Small Business Marketing by Jillian Shaw Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations for the Small Business

How To Profit From A Local Blog

03.08.2010 · Posted in Blogging

If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen Laura’s question about turning a profit from a blog that already has a great following and lots of good content.  Here’s my answer.

Laura’s Question:

I receive over 7000 unique visits to my website. I am ranked high on Google #1 for many terms. Now how do I keep my visitors? How do I turn this into a profit?

My answer:

This is a great question. Without knowing a little bit more about the site, I can’t promise a spot on answer, but I can give it a shot.

I see you have a couple of sites on your LinkedIn account (see how easy it was for me to find that out – good job on marketing yourself online!) One for your web design business (http://www.coloradomountainmedia.com) and one for your blog (www.leadvillelifestyle.com).

Based on your question I’m going to assume you’re talking about the blog. It looks like a really great resource for news and resources in Leadville. Here’s a quick list of suggestions:

First we’ll address question one – how do I keep my visitors?

1. Take off the requirement to have an account in order to see everything. If people have to spend 2 minutes filling out an account, they ain’t gonna unless they REALLY want to see whatever’s on the other site. Chances are they can find it elsewhere if they want to. Also, people are spamaphobes now, and if you want their email address you’re gonna have to get it another way.

2. Set up a Twitter account for this page and encourage visitors to follow you. They should be able to do that from any page on the site.

3. Offer an e-newsletter. People will willingly give you their email address if you offer them something worthwhile. Offer a monthly newsletter with local deals or hidden treasures of Leadville.

Part 2 of your question was – how do I turn this into a profit?

1. Here’s what I would do if I were you – obviously you have a lot of connections in your area. Use them! You recommend bars, restaurants, concerts and all kinds of stuff. Make a trade with them. Every once in a while, write a post recommending a local business that you like and set up an affiliate link with them. You can then get a cut of the profits on whatever they are marketing. Be sure you truly believe in what you’re selling, though, because your readers trust you to give it to them straight.

2. Sell ads for local businesses and charge a monthly fee. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT suggesting you junk up your website with ads. I’m thinking one, maybe two locations on your page, to start. And see how that goes. It probably won’t be super profitable, but it’s something.

3. Online affiliate marketing. Why are people going to your site? Are they going to be traveling there? Are your visitors particularly interested in the arts and music? Go to an affiliate marketing site like linkshare.com and see if there are any products or services that it would make sense to advertise on your site. Setting up an account and starting is easy. If it doesn’t make sense, though, don’t do it. Don’t try and sell viagra to a nun. Pick a product/service that truly aligns with the needs of your audience. You can probably learn more about what those needs are by checking to see what keywords are bringing them in through Google Analytics.

Hope this gives you a little start. Thanks for the question!  Also, if you’re serious about turning this blog into a business in itself, start following Problogger and Copyblogger – those are their twitter handles, and of course their blogs.  They know 926,508,362 times more than me about blogging.

Anybody out there actually making money blogging?  Got any advice for Laura?  Please post it in the comments below!

Jillian's Currently Reading: Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business
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