Not many know it but, content management systems (CMS) are replacing websites and savvy website developers are using certain blog functions as both management and marketing tools. And, as we discuss frequently with business owners, CMS-driven websites are hands down one of the most cost-effective online marketing tools. In fact, many small business owners are generating enough revenue from their blogs that their "blog" is now their "business" (these fortunate few no longer have real jobs). How did they do this? Several ways but first let's take a look at a few blogging facts.

Citation from the Wall Street Journal,
New Services Help Bloggers Bring in Ad Revenue
by Kelly Spors:

If you're not making money off your blog, 2008 might be the year.

As more people see potential in earning money off the Internet, there is a quickly expanding array of advertising services and tools for bloggers that go well beyond the standard pay-per-click [PPC] text ads or display ads.

Many of the most widely used programs are adding features to allow users to customize the appearance and placement of ads on their sites. Some also are introducing newer money-making mediums such as audio and video. . . [You can read the full WSJ article here.]

What the WSJ article doesn't tell you is "all of the story." For example, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.com explains how difficult it was to build his business; and a little luck didn't hurt as he discusses here. I personally discovered Darren's blog well over a year ago. He does an excellent job but he admits his success is an anomaly. Let's face it, most business owners are not interested in becoming professional bloggers. However, this doesn't mean they can't use blog technology to market online, lower their annual website costs and improve their ROI. That's the real story but first let's get back to our discussion concerning how to generate blog revenue.

There are several ways to make money from your blog. Income producing tools include the typical Google and Yahoo affiliate ad programs (discussed at length everywhere) and revenue programs such as:

  • Text Link Ads does a great job for us selling single line text ads for our automobile enthusiasts blogs (AMG Market | Mercedes-Benz Enthusiasts). Over a year ago we read about TLA and gave it a shot – it paid off. Thousands of dollars in total revenue generated but it took time to develop the content to attract the readers, which is key for any blog or website.
  • Amazon's affiliate program to sell products on your site or setup your own store with Amazon aStore. BTW, Amazon recently doubled their revenue according to their last financial report. Amazon offers numerous options and you can learn more about Amazon's program here. Revenue from Amazon has been disappointing for us but there are others that use more effectively for income.
  • Selling your content. If you like conducting hours of research, you can prepare professional reports and sell them. Or, create a paid subscription newsletter (sample publisher) – newsletter publishing whether online or offline is a very profitable business. One company selling content successfully is the MarketingSherpa; the firm conducts extensive research on marketing then sells the data. They also offer a tremendous among of free marketing info.

This isn't news to many of us but it is worth taking note of the trends and the tools used to generate blog income.

Most small and mid-sized business owners are not interested in becoming pro bloggers. But they are interested in increasing sales, lowering their costs, and improving their ROI. Converting your website to a blog-driven content management system that drives your message to your clients and prospects is one way you can benefit today, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. . .