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Nothing fancy, but here are five actionable items you can use to start generating more revenue from your blog today.

1. Look at the data

Reader engagement is one of the most important site metrics you should be paying attention to because advertisers are willing to pay more for inventory with high reader engagement which means you’ll make money blogging.

make money blogging with analytics and audience data 2015-sovrn.com

Good ways to identify high engagement include:

  • Comments and Shares: Engagement first, traffic later
  • Pageviews: Generally used as criteria to decide the unit cost of advertisement and the most famous metrics is CPM
  • Traffic Breakdown: Understanding who is visiting your site and how they’re getting there is absolutely crucial to creating better content
  • Top Posts: Paying attention to the posts that are performing well will allow you to create the kind of content your readers want
  • External Links: Any time one of your pieces of content is being published on someone else’s website, be sure to request that they link back to your website
  • Low Bounce Rate: Pages with low bounce rates indicate that readers are not only reading the post, but are so delighted that they are going on to other pages in your site once they are done
  • High Page Authority: This number between 1 and 100 tells how many other sites on the web are linking back to that particular page. More links is a good indication that your content is engaging enough for other publishers to send traffic your way!

Once you look at all these metrics, you can act on it by creating more of the kind of content your publishers are connecting with. Whether you’re trying to figure out which piece of content is driving the most amount of traffic, which social media platform works the best for your site, or what time of day is the best time to publish content, you need the right tools to do the job. Which is why it’s so important to work with partner that are transparent with the data and are willing to help you understand it. If you’re in the business of monetizing your content, you’ll see the manifestation of all these metrics in your CPM and Fill Rate, AKA you make money blogging.

blog monetization data from meridian-sovrn.com

2. Create targeted (viral) content to help drive traffic

The more traffic you get, the more money you collect. Creating targeted content is a great way to help drive traffic to your site. Making sure your content is seen by as many people as possible is always a challenge, but by leveraging trending topics, hashtags and other popular mediums you inject yourself into a larger conversation with a more diverse readership. By starting with a larger initial audience, you allow for massive engagement and sharing.

Next time you sit down to write a post keep these tips in mind:

  • Research trending topics: Knowing what people are interested in and why will help you come up with your own spin on a hot topic.
  • Understand your target audience: This is arguably the most important step to any writer’s mission. Using reader analytics tools to help you understand who is coming to your site, where they’re coming from and how they’re getting there is crucial to understanding how you’re going to pitch your piece.
  • Craft a killer title (it helps with sharing): If you’re anything like me, this is the hardest part. How do I sum up all this gold in just one phrase? If you can summon your inner English major and draft a catchy headline, you might be surprised by its consequential effect on your post’s social sharing.
  • Design custom images (also helps with sharing): You don’t need a graphic designer for this. All you need is a halfway decent image editing program and access to great photos, icons, etc. You can get free high-resolution stock images from sites like these, or you can take them yourself. You’ll need to experiment and see what works for you, but I like to pull quotes from the post and add them to my images.
  • Write something that doesn’t suck: This is your base. If you write good content that you readers will enjoy, you’re already on the right track. This is the meat of what you do. This is the heart of your blog. I won’t pretend to tell you how to write good content, but I will suggest that you listen to your readers, ask questions from peers, and most importantly, always be learning.

3. Add more zones (up to 5/page)

Make money blogging by adding more ad zones to your site. However, more ad zones is not always the right solution for every publisher. If you already have 5 ad zones on one page, it might do more harm than good to add another. That being said, if you have 5 zones on a page but you think a different partner might better monetize that zone, it might be pertinent to switch your partners. Up to the recommended 5-zone limit, the more zones you have on a page the more money you’ll see.

4. Set strategic price floors

When it comes to CPM floor prices, you are welcome to set floors at any rate you feel your ad space should be valued. However, we have a few recommendations to help optimize performance.

The basics

First, your floor should be set lower than the CPM you wish to earn for every 1,000 impressions Sovrn serves on your site.

Real-time bidding (RTB) partners use price floors as a baseline for a competitive auction for publishers’ requests. In most cases, it is almost always the case that the eventual CPM earned by a publisher will be roughly twice the amount of the price floor. That being said, no matter the target CPM, Sovrn always recommends a price floor below $0.50 to improve your bid density.

Understand your ad server

The second important factor to consider when you set price floors is how you configure the settings on your ad server. Ad servers pace and optimize but do not pass back to other opportunities. It might be wiser to focus more on fill rate. Additionally, keeping up with updating expected CPMs inside the ad server is crucial when optimizing.

It all adds up

At sovrn, we firmly stand by the concept that a monetized impression, regardless of the CPM, is what makes our publishers actual money, whereas an unfilled request nets no revenue to anyone.

make money blogging 2015 use price floors for display ads-sovrn.com

Remember that a price floor is not your target CPM, rather the lowest price you are willing to accept. Raising the price floor can limit the number of auctions held for your inventory, so it’s important to understand the performance of each network you are passing to before making changes.

5. Take advantage of mobile and video

Marketers are begging to pay for quality mobile inventory, which means there are more opportunities for publishers to make money by either monetizing their current mobile inventory or by making their websites mobile-responsive.

Same goes for video. These CPMs are always much, much higher than both display and mobile, but the fill is always lower. Do some research with your current ad partners and see what offerings they have in this department. Work with them to create a strategic ad stack and start earning today.

Punch line: At the end of the day, site monetization boils down to understanding and acting on your data. If you can do that effectively, you’ll be creating targeted content that promotes user engagement, which will help make your inventory more appealing to advertisers, resulting in higher CPMs for all your hard work.

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