So you have a blog and you’ve heard rumors about people making money from blogs and you want a piece of the action.
But how do you start?
Do you sign up to be an affiliate and hope people make purchases through your links?
Do you try and sell advertising?
Do you put up AdSense?
Do you apply to an ad network that pays per page impression and not per click?
Those are all legitimate methods of earning money off your blog, but the reality is that affiliate banners require careful placement and in order to make money you really have to pay attention to where and how you use them on your blog. Selling advertising requires you to find someone willing to buy it, and frankly AdSense is ugly and often spammy and do you really want your readers subjected to it? Finally, ad networks who pay per impression often have strict standards and require a high number of minimum pageviews per month before they will accept you.
So what other options are there?
I recently discovered Chitika.com, a site that offers SEARCH TARGETED ADVERTISING.
Search targeting advertising basically means that the only people who see the ads are ones who clicked over to your site through a search engine, and the ads they see are targeted towards that search. Your regular visitors do not see the ads!
Below are 2 screenshots, the first one of one of my recent posts that my regular viewers will see, the second one of what search engine traffic sees (maybe they typed “green cake” into Google, and clicked over to my site since I am on the first page for that phrase).
As you can see, I have my ads placed at the bottom of each post, because I have an agreement with another company that I cannot place other ads above the fold. I would prefer to place the Chitika ads at the top because they would perform better, but I am giving preference to my other network.
You can also see that the ads are not too invasive or ugly. You can change the border and font colors to make it blend in to your site and so far I have noticed that the sites they link to see to be quality legitimate sites. Even though I am not targeting my regular readers, I still do not want spam and junk on my site. You never know when a guest will become a regular so I still want to put my best foot forward!
If you are interested in trying Chitika on your blog, it is free and easy to sign up and they do not ask you to fill out any tax forms ahead of time. You can see how it works for you before giving them that sensitive information.
If you are on WordPress, there is a Chitika plugin that takes all the guesswork out of setting it up and best of all, you can use Chitika with Google AdSense if you want to try both. But Chitika can be used on pretty much any blogging platform where you have the ability to enter your own ad code. You really have nothing to lose to try it.
If you are wondering “how do I know if I even get search engine traffic” then you need to get yourself a free account at StatCounter.com. StatCounter will track up to 500 visitors at a time and tell you exactly how they found you and if they did come from a search engine, what search terms they used.
Let me know if you decide to try Chitika. It’s too soon for me to really give any performance information because it has only been a week, but even if all you do is cover your hosting costs with it, then I think it is worth using.