It All Started With A Question
My friend Adam asked me a question on FaceBook today. He asked:
So I’ve seen quite a few people actually try to make some dough with blogs. Some succeeding.
I used to blog.. on Xanga.. but then everyone stopped doing it.. so I stopped doing it too.
If I could make 10-30 bucks a month.. that’d be sweet. So where do i start if i wanna make money with it? Give me some help dude. I wanna document the life and times of an aspiring jazz musician in acollege of music.
Buying a Domain Name & Hosting
Well Adam, that’s fairly easy, especially since you have a good topic (my problem is I can’t stick to one topic). If you want to get a good start as a blogger, purchase your own domain name. Sure, you could go through third-party blogs like MySpace, LiveJournal, Xanga, etc, but you’ll have the most freedom from purchasing your own domain name.
I use WordPress as my blog software. For hosting, I use DreamHost. It’s been pretty reliable so far.
When you’re thinking of a domain name, I’d go with something instantly recognizable and without numbers. For example, www.minording.com is available.
After you’ve settled on a domain name, go through a hosting company like DreamHost, BlueHost, Laughing Squid, etc. Make sure that they can do an auto-install of WordPress. That’s one of the major reasons I went through DreamHost is because they have one-click installs. Sure, I could install everything myself, but I want to make the whole process as efficient as possible so auto-installs are the way to go!
Once WordPress is installed, just follow the prompts to build your website & blog. Although I just have a blog on my website, WordPress can build an entire website as well as a blog.
What Are Your Visitors Doing?
One of the most important things to put up in your blog is Google Analytics. It give you a comprehensive overview of your website. It tells you where your visitors are coming from, how many you’re getting, everything. I can’t recommend it enough!
How To Make Money, Money, Money!
Now as far as monetizing goes, the king in that regard is Google AdSense. Just follow the instructions and you should be good to go. Another service that’s been working great for me is Text Link Ads. If you have a PayPal account, I’d definitely put up a Donations button.
One way you could monetize your content is by going through a service like Associated Content. You can submit virtually anything in about any format (text, video, audio, picture, etc). If you choose to submit content that is Non-Exclusive (recommended), you can later submit it to your blog once it’s published on AC. This way, you get more content for your website AND you get paid for it via AC before it hits your website. It’s a win-win!
You have an excellent topic in hand (becoming a successful jazz musician). You have a variety of means in which you can add content to your site. You can give out lessons, either via text, pictures, or video (I’d recommend all three at once). Post some lessons on YouTube and embed them in your post. For pictures, I’d go through something like Flickr or Picasta or something like that and embed them into your post. You could post pictures of close-up hand positions, tabs, musical notation, etc.
In addition to posting lessons, you can also record your gigs. This not only gives your viewers your resume-of-sorts, but it can also help land you gigs if you get enough exposure. Just look at what it did for Tay Zonday aka the Chocolate Rain guy!
I would also post about your experiences and what you’ve learned from them. Experience is what makes the difference between learning from a book and learning in real life. It could be about gig disasters, meeting your heroes, making a difference in someone’s life through your music, etc.
Remember, the name of the game is exposure. The more you put yourself out there, the more possibilities and opportunities open themselves for you.
How Monetization Really Works
Adam then asks:
Yeah. So like you did calculating.. how many hits/clicks would I need for like.. 300 bucks or something.. an estimate.
It varies a lot. It all depends on what keywords are clicked, how many clicks you get, how many visitors you get, etc. One click could range from a penny to a dollar to five dollars to more. For example, somebody clicked on one of my text link ads and I got $5 from it. Another text link ad got me $1.05. Going from my examples, you would need between 60-286 clicks to generate $300. If you’re pulling in the traffic, this is an easy task. That’s kind of where I’m at right now; I’m building content, seeing what connects with people and what doesn’t, and slowly building a following (I’m averaging 28 visitors a day).
To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t focus a lot on the making money part until you have at least a month’s worth of content. That’s not to say that you can’t immediately monetize it; it’s just so much easier to make money when you have something on the table to offer people.
These things generally take time to build up the traffic and the money, but the payoff is well worth it because although I only average 28 daily visitors, it feels good to know that 28 people took time out of whatever they were doing to read and/or watch what I’m doing.
Bottom line: be creative and be yourself. Sure, I use an online nickname (TheAndySan), but I use that to differentiate myself from all the other Andys and AndySans and whatnot.
If you have any more questions, feel free to leave me an email (my email address is at the very top of this page). Good luck!