Wednesday, July 13, 2005

How to create a blog that earns money (part one)

I've told a lot of friends about and Google Adsense, actually raving about it to them and telling them how great it is. But then, an old friend had to say something about it that dampened my enthuasiasm a bit, but at the same time (and this is more important) clued me in to the fact that I need to at least strive for some objectivity.

So, what you have here is a mind-setting piece, something to consider before going whole hog into putting your efforts in blogging with and earning money through Google Adsense.

I’ve probably written this more than once by now but I am by no means an authority on the matter of Blogs or on the matter of making money through the internet.

So, feel free to stop reading this entry and switch to another website or blog – please don’t let me waste your time.

As for those of you who really want to find out what this is all about, let me begin by telling you about the few things that I do know about internet based income earning schemes.

You’ve all probably received e-mail with subject headings such as “Make money from the internet”, “free cash on the internet”, and others. If you haven’t, let me tell you that there are such schemes being hawked electronically either via e-mail or via postings on electronic bulletin boards, forums, and newsgroups

These internet income earning schemes come and go like rashes. I can only guess that there are thousands of these schemes being proliferated through the internet and I’ve tried only two of a type which I figured was easy enough to do apart from having the highest probability of paying up.

I failed to earn money from the internet income generating schemes I tried, not because the schemes I entered were merely hoaxes meant to create internet traffic for a number of websites but because they simply required too much time and effort to do. After all, what I am after is just an extra source of income, not a full time occupation.

To give you the short version of the story of one particular internet income generating project, let me tell you about the case of a website reviewer. This internet income generating scheme is free for joining (meaning you don’t have to pay a single cent to register and start earning), it offered a number of “jobs” which paid varying fees set depending on the type of job, and on top of that, offered a referral reward for people who successfully get other people to join in the scheme.

I joined with the intent of participating with the lowest level jobs and that was to do website reviews as well as getting others to join in the scheme. The other jobs required E-Bay registration and a credit card account, which to me presented a steep barrier to entry.

At first, it did not occur to me how difficult it would be to earn enough money to make it worth my time.

I am a fairly fast reader and I can write about any topic, producing several copy proofed pages in less than 15 minutes.

Making website reviews would be a walk in the park.

I figured I could write more than 20 reviews (each with a length of 9 sentences) within 45 minutes or less, depending on the speed of my internet connection and the topics involved – some need researching, especially when they are tied up with a certain locality or country.

The website reviews paid .15 US cents per approved website review, so, in my mind I figured this would give me about $3.00 a day. If I did it twice a day, this could earn me some $6.00 a day.

All together not a bad deal, considering the Philippine Peso/Dollar exchange rate was around Php55.00 to a dollar. That would net me around Php330 for less than two hours work and that’s a good deal, especially in a country where the minimum daily wage in its largest city is only around Php250 to Php300 or a little under $6.00 a day.

But here’s the hitch, the website review scheme only gave out a maximum of 3 jobs a day. Moreover, the website reviews could only pay out earnings when they reached $20.00 and this would be remitted through either Paypal or IKOBO. Remitting through either payment systems would mean a transaction fee would be deducted from my pay. In the case of IKOBO (which services people outside the US), the initial transaction fee would entail a deduction of $5.00 to cover the cost of shipping my IKOBO card and an additional $2.00 or $3.00 as a transaction charge.

Under this set-up, it would take me 133 days to earn $20.00 and this would result in a net pay (gross pay minus expenses) of $12.00 to $13.00 which is, of course, simple not my kind of deal.

In short, I stopped after writing my 14th website review and quit referring people to their website.

Now, I am telling you about this for two reasons:

One reason is to warn you about the realities of some of the schemes that may be out there. I wouldn’t blame you if you turned up your nose on so-called ‘Free Internet earning schemes’, they’re free all right… but earning is another matter all together.

The second reason is to lead you to entertaining the right mindset when it comes to these “Free Internet earning schemes” and that is, you shouldn’t expect too much from it in terms of actual money. Well, at least, not at first.

As for and Google Adsense, both websites/pages explain the earning scheme adequately. (This earning scheme has been referred to as an “affiliate program”)

But the simpler version of the explanations they’ve offered is this:

Every time somebody visits your blog and clicks on an ad, you earn a few cents.

The amount paid out varies and I think this has something to do with the ratio of page impressions to clicks. However, this explanation is not at all consistent in a case where I had earned more from 100 page impressions/visits and less than 10 ad clicks – with a ratio of 10:1 or 10%, compared to 2 page impressions/visits and 1 ad click – with a ratio of 2:1 or 50%. May be I am reading this wrong.

What is clear to me, however, is that you earn more money as more people visit your website and a high number of those visiting click on your ads. The ideal ratio would be 1:1 or one visit resulting in 1 ad click, but perhaps even a ration of 4:1 or even 8:1 would not be all that bad.

Google Adsense, however, cautions that it is against their policy for people to make arrangements with other people to arrange visits to their website for the purpose of clicking their ads – then again, how would they know?

One critic, and I forget where I read his article, says that affiliate programs such as the one offered by Google Adsense and shouldn’t be thought of as a means to make a living – in short, don’t try to make it into your bread and butter. The critic goes on to say that the rules of the system have been crafted in such a way so as to discourage its use as a main source of income. He even goes on to demonstrate that only page impressions and ad clicks in the magnitude of tens of thousands would be sufficient to generate an income of more than $100 a month – an amount which he figures would be worth the trouble.

The critic also pointed out, that as a means of helping defray the cost and as an incentive to bloggers, the affiliate program may not prove itself so readily as a source of substantial revenue. But, he ended his piece by saying that as with all endeavors, the final results are still up to the person engaging in this pursuit and there are rewards for those who make the best out of opportunities that come their way.

So, at this point, you may be wondering what my stand on all this is.

My stand is this, if you are already into blogging and would blog away for free anyway, registering for an affiliate program won’t hurt you and at most can even bring you a windfall at some time in the future – but only if you work hard at coming up with content that proves useful or interesting to other people.

The plus side to blogging with under the Google Adsense affiliate program is that unlike other internet earning schemes:
- it doesn’t require too much time or work to do and in fact, it is something you can attend to when you feel like it
- you can leave it alone for a while and still earn something
- you can hold off payment until such time that the amount of money accrued to your Google Adsense account is large enough to buy you something you really like.

My next entry will be a step by step guide on how to register with and how to register with Google Adsense.

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