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Blog Monetization Strategies

Published August 8, 2011 - 1 Comment

I’ve recently stepped up my efforts to earn a little money from my online efforts.  You’ve probably noticed some changes on this blog, as well as a couple of the others that I’m working on.  Things are going well…  At this rate, I’ve calculated my retirement year to be 2158.  No, that’s not a typo.  So let’s take a closer look at what’s working… and what isn’t.

  • Amazon Associates Amazon is infamous for having a very low pay-out for affiliate referrals.  4% (6% if you’re a high-end affiliate) is pretty low, but what makes Amazon a profitable venture for many people is their built-in up-sell program.  If you’ve ever been on Amazon.com you’re probably familiar with their “Other buyer were also interested in this…”  and they list a few things that are somehow related to what you’re looking for on Amazon’s website.  The beauty of their affiliate program is that you get credit for any sales that someone follows your link from.  So if you review a book and place an affiliate link at the bottom, the person who clicks on that link and then decides to buy something else while they’re in there will also add to your affiliate sale.  Good news!  So I decided to try it out and make sure that it worked.  I bought a Starfrit MightiCanand had it shipped to one of my readers as a surprise.  I’ve been watching to see how long it took the referral fee to show up.  And I’m still waiting.  So I did a little digging, and discovered this statement, which explains why I haven’t received anything.  Hmm… understandable, but I still wish that I could have seen the process in action.

    What is Amazon’s policy for Associates placing orders for themselves?

    You may not purchase products during sessions initiated through your own Associates links and will not receive referral fees for such orders. This includes orders for customers, orders on behalf of customers, and orders for products to be used by you, your friends, your relatives, or your associates in any manner

  • Infolinks I implemented Infolinks in-text advertising on all my blogs, and of everything that generates money, this is the one that seems to be working the best.  Every day I log into my status page and check the reports.  Some days I show no clicks.  Some days I show a couple.  I’m currently averaging $0.02/day and that’s across all blogs.  Now you see why the retirement date is pushed out a little bit.  But that’s fine.  These things take time, and the more content that is delivered, the bigger and more well-known the blogs get, the more people who start to come to them… it will get better.  What is encouraging to see if that the clicks actually come from an even spread across the different blogs, so it appears to be natural traffic, rather than someone just clicking on one site.  You would think that a blog like this one would have more readers and more people clicking, simply because it’s been around longer, but it fares no better or worse than The Unfriendly Giant or Lady Ashburnham Pickles.  
  • Chitika Then we come to the Chitika ads.  These are the little ones with some sort of picture.  I decided to implement these more strategically… you only see one at a time, so they’re not peppering the site.  I also placed them only in posts, and sort of integrated a little more than just a side bar or banner.  As of now, I’m still showing NOTHING in my reports, even though I asked someone to perform a test click for me a couple of days ago.  Chitika says that it will take 3 days for your first click to show up if you are a new advertiser, and then it should be daily after that… but I still am not registering a single click.  I don’t want to click them myself because they’re pretty good at detecting those sorts of things, and I’m pretty sure that’s what Google thought I was doing when they banned me from AdSense.  Thanks Google….  bite me. Anyway, if someone wants to click a Chitika add and let me know how it works on your end, I’d be curious.
That’s pretty much it.  I’m not quite ready to quit my day job… yet..  🙂
PS:  I want my can opener back!

 

Blogs on the Move: December ’10

Published December 25, 2010 - 4 Comments

At the start of the month, I changed the links under my Interesting Stuff section to include some of the blogs/websites that I take a look at on a regular basis.  I wanted to highlight them because I feel that it’s important to talk about what other people are doing.  Part of blogging is the conversation… and each of these sites are adding to that conversation in their own unique way.

  • 123LinkIt isn’t a big surprise.  I love this company.  If you’re serious about blogging, then you should love them too…  unless you want to sign up for a bunch of different affiliate marketing networks, and sift through thousands of products to decide what to write about.  123Linkit acts as your affiliate account manager and automatically matches keywords from your blog to their ever expanding list of advertisers.  Then if someone clicks one of your links and purchases a product, you get a commission for that sale.  It’s as simple as that.  Plus, Yasmine (founder and CEO) is super-nice…  You can read more on their blog here.
  • The Canadian Disability Resources Database is a site started by my sister to gather as much information in one location as possible for families looking for disability resources.  Jennifer has discovered first-hand how difficult it can be to locate resources, and how different programs can be from province to province.  This database is constantly evolving as more resources are added.  Check it out here, and don’t be afraid to pass it along to someone who could benefit from this information. 
  • Darren Rowley’s blog is a personal blog, with a mixture of family, fun, and Apple topics.  As I’m a brand new Mac user, I find Darren’s posts very helpful in easing my transition from Windows to Mac.  He has reviewed several software programs that I’ve adopted for my own use.  I found Darren on twitter when I sent a message asking for help finding an RSS reader.  Twitter isn’t just a waste of time.  Finding someone like Darren has been extremely helpful. 
  • Fumbling for Perfection is a personal blog maintained by a really great young woman, Cuddles.  I had the pleasure of meeting Cuddles in the spring, so I have a little more insight into her blog than most people would if they just stumbled onto it… but I think that everyone can get something out of it… especially if they’ve had any sort of breakup.  She normally keeps the blog pretty up-to-date, but I haven’t seen any new posts there in a couple of weeks.  I’m hoping that it’s just that time of year, and that she’s been busy with Christmas stuff.  Still, her blog has been around for a couple of years, so there’s plenty of reading there.  And what a great name for a blog!
  • Jazzalicious85is another personal blog that I check out from time to time.  It’s updated less frequently than mine, but that’s ok.  She’s in Australia, so she’s on a different schedule than I am.  Actually, it was the fact that she IS on a different schedule that brought us together.  I was looking on Twitter for someone in Australia to chat with because my nightshifts coincide perfectly with their day time schedule.  Jazzytook the bait, and we’ve been keeping each other amused ever since!  Now if only I could get her to change her Gravatar, and comment on my blog.
  • Whatever’s In My Head is yet another personal blog from a Twitter-friend.  Erinand I started talking after I commented on her tweet about the #DoubleDown sandwich from KFC.  To those people who think that I have a disproportionate number of female twitter friends, Erin is a perfect example of what I call “Guys Don’t Talk!”… I sent essentially the same message to Erin as I did to a male Twitter user who had also mentioned the #DoubleDown.  She replied to my tweet.  He did not.  Then she replied to my reply.  Now we’re tweeps  🙂   Her blog is an introspective look into her life… It’s fairly new, but I hope that she continues with it.

Those are just some of the blogs that I like to check out from time to time.  I can’t keep up with everything, as I’m sure that very few people follow every word of this blog.  But I like to catch up as best as I can when I have a little time.  I certainly appreciate everything these people do, wish all of them the best of luck!

Oh and if there’s a site that you think I, or the other readers, would be interested in… just leave me a comment!  I’d love to know what other people are reading in their spare time!

Cooking For Orcs! Unofficial Tauren World of Warcraft Cookbook? Zug Zug!

Published September 22, 2010 - 0 Comments

It’s amazing what you can find online sometimes. I was bored and looking through affiliate programs, and came across the Tauren Chef Cookbook. I don’t play World of Warcraft, but I’m familiar with the genre.  I’ve played plenty of Dungeons and Dragons in my day… many of the Warcraft games… and even worked for Verant Interactive for a little bit on EverQuest.  Oh… and I can cook!  So something like this easily caught my eye and made me laugh.

How could you possibly not enjoy the likes of Delicious Cave Mold Cookies?  Or Goblin Deviled Clams? Actually some of the stuff looks pretty neat!  It’s all real food… it’s all been prepared in a kitchen, and isn’t merely fantasy recipes.  Oh, and it’s not just for people who play WoW, either.  If you’re looking for something a little different, then chances are, this e-book has it.

Cave Mold Cookies

I don’t usually dabble too much in affiliate programs, but I think that I’m going to take a closer look at my Commission Junction and ClickBank accounts.  I’m also waiting to hear back from a top pickling and canning company on my application to list them on my Lady Ashburnham Pickles site!  🙂

And yes… I fully intend to buy this e-book, so watch out the next time you come to visit.  You just might be served Buzzard Bites, or Roast Raptor!

If anyone else dares to buy this e-book, please let me know how you make out with any of the recipes!  Maybe we can exchange stories!

Order your copy of the Unofficial Tauren Chef Cookbook here.

Finally! 123LinkIt is Working Properly! (maybe)

Published July 21, 2010 - 2 Comments

With a little bit of trial… and a lot of error… I finally seem to have the affiliate marketing plugin 123LinkIt working properly on the blog!

I’m still a little confused as to why I had such a hard time with it.  It’s really is not a difficult plugin to implement, but it definitely was not doing what it was supposed to be doing.  After a couple of uninstalls and reinstalls, and forcing my WordPress installation to update again, it appears to be working.  You can see an example of the plugin in action here on the Online Dating post.

So now that I have it working properly, it’s time to look at some of the old posts and see which ones might be suitable candidates for the plugin.  And as I move forward, don’t be surprised to see the occasional link show up as you’re reading.

A small step forward in the building of an Empire…

<Now, after writing that…   I’m running into the same problem again…  arrrrrrrrrghhh… update to follow>

Continuing to Work With 123LinkIt

Published July 14, 2010 - 0 Comments

I’ve been trading a few emails back and forth with Yasmine Mustafa, founder of 123LinkIt, trying to get the plugin to work properly on this blog.  We’re not quite there yet, but I’m confident that the issue will get resolved.  Actually, at the moment, I have a nagging suspicion that it might be a user-related problem, rather than a plugin one.  I have to do a little more testing to do with a different browser (something that I am unable to do at this moment), and if that’s what it turns out to be… open wide… insert foot.  Hell, I might as well insert both of them!  It’ll be a little embarrassing, considering I posted last month that I was giving up on the plugin.  But that’s fine.  When I look at some of the recent posts/tweets, the fact that I’m troubleshooting with a female CEO of a startup internet company, who doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall… yeah… I cringe.  Welcome to my world…

I will say this, though… when I look at what they’re doing, I’m more than a little jealous.  No, that’s not a job application.  I’ll gladly leave that space to 123LinkIt.  But the dream… yeah… Jealous.

And anyone who knows me well should understand what I mean by that.

A Second Chance for 123LinkIt.com

Published June 20, 2010 - 1 Comment

It’s ironic.  Just yesterday I tweeted about second chances.  “Second chances are rare, and should not be squandered.”  I was referring to something completely different in my life, but today I received a surprise request for a second chance of a different kind.

Yesterday’s post regarding my frustration with the WordPress affiliate marketing plugin called 123LinkIt apparently got noticed by someone at the company.  Imagine my surprise when I checked the blog today and found 2 comments awaiting approval from Yasmine, the founder of 123LinkIt.  Imagine how even MORE surprised I was when Yasmine  identified a post that she considered a good candidate for the 123Linkit software, and asked me to try it again.  This wasn’t simply a canned response.  She had obviously read through the post, and even offered a few suggestions.

Well, I’m suitably impressed with the proactive response from 123LinkIt, and will grant Yasmine, and her team, a second chance… while I attempt to get the plugin working properly on this blog.  As I said in my comment response, dealing with 123LinkIt feels very much like a grass roots effort, and not something from a faceless corporation.  I sincerely hope that they will continue to maintain that direct interface with their users as they move forward and continue to grow.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress, and hopefully you will start to see the occasional sponsored affiliate link scattered throughout WhatAboutStephen.com.

Giving Up on 123LinkIt.com

Published June 19, 2010 - 6 Comments

It seemed like a fantastic little plugin for WordPress.  Install the 123Linkit plugin, create an account at 123linkit.com, configure your API keys on the blog, write your post, and click the Add Affiliate button at the bottom of the post.  Supposedly the program would scan your blog post for relevant keywords and generate a list of advertisers with embedded links directly into your post.  If someone clicked on the link, you would receive a small amount.  123Linkit would act as a middleman between the blogger and the affiliate programs.  Sounded wonderful in theory, but I have not been able to get a single affiliate link to appear anywhere on the blog.  I’ve tried and tried.  I don’t get an error.  I just get nothing!  If I write a post that doesn’t have appropriate keywords, it will tell me that it found no relevant keywords.  That part works.  But I have written a few posts specifically for 123Linkit, using keywords that I get from their website… and nothing.  No error.  Just nothing happens.  Maybe it was a time delayed thing?  Nope.  Just nothing appears.

So I’m done playing with this.  I’ll look at something else instead.

[edited:  Things got much better after this.  Please read all the related posts, or try 123Linkit for yourself!]