Why do other political blogs lag behind me in visitors?
I had this to say:
“The reason is simple – no one cares about their content a month after it goes up.”
I told you that it was “too tied-into the news,” and that people aren’t interested in it months or years from now.
So what are people interested in months or years from now?
Typically it’s longer-form, list-style articles.
And that got me thinking about all the money I’ve made from my writing.
That in turn had me thinking of the decisions behind that.
What did I do to make a lot of money…what ideas did I have, and where did they come from?
I’d like to tell you about 4 of those ideas today.
Mountain Man Books: $12,000
I did notice that a lot of my current traffic was made-up of people interested in the old mountain man articles I had up, however.
I’d written those months earlier and they were getting traffic.
The traffic was small, mind you – about 100 or 200 people a week…if that.
But hey – they were interested in what I was writing!
So I wrote more of it.
I did several posts about popular mountain man nonfiction books, each with an Amazon Affiliate link so they could see – and hopefully purchase – that book.
Each time they did make a purchase, I’d make a few pennies…maybe even a buck!
Now, I’ve only made about $650 from the Amazon Affiliate income I get from the direct product links to those books…and that over 3 years.
That ain’t gonna cut it.
So I watched this miniscule affiliate income tick up each month, and I wondered how I could make more.
Why not a novel? Hell, by that point I’d written a dozen or two, and I’d been kicking around a mountain man novel idea for a couple years.
So in March-April 2015 I wrote the first of my Colter novels.
It got a one-star review shortly after going up on Amazon.
Sales slowed…and had never been that good to begin with.
But those sales remained steady, and after a time they picked up…with the help of subsequent volumes in the series.
Sure, it’s not my site so much that’s pulling in that income…but it was the site that gave me the idea.
A lot of people have been interested in those kind of novels, and many probably get to them after seeing my site and its mountain man articles.
So far I’ve sold over 4,400 of the six ‘Colter’ books, which has earned me just over $12,100.
If you see articles on your website that are popular (whether 100 hits or 10,000), then it’s a good indication that you should write more.
Don’t be afraid to go with book format, either. Don’t be afraid to switch from nonfiction to fiction, too.
If I hadn’t done both of those, my income from mountain man-related writings would be in the hundreds of dollars, not the thousands.
English Rocks: $5,000
I learned a lot of stuff during that time, and in 2012 I started a website to give other teachers those ideas.
No one visited.
Hardly anyone visits today.
I gave up on the site’s blog a couple years ago, back when it was getting about 300 unique visitors a day…if that.
Now it’s back down to around 100 to 150.
And I’m fine with that – the site continues to make me money.
Mostly, it’s the ideas I put onto the site…and then later put into an eBook.
Those ideas were simply games and lesson plans and little tricks that helped teachers get through an hour of teaching.
I knew the ideas worked, and other teachers I talked with knew they worked too.
So while no one visited the site where the ideas were originally written, they did buy the collected ideas in book format.
And those who buy the book get a link at the end to a special page on the site with dozens of downloads.
Since I published the book in 2013 it’s sold 743 copies.
Most are eBooks at $9.99 but many are print books at $19.95.
Those sales have netted me just over $5,000.
If you have ideas that are in your head, your website is a great place to get them out. They might make more sense there.
But remember – they might not make you any money. Perhaps another format would work better. Why not give it a try?
Google AdSense: $2,000
I decided to put up a post asking what people wanted to read.
No one commented for weeks, then someone I knew in China did.
She was interested in famous people from Montana, so I wrote up a monster, 4,000-word post on the subject.
It really started to get views, and then after waiting too long, I finally put some ads into the post.
I also wrote a lot of other posts like it, and put ads in them too.
Then the income started to come in.
All-time earnings from Google AdSense are now $2,033…which is a lot more than the $100 threshold I finally managed to pass in February 2015.
I started using Google AdSense in August 2012, but didn’t get serious about it until 2014.
Took over two years to get $100 and then in the two years since then I’ve made nearly $2,000 more.
Where is that money coming from?
Over 2,500 ads on this site and my ESL site…but mostly just 30 ads that are pulling in the bigger bucks.
- Michael Keaton famous celebrity post 1: $168
- Montana blog sidebar ad: $163
- Michael Keaton famous celebrity post 2: $107
- 25 Montanans post: $92
- Homepage ad: $85
- Cover design article: $81
- Montana famous post 3: $62
So that’s $758 just for those 7 ads…but remember, that’s stretched over a couple years.
Don’t be afraid to ask people what they want to read. If it takes off, don’t wait too long to monetize it.
Content Curation: $1,000
It was called Midweek Content Roundup and for awhile there it was getting up to 1,000 unique views on the day it went up.
I was quite pleased with that, and with the small increase in ad income for those days.
But boy…it’s a lot of work going around to sites each week, reading their stuff, picking the best, and then doing a short write-up for your readers!
I did it 101 weeks in a row.
I also collected those 101 weeks-worth of curated content and put it into two books: Stand Out and Get Noticed.
It was pretty simple, but time-consuming.
I had to cut-and-paste all the weekly posts into one document before categorizing them into social media marketing, content marketing, and SEO sections.
I then had to further categorize them into various categories in those sections, such as Facebook, Twitter, social media images, posting schedules, and whatnot.
Real pain in the ass, but people were willing to pay for that work.
The books never sold that well, maybe because they were priced around $10.
I did manage to sell 228 of them and that’s netted me $1,028.
If you’re doing a weekly post, collect them all for a year-end anthology.
It’s best to build this as the year goes on, perhaps on a monthly basis. If you don’t, you’ll have a lot of work at the end of the year.
I took things that I was interested in or that I was doing at the time, and I wrote about them.
People read them.
I wrote more.
More people read them.
I did this all on my two websites.
I noticed the traffic going up, and I switched those articles into book format and I made a lot of money.
I monetized some articles and I made a lot of money.
I got lucky.
But there were some good ideas and decisions that helped bring that luck about.
Take a look at your interests and put them to work for you.
It might take awhile, but maybe you’ll make $20,000 like I have.