Blog Marketing [was Re: Michael's Merchandise]
> ::Studiously ignoring the crack on my free market cred::The crack was meant, and I hope taken, light-heartedly. The donkey is
indeed there, although it didn't stick out to me as a merchandising link.
In my experience, revenue generation online is all about driving
traffic to your site and converting that traffic into return visitors
and hopefully, paying patrons. That being the case, you've already
done a lot of things correctly: you have a targeted audience for your
site, you routinely post topical content, and I suspect you have a
People don't generally visit a blog looking to purchase something. I
don't think merchandising will prove particularly lucrative, although
since Cafe Press has no startup costs, it still makes sense. You may
do better with Google Adsense if it targets your audience correctly.
In the end though, I don't think a blog in any form is going to have a
high rate of converting visitors to revenue, so really the task is to
generate as many visitors as possible and hopefully convert a few to
We haven't been fortunate enough to get a mention in the OpEd section
of the newspaper or community blogs listing. By and large, print ads
that specifically try to drive people to online content fail pretty
miserably (and not just for blogs). I think online marketing is most
appropriate for that which is an entirely online product like a blog.
We've had good luck increasing visior volume with Carnival of the
Vanities type posts and posts on other higher traffic blogs. By and
large, we get most of our new traffic via search engines. I'm curious
how well blogspot hosted blogs do for search engine traffic. Search
engines are sometimes funny about sub-domains. Plus, you've got no
search engine optimized meta-tags, and the first huge chunk of your
index page is taken up by an inline style sheet, neither of which is
particularly search engine friendly.
Perhaps other group members have something to add to this discussion.
> It is still there. Just click on the donkey at the top of the sidebar
> that says "Click to Visit Our Shop" to be transported to the land of
> reality-based goodies. If you can't see said donkey, pray tell what
> browser you're using.
> While we're at it, anyone have any monetization tools that they have
> used with any success to pay expenses? I've been able to realize a few
> bucks out of the Amazon Associates program, but not enough to justify
> keeping permanent links on the site. I've found that a good synopsis
> or review of a book with an Associates link has the best conversion
> rate. I'm trying Google Adsense now, but it's too early to tell
> whether that will make any significant revenue.
> I would like to spend the very few marketing dollars I get wisely. I
> have tried handbills in high traffic areas, but as they get taken down
> rather quickly, either by establishment proprietors' policy (limiting
> posting time on public boards) or by political disagreement, I don't
> think I can wholeheartedly recommend that channel. I have tried
> placing free ads in the alternative press, but did not see any
> significant traffic correlation between running a print ad and not. Of
> course, mutual links on other blogs and directories and syndication
> are great because free and effective, but has anyone tried any
> awareness or marketing concepts that has worked notably well that they
> would like to share?
> Oh, and getting your blog published in the opinion section of a
> newspaper works very well. If you can get in on the community blogs
> program at the Star, or convince your local paper to emulate that
> program, I heartily recommend it.
- And it was taken that way, too. My hide really is a mile thick :)
I've had the most success with the some of the same strategies. I use DailyKos and BlogCritics as traffic generators from cross-posting. Some say that ensuring there are reciprocal links between such cross-posts ensures the best Google juice.
I get at least half my traffic from pure search engine traffic, mostly either Google or Yahoo, of course. With service hosted blogs, I find that the search juice is all in the title if your title is incorporated into the post url. If your title is clear and contains good terms in a rational order, you can do very well, especially on Yahoo, because it is less dependent on cross-linking for ranks. I've had #1 positions in Yahoo much faster and more consistently on narrowly focused searches than I have with Google. For instance I did a post when I first saw viral ads for the TV series Revelations translating 'omnium finis immenet' (due to my college Latin) and have gotten an ungodly ass-load of traffic on that post out of Yahoo, but much less from Google. My Google rank started out in the golden 5 and quickly sank off the front page due to larger sites picking up the story.
As to the subdomain problem, it isn't an issue for an increasing number of blogs hosted on non-specialized services which install their own blogging wares, but for a service like Blogger on which I run my site, it certainly can be. I get meta tags through a domain redirection service that pipes my url blogforarizona.com to my Bloggger account. It has allowed me to do fairly well with search engines on general descriptors, though it screws with my Technorati listings and anything else which doesn't expect a virtual domain.
Michael D. Bryan