Could Your Blog Make Money? Get a Free Review
Carol Tice | 222 Comments

Could Your Blog Make Money? Get a Free Review. Makealivingwriting.comNearly three years ago, I started a blog. I knew absolutely nothing about how blogs worked or how they made money. My blog had no pictures and at first, it didn’t even have a way to subscribe — nada.

As you’ve probably guessed, that’s a picture of how my blog looked originally over there on the right. Pretty sad, huh?

After a year or so, I decided to get serious and learn more about how blogging worked. After a lot of blundering around, I started catching on and trying different ideas to make my blog earn. Some of them didn’t work for me — you don’t see an Amazon book cart in my sidebar anymore, for instance. But others worked well, especially as my blog grew its audience.

Fast forward to 2011. The blog is now making a meaningful contribution to my income. I’m starting to take fewer freelance assignments and spend more time on the blog. I believe I’ll see that trend accelerate as I go through the rest of the year.

So it’s an exciting time. In the next 2-3 months, look for me to deliver more information to help readers grow their freelance income, which is what I absolutely love. I am STOKED.

To celebrate, I’m holding my second free blog review event today!

A lot of readers have asked me how I can spend time on all these blog reviews. First off, I really enjoy doing it. I also get a lot out of it, as I learn a lot about what struggles people are having with their blogs.

Hearing your questions helps me develop the material for an upcoming Webinar about earning from blogging — tell you more about that in an upcoming post.

So the free review is my thank-you for the feedback you give me.

One of the big things I’ve learned is that while earning from my blog is terrifically exciting and empowering, I also love to give away free stuff.

So here we go!

The free blog-review rules:

  • Give me a link to your blog in the comments below.
  • One blog and one question per entrant, please.
  • I’ll take a look and leave you one tip on how your blog might be able to make money (or more money, if it’s earning already). If you have a specific question, ask it and I’ll try to answer — otherwise I’ll tell you about what jumps out at me.
  • I’ll review the first 50 blog links posted, or stop at the end of the business day PST, whichever comes first…so don’t delay.
  • Feel free to leave your link and ask a question even if we hit the limit…who knows what feedback you might get from readers.
  • If you don’t have a blog yet but have a question, feel free to ask it.
  • Everybody who leaves me a question about blogging in the next 48 hours will receive a special gift — a one-hour teleclass recording and handout on 20 Secrets of Blogging Success. This was a members-only class I did for the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors…and I’ve just gotten permission to share it with my readers.
  • I’ll also place everyone who leaves a question onto a first-priority list to get the details on the upcoming Webinar — and give them first crack at a special, limited-quantity discount offer.

I learned how blogs make money slowly and with a lot of trial and error. After I won Top 10 Blogs for Writers last December, I started getting more and more questions from readers about how I grew the blog from the sad little thing it was into a useful blog that could capture that kind of attention. Watch the blog in the next couple weeks for tips from my journey to help you skip the time-wasting and move your blog forward faster.

Look forward to checking out your blogs!

222 comments on “Could Your Blog Make Money? Get a Free Review

  1. Manivannan on

    Dear Carol,

    🙂 .. Thanks for the good work… In fact I was searching for a review for my blog and found this site today. So I am very fresh fan of you. I started my blog on blogger platform and still it is blogspot.com only. I am thinking of purchasing a domain name and want to use blogger hosting only. I have an idea to give a try for Adsense too. Literally i do not know that how far my blog is professional and friendly. Is this the right time to apply for adsense or should I apply after a new domain name..?. Please guide me.. and also what other necessary things i should do..?..
    Thanks again for the support…
    Good day..

    🙂 Manivannan
    Manivannan recently posted…Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan : Universalization of Elementary EducationMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Afraid the free review blog time ended a long while back…but in general, AdSense only earns anything meaningful if you have a lot of traffic…it’s not a useful option for a new blog, in most cases.

      Sign that you’re ready — when you start getting emails from companies that would like to know if they can advertise on your blog, you’re big enough.

    • Carol Tice on

      Sorry Junaid — the free blog review day was quite a while back! Though maybe some of my readers will take a look.

      To get a review from me, you can get on the waiting list to join Freelance Writers Den — the doors will be reopening in 2012. We have a Website review feature in our forum that includes tech help from some of our more savvy members, too.

  2. Rachael on

    Hi Carol

    I think I may have missed the boat but only just found your site and LOVE what you are doing for other bloggers.

    I wondered if you could share your thoughts on my blog. It is brand new and still in it’s infancy (not unlike the subject matter) but any advice you can share I would be most appreciative of.

    My intention is to carry this site on through the years and hopefully become a resource for other women looking to venture into motherhood.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Rachael —

      The blog-review time IS over…but just one quick thought — your URL, gonnabeamummy…for those of us in the western hemisphere, makes me think it may be about ancient Egypt, or for people thinking of having themselves mummified after death, not motherhood! You may be limiting your audience using that spelling.

  3. Carol Tice on

    Hi all –

    Just taking a look late Saturday night here. I’m sorry I can’t get to more questions — I need to build the reward list and send you all the freebies and special offer now!

    But if you read back through the previous comments I bet everyone will see a LOT of useful tips.

    Apologies to those across the world from me who couldn’t see the offer until after I’d hit 50 questions. I’ll have to think of a better way to do this next time! And don’t worry, everyone above this comment will be getting an email and receiving the free one-hour recording and handout for 20 Secrets of Blogging Success. I think that call will clarify a LOT of the common roadblocks new bloggers have in making their blog earn.

    Back Monday with more surprises…

  4. Gina on

    I would love any feedback on where I should focus on improving first. I’m trying to help my uncle get his blog off the ground–on a zero budget and very little time. Apart from wishing I had a professional designer to give it a fresh overhaul, I wonder what I can do to help him begin positioning it for future monetization. (He’s about to start writing more regularly.) Thanks for any help.

    http://ablogofmemories.com/

  5. Leslie Schneider on

    Hi Carol,
    I haven’t reallyhad the intent to make money off my blog YET, but just today I’m starting a monthly newsletter that is going out to connections I make related to my weight loss/health coaching business. I am linking some of the articles (‘read more…’) to the blog site, so I will probably post shorter and more frequest health-based articles and fewer general sustainability posts.

    Do you see possibilities for earning money off the blog?
    thanks!
    Leslie

  6. Justine Ickes on

    Hi Carol, I’ve enjoyed browsing all these sites and reading your comments. I’m in the process of creating my website and blog so I don’t have any questions – yet. Just wanted to get on the wait-list for the next time you do a blog review.

  7. Katherine Swarts on

    As you suggested, going ahead even though it’s too late for a formal review…. I’m experimenting with a new site at http://katherineswarts.wordpress.com/ (see also “recently posted” link), which is something of an outgrowth of my New Songs from the Heart blog at Blogger, which (while not having made me any money directly) was the start of a self-published poetry book which has enjoyed a good small-scale local market. Frankly, I’m not sure whether either blog will ever make me a living or anything close, but I know they are both matters of passion for me! All critiques welcome.
    Katherine Swarts recently posted…Joy vs HappinessMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Samar —

      In the webinar, we’ll be running through ALL the ways you can earn from a blog. I think we have more than a dozen techniques on our list! Certainly affiliate selling is only one method of many possibilities.

  8. Di Mace on

    Hi Carol,

    If you’ve still got a moment (I am ‘downunder’ so I’m not sure when this cuts off) I would love to hear your feedback on what jumps out at you about my blog at http://www.wordswords.com.au/blog/ which is part of my website at http://www.wordswords.com.au/ I think I’m now at the stage of considering affilaites, ebooks and things like that, but really interested in any suggestions you may have!. Thanks heaps Di
    Di Mace recently posted…The secret is … think first- write laterMy Profile

  9. Stephanie on

    I’ve learnt a lot reading through your comments on all the blogs you’ve reviews. I fall into the generalist category – writing about anything and everything related to my ex-pat life in France. The time has come to specialise I think – maybe I’ll need more than one blog.
    Thanks for all the information you’ve shared.
    Amitiés, Stephanie

  10. Lee Ann Penick on

    Hi, Carol:
    Though it is an interesting concept to actually earn income through blogging and am curious how that really works, I am more interested in “”How can I make my blog more engaging and impactful to my reader” (My blog tag line is “Blogging spiritual reflections as a way to tell my story of what God is showing me to encourage and bless others.”

    Blessings,
    Lee Ann
    Lee Ann Penick recently posted…3811 Jesus Loves the Little ChildrenMy Profile

  11. Louise Reichert on

    Although I have a separate website for my proofreading/copywriting business (yooperscribe), this one is a more personal one, almost a journal. I’d be interested in any feedback as to how it could be used, and what to do to get it there. Thank you for such a nice offer. Hope to hear from you!

    Louise

  12. Bernie on

    I have tried having an Amazon store and an affiliate link through Lynkshare. Have made zero in the last few months. Considering welcoming sponsors but have no idea how to charge ($1 per thousand views?) Get about 300 views a day, still growing. Should I get sponsors or ask for donations? Would appreciate any advice. So kind of you to offer help to others.
    Bernie recently posted…Testing Out Our GearMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      OK, can’t resist this one — are you affiliate selling things your readers are dying to buy and that they need and love? If so, your traffic may just not be there yet.

      If you can attract sponsors, go for it! Hard to do without a much bigger audience.

      You can always try a donation button and see if people give. Works for some, not for most.

  13. Carol Tice on

    I’m checking out folks! I’ll be back on Sunday to email everyone who leaves me a question by Saturday night some thank-you goodies!

    The thread above has dozens and dozens of tips for improving your blog and getting into better shape to earn, as well as monetizing ideas, so if you’re arriving late, feel free to read above and benefit from the advice I gave others.

    Wish I could just keep doing this all week long — I really enjoyed getting to see everyone’s blogs.

  14. Ana on

    I’m late for this, but you are so wonderful to offer this feedback, Carol! What are some strategies for writing better, more enticing blog titles? Thanks!

  15. Debbie Lamedman on

    Hi Carol,

    It’s very cool of you to make this wonderful offer to all the bloggers out there. As I write this, it is comment #112, so I’m not sure if I’ll hear back from you. I love blogging and obviously I would love to make money doing it. I have written some guest posts for other blogs, but as far as earning income from my own blog…um…not so much.

    My blog is called Confessions of a Cluttered Mind located at: http://www.thingsdebbieneedstosay.blogspot.com

    Hoping to hear back from you if you have the time. Many thanks!
    ~Debbie

  16. Joseph on

    Hi Carol,

    Thanks for the offer. The question I’d like to ask is this: would I be better off writing about internet marketing and doing consulting to make money or starting a different blog about blogging and providing blog services? I’ve thought about both and would love to find a way to make some money (currently I’m not making any).

    Here’s the link to my blog: http://www.josephwesley.com

    What do you think?

    Joseph
    Joseph recently posted…The Secret to Getting Your Online Content NoticedMy Profile

  17. Samie on

    I don’t have a blog (still working on setting it up), so I don’t have a link, but I do have a question. Assuming time isn’t an issue, is it better to do one blog with a broad focus or a few blogs with more specific focus on each one? I want to write about so many things and just can’t pick one that I’d like most. I’m also considering a co-blogger on the topic (video games) I think I’d post the least in, but other than that, I don’t know anything about the managing of that many blogs.

    • Carol Tice on

      My recommendation is to start with one blog topic and one blog. See if you can manage that and post regularly and grow it, before you contemplate many more blogs! I’ve been at this about three years now and am just launching my second blog in the next few months, and I’m definitely glad I didn’t try to launch more than one at once. They are a terrific amount of work to get to the earning stage.

  18. Jean Gogolin on

    Hi Carol,
    Great offer! Your blog is one I never miss.

    Mine is http://www.thewritersclinic.com and it’s intended for people who write about science and technology – or want to hire me to do so. My next step is to write a free e-book for subscribing and then to do some guest posting. Three recent deaths in the family have thrown me off my stride but I’m doing my best to catch up and post more regularly.
    Jean Gogolin
    Jean Gogolin recently posted…The Surprising Secret to Success DaydreamsMy Profile

  19. patricia on

    Had to leave a comment because I think that you are really gifted and you really do have the best ideas. You gave me the “GPS for Your…” tag from an Alist question I put up. Well the website is still struggling to get up and moving. I think I have found someone to help.
    To monetize I am thinking to offer editorial and writing services as a starter for a ESL speakers. Any ideas for how to do this.
    Thanks.

  20. Steff Metal on

    Hi Carol. Thank you for this wonderful offer! I think I’m probably too late (damn that time difference in NZ!) but I wanted to post anyway in case you keep going.

    My blog http://steffmetal.com is about heavy metal. Or, more specifically – the heavy metal lifestyle. Most other metal blogs are a) written by men and b) talk only about the music – reviews, band interviews, etc. But I write about what being a metalhead means – it’s like Cosmo for the dark side.

    I have been a copywriter for years and help a lot of micro businesses monetize their blogs. But I’m utterly stumped with this. I have sold a bit of advertising but, despite high traffic, I don’t get many clicks. I’ve written ebooks but they don’t get many sales – same with affiliates. I know my audience inside and out and I chose products and ideas they LOVED, but still … I am resigned to this site being more of a showcase / branding site for me to market myself as a writer and future novelist, but perhaps you can offer some ideas?
    Steff Metal recently posted…Ingredients for the Perfect New Zealand RoadtripMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Steff —

      Sounds like it’s time to learn more about marketing your products, which I’ve learned is really an art form unto itself. This was a whole new area to me — I’d never sold anything to anybody before this blog! We’ll be talking about that a good deal in the Webinar…or for absolutely tons of material about how to create a successful product launch, write a landing page, etc., see that A-List Blogger box on my the right sidebar.

  21. Mitesh on

    I have been blogging for over a year and have seriously started considering whether I should migrate my Blog to WordPress. It would be great if my blog made money ($10 dollars per month) would be ideal. My question is it possible to generate this amount of money from a niche topic such as spirituality, meditation and buddhism?
    Mitesh recently posted…The Quest For Enlightenment – Jed McKennaMy Profile

  22. Debra on

    Hi Carol,

    I’m a long time lurker. I love your blog and I have a question related to blogging. I’m a writer and web designer. Right now, web design pays the bills so I won’t complain but long term, I’d like to support myself through my writing and speaking.

    My web design site is here: http://www.DebraWeissDesigns.com. My goal is to be out of the web design industry and capable of supporting myself through writing and speaking within three years.

    Ideally, I’d like more clients and that would be the motivation to continue in the web design while waiting for the speaking and writing to start up. I know blogging can get me noticed by the right people, my question is: Should I blog even though I know I won’t be in the same industry long term?

    Thanks for any help you can give me,

    Debra

    • Carol Tice on

      I’d say yes, Debra. Then you have a niche blog, which is what prospects want to see. It doesn’t have to be a blog about writing. I’ve used my blog about writing to get jobs blogging for…lawyers, about personal-injury law.

      If you want to use a blog as an audition piece, it just has to stick to a niche, to show you know how. Since you have a lot of design expertise, I think you’re good continuing to blog about it. Who knows, maybe a big design firm might need a blogger too!

    • Carol Tice on

      Sorry Pooja — I had NO idea this was going to fill up so fast! But I believe your blog got looked at the first time I did a free review as I recall…so I think it’s fair to let some others get a little feedback.

  23. Lewis on

    Hi Carol. So I’ve recently started my site ArtsIdeasLife to showcase my work and build a platform. My question is: how do I make money without compromising the simple design, i.e. without visual ads? I want the focus to remain on the content. Thank you!

  24. Carol Tice on

    And we’re at 50 comments! Thanks to all for offering me a look at your blogs and sharing your questions.

    Feel free to continue leaving comments below, all…readers may weigh in with some feedback.

    Also take a scan through the comments I’ve left the bloggers above. I find new bloggers make many common mistakes, so you’ll likely get plenty of tips to improve your blog from reading through the thread.

  25. Meg on

    My blog is The Minimalist Woman. I’m a personal essayist and write from the point of view of the minimalist I’ve become, rather than just rehashing more ways to unclutter your house. I’d like to know where it can go from here, what sort of markets there are for the kind of writing I do, because I do love to write and I gotta eat ;D
    Meg recently posted…Farming in the Cold Light of SpringMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      My sense is that there seem to be a million people who want to write about minimalism. Personal essays are one of the toughest forms to get paid in. Think of a women’s magazine and how many nonfiction, how-to type pieces are in it…and then at the end there’s maybe one or two personal essays.

      You’ll have to do some real exploring to find freelance opportunities. But you could certainly monetize your own site selling books, courses and other items that touch on living simply.

    • Carol Tice on

      Besides getting it off blogspot?

      Standardize how you use photos — we like one big one at the top of each post, about half the width of the post, with text flowing right next to it. Most of your posts don’t have top images, and then the current top one the photo takes up the whole width, so we don’t see there’s writing below it immediately, which is offputting.

      Formatting your blogs all the same and having that image readers can count on seeing helps them feel like this is a familiar place to visit…so they come back.

        • Carol Tice on

          Great question, Gina!

          I used Flickr Creative Commons initially — you just have to credit the photographer on the page where you use the photo and give a link back to their Flickr page.

          I now mostly use MorgueFile — no credit needed and it’s free! — or stock.xchng, where I find the general photo quality is better than Flickr CC. Same basic thing at stock., you have to give a credit link.

          I have also begun occasionally paying a small amount per photo on istockphoto for quality shots for key posts. Often you can get them for $1-2, and using really pro shots is a great way to make your blog look a cut above. Look at how Write to Done uses paid photos for an example.

          For instance, one of the things that really makes sites ‘pop’ and readers feel welcome is nice big faces of people in photos. And I find you don’t come across a lot of those in the free sites, at least not ones that are well shot and lit.

          My approach keeps evolving there. In future I’ll probably increasing use istockphoto.

  26. Elizabeth Q. on

    Hi! Thanks for the free review and the chance to connect. My blog http://www.queensnotebook.com will be a year old in June. It started with a notebook, my Mom’s from back when she was still with us. It was packed with family recipes. I brought it with me when we relocated to the USA. I’ve used it everyday to cook meals, exchange recipes with friends, etc. Most recipes are Filipino dishes, Asian food, and others are global cuisine in nature. Recently, I’ve also started reviewing restaurants we go to and also have been sampling new cookbooks and writing about them. My question: am I focused enough in my desire to bring Filipino-Asian dishes to more kitchens & dinner tables? Thanks !
    Elizabeth Q. recently posted…SHRIMPS IN GOLDEN CLOCK – Mom’s Classic DishMy Profile

  27. Jillian Fox on

    My website “Good Story” (narcissistically located at jillianfox.ca) is still under construction, but viewable. It is my second attempt at this idea. I just want to get people involved. I will be sharing my own journey as a writer, and as a human being trying to rewrite my life, from bland and aimless to meaningful and extraordinary. But I need people to get involved – sharing stories to me is key. And if it happens to be able to make money somehow too? Well, that’s just golden. Hopefully I’m not too late for your comments!
    Thanks =)

    • Carol Tice on

      I think you have a URL problem — when I clicked I was taken to a page full of Godaddy ads. Then found yours by manually dialing it in.

      That rotating header with images changing is pretty distracting. I’d just pick one if you want people to scroll down and read the content.

      I think these kind of personal blogs can be tough to monetize…but maybe you could affiliate sell some “live your best life now” type books and products, and eventually write some of your own to sell.

      • Carol Tice on

        Right on, Greg, which brings up an important issue for everyone about making your blog URL intuitive and easy for readers to remember. If YOU can’t remember it, they won’t either!

        • Jillian Fox on

          Thanks so much for your feedback! And, sorry for the url issue. I wrote my gmail.com address into one comment field box, and then in my rush just continued the .com theme for the website address…oops. I specifically chose the .ca because I’m Canadian and it reflects my nationality (the olympic rush lives on). The other reason is that, if you add a couple x’s to fox under the .com address, you end up with a nasty eyeful, which I wish to avoid for myself and any others attempting to find my site (um, like my mum?!!!). Perhaps I should have just gone with goodstory.com or something like that?
          I understand the distraction of the rolling image box…it’s not even working properly – I’ve been editing html for the last week to make it look the way it does now! Perhaps I’ll replace it instead with a gallery page. Part of my attempt to live a “good story” is to move to China, and I want to have a place to display my pics. I also need to be able to load it up beyond the firewall, and making the changes you’ve suggested will for sure help.
          Thanks again!
          Jillian Fox recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

  28. Jen L on

    Well, hell, it looks like I got here too late. Ah well. Maybe next time. I recently launched a new faith-and-family blog as sort of a personal project, but several people have told me that they think that it might have a real potential audience out there. I don’t know. It’s still so new. (Since I made it here too late to be among the first 50, if any of you other commenters would like to visit me and see what you think, please swing by! http://thehouseontherock.wordpress.com )
    Jen L recently posted…The complexities of car seat logisticsMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Jen —

      No, you made it! I’d like to see a nice big photo at the top of each post. Especially with your family topic — great pictures of kids and such. And shorter paragraphs so the posts are easier to read.

    • Carol Tice on

      Don’t put an ad above your content. And that big box ad that keeps changing pulls all the focus off your content. You need to deliver great useful posts to build your authority in your niche with these blog posts — that’s job one. Then you can think about selling.

      If you don’t have at least 1,000 or so subscribers, and aren’t making much off those ads, I’d take them down, they’re probably just bothering people and driving them away. And remember, these paid ads take people away from your website, so you want to be careful about anything you advertise for that reason.

      You have a great niche in home design — you should create and sell your own products — ecourses or ebooks on design. Hold online classes. Leverage your knowledge!

  29. Bethany on

    How I wish I had my blog up and running! I’m in the creative and planning processes, but I’d love your feedback. Hopefully you’ll offer this fun and helpful blog review/critique again in the near future. I’m thinking of “Kids on the Kitchen Counter”. (I’m picturing a photo at the top that features kids bare feet dangling off the counter.) This blog will focus on cooking for mothers who have children in the home. What do you think? Too Broad of a title? Will people get it and be interested?

  30. Ffion on

    Just reading some of your replies to other posters makes me realise how much I still have to do:)

    I started to think about blogging for an income some months ago. So I’m still learning – probably a lifelong process.

    Here’s my blog (http://www.fljmedia.com/category/travel/) – I guess my main question is: what’s the first thing you notice that is a critical error?

    And thanks for this – it’s amazingly generous of you.

    Ffion

    • Carol Tice on

      Most of your headlines don’t tell me what the post will be about, and that means they’re not out working for you on search engines and drawing readers.

      Your blog is named “FLJ Media” and there’s no tagline. So I really have no idea what the blog is about. Since you have a non-intuitive URL and name for your blog, you really need to give us a tagline so we know why we’re here.

  31. Mary on

    Hi Carol,
    Thanks for making this offer.
    I would love to make a little extra income from my blog but would rather it didn’t resemble the ad inserts of the Sunday paper.

    Mary

    • Carol Tice on

      See my comments above about my Products I Love page — or click the tab. I also do not believe in slathering ads everywhere, and I am very happy with how it’s working out.

      • Mary on

        Carol, while I was up there I checked out all your pages. I must say I really like the setup. The product page is perfect for the way I would like to do things.

        I read you by email and admit that even though I look forward to posts I don’t come t the site as often as I should. I find that happens with almost every WordPress blog subscription.

        Thanks again for all your help.

        Mary

        • Carol Tice on

          Hi Mary —

          You bring up one of the controversies in email newsletters — whether to provide only partial posts that compel people to click to the site to read it all, or provide the whole post and risk that they don’t visit.

          I was doing partial posts in email but I got feedback in A-List Blogger’s Club that many people will unsubscribe if the newsletter does not deliver the full post…so I switched back to full posts.

          I also know newsletters where the full post is there, but with no social-sharing so you have to come on the site to retweet it or otherwise share it…another strategy to consider to get people to visit.

          • Katherine Swarts on

            Mark Hurst’s book Bit Literacy has some interesting insights on this and other ways to streamline your e-time and help others do the same. He recommends making it easy on those who receive your communications by minimizing the number of clicks you require them to make, including the full text in e-mail not only for blogs and other newsletters, but for virtually everything for which a specifically formatted document is not essential.

            And most human-relations (and sales) experts agree that if you think primarily of what YOU want (in terms of more visitors or anything else) instead of what the other party wants, ultimately you’ll be the loser.
            Katherine Swarts recently posted…Joy vs HappinessMy Profile

  32. Catherine Russell on

    What an awesome public service you’re providing for the blogosphere!

    I’ve been tinkering with mine for a couple of years and just now getting my feet wet with the attitude of doing it for more than just boredom. I enjoy writing and I love reading. I know I need to concentrate on some common theme but haven’t figured it out yet. Any advice is welcome. my one question would be though, Is setting up a schedule such as certain types of posts on certain days a good idea?

    Here’s my blog http://www.composingcat.com/

    Thanks again! You’re awesome! And your blog has helped me in my professional endeavorera as well.
    ~Cat

    • Carol Tice on

      I am thrilled to hear you find the blog helpful!

      I want to kill your double-right sidebar. You need to reduce clutter and get it down to one sidebar. Use Google in-page Analytics to see what people are using, and get rid of everything else.

      To your question, you absolutely want to post on a schedule — it helps your readers get in the habit of visiting, and helps you with search engines as well.

    • Carol Tice on

      A lot of folks do this, but don’t say your blog is about photography, “and other random things.” If you don’t know what your blog will be about, I’m not going to invest time to read it!

      If you want to get hired off the blog, I’d suggest adding contact information. Right up at the top of the sidebar, real big. Don’t even hide it under a tab. It’s the point, right?

    • Carol Tice on

      John, you have readability issues. Blog posts can’t be one 20″ paragraph. Nobody’s going to dive into that — it’s too intimidating. Blog paragraphs are short. One line is often nice, two is great, and three is about as many as I usually put, maybe four.

      Read the report I mentioned about about headlines — they’re really important. Every blog in this thread could benefit from stronger headlines.

      And I’m not a fan of the black background…kind of gloomy and depressing. What about some graphic with a plane on a light background instead?

  33. linda on

    Already a subscriber Carol, really enjoy your newsletter and blog. I’m a writer and American expat in the Netherlands, and would love it if you took a look at my blog http://www.adventuresinexpatland.com and give me an assessment based on your quick look. I write articles on expat issues and my blog is about living abroad with similar themes, and am transitioning my portfolio to primarily commissioned work with the occasional, well-placed gratis work on expat sites that generates new readers. In my ‘other’ life I concentrate on an expat memoir, novel and short stories (both fiction and non-fiction). It’s a fairly young blog but I get a fair bit of traffic in Europe and back in the US. Let ‘er rip!

    Thanks, Linda
    linda recently posted…Divining the Deeper MeaningMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      I’d get all the funky graphic buttons down to the bottom of your sidebar — ( don’t know what any of them mean so they’re not that useful). Move up your subscribe, and say something like “receive free updates” rather than “follow me” — people associate that last phrase with Twitter, so I think it creates confusion.

      • linda on

        Thanks, will do. I’m already working on a free guide to offer for receiving a monthly newsletter beginning in May. I’ve been scouring your other responses to pick up on other tips. I really appreciate the feedback, this is a great deal!
        linda recently posted…Divining the Deeper MeaningMy Profile

  34. Marylane on

    I have not committed to blogging yet but read a lot of them. One question I have is can a blog take the place of a website or do you need to have both? I have read several opinions and value yours.

    Thanks for all you share with your readers!

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Marylane —

      Well, a blog is a website, certainly. It’s a website with a particular format of short posts. You don’t say anything about your goals for your site, so it’s hard to know if you need one of each. I started with my writer site and blog in the same place, and as I discussed above later decided the blog needed to fly off on its own. I think if you don’t have a site now, think in terms of having one site to start, and build from there. Blogging may or may not suit your goals. Think about why you would blog and what you would get out of it — because blogging takes a good deal of time.

  35. Marina DelVecchio on

    http://marinagraphy.com

    Carol, my blog is not making any money. I’ve changed a few things, and took down a few ads that you recommended I take out. Although it’s called marinagraphy, I purchased a URL — empoweringgirlsandwomen and attached it to marinagraphy. I forgot what it’s called. I do this because I enjoy it, but I would put more effort into my blog if I could get paid. How cool would that be? So, how do I get paid, is my question. Thanks for this service!
    Marina DelVecchio recently posted…The WM Parenting Connection- Dora- From Explorer to PrincessMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Maybe you want to write a book about empowerment, Marina and sell it here. Or do consulting to corporations on how to empower their female staff? Or sell books on your topic that you recommend?

      If you don’t have a big list, I’d take those google ads off — they’re probably just annoying people. Currently they have child safety fence ads going.

      You can still do more to make your site easier to understand and more intuitive. Get rid of the Search bar and move up your subscribe. Write a free report for your subscribers to build your list.

      I’d create a resource widget in the sidebar and put your Mon-Fri tags there, instead of having 2 rows of tabs on top…too confusing.

      But most importantly, where is this great URL about empowering girls and women? See if you can make it the main page and kick marinagraphy to there instead of vice versa, since I can’t see how to get onto that URL.

  36. Susan Kleinman on

    Some of the popular foodie blogs I read have facebook links; others do not. Why not? Is there any DOWNSIDE to having a FB presence for a blog? Also, doyou have any resources to suggest re: designing the look of a blog? Thank you!

    • Carol Tice on

      If you’re active on Facebook and enjoy hanging out there and interacting with the fans, you should have a fan page for your blog on Facebook. I do, and I think it’s a great channel and another way for me to connect with freelance writers who want to learn how to earn more.

      If you don’t do Facebook, it wouldn’t be useful. Also if you don’t think your fans do.

      Take a look at your current FB connections and see what you think. Maybe they all hang out on Twitter instead…you’ll have to experiment to see.

    • Carol Tice on

      Sorry to be the one to tell you…but as you suspected, Lilly, you are too all over the place. Sounds like you have 4-5 good blog ideas in there. Decide which one you’re going to pursue on this blog, so you can attract others interested in that topic.

      Generalist blogs writing on many topics are all but un-monetizable…very difficult to connect, build an audience, and then sell it something when the topic keeps changing from week to week.

  37. Susanna Perkins on

    Hey, Carol, I remember your blog from those early days. It wasn’t as pretty, but the content was great and that’s what got your early subscribers (including me).

    You were kind enough to review my blog just before I undertook a major redesign. I’d love if you could take another look at it now.

    I do have a particular question: I’ve been mulling over a change to my tagline. It now reads, “create an untethered life overseas” and I’m considering adding “without breaking the bank” to it. My audience is more people like me who are contemplating expatratiation but on a tight budget, as opposed to many who have lots of resources. My only concern is, if I aim specifically at the budget crowd, will I be able to sell ANYTHING or will I be shooting myself in the foot?

    Thanks much,
    Susanna
    Susanna Perkins recently posted…Comment on Highest Cost of Living Cities for Expats by FutureExpatMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Susanna! Great to hear from folks who’ve been with the blog since the early days.

      What about “create an affordable, untethered life overseas”? I think you don’t want to add a whole ‘nother clause.

      Your site’s looking great — everyone go take a look at Susanna’s nice free ebook offer for subscribers!

      If it were me I’d get your offer and subscription form a bit more compact, so I can see it all above the fold, and inside a box together, so I can tell the ebook and the fill-in form go together.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Marcia —

      Read the comments I just made above to Pam — they all apply to your blog as well. Except there seems to be no subscribe option at all. So, as Naomi Dunford of Ittybiz is fond of saying… “You have F(*&#ing nothing.”

      But if you change nothing else, write a tagline so your site doesn’t say “Just another WordPress.com site.” World’s biggest turnoff in my view.

      You’re special! Amazing! Tell me about what I will discover on your blog in this tagline.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Pam —

      Start by getting a unique image for your header — I know that’s one of the defaults because my husband’s site had it too!

      We don’t want recent posts — we want popular posts in the sidebar. The best stuff.

      Not to sound like a broken record (if anyone still knows what that is)…but how do I subscribe? Oh, there it is at the bottom.

      What’s the most important thing you want readers to do? Probably subscribe. That means it goes at the very top.

      • Carol Tice on

        I think Judy Dunn of Cat’s Eye Writer and I are both down on headers that ask me a bunch of questions and then ask me to call you.

        It makes me feel like hey — I don’t even know you yet! Do a static header on the home page that just introduces who you are, briefly. Put your contacts in the sidebar.

        It makes me feel you don’t want to offer me anything useful, just sell me.

        Your blog has name confusion —

        It’s called “Francie Dalton’s blog — helping leaders lead,” and “Solving Business Nightmares wth Francie Dalton”…which is it?

        And as with so many above…how do I subscribe on email? You don’t want RSS subscribers. They’re OK, but email is more important. You need to capture those contact names.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi James — helping ebook authors — now THERE’S a nice, tightly focused niche with real earning potential!

      I’d get it off of blogspot so you can start being taken seriously, and work with a pro designer to really make it look sharp.

      Do you have a book (or ebook obviously!) that trains people on ebook writing? You should!

      And obviously you could sell other ebooks you recommend, or tools for creating them. Check out affiliate selling software tools you think are terrific — some of them have great affiliate deals. For instance, I love my host, Dreamhost, and they give you like $97 for signing someone up!

      In my experience, the key to affiliate selling is stick to tools you use and love. Your audience will respect that, and you will naturally write positive stuff about it, which gives you a chance to link to it again and again, and it will drive sales.

  38. Deborah on

    Hi Carol-
    Thank you for your generous offer. I have a baby blog (just started in December 2010). I have been playing around with different ideas on it. I am now considering how to move forward with a more focused niche as well as ways I might monetize in the future.
    I would love some guidance from someone like you who is succeeding with her own blog. I appreciate all of the great content that you give your readers.
    Deborah

    • Carol Tice on

      Nice job getting your subscribe and mini-bio at the top of your sidebar!

      Looks like your a writer, and also into meditation. As I was saying to Heather above, those may be two topics for two sites, that monetize in two different ways.

  39. Heather Chadwick on

    My writer’s blog is basically describing my foray into freelance writing so far, with posts about what books I’ve been reading and my progress so far. I don’t really know how to monetize this blog, other than promoting books sold on Amazon.com. What’s a practical route to being making money off of my blog?

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Heather —

      Like one of the other blogs above, you need to start by getting the lined-paper background off your site. It doesn’t look professional.

      There’s basically two avenues to look at for monetizing. Most likely, you will earn from this site by using it to get freelance writing gigs. You usually wouldn’t put ads of any kind on a site like this — it’s all about impressing clients.

      One of the reasons I spun this blog off my writer site is I felt it had monetizing potential in other ways, so it needed to be separate.

      If you have a niche topic you want to blog and earn from, I’d suggest it have its own home. For instance, I’ll shortly be launching a blog about geocaching, which is a family hobby around here, where we will monetize by reviewing and selling GPS units. Obviously, I wouldn’t want that stuff on my writer site, as it would be a big turnoff for my business prospects as a writer!

      They’re probably separate activities for you as well.

    • Carol Tice on

      Here are a couple immediate stumbling blocks I see to earning with the blog:

      There doesn’t seem to be a way to subscribe by email, so you can’t build a list, and you can’t sell anyone anything.

      I don’t know what PCS means…so your site is only for people who know what that means. Probably a pretty small audience. Having that in your URL makes it not friendly for search engines either. Think of how to broaden your audience — for people living abroad in Italy, maybe?

      Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen tells a great story about how her original tagline was something like “for people pursuing the zen path,” and she changed it to “practical inspiration for a happier life.”

      You can see immediately how much broader that second audience is, right? You need to do something along those lines.

  40. Michael on

    Hello Carol

    Thank you for this opportunity. The name of my blog is http://www.scandalizemyname.com. It is 5 years old but I have restarted the blog a few times because I had a few SQL crashes. I have re-focused the blog but at times, I lose energy for it. I have been thinking about starting a new blog/business/non-profit focused the arts or writing alone. But it seems the market is a bit cluttered for a writing blog. So, should I change the blog name and keep the address because it is old? Any advice is truly appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    Michael

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Michael —

      Whether you should keep the old name depends on a few things. Do you have a big email list of fans on this URL? Do you love this niche and topic, or do you want to start over in a new one? If you want to go to a different topic, it may be time to pick a new name.

      • Michael on

        Hey Carol. Sorry for the late response. Thank you for the review. I have roughly 60 subscribers so it is small. My name is connected to the website and that brings in many visitors. The name change…I am not sure yet but I will ask my followers. I am thinking of more ways of engaging them. I might try a podcast or even a video. For some reason, I only have a few comments. I receive more spam than real comments.
        Michael recently posted…Become a Dharma Bum- Kerouac Project seeks Writers D-L Friday April 1stMy Profile

        • Carol Tice on

          Hi Michael —

          If you have many visitors but only 60 subscribers, you need to work on making it easier and more enticing to subscribe.

          We all get more spam than real comments, so don’t feel bad there! Those spam bots are busy little robots.

          As far as getting more real comments, I found this post at the Blog Herald, the 18 types of posts that get more comments, highly useful.

  41. Mike and Krista on

    I’ve always wondered how my wife’s blog which is a ministry, could raise money for my wife’s ongoing medical care which is $1100/month in pharmaceutical/nutrition care alone (not listing docs, etc). An ebook? I have a support button, but it doesn’t draw many clicks. I have never learned how to do an e-book, but that is where my mind goes when I think of this.

    • Carol Tice on

      Looks like you and Krista have left two entries and have two sites, but I’ll respond here.

      Looks like you do consulting work you could sell, or turn into an e-course, or an ebook or several. Connect in social media groups with likely buyers and make them aware of your blog and they’ll find your products. Offer awesome free advice on the blog along those lines as an entry point.

      Perhaps you could do a setup where a portion of sales goes to a charity, to help drive interest and maybe the charity would feature your products on their site as well? Given your situation and message, that might be a great marketing strategy that would do good as well!

      As with the other blogs above, building an email list is the first step. Get your subscription offer out of the tab and into a big box on the landing page, and offer a free report to get that moving.

      Wishing Krista complete healing of body and soul.

  42. Judith on

    Hi Carol. I’m Judith from http://leeswammes.wordpress.com

    My blog is mainly a book review blog with around it a lot of related posts (to attract people in other ways, too). I would love to hear what you think of it. I already know the name of my blog (leeswammes) isn’t very catching.

    Some monetizing ideas would great – I’m thinking of moving to the paid wordpress platform, if it can bring me some money somehow.

    Thanks for the offer to take a look!
    Judith recently posted…Friday Blog HopMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Seems like you know exactly what you need to do Judith — get a URL that’s about book reviews and get off free wordpress.

      Then you could sell all the books you review as an affiliate and earn that way, if you can build a substantial audience. The question is, what’s different about your book reviews? Are they smarter, funnier, snarkier, more insightful? Discover your point of differentiation, get it into your tagline and start growing your audience with a strong subscription offer — move it up to the top so readers can find it.

  43. Lauren Pavelka on

    Hi Carol,
    My blog link is http://www.lovelo.wordpress.com. I am a beauty blogger and write about things concerning inner and outer beauty. I review products, give ideas for tips and tricks, talk about my favorites and give inspirational quotes, stories and pictures from time to time.

    My one question is: How could I be making an income off of my blog? Any tips or advice would be welcomed with gratitude.
    I have had advertising offers…but with a wordpress blog I feel like I don’t have the freedoms to advertise like I want.

    I would love to hear from you.

    Thank you!
    Lauren Pavelka
    Lauren Pavelka recently posted…Spring 2011- Hot Trends!My Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Lauren —

      You guessed it — you need to self-host and get the wordpress.com out of your title.

      I’ll just say that putting “Psalm 45:11” in your headline will limit your audience.

      You have a GREAT niche for monetizing — just affiliate sell the products you review, once you get your architecture set up for it.

  44. brandi on

    Hi Carol —

    I am new to your list but love it so far! My blog has been in place since 2006. It is ranked at the top of google for certain keywords based on just plain writing about the problems I see and solutions. I love my blog and would love to understand if its possible to cash in on it!

    http://www.indiathink.com/blog

    Thanks for the commitment you have! Brandi

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Brandi —

      Interesting niche blog!

      You seem like with your expertise, you’re well-positioned to earn by creating your own products. Maybe a small, free download for subscribers on “the top 10 mistakes people make doing business in India” or something like that?

      And then you could sell your consulting services more strongly — maybe break each service out in its own tab? Just saying “services” isn’t that enticing.

      Create ebooks or a training course that leverages your expertise? Seems like you should have great opportunities there.

  45. Jan Hill on

    Hey Carol, thanks for the sweet offer. I’d like like to know what jumps out at you about my blog: http://www.raisedwrite.com. I started it mainly for self-promotion and as a place to post my writing samples. Looking forward to getting some mentoring from you soon 🙂

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Jan —

      I’d be happy to work with you in my mentoring program!

      Your site has a background with stripes that runs under your content and makes it very hard to read. You should get it out of there and make your background plain white. Get your sidebar over on the right instead of the left — people who analyze how humans read things say we look at the lefthand corner first, then scan to the right. So you want your blog post in that lefthand corner.

      You look like you’re blogging on a variety of topics. I’d pick a niche and stick to it to show potential blogging customers you know how to to do that.

      • Jan Hill on

        Thanks for the feedback, Carol. The notebook paper seemed like a novel idea when I designed the blog, but I agree it makes it hard to read. What to blog about has always been my challenge…the main reason for the blog is to get legal blogging gigs, so I have been trying to blog on law topics. I’ve done personal injury, employment law, family law, gun control laws, criminal law–should I narrow it down even more into a specific area of law? I’ve also thought about picking a weekly news item related to some aspect of law and blogging about that–newsblogging. Any ideas?

        • Carol Tice on

          I think blogging on the news is always good because that’s what a lot of businesses will want. I wouldn’t narrow your focus further, keep it all things legal.

  46. Dalene - Hecktic Travels on

    Hi Carol – thanks for this opportunity!

    Hubby and I have sold everything to travel the world (been doing so since 2009), and just started our new website 2 months ago. We’ve progressed pretty far in that short time (alexa rank ~200,000) and are starting to get contacted from advertisers. I hope you don’t mind, but I have two questions:

    1. What are your thoughts on selling text links? I’ve seen a lot of discussion on this, and I’m leaning towards not doing it, but I would love your thoughts.

    2. We market ourselves to the travel community, but would love to increase our audience to those looking for some inspiration on changing their lives. Any idea how we start down that path?

    Thanks so much!
    Dalene

    http://www.hecktictravels.com
    Dalene – Hecktic Travels recently posted…Foto Friday – Are you Kidding MeMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Dalene — if by selling text links you mean doing the thing where key words in your posts become links to ads…I think it’s obnoxious and sleazy. I don’t read any blogs that do it.

      I’m sure there are people who sell that way. You could try it and ask for reader feedback…maybe your audience will click and buy through those and not be turned off. But I guess I’m skeptical it’s a ticket to riches. Kind of an early dot-com era earning method. I don’t really see it out there much anymore.

      For now, I’d be completely focused on gaining a large subscriber base for monetizing. Get your subscription email box up to the very top of your sidebar. Create a free report subscribers get of your guide to chucking it all and hitting the road stress-free, or whatever it is. Unless you’re already earning great from your existing niche, I wouldn’t focus on trying to add another type of reader. Stay focused!

      But I’m wondering if you’d answer a question for me. I see more and more people who seem to be doing this — “we’ve ditched it all and we’re just traveling!” And my question is, how much longer before you run out of money, and what happens then?

      • Dalene - Hecktic Travels on

        Thanks for all your comments Carol.

        I agree with you on the text link ads, I think, although I see that a lot of travel bloggers do them, which is why I asked. Now that our alexa is getting down there, we had one advertiser approach us this week, and so I’m working through how to respond to that.

        Re. your question – it is MUCH cheaper then anyone thinks to be able to do this. We are currently house sitting right now in Honduras (our only expenses are food and gas for the provided vehicle). We are doing some paid teaching, I have some travel writing on the side, on top of the volunteer work that we also do. There are also several top bloggers that make enough money on their blog to sustain them. We hope to start monetizing our blog to help us along the way, but there are several ways to earn money and keep the cost of living low enough to do for a looonnnggg time.
        Dalene – Hecktic Travels recently posted…Foto Friday – Are you Kidding MeMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Is that groupon ad converting well for you? I’m not sure that’s what simple livers want to see on your site. If it’s not working, take it down, as it’s sort of aggressive up high there.

      I’d like to see a graphical header that gets me excited about the joy of living simply and draws me into this blog. I want a picture of you smiling and showing us living simply is making you so happy.

      Also, looks like the blog is doing double duty – you’re trying to get hired as a writer too? That can work, but think about who your core audience is, and what they might want to buy if you want to work on monetizing.

      Your subscription email signup is under a tab, and then it’s a text link. I’d try to get a nice big box for subscribing right up top, and a free report. Then make that subscribe tab “Free report” to draw more interest. Take a look at what I’m doing above and you’ll see what I mean.

      • Gip on

        I appreciate you taking the time to review So Much More Life. It’s a work in progress, and I appreciate your input.

        I’ll try to comment here more reguarly. I truly appreciate how much time and effort you’ve put into providing this free service. Willingness to help is very nice quality in a person!
        Gip

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Susie!

      Your site is very, very busy. It quickly goes into 3 columns, and then your sidebar also splits into two columns. I’m pretty overwhelmed. Even your subscribe box is very wordy. So many social buttons — cut it down to what your users actually are clicking on. The more streamlined you can make your tagline, and each of your other elements, the more it will draw readers in. Get your tabs down to one row…and also you should know your search bar is IN one of your tabs on my screen. Get it on a different row.

      What’s the size of your audience? Little monetizing is going to happen before a few hundred subscribers are signed up, and my personal experience was around 1,000 subscribers was when monetizing because really viable, though everyone’s experience with this is different.

      No one is clicking on your Amazon cart because it doesn’t show the products. No one is going to click through to then discover what your favorites are. Instead, do a cart that shows a few of those things…or consider the Products I Love strategy and offer some uplifting items in a separate page.

      My main reaction to your site is that the title of it is so great — New Day, New Lesson.

      I expect each post to succinctly offer me one lesson for the day. Maybe it’s doing that, but I can’t tell from the headlines. I’d really work your premise – I think if you did you’d soon have a great ebook “Best Lessons from New Day, New Lesson” or something like that!

    • Greg Lam on

      Susie,

      You have the same issue that I had with my commentluv link (I only found out today). The link was pointing to google and not your site. Here’s a blog post (not mine) about how to fix it.

      http://www.synactable.com/blog/charleston-sc/feedburner-commentluv-backlinks/

      Basically you turn off a setting in your feedburner.

      The issue is that you’re not getting the link juice from your link, which is the big point of using commentluv.
      Greg Lam recently posted…Small Business Lawyer – Why and How to Hire OneMy Profile

      • Carol Tice on

        Really appreciate your technical-fix assistance Greg! I am not a technical genius by any means, and there is so much to know about the fine points of this stuff.

        One tiny one I only learned a few months back is to make sure your photos don’t link to a stupid bigger version of themselves — they should always link to “none” unless you want them to link to a sales landing page or affiliate page or something for sales. Some WP systems automatically link them to the URL in your library where you uploaded the photo, which is useless and confusing if people click on it and it basically leads nowhere.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi CJ —

      Your blog seems to be in the vein of one of the most popular types — musing about a variety of things happening in your life. I think that’s very hard to monetize, because who’s the audience for it? To monetize, you need to develop a consistent audience that loves all your posts, and currently different people would probably love different things, so hard to jell a community.

      If however, if was all about your parenting journey, or about being an expat in the US, or some specific niche, then you’ve got a shot at it. Many writers find this tough…but sticking to a niche helps you connect with your audience and build the relationships you need to then be able to sell something.

      For now, work on your headline, tagline, and header image…taken together they confuse me. I had to dig to your About page (put a picture of you there!) for clues as to what it’s about.

      Also, I’d once again like to encourage everyone reading this thread to learn to write strong headlines with good key words in them…read Psychotactics’ report Why Do Most Headlines Fail? for a primer on that.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Shanik —

      This is a little weird since it’s not really your site…but this site is too busy. It has 3 equally sized bars, so I don’t know where to look. I gather it’s about business news in India…but the giant ads I see right away send me away from this site, and probably many other visitors.

      I think increasingly fewer and fewer sites can get away with this model of just screaming ads at you right at the top…it’s a big turnoff. Offer me some useful information first, then sell me.

  47. Molly Steere on

    What an amazing offer Carol! My blog (www.mollyflewthecoop.com) is a humorous blog about life, parenting, and stupid decisions I make 🙂 I’ve actually received work through the blog – clients liked my voice and hired me for creative copy and to write their blogs. A lot of people say I could make the blog into a money making site, but I’m not sure how since it’s purely entertainment and doesn’t offer much in the way of prefoessional information. What do you think?

    Thanks!

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Molly — your blog seems to want to move between two worlds — being a personal blog and being a writer site. I’d try to clarify which it is. If it’s your writer site, it’ll monetize by getting you gigs.

      You have several different topics you blog on there and your heading doesn’t really clue me in as to what the blog will be about, and there’s no tagline…so if you want to go to a traditional monetizing strategy you’d need to get that sharpened up so I can get that 2-second glimpse and know why I’m here. That would clarify the intended audience, and point the way to how to earn from it.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Karen —

      Great question!

      The thing to know is the widget you put at the very top is the most important one — it’s the thing you most want readers to do. Right now, that thing is take a poll about what your favorite food is.

      I’m betting that’s not REALLY the thing you most want them to do ! You want them to subscribe, right? So get that up to the top.

      Also, you have a big picture of you in the sidebar, which is a good idea I feel — but put a little mini-bio under it that tells a little about who you are and why you’re blogging. I want to know that first thing when I come here, so that’s probably going under your subscription box.

  48. Jeri on

    My blog is http://mothering4.com I have been blogging about 6 months and I am pleased with my traffic, but I’m not sure how to go about monetizing. I made the changes suggested by you and Judy in your last webinar & I am registered for your monetization webinar. I have already learned a great deal from you. Thanks so much for another opportunity to get your input.

    jeri
    Jeri recently posted…Pregnancy loss- When a friend loses a babyMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Jeri —

      Glad you’re coming to the next Webinar! (More details coming Monday for folks who aren’t already clued in.)

      You’re a wonderful writer, Jeri. Your top post right now about what to say when a friend’s baby dies is very moving. So no problems there!

      First, your header needs a graphic and a tagline to tell us what about mothering we’re going to learn here. I think once you crystallize that, a monetizing strategy will be more obvious to you. The first step is always building a subscriber base — maybe you could create a free “100 tips for moms of many” or something?

      To figure out how to monetize, you need to get a sense of who your audience is. I started that process way back, and I learned a lot. Your readers are often not who you think they are, so it’s an important step in the process.

      Once you know who readers are and what they come to your site for, what you could sell them will become more obvious. Maybe there’s an online community they might want to join, or homeschooling courses they would buy…let your audience guide you to what they would find complementary to your writing and not be annoyed to be offered.

      • Jeri on

        Carol, thank you so much for your feedback. I can’t tell you how much it thrills me to have you compliment my writing. I am working on a short ebook to offer subscribers. I will work on the other things you mentioned. I really appreciate your feedback.
        On a different note, I would like to suggest a geocaching stop in Pensacola, Florida on your way to Orlando. We live in Pensacola and my husband and our two oldest boys are avid geocachers. There is an awesome night cache at the University of West Florida. Of course, the beaches shouldn’t be missed if you are in the area. You may need to schedule an extra day or two! Looking forward to the next webinar.

        jeri
        Jeri recently posted…Yelling linked to insomniaMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Michael —

      I’d like to see you get a nice, interesting photo on the top of every single blog post. Will really add a lot. See my comments to others about the need for email subscription methods rather than just RSS.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Alice —

      My first reaction is you’ve got a big giant ad at the very top of your blog. In general, you don’t want ads “above the fold” on your landing page…kind of a turnoff. Makes me think your blog isn’t about helping me, but about selling me. And then, I’m leavin’.

      I see your About page is mostly ads as well, no picture of you or story about why you were driven by your passion to start this blog. Your About page is the second most-visited place on the blog, so it needs to really engage us. As with others, you need a way for me to subscribe on email.

      I’m glad I’m sending all of you the 20 Blog Secrets handout…it’s really going to help!

    • Carol Tice on

      What’s your goal with this blog, Jim? I’m not clear giving it a first glance…so that’s a barrier to your building an audience. Your hed and tagline are kind of random, as my teen would say…who do you want to read it?

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Meredith —

      Afraid I’ve never had a blog on Typepad, so I don’t know anything about the migration issues. I recommend finding an expert when you have these kind of technical questions — I just did that to learn more about webinar and teleclass recording and filesharing.

      The big problem I see on the blog is I don’t know what it’s about. Biscuits of today – you could be speaking metaphorically, or it could be about cooking. Scrolling down, it looks like it is about cooking, but a useful tagline would be very helpful. I see some hints are hiding in your mini-bio…but they need to be more prominent.

      Also no way at all to subscribe here that I can see, so that’s a problem! Take a look at Natalie’s blog and look at the nice ask she makes — “Subscribe and get all the recipes free in your inbox.” You should do something similar.

    • jim on

      Meredith,

      I used to use the Movable Type platform for quite a while before switching to WordPress. Movable Type and TypePad are the same platform ( aside from some minor differences ). WordPress has the ability to import your posts. You will probably have to install a plugin, but I have done it and it is pretty painless.

      Make sure you export your posts and save them to a file in a safe place before importing. You will need this file to use for the import into WordPress anyway. But keep it for backup in case you have to start over – especially if you have a lot of posts. Sometimes, on some hosts, WordPress will die while doing the import due to memory problems.

      The only thing I have had to do is take a look at my posts after importing to make sure the formatting is the same or what I had before. Sometimes I have to do this because I may have use the “more” tag or because I may have used a “Related Posts” tag and there is, most likely, some formatting differences between the two.

      That’s all I can think of at the moment. If there is more info or you run into something that you have questions about visit my site and use the Contact page and I’d be more than happy to help. I’ve done that Movable Type to WordPress migration a few times.

  49. natalie on

    Hi, Carol. Thanks for your generosity with this!

    My blog is at http://www.woodenspoonblog.com. And here’s the deal: I’m trying to find creative ways to monetize it without sticking ads up on it. Though I haven’t committed to NEVER putting ads up, for now I’d like to find more nontraditional ways. Ideas?

    • Carol Tice on

      I’m with you, Natalie — I flirted briefly with doing ads — I had an Amazon shopping cart — and I really hated it. I felt it was wrong for the atmosphere I wanted to create on this blog, of learning and support.

      To see another strategy that I fell in love with and which works well for me, click above on my Products I Love tab. I also occasionally drop text links to those affiliate products into my posts, as well as links to my own products. That’s working for me, and I’ve never had a reader complain that my site is too salesy. I really like keeping the ads off the landing page.

      I also sometimes advertise…my own products such as upcoming Webinars, with one big ad in the sidebar. Right this moment, my one ad over on the right there is for my favorite affiliate-selling product I have, A-List Blogger Club, and I change that out occasionally. And one ad space is all you ever see on my home page. I feel really good about that for this site. I’m never putting up a big box of Google ads that might run links to who knows what. I want control over it so the ads never offend my readers.

      Everyone has to experiment and discover a monetizing strategy that makes them feel good about what they’re doing, and that readers respond to. For me, this is what’s working.

  50. Kristin Offiler on

    Hi Carol! You reviewed one of my blogs before, but I recently started a second one. I’m writing in both of them on a regular schedule and loving it.

    Blog: http://styleswithoutreservation.blogspot.com/

    My question with this blog is: what should I be doing to pull in readers and subscribers so eventually this blog could be open to sponsors and other sources of income? I comment on other blogs, tweet and FB new posts, and even asked a favorite blogger of mine to write a guest post (she said yes).

    Thanks, Carol! You rock 🙂

    Kristin Offiler

    • Carol Tice on

      Like Greg above, I’d like to see you offer a free ebook or report to readers to get them to subscribe. Maybe “100 tips for finding your style” or something along those lines?

      I’d try to find a shorter, punchier way to say your tagline, too.

      In general, I think blogspot doesn’t lend itself to monetizing, so if you’re serious about that you need to think about self-hosting and getting the .blogspot out of your URL. I’ve reviewed blogs trying to sell in this format, and the template makes it pretty awkward. More importantly, on this platform, the first thing I see on your blog is the bar at the top that encourages me to click over to the next blog, or create my own blog! Those are NOT the messages you want to give readers…you want them to focus on your content, fall in love with it, and decide to buy things from you as a result.

    • Carol Tice on

      You want a popular posts widget, Jess, not a ‘recent posts’ one. You want your best posts to stay up in that sidebar, visible to new readers who come to your blog. We don’t care what you did recently, we want to know — what’s your HOT stuff??

      You didn’t ask, but I have to comment that you don’t seem to have a way for people to subscribe by email. That’s a big problem, since you don’t capture contact information on RSS subscribers, so currently you have no one to whom you can market.

      Reading your head and tag, as with the blogs above, I don’t instantly know what your blog is about. This is one of the most common problems in blogging! You’ve got about 2-3 seconds for me to grasp that and decide this site is for me and I want to read on, so heads and tags really have to answer that for me.

  51. Greg Lam on

    Sweet offer Carol. My site is http://www.smallbusinessdoer.com/. I do two things geared towards small businesses.

    1. I offer up a live case study of my business plan, mine. I felt there’s a lot of case studies on big business but not a lot on small business.

    2. I give how tos (sp?) and tutorials around how to make those day to day tasks of operating a business easier and better.

    My question is should I have a separate column with the latest posts for the two parts to my site or keep it all as one column as I do right now?
    Greg Lam recently posted…Corporation Kit – Should You DIY or Hire a LawyerMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Greg —

      Interesting site with a nice visual style going on!

      I’d leave them in the same blogroll…just be sure to tag your two types of posts with a consistent, useful tag. Then show those tags in your sidebar — take a look at how I’ve set up mine with only the most popular 8 or so tags showing, rather than a busy-looking cloud — and people who only want to read the business plan stuff can easily click that tag and create a thread of only those to read.

      Also, you could use your headlines to create an obvious series, so people realize it’s a continuing story. Eventually, you could use the Anthologize plug-in to turn that into a nice ebook freebie for subscribers – an element your site could use to help build readership.

      But generally, having those topics alternate I think brings nice variety to the blog scrolling through. Be kinda dull if each post started “Business plan update”… right?

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Jim —

      Not sure what I can do about your posting frequency…but I recommend WordPress Editorial Plugin to help you plan. I find looking at the whole month in a single view helps me think gee, what needs to be written when? Also helps me write in batches, which is more efficient and really helps keep frequency up. Even twice a month to me works for a starter blog in terms of frequency — just do it same day and time so readers can come to count on you.

      In general I want to say reading your headlines, I don’t know what they mean. They each start “Open Data…” Have to say reading your headline and tagline, I don’t know what the blog is about. (It’s “Boxed Fool — foolishness you can rely on.” Foolishness about what? How will I benefit from reading this foolishness? I think if you work on your head and tag, you’ll create your focus.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Hannah!

      Thanks for kicking off the review day for us. Posting regularly — even if it’s just once or twice a month, but at the same day of the week and time of day — will help you build an audience.

      I have to say I’m stopped at your tagline, which has a grammar error “its about striving to be my inner siren.” Grammar aside…as a reader I want to ask — what’s in this blog for ME? Your tagline is about you. You’ll attract more readers if you tell them how they will benefit from reading your blog.

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