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How to Make Money Off Your Blog (Part 2): Text Link Ads

[Editor’s Note: This is part two in a series of posts on how to make money off your blog. Part 1 was all about The Deck. Here’s the description from the first post: Obviously there are a million different ways to try and make money off a website, the easiest of which is slapping a couple Google ads on there and calling it a day. These three ideas interest me because they’re different. They’re not your regular CP-whatever deal, instead they’re tapping into what makes blogs unique/special and monetizing that.]

As promised, here’s part deuce:

2. Text Link Ads

A few weeks ago a friend of mine mentioned their blog had just moved into the black. When I asked how, he responded that once you hit PageRank 6, life is easy.

It’s a funny Googlefied world we live in where such a statement hold so much truth. With the way Google works, once your site hits a level of popularity people are willing to pay you just to link to them. Sure there are moral implications with this, after all Google’s whole system is based on the idea that a link is equal to a vote of confidence. But who’s to say confidence can’t be bought?

Lots of companies are going around the web finding PageRank 4 and above sites and paying for links. As I mentioned, this is part of the appeal of The Deck: Rather than redirecting ads they are direct links.

Text Link Ads takes it a step further. As explained on the site, “We specialize in placing static html links on high quality, high traffic web properties.” Basically, they’re letting sites sell their PageRank. The interesting thing here is it doesn’t matter how many, if any, people click through on the ads. All that matters is Google picks them up and gives the appropriate bump to the linked site. Since something like PageRank is so easily quantified it’s fairly easy to quantify real value, as opposed to regular CPM buys where people may or may not pay attention to ads, less click on them. Realizing that Google is the center of the web universe, trying to raise your rank based on specific keywords can lead to real results for some businesses. Real results are worth real money.

The Lessons

1. Google is the center of the universe. Where you fall in the results is worth real traffic and thus, real dollars.
2. Better content leads to more incoming links. More incoming links leads to better PageRank. Better PageRank leads to the ability to charge higher rates for text links. Once again the lesson is to write good stuff.
3. Everything in this new media world is an influence game: PageRank is just another measure of it.

The bottom line is that everything comes down to your ability to create interesting content. Since the blogosphere is still such a small world, some of the most committed readers tend to also be linkers. It’s all about your audience. They make or break everything you do. Cultivate that audience, they’re your most valuable asset. It doesn’t need to be about getting new readers, just keep the ones you’ve got happy. If you’ve got a happy and committed reader base of smart individuals, there is always going to be someone willing to pay for access. (Hint hint!)

To be continued . . .

September 6, 2006