Let's talk blogging: How to monetize your blog

Last time we talked we had got the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious blog up and running at http://thengakola.tk/. I've made some tiny changes since then. http://thengakola.tk/ is now a landing page and the blog has been moved to http://thengakola.tk/blog. Also, I need to tell you that "mangha tholi" in my mother tongue means mango peel. Be sure to take a note of that. This will come in handy very soon. Apart from that, I'll be picking off exactly where I left it off from last time.

So, we've got a blog. How do you make money out of it? Well, there are innumerable opportunities available to anyone looking to make an income via blogging. The most popular ones, to list a few are - Ad revenue, Sponsorships, Sponsored articles, Cross-posting deals, Referral programs, etc. What I'll be focusing on will be Ad Revenue, simply because it's currently the primary source of income that this website drives and it's entirely a technical process requiring no human interaction, which is just the right level of human interaction by my standards.

But before we start talking about making revenue, you need to know about something that's vital to the overall success of your enterprise, whatever it may be. DATA. As a rule, always collect as much data as you possibly and legally can from everywhere. For the particular case of monetization of your blog, the most important kind of data will be what provides insight into the growth of your blog and your customers. And the easiest way to collect data on your blog is to use free data collection platforms which do all the heavy lifting for you. In our case, we started off by using the very easy and powerful Google Analytics (GA) platform. It is a walk in the park to set it up and it has always proven to be a reliable and useful source of data. I highly recommend you set it up. We've also tried setting up various competitors to GA over time and only found one that we liked - Piwik. We've currently turned off Piwik, but we plan to run it alongside GA in the near future.

I'm not going to go into detail as to exactly what GA and Piwik can do for you. That's a wonderful journey that you can easily take for yourself. But what I will do is show you some pretty pictures detailing how to set up the GA platform on your Ghost blog.

  • Go to https://analytics.google.com and start the sign-up process.

  • You should be able to register in less than 30 seconds and receive a tracking code that looks like this.

<script>  
  (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
  (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
  m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
  })(window,document,'script','https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');

  ga('create', 'UA-86462704-1', 'auto');
  ga('send', 'pageview');

</script>  

See? What did I tell you? Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Now that you've started collecting data you will need to improve yourself, the blog, and the process of picking the correct colour and size of the coconut bunch, we can finally move on to the main act. Ads. Just like it was for analytics platforms, there are many platforms that enable you to run ads on your website. The one we use on this website is Google AdSense. Important things about ads - Never show an ad on your website that you wouldn't mind be shown yourself. Don't like the annoying ads that take over the whole screen on mobile every time you click a link in a news website you browse? Don't show those ads. For the love of God, I'm looking at you Reuters. Stop showing me full-page mobile ads on every link click. It's the worst thing ever.

Quickly brushing aside my unwarranted opinions, let's get into what it takes to set up ads on our sensational blog - http://thengakola.tk using the Google AdSense platform.

  • The picture shows the first step after you sign in with your Google account. There are a few more that I'm not going to pollute with photos. But the basic idea is to provide Google with your country and tax information so that they can pay you what they owe at the end of every month.

  • Once you are done with setting up the AdSense account, it's time to create your very first Ad unit. Wohooo.

  • On the menu, click on My ads > Content > Ad units

  • You should be redirected to a new page that will list all your ad units.

  • Click the New ad unit button at the top of the page.

  • Couple of things to note - The name is just for your reference. What you put in there doesn't matter. I always pick Automatic Size as the Ad size because this means that Google will pick the best fitting ad for the space available on your website, but you can always pick whatever size you like. I also recommend that you expand the Text ad style tab and modify the simple settings to make the ads fit in better with your website's overall theme.

  • Once you're done, you should receive code that looks like this:

<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script>  
<!-- Thengakola.tk: Footer1 -->  
<ins class="adsbygoogle"  
     style="display:block"
     data-ad-client="ca-pub-4622925399413611"
     data-ad-slot="1005611683"
     data-ad-format="auto"></ins>
<script>  
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
</script>  
  • And as previously, go to your Code Injection page in your Ghost blog's admin section - http://thengakola.tk/blog/ghost/settings/code-injection/ and append your ad code to the Blog Footer section

  • Now, you'll notice that your ad doesn't immediately show up. That's normal. It takes a while for AdSense to activate a new ad unit.

And there you go, as simple as that. You've now started creating revenue using your blog http://thengakola.tk/blog/.

But that's not all. Now, as much as I dislike human interaction, it does have its benefits like meaningful social bonding, general tomfoolery, and all manner of lucrative opportunities. Because I don't want to tie up this article without mentioning such opportunities, here they are -

  • Sponsorships - This is something I've commonly seen in very big blogs and similar content providers where they have made a deal with one or more external entities to pay them to simply add messaging to their website mentioning that they are sponsored by said entities. This obviously helps the external entities improve brand recognition and approval by sponsoring content that people enjoy and love. This is not something we've looked into at ankita.ink because our readers are spread throughout the world without much clustering in one particular country or region and because of that we believe that we'll need to grow considerably larger before we can actually start accosting global entities.

  • Sponsored articles - A more common form of sponsorship that you see across the internet where an external entity pays you to promote their product or brand. For example, P&G paying a very popular Youtuber to talk about their product on one of their videos. Obviously, if you're planning to do this, make sure you let your readers know that you're being paid to highlight the content. Also, never lie. Not even half-truths. Never commit the cardinal sin of breaking customer trust.

  • Cross-posting deals - A very lucrative opportunity that we at ankita.ink only found out about very recently. This basically entails selling your whole or portion of the content library to an external entity who are then allowed to post it on their platforms. Also, our first cross-posting deal made us way more money in the first week than our entire AdSense revenue for that month. Also, here's a super useful tip - if you're going to make a deal with anyone to do this, negotiate hard. Be like my wife and use your Asian haggling skills. It's in your genes. If you are not Asian, recruit an Asian friend.

On that horrifying note, thanks for tuning in to find out more about how we run this ship. And as always, please leave feedback because it'll help me improve this document. Have a good day, folks.


P.S. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - The word that I won't dare try to pronounce is from Mary Poppins. I use it to convey the meaning - "extraordinarily good". Read more about the word and the song here.

P.P.S. I lied. The translation of "Mangha Tholi" is quite possibly the most useless thing I've ever told anyone.

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