand a week and he has a number of difference spots in his blog that you can buy, but that is the premium one. Obviously, some people are making some serious bucks out of Blogads. They lend themselves very well to political blogs. Traditionally that is where they are strong. If you can see the photography one, they are starting to branch out unto other niches. There are some creative networking things that bloggers are together on a particular topic. Andy: And to expand on that, if youy take into account a particular blog, again, it is a very tight focused niche whether it’s a, in the US whether it is Conservative, or very Liberal or Progressive, the blogs have focused content for that particular point of view, with people writing with those point of view so people with that point of view are going to go to those blogs so the ads are working really well© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 5http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging because the ads are aligned to that point of view. So you can grab that from politics just like any other niche or brand that you can think of. Darren: That’s right, and the beauty of Blogads is that you have the ability to reject or accept ads. You have total control over which ads appear on your site. You also have complete control over setting the price that people pay for your ad which is something that AdSense, for example, doesn’t offer you. Blogads, the downside, is that you have less ability to change the design of the ads. You have little control over that. For instance, the size of the ads is almost out of your control. So there are some ups and down to Blogads as on top of that. Income Stream #2: Google AdSense Darren: The second I want to look at is AdSense itself. AdSense is ideal for niche topics as Blogads is. You’ll see in my digital photography that I’ve got a number of different AdSense positions particularly on individual pages. If you open them up, you’ll see a variety of them. We’ll be talking about AdSense in two weeks so we’re not going to have views at this point but just want to say that there’s some ups but there’re some also downs about AdSense. You probably would not want to use AdSense on a site that is a political site or a religious site or a site where you’re arguing about one side of a case. How AdSense Works The beauty of AdSense is that it is contextualized advertising. It looks at what is on your page and then it serves ads according to that. Unfortunately, it’s a computer that is looking at your page and that computer doesn’t have the ability to tell what the tone of your piece is, it doesn’t have the ability to tell whether you’re arguing for or against something. You can actually end up with ads that are quite opposite of what you’re all about. So if you’re passionate about what your writing and there’s a risk that it may misinterpreting what your writing, it may not be the right thing for you. I’ve seen a number of different bloggers who got frustrated with it. It was serving quite inappropriate ads to their sites. The beauty© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 6http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging of AdSense is that it is very adaptable in terms of design. There are a variety of different sizes. You can change the colors, you can change the positioning quite a bit. Those small changes can impact your blog quite a bit. So AdSense is very quite popular. It’s how I make most of my money. Increasingly, blogs is going for that. So we’ll spend a whole week on that. You want to add anything to that Andy? Andy: Yes, I just think that going with the whole idea that the Google ads can’t really tell your point of view. I’ve seen that with some clients who are doing either, like one was doing ADHD work and was a counselor with people who are ADD and was finding that the ads being picked up were for herbal remedies for this which aren’t considered medically appropriate. So the ads that Google might choose for your content, may not be for the tone of your blog. Darren: That’s right. There are other contextual advertising systems out there which we’ll mention in future weeks. For instance Yahoo! is bringing in a very similar system at the moment and they’ll be testing that. Income Stream #3: AdBrite Darren: The third one I want to talk about today is, AdBrite.com and text ad systems. Again, if you look, at my digital photography site and go down the left hand menu, this time, you’ll see a Shutterfly button. Under that Shutterfly button, there’s a variety of different text ads, if you go to the bottom of those you’ll see ‘text ads for eighty cents a day.’ Click on that, it will take you to a system call AdBrite. AdBrite is, in some ways similar to Blogads.com because it allows you to set up a price, it allows you to set a way you want to put these ads on your page. It allows you to accept or reject ads from advertisers who are likely to be on your site. The text ads, generally you won’t get as much for these ads but they can actually be quite lucrative as well depending upon the way you’ve positioned them on your site.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 7http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Andy: Darren, are there traffic requirements that you have to prove before you can be in these two programs? Darren: No, I don’t think so. On some of the others that I’ll talk about there are, but the beauty of them is that, especially with AdSense, AdSense allows you to put ads on your site when you’re very small. You only got a few pages of content and very small traffic. You do have to have some, but not much. Participant: Darren, could you give us the site again. What I’m seeing, what I put up is not what you’re describing. Darren: OK, digitalphotographyblog.com. Income Stream #4: Impression-Based Ads Darren: Number four we’ll look at is impression based ads. Impression based ads make money, not by people clicking on your ads and not by what you set the AdBrite ads at but by having people look at your ad by the page impression, by the page views that you have. There are systems like Fast Click or Tribal Fusion. These programs will require you to have some traffic to your site and they are probably best suited for highly traffic sites. I ran a blog last year with another blogger on the Olympic games. We had two million visitors in a couple of weeks to that site. The impression based ads, outperformed the AdSense ones quite considerably there because of the high levels of traffic there. The downside of Fast Click in particular is that the ads you might get served can be a little annoying and animated, they can be for really junky type products. If you don’t mind about that, they can be actually be earning you quite a bit of money. You wouldn’t want to put it on a site that you’re proud of, you know, wanting to be tackling a serious subject perhaps. I would keep it away from those. The lighthearted blogs, it may be helpful. Andy: So just to reiterate, the first couple of programs were about being paid from clicks versus being paid from just impressions? That is like a rental model right, where they’re renting your ‘inventory.’© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 8http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Darren: Yes, like a sponsorship model. Income Stream #5: Affiliate Programs Darren: The fifth thing we’re going to talk about is affiliate programs. A lot of you will be familiar with that because you’re running them on your blogs already or you’ve been trying to sell this course to others using affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are where someone pays for your commissions for selling their products for you. So if you sell this course for someone, we’ll give you fifty percent of what the income for that is for yourself. That is a fairly large affiliate program. You can make a lot of money by selling two or three of these courses. There’s also a lot of programs that are more on a micro level. The best example I can give you is the Amazon affilliate program and its online bookshop. If you go to associates.amazon.com, you can sign up for their affiliate program there. If you recommend a book, if you recommend a camera, if you recommend a DVD and on your blog, and someone buys that, then you’ll earn, I think, between four and up to ten per cent of the profit for that. Andy: Yes and they’ve expanded it to hardware too. Darren: Yes. It’s great. You’ll see they’ve got cameras there. If you go to individual pages on my blog, you’ll often see a little link at the bottom things saying, “Get the latest price on these camera”, which is an affiliate link. So cameras can be two or three thousand dollars so you can actually earn a little bit of money through that. I don’t find I earn as much as some of the other things but it’s a nice side earner as well, especially at Christmas time, it could be quite good. Income Stream #6: Tip Jars and Donations Darren: Number six, we are going to look at is donation buttons and tip jars. I have never really made any money through these. But there are a variety of bloggers who make good money in this. I think his name is Jason, I can’t remember his surname. Is it Kottke?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 9http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Andy: Yes, it’s Jason Kottke, over at www.kottke.org. Right. Darren: He, at the start of this year decided to go full time blogger through donations. He quit his job and asked his readers for donation. I think he’s rakes enough to live this year just purely from donation. He didn’t really want to go down the advertising route. Andy: Also a journalist, Andrew Sullivan at www.andrewsullivan.com. I think he still has a tip jar. He was able to make quite a pot of money with the tip jar in his blog. Darren: Exactly. Really, the characteristic that got those guys that success is that they had very high levels of traffic and a very high loyalty in their readership with their blog. So people were donating not to his blogs but to him because they believed in him and they liked him and are wanting to support him. So if you’ve got a blog with not much traffic or if you got a blog with search engine traffic, people coming in and not coming back to your blog, it’s probably not the best way to go. If you’ve got a real community and people believe in you, as a person, then it is definitely worth investigating the tip jar (in PayPal’s Donations or Amazon.com’s Honor System). Andy: It’s that cult of personality we were talking about earlier. Darren: Exactly. Income Stream #7: Merchandising Darren: Now seven, merchandising. I tried recently to sell some T-shirts on my blog. It was a bit of a failure. I think we sold less than ten of the things in over a couple of months. I know some bloggers who are making some reasonable money from selling t-shirts, and caps, and stickers through the organization Cafepress. There are other variety of merchandising options also. I guess add to that, ebooks. Now if you’ve got some expertise in some area and you want to sell and ebook or a course, that is another way of doing it, through your blog.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 10http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Income Stream #8: Consulting Darren: Number eight we are going to be looking at is consulting. It’s not something we are really going to be talking about over this course, but it is worth mentioning here is that if you have some expertise in an area and that could take time to build up than to be at a sell your time to a reader, it would actually be a legitimate way of making money from your blog. It’s probably making money as a result of your blog rather than making money directly through it. So that is why we might not be covering it as much here. It’s something I’ve been doing a bit more recently with some blog consulting. It can be quite worthwhile. Income Stream #9: Sponsorship Darren: Number nine, we’re on the home stretch now, is sponsorship. It overlaps with some of the other things we’ve already talked about but quite a few bloggers are making money now by selling ad space or sponsorship privately and directly to advertisers. For instance, on the digital camera site, that just started a campaign with Adobe over the next couple of weeks. It will be a two-week campaign in which I give them some space on my blog and I give them some space in my newsletter. So people are selling space directly to advertisers. The beauty of it is, you are cutting out the middleman. You don’t give out fifty per cent, or whatever it is, to Google to find the advertisers for you. The downside is that it takes a lot of work and to actually find advertisers can take quite a bit of time and to build the logistics of it all to set it up on your site. Andy: Do they demand any proof of your traffic stats as part of the engagement? Darren: They do, so that’s part of the work. In fact, I’ve knocked back some advertising on some of my sites, just because so that the logistics of getting it up would have taken me three or four days to sell if full time work to get the thing, to put a proposal together and prove all that sort of stuff. You want to pick and choose that a little bit. There are increasingly a variety of systems that you can now use to rotate ads for your site which is quite good. It’s not just about selling© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 11http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging ad banners either. Text ads, mentioned in newsletters, actually having sponsored posts on your site, I know a number of bloggers who sell a particular post to advertisers. As long as you’re clear and transparent that what you are actually doing is actually for money than that is a good way to go. Income Stream #10: Paid Membership Darren: Number ten is one that a lot of bloggers have been trying but I don’t really see too much success with yet, is actually charging for your content. Charging your readers to read your blog. There is a number of people who have tried this. Some try to have a premium area of their blog where they give the best stuff to their readers. Others have tried to sell ad free versions of their sites, so pay twenty dollars and you don’t have to look at all my ads. Other have tried to sell their content on a post by post basis saying, “If you want to read the rest of this blog…” Andy: Really? Darren: I’ve seen a lot of people trying these things, really to be honest, they haven’t worked. In fact, a few people have probably made it work, where they have vary unique and exclusive information and that cannot be bought anywhere else. It’s probably the only way, I think, you can make it work. Your content would have to be something that people couldn’t find anywhere free which is very rare on the internet if you think about it today. Everything has free information on the internet. It’s something you may want to consider if you’re brilliant, if you’ve got exclusive information but it may not work for you. Income Stream #11: RSS Advertising Lastly we’ve got our RSS advertising. This is something that is a little bit new and the tools around it are just beginning to be developed but if those of you, who can help me, who have success, is that most blogs, these days have the ability to have your content go to people without them coming to your blog, which is a great technology, but the downside of it is if they don’t come to your blog, they don’t© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 12http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging see your ads, they don’t see your affiliate programs. I would say RSS advertising is one way of getting around that. Programs like AdSense actually allow you to, these days, to put their ad in your RSS and there’s a variety of others around as well. I’ve personally haven’t had too much success with that. I’ve noticed a little bit of improvement recently if they get their tools right. Summary of Income Streams and Q & A Darren: So there are eleven different ways. I’m sure there are others. I’m sure as we open up for questions that other people would suggest other ways that they have done it. What I want to recommend is that you, before you just jump into one of these methods is that you think about the goal of your blog. You actually work out, “What am I actually trying to achieve with this blog?” Is it appropriate for these types of things? Because they suit different goals. They suit different traffic levels or suit differently types of readers and different demographics of readers like age, location. You wouldn’t want to sign up with the Amazon affiliate program if you’re readership is all from Australia where you’re not getting American readers. The Amazon program is an American product. I cannot, people cannot buy from Australia from Amazon for digital cameras. They can buy books, but they can’t buy the hardware products. Andy: That’s crazy. Darren: It may not be appropriate to sign up for that program. It may be appropriate to find, in Australia an affiliate program. So really the demographics and the readership and I guess, lastly, the topic of your blog will determine which of these methods that you might want to use. Do you want to open up for questions Andy? Andy: Yes. I am totally floored. You totally took us beyond the banner ad that it is awesome. There’s no such thing as a dumb question. So you just dive on in. If you have any questions that we’ve just talked about, go for it.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 13http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Pat: Going to your Digital Photography Blog and on the right side, there is a picture that says, “Looking to buy a camera, making money from digit photography”, which one of those was that under, was that Blogads.com? Darren: Blogads.com. Pat: OK, thank you. Darren: No problem. Blending Blog Style and Design with Ad Look and Feel Andy: Yes, something I noticed that you’re doing is your blending the actual interface like the navigation among the ads. So some of the styling is the same. If you’re readers are seeing the ads in the context of the interface, then the navigation. On the right side Blogads, those together are ads. On the left side, they are more embedded into the interface, then the navigation. Darren: That’s right. I think there’s a lot of people are recommending that type of approach. Traditionally people have said that on AdSense, that is how you do that but that has been extended out to other types of ads to actually have a more integrated design. They do perform better when they’re integrated within and not standing out screaming, “I’m an ad, I’m an ad!” How Do Impression-Based Ads Work? Andy: Another other question? Julieanne: Yes, it’s Julianne here. The impression-based ads, can you explain them a little bit more or do you have an example of an impression-based ads on your site? Darren: Not on that site but me just let me look up one. Let me look at what I’ve seen or have some. Julieanne: Thanks.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 14http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Darren: The basis of them is that you get a small amount of money for each impression. With AdSense, you might get anything from two or three cents up to two or three dollar for an ad per click. Impressions based ads are like a micro or a hundredth of a cent per ad. The site I’m looking at seems to remove their impression ads. I have a feeling that some of the ads you see on blogs like Engadget are FastClick, some of their banner ads, some of them would be sponsored fields, but some of them are definitely impression-based ads. Because they are doing such massive traffic, they could make impression-based ads work quite well. So you may have seen ads around with those annoying bouncy smiley faces -they are impression-based ads through the fast click system. Julianne: I know what you mean now. It’s every time they come to your screen, you get paid a little tiny bit. Andy: Right, every time they click [and see it]. Julieanne: Right. OK. Thanks. Actually I’ve got another question here for you. The Digital Photography Blog, do you host that on the WordPress or is that on your own hosting system? Darren: That one is hosted, the platform behind that is Movable Type, which is quite similar to word press. That is hosted on a private hosting system. A friend of mine hosted that for me. Julieanne: OK. Thanks. Darren: No problem. Any more questions? Does Google AdSense Require a Lot of Custom Coding? Steve: Darren I have one. This is Steve Murphy. I’m looking at your digital photo blog and do you find that you have to do a lot of custom coding to get all the different ad information into each post and to maintain, like the Google AdSense in terms of service?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 15http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Darren: It’s not actually too bad. The beauty of blogs, and this is probably one of the things I should have said in that introduction is that really it’s just a matter of changing the template so you’re not actually having to build each ad into your post. You’re just building them into a template. When you do that, it comes up that way on every page on your site. If you’re on that page at the moment, if you click on the first post there, you’ll see there, that’s the Olympic one, you’ll see there on the left, at the top of the post, some ads by Google for ads, the rectangle type things, that is just an ad which I simply included in one piece to code in my individual page template. That just comes up automatically on every page on my site as a result of that. If I wanted to move it over to the right, it is just as simple as making one small change in that code and rebuilding that site and the will be transferred over to the site. So it is quite low maintenance. Affiliate programs can be a little more fiddly. You’ll see on that particular post that say, “Get the latest price on this camera.” Later, I’d have to hard code it into every post. I haven’t found out a system yet that really does that for me really well automatically. So there is some work in some of the tough spots and less in others. Steve: OK great. Being with WordPress now though automatically puts AdSense ads in a few things, some hacks but I’m curious because you have so much on each page that builds out. Darren: Yes. There are some automatic things in WordPress that I find just using a template does it just as well. Steve: Great. Thank you. Darren: No problem. Contextual Ads Automatically Align With Content Andy: And just to reiterate with the contextual advertising, Darren’s not having to choose for this particular post these ads are going to be Olympus cameras ads. Google is going to be able to scan that page and say, “You know, I think this is page looks like it’s about this camera so I’m going to throw up any of the ads that© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 16http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging are for this camera.” So again, Darren’s not having to find the ad per post, he’s just saying ads go here and Google takes care of the rest with contextual advertising. Darren: That’s right, and there’s ways to actually help AdSense out and tell AdSense what your post is about. But really, it does a pretty good job, I find. Any more questions? Geographically Targeted Ads Participant: Yes, I’ve got another question. I’m from Australia, as you can tell. We use Google AdSense, can they tell what IP address I’m on and in Australia. Is that why Australian ads come up all the time for me? Darren: Yes, you’ve got a spot on there that’s geographically targeted so the ads that Andy will be seeing on that page are quite different to ones that you and I are seeing on that page at the moment. I am seeing some Australian ads and that’s got some advantages. Obviously that increases the relevancy of your ads but also means that if you want to block ads for instance because AdSense allows you to block ads from a particular URL so it’s difficult to know which ones to block because you can’t read what is being seen on your site in other places of the world. Whereas, a system like Blogads, you have complete control over which ads. With AdSense it is out of your control. Participant: Thank you. Darren: No problem. How Much Do You Charge For a Link On Your Site? Alex: Hello Darren? Darren: Yes.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 17http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Alex: Hi, this is Alex from Nova Scotia and I‘ve got a question for you. I had someone email me about a week ago offering to purchase a link off my website for two months. I think he offered, I think it was twenty dollars a month. How do I know what a text link off my website actually worked? Darren: That’s the eternal question. I guess, I don’t have a way of working that out. I personally try to get a feel for where they are at. Part of me says that twenty dollars is a better than nothing. Alex: I agree. Darren: So that is good. But over time, you’ll get an experience, an idea for that. You may want to look at other sites. One good way maybe is to look at AdBrite. With AdBrite, you can go through their different sites and actually see what they’re charging and so you may find a sight that is on a similar topic to yours, that has got similar traffic levels to yours that may give you a gauge as to what people are paying. I say that twenty dollars a month isn’t massive, but I guess if you have ten of those, it would actually be OK. Another way to do it is if you had AdSense on your site and you’re going to have to get rid of those ads to put in another one then often, I would work out what the AdSense ads are paying in addition and then charge that. If that makes sense. That is really about experimenting so I’d probably say give it a go, maybe try and bump it up a little bit, give it a go, and over time, you’ll work out what they are worth. Alex: OK. Thanks. Darren: No problem. Shall we move on Andy to the network? Creating a Blog Network Andy: Yes. Alright, the next topic that we want to cover is to really about what happens when you get this whole blog thing going and you have successes with one blog and you decide to move into a network of blogs. What we’re going to be looking at now is a couple of existing blog, networks or empires that are out© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 18http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging there. One of the reasons you might consider building a blog network is because you can build a cloud of traffic around a different topic or a different niche. So if you’ve got any additional cameras over here, you might have additional printers or other related products on different blogs so that way the blogs are able to trade traffic back and forth and you are able to keep those visitors within your network of blogs and also be able to host across the entire network. So you can talk to advertisers and say, “I’m not just going to put your ad on this blog, but your ad is relevant to these other blogs that I have on my network.” Weblogs, Inc. Darren: That is right. That is what the network is like at Weblogs, Inc. They are doing really well in particularly as is the Gawker network. They are cross promoting their blogs which is fantastic. Andy: If you want to take a look at the Weblogs, Inc. empire, that’s at www.weblogsinc.com. This is a pretty broad network of, I’d say over a hundred blogs and the guy that runs it, his name is Jason Calcanis and he hires bloggers on different topics and some of them are experts, some of them are normal people that are obsessed with a certain topic and they get paid per post, I think, and they have to do maybe five posts a day. The focus is a broad base of topics around a whole network of different topics. You’ll find that the network bloggers are a little bit grownup than other networks out there like Gawker. With Weblogs, Inc., it’s really about creating different clouds around technology or consumer interests. There is a whole wireless section of blogs. There’s one just on video games, on different platforms of video games, he’s got one on life sciences, like blogs with people who have cancer or diabetes, as well as a whole section on media entertainment. That’s over at www.weblogsinc.com. If you go to that front page, you’ll see on the right side is a list of all those blogs. He’s got one for advertising, there’s one on hacking, there’s one just for web designers, there’s one just of Microsoft Office users. So again, it’s that tight super focused niche. It really allows this network to command ad revenue that is going to get people to© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 19http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging that content and people interested in that content to see ads related to that content. Darren: I guess it is one of the ultimate examples. It’s one of a large scale of networks that are out there. Personally, when I look at it, I think, I could never do something that big as I think you’ve said, he’s got over a hundred people working for him on that thing. It’s making significant amounts of money. I think he is on track for a million dollars this year in the next twelve months from AdSense alone. So it’s big bucks. It’s big business. The beauty of what he’s doing there is that it is actually a model that you can do on a smaller level. You can have two blogs that link to each other that has the same sort of benefit to what he is doing there. There is an increasing amount of networks that are out there beginning to do that. The other thing I would suggest is to actually write for networks. That is actually an option. I would recommend some people consider doing this especially when they are just getting into blogging, you can learn a lot by signing up as one of their offers. Their payments may not be huge. I think they are paying between four and five dollars per post but the experience and exposure that you can get through that may be beneficial, it maybe worth it… Gawker Media Andy: Right and then another one of the networks that is popular is the Gawker Media Empire. Which is at www.gawker.com. Gawker started off as I think really as a New York City type of blog and they’ve since grown. If you’ve heard of blogs like Wonkette which is on American politics, Defamer, which is on Hollywood, Gizmodo… You’ll find each empire to have at least one gadget blog. There’s one just on, if people are just interested in Japanese animation culture. There’s one for pornography (fleshbot.com). So again, this is a different approach where the guy who runs this empire is Nick Denton. I remember him talking about that he really got a trisector of his main group is young men and that are using that online. So it is really youth culture and the trifecta here is porn, gadgets and video games that that is really where his money© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 20http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging is being made because he is able to attract these consumers that are young men that advertisers everywhere are trying to reach because this demographics doesn’t watch TV as much as they use to so again he has created this empire focused, really on getting advertisers and match up with young men who are consumers. Again that is at gawker.com. About.com Andy: A third empire that really didn’t start out as a blog empire but they leveraged in there. If you remember About.com, back in the internet boom, I remember they had all these editors, guest editors and everybody has a certain topic and a certain way to write about things and then they have this whole back log of archived of past content. But now they’ve added blogs to each of their channels. If you go to www.about.com and on the left side, you’ll see a huge list of channels on many different topics. Each one has a content editor or moderator or a head honcho in charge of that topic and each channel also has a blog. So now do only have this past content that is accumulating but you also have a blog format which helps to keep it live, keep it more intimate, you get to know the person in charge of that particular topic. So again, it is that human connection where it is not just about.com but it is this particular person who has a passion about this particular topic and has a blog and its about.com. Darren: That right and About.com sold to the New York time in the last few month for four hundred and ten million dollars. So it’s a really amazing story there that they got this new type of software that runs their blogs so really what they are doing is no different to what you and I are doing it’s just doing it in an automatic style. Andy: Right and they are running, if not a couple of hundred, at least five hundred of these a day so there are a ton of different channels. So it’s another example of, in this case you may not know that these are blogs when you go to About.com. It’s just updated news, updated stuff, so you don’t always have to call© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 21http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging a blog a blog. As long as it is current and is being mentionable tool, I guess it is a blog. People don’t have to always know that it is just a blog. Competition Is Not Just with Other Blogs Darren: That’s right. I think a lot of bloggers get trapped into thinking that they only are competing with other blogs and that is a trap. You are competing, in your topic, with hundreds of websites and a lot of them aren’t blog. So to go out there and say, “I’m a blog. I’m a blog.” It may not be beneficial. There are times to do that but to differentiate yourself from the crowd but think beyond than just blogging. Andy: Yes and as I think that blogs become sort of less sexy and cool and from the media standpoint, it will be sort of old habit, “Of course it’s a blog. I know what it looks like.” The first one is going to say, “Well this company has a blog, we’re not going to pay attention on that.” Or “GM is blogging.” Or “Nike has blogs now.” I think that is going to die away soon because the hype is just crazy. But again, to reiterate, these networks all have staff of bloggers and administrators, designers and marketing, a sales department and this is kind of might be the end goal for you maybe in a year or at least a few months. Start Small Andy: We’re starting small with the one blog. We wanted to show examples of where people have taken this idea of not just being the content author, but also maybe being the producer of the entire media channel or the entire group of blogs, an entire media empire. I’m guessing that eventually you’re going to see groups like Weblogs, Inc., who have archives and archives of content, will start publishing books that cough up that content into a book format. I’m guessing that is going to be their second generation is to move from strictly on line publishing to going to books because they have these experts that have been creating these content for probably for a couple of years.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 22http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Darren: That’s right and they are building in expertise. So Peter, from Engadget, he is now a world wide expert on gadgets through blogging. So if he writes a book on gadgets, it would sell big time. If he does speaking tours on gadgets, he would do really well. There’s benefits of not only making money through the blogs but down the track, it actually opens up all kinds of doors for you to actually become an expert in a field. Andy: Darren, you’ve had companies send you cameras to test right? Darren: Yes, I’m regularly getting…a camera arrived yesterday and I didn’t even know it was coming. I have two to three weeks to test out. As you build your reputation, people will seek you out and will submit things for you to put on to your blog. Andy: So again, because Darren is able to have this tightly focused audience that is just about digital photography, he is able to get that. People want that access to those consumers. Other networks to look at are Weblog Empire. This one is still in the growth stages. There’s a couple of different channels they have and different topics. That is another example of an emerging web blog empire. As well as Shiny Media, which is an empire that is strictly done on TypePad. Darren: That is right. It’s a UK-based enterprise and I met the guys there last year and they are quite interesting. They are going for the female market. They are almost doing the flip side of what Gawker is doing for young guys. They are actually going for young women. They are doing fashion blogs, and gadgets for girl type blogs. So they are focusing in on a wider nation than doing sub-niche blogs in the midst of that. Andy: How about another one that is in the works, it’s Shoe Blogs. There is a blog per shoe brand. It’s the idea on the internet: There is always someone crazy about a topic and if you can find those people they’ll buy anything related to that topic because they are obsessed with shoes or Prada. Again that’s at shoeblogs.com, I think.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 23http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Darren: Yes, that’s a guy, The Manolo who’s doing quite well out of it. Andy: So those of examples of kind of taking this to a macro level. Again, we’re going to zoom back on down next week to a micro level. Fieldwork for Week One Andy: Darren, I was going to get into the fieldwork. Did you have anything else to cover before we talk about what we’re going to leave people to think about for the coming week? Establish Goals Darren: I guess leading to it, thinking through goals. That is one of the things we want people to think through this week is to actually think about what is it that you want to achieve with your blogging? Is it about making money or is it some goal over along side that? If it’s about making money, how do you want to do that? Do you want to do that through [elevating] your profile? I guess that is where we are headed through our fieldwork. It’s really crucial especially through the beginning on the course like this and to be clear about what you’re doing. Those are eleven different ways of money through your blogs do fit differently depending on what your goals are. It is really clear to put that up front. I’m really interested to see what people’s goals are in the ecampus. So share some of those goals with us so that we keep them around and we can talk about what might suit you better and actually discover some of that stuff together. Andy: Yes, I think it is important to define that success that you’re trying to achieve so when you achieve it, you know that you’re there. You may not be wanting to build an entire blog during this six-week course. I know some of people just sort of like to sit back through a course and absorb it all and try it out later or you might want to try it all tonight and say, “Where’s week two, I want to get to it now.” Decide what you’re learning style is going to be for this course, whether your going to sit back and absorb it and have the osmosis thing, or if you’re really going to try and get in there and practice this thing every week and© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 24http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging really build that out because the content is going to be here when you come back to it. Peruse Existing Blog Networks So these are some of the things we want you to think about along with you successes and your goals and all that good stuff is start looking at these networks that are out there and see on Weblogs, Inc., what are some blogs that are related by certain topic or niche? Where are these clouds of consumers and these clouds of content coming from? As well, do these networks have outliers or orphan blogs that don’t really relate to the rest of the network and how might those be maximized by adding other blogs around that outlier blog so it may start to create more interest around itself. Take a look at how ads are being host across different networks, across different blogs in general. See if you can start to figure out, because it is this size, because it say this at the bottom and because it’s the structure of the ads like this. Over here, this is a Google ad because it says it’s an ad by Google but there’s different ad structures within the Google stuff as well as with AdBrite and different other networks. So start to be conscious of how people are blending the ads into the content so it may be on the interface yet, that is an ad, I can tell it’s an ad because of the way it is styled. Over here, these of kind of sneaky ads because they’re right next to navigation in the same font style and color as the navigation. Take a look and see how are the blogs are being interlinked. How obvious is the connections these different blogs are in the same network. Again, these question will be in the ecampus so don’t freak our about trying to write them all down. What are some common interface and design elements? Do all blogs in the networks have the same in general look and feel with maybe a different banner or a different set of colors. Is this making the network appear more unified or is it kind of causing interface blindness where people click from one blog to another and they all look the same so they are not really registering where the ads are popping out. As well are these networks using a full domain as oppose as a sub© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 25http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging domain. Is it something like Weblogs, Inc. or does each blog have it’s own unique particular domain? Those are some things to think about as we look at some of the macro level of blog networks that are out there. They maybe in your future or not. Again, you can certainly be in awe from all these networks and sort of get a handle on how they work and how they work with their writers. As well, use them as inspirations and say, “You know what, I’m just going to be a blog author, I want to be a producer and get a whole set of content channels together.” Again, those are some of the things to think about over the coming week. Then, next week, I know we’re taking about hardcore niche and there’s a tone of niche of stuff on niche to talk about. Do you have anything to add Darren? Darren: All I want to say is the way I’ve learned most of what I learnt about blogging is by observing what others do. Don’t be ashamed about doing some analysis on another blog. I try and find a new commercial, pro blog, a type blog each week and I’ll spend an hour or two just looking over it, just looking the statistics, their public statistics, finding out where their traffic comes from, looking at their design, looking at how they use their ads, looking at what sort of systems they use. It maybe that you discover a system of advertisers that you could use that would be suited to your blog. It is about doing research and looking into it. Just with any business, you wouldn’t just rush into a business at just set up a shop without thinking about what is around you and what competition you’ve got. So do that ground work and share what you find with us. I’m really fascinated to see what you observed about the networks because I’m sure you’re going to come up with something I never notice about them also Andy: Right, what I think you talk about is the big point of the second generation of bloggers where to set up a blog is so easy and fast that it is so easy to forget the strategy behind it. So were are trying to do this on purpose so that that way this success happens instead of just , “Well I’ve had the blog up and I’ve had it up for six weeks, but it’s not doing anything and I really didn’t have any strategy but I am publishing.” We really want to be mindful of that as we set up© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 26http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Topic: ‘Ransom’ Income Model Participant: I have a question. I heard some people talking about ransom software saying, “I won’t release it to the public until I get some dollars donated.” What do you think about that idea? Andy: I’ve heard of programmers doing that with software too. I haven’t heard of people doing that with blogs, have you Darren? Darren: I’ve heard of a couple people who’ve tried it but not …again, like I said before, I think if you are an expert, if you’re the only person writing that content and they cannot get it anywhere else, you probably could do it. But I wouldn’t think normal bloggers would be able to get that. I wouldn’t be doing that. What Blog Platform to Choose? Bill: I have a question, it’s Bill. In the development of our blog, can we continue to use TypePad or should we be looking at something else? Andy: We’re probably, in the end, going to recommend that people sell posts eventually but you can definitely do most of the stuff we’re talking about during this course with TypePad. Darren, did you have an input on that. Darren: I’ve seen some bloggers use TypePad really well. They’ve done significant blogs and made significant money through it but I think most of the big ones out there on other systems like WordPress or Movable Type or those types of systems. So if you’re looking the for future of a flexible system then probably type pads isn’t the most flexible. It’s a great starting place though. I would consider moving toward something a little bit more flexible than that. William: This is William. Are we going to be talking about moving our sites to a like a community traffic versus a search engine traffic. I’m interested in that. Andy: What do you mean about a community traffic?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 27http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging William: People coming back to the community traffic versus search engine traffic specifically. Darren: That is something that we can probably fit in through the weeks. It is important so I’ll make note that we cover that. Paul: Is there a location that have a large listing of URLs that have fairly popular blogs that we could look at? Andy: You can go to Technorati. You can see the top blogs there as well as Feedster as well also has a top list. Participant: And if you’re looking for political blogs, truthlalidbear.com also has a great list. Andy: Yes, Truth Laid Bear and that is bear as in the animal bear correct? Darren: It’s wider than political there. I know a lot of my blogs are being listed there. I’m not political. I think they started with the political kind of niche and but are getting wider as well which is quite handy. Andy: Again, these links will be in your notes. If you didn’t get them tonight, we’ll have them for you. We are a little bit over, so we’ll go a head and signoff. Everybody, that you for joining use tonight and we’ll get the recording and transcript up and everybody have a fantastic evening. Thank you, bye.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 28http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Call 1Worksheets Questions and Considerations 1. Why do I want to make money from my blogs? 2. Why do I think I can make money from my blogs? 3. What are my expectations about making money from my blogs? What are my short-term and long terms goals? • Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual money goals • Lifestyle money goals© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 29http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Methods of Making Money from BlogsConsiderations My BlogGoals: What are the goals and objectives of my blog?Traffic Levels: What are my traffic levels and are they sufficientto reach my goals and objectives?Reader Demographics: How do reader profiles influence mytraffic / readership?Topic: Does my topic lend itself to creating blog income?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 30http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Examples of Each MethodMethod ExampleTraditional Advertising Blogads AdsenseText Ad Systems AdBriteImpression Based Ads Fastclick, Tribal FusionAffiliate Programs AmazonDonation Buttons/Tip Jars Jason Kottke’s; Andrew Sullivan’s blogSell Merchandise Cafe PressConsultingSponsorshipCharge for content© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 31http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure Blogging Applying These Methods to My Own BlogWhat methods of making money do I want to use with my blogs?How can I apply each of these possibilities to my blog?Method How Can I Apply this Method?Traditional AdvertisingText Ad SystemsImpression Based AdsAffiliate ProgramsDonation Buttons/Tip JarsSell MerchandiseConsulting© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 32http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  • Six Figure BloggingSponsorshipCharge for Content Comparing Blog NetworksWhat blogs in a network are related by topic or niche?What networks have ‘outlier’ or ‘orphan’ blogs that don’tappear related to the rest of the network?How are ads hosted similarly across a network versus blog-to-blog?How obvious is the connection between the different blogsof a network?What interface/design elements are common across aparticular network? Do contribute to a networks ‘unity’ orcause interface ‘blindness’?Which networks use a full unique domain for each blogversus a subdomain?What other blog networks do you find?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 33http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0