How use your blog making money

When I go to family functions or social events I often get a blank stare when I explain what I do for a living. I think people understand the part that I write articles and put them on a website, but when it comes to making money from it, they don’t get it. In this section I will lay it out and hopefully it will help bring some clarity…
CPC Ad Networks
There are a few different ad networks that I use on CPF. The most successful one has been Google’s Adsense program. Basically what they do is read the article that I write and find ads that are relevant to it and display them next to the article. The great thing about it is that by having extremely relevant ads, it actually can be quite beneficial to the readers as well.
For example, if I write an article explaining what an IRA was, but didn’t mention where you could open one, Adsense would likely be displaying ads of places to open an IRA. So as a reader, if I read that article and decided that I did want to open an IRA, the ads would be providing options that the article did not. I am currently doing a few tests with another CPC network called Chitika. Apparently, you can use it in conjunction with Adsense. The jury is still out, but I am interested to see how it compares to Adsense. All things considered, I have found that if optimized correctly, Adsense really can work well. I will explain more about how to optimize it in sections below.
CPM Ad Networks
While Adsense pays on a click basis (CPC), I use other ad networks that pay by the total # of impressions (CPM). At the beginning, these networks didn’t produce much income, but as the traffic grows CPM networks seem to work well in conjunction with Adsense. I use (or have used) ContextWeb, AdClickMedia, Adbrite, Adify, BuzzLogic, and Casale Media. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and may be suitable for one kind of a site and not another.
Affiliate Product Sales
Basically an example of an affiliate sale would be if you sold lawn mowers and I referred a customer to you, if they purchased you would pay me back a % of the sale for referring them. There are a million options for this on the internet now. The main programs I use are Amazon’s Affiliate program, FlexOffers, LinkConnector, Commission Junction, Shareasale, E-Junkie, and LinkShare. There are many others, but these are a few of the more popular ones available.
I have a very strong policy about honest recommendations. I give my honest opinions about products that I find regardless of how it will affect affiliate sales. For example, I wrote about Cash Crate and updated the article to show what I didn’t like about them. Because Cash Crate has such a generous referral program, I know some people making lots of money from it, but I just don’t feel comfortable recommending it since I had a bad experience using it.
On the other hand there are products like ING Direct, Ebates, Perkstreet Financial,, and Sharebuilder that I recommend and also have some sort of affiliate or referral program as well. These are what I love because I can help readers by pointing them to good resources and tools that have helped me and get paid in the process. I know some people don’t have a problem promoting anything that will pay them, but I just can’t, in good conscience, recommend something to someone that I don’t genuinely believe will help them.
Direct Ad Sales
I also sell ad space directly to advertisers. This hasn’t provided much income for me yet and may or may not even be worth my time. I know that in certain niche markets direct ad sales can work out very well, but thus far it hasn’t been a big money maker on CPF.