Time Management for Bloggers – The Holy Grail

It’s 2 am, and your post isn’t finished. Sure – it’s a long one, but honestly the real barrier to finishing has been all the facebook chatting, ebay vintage lamp hunting, and random googling of celebrity gossip. If you’re a blogger, you know the problem.

When you spend all day on your computer, you have to learn to not make your computer time one big black hole of a time suck.

I love reading about time management and productivity, and was so happy that my friend Amy of Blogging with Amy came out with her new ebook on the subject. I was thrilled to preview the book, and now am happy to encourage my readers to go ahead and buy it right now for the low price of just $9 here with code 9BUCKS.

So what is Tell Your Time all about?

Tell Your Time is a simple, easy read that will introduce you to a revolutionary (yes, really!) way to organize your time. Amy shows you how to identify the most important priorities in your life, and then uses a visual mapping system to figure out the amounts of time (and when in your day) you should be spending on each area. Only then – once you have a wise idea of what is important – do you actually plot your schedule on a weekly basis.

I thoroughly encourage this ebook, and am so happy to be able to know someone who wrote such a powerful, simple idea in such clear words. It’s a quick read, and you will gain quick wisdom!

Although normally $12, it’s $9 now with the coupon code 9BUCKS– so buy it now if you’re interested!

A Recap of BlogWorld Expo (Forthcoming)…

The recap is forthcoming, but let me just take a moment and say: Wow.

Great speakers, great chats, and much food for thought shared.

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I’m happy to be speaking here this year, and look forward to next year.

How to Highlight Your Affiliates in Posts

I recently wrote a long post (that has yet to be published) about how to highlight your affiliates in your posts. This is a critical practice for blog monetization, whether you are a blogger who puts affiliates in your posts rarely, or if you are a deals blogger who posts affiliates all the time.

I showed Amy of Blogging with Amy this post and she included it in a recent post she wrote about affiliate marketing.

Check out my comments here:

“Claire (author of Saving Money Plan and A Blog Job) reminded me to tell you to include affiliate links in your posts, not just in your sidebar. (This is especially true for you deal bloggers.) Write a meaty, helpful (!) post which includes your affiliate links and you’ll get a much better response in general.”

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Monetization Thoughts from Blogging with Amy

My friend Amy has the great post up about affiliate marketing, what it means, and how to start doing it here.

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Reading about the monetization ideas of others is critical, and even if you think you are hearing something you’ve heard before, the reality is that you need to hear things many times before you actually absorb them. The moral? Keep listening!

Blog World Expo – I’m Speaking

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We’re coming up on BlogWorld this year, and I’m excited to be one of the speakers.

Will you be there?

Monetization Snapshot – The Simple Dollar

I loved this post over at The Simple Dollar entitled “How The Simple Dollar Works.”

Why did I love it, you ask?

Because it laid out some of the ways that The Simple Dollar monetizes. Since I love Trent and The Simple Dollar, and I love learning about blog monetization practices that others employ, this was a great post for me to read;)

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Here is the overview of Trent’s income sources:

Trent says: “My income comes from several sources: ads run on The Simple Dollar, links to the books I review on Amazon, sales of my own books and ebooks, and freelance writing opportunities I’ve picked up along the way.”

Through analyzing the entire post, I found these particular points of interest particularly valuable. Although I don’t agree with all these statements for my own experiences with blogging, it’s interesting to see what he is experiencing:

  • Ad-blocking software prevents ad revenue: Trent says, “I usually get about 1.4 million page views a month, but many of those page views are from people running ad blocking software, so I can’t count them at all towards the revenue I earn.” This surprised me, and I wonder if this is specific to the partner personal finance niche Trent has?
  • Email newsletters don’t make revenue: “Generally, I don’t make money from the emails at all. The emails basically just contain the content of The Simple Dollar, packaged up and emailed out to about 35,000 daily readers.” Again, this surprises me. Trent really has no ads or affiliate links in his email newsletters?
  • Freelancing income counts as income: He counts freelancing as part of his blog income. I recently saw that Erin at 5dollardinners does as well. This is not something I do — do you?
  • The Simple Dollar uses very few ads: Trent says: “I try very hard not to load the site up with ads – I have only one above the fold, though I could easily sell three or four of them and make a mint (or at least a lot more than I do).”
  • He worked part-time for a long time on his blog before it became a full-time income.
  • His blog has not brought him riches: Trent has made comments before about believing he could make more than he does when he went full-time, and this post reiterates that message. Interesting to note, given his very healthy traffic numbers.

Read the full article, and take a look at some of the fascinating comments people left.

The Art of Irrelevant Pitches

People often write articles and posts about what it means to write a good pitch.

Writing a good pitch is an art, and if you’re in the business of pitching to bloggers (or you’re a company in the business of pitching to bloggers) it would be worth your while to do some practice in writing good pitches. After all, what’s the difference between a good pitch and a bad pitch? Getting what you wanted!

Now, in this post I’m not going to talk about a good pitch is.

Instead, I’m simply going to laugh at a terrible one. You know, one of those pitches that are so bad that the “offer” has nothing to do with the person being pitched (read: you blog about dogs and the pitch is about makeup). So bad that the grammar is off (read: you can barely read at all!). So bad that your name or the name of your blog is substituted with someone else’s (read: the pitch I got this week).

This week, I received such a pitch. After sighing, and then whining, and then laughing, I began searching the blogosphere for other examples of pitch disasters, and I came across this fantastic one posted by ProBlogger Darren Rowse.

Yup, Pepsi is pitching Problogger for…what? It’s entirely unclear.

So: What’s the worst pitch you’ve received recently?

What is an Affiliate? (Let’s start at the beginning…)

Does the term “affiliate” ever confuse you?

Do you need more understanding of what an affiliate really is and how affiliate programs work?

If you are a new blogger, or are new to monetizing online, this video will give an overview of what an affiliate is and how an affiliate program works with advertisers and with publishers (like bloggers or website owners) to serve engaging ads to consumers.

Enjoy, and please contact me at aBlogJob (at) gmail (dot) com with any questions or concerns.

Monetization Lessons from Savvy Blogging: Part 3 (The Qualitative Conclusion)

At this point in my Monetization Lessons from Savvy Blogging series (see part 1 here and part 2 here), I’ve thrown out a bunch of numbers.

  • Income numbers
  • Traffic numbers
  • Subscriber numbers
  • Time Spent Blogging Numbers
  • (You name it, I’ve thrown it out!)

But what’s the point of all these numbers, and what can we really learn from JD Roth’s monetization talks at Savvy Blogging?

What’s the qualitative (read: not number based) take-home message?

I’d argue that there are three. Here they are:

  1. Monetizing takes work.
  2. Monetizing goes hand in hand with overall blog success (you can define the phrase “overall blog success” however you want, but typical metrics might include traffic, engagement, quality writing).
  3. However, monetization is not necessarily dependent on overall blog success. Monetization is also a choice. Even the most “successful” blogs in terms of traffic, engagement, and quality writing may not be monetized, or may not be monetized well. For evidence of this, take one look at the chart, Real Income Stats from Bloggers, that JD Roth shared with us during the session. As you can tell from the chart, and you can tell from simply talking to bloggers everywhere, the actual amount that a blog earns is highly dependent on the monetization strategies of the the bloggers at hand. If you have a blog with 10,000 hits a day, you are more likely to earn more than a blog with 1,000 hits a day, but this hardly guaranteed! Your actual income stats depend on a host of factors, and one of those factors is intent.

Now, many bloggers don’t have an interest in monetization. Monetizing is not a goal and (rightly for them) does not hold a place in weekly strategy sessions or blog daydreams for all bloggers. And in that case, I accept that A Blog Job may not be the blog for you.

However, if you are someone who is trying to monetize, and trying to monetize well, there are distinct things you should be doing aside from just concentrating on content.

Now – don’t get angry I just said that!

Obviously we all hope that quality content is a cornerstone of your blog already. However, if you are really trying to improve the income on your blog the answer may not necessarily be to “write better content” or “get more visitors”.

In the weeks to come here on A Blog Job, we’ll be looking at exactly the type of things you can be doing to up your income – even if you have a static following, and even if you don’t want to spend more hours in your day trying to write better.

One of the sources we’ll be looking at is actually JD’s new (old) blog about animal intelligence, which he’ll be using as a case study on Get Rich Slowly about blog monetization ideas (see more on his plans here). He’ll be writing about this topic once a month, and I’ll be sure to share his findings here as we work through some of these sticky monetization strategies.

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Oh, and if your first question is, “How is a blog about animal intelligence going to make money?” wait for my next post – where we’ll look at this very issue!

Escalate Media – A Review

See the summary video review of Escalate Media is at the bottom of this post.

If you are a deals blogger, a mommy blogger, or a lifestyle blogger, Escalate Media is likely a small company you hear about relatively early on in your affiliate journey. Very similar to MySavings Media and Logical Media, Escalate Media offers a small number of niche offers that work especially well in the couponing, saving money, or deals space.

My Take:

Escalate Media is a great small network for certain niche bloggers. It’s not the first I recommend to new bloggers, because it is not quite as user friendly as some other programs. But for anyone moderately serious about promoting affiliate offers who blogs within a certain space (coupons, deal, family, lifestyle, photos, etc.) it should be a definite sign up.

Highs:

  • Escalate has a relatively small number of deals that won’t get you overwhelmed.
  • Many affiliate offers are replicated on multiple networks (i.e. an offer on Escalate is also on Logical Media). Since Escalate Media may be lesser known or have gained less traction in the deal bloggers space, at times they have proved to have better payouts than some of the other networks. When a new offer goes live on multiple affiliate networks, you just want to compare the pay-outs before you decide to post.
  • Escalate Media has done a great job of setting a great trend of doing online video conferences where affiliates can ask questions of Escalate Media account managers. This is a great idea. It’s a great way for newbie bloggers to get a better sense of the deals available and for seasoned bloggers to see what they may be missing.

Lows:

  • Although the interface for Escalate Media is definitely significantly better than it used to be, I can’t say that I find the actual process of getting the ad tags terribly intuitive or simple. I mean – with five minutes anyone can learn it, surely! – but at the same time I wish it seemed a bit more user friendly from the outset.
  • No “Lows” list for Escalate Media, Logical Media, or My Savings Media (and others as well, I might add) could ignore the fact that one of the general lows is that many of the offers are replicated on all the networks. This takes away from some of the magic of the fact that the networks seem to offer so many offers – it’s not really as many as you think because many are repeated!
  • The referral program for new Escalate Media sign-ups is on the very low side at $2.50 per sign up – and not a percentage basis.

Let’s look at some screenshots of the interface.

The offers section:

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And The FAQ section:

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Watch the video review here: