Profitable blogging is truly not that complicated and the formula for success is simple and free. Three free tools offered by Google can give new bloggers all the insight they need to pick profitable topics. However, searching for that topic that is somewhat hot and not saturated by other bloggers is where you’re bound to break a sweat.
The first step in monetizing your blog is to sign up for a Google Adsense account. It’s easy, free and is how you connect with advertisers to make money. You get to specify where ads will appear on your blog and what type. Advertisers bid on your inventory (blogs/sites) and Google always awards the highest bidder an advertisement on your blog – this part is all done without your intervention, so you won’t need to worry about it.
How much money you make will depend on how many people visit your blog and how many people click on the ads in your blog. A major component in driving traffic to your blog is your topic of choice. You basically want to find a topic that people are searching for on the internet and that also does not have too much other competition talking about that same topic. It’s supply and demand 101 – find a topic that’s in demand and that does not yet have that many suppliers. You fill in the gaps with content from your blog and you will likely start making money.
So how do you find these elusive money making topics? They are out there – it just takes you putting in the time and effort to search for them. You can find these topics using three free tools by Google.
This free tool by Google can give you a great idea of how popular a topic is and a decent idea of how much competition there is on the web over this topic. For instance, in the screenshot below, I typed in “Student Loans.” My search returned several pieces of information, but only one piece of data is highly relevant to picking profitable topics and that is the “Estimated Average CPC.” CPC stands for Cost Per Click and it is the estimated average amount of money you’ll receive per click if you write about that topic. The higher the CPC, the more money you may receive.
As you can see, “Student Loans” has an average CPC of $10.06. This is very high but it’s probably too high to allow me to maximize profits. A high CPC also means there is usually a great deal of competition on the web for this topic and that it’s difficult for new sites to get a high page ranking.
Experts agree that you want to look for a topic that has a CPC of between $2 and $3. This range is high enough to be profitable, but low enough so that the barriers to entry for new blogs are surmountable.
Google Insights is similar to Google Trends, but has more advanced features and is geared for use toward bloggers, advertisers and researchers. This tool can give you an excellent idea of the demand of your topic worldwide and over time. A shortcut: get to Google Insights by simply clicking the magnifying glass next to the keyword(s) you typed into the Google Adwords Traffic Estimator.
You can see how your potential money making topic idea fares over time (the default setting is the last 12 months) in multiple regions and countries. My keywords “Student Loans” spiked in popularity in mid-August of 2009. On a scale of 1 to 100 it peaked at almost 90! Why? Because school started! And thousands, if not millions of students realized their savings and federal funding were not going to be enough to cover their expenses.
This piece of information alone is valuable – perhaps I should write a feature article about this topic in my blog this August instead of right now, during the summer months.
Google Insights also allows me to group keywords and compare them (up to 5 groups and 25 keywords). If I scroll down, I can also see how my keywords will fare with an international audience. Turns out the Irish are not as interested in student loans as Americans. Another piece of information that may or may not be important to me depending on the type of blog I have.
Yet another free tool by Google that can help you monetize your blog, the Google Adwords Keyword Tool generates a list of keywords based off the initial keyword you enter and divulges the keyword’s Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, Local Search Trends and relative Competition. The list of related keywords returned along with their accompanying specs is essential information for creating top notch SEO content for your blog.
With this tool, the higher the Global Monthly Searches and the lower the Competition the better. As you can see the market for “Student Loans” is pretty well saturated – every single related keyword to “Student Loans” returned has high competition.
This is not to say I should abandon the topic completely. Always try and go narrower and see what you can find. For instance, when I search for “student loans no cosigner,” one of the related keywords returned “student private loans no cosigner” which has 4,400 global monthly searches and only medium competition. Not too shabby, and if I wrote a post about this topic in specific, I could see some traffic my way.
The real key to finding profitable topics for your blog is a lot of searching and may’be a little bit of luck. I have found these tools by Google to be invaluable search engines and have been able to increase traffic to sites/blogs I have worked on in the past substantially with them.
There are several paid/commercial services you can use that claim to eliminate the searching or grunt work involved in picking profitable topics. I have subscribed to a few free trials but in the end found they are nearly identical to Google’s tools and in some cases even less sophisticated. So I ultimately stuck with the free route. However, I know some bloggers swear by these pay versions.
If you’re interested in learning more about keywords and SEO, here are a few posts you should check out:
- The 2 Firefox Addons to Help You With SEO Keyword Research
- 6 FREE Tools To Get The Best Keywords For Your Site
- Two Useful Google Chrome Extensions for SEO Guys
- How To Check The Top 10 Search Keywords On Google
Have you had any experience with Google’s tools? Good, bad or indifferent? Or is there a pay version you use that you think is superior? I would love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments.
Image credit: Annie Mole