I do not have a marketing plan as I only planned to do this website as a hobby and for school. The only active marketing for my website was telling my friends and family about it. I also made a logo that I thought was cute and put it on my private Instagram. As I did not plan on a lot of traffic on my website monetization did not even cross my mind. If I were to make a marketing plan I would probably post a few of my dream blog posts on Reddit and post my mini assignments on a public Instagram. I would have also made art to go with my post and post those on Instagram as well. The last thing I would have done is fixed my home page to make more sense and not be as hectic. If I had gone with this plan I would have considered monetizing my website with gaming ads and sleep products. This is all theoretical as monetizing my website seems like too much of a bother for a hobby.
In the transcript of a podcast by George Philip, Jennifer Anne Lazo, Rooham Jamali, and Rudy Al Jaroodi they talk about an experiment they ran to see how just about everything leaves a digital footprint nowadays. The narrator at one point during this podcast had stated, “The findings from our interviews made us realize that a lot of people mentioned Facebook or Google Maps as a form of Digital Trail they were creating. But most, like Amanda, were pretty unaware of the extent of their Digital Trails extending to their daily use of contactless cards and the majority of applications on their phones.” I found myself in this sentence as I also had no idea just how far my digital breadcrumbs reached. Before reading this transcript I would have said my digital footprint would just be my YouTube and school work, however, now I would say my digital footprint is all over the place. If my bus card, debit card, and two credit cards are part of my digital footprint as well as my Google Maps searches one could probably map out my entire university life. This podcast opened my eyes to how much of my life is on the internet. I would say I am a private person and have not personally put myself out on the internet so this realization really shook me, as I am really careful when it comes to my information on the internet. For example, I have yet to like or comment on any videos on YouTube because my name is connected to my YouTube and I have never posted a picture of myself on a non-private Instagram account. This podcast made me realize I shouldn’t be so scared of the internet as I aready have a large digital persona.
This process post marks the final one in my journey with Publishing 101 and it’s safe to say it has been a story of ups and downs. Blogging and content creation is not an easy task especially when other events in life cloud the mind and stifle creativity. So in an effort to not make this piece completely tear-inspiring, I have decided to leave with a few notes on monetizing your website through various opportunities like SEO and some ways that you can plan to make money on the side by honing in on your passion, in other words, the next steps for your blog.
Making money from a website can be a rewarding and redeeming practice for those that blog as a “passion project” but know that “passion alone does not pay the rent” and with a growing movement in online monetization, there is a multitude of digital supports for such website incorporations (Shwake 2022). One of the primary examples of such support is cost-effective Search Engine Optimization aka SEO. TakeLesson’s by Microsoft defines SEO as, “a digital marketing strategy that targets a website’s presence in search results on search engines” contributing to more clicks and visits to the site and therefore more traffic toward affiliate links or other on-site revenue materials (2021). SEO also offers a competitive edge to your blog as majority of site landings are from organic search engines like Google. This is espescially critical as “Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, … DuckDuckGo, and many, many others (Hollingsworth 2021). SEO also serves as a primary standpoint on keeping up to date with “major changes” and the “environment” of the cyberverse, understanding what exactly consumers are looking for, and if you wish, how you can tailor your content to those search patterns (Hollingsworth 2021). In application, there are many sites and services that exist to assist with developing SEO in a cost-effective way, from Google’s own Starter Guide to gig-based professionals on Fiverr, there are plenty of options for a range of blog sizes.
Reflecting on my own blog and my personal next steps I can resonate with the quote, “monetization is math, not magic” because as much as I am not a mathematically inclined individual it takes some easy addition to understand that sometimes a growth mindset is all you need to get on top of creating ideas that can lead to making money from your content (Jackson 2022). My blog focuses on my own writing and exploration of poetry that could translate into a physical sale of my own poetry book. I can see a demand for such items with the growth in the wellness sector and the rising popularity of poetry books like ‘milk and honey’ by Rupi Kaur and ‘helium’ by Rudy Francisco, both extensively influential and profitable authors. This ability to “sell the skills you already have directly to people by working on specific projects or by teaching them how to do something” can translate into a range of personal talents that aren’t limited to things like poetry or prose but the whole range of services that people would be interested in purchasing (Georgiou 2023). These sorts of integrations of services can be done in a variety of ways including using sites like Wix and Weebly‘s e-commerce integration subscriptions to easily manage purchases or setting up WordPress e-commerce platforms. One of the most popular avenue’s is Shopify which allows for specialized ‘Shopify Apps’ and social media integration to streamline connectivity for consumers on all platforms.
From SEO to specialized content sales, creating a blog and discovering how you can achieve a monetary edge in the online world can be beneficial in fueling one’s journey with self-publishing. It is important to understand that money is not everything though and if your content, like some sites that I have reviewed in this class, is specifically for non-profit benefits it is important to stay true to your unwritten blog charter and take chart your steps from there.
Stay updated on site with my continuing ‘ink’ content and for any announcements related to a potential print publishing in the future, thank you for all your support so far.
Ajao, Adedayo. “What Is SEO? and How to Use It in Your Writing.” TakeLessons Blog, TakeLessons, 5 Mar. 2021, https://takelessons.com/blog/2021/03/what-is-seo-and-how-to-use-it-in-your-writing?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=richqna_answer&utm_campaign=richqna&utm_trigger=richqna&utm_query=define+seo&utm_content=blogsqna%2Btitle&muid=3DC663CFCA596F442B4C7151CB266E98&utm_region=CA&utm_position=Default.
Georgiou, Katrina. “How to Sell Your Skills: 10+ Great Ways to Put Yourself out There.” WikiHow, WikiHow, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.wikihow.com/Sell-Your-Skills.
Hollingsworth, Sam. “15 Reasons Why Your Business Absolutely Needs Seo.” Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Journal, 9 Aug. 2021, https://www.searchenginejournal.com/why-seo-is-important-for-business/248101/#close.
Jackson, Brian. “How to Monetize a Blog in 2023 (13 Profitable Ways).” Kinsta®, Kinsta®, 21 Oct. 2022, https://kinsta.com/blog/how-to-monetize-a-blog/.
Shwake, Emily. “How to Monetize a Blog and Maximize Profits.” Wix Blog, Wix Blog, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.wix.com/blog/2019/01/how-to-monetize-blog/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ms_us_dsa_Feb20%5Eblog_bl_monetize_dsa&experiment_id=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wix.com%2Fblog%2F2019%2F01%2Fhow-to-monetize-blog%5Ebb%5E79233688671437%5Ehow+to+monetize+your+blog&msclkid=fdf906c5c68f1f2a5af562ee5beb7225.
This week, we learned all about how to optimize our blogs for every website’s best friend and greatest enemy: Google. So I decided to look closer at Spilling the Royaltea’s analytics to see who is visiting my site. Then, I did the same to my search engine optimization or SEO to try to figure out how to grow my audience and rank higher on Google searches. (For an explanation of the random underlines, read further):
Diving into Analytics
This week, I did a deep dive into Google Analytics for my website, and looked at who’s been looking at Spilling the Royaltea. Here’s what I found in terms of website traffic:
Since Spilling the Royaltea’s inception, there have been exactly 100 new users and 745 page views! The number of users has stayed pretty consistent over time, with the occasional peak of 5 users a day. While it’s good to know that I haven’t been losing viewers, it would be nice to see this increase sometime soon. Hopefully, by improving my SEO in the coming weeks, I’ll see an improvement shortly.
Unfortunately, since I just recently enabled the option to view demographics, I am unable to see data on this section of my website analytics. Seeing my audience’s demographics would be extremely useful when ensuring I’m catering my data to the right people. For example, I am currently assuming that my audience consists mostly of young people, so I’m using quite a bit of Gen Z jargon in my content posts. But if mostly older people are looking at my blog, I’d have a little bit of a problem, since they might not understand the nuances of the language I’m using. When this part of Google Analytics updates, I’ll be sure to use it to help decide my content.
Implementing Effective SEO
Hollingsworth really drives home the importance of implementing SEO in businesses (and I guess Spilling the Royaltea could be considered one?) to help increase visitors to websites. For example, it builds trust and credibility. By creating an accessible, effective user experience that can be easily found on Google, people feel more comfortable going to my site for information. I’ll also get a larger audience by building this sense of trust and credibility. It even helps me with my knowledge of the web because I need to stay updated about who’s doing what to improve their SEO.
And in this week’s lecture, we learned exactly how we might go about improving our SEO, so I tried out a few of these tactics this week. Firstly, we learned about implementing effective keywords. These keywords are what searchers enter into Google, so I need to make sure I’m implementing enough of these to improve my ranking on Google searches. So for this process post, with the help of ChatGPT, I entered the prompt: Generate keywords for a blog post related to analytics and SEO, and here’s what it gave me:
And while I couldn’t include every single one of these keywords in my posts, I tried my best to organically include as many as I could (or slightly varied versions of them), the first occurrence of which I underlined throughout my post.
We also learned about including strategic headers. Although I thought I was already doing this pretty well, I learned about a few things I could do to further improve. For example, I should be using actionable headers, which I did for this post: I included the verbs “dive,” “implement,” and “create” to add some dimension and interest. I also included keywords in my headers, like “analytics” and “SEO.”
The final thing I want to do is work on the branding of my site. So far, although my website is consistent in its theme, nothing in terms of branding really makes it stand out and become memorable for visitors. I think that part of creating this “memorability” is making a logo. Coming soon…
Creating my Digital Garden?
But what about creating a digital garden just for me? In my previous process post about analytics, I spoke of maintaining my site as a digital garden instead of monetizing it and trying to grow my audience. Because of this, I concluded that I wouldn’t worry too much about gaining readers, just because I wanted to make it a space for just me and my own thoughts.
However, after learning about analytics and SEO this week, I realized that I’m already doing a bunch of the things I need to do to increase my audience like summarizing my article in the subheaders and writing high quality information. And after all, I realized that making a few improvements to potentially invite more people into my blog requires a few simple changes that don’t take away from the intimacy of my blog like I previously feared. So at the end of the day, having a big audience to share my interests with sounds like a pretty great thing to me.
Digital footprints, digital trails, and digital breadcrumbs – the data trails we leave behind us when we use technology are something many of us have been warned about our whole lives.
I Know A Lot About This
Like my previous post on digital literacy, I’ve learned quite a bit about digital footprints, especially as a Communication major. In one of my classes, I even produced a 10-minute documentary on the effects of digital footprints on future employment opportunities. But in that documentary, I emphasized individual actions and the implications of “cancel culture,” and how to mitigate the impacts of digital footprints on young people’s futures.
But on Pod Academy’s podcast, they explain that digital footprints don’t just encompass people’s individual actions and choices made on the internet. A lot of information is spread unintentionally when using any sort of technology with a chip in it. For example, when I use my phone, it’s constantly communicating with cell towers and the internet too. That means that my phone’s always giving apps information about me and my environment.
And as an avid technology user, this is a little worrisome. I don’t exactly want my phone tracking me and giving all these apps tons of information at all times. But also, I’ve sort of gotten to a point where I don’t care. Like many others expressed on Pod Academy, the creation of our digital trails has been so ubiquitous that people simply don’t worry about it anymore.
The information collected from our digital trails or footprints is often used to improve outreach and grow audiences. For example, for my own blog, I installed Google Analytics, which allows me to track people’s browsing habits on my website.
As of March 18, 2023, within the past 28 days, I’ve had 35 users visit my site. I can also see information about my most popular pages and top content, and how visitors experience my site such as how long pages take to load (which 9.4s, considered poor… oops). This information should help me build an audience and engage them effectively. However, to be completely honest, although I have been checking my Google Analytics from time to time out of curiosity, I haven’t been using it to help improve my site for my audience.
I think that a big reason why I haven’t been doing so is because my site is turning out to be more like a digital garden than a blog. Digital gardens, according to Basu, are spaces that do not focus on growing audiences and having huge viewerships. Instead, they focus on personal growth, which is exactly what Spilling the Royaltea has been about. As my blog has developed, although I do have a target audience in mind, I’m not too worried about growing my audience, getting famous and rich, or any of that kind of stuff.
For now, I’m using my analytics simply as a way to satisfy my curiosity about who’s looking at my blog. I’m really enjoying my blogging process and especially like the lack of pressure to gain huge audiences, so I think that’s what I’ll be doing for the time being.
To Monetize or Not To Monetize?
So, all of this leads to the question of whether I should monetize my site. With the whole concept of digital gardens in mind and the idea of creating a space for me and my thoughts, I don’t foresee monetizing Spilling the Royaltea anytime in the near future.
Based on my own experience with monetized sites, I felt like ads make websites feel distant, incohesive, or even disturbing, since many of the ads from Google Adsense are often inappropriate. I want my blog to be as inviting and welcoming to users as possible and I want it to retain its intimate, personal feel. I don’t want users to believe I’m “using them” by exploiting their information and digital trails to extract money from them. With my own apprehensions about advertising and data collection in mind, I don’t want to create a space where others feel the same kinds of fears.
I also want my blog to reflect me and my thoughts only and with a third party who imposes their ads or has input on what kinds of content I post, it takes away from the intimacy of my blog. For me, the content I post is what matters, and I want users to focus on this too.
So although Spilling the Royaltea is simply a passion project (…or a school project) without any financial gain, I’m very satisfied with how the experience has been so far. It’s the joy of blogging that matters, not how much money I can get from it.
Regarding Monetization: What Can and Should Be Monetized?
Did you know you can monetize a wedding?
Many weddings involve large gatherings of people. Those people are an audience, who are all likely to share some similar interests.
Marketers want to capture large audiences with similar interests and they do so by paying for advertisements.
To monetize your wedding, you can sell promotional space to advertisers.
Weddings are expensive so recouping costs by any means possible just makes sense.
Monetize your life
Today, there are opportunities to monetize everywhere.
You can do things such as:
Leverage your network of friends and sell them products you believe would improve their lives.
Make above-average content about your everyday life and get sponsored.
Write a blog like this one and run advertisements.
Now, just because you can monetize everything, should you?
Deciding what to monetize
While it is simple enough to live life in a manner to maximize profits (this is what corporations do), it is not typically the way that most people desire to live their lives.
However, although maximizing profits may not be directly what we want, we can take lessons from corporations and implement them in our own lives.
When faced with the choice of monetization, I think the following:
What are the costs of monetizing this (social, financial, environmental, etc)?
What are the benefits of monetizing this (social, financial, environmental, etc)?
Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
If yes, is this something I am comfortable monetizing and will not regret in five years?
If yes, go ahead and monetize.
Choosing whether to monetize or not, really comes down to a cost-benefit analysis and a review of one’s own feelings in regard to the item you are thinking about monetizing.
Always look for creative ways to monetize your life. Your and your friend’s attention and time are valuable, so allow others to pay for it. Have a system to decide what is worth paying for and what is not.
This week’s peer review is for Great White Sport, a sports blog focused on events and athletes specifically in Canada.
There are a lot of great things about this site that I noticed right away. Specifically, the homepage (which is the featured image for this post) is great because it combines an overview of what the site is about while also including a “Recent Posts” section. I am also a fan of the header and the carousal of images.
Now, I will get into the topic of monetization. In your Process Post #10, you mentioned that you were content with not monetizing your site right now, which I can definitely relate to. However, your site does have potential to monetize, so I will discuss ways you could do that. You mentioned that you do not want so many ads that your content would be covered, and I have to agree- if I was a user, I would probably leave an ad-cluttered site pretty quickly. I think that you could still make a decent amount of money if you filter advertisement to be related to your content. There are plenty of sports-oriented companies that I am sure would love to be featured on your site one day!
Another idea that may work in your favour is crowdfunding/sponsorship from institutions. According to Vauhini Vara’s 2015 article “Survival Strategies for Local Journalism”, advertising alone may not be enough if you want a steady stream of revenue from your site. If you were to ask your readers for a donation to keep your site going, I bet many of them would do it. It is like what guest lecturer Trevor Battye said- people want to help you! The more personal you get in asking, the more likely your readers will contribute to the site.
Next, I have a couple of suggestions that could help your site, regardless of whether you monetize it or not. First, I think you should rearrange your menu order.
All the right elements are there, only “Contact” should be moved to the last position, right after “Pub 101 Coursework”. This seems to be an unspoken rule of the way a menu should be set up, according to our T.A., because normally someone would go to contact you after reading through the written work.
Another suggestion I have is that you install a contact form. You currently have your university email on display, which may attract spam by being so openly available on your site (I won’t include a picture here so that you can keep that information private). Installing a contact form will add an extra level of professionalism to your site (very important if you ever want to monetize); it should be painless if you follow the steps here.
Finally, I noticed that your site is currently unsecure.
I used the Really Simple SSL plugin to solve fix this problem, and it only took a few minutes to do! SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it shows that a site is secure and that the link between the server and the client is encrypted. This is another important step to take to protect the privacy of you and your readers, especially if you do decide to monetize your site.
Overall, I really enjoyed this site. The quality of your work is excellent, and I can tell that you are passionate about sports and running this blog. If you ever change your mind about monetization, I am sure that you can do it in a way that does not interfere with your content.
I have a background in businesses and entrepreneurship, so our talk from Trevor was a lot of things I have already heard through marketing classes, but it was interesting to hear in terms of publishing our unique websites.
It seems funny to put a price tag on art and creative work, but for artists and creatives, this is what they deal with everyday.
I have some friends that are musicians, and I’ve heard many times from them about how it can be frustrating to self-promote and sell tickets to shows when really all you care about is the art of creating. I think for this to be sustainable and not a ‘sell-out’ situation, monetization has to be carefully thought out with lots of emphasis put into maintaining your core values.
This is the struggle shown by the “The Toast is Toast” reading (Carpenter, 2016). This blog had incredible content and a strong following; however they weren’t able to get enough financial support, and the administrative tasks of website upkeep became two much for the blogging duo. This is the danger of wanting art to remain separate from business.
In considering my own website, I have linked to a lot of related bloggers and products that my readers may be interested in. If I was to monetize, I would like to carefully curate the businesses being addressed on my site, and preferably I would like to have relationships with the companies I am linking to. This way I could monitor what is being promoted through my voice.
For this semester, I will refrain from installing ads on my website and instead reach out to some bloggers that may be interested in collaborating with me!
Before knowing the “transmedia”, I was already critically aware of the importance of having not just a cohesive online brand, but one that cross-promoted itself. Before starting djalexrose.com (and still now), Instagram was my primary social media platform. I had always promoted my Soundcloud using the business website function and by posting previews of songs, however, now the connection is deeper. My Instagram and Snapchats focus primarily on “story” function engagement with polls, event promotions, and exclusive media.
My Facebook and Twitter are both quite neglected, being automated to post content whenever I upload to Youtube and Soundcloud. I’ve heard from colleagues that Facebook has a much stronger ROI on advertisements than Instagram (which I recently tried) so I’ll be investing more into that platform soon. As of now, neither one has exclusive content.
Soundcloud has shifted to have only my best musical content. From originals to bootlegs to remixes, Soundcloud houses all the tracks that make it Spotify and ones that can’t clear copyright but are still strong releases. It also includes links to all my other social media platforms.
Youtube is the king of my content strategy. It’s home to weekly vlogs, 30-80 minute mixes, exclusive mashups, and much more. As you can see, djalexrose.com remains a focal point being included in my banner.
The final service I’ll mention is ArtistUnion, a download-gate service that exchanges downloads of your music for specified actions. In my case, I require my audience follows my Soundcloud and like and reposts the song they wish to download.