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Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned blogger just looking for new tips, you’ve all done some research on how to make money blogging. Bloggers are constantly evolving the way they make money, which means it’s that much harder to stay ahead of the curve. In a recently published guide on 2016 digital advertising trends, Kyle Ivins of The Blogger Network stated the following:

“You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect to make money blogging forever.”

Bloggers need to evolve their monetization strategies the same way the digital advertising ecosystem is changing. 2016 will be a breakthrough year for bloggers relying on digital advertising to monetize. 2016 will be the year we finally see advancements in mobile advertising, video advertising, header bidding, private marketplaces, programmatic direct, and much more.

How To Make Money Blogging:  The 4 Steps

1. Know Your Audience

This is key no matter what size blogger or publisher you are. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, you’re never going to succeed. The Meridian Publisher Platform by sovrn has a module called “Audience Insights” that helps publishers understand the different segments of their readership and how much they’re worth to advertisers.

 
By understanding who is coming to your site, and how much advertisers are willing to spend on their engagement with that audience, you become better equipped to cultivate more of the right audience through targeted content.

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2. Follow The Right Metrics

One of the biggest challenges when you’re trying to make money blogging is knowing which revenue metrics are worth paying attention to. Don’t worry, we’ve come up with a list for you:

  • Revenue per visitor:  The purpose of running this equation is to gain a better understanding of the average value advertisers are placing on your readers.The eventual goal is to not only increase traffic, but to increase revenue per visitor as well. This indicates that you are increasing your value to the buy-side marketers.
  • Revenue per page:  By calculating how much revenue is generated from a particular page on your site, you gain a more in-depth understanding of how much each piece of content is worth. The goal is to discover which piece of content drives the most revenue.
  • Pages per visitor:  Your average pages per visitor is a metric that you can easily pull straight from Google Analytics and other site analytics tools. This metric provides a high-level understanding of reader engagement on your site. If you can determine how many pages each visitor views, you should be able to figure out a strategy for increasing that number by identifying reoccurring trends month over month.
  • Revenue per audience segment:  Running this calculation requires insight into your audience demographics, but many ad partners and analytics tools provide publishers with that info. The goal is to determine which one of your audience segments is generating the most revenue.

If you’re wondering how best to calculate each of these metrics, don’t worry, we did that for you too. Read this blog to see how you can calculate each of the above metrics to help you make money blogging in 2016.

3. Engagement First, Traffic Later

If you don’t have engaged readers, you’re doing something wrong. Reader engagement is one of the most reliable ways to determine the uniqueness and quality of your web traffic, which is important because that metric is one of the key indicators used by advertisers when determining how much they want to pay for your inventory. The more engaged and unique your traffic is, the higher rates advertisers will pay.

high volume of traffic + unique & (human) engaged readership = more money from your blogging efforts

The first step to creating content that promotes user engagement is understanding your site metrics. Good ways to identify high engagement include:

  • Low Bounce Rate: bounce rate is the number of visitors who land on your page and then immediately exit (by closing the window or going back to the previous page in their browser). 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.
  • Hits Your Time on Page Goal: once you publish an article, read through it three times – one at your normal speed, once a bit slower, and one time just skimming it. Time yourself each time, and that will help you pick a good time on page goal for that particular page. Pages that are hitting at or around that number are highly engaging posts.
  • Comments and Shares: People love to share great content and get involved in the conversation. Just make sure you are monitoring comments (either manually or through a comment plugin) to keep the spam away and join the conversation when the time is right!
  • High Page Authority (PA): Page Authority is a metric created by the SEO junkies over at Moz. 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! Focusing on increasing PA also has extreme SEO benefits; external backlinks are one of the most influential elements of Google’s SEO algorithm.

4. Optimize Your Ad Stack

This article does a good job of going into detail on how to make money blogging by optimizing your ad stacks, but I’ll give you the highlights here.

Let’s say you have a 300×250 ad zone that sees 10K daily ad requests. Below are two monetization scenarios. The first scenario represents a publisher utilizing multiple Ad Networks to monetize a 300×250 ad zone that sees 10,000 daily ad requests. The second scenario is that same publisher monetizing that same ad zone, but only using one Ad Network, while the second scenario depicts a publisher using only Ad Network filling at a 100%.

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By partnering with multiple Ad Networks, you’re able to leverage their collective scale and increase your overall bid density, which nets you more revenue for your impressions. While not all ad partners will be a good fit for your specific audience niche, it’s worth testing to find out when researching how to make money blogging.

If you’re still researching how to make money blogging, and you need help with organizing your ad stack, consider downloading sovrn’s free tool:  The Ad Stack Calculator. The Ad Stack Calculator helps publishers understand where they should put different ad partners based on historical performance.

When it comes to how to make money blogging, what tips do you have for your fellow blogger? Share them in the comments section here, or share with us on Twitter by tagging @sovrnholdings.

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