THE BLOG
11/28/2014 04:56 pm ET Updated Jan 28, 2015

ABC's of Building Your Blog, and Making Money Doing It

Co-authored by Murray Newlands

When people think about blogging they think about writing a great blog. Building a great blog is more than just writing, there are lots of great writers out there; you need to build an audience.

I recently attended a San Francisco blogging Meetup where Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of BlogHer, shared her insights on what it takes to develop and grow a great blog.

When building your blog it's important to use analytics to know your audience and where they engage. Participate in other communities and they will come and be part of your community. Know your audience on your blog and in your community.

Comment on other peoples' blogs in your community. Your community will follow you on your social media channels and use that to tell your community about your new content. Make relationships with people who will know and trust your content.

Most bloggers still blog for self-expression and the number one reason people visit blogs is for information; the sweet spot is that the savvy blog reader wants to know and trust you. Blog readers are now more savvy and trust blogs they know through human stuff you share that creates the context for you to share content and leads to people buying things you recommend vs. the sponsored content.

Social Media Optimization

Twitter is your place for real-time conversations; also you cannot really curate on Twitter. Instagram is more about conversations than identity. Pinterest is about food and clothing. Facebook is very conservative because people do not segment a lot and they have family, friends, work and everyone on there. You do not have to be on every platform. Be the best at one thing.

A big trend is social media optimization over SEO; go beyond the blog, it is not what you put out there it is what people share and link to; this is what makes a difference. Reciprocity is what makes a difference, utility with your trusted voice is what will make you successful. Small to medium bloggers are normally much more connected with their audience and more likely to act, and companies like that. Why people follow you:
  • Because you let them know you and tell them personal stories
  • Because you share useful information
  • Because you reciprocate
  • Because only you do what you can do and it is unique so they come to your blog

Examples

Elise Bauer: Was ill and started to write about her parents cooking so she had something to do.

Monique Kilgore: Does great videos

Dian Cu: Professional food blog and they get work via their blog. They get lots of inquiries via their blog. If they get clients that cannot afford, they recommend other people they can work with.

Katherine Stone: When she had her first child she went through postpartum progress mental health issues. She has a non-profit, she has helped to pass legislation for this.

How to Make Money with Your Blog

Beyond growing an audience if you are going to spend time working on your blog you will eventually want to make money from it and there are many ways to do that. Here's how you do it.

CPC

PPC, CPC, Pay Per Click is what advertisers pay to Internet publishers and search engines for one click on their ad that directs a visitor to an advertiser's site. Google's Adsense program includes the most major player here.

Text and Banner Ads

Banner advertisements range from simplistic logos to various advertisement unit sizes. For example, you know Dan of Dan's Health Foods and he wants to pay you a certain amount of money per month to place his logo somewhere upon your website. A text advertisement is like a banner ad yet you're placing text on your site.

Paid Product Reviews

When individuals are going to purchase something, they go on the Internet first to check what others are discussing about it. Businesses know this and currently oftentimes pay bloggers to offer product reviews.

Amazon Affiliate Program

Amazon includes the original daddy of affiliate programs. It is where if somebody visits your web page and views a widget which says 'David recommends this book about dogs' and that individual clicks on the link and purchases that book, you'll receive some money.

Sell Stuff

For instance, if you have a dating blog, and you have a dedicated following, and you have lots of excellent posts which people enjoy reading, why not collect the posts and make them for sale within an e-book/book format? Or if you do not want to mess with your own product -- because there will include things to manage such as customer service, sales pages, extra web hosting, and creating a product, then sell others' stuff via an affiliate program.

Most eBook authors will provide you as high as 75 to 100 percent commission for every sale. Therefore, take advantage of this opportunity and build up your success!

If you want to have a great blog, start writing but also think about what else you want, readers, feedback and even money. Here's the full SlideShare from this incredibly insightful event.