Yesterday I got an email from a reader who has recently started a new blog. Her questions are questions frequently asked by new bloggers, so I thought I’d take a post here and answer them, not only for her, but for all the other new bloggers out there.
Here’s her email:
Thanks for all the helpful info for bloggers!
I just began a free wordpress site and am finding out I can’t do a lot of customizing. Can I stay with wordpress and do the following? Google adsense, custom buttons, link within? Do I need to upgrade somehow? I am finding conflicting info out there.
I made a button in Publisher web page design that has my photo some wording and then buttons to facebook, twitter, email etc. How do I get that on my wordpress site? Can I upload it as a whole image to my media? Then how do I make the buttons active?? Or do I do something else?
I really appreciate any help. Thanks
It appears these other mom sites are making money with advertising . . . $35 per mo for button, how do I do this? I have a lot of content and activity from link parties but no ads or way to create $ yet, how do I begin?
You can see my blog here
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you
Let’s start at the top.
1. Congrats on starting your new blog! With regards to wordpress.com… this is just my personal opinion (but that’s what you asked for lol), of all the free options available for bloggers wordpress.com is my least favorite. If you’re looking to make money from your site I think they are the least “commercial” friendly blogging site available.
If you must go with free I would suggest going with blogger.com instead. They are on board with Google so they’ve created ways to make setting up adsense, and affiliate accounts with Amazon very easy. They are not apposed to making money from your blog.
Now, you mentioned having to “upgrade” I think what you’re hearing about is in reference to hosting your own blog. This means you purchase a hosting account. Which can now be as low as 3.95 a month with Hostgator. Once you have your hosting account you buy a domain name. When you’ve got your domain name you install wordpress software ~ which you find at wordpress.org. It’s the same software wordpress.com uses (so it will look the same) but you own it, your content, the site, the whole shebang.
The difference is kind of like this:
wordpress.com or blogger for that matter is kind of like living in an apartment. You sign a lease. You agree to follow the rules. They provide you with building maintenance.
Downside is if it is perceived you broke some rules the landlord can kick you out. Same with free blog platforms.
On the other hand. Hosting your own blog is like owning a house. The only way you’re getting kicked out of your house is if you don’t pay the mortgage (hosting bill). You can do whatever you want (as long as it’s legal) at your house. You can decorate it, design it, run a business out of it… and as long as you pay your bills on time you get to keep the house.
Is it worth owning the house. Yes. Absolutely. Especially if you’re considering making this a long time business endeavor. Plenty of people do great on blogger… I know that. AND I’m a control freak, and I don’t like the delete button to be in the hands of anyone else.
1 1/2. Check the TOS about adding adsense to wp.com. The buttons will be explained in #2, and linking within… you just have to highlight the words you want to use in the link and then click the “chain” icon in your text editor. It will allow you to enter a url. When you hit save it will create a link.
Unless you’re talking about having “related posts” at the bottom of your pages. I’m not sure if you can do that with wordpress.com or not. That is a plugin (one of the many awesome things about hosting your own) that works with the hosted version of wordpress.
2. Adding your buttons. You should be able to upload them through your media section. Once you’ve done that you should be able to follow the Adding Social Networking buttons tutorial to finish it up.
3. Monetizing your site. When it comes to selling advertising you have to have enough traffic to make it worth an advertiser’s money. I’d suggest at this point you find some products/services that are related to your niche and use them as your “ads” in the sidebar. To do this all you have to do is join the affiliate program for the product and they will provide you with the banners and a url that is specific to you. That way when anyone clicks through and buys through your link you will get a commission.
This is a great way to get started in the beginning. If you set it up to hold 4 125X125 buttons (like on this site) you could leave one blank and let it say “your ad here”. Then create a page that gives out the details of how much your charge, and how people can sign up to advertise on your site. With that little message there people will know you are open to the possibility of advertising, but you will still have the ability to make some money while you’re waiting on your first ad sale.
Also, another great way to start monetizing is to sign up to be an Amazon affiliate. When you’re writing posts, if you’re talking about something specific ~ you recently did a post about sewing… you could mention the type of sewing machine you use, and then link to that machine for sale on Amazon. (while it isn’t an amazon product, you’ll see I did this exact thing above in this post. I talked about using hostgator ~ then I provided a link to get there. I, of course, used my affiliate link, so if anyone goes and gets hosting with Hostgator after clicking the link I will get a small commission. That’s exactly how it works ~ you just work in links to relevant products in your posts)
As your audience grows you’ll get more clicks ~ and the bonus, with Amazon, is it doesn’t matter if someone buys the sewing machine or not. If they buy something after clicking your link (within 24 hours) you get paid for it!
(last month someone purchased an entire exhaust system for their car after clicking my link. I know I’m not promoting car parts ~ but it was a nice commission. )
So that’s the easiest way to get started monetizing your site.
I hope that answers your questions… if you (or anyone else) have any more, please feel free to ask in the comment section. I’ll do my best to answer.