close up shot of a typewriter

Blogging 2023

It’s January – and time for a post about what I’ve learned about blogging. Blogging is a popular topic within the WordPress community, because blogging is what we do here!

This time around, I will cover why I blog, WordAds, affiliate marketing, Search Engine Optimization, my Bing struggle and blog appearance! I hope that these topics might be of interest or helpful to you. I am also posting a question after each topic – as I know that I could also learn from your experience!

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. There will be no additional cost to you.

Why do I Blog?

Blogging is a hobby for me, and I enjoy it – SO THERE!

I enjoy the online interaction of blogging, which tends to be more verbal in format than social media sites. I enjoy words and researching things, and I know that blogging helps keep me young.

woman writing on a notebook beside teacup and tablet computer
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

Blogging also fulfills my need for a sense of purpose and order to things. Completing a blog post provides a feeling of accomplishment. It may also help to relieve any stress that I feel by expressing personal or slightly political opinions (those darned rants).

Many people get into blogging because they think they will make money online. Well you can make money online – but not quickly! I think that there are alot of people making money online by telling other people to buy their courses about making money online!

But wouldn’t it be great for a hobby to be profitable? I do believe it can be. I know that we could sell products or services on-line – but what about Ads and Affiliate Marketing?

Do you earn money blogging?

Wordads

WordAds is the advertising monetization offered by WordPress. It generates income through Page Impressions. It is different from Google Adsense, which generates income through clicks on ads.

Advertisements

Based upon my current volume of views and ad revenue – it takes an average of a little over 200 blog page views per day for a year to hit the $100 threshold for a payout from WordAds. This is certainly achievable for many – but if profit is the goal, you really want to go much further than that – don’t you?

WordAd revenue is based upon page views, the number of ads that appear on a page, the country from which the views originate and the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) offered by the ad service. CPM varies every month, and you just don’t know what it’s going to be – so that number can change for any blog on any day – but that’s the general idea.

Also – I believe that the WordAd views need to be on blog pages directly – not on Reader or AMP pages. (You may correct me on that one if I am wrong!!)

close up shot of a typewriter
Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Many of the larger blogs or websites are part of Ad Networks like Cafe Media – and with these – ads become much more profitable – but you may need 100,000 blog views per month to join!

What are your thoughts about WordAds?

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement in which publishers – or bloggers become affiliates of a marketing company – and receive a commission for each visit, signup or sale they generate for a merchant. Basically you create links or banner ads on your blog that lead to websites that sell products. There is no additional cost to the person that clicks the ad to make a purchase, but a commission may be issued to the publisher.

I do know that this can be profitable – but you need to be able to post ads or links in your blog. This does work with a basic free WordPress blog – but I have more success with the paid plan, as some of the affiliate links fail to work in the free plan. In general, you can post affiliate links in the free wordpress plan – it just may occasionally be a bit funky! (My non-technical mom-splaining)

I use WordPress’ Custom HTML blocks to post banners – and these do work in the free WordPress!

There are a number of Affiliate Marketing agencies to join. Initially I tried Commission Junction, ShareASale, and AWin. They each have lots of clients – and within each network – you apply for their clients depending upon what your niche is. At first you may not get approved, because your view volume may be too low, or they don’t think your content is a fit for their products. But oh well – nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I found having too many networks to worry about is too complicated – and I didn’t focus on any of them. My goal is to blog about what I really do after all, and not worry about obscure products and vendors.

I ended up applying to FlexOffers – and found that their clients were places I tended to shop. I absolutely love FlexOffers – because I only want to blog about things that are relevant to my real-life – that we actually use and like.

One of my current projects is to update old posts here and there with links and banners – to where and what we actually purchased – or travelled!

Referral link for Flexoffers signup
Referral Link for Flexoffers Signup – Give it a try!

For travel blogging, they have links for travel sites that we actually use – like Kayak, Travelocity, and Hotel chains like Holiday Inn that we stay in. They also have links for the stores that we really shop at – Walmart, Best Buy, Lowes and Bed Bath and Beyond. The vendors identify which countries they operate in – so there are even Canadian vendors like Sail, and Home Hardware. There are also lots of clothing and more importantly – home and garden vendors for my food and DIY posts.

FlexOffers costs nothing to join, and accepted Everyday Lillie’s volume and content. They pay a commission mostly based upon completed sales from their vendors – either via Paypal, cheque, wire transfer or local bank transfer, with a minimum payout at $25 of commission earned but with a payment fee deducted.

If you click the Flexoffers Link, you will move to an application page for the program. You can also take a look around their site – and see if it suits your blog. I do find the signup a little confusing – which is odd – because once you are approved and start using the site -it becomes pretty easy to use.

Flexoffers also offers a referral program similar to WordPress – where referring a publisher may generate a commission to the referrer.

Have you had any experience with Affiliate Programs?

SEO – (Search Engine Optimization)

I have enjoyed fiddling around with learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and trying to improve this blog. I am not a fan though of researching keywords and then trying to write to satisfy search engines. After a few years of blogging, I have found that there are quite a few pages that get regular or occasional traffic from Google searches. This is kind of rewarding!

The Google Search Console gives me an idea of what people have been searching for when they drop in for a visit. I try to improve these queried pages, by making sure the searched for keywords appear in the title, the introduction, some of the heading and in the meta-description. I know that this is a donkey-backwards process, but it works – sort of. Some would say I am as stubborn as the caption!

donkey
Donkey – Photo by Nilina on Pexels.com

I have played with some of the keyword and SEO tools like SemRush and Yoast – but if I just blog with basic formatting in mind about topics that I like – things improve a little bit every day. I really don’t see the necessity of using these tools – if I am just methodical about formatting my posts. (Note to self – be more methodical)

I still plan to blog about what I want to blog about and worry about keywords later. Blogging is supposed to be fun isn’t it?

Do you spend much time on SEO – and has anything worked for you?

Bing

AND – Speaking of SEO, most of the things I read about SEO tell me to focus on Google and imply that Bing will follow similar rules. There is an implication that we shouldn’t worry about Bing if we are optimizing for Google.

Guess what? I should worry about Bing! While my Google results have been steadily improving – Bing doesn’t want to index Everyday Lillie! When I scour through Bing Webmaster tools, or interact with WordPress‘ very helpful support – I can find nothing wrong. When I email Bing Support, I get:

Thank you for your patience!

After further review, it appears that your site https://everydaylillie.com/ did not meet the standards set by Bing the last time it was crawled.

Bing constantly prioritizes the content to be indexed that will drive highest users satisfaction. Please review our Bing Webmaster Guidelines, to better understand criteria for most valuable content.

Bing Support email

I keep getting the same response, which I find to be not helpful at all – and the thing is – we may think that Bing is not important, but it is increasing in relevance:

Google retains an 83.84% share of the global market, although this has fallen from 89.95% in the past three years; during the same timeframe, Bing’s share has risen from 3.99% up to 8.88%.Jan 4, 2023

https://www.impression.co.uk/blog/bing-differ-google/

AND – other smaller search engines – use Bing under the surface – to generate search results – for example:

  • Yahoo!
  • AOL
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Ecosia
  • MSN
  • Lycos
  • Search.com
  • ClassifiedAds.com

So Bing IS important and I would really appreciate any ideas you may have about pleasing the Bing omnipotent muckamucks – or just the BingBots!

Is your site indexed by Bing or do you have issues like me?

Appearance

First impressions matter. (I say that to my adult kids all the time when they need a haircut – But it’s true!- GET A HAIRCUT and listen to your mother already.) This is true for websites as well.

People make snap judgments. It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person. Websites are no different. It takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave.

https://cxl.com/blog/first-impressions-matter-the-importance-of-great-visual-design/

The appearance of our blogs, and how fast the blog loads are really important. I have been working on taking better photos over the past year, and I think that has been helpful. I know that I need to improve my graphics and layout – so I hope that maybe some fresh eyes will provide me with some visual advice! It’s time for a makeover – both my face and my blog are starting to show my age!

paint roller and brush on a tray
Photo by Blue Bird on Pexels.com

In the meantime, I am working with Canva to try to create some new graphics. Wish me luck!

What would make this blog more visually appealing to you?

I have also noticed over the last year, and even more in the last month or so that my page loading speeds have really slowed down. I really do need to review and reduce my photo sizes, and maybe remove some of the fancy WordPress plugins that are supposed to be making my site more efficient! Perhaps the plugins are slowing things down?

Do you have any thoughts about page speed, plugins and photo sizes?

Wrapping Up

person wrapping white box
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

The most important aspect of blogging is content of course. If you create quality content, and pay attention to your viewers’ interests, your blog will be successful.

I hope that this post has been helpful to fellow bloggers. Almost everything that I have learned about blogging has been learned from reading other blogs – your blogs! So thank you for reading and posting!

I am hoping that perhaps you might have some feedback about some of the questions that I have posed above. Blogging has been keeping my brain young, but it is also driving me crazy!

Thanks for stopping in at Everyday Lillie. Please have a look around as much as you like. If you enjoyed the visit, please feel free to follow, share, comment or like. Please drop in again soon!

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10 thoughts on “Blogging 2023

  1. My problem is building my number of followers – my readership. It’s very slow. Some non followers will read a blog, but they don’t seem to check the rest of my site for other blogs. I’m not interested in making money from my blog. It would just be nice if more people were reading it and seeing my photos

  2. It was interesting reading about your experience with blogging so far. Before I switched to self-hosted WordPress, I was on the paid plan and I did have WordAds, but I don’t know if the views counted for the Reader. Also, that’s good to know abotu FlexOffers as I haven’t heard about them before.
    That’s so weird that Bing won’t index your blog!

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