That is something I am often asked, and the quick answer to both is yes and no, let me explain.
If there is one thing that has helped blogs establish themselves in the past few years it is the possibility to earn income through them, either by the small text ads you often see on sites.
Or through affiliate schemes, such as Amazon, where you promote products or services.
Roughly speaking I think there are two types of blogs, the first is a company site that helps promote a business, while the other is a more "newsy" and article driven website which is keen to draw an audience.
If you are running a blog to help promote your business then I would stay clear of running the text like advertisement blocks as they will feature competitors, maybe not the wisest move.
Although you shouldn't baulk at featuring links out to interesting websites and resources that will help readers in the articles you write, featuring other businesses could impact on your success, and while it is possible to filter the ads displayed you could spend more time overseeing this instead of writing articles.
But I would take a look at using a service such as Amazon Associates, not really to boost your income, but more as a way to show you are in touch with your particular field, be that the region in France you live in or the latest "green" publications if you are keen to promote your eco-friendly status.
There is no need to write a thousand words that would grace the pages of a literary supplement, just provide an idea of what the book is saying and how it has had an impact, or not, on your own thinking.
For your first reviews there is most probably no need to buy any new books, just take a look at your bookshelf to see what readers of your site may find interesting.
You can easily link these reviews across to Amazon, or other bookstores, so that people can buy a title. And I would also feature your reviews either through a category of its own, or by pointing to them via a list in a column of your site.
But what if you are keen to write a more "newsy" type of website, similar to This French Life, on your region, a particular subject or maybe even a hobby.
It is important to remember that adverts need eyeballs, so looking at ways to grow your readership is important, I will look at this in another article, but in the meantime how can you get the best out of the adverts you run?
I would use the principles outlined above regarding Amazon and just provide a simple link with your affiliate code in both near the top of your piece and right at the end, take a look at some of the reviews I've written to see what I mean.
Unfortunately I have never had much luck with the graphic blocks that feature a book cover, price details and a buy button provided by Amazon, for me simple links work best.
The commission you earn from Amazon sales is around five per cent, and it is free to join, and whilst you are not going to earn a great deal from book sales, a slice of sales of camera equipment, music gear or the latest gadgets, especially if they relate to your subject, can soon add up.
Next stop Google Adsense and one of the best things about this is that you can set it up and just let the tech behind it display related advertising that can actually prove helpful to readers.
Again it is free to join Adsense and you have a great deal of freedom to design and measure the adverts running on your site so it is well worth spending some time to understand how things work.
A useful feature is Channels which allows you to assign an individual name to different advertising code, and it is from this that I know advert blocks placed at the foot of articles are much more successful than those in side columns.
Most websites work in columns, often two or three, and we place the important content in the middle and run the adverts around the side.
In effect you are conditioning people not to look at your ads, so if you can place the Adsense adverts within the body of your articles you will see an increase in the money you earn.
And again through measuring the effectiveness of adverts, designing them so that they are similar in style to your overall site will also mean more people read them and if they spot something interesting will click on through, earning your some pennies.
But the key thing to remember about your blog is that you shouldn't be in it just for the money, they are very powerful tools that can open up opportunities elsewhere which may prove even more fulfilling and exhilarating.
Don't forget to add any comments or questions about running a blog via the form below and I will look to answer them either here or in a future article.
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