Note: I wrote a much longer blog monetisation guide (7,000+ words) here and discussed how new bloggers can start making more money blogging in long run. If you are serious about building a business out of your blog – you should check that out too.
Sure, you can blog for fun, but for many, blogging is a way to earn revenue. Monetizing a blog is an important step, and not one that just happens overnight – for your blog to be eligible for site-based advertising, such as Google Adsense, your blog must have a proven success rate. That said, there are numerous ways to monetize your blog; here are just a few of the most popular and most successful ways.
Personally, affiliate programs are my favorite way to make money through blogging, as they are the most profitable method. This monetization method works well for (almost) all blogs, regardless of your traffic – if you are targeting the right audience, you will make sales.
To establish an affiliate program, you need to research available programs. Find a product that makes sense for your target audience and readers – for example, if you run a gossip blog targeted to the teen and young adult audience, retirement homes and anti-aging products are likely not your best fit. Once you sign up for your affiliate programs, you will need to add a referral link on your blog – often times, graphics are available to draw attention. These program works as pay per click campaigns; every time one of your blog readers clicks on your referral link and completes a purchase, you will receive a commission.
It takes a little bit of work upfront for you to find and identify the appropriate affiliate programs for your blog, but setup is quite easy and once you have your referral link installed, the program does most of the work for you.
Banner advertising offers a great way to monetize your blog in a way that is flexible and can take as much or as little personal involvement as you like. You can either sell banner ads yourself directly from your site by placing links or an advertising information page or you can sell through third-party platforms, such as BuySellAds, an advertising marketplace.
BuySellAds works by serving as a marketplace for advertisers. By selling ad space through this type of platform, you do not need to worry about securing advertisers manually or managing multiple revenue sources; the platform does this for you. However, in exchange for securing advertisers and managing payments, BuySellAds does take a 25 percent commission from your revenue. Of course, your odds of securing advertisers greatly increases by selling through established marketplaces; you simply have exposure to a greater number of potential advertisers.
Banner ads, regardless of selling method, are usually sold based on the cost per 1,000 impressions (also known as page views) and work best for blogs with high traffic.
Sponsored reviews are a way of securing revenue by writing a blog posts in exchange for that revenue – for example, you will write a review about a specific product or website and be paid in exchange for that review; this was a particularly popular method in 2008. This is a questionable practice by some as many people argue that reviews should be organic in order to be forthcoming.
That said, if you do partake in sponsored reviews, make sure that you are reviewing or promoting something that your readers would find helpful – it must be relevant to your actual regular blog content. If it isn’t, not only will your readers tune out, but your readers will think that you are “selling out” and you will risk losing your following.
This monetization method works best for blogs that have regular followings, though it also helps if you have a large social media following – by also promoting your post or the product via social media, you can request higher advertising prices.
Selling Your Own Product
Blog owners you specialize in something as an expert have an opportunity to generate and sell their own unique content via their blogs in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, or other informational products.
One great example of this tactic is CopyBlogger, a website that blogs, but also provides countless resources and articles. Though CopyBlogger used to be a blog focused on providing copywriting tips, it has morphed into its own blogging solution, including hosting; design; and even SEO software. The site secured a solid blog audience before completing its transformation, earning enough revenue to complete its transformation while also carrying over its existing audience to support its new format.
To sell your own product as a way of earning revenue through your blog, you need to have an expertise in something and then have solid writing skills in order to provide a quality product; afterall, even your most loyal readers will fall off the wagon if they lose faith in your knowledge. Focus on developing original pieces that share thought leadership, original perspective and insights, and tips and information relevant to your blog and your readers’ known interests.
For many bloggers, their blog stands as a personal portfolio of their work and lives, be it writing, photography, graphic design, or any other talent and profession. As you blog, you share pieces of yourself, your work, and your talent; use this to your advantage by using your blog as a living portfolio.
Bid on freelance work, directing potential clients to your blog as a working portfolio; doing so will provide them access to an expanded version of your portfolio that continually evolves while also letting them get to know you and your personality.
Many bloggers have turned from hobby bloggers to full-time professional, revenue-earning bloggers once they secured enough clients on a freelance basis. This tactic may work for you, too.
There are countless ways to find freelance jobs, even if you don’t yet have your own professional network from which to work. Popular platforms Odesk and Elance recently merged, forming one giant freelancing house. Clients post jobs through this freelance work marketplace and freelancers bid for the work – jobs cover every type of professional work, from writing services to graphic design, programming, translating services, accounting, and more. LinkedIn can also provide opportunities, as can platforms like CrowdSource and others.
There are plenty of ways to monetize your blog – the choice is yours as to how you would like to proceed. To ensure your success, however, follow one cardinal rule: respect your readers and stay true to them and their interests.