Last week, I wrote a complete article on how to survive Google. This article was inspired by the huge PR slap that happened about 2 weeks ago. Last week, there was another Panda update (about 5 times smaller than those previous according to Matt Cutt). Call it luck, call it diversification or call it simply having a lot of sites with a lot of authority; I wasn’t affected at all by either updates by Google. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t have to react.
I’ve been quite busy for the past 2 weeks with email from bloggers who have been hit and looking for answers. I’ve tried to help them to the best of my knowledge, but even then, there are a lot of mysteries that only the Googlers know. All these bloggers have one thing in common: they will all take action to improve their situation.
Some of them will fall, others will recover what they have recently lost and a handful of them will crank up their blog to a level they had never attained. Regardless of their results one year from now; they will all take actions and try to improve their blog.
For the rest of us that haven’t been affected, my guess is that most of us will stay relaxed and keep raking in the money we are used to making. We weren’t affected; we must be sheltered from bad luck. Not me. This time, I won’t wait to take action. These recent events should be a wake-up call for all of us; regardless if you were hit or not.
Over the past 2 weeks, we just got a clear signal that the business is changing, once again. You have 2 options; you either ignore the change and still feel lucky or you go back to the drawing board and evolve your business model.
The recent events are clearly aimed at people who had a business model based on private advertising. We all know that; Google doesn’t like ads besides their own Adsense. Call it a greedy way to exercise their monopoly or simply a clever marketing technique, the facts won’t change. So if your business model relies on this premise, you should continue reading this post because if you don’t evolve, you will get hurt sooner or later.
I can’t obviously remove all my private ads tomorrow morning and say good bye to half of my online income in a single day. I have contracts to must honor and am not ready to cut out such a huge part of my online income. However, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to continue the way I do. I have established a clear plan on how to reduce our private ads to the minimum while increasing our other sources of income. The key is to find ways to increase our revenues and each time we succeed, we will reduce a part of our private ads.
Improving your income from various sources is easier said than done! In order for me to achieve this immense task, I have to look at the strengths of my network and convert them into higher revenues.
Across our network we are on our way to hitting 500,000 pages viewed per month. It is well diversified across several websites and is proven to be quite stable over time. What does page views mean when you think about revenue?
– CPM ads opportunities
– More chances to hook a new visitor via RSS or newsletter subscription
– More chances to get Adsense clicks (or similar ad network)
– More chances to sell products (via affiliates or our own products)
What can be done: I’ve never looked too much at CPM ads so far. They seem to pay a very small payout and didn’t want to bother registering for them to try them out. This is obviously changing upon the recent events! I’m actually going to look at some of the big ad industries such as:
BlogHer (I have some sites dedicated to women 😀 )
Then, I’m going to modify some site designs to increase the presence of my RSS subscription button along with creating freebies to increase my newsletter subscriptions (read my series on building a newsletter). The more loyal readers you get, the more traffic you can generate without Google. I’ve successfully done this with some of my sites after the first Panda update and am now more independent in terms of traffic.
I’m already good at getting new readers from my traffic. Over the years, I’ve built a solid readership through my RSS feed and newsletter. I’ve only started to monetize this aspect of my blog in 2011. This has been done through a lot of trial and error work but I can see that I’m gradually improving my skills to generate money with loyal readers without upsetting them with too many ads.
I guess the trick is simply to offer useful products/services that I use. Instead of writing boring reviews, I’ve decided to show readers how I benefit from using X & Y products. I have some consistent sales from my article on how to use Market Samurai where I show exactly how I do my own keyword research. I just need to do a lot more articles that do this. They are usually longer and harder articles to write because it requires more research and the time to structure the post. You can’t just go and write whatever crosses your mind!
What can be done: I’ll be looking at doing more post series or email funnels (you have to register for my newsletter to understand how I create email funnels) on what products I use across my sites. I also need to be as specific as possible. Most affiliate products are highly competitive and narrowing my topics will be a great way to get interest from both existing readers and search engines visitors. It’s not like I could rank for a “0%APR balance transfer credit card” within a few months! By being very specific, you also increase the likelihood of not bothering your loyal readers as you will talk about products that can really help them.
I have an incredible amount of articles in my archives. Across my network, I probably have over 5,000 articles written (TFB alone has almost 1,500 articles!). This is a huge database that is sleeping for the most part. Over the past 6 years, I’ve covered a surprisingly wide range of topics and know that a lot of this stuff could be read again today by new readers. I guess that one of my strengths is to write timeless articles. I know there is a lot of money that can be made from my archives.
What can be done: This is probably where a lot of work can be done to earn a lot more money as I’ve never worked too much on my old posts. Here are a few things that I can do:
#1 SEO: This is obvious and cliché. However, if I really go back to older posts that already get some SE traction; I can see exactly how they rank for which keywords with Market Samurai and optimize them accordingly. I will change the title and subtitles to reflect this keyword along with rephrasing a few lines to include synonyms and make the article more keyword rich. This will help me to improve my Adsense stats.
#2 Affiliate Research: I haven’t done many affiliate links in my early days (I was too busy doing private advertising, lol!). By going back to my archive, I’m sure I can find a lot of articles that are talking about great products and include affiliate links in them. What I like about affiliate links is that I can make money in a passive way once the link is up!
#3 Use my archives to create products: I’ve seen this from other sites and it seems to work well. In fact, I first tried to package a part of my archives from one of my smaller sites to make an eBook out of it. Believe it or not but with less than 500 visitors a month, I’m making about $30/month with the eBook for the past 4 months. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s a very small niche site a well. I figure that if I can replicate this model on one of my sites that has over 25,000 visitors/month, I should make a lot more! I will also use my archives to create free products in order to increase the number of subscribers ;-).
I have given you a few examples of how I intend to move my business model towards my strengths and make as much or even more money that I am making right now. Have you thoughts of your strengths and how you can make money with them? With the current change in the business, I think it’s time for you to look at this aspect, don’t you think?
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