How to Make Some Extra Money from Your Blog Using Affiliate Marketing!

Using a blog for affiliate marketingBuilding a blog that builds multiple streams of income is definitely the dream of many blogger. Of course, as a blogger there are different ways you can make money from your blog.

This could be through selling your knowledge or services, like consulting, selling your own products, like an ebook or a software, or selling ad space on your blog.

One thing that is sure is that no matter the income strategy you are presently using, adding affiliate marketing as an extra channel will greatly increase your bottom line.

There are different ways of making money from affiliate marketing as a blogger. Most of these techniques and tactics can be learned easily. A simple search online will help you uncover most of them. However, as a blogger there is actually one tactic that has always proved very effective, snd that will be our focus in this post.

Selling Affiliate Products Using Recommendations

Affiliate marketers have successfully used product recommendations as a winning tactic over the years. But considering the fact that the success of product recommendations is hinged on trust, a blog is definitely a powerful platform to do this.

A blog by nature is great for building trust with your potential customers. And, if your blog readers trust you enough, they will definitely trust your recommendations.

However, you will need to be very careful in using this approach in trying to make money from your blog readers. If you start promoting everything by recommendations, your credibility will eventually wear thin. This is more so if the recommendations are seemingly exaggerated and without much merit.

How to Use Product Recommendations as a Blogger

To make your product recommendations truly effective as a blogger, you’ll need to build the following into your strategy:

1. Sound like the true and leading expert in your field

Marketers over the ages have always recognized the fact that price resistance diminishes in direct proportion to trust. If your potential customer can trust you, making a purchase will become much easier. Of course, we are always quick to trust those who we recognize as experts. This is why we will readily seek the advice of a doctor when we have medical need. We don’t just seek their opinion but their expert’s advice and when they give that advice, we are readily follow through without question!

The same way, if your blog readers feel and believe that you are an expert in your niche, they will be more inclined to make a purchase based on your recommendation. However, if you fail to exude any confidence and self-assurance in your endorsements, they will probably feel that same way too. Of course, that will make them to go in search of another product or service which is more believable.

But how do you establish this aura of expertise?

  • Offer unique and new solutions they would achieve from using the product – In your recommendations, use demonstrations that will show proof that the product works as promised.
  • Avoid hype at all costs – Ensure you have personally tried the product so you can sound confident and self-assured in your recommendations. Remember that prospects these days are well informed and may have actually known what you already know. So don’t think they are stupid. Do not be afraid to mention things that you do not like about a given product or service. This will actually increase your credibility instead of losing any points for you.
  • Back up your claims with hard facts and data – Remember that if your blog readers are truly interested in the product, they will be more than delighted to learn what is good about the product, what is not so good, and how it will benefit them. This way, they would gladly put down hundreds, or even thousands worth of money to your promotions.

2. Use promotional freebies

This is a powerful strategy that many affiliate masters readily use to up their game. Unfortunately, many just starting out in affiliate marketing rarely do this. Many think that offering promotional freebies is something that is peculiar to people who are promoting their won products.

The truth however, is that by adding some promotional freebies as an incentive for those who buy through your affiliate links will greatly increase your bottom line. Before you promote the affiliate product/service, search for a suitable bonus gift you can use to entice your blog readers to make that purchase. Simply ask those who purchased through your affiliate link to send you an email with their receipts and then you can send them your bonus gifts. Of course, this freebie should be able to add valuable to their purchase.

3. Test the product support

Beyond testing the product/service it is important also that you test the support. Some of the things you want to find are: How soon does the affiliate merchant respond to inquiries? How helpful are they when they respond? Etc.

It is true that you may have tested the product and it worked fine but truer still is the fact that not everyone who purchase through your recommendations will find it easy to use the product since we are all at different levels of understanding.

Such persons will therefore need some form of support. If they are not able to find this when they need it, you will be the one who will lose credibility. And, remember how long it took you to build that credibility and trust among your blog readers. A little mistake on your part can easily destroy that in a matter of days. Of course, you really don’t want this to happen!

Conclusion

Product recommendations are a very good way of adding an extra income stream to your blog. A blog already has the foundation for this – credibility and trust! You can work to profit from this by taking a look at the products you are presently using as a blogger and then offering these to your blog readers using product recommendations.

But beyond just trying to make some money from your blog readers ensure that you have 100% confidence in the products you recommend. Test the product support by sending emails and if possible calling on phone and asking some basic questions. Even if you did not have problems with the product, do this to ensure that the people you are referring it to would not be left high and dry when a problem suddenly arouse.

Besides, use product recommendations with care. Trying to promote each and every product you come across using recommendations will soon erode your credibility.

Over to you: Do you promote affiliate products on your blog? Do you use product recommendations? Share your story with us in your comment below.

Do You Really Know What Your Blog Readers Want from You?

Frankly, do you know or, are you just another voice contributing to the information overload?

Blogging is indeed an art. And, to be an effective blogger you need to be a specialist in your target niche – whether that niche is photography, travel or home appliances. But beyond having some form of expertise in your target niche it is important that your content truly engage with your blog readers.

There are various ways you can make your writing effective and usable for your target audience but the one sure way is to give them exactly what they want. The question therefore is, how do you know what they want? How can you  judge the pulse of your audience and see to it that you give them what they truly want.

Are you prepared for the bargain?

If yes, then you are on the way of becoming a successful blogger. Pay careful attention therefore to the tips listed below and your blogging initiative will go miles.

How to know what your blog readers want from you!

1.  Communicate Regularly

You need to be in sync with the mood of the moment. This effectively means that all your channels of communication need to be open, all the while. Before you get down to pen your thoughts it would be of great help if you gather qualitative information on the kind of information which your readers want. The best way to judge the pulse of the audience is to communicate with friends and family and know on what all they want to read. This will give you a fair idea of the mood prevailing in the market and help you come up with an effective piece which has been written well.

2.  Use Social Media to your Advantage

The advent of social media has changed the matrix of market and the same applies to the blogging industry too. Social media websites be it Facebook, Twitter or You Tube, all have managed to spread its tentacles across a cross section of the society.

You can post some general queries on your Facebook account and ask for creative suggestions from people on what all they wish to read. This will give you a good idea of what the audience wants in reality as young people represent a major fraction of those who are active on the blogging scenario. Similarly Twitter and You Tube can too be used to spread the message effectively and communicate with people from across the spectrum.

3.  Invite Guest Bloggers to contribute

You can also invite guest posts from other bloggers. This is an effective way of coming up with content which has great demand in the market. As these guest bloggers keep on contributing on a regular basis to various blogs, they are quite conversant with the mood prevailing in the market. As you get more guest bloggers to contribute, your chances of getting successful will increase as these bloggers will continuously come up with blog posts which are in demand in the market.

4.  Ask your Readers

This is another effective way of knowing as to what exactly the audience wants. Get direct and ask your readers straightforward. The best way of doing so is to have a comment option at the end of the blog post. By going in for this strategy of blog promotion you will hit two targets in one go? One, you will be able to judge the quality of the post on account of feedback received from the audience and will also get to know what exactly does the audience wants.

If however, you do not wish to share what your readers tell you on the public platform, you can alternatively leave your email address at the end of the blog post and ask the readers to get back with their suggestions and comments.

 5.  Checking your Analytics

Alternatively, you can keep an eye on the blog statistics. You need to check on as to which blog posts are receiving the maximum views and which of these posts or pages stay the longest on the top rank of search engines. This aspect of blogging is known as bounce rate and will give you a fair idea of what all is popular in the market and needs to be written about.

Interestingly, the format of the post also plays a key role in the way your whole bogging scenario gets judged by the readers. Sometimes the readers prefer information in the form of a How to Do or a video format.

Keep an eye on the reviews which you are able to get on any particular post. Sometimes it is better to change your niche area too depending upon the interest level of the readers and the popularity of the subject.

Getting a fair view of this scenario is possible only if you keep a keen watch on the interest of your readers and write accordingly. Pay attention to the above listed facts and you are sure to come up with a comprehensive blog post which will attract the attention of your readers.

So, over to you. What is your take on this? Are you using any of these tips in gauging the pulse of your blog readers?

4 Simple Blogging Tips That Drive Traffic and Results!

Setting up a blog these days is not a problem. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a free blogging platform like Blogger.com or a self hosted WordPress blog like the WebIncomeJournal.com. The problem of blogging is how to succeed with your blog once you’ve set it up. If you’re just starting out you need to know what is involved and if you’ve been blogging for some time now you need to what to concentrate on in order succeed as a blogger.

Unfortunately, the ease of starting a blog has made more and more people  jump into the band wagon of making money blogging. Right now the number of blogs in cyber space is so much that the problem faced by bloggers is, how to succeed blogging with all the number of blogs out there. From what is happening right now it does appear maintaining the success of your blog should really take more of your time than anything else.

From my personal experience I’ve come to realize that this is truly a serious question more than what the average blogger would want to consider. Since starting the Web Income Journal, I’ve learnt a few things which are really necessary for a blog to become successful. Some of these things include the subject of the blog, the popularity of the blog and most times the design and layout of the blog.

Tips for driving traffic to your blog

However, beyond all of these, the ability to properly promote and market a blog to reach a large audience of those interested in the blog’s subject matter will to a greater extent impact on the success of the blog. Using this blog as a guinea pig, I’ve in the last few months learnt some profound lessons on creating a successful blog. I’ve tried different things while watching the stats. From these tests I’ve come to understand that if you truly want to create a successful blog you should have a plan to implement the following.

1. Dedicate To a Regular Posting Schedule

I’ve found this to be an important factor to maintaining a successful blog. When you post regularly your dedicated blog visitors are given the incentive to keep returning to the blog. However, when you allow your blog to become stagnant, the motivation to keep coming would be lost. Of course, some blog readers may visit a blog initially just by chance, maybe from the search engines or from another blog, but once they become committed to your blog they need the incentive to keep returning to your blog and this is based, most times, on the content which you provide on a regular basis. If you’re able to set a regular posting schedule and you keep to it, the readers are given the motivation to return to the blog often in anticipation of new postings.

It doesn’t matter if you’re able to post very lengthy and in depth blog post. Personally I spend hours writing my blog posts because I always want something substantial. Because of this, I’ve discovered that my postings are not always regular as I want to.

Though it is something that I do not fancy so much, but I’ve come to learn from some of the blogs I visit that, by simply posting a one or two paragraph blog post asking a question on a regular basis, you’ll be able to garner much responses from the blog readers than posting a 1000+ word article once a week.

This shows that it is not the depth or length of the article but the ability to keep the conversation going that really matters in creating a successful blog. Posting a relatively short blog entry offering only a small amount of information when you’re unable to provide an in depth article can really be enough to keep the blog readers interested. Blog readers are simply looking for a certain degree of sustenance. What they expect is a blog that is regularly updated with new posts.

2. Have a Good Understanding of Your Blog’s Audience

Of course this is related to point #1 above. Many bloggers believe that choosing and focusing on a rather exclusive niche is what brings success as a blogger. Indeed, this has its advantage but most times the subject matter is not the only important aspect. You should be able to understand your target audience and this goes beyond focusing on a niche.

Some of the things you should understand about your target audience are, what type of information do your blog readers want? How do they want it? Do they prefer short and brief posts or do they enjoy it more when you post lengthy articles? How about bullet points in posts, is this more appealing to the blog readers?

Understanding these things will help you tailor your blog posts to your readers’ taste. You should provide the information in a way in which the visitors can process them more easily because this is as important as providing quality information. So ultimately, it is the blog readers that should determine what you should post and how you are to post it!

3. Making and Evaluating Changes to Your Blog

Testing and tracking is something that internet marketers are very good at. The purpose of testing and tracking is to effect changes that will impact on the success of the venture. This is very important also in blogging.

If you want to succeed as a blogger you should learn how to make changes to your blog carefully and then evaluate the effects these changes have on the blog traffic. This is critical because a blog which is already successful can be doomed to failure if the blogger makes a change which is not appreciated by the dedicated visitors and does not address the concerns of the readers. To avoid this potential problem, bloggers should be careful to only make one change at a time and to allow ample time to evaluate the effect the change has on the traffic as well as the comments from readers before deciding whether to reverse the change or make additional changes.

As you are aware of I made some drastic changes on this blog barely a month ago. One of these is the new commenting policy and the discontinuation of the top commentators monthly reward. Since introducing these changes traffic to this blog has not only reduced but also the comments. Now, I anticipated this because I knew that many of those visiting and posting comments here are only doing so because of the dofollow backlinks this blog offer them. In fact, from careful study I discovered that many of the comments are from affiliate marketers promoting affiliate programs whose sole reason for posting comments here is to build backlinks. These people rarely read the blog post. They simply load the page, post their comments and they are off to the next blog. These are also the people who will not link their avatar to their email address. In fact many of them are simply using throw-away email addresses.

This was what motivated me to make it one of the terms in the new commenting policy that every commenter must have a avatar to their email. It will interest you to know that since adding that term, I’ve deleted not less than 50 comments in the last couple of weeks. Of course, this may be too tough a drastic stand to take but I’ve come to know that bloggers who are really interested in networking and building a relationship, which we want here, are much more open to display who they are or their brand image in their gravatar. We don’t want some faceless ‘bloggers’ jumping from one blog to the other.

The point I’m trying to make here is that if you want to increase your blog traffic you can run into problems if you make too many changes and do not evaluate how these changes are affecting the blog’s traffic. A better strategy would be to make small changes one at a time and evaluate the effect of the change carefully before making more changes. Of course the changes I introduced here have affected the traffic drastically but I expected that from the beginning. I only went ahead with these changes because I have a purpose for them. And so as the wise one did say, look before you leap!

4.  Networking and Using Social Media

This is another very important thing to focus on if you desire success with your blog. As it is rightly said, no man is an island to himself. The same goes for a blog – no blog is an island to itself!

I must confess that I’ve not really been too involved in promoting through social media like twitter, facebook and the new entrant Google plus. However, after a careful evaluation of the happenings online, I’ve come to understand that without setting aside some dedicated time to promoting and networking with other bloggers using social media and other forms like email, your blog’s success can be hampered. With this, I’ve decided to be committed to actively networking on twitter. As a first step I’ve changed my twitter from profitmc to @IncomeMC and also changed my twitter avatar from the brand image I was using to my personal picture. I’ve also created a profile on Google+ and I’m working on revamping our facebook fans page!

Let me use this opportunity to invite you to follow me on twitter @IncomeMC and also to ask that you add me to your circles on Google plus. Our facebook fanpage is here. Feel free to like our page if you’ve not done so. For one if you do any of these, I’ll definitely reciprocate by following back!

You cannot rule out social media in your blog success story anymore. With the search engines now using the interactions and activities on your blog as one of the criteria of ranking it on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you definitely cannot ignore it.

Conclusion

You desire success with your blog; there is no dispute about that. But one thing you should know is, your blog is not about you, it is about your blog readers. They are truly the determinants of the blog’s success. If you give them what they want, they will readily give you what you desire. So threat your blog readers with utmost care. They are your customers and as you know, The Customer Is King! And you can help me say it loud and clear, LONG LIVE THE KING! 🙂

 

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Easter and Building a Successful Online Business – Practical Life Lessons!

The joy of the Easter celebration is still very much with us. And for those of us who were involved in the celebration it was indeed a perriod of sober reflections.

The events of the past week (known as the holy week) were one that helped everyone of us to reenact the life of the Master Jesus. These events which culminated in the commemoration of the crucifixion on Friday and finally climaxed on Sunday with the celebration of Easter moved me to consider again how so much success came out of the decision of one man to lay down His life so that others will live.

Wondering what has this got to do with succeeding online?

Everything!

For example while reflecting on the events of the Easter period, my mind was drawn to the different occasions when the Lord Jesus, in trying to prepare the disciples for the coming event, used different analogies to do that. On one such occassion, he said,

“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit!”

As I reflected on that statement I soon realize how much one can truly learn about succeeding in life from that statement. In fact Jesus, in that statement, gave us the secret to over flowing success; the pathway to fruitfulness in everything we do in life!

And this was what held my attention as I meditated on the events of the Easter period. My thoughts were taken over by the glaring success of the Church that the Lord built. From a few “uneducated” men of low status in the society the Church has grown to billions of followers around the world today despite the opposition the believers had to face over the centuries. Daring persecutions and intimidation, both from outside and within the church, the body of believers has continued to blossom so much that we can today be bold to say that the carpenter from the little known town of Nazareth is indeed the most influential of all men who has ever trodden the face of the earth!

But, how was this outstanding success achieved?

I personally see the secret in Jesus’ resolve to give all. He never held on to that which he had. In his desire to bring lives to the Father’s glory, he was ready to give his life! As he said, “except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit!” This shows that if He must accomplish that divine plan, death is inevitable. If he had not died he would have remained alone but in agreeing to give up his life, billions of other lives were birthed to the glory of the Father. Indeed, the  travail of his soul has brought Him real satisfied today (Isaiah 53: 11-12).

How To Apply This Truth To Build A Flourishing Online Business

In my reflections I found the following to be some ways of applying this divine truth in our lives today and achieve success in our business endeavours.

1. You Must Sow Before You Reap

If there is anything that is glaring from the above picture it is the principle of sowing and reaping. And this is what, as a business entrepreneur, you must take note of carefully. Building a successful business is like farming. In farming, the farmer knows that he must sow before he can reap. As an entrepreneur you must understand this very well. However where the farmer plants seeds you plant ideas for your ideas, like seeds, will never grow a crop unless they are planted. The more ideas you sow, the more success you will reap.

For example as an entrepreneur blogger you must learn to sow enriching ideas in your blog readers through your blog posts if you must reap success. Your ideas must convey to your target audience the real value of what you have to offer in a way as to satisfy their sense of caution, security, and safety. It is necessary therefore to create your blog’s content around the needs of your target audience.

2. Become Interested in Your Target Audience

Another way of putting this lesson to use is by understanding that people don’t care about you and your product. Their only concern is what will make their lives better. The only way you can make them care about you therefore, is for you to become interested in them. And there is really one way of becoming interested in them – by calling their attention, in no uncertain terms, to something that will add to their happiness, health, or wealth.

In doing this you must understand that talk is cheap. Don’t just talk about how much you want to help. show it by your actions. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this that a man should lay down his life for his friends”. His, was not mere talk, He went as far as showing that He indeed loved His friends. This also should be your stand as an entrepreneur.

Again using the example of a blogger, showing how interested you are in your target audience can really be simple to do. Entrepreneur bloggers can use their blogs to give insightful tips and usable content that will help their blog readers to better their lives. Sharing your expertise through the information you post on your blog, packaging ebooks and other  information products and  giving them freely to your target audience are all indications that you’re interested in your target audience. Of course you must be ready to do this without any regard to receiving any monetary rewards as in doing this you would be sowing seeds that will blossom to a fruitful harvest in the nearest future!

I must say the Easter period was one of great gain to me both in spiritual experience and in my professional life. I’ve taken some decisive decisions about my online business for the coming months armed with the knowledge of Jesus’ secret to unending success which is, give if you expect to recieve. And as quoted by the Apostle Paul, “It is more blessed to give than to recieve!”

Over to you: How was your Easter celebration? Were you able to gain some lessons that can be applied in building your online business? Share your experiences with us in your comments below.

How To Promote Your Blog Using The Power Of Email Lists

Many bloggers are right now turning to building email list to promote their blogs. The days when bloggers relied on just rss feeds is fast fading out. Today every blog you visit has a pop-up or one form of email capture script. Of course many new entraints into the blogging business are following the trail of the “master bloggers!” That is understandable. But very few really know how to use email lists in promoting their blogs. In a bid to have a peep at what most of these bloggers are doing, I’ve signed up with some of them. But I must say many are simply floundering in murky waters.

Definitely, I don’t want to say I’m a master in this but I’m not new to email list promotions either. In fact, I started online without a webisite, writing articles and submiting them to ezinearticles.com with the resource box having an autoresponder link. With this I was able to build a sizeable list to which I promoted affiliate products.

Now building an email list with that method may be some what different from building an email list using a blog but I believe the principles are definitely the same. That is why in this post I want to present you with some 4 tips on how to promote your blog using the power of email list.

Before that, I want to make it clear that I believe email list is much better in building relationships as a blogger. Connectivity and relationship building is much better done using email list. With the power of personalization you can actually put some punch in your email promotions. This gives a far more personal touch than rss feeds. And of course with people checking their emails every day your ability to reach your readers is enhanced.

This is the simple reason I encourage my blog readers to subscribe to this blog by email by clicking here. That way we could be more connected and interact much more better. So if you’re interested in becoming a regular recipient of information and news from this blog click here to subscribe right way.

Alright, here are the 4 tips on how to promote your blog using e-mail lists:

1. Target, target, target.

Of course, this may seem obvious. But think about it, is it every visitor to your blog that will want to get into your email list? Is there something else they can get subscribing to your email list? You’ll need to carefully determine your ‘market’ – the type of readership you want to focus on and the type of visitors you want to bring into your email list. Remember however, that this can vary greatly, depending on the main theme of your blog.

To do determine your target take a look at your main subject and the sub-topics you regularly write about. Who would want to read your blog on a regular basis? What kind of topics would they want to find in your blog? Once they find their way to your site, would they stick around and look at your other entries?

Using your findings create an ebook or an email course and offer this to your blog readers as the ethical bride for giving their contact details. By simply doing this to get the attention of:

a) Those who are totally uninterested at the time they got to your blog,

b) Those who are only partly interested and may not be staying for too long; and

c) Those who have vague interests.

2. Offer relevance at all times

Building relationships with email list demands that your offerings are relevant to your readers’ desires. Apart from your blog updates you may want to, from time to time, send offers to your email list. Ensure that these are not only good and usable content but that are relevant to your subscriber based on your blog’s theme. Avoid wasting your precious energy by ensuring that when you promote your blog using e-mail list, it will be relevant enough for the recipients to respond positively to it.

3. Be clear about your motives

Most people today are really economical when it comes to giving their email address. This is not unconnected with the abuse to which many internet marketers have put this powerful tool. It therefore stands that, if you want to promote your blog using an email list you need to state in clear terms what the blog is about, what subject(s) will be offered and how they can respond. Don’t hide behind vague terms or try to be mysterious. Give them what you promised knowing full well that your subscribers have plenty of other options out there; blogs that are willing to state their offerings in clear, understandable language.

4. Give your subscribers the freedom to opt out

Of course this is one of the requirements of the FTC Act. But it needs repeating here that once you’ve garnered some terrific responses from your initial foray into opt-in subscriptions don’t mind risking a percentage of that number to unsubscribe by offering an opt-out option. Allowing new members, obtained from your e-mail capture, to opt-out is not only polite, it also shows professionalism on your part. Withholding the opportunity for subscribers to unsubscribe is considered rude and makes you seem desperate for readers. If you choose this method of retaining your readers, you risk being ridiculed in the industry. If word gets around, you could risk losing even more potential leads for your e-mail list. To gain respect and eventually, a loyal following for your blog, promote it with your visitors’ interests in mind.

Whether you’re already building a list or not, consider putting these tips to your advantage. There are various tools out there that will help your build your email list. Some of these come with a prize tag. But there are of course, free options you can choose from.

Remember, an email list is, first and foremost, for building relationships with your blog readers. Build the relationship first and the benefits will come sooner than later!

So, do you think every blogger should build an email list? Let’s hear your views in the comments below.