Everyone who starts a blog starts for at least one of two reasons; for fun, or to get inconceivably rich. In this article I’m going to focus on how to make money blogging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also have fun doing it.
First of all, allow me to hit you with a brief reality check.
Many internet marketing gurus will tell you that all you need to do is make a blog, get traffic, monetize it, and you’ll make millions.
This is simply not true, and only the top percentile of bloggers will actually make it to those kind of income levels. Realistically, once you have a monetization system that works, you can keep growing it and reinvesting money into your blog in order to grow it.
BUT that takes time and hard work. If this is a part time gig for you, then it’s fairly unlikely you’re going to reach those levels.
However, that doesn’t mean that blogging isn’t still a great source of income. What I’m saying is, just don’t get disheartened when you launch a product just before going to bed and when you wake up the next morning you literally made no money in your sleep.
So how does Blog Traffic Builder perform?
For context, here are a few quick stats about this blog;
Now that’s not millions, but it’s not bad for writing one post per week and spending a few hours promoting it each time.
This is the reality. You should have a goal for how much you want to make from your blog, and try to reach that each month. Make sure its achievable, and allows you to track your own progress.
For example, I try to make $1 per 100 unique visitors, or $0.50-$1 per email subscriber per month.
Now that you have something to compare to, maybe monetizing your blog will seem like less of a challenge.
To help you get started on monetizing your own blog, below I’ve laid out most of the ways to monetize a blog. This is not an all inclusive list, and sometimes the more creative methods can be the most effective.
Google AdSense is one of the most popular methods to make money blogging. However, it’s probably the laziest and least effective.
AdSense works on a “pay per click” basis. What that means is you get paid every time someone clicks on an ad on your page.
The main benefit of using AdSense is that it can be set up to “set and forget” meaning you just implement it once and the ads change as required, and you literally have to do nothing.
The downside is that Google and their advertisers control how much you get paid, and it often is very little for smaller bloggers. The other negative for AdSense is that you have no control over what gets displayed, and a lot of people recognize the ads and their formatting, and therefore are desensitized to them and so are less likely to click them.
AdSense also sends traffic away from your site; the traffic you worked so hard to get in the first place!
Anyone with a qualifying blog can sign up for Google AdSense and put ads on their website.
Affiliate marketing involves placing ads for other people’s products on your page, and then when someone clicks it and makes a purchase, you get a commission.
These ads can be implemented in a number of ways. You can go for the more obvious ad, which would be a banner or an image (see BlueHost ad in my sidebar) or you could go for a more inconspicuous link like this one.
The way they work, is for you to use a “tracking link” that tells the seller that the sale came from you. For example, my BlueHost link looks like this: http://bluehost.com/track/tomwatts/
There are any number of products you can advertise with affiliate marketing, so your choice should be based on the following;
Affiliate marketing is my favourite option due to the higher payouts. There are a ton of places you can become an affiliate, each with their own unique perks. The quickest ones to get started with are;
Sponsored content is a double barreled approach – it makes it easier to generate content, while simultaneously making money. There are two main types I’d recommend trying;
This is when a company will pay you to write a post or review about their product.
The benefit of doing it this way as opposed to being an affiliate or using AdSense is that you have guaranteed dollars coming in, regardless of the effectiveness of the post.
You may also be able to get free products from companies in order to provide the review – this is kind of a cool perk. This method works best for niche bloggers that write about offline activities. But, it can also be effective for reviews of online products.
Brands like to work with bloggers to get authentic reviews of their products, so it’s a win win for everyone.
There are a few sites you can go to and get hooked up with brands, here’s an example of one I’ve used;
Guest posting is still very common and is a great way for bloggers to expand their reach. You may already offer guest posting opportunities through your blog – but had you even considered charging people for them?
Yes they’re providing you with free content, but sometimes the benefit is tilted too far in their favour. I’ve seen guest posting offers anywhere from twenty dollars to thousands of dollars.
Just think twice next time someone approaches you asking for a free guest post – you could be making some money here.
Creating your own product is probably the best way to monetize your blog. It allows you to keep traffic on your blog, while also providing something that builds your own brand.
There are lots of products you could create, both online and offline, but here are some ideas to get you started.
Create a new product relevant to your niche. For example, if you blog about the great outdoors, you could create a new mosquito repellant (please do, I got eaten alive last weekend!).
You can sell the products through your site using an eCommerce plugin such as WooCommerce or you could start selling through amazon.
eBooks are an interesting topic. I’ve written a few, and found that normally, it’s best to give them away in exchange for an email address, and use it to build a relationship with your readers.
BUT I’ve also purchased my fair share of eBooks, so I’m not saying you can’t make money from them.
The key to success with selling eBooks is to make sure they’re written with the purpose of solving a specific issue for your audience.
DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t just dive in thinking you know what your audience, you need to literally ask them.
Here’s an example of polling your audience, and although there are a few different ways you can do it, I’ve found this one to be the most effective.
Once you’ve written a successful eBook, why not turn it into a hardback? Some people just prefer having something material they can hold in their hands.
Turning it into a hardback doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pick up a publisher and get it mass produced. What it does mean, is that you can find a small independent printing company to produce your book, then you can sell and ship it from your website.
Make sure that if you do this, you use the momentum of your online eBook sales to help market your hardback.
You’re already giving away all this information through your blog, why not ask people to pay for it?
People have a need to learn, and if you have the information they desire, it should be easy to teach them.
You can offer one on one classes over video chat, or you can teach in a webinar style format that reaches a lot of people at once.
One good tactic to implement would be to teach the basics through a webinar, and then offer one on one training as an optional extra. This allows people to meet you and taste your teaching style to know if they want to commit to individual lessons.
If you already became a teacher, this stage should have become incredibly easy. All you need to do is record your classes, edit them and now you have a product to sell.
A little video editing and eCommerce setup and you’ll be well on your way to making money from prepackaged courses that you can sell over and over again.
Alternatively, you could prepackage your courses in a set format, and then use live training to provide information but also promote the courses at the same time.
If you’re writing a blog, chances are you already know more than your fair share of information about your blog topic.
Sometimes, even though you’re literally telling people how to do things, they just want someone else to do it for them.
This is where you can start offering services to help them out. For example, I wrote this extensive guide on how to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org – but people still ask me to do it for them through my services page.
you could offer any kind of service, as long as you know it’s in demand, you’ll have buyers.
My top tip for this is to make sure you actively promote your services page. Don’t just have a link in your menu, most people don’t look there.
Make sure you link to it regularly with clear calls to action, for example; “Don’t want to move WordPress yourself? Let us do it for you, click here.”
Adding membership options is a quick way to make money blogging, and normally provides month to month recurring revenue (who doesn’t want that?!).
It’s quite straightforward, all you need to do is make the best information on your site available only to those who are willing to pay for it.
There are plenty of plugins which allow you to do this simply through WordPress and as long as you keep the good content coming, your revenue stream can be literally endless.
Make sure that you post regular useful content for your members, or you may leave them dissatisfied. Make sure that the information exclusively available to them is also not readily available to non-paid readers – otherwise there’ll be trouble there too.
This is a similar idea to member only content, and could be included in the same package.
The nice thing about a paid forum is that it allows you to connect and answer questions for your members personally.
The even nicer thing about paid forums is that your other members will try to help people out too, meaning sometimes you don’t even have to do anything!
Be careful though, forums take a lot of maintenance and any abusive members need to be dealt with swiftly.
People want links for their blog, and a paid directory is a quick way you can charge them to get a link from you.
You can set your directory up and let people submit their own information, but you probably want to moderate the submissions to make sure there’s no spam.
Again, you can find free and premium WordPress plugins to accommodate your directory needs (I’d recommend premium though, they’re just better).
Donations aren’t just for charities.
Sometimes people like your content, and don’t have any way to repay you and so allowing them to donate is a simple way to solve that problem.
The best way to implement donations is not to say “Donate to me”, like you’re a charity, but more so to say: “Like what I wrote? Buy me a coffee and keep me ticking!”.
Make sure you show some humility, and that you’re not just trying to grab $5 from the next sucker to come along.
Paypal offers various ways for you to get paid, including “Donate” buttons you can copy and paste onto your blog.
Your blog is worth money, and people want to buy it. Have you put in a lot of hard work, but now aren’t sure you want to continue and monetize?
You can sell your blog on sites like Flippa – with over 800,000 active users, you’re sure to find a buyer.
I’ve sold blogs through Flippa before, and found that the value can be based on a number of factors;
Generally speaking though, you can get about $1 per unique monthly visitor to your blog. Just make sure you do your research before putting your blog up and compare it to others listed.
People can make you offers and it’s just up to you if you take them.
By now you should have a pretty good idea of how to start making money from your blog. If there was a list of my top takeaways from this post, they would go something like this;
That’s it for now, time to go make money blogging!
Did I miss anything in this guide? Let me know in the comments!
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