Category: Blogging

Creating Passive Income Streams

A good way to make sure your blog stays profitable for years to come is to spend at least some of your time working on passive income streams. Passive income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.  In other words you make money while you sleep.

An example we’re all familiar with is the interest you earn on your savings account. You don’t have to do anything other than letting your money sit in the bank. Of course you’re not going to get rich from having a few thousand dollars sitting in the bank. But thankfully there are plenty of different ways to create passive streams of income online.

Let’s look at a few of them. This is by no means an extensive list. I’m sure you’ll start to come up with other passive income ideas as you read through these examples.

Creating Passive Income Streams

Creating Passive Income Streams

Blog Posts With A Strong Call To Action

Write some evergreen content (content that is good year after year.) SEO it to get free search engine traffic and then wrap it all up with a strong call to action at the end. That call to action could lead readers directly to an offer for an affiliate products, one of your own products, or even better, to a list that you can then monetize further.

Monetized Emails And Free Reports

Speaking of lists and emails… write a series of emails that are monetized, again either with affiliate offers or offers to your own things. Heck, you can even send your readers to more free content on your blog that has AdSense ads on it.

Build your list using free reports that are monetized as well. Then take it a step further and invite them to share the report. You of course can share it far and wide across the web as well. As your report gets read by more and more people, they will find their way back to your site and the offers you’re making in the report itself.

Write Some Books

Write some books and publish them. These can be physical books or Kindle books. Self-publishing has made it easy to do both and it has the added advantage that you get to keep the majority of the income you make from your books.

While the books generate passive income, they also help establish your authority and broaden your reach.

Create Your Own Digital Products

You can also create your own line of digital products and sell them through your own site or places like the Google and Apple App stores. The beauty of digital products is that you create them once and can sell them over and over again.

Yes, there’s a little customer service work to do and the occasional update to write, but for the most part, digital products are pretty hands-off once they have been created.

Setting Up Your Own Affiliate Program

Once you have your own products set up, set up an affiliate program as well. Others will do the marketing and selling for you for a percentage of the profits.

Recommending Other People’s Products

Of course you can work on the flip side as well. Find a few related products to your own, sign up as an affiliate and recommend them to your own customer base. It’s a quick and easy way to increase your income and once those emails are written (or you’ve included the affiliate products in your own products or on your download pages), you just sit back and watch the sales notifications come in.

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Understanding Amazon Associate Reports

One way of monetizing a blog is through affiliates and Amazon Associates is the most common affiliate program. Their reports can tell you all kinds of good information that you should know so you can take stock of your affiliate efforts and see what needs to change or stay the same. But the reports can be a bit confusing at first. This post should help you in understanding Amazon Associate Reports.

Understanding Amazon Associates Reports

Understanding Amazon Associate Reports

To get to your reports, go to Amazon.com and login. If you have the site stripe, you can click on the words Amazon Associates Site Strip at the top left or go here. You may have to login again.

Your page should look something like this:

Understanding Amazon Associates Reports

Actually it should start with you on the home tab but if you click reports, this is what you will see. I’ll go over what the other tabs are for quickly but right now we are focusing on reports.

Product Linking – you can get product links and banners here to put on your blog or website. I find it easier to search Amazon for products and use the Site Stripe to get the links but you can search through product links too. The Native Shopping Ads are a bit of code you can put on your site where it will show related products to what your page is about. Mobile popover is a way to monetize when someone views your site on mobile. Finally an astore is like your own mini store. You can view the one I made for my gaming blog here:  shop games

Promotions – you can get links and banners for current promotions here. Add them to your sidebar for more conversions.

Tools – Site Stripe explains how to use the Site Stripe to link to anywhere on Amazon. The Link checker is for those creating or modifying their own links to make sure they are correct.  Publisher Studio is a way to add affiliate links from Blogger or WordPress or wherever you blog. It’s neat and convenient but can slow down your page. Product Advertising API is for programmers.

Amazon Associates Reports

The default range is one month but you can change the view by clicking custom date range. There are lots of date ranges to choose from or you can create your own 31 day range.

Understanding Amazon Associates Reports

Now if you only have one tracking id it should show that one but if you have more than one like me (and you should if you have multiple blogs) you can click the little down arrow next to Tracking ID ALL to pick a certain one. This is what I saw after clicking on the tracking id for my gaming blog.

Understanding Amazon Associates Reports

It shows you what days you got clicks (red), items were ordered (yellow) and money was earned (blue). Choose a bigger category (like last year) to really see how your affiliate marketing has been working.

Understanding Amazon Associates Reports

If you scroll down you will see exactly what items were sold (the person above must be having fun Winking smile ) It shows me that they didn’t buy the products I specifically mentioned in my post but they did buy two things through those links. It also shows in the second half which of my tracking ids the clicks and sales came from. So I can see above that my sales for the month of March came through my gaming blog but I did get clicks on two other blogs too, but no sales.

Click on the Link Type Performance tab and you’ll see this:

Understanding Amazon Associates Reports

 

This shows you if your views, clicks and items ordered and shipped came from product links, banners or widgets. You can get a better idea of which ones are converting for you.

Daily Trends looks like this:

Understanding Amazon Associates Reports

This shows each day the number of clicks and items ordered. If you have a large amount of clicks on one day, go back to your blog analytics and see what post was popular that day and update it with more links and more drive to click.

TIP: When you are looking at the screen that shows what items were ordered, if you see an item that was really popular, consider sharing that link on social media or writing more posts that link to it. You can easily get the link again when you hover over it.

Understanding Amazon Associates Reports

I hope this guide has helped you with understanding Amazon Associates Reports section better. Don’t forget to check back periodically to see how things are going.

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Choosing a Good Domain Name

Choosing a good domain name is very important for many reasons including SEO (search traffic), how easy it will be on your fans and making sure not to step on anyone’s toes (more on that later.)

How to Pick a Good Domain Name

Choosing a Good Domain Name

Here are 5 considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right name.

Keywords

For SEO purposes, if you can include keywords in your domain name, it will really help you. For example davescarrental.com will have a bit of an advantage over a car rental place at jiggernaut.com. Of course with so many websites out there, a lot is already taken so try being creative a bit. Keywords are great if you can include them but if your domain has keywords but doesn’t fit the rest of the considerations mentioned below, it might not be worth it.

Uniqueness

While davescarrental.com might be better than jiggernaut.com for keywords, at least jiggernaut is more unique and more memorable. More importantly, you want to make sure there isn’t already another website out there (especially an established one) with the same name. Don’t buy jiggernaut.com if jiggernaut.net is already taken. You could be forced to change your name later on if they trademark the name.

.com

For the most part, you want a .com domain but there are a few instances where a different one is good. If your website/blog is strictly meant for one country or is really country focused than a country domain is good like .ca or .fr. If you are an organization or a charity than you might want .org. Otherwise you should be .com. It’s good to buy the other main domains too and redirect them to you (for example buying yourdomain.net and redirecting to yourdomain.com to stop others from buying up those domains. Why should it be .com? When you tell your url to people and they don’t secifically remember the extension (.com or .net) they will automatically try .com first. It also seems more professional. So stay away from yourdomain.me or yourdomain.info.

Easy

Keep it as short as you can and make it easy to type and remember. Short urls are easier to remember in general but also show better in the search results. Easy to type means leaving out hyphens and strange letter combinations such as qyz or xvq. Keep away from numbers too, especially written out ones. With regards to keywords as mentioned above, keywords are good but not if it means having a really long domain. I wish biannualblogathonbash.com were shorter almost every day.

Trademarks

You don’t want to accidentally commit trademark infringement and get fined and/or have to change your name. Check the US Trademark website to make sure your idea isn’t already a trademarked name.

These are 5 of the considerations you need to keep in mind when choosing a good domain name.

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Make Goals – Forget Your Resolutions

I want you to forget the resolutions you made and make goals. A resolution is not the same thing as a goal. There are a few reasons resolutions don’t work and ways you can make your goals SMART.

Make Goals - Forget Your Resolutions

Forget Your Resolutions – Make Goals

We’re so used to breaking our resolutions, that we start to think it is okay try a little and then give up. It’s a mindset thing. When you make goals on the other hand, particularly if it’s a smart goal, is something we believe we can reach. Knowing that a goal is reachable helps us have the initiative to really try to reach it.

Resolutions tend to be pretty vague. We want to lose weight, get back in shape, stop smoking or make more money. None of that is very specific. How much weight do you want to lose and in what time frame? When do you want to quit smoking and how are you going to get there? What does it mean to you to be in shape? How much money do you want to have in the bank and what do you want to save it up for? Goals need to be SPECIFIC.

Set attainable goals with a deadline and milestones or mini goals along the way. A year is too long of a time frame for a single goal. And that’s what we make resolutions for, isn’t it? We make them on January 1st and we make them for the entire year. That’s too long. Goals need to be MEASURABLE.

In January the year is just starting and we feel like we have all the time in the world to get to our resolution. A few slipups early in the year won’t matter because we still have more time. However time really moves fast and suddenly it’s mid year and we are nowhere near our goal. So you vow to get started and then suddenly it’s fall and all the holidays are coming up and it’s too hard to catch up now. Goals need to be ATTAINABLE.

To make it attainable, make sure your goal isn’t too far off from the norm. For example losing 100 pounds in one year is not as attainable as losing 25lbs. Making $1000 a year is attainable if you are already making $800, but not if you are making $0 right now. Put down a number, or describe what your end goal looks like. When do you want to reach your goal by? It could be December 31st, but it doesn’t have to be.  Make sure your goals have something to do with your life as it is now. Goals need to be RELEVANT.

Next, set some mini goals along the way. If you have a big goal like using 24 pounds during the coming year, set mini goals of losing 2 pounds each and every month. Check in every couple of weeks and make sure you’re still on track. If you can, get ahead of schedule. Things will happen, you’ll get sick, there’s a Wedding to attend with lots of good food etc. Getting ahead of your goal schedule gives you a bit of a buffer to work with. And all this tracking will help you keep accountable and stick with your resolutions well into spring and summer. Goals need to be TIMELY.

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5 Tips For Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

When it comes to Email Marketing, having a great list is important but if no one opens or reads your emails, it doesn’t matter how many people you have on your list. The key to getting them to open your emails is compelling subject lines.

5 Tips for Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

5 Tips For Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

It’s easy to spend a lot of time crafting a great message and then just slap a subject line on it at the end. Spend some time writing compelling subject lines and you will start to see what type of headline gets you good open rates. Here are five tips to get you started.

Keep It Short

You want your readers to see the entire subject line before they click it. You also want to make it easy for people to scan through their emails. Try to get your point across in 50 characters or less. Pay attention to how your subject lines look on your own devices.

Another great idea is to keep a swipe file of subject lines that grabbed your attention. Even if the emails are on a very different topic, you can adapt them for your own needs. What’s a swipe file? It’s just a file on your computer that you add to regularly and keep on hand for when you need it. In this case, when a subject line makes you open up, copy the subject into a document on your computer. Keep a running list to go back to when it’s your time to write a subject line.

Avoid “Spammy” Words

Stay away from using any words we all associate with spam emails. Words like “sale”, “discount”, “coupon”, “free”, “limited time offer” and even “reminder” are over used and even if they don’t trigger a spam filter and actually make it to your reader’s inbox, chances are high they’ll get ignored.

Instead, start by using the emails you’re saving in your swipe file and then go back and see what subject lines got the best open rates. Try to analyze why they worked well for your market. Not everything will work well in every niche. Find the types of subject lines that get your readers to open your emails and tweak from there.

Personalize It

While personalizing emails with someone’s first name has been overused in some markets, it still works well for many of us. Give it try and see if it works for you. Don’t overdo it, but use it when you really need them to open the email.

Depending on what data you collect when your readers sign up, you can personalize other things like their location for example. Seeing the name of your state or even city in an email subject line is sure to get your attention.

Pique Their Curiosity

We are all nosy and it’s hard to ignore subject lines that sound intriguing or only tell part of the story. Using “…” at the end of your subject line will also work.

The idea here is simple. You want them to click and open the email to find out what the heck you’re talking about or how the story ends.

Frankly the best tip when it comes to crafting compelling subject lines is to keep a swipe file of examples that got you to open the email. Even if you don’t create a swipe file, pay close attention to what makes you click.

I hope these ideas get you started writing compelling subject lines.

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