With the number of blogs on the Web now in the hundreds of millions, it is more critical than ever to ensure that yours is doing the most for your business and not merely existing in cyberspace.
Affiliate marketing has always been an effective method for increasing a blog's earning potential, but it is just one piece of the puzzle. The most successful blogs are built on a multilayered revenue model in which affiliate earnings are just some of the key ingredients.
Below are the three main areas to focus on if you want to get the most bang out of your blog.
1) Your own expertise
The content of your blog will play a significant role in driving traffic to your website and creating exposure for your business, as well as in determining the potential for advertising and affiliate marketing revenues. Your blog is the gateway to an entire community of users that has shown some level of interest in your industry or niche, and the information and ideas you present to them will have a profound effect on how your business and products are perceived. This is why it is imperative to keep your focus on subjects that you are passionate and deeply knowledgeable about, whether it is your own products or services, other offerings throughout your industry that you strongly believe in, or additional topics of interest within the industry or niche in which your business thrives. It is important to never lose sight of the fact that your blog's aim is to provide service and education to an audience of similarly impassioned visitors. Once your blog has developed somewhat of a following, invite guests within the community to share their own knowledge and expertise. This practice will serve your business by adding a fresh perspective to your own, as well as potentially opening the door to valuable partnerships and affiliate relationships.
2) Finding a sponsor
Building partnerships with other companies or websites that have a vision similar to your own can be an enormously beneficial aspect to a blog. The financial rewards are obvious, even if the relationship starts with your new partner or sponsor covering a small amount of your overall costs, but aligning your blog with a respected member of your industry's community will do wonders for your business' visibility and credibility. Once you have built a distinguishable voice through focused and informative posts to your blog, you can approach businesses and other websites in your niche to find out their level of interest in some kind of partnership. If you are having trouble making any headway finding a sponsor, try to entice one by offering discounted products or services to initiate the relationship. If you stand behind the integrity of your blog and your business in general, the partnership will undoubtedly grow, and additional sponsors may even come knocking on your door.
3) Filling in the gaps
This is the layer in which affiliate marketing and other advertising opportunities exist. Where affiliates are concerned, it is vital to seek out and limit your partnerships to those companies and products that fit directly in your industry and the subject matter of your blog posts, and to those businesses and products in which you sincerely endorse. If you treat your affiliate partnerships with the same integrity that you put into maintaining your blog and the rest of your business, it will only enhance your standing among the community of users. Seek out individual partnerships and programs that are best suited to the needs of your visitors, and do your due diligence wherever necessary. The remaining gaps can be filled in with a variety of advertising methods, but be careful not to turn your blog into a billboard that promotes products you've never heard of. Google's AdSense and other targeted contextual ads are one good source of revenue, but they will generally earn revenues on a cost-per-click basis rather than impressions or views, and too many of them may scare away visitors.
Why not examine the earnings of your own blog and see how it compares? Is your product or industry expertise generating significant sales? Are you getting a substantial amount of revenues from your relationships with sponsors, or are affiliate marketing and other advertising vehicles your blog's main sources of earnings?