Earn Money Online: CPC vs CPM vs CPA

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As you start down the road of blogging and earning money online you’re going to be confronted by a lot of acronyms. A few of the most important ones when it comes to online revenue are CPC, CPM, and CPA.

CPC – Cost Per Click:

Cost Per Click (CPC) ads pay you, wait for it… , per click received. The biggest example of this ad type out there is an ad system like Google Adsense. You may have 1,000,000 impressions (each appearance on a page view), but if no one clicks the ad then you get $0.00. Not exactly the way to make it big as a blogger.

The good news with CPC ads is that the proper placement and relevance to the topic can result in very high returns. CPC ads inserted into the middle of your post, right where readers are looking, will have a high CTR (click through rate) while the ads put off to the side and away from your content are likely to be rarely discovered and clicked.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand:

Cost Per Thousand (CPM) – the ‘M’ comes from the Roman numeral for one thousand, but you can just remember it for “iMpressions” – ads are not based on the amount of clicks but rather the size of viewership. You can think of this more akin to newspaper ads because there’s no interaction required for you to get paid. Of course, if the advertiser sees very low CTR then they are likely not to renew with you.

You can find a great method of CPM ads through Value Click Media.

CPA – Cost Per Action:

Cost Per Action ads are typically referral operations. You promote a product or service, someone clicks through your links, signs up or whatever the required step is, and you get paid. The CPA ads can be very profitable if you find the right niche to target. The important idea behind these is that the ads must be relevant to be successful. If your site is about sports and you’re promoting baby clothes then you may pick up an occasional random referral, but you’d be better off referring sports event tickets.

Along with having sidebar ads for CPA systems you can go the route of making personal recommendations. But beware, if you’re trying to promote and sell something that’s not very good then you risk your reputation with readers. If the product or service is great and something you use then I’d say you’ve found a good item to recommend.

There are many great methods to monetize your website, but don’t stop with just one. In an upcoming post I’ll tell you how to “stack” ad systems to make sure you’re getting the most out of your website.

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Track Your Niche Topic Using RSS Readers

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Part of the process in selecting a topic for your blog is to consider the topics you already read everyday. If you get up each morning and go to all your favorite websites on sports or celebrity gossip then that’s a good indicator of what direction you should go in with your new blog. The problem then becomes how to best manage your time when you want to write about these topics.

You can easily kill an entire lunch break by manually going to every one of those websites you enjoy and scrolling through looking for new content. One of the things you’ll learn with blogging is to streamline your process of finding content, formulating your ideas, and then publishing your work quickly.

Instead of using hours inefficiently scanning the Internet landscape you could be using RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds and bringing all your content to one place using free services like Google Reader or my personal favorite, NetVibes.

RSS readers like these will bring content from all of your favorite sites in to one panel view where you can quickly scan for new material, consume it, and move on. Faster is better and when you can save time researching you’ll have more time for writing.

My recommendations on building your RSS lists for reading is to consider the sites you already enjoy. See which websites they link out to and add those sites’ RSS feeds to your reader as well. This will be the source material for much of your blog and now you can do it in a fast, efficient manner. You’re one step closer to being a better blogger.

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Using WordPress Timestamp To Schedule Your Posts

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Keeping a steady flow of new material on your blog is a key component to retaining your readers’ interest. So what do you do when you know you’re going to be away from your computer but want to keep those posts publishing? It’s easy. WordPress has built-in functionality that allows you to write a post then set it to publish at a later time.

A great example of this idea could likely be found on your favorite websites already. Sites like Gizmodo or Consumerist don’t publish all of their material at once. That’d be overload. Instead their articles are set to publish periodically throughout the day.

Aside from allowing you to publish your work when you see fit it also allows you to increase pageviews by leading your readers to understand that if they check back frequently during the day they’re likely to find new material. You’re giving them your content in doses rather than all at once.

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If you know you’re going to be gone for a few days try writing some posts in advance and then using the timestamp feature (see the screencap of the feature to the right) you can set the posts to appear every few days. Instead of having your blog post publish immediately you can select the date and time you want it to appear, then hit Publish/Schedule.

This will help keep up the appearance of a dutifully maintained website even when you can’t always be there.

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WordPress Plugin Review: WP Super Cache

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Getting lots of traffic to your blog is awesome. Getting so much traffic to your site all at once that your server, or shared account buckles and shuts down your site is not so awesome. Luckily, there’s a great, free WordPress plugin called WP Super Cache to help you avoid problems like that.

WP Super Cache saves your site by serving up static html versions of your webpages instead of turning the crank and generate a new php file for every visitor. You can think of it like a painting in a museum. If every time someone wanted to see a piece of art the artist had to repaint it the demand would be too much too handle. Instead, the painting is created once and stays there for everyone to see, no matter how many people crowd around at once to see it.

This plugin has been a lifesaver for me at critical times. The last thing you want your potential, new readers to see is a big “Internal Server Error” message instead of your blog, especially when something so important to warrant this flood of traffic is happening. You need your site up and running so you can serve that hotly desired content and your ads. Downtime = lost readership = lost present and future revenue.

If you’re uncertain about using the Super Cache plugin you can always check with your hosting company and they’ll likely be eager to confirm if it’s working because that helps take the load off their backs too.

Download and install the free WP Super Cache plugin. I highly recommend it.

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How To Create A Favicon – Brand Your Blog

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Have you noticed how some of your favorite websites have their logos next to their url in the browser? That’s called a “favicon” and I’m going to show you how to make your own.

First up you’ll need to have your website logo on hand. Don’t have one? You can use free tools like CoolText.com. Once you have your logo ready you’ll jump over to the tried, tested, and true (read: free and easy) tool for Favicon generation from DynamicDrive.

DynamicDrive’s tool has just a few limitations. It supports gif, jpg, png, and bmp formats. If you want a transparency then you can keep it with your .gif or .png formats. You’ll also be limited to 150 kB filesize.

I start with a 64×64 pixel avatar style icon and then let the favicon tool shrink it down to 16×16 .ico file for me. You can start with any size within the filesize limitation, but make sure it’s already square or you could get an odd aspect ratio squishing effect.

After creating your file you can save it to your computer and then using an FTP client (I prefer FileZilla) upload it to your root directory. If you’re running WordPress then that would be the same location as your wp-admin, etc. folders where you find other files like index.php, etc.

It’s that easy. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t immediately see your favicon show up next to the site address as this can take some time to appear. If you switch to a new browser that you don’t often use (I’m looking at you IE) then you might see it faster.

Congratulations. Now you’re one step closer to a more professional, authoratitive looking blog!

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Earn Money Online with Value Click Media

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Now that I’ve shown you ways to earn money online with CPC (cost per click) ads like Google Adsense and dynamic, in-text ads like InfoLinks I’m going to show you a great option for CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

Value Click Media is my recommend entry-level provider for CPM ads. With CPM ads you are paid a scaled amount based on how many pageviews you can generate on your site. With CPC methods like AdSense if you have a million pageviews but zero clicks then you earn zero dollars. CPM shifts the burden of performance from you, the publisher, to the advertiser. If you push 100,000 pageviews in a day and earn $1/CPM, that’s one dollar for every thousand impressions (pageviews), and you have 3 ad placements on your site then you would earn $300 that day.

I recommend Value Click Media to beginners and early-stage bloggers because of its relatively low traffic level requirements of just 3,000 pageviews a month. That might sound like a lot of pageviews now, but if you keep following my blogging tips you’ll be getting that many impressions before breakfast in no time!

Once you’ve been blogging for several months you may be ready to graduate up to higher tier CPM ad networks like Tribal Fusion. The benefit there is when you can push more ads you’ll have the chance to push ads from higher tier advertisers which pay more money. So let that be your goal, but start now with Value Click Media.

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Earn Money Online with Infolinks

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Dynamic text links are the new in-thing to earn money online. Sure, those double green lined links that change each time you refresh the page have been around but just recently have they been options for entry-level bloggers. I’ve tried several of them and can tell you which is the best for dynamic, in-text advertising.

Initially I started with Kontera when it made the great move to let in low-traffic generators like I was several years ago. As time wore on I was disappointed with the low eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) rates and even more troubled by the adult-themed ads they’d run including ones for meeting adulterous wives. Seriously.

Next I moved on to Vibrant IntelliTXT which was exciting because this was the first high-traffic tier advertiser I had the chance to join. If you’re running less than a half-million pageviews a month then they’re not too interested. Vibrant worked out great for awhile, but then payout rates completely tanked. Apparently this happened across the board and so, like many other publishers with them, I left for greener pastures.

InfoLinks approached me as that opportunity for greener pastures and after over a year I’ve been incredibly satisfied. High pay rates combined with excellent control over your account and really fast publisher support has made InfoLinks my favorite dynamic, in-text advertiser system.

InfoLinks‘ system now allows you to group multiple websites under one account with the flexibility to control the ad appearances and subject focus on each site individually. This is important in case you’re trying to cover polarizing topics that don’t overlap between sites. InfoLinks also provides monthly payout via PayPal and bankwire transfer so you won’t be waiting long for the money you’ve earned.

I highly recommend InfoLinks for expanding your blog income. Register here.

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How To Start Blogging – 5 Easy Steps

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When I was looking to expand my blog network I spoke with a friend in the hopes of recruiting his expertise who asked me, “how do you start blogging?” “It’s easy!” I said, but then told him that would be one long email and I’d rather talk him through it. Realizing I’ve been asked that question a lot I decided to go ahead and put together this post with everything you need to know to start a blog and make it successful.

1) Select a topic for your blog:

Picking the hot topic of the week won’t work for your blog. You’ll want to select a topic that is something important to you and something you’d consider yourself something of expert on. It can be anything, but if you’re not passionate about the topic then you’ll lose heart and lose interest!

Read more on how to pick a subject for your blog.

2) Register your domain name:

Your domain name will say everything about your site so choose wisely! Try and include a clear indicator about your blog’s topic. While many of the most obvious domain names have already been registered you can still find plenty of options if you’re creative and flexible. Domains can be registered cheaply at less than $8/year with GoDaddy.

Read more on how to select and register you website domain.

3) Choose between self-hosted and free services:

There are free options for hosting your website, but the trade-off can be in control and authority. With a free service like Blogger you’ll be limited in what you can do and how you can do it. Self-hosting is surprisingly inexpensive at just $8/month and allows you the flexibility to host your site, run the applications you want, and give you the control you’ll want and need. HostGator is my preferred hosting solution.

Read more on picking between self-hosted and free services. and hosting options.

4) Choose your blogging software:

Once you’ve set up your domain and hosting account you’ll need to get your blogging software put in place. Luckily the best options for blogging are entirely free and open source which means a vast community of support. Without a doubt WordPress has become the de facto blog platform and for good reason. After carefully reviewing my options years ago I chose WordPress and have never looked back.

Read more about how to selecting your blog software.

5) Monetizing your blog:

Adding revenue streams to your website is a broad topic for a whole other post, but to get you started here is an option to consider. Your easiest upfront option will be to start with Google Adsense. With its low entrance requirements you likely won’t have any problems being accepted in to this efficient revenue method.

Read more on earning money online with Google Adsense, InfoLinks, and Value Click.

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Earn Money Online with Google Adsense

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Once you’ve set up your new website you’re probably anxious to start earning money online. Well I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

First the bad news: many money making options require careful reviews and applications consisting of an inspection of the age and quality of your site. Without a steady, developed traffic source you’ll be initially declined by most ad systems. Those will come with time though so let’s look at your better options.

The good news is that Google Adsense is just about the easiest way to earn money online. Getting started is easy and you can be up and running with ads almost immediately after setting up your new blog. Adsense has no traffic requirements to join and for the most part will only inspect your sites to insure you are not creating MFA sites. MFA sites are “Made For Adsense.” These are spammy sites with nothing but scrapped content and Adsense ads on them.

To get started with Google Adsense you can register here for your account.

I’ll have a lot of suggestion for the best ways to implement Google Adsense on your site, but that’s a topic for another post.

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Outsource As Much As You Can

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When you’re on a shared hosting plan you’ll want to start with for blogging your resources are limited. If you try and consume too much CPU or memory on the server you could be faced with lockdown periods on your account which loses you money. Luckily there are many ways to avoid that issue and one of them is to outsource as much functionality as you can.

Outsourcing embeddable functionality is great and an idea that you see all the time from a popular web service but might not have considered before as a model to follow for your own blog: YouTube.

I loved the high-quality movie trailers I could self-host on my movie blog, HWHills.com, but the file sizes were massive which consumed lots of bandwidth and processing resources to deliver to readers. Finally I gave in and started using embeddable clips from sources like YouTube, a model example of outsourcing. Movie clips and trailers became so much easier and faster, making it a better experience for everyone.

Another example is with ad hosting which can be burdensome on your server during periods of high traffic loads. I was running the excellent OpenX ad server on my Host Gator account which worked wonderfully except when there were so many simultaneous visitors that it crashed my server at a critical time costing my potential revenue. Since then I’ve moved to using OpenX’s free hosted service. It’s the exact same software and interface, but it’s on their servers which frees up my hosting account to focus on delivering my content.

When you reach the point that you’re starting to look at software options to upload and install on your hosting server you should stop and research external solutions to what you need. I’ve found free solutions to almost every idea I’ve wanted to implement and sometimes they provide even better results for my readers so it’s a win-win outcome.

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