I guess this is a little late, but better late than never. It has been a chore trying to keep up lately and yes, I do actually have enough material for two weeks worth of posts from BWE. But a lot of these will be about new products and some will be based on sloppy but very complete notes I took at the sessions.
This was the first panel I attended at Blog World Expo and the speakers included John Chow, Brian Clark, Zac Johnson, Jim Kukral, Darren Rowse and Jeremy Shoemaker. Shoemoney was a little late and Jim Kukral had all of us in attendance tweet him that he sucked. Everyone laughed and some did. Hey, when do you get a chance to tell a top blogger he sucks.
It was a consensus. Adsense is webmaster welfare. Just about any other way of monetizing your site will make you more money. There was a time when you could make money with Google ads. It is not now.
When John Chow noticed the money he was making from Adsense drop, he offered up the slots that had Adsense to private advertisers for more than Adsense was giving him. And every slot was quickly filled and eventually he was making a lot more from private individuals than he ever could from Adsense.
Another consensus is that for most blogs, any type of CPM ads don’t work. CPM ads are stone age technology and those that learn this are ahead of the game.
And for those of you who are impatient, here’s a lesson. Zac Johnson had no ads on his site for 10 months and now makes $6000 a month on referrals and ads on his site. He also mentioned that the one of the biggest mistakes he sees bloggers make is wasting the space in their header. Any area above the fold in your website is prime real estate and should be used accordingly
Darren Rowse said that you should monetize from day one and get your readers used to it.
Brian Clark said he makes $100,000 a month without any ads. He sells at Teaching Sells and DIYthemes and thats how he makes his money.
About Branding and Using Your Name
Brian Clark also said that he created CopyBlogger to be an independent brand that he could walk away from. But it backfired and his name is almost inseperable from the brand. John Chow said if he could start over, he would not have used his name as his brand.
They also mentioned “social proof”. Don’t show your subscriber count until you are proud to show it. If you show that you only have 10 subscribers, you will have a hard time getting subscribers. It is much better just to hide that until you have enough subscribers that it actually helps you get more.
Everyone on the panel stressed the importance of email. Not very many people that will visit your site will even know what an RSS feed is, let alone use a feed reader. So you must make sure you have a way they can subscribe to your blog with their email address. Feedburner offers this and Aweber offers even better features.
I learned that the most profitable internet properties don’t look visibly monetized. In other words, you don’t have to make your blog look like the side of a city bus to make money.
About Affiliate Marketing
John Chow said that his #1 money maker was direct advertising but in time, he knows that affiliate marketing commissions will bypass that. He said that most people who use affiliate marketing do so wrongly. They use PPC to get one sale from one person and never contact that person again. He said you need to build a realtionship.
Brain Clark said that one way to build a relationship is to get them to sign up for a newsletter or a series of reports. He also said that using banners to promote affiliate products will not do much for you but it will give the products owner free branding. Not a win-win situation.
And Darren Rowse added that the best way to promote an affiliate product is to hit it from multiple angles. Instead of writing one post for a products, write four or more. Write one. Interview the author of the product for one. Create a video using the product for one. If you think about it, you can come up with lots of ways to promote a product.
And Zac Johnson said not to be fearful of the affiliate network. Ask for help when you need it. That’s what the affiliate manager is there for. And when you make money, they do.
It Is Work
Blogging is not a piece of cake. Darren Rowse spends 12 hours a day blogging. If you decided to blog because you thought it was easy money, you are wrong. It takes just as much work as any other job, but it’s yours. And that’s the difference.
What They Didn't Know
I have said that I learned just as much from the questions asked as the answers given. And here is how. I was in the room with the top money making bloggers in the world. If something stumped them, that is definitely an area investigate. Two questions did:
These are both areas I have been investigating and with no answer, I know I am going in the right direction.
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