Category: Monetization

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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How to Find More Sponsored Posts

How to Find More Sponsored Posts

You do sponsored posts to monetize your blog but just sitting and waiting for the offers to pour in isn’t working so well.  How can you find more sponsored post opportunities?

How to Find More Sponsored Posts

How to Find More Sponsored Posts

Respond to Press Releases and Media Alerts

Although press releases and media alerts are usually being sent by those seeking editorial content (aka not paid), they sometimes have a budget for advertorial posts (paid) or they can bring the idea back to the company who may go for it, or they can transfer you to the advertorial department of the company.

I respond to every press release or media alert and I’d say about  35% of them turn into paid work. That’s 35% that I wouldn’t have without responding.  Respond with something like this (alter to meet your needs):

Hello [insert name from press release]

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I like [the idea, the product, etc] and think it would be perfect for the audience of my blog at [insert blog url]. Is there a budget for this campaign? I accept sponsored posts and social shares and am open to other advertorial options.

Thanks,

[insert signature here]

I usually change it around to match the tone of the message I received. If it starts off as Hi, I use Hi. If it’s Hello, I use Hello. I talk less professionally if the message is.

You May Be Interested – How To Write a Professional Email

Get in Touch With Past Contacts

Have you received sponsored post offers from someone before but you haven’t heard from them in a while? Send them an email and see if they have any new campaigns. The email should say something very similar to that. Something about not hearing from them in a while and you were just wondering if they had any current campaigns you would be good for.

Sign Up For Groups That Offer Sponsored Posts

There are tons of groups out there, at least for those in the US and Canada.  Ask your blogging friends for suggestions.  Some of them don’t have very high pay rates so shop around and only accept posts that are worth your time and effort.  I personally make way more money working directly with companies or with PR agencies but some campaign networks aren’t bad.

These are just a few ways to increase your sponsored post income.

For more posts on sales and selling, visit a few of my favorite bloggers:

Also linked up here:

Life with Baby Kicks
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Blogging and Taxes #Infographic

Blogging and Taxes is a topic I do not like to discuss. Taxes are a part of life but they are also a common cause of stress that comes by at the beginning part of the year – year after year after year.

I am not qualified to give any sort of advice but I was curious what other bloggers did with regards to taxes so I took it upon myself to a do a quick survey and compile the results into an infographic to share with you.

The following data is only on a small sample of 64 bloggers so keep that in mind when you are looking through the data.

Please consider pinning this infographic if you find it interesting. You may also repost it with proper credits intact.

Be sure to check below the infographic for some helpful links.

Blogging and Taxes #Infographic #WAHMHop

For more helpful tax related posts, check out a few of my favorite bloggers.

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Guest Post: I Started a Blog. Does the Canada Revenue Agency Care? (Blogging and Taxes)

*This is a Guest Post by Tina of H&R Block.

Congratulations, you started a blog. Or perhaps you have a blog and the traffic has started to pick up. Or perhaps your blog is starting to earn more money and you are already planning retirement. At what point does your blog stop being your hobby and become a business? The simple answer is that once you start earning money from your blog, you are a business in the eyes of the Canada Revenue Agency.

There is a misconception that you need to earn a certain amount of income before you have to report it. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The CRA wants to know it all. They post no minimum requirements before you need to report business income. So if you are selling ads or accepting merchandise in exchange for a review, then you need to file a T2125 Form as part of your personal return.

The T2125 Form allows you to report your business income as well as reasonable business expenses you incurred to earn money. It may be tempting just to write your income on Line 104 on your tax form as “other employment income” but the CRA has been reviewing these types of entries and asking people to file a T2125 instead. If you decide to go the Line 104 route, you cannot claim your business expenses.

Claiming business expenses helps reduce your tax payable. And you can earn up to $10,527 federally in 2011 before you have to start paying income tax, so if you only earned a small amount, you aren’t facing income taxes. If you earn more than $3,500, you will be responsible for the employer and employee portion of the CPP premiums. But reporting your income will help you build contribution room for your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).

Your business expenses can add up. If you only have one Internet connection for your house, you will not be able to claim the entire expense on your business. The CRA assumes there is some personal use and you should track your business versus personal use, but you can claim a portion of your Internet bill as a business expense. And if you have a dedicated corner of your home for blogging, your home-office expenses can add up. The amount you can claim will be based on how much space your office takes up in your house. Your computer, cell phone and office supplies are also expenses that you may be able to claim.

The tax man will expect you to report merchandise or services you have received in exchange for writing a review. If you are receiving unsolicited swag or press kits from PR people, this does not need to be reported. However, if you agree to let someone advertise on your blog in exchange for the latest baby supplies, the value of the exchange needs to be reported. Bartering does not mean you can avoid the CRA.

And if you decide your blog is a hobby and not a business, you may want to review the case of the eBay PowerSellers. After a court battle, eBay had to identify these high-volume sellers so the CRA could review tax returns. The goal was to ensure PowerSellers were reporting their income accurately. The CRA does not care about garage sales or the occasional eBay listing, but it considers PowerSellers to be operating a business.

The Internet is increasingly becoming a business platform, and in step with that the CRA is taking a far more serious approach to people who make a living online.

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