Now we get to the good part. Actually making money from your site.
Your blog might not propel you to the cover of Forbes, but almost anyone can make a healthy income. You just have to approach it with the same diligence and work ethic as everything else.
It also helped to start thinking about it in the beginning, instead of two years later when you realize that you picked an unprofitable niche. If you’re already in that boat, don’t worry—this section will help you squeeze a few extra dollars out of your blog.
Once again, it all starts with keyword research.
Researching Products and Services to Review
One of the best ways to make money from a website is to review/recommend products and services that are relevant to your audience. Not only will your readers be predisposed toward trusting your recommendations, but search engines like Google also tend to rank reviews from authority blogs highly.
The result? You earn a constant stream of affiliate commissions from the products and services that you review.
In the long run, promoting products and services for a commission is probably the best way to build a sustainable income from creating online content. Instead of just taking a nominal fee for letting someone advertise on your blog, you can take a cut of the profits for yourself. The difference can be huge, especially if you stick with it for several years.
For my friend’s mixed martial arts blog, we have lots of opportunities to sell related products. Several of the top keyword results for “mma” are related to gear that all fighters have to buy, including gloves, shorts, and other apparel.
Using Keyword Discovery’s research tool, let’s take a look at the first few “mma gloves” keyword:
Do you see the opportunity here?
Just from this one keyword, we have a list of different types of gloves that MMA fighters want to buy. My friend could review and promote these products as an affiliate, collecting a small commission each time one of his readers bought the product.
I’m not sure if it would be the best affiliate program, but after doing a quick search on Amazon for “mma gloves,” it appears that we could make some money by promoting them through its affiliate program:
From what I understand, Amazon pays a maximum of 8% on such items, depending on your sales volume. So if my friend was able to sell a lot of different merchandise, he could earn about $1-$4 per sale, just on the gloves. Add in all of the other products, and he’d have quite a few sources of income.
In time, it would also be fairly steady. Every time my friend reviews a new MMA product, he’ll probably receive a nice little boost in sales, but search engines might also begin to rank his reviews. If the above numbers are correct, I’m guessing he would get somewhere around 2000 visitors a month on all of the glove reviews combined. If he converts 10% (which is possible for targeted traffic), that’s 200 sales a month.
At an average of two dollars per sale, that’s $400 per month of income from just one product category. Add in all of the other products that fighters need, including consumables like nutritional supplements, and he could easily build an income of a few thousand dollars a month.
Researching Keywords with a High CPC
But there’s also another approach.
If you put ads on your site, programs like Google’s Adsense will pay you every time someone clicks on one of them. The trick is making sure they show ads that:
- Are relevant and interesting to your audience
- Have a high cost per click (CPC), earning you a respectable profit for every click
It’s a complicated subject, but you can maximize both the relevance of the ads and the CPC by targeting certain keywords with your content. Google even has a feature called “Selection Targeting” that allows you to focus it on a certain set of keywords.
Of course, to do that, you’ll need to know which keywords are profitable… which brings us right back to keyword research.
Unfortunately, figuring out the profitability of a term is pretty tough. At best, all you can do is research a series of terms and make an educated guess on which ones you should target with your posts. Then you can fine-tune as you start receiving results.
For our mixed martial arts blog, Adsense ads probably aren’t the best way to monetize, but I’ll run through an example anyway. Using Keyword Discovery’s research tool, I pulled up the top 100 terms containing “mma,” “ufc,” “boxing,” “karate,” and “kickboxing,” and I added them into a single list, totaling 500 keywords.
Next, I copied and pasted them into a test Google Adwords campaign, pretending like I wanted to become the highest bidder for all 500 terms.
Then I plugged those terms into the traffic estimator, bringing up the estimated CPC for each word. By sorting according to the CPC, we can see which terms might be the most appropriate to target with our Adsense ads.
As you can see, most of the profitable keywords like “kickboxing gloves,” “karate uniforms,” and other types of gear are the most profitable. You can optimize reviews for those keywords, or you could just become an affiliate yourself, which is why I said Adsense is probably not the best strategy for this niche.
There are a few terms that might work very well, though. For instance, you might not be able to become an affiliate for “ufc tickets” or “orange county kickboxing.” You could, however, write posts about both of those topics and select those keywords for your ads.
Keyword Research Tools Are Essential
What’s the bottom line?
If you’re planning to make money from your blog, keyword research tools are essential. They help you determine how to best monetize your traffic, as well as how to optimize your posts to help you bring in the most revenue.
You may have noticed that I’ve used several different keyword research tools in this series. That’s because each has different strengths. You can get the same data from all of them, but some are a little better at some things than others.
Many of the top affiliate marketers and Adsense experts subscribe to all of them, just to make sure they have the best data possible. Over the long term, small differences in the quality of your research can have huge impacts on your traffic and revenue.
If you’d like to learn more, I’ve prepared a primer that goes through some of the most important questions about keyword research tools. And it’s all in the next section.
Back to Keyword Research home page.