The following is a guest post from reader Dan, who shares his story of starting Maciverse.com and developing it to where it earns $1,500 in passive income each month.
In January of 2008 I closed shop on my first attempt at blogging. Six months earlier I thought that creating a blog about efforts to train for my first marathon would be extremely successful. It didn’t take me long to realize that the only thing more boring than writing about running is reading about someone Else’s runs. When I shut the doors on 26miles385yards.com I wasn’t giving up on blogging, I was giving up my blogging about topics that no one wanted to read.
It was also in January of 2008 that I launched Maciverse.com, a Mac Help blog. I’ll admit that I was late to market with the whole Apple blogging idea but I believed I had a bit of a different take on Apple computers and felt that I could fill a niche.
It was 6 months after Apple released their first iPhone and there was significant talk from media outlets and financial advisers about how they were anticipating a significant “halo” affect from iPhone and iPod sales into Mac computers. The more I heard this idea, the more I realized that there would be a growing audience of individuals looking for help with use of their new computer. Just a few years earlier I purchased my first Apple computer and had quickly fallen in love with the products the company built. There was a learning curve but I was picking up use of the Mac quickly and found myself sharing tips with even the most experienced Apple product owners. So I decided to create Maciverse as a site where I shared my tips to the new Mac user.
Maciverse didn’t explode overnight, but through steady and consistent effort the site has grown from just a handful of visitors each month to over 1 million visitors each year It continues to increase in size by about 20% each month without a single dollar spent on advertising. We now cover more than just hints and tips for your Mac and have grown to a team of 5 authors sharing everything the know, love, and sometimes hate about Apple products.
With the traffic growth has also come residual income. but in reality, for the first year Maciverse didn’t make more than $100. My first check from Google Adsense came in year 2 and at that time I was just happy to be breaking even. But over the last 12 months Maciverse has gone from making just a few dollars a month to continual earnings of over $1500 a month. Increasing the number of visitors to the site has helped with the financial gains, but the biggest reason I wasn’t always making decent income from Maciverse was because I didn’t know how to monetize my audience. Below is what I’ve learned about monetizing a Mac site.
Make Adsense Big
For Maciverse, the most success I’ve seen with Google Adsense came when I finally decided that I wanted to make money on the site and decided to test out the valuable real estate I had and show Big Ads. By increasing the size of ads in the content area of the site to no smaller than 300×250 I quickly saw an increase from $50 a month to $450 in Adsense earnings. I thought at first that when I posted the larger ads that my readers would say something but to this day I have yet to hear one complaint about larger ads.
Sell Your Own Product
One of the most popular articles on Maciverse is one that guides users step by step on how to install Snow Leopard from a USB drive. The article provides readers with everything they need to know on how to create an installation USB drive and then install the new Operating System onto their Mac. And although I had already given them everything to allow them to do this on their own, I decided to offer to do this for people for a price. Shortly after offering this service the orders for USB drives starting coming in.
I continually make around $100 each month by creating USB drives and selling retail versions of the Snow Leopard software to site visitors that don’t want to take the time to make the USB drive themselves. You’d be amazed at how much people will pay to save themselves time and effort.
Amazon Links Pay
After initially giving up on Amazon’s affiliate program I decided to give it another try when my USB article started getting significant traffic. Before I started selling the USB drive myself, I pointed individuals to the drive I use on Amazon.com. The best thing about Amazon is that they don’t have to purchase the product you recommend or link to to earn a commission. Amazon links spread out throughout Maciverse.com brings in close to $200 each month. If you have a site with significant traffic that mentions products or books and you’re not linking to an affiliate program like Amazon then you’re missing out on potential earnings.
Affiliate Programs for Accessories
I learned quickly that individuals looking for help with Mac products are not looking to purchase more Mac products. But what I did realize is that every Apple owner wants to keep their product safe. By joining affiliate programs that sell accessories like iPhone Cases and Covers I quickly added an additional $250 – $750 each month. Take the time to think about who the actual visitors to your site are and then provide them with the things they want to buy. Doing so will help you increase your residual income.
Maciverse.com sells direct ads on pages and across the site. We’ve found that like affiliate programs, direct advertising is best sold to people that have accessories or services for Apple product owners. Direct ads take a bit more time but websites like buysellads.com make the process easier.
How To Increase Your Earnings
If you’re a blogger, then its important that you continually provide content that will increase traffic to your site. But just as important as high traffic numbers is understanding your visitors. Take a close look at your site and what your visitors would really be looking for.
Once you know what your visitors are looking for, it will be a lot easier to increase your passive blogging income. Sometimes its as easy as just pointing them to what they already want.
By Jonathan Ping | Entrepreneurial | 10/18/10, 5:00am