Leave it to monetization master John Chow to discover and unveil yet another great new way to make money online, known as WidgetBucks. After reading Mr. Chow's post, Monetizer decided to head over and sign up for an account just for kicks. Mainly because it looks like it could be something to replace either Auction Ads or Adsense with. However, it probably would not trump Adsense earnings in any sense, unless your site is really about promoting certain products (mp3 players or music, books, dvds, family products, sports items etc).
The way WidgetBucks works is by placing a graphics style banner on your site (various sizes) and then you receive money based on clicks (not sales). Very similar to Adsense. It's yet to be determined if this program is ok to run on your site with Adsense ads, as Google can be quite picky! The minimum payout for WidgetBucks is $50, similar to Auction Ads. Also similar to Auction Ads, they are giving you an automatic $25 in your account to start things off. Payments are done at the end of each month either by a check sent or PayPal deposit.
WidgetBucks gives you about 12 categories to choose ads from (examples: media, family, sports, video games and cars), as well as sub-categories in each of those (media: dvd, cds, books). If your blog is about Making Money or Financial topics, the product choices seem to be non-existant. However, WidgetBucks also offers you an option you can select known as "MerchSense" where it will "crawl" your blog or site and match relevant ads to your content. That could be interesting to see :)
There are currently 5 sizes of ads to choose from for your Widgets:
Full Banner 468x60
There's also multiple color schemes to choose from, however white seems to be the base color in each of them (the color you choose forms borders and part of the ad, with the background white). Here's an example of the 300x250 rectangle WidgetBucks in basic blue:
If you've been banned from Adsense or not happy with the performance of Auction Ads on your site, WidgetBucks might make for a good alternative money source for your blog or site. It's worth being a member and at least experimenting. Perhaps this might be your brand new meal ticket :)
To get started, head over and signup:
Earn $$$ with WidgetBucks!
Update: According to the WidgetBucks FAQ, you can run WidgetBucks along with Google Adsense on a site.
The Monetizer set up a Squidoo page a week or so ago as another way to promote this blog and earn some extra money. Results of having a Squidoo page or pages are not proven, but some "lens masters" on the site are claiming to make some nice loot. With Squidoo you choose the topic for your "lens" or page and then go to town creating content for it. Squidoo makes it relatively easy as they provide you with Modules for your page. You pick and choose from things such as text areas (where you can also add HTML code), Link lists, RSS feeds, Amazon product lists, Ebay auction lists, Guestbooks Polls and more.
Get a feel for the Monetizer Squidoo here.
A few quick Squidoo concepts to understand:
"Lens" refers to the Squidoo page you set up. It's your piece of free internet real estate on Squidoo. You choose the topic for the page, keyword tags and content. It stays there forever as long as you give it enough content and Squidoo doesn't delete it (they do this if you make a low content lens of under 3 modules). You can continually edit and create as many lenses as you like on various topics that you might want to promote or discuss.
"Lens master" refers to you, as the creator of a lens. You can create as many lenses on Squidoo as you put your mind to (the more the merrier!) Should you become skilled at making compelling and high ranking lenses, people just might want to pay for your services!
"Lens rank" - refers to how your lens ranks in it's particular category (Monetizer is #5 right now in SEO & Affiliate Marketing). More importantly, there is an overall rank for lenses on Squidoo (Monetizer is #144 right now). Hitting the top 100 of Squidoo can be a pretty sweet deal, according to reports.
For more info about Squidoo and lenses see the Squidoo FAQ section.
Here are the various ways you can make money using your Squidoo lens:
1) Earn a share of Adsense revenue - This seems to be top secret in that Squidoo doesn't say its formula for how you earn here. If ads are clicked on your particular Squidoo you earn a share of that. Squidoo's FAQ states:
"Any time someone stops by your lens and buys a product you recommended or clicks on a Google ad, you get 50% of the royalties."
Squidoo also claims that you'll earn in a share of overall Adsense profits from their site:
"we pay 5% of our post-expense revenue directly to the charity pool, 50% directly to our lensmasters and retain the rest to pay off investors and employees. Don't quit your day job yet, but you should know that as we all grow, our goal as a co-op is to pay as much money as we can to our lensmasters and to charity."
"AdSense revenue (these are the Google ads you see on every lens): This money goes into a pool, so as to avoide clickfraud. Half of the pool distributes out to lensmasters, on a PayRank scale that is based on each lens's average LensRank and traffic."
This is where the top secret formula comes in to the mix as you can never know what sort of cut you'll really get from the overall Adsense earnings. However, getting anything is better than nothing at all! So it pays to have a high ranking lens based on the above info. A top 100 lens just might bring in a nice cut of the revenue.
2) Use "Money Making" modules on your lens page. With these modules you are adding products or services to your page which you can receive royalties or commissions for. The best examples are Amazon and Ebay.
Some of the featured Squidoo Money Makers right now are:
Better Homes & Gardens Store Add
Better Homes & Gardens Store
Discovery Channel Store
Star Wars Shop
You can add any of these modules to your Squidoo page, then select the relevant products to display. Now think of the possibilities based on your lens topic. Adding in products from any of the above, as well as many more merchants, gives you potential royalties income should someone stop by and make a purchase. Squidoo offers you plenty of categories and choices there. Conversely, if you belong to Amazon Associates, you can choose to add in your own HTML code. That way you would realize your full royalty off Amazon sales versus sharing the profits with Squidoo.
3) Pitch your own products or affiliate programs - Use Squidoo as a way to direct traffic to your Ebay, Cafepress store or other sites. Make the Squidoo entirely about the types of products you sell and make it informative. It may encourage potential customers to stop by and make a purchase.
You can also add in the referral links to your various money makers. Make sure they are relevant to your page topic though. For example, if your Squidoo is about children's toys, you don't want a blatant "Sign up for this survey program" link on there. You could however make an entire Squidoo page about "Paid Surveys" or "Auction Ads" if you wanted.
4) Selling the lens itself or ad spots - Some lenses become quite popular spots and get a good amount of traffic. There may be someone out there (company or individual), who wants to buy that page off you so they can use the lens rank and its potential customer base to their advantage. It's not sure how much the top lens page has sold for, but there are lens masters on Squidoo making some nice extra cash by selling pages they already set up or that they set up for someone.
Monetizer isn't sure if this goes on much on Squidoo, but if your lens is popular enough you may be able to charge people so they can advertise their links or even products on your lens. Make sure to set wise and fair prices for this and nothing outlandish. Also, always consult Squidoo's TOS to make sure you aren't violating.
One of the Monetizer's favorite things about Squidoo, is you basically could forget about your lens pages you create, come back to your account any day and see some money in there. Right now Monetizer has earned a whopping $3.72, but sees potential with this site. Monetizer has never been a top 100 lens but is shooting for that goal. If nothing else, it's free advertising and can be found in the search engines. Once found it will direct possible new audience members to this blog.
Give Squidoo a try today and set up a lens to promote your blog, website or product. As with most new sites you join it will have a learning curve, but Squidoo may just provide you some nice additional income if done right.
Visit the Monetizer Squidoo here to help with the latest campaign.
One concept which makes quite a bit of sense to the Monetizer is taking whatever earnings you get from any online venture, and putting that money back into ways to help you make even more money. It's one of the key aspects of any successful business; reinvest profits to make the business grow even more.
$100 is the lowest amount you need to earn on Google's Adsense program to get payed. For AuctionAds it is $50 (they are giving you a head start halfway there with $25 in any new account). A social media site like Gather offers you the potential to earn $50 and more, and Cash Crate offers you a minimum $10 payout for a month. Here's some ways you can take $100 or less and reinvest it to help promote and grow your blog/business. These ideas relate to buying yourself more exposure and advertising, or improving your blog/site, which in turn can attract more visitors and subscribers.
1) $100 plan - Buy a Million Dollar Wiki or Euro page - Million Dollar Wiki has already sold 1012 pages on its newer site. It offers you a free page about a "word" or topic, similar to Wikipedia. While this is a paid form of internet real estate, it provides yet another way to promote your blog/topic. There's also several ways to profit from the $100 investment. You can use it to pitch/promote affiliate products and get referrals. You can run Google Adsense on your page. In addition, you could set it up where you are charging people $5 or more to have a link on your page (if their blog or site relates to your topic) as advertising. Furthermore, you could "flip" the page should it become hot or extremely popular, sell it to a new owner for a tidy sum, giving you more money. There's also the newer knock off European version, The Million Euro Wiki. Both Wiki sites claim they will have a good amount of traffic and search engine love. Million Euro Wiki has sold 25 pages so far, and for every 25 pages sold they are awarding a brand new 16 GB iPOD Touch!
2) $75 - 50 plans - Buy a new logo/banner design or webhosting - For both of these ideas, you'll have to shop around a bit to find the features and deal that works for you. First, you could look for an online service that designs professional and stylish looking banners, which could add to the style and look of your blog/site. Here's an example of just one site, Bannermode.com that charges $14 and up for banners. Of course the flipside is having a friend who's skilled in art programs like Photoshop or Paintshop, or being a do-it-yourselfer. The other alternative, is to move your blog to webhosting and start to build a product/brand out of it. $50 to $75 will usually get that off the ground, giving you the ability to purchase a year's worth of hosting and a domain (a place like GoDaddy offers $3.99 plans and up, and you can pay up front). You may choose to make this serious investment into creating a blog which is basically your own website and product. But of course you could just plunk alot of money into the below ideas...
3)$25 plan - Buy a Text Link Ads campaign - This paid advertising allows you to shop your blog around for places to advertise. Text Link Ads provides a targeted form of traffic to your site or blog, where you choose from the categories and then sites on which you'd like your blog link advertised. What's best about this, is the fact that right now, $25 will get you $100 more in advertising links as part of a promotion Text Link Ads has. A pretty smart investment, as they also say having these links on high ranking sites will improve your blog or website's search engine rankings too. Check out more on Text Link Ads.
4) $10 or $5 plan - StumbleUpon campaign or domain name - It might not seem like much, but even with that low amount, you can buy a StumbleUpon advertising campaign. Set up link advertising with the popular social media site here. For as little as $5 you can bring in 100 new visitors and potential subscribers. Make sure the link you choose to advertise is bringing them to your strongest content or best written piece, to potentially catch their attention and loyalty. $10 can also purchase you your site's domain name for 1 year (minus a place to host it). Do a search for "best web hosting" and start researching your best options. Narrow it down to 3 choices, even check other sites/blogs you like and see if they mention who they use. Host Gator is one that many site owners seem to love. It's advisable to get your domain and hosted site as soon as possible, so you can establish links and ranking much better. The choice to start hosting your own domain for your blog would by far be the best first early investment and then you can work more with advertising it.
If you want to work towards making a good amount of money online then using the money you earn now can go farther in making even more. Spending $5 and up on your blog is never a bad investment, if done right. Always consider the "risk-reward" factor in doing so. Give some of these above ideas a try after you've earned a bit of money on your blog or site and see if you can't increase or double your profits..If you research and investigate and take calculated risks you could be closer to building a successful online venture.