If you are committed to blogging, and intend to invest your time in building traffic and an audience, then why not try and earn some money back through simple, unobtrusive text link advertisements?
Text Link Ads was recommended to me by my good friend Kai, who works for Heavy.com, back in November 2006. At the time, I was still 2 months from starting this blog. My focus was GoBackpacking.com, which I began in 1999. I was completely unaware of the impact Google had on the Internet, and only later realized the value of a Page Rank 5 which I had earned based on my work through 2001 (I was on a web site hiatus for 5 years!).
So I applied for Text Link Ads with a PR=5, and an Alexa ranking somewhere well over 1,000,000. They accepted me November 20, 2006, and my inventory became available to advertisers two days later, after I successfully installed the PHP code on my front page (with a little help from my web hosting service). My traffic was anemic at the time, and TLA indicated only 3 ad spaces would be available, at a rate of $25 apiece, per month. I would earn 50% of the ad cost, to be paid monthly via PayPal.
Less than a week later, I received an e-mail on December 1, 2006 indicating I had sold my first ad! I was as giddy as a school girl. While $12.50 would only buy me a nice lunch at the time, I was more excited about the new potential income stream I had just tapped, as it would impact my ability to travel longer down the road! I was amazed at the fact that the hard part (which was fairly easy) was installing the ad code, and I just had to sit back as people paid me for working on a web site I loved to work on anyways!
How am I doing now? As I've sold more ads, I've been allowed to increase my inventory to a maximum of 10 spaces. I have 7 text ads currently running on the right sidebar. They are simple, and minding their own business in a most unassuming manner. Since starting the blog, I also have the option to sell links at the bottom of my RSS feed (though this has yet to occur). Last month I earned a new high of $96.19. My Page Rank remains 5, and my Alexa rank has fluctuated greatly over the past few months (currently at a 3-month average of 732,834).
I performed a Google search for minimum requirements to join Text Link Ads, and found some mixed messages. Everyone should apply though! If you get rejected, the advice I saw was to e-mail TLA to be reconsidered, and a human will respond (likely approving you). If you still don't get in, then participate in the affiliate program which can earn you $25 for every new paid publisher or advertiser who signs up via your affiliation! As you continue to build traffic, reapply.
If you have questions about the service, or my experience with it, please leave a comment. I highly recommend it!
PS – My site was used as a case example of how Text Link Ads are effective for advertisers & bloggers alike. Check it out on the YoungGoGetter.com blog!
PSS – This is *not* a paid review…I am really this happy with the service!