One thing I’ve learned in the two-and-a-half years I’ve been blogging is the importance of diversifying your income streams.
Relying on a sole income for your blog can be risky. I’ve heard stories about blogs who relied solely on Adsense, only to find themselves banned from the program with no explanation. A stellar affiliate can also quickly dry up if there’s a change to the program or if the product becomes less attractive to customers.
Relying on Google for all of your traffic and income can put you in a tough situation. Panda and Penguin updates have hammered legitimate sites by dropping them in the search engine rankings.
A drastic loss in search traffic will lead to less Adsense and CPM revenue, less affiliate conversions and fewer subscribers to your newsletter. [Yet another reason why you should start an email list early.]
This is exactly why I’ve focused on building diversified blog income streams to help me steer through the ever-changing online world.
I started my main blog, Boomer & Echo, back in August, 2010. It quickly became one of the most popular personal finance blogs in the country, winning a Plutus Award for best personal finance blog in Canada last year.
Some of the most popular articles on Boomer & Echo were about loyalty programs and rewards credit cards.
So, in 2011, I started a couple of niche sites called Rewards Cards Canada and Rewards Cards USA to explore those topics in-depth.
I did a lot of guest posting that year, and was a bi-weekly contributor on MapleMoney. That’s where I was noticed by the editor of a new personal finance site called Moneyville, which was powered by the Toronto Star.
I began writing twice a week for Moneyville and I had the freedom to link back to my blogs. This not only improved traffic but helped strengthen my link profile with a high authority site pointing back to my sites. Did I mention I was getting paid to write? Win-win!
As traffic grew, so did many other opportunities to earn extra revenue.
I joined a CPM network with a number of other personal finance blogs in Canada. Big brands started contacting me with legitimate sponsored post – or advertorial – opportunities.
Then, once I was getting enough traffic to generate a few conversions, I was able to join the best affiliate programs and increase my pay outs.
I looked for affiliate programs with products that offered the best value for my readers – like an exclusive deal or a sign-up bonus. Then I added links to high traffic, relevant pages, or I wrote new content to highlight the product.
But the most important thing I did to help diversify my blog income was to start a newsletter. As they say in online marketing, it’s all in the list.
I started collecting emails through a plug-in called OptinPop, which was set to pop-up after 20 seconds of a first-time visitor landing on my site. The plugin was so effective that I was getting 10 to 12 email sign-ups a day.
It didn’t take long to build a list of more than 3,000 email subscribers.
I’ve created an auto-responder series of exclusive content that I send to this list twice a month. When a special offer or a great deal comes along, I’ll send out an email blast to promote the product.
This drives people back to my sites and helps increase affiliate conversions.
So what’s the point of building all of these different traffic streams and income sources?
Well, despite my overall traffic levels plateauing since April 2012 and my search traffic decreasing by 30% over that time, I’ve been able to steadily increase my online income.
Last year I brought in more than $65,000 from 11 income sources.
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Search traffic continues to be unstable at best, but in just a short time I’ve been able to minimize my reliance on Google by creating diverse traffic and income streams.
This approach has paid off so far and should help me to make money online for years to come.
Wow…just wow. This post is full of good info and no fluff. Love it. Look forward to following you further.
Great info. I’m working on diversifying my income too, but I’m a little late with the list building. I’m on it though. Thanks.