Whether you’re considering the creation of a blog for your own enjoyment (and a little side income) or a full on professional income generating beast, understanding blog monetization is the first step to developing passive income. Even if your main goal is to just have fun, you’ll be providing great value to your readers with niche content. That alone is enough to make a decent income from your website. That is, if you know how to monetize the space. That’s exactly what I want to show you with this guide.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions on the strategies below. I look forward to helping you start or enhance your journey in making more money online.
Things to Consider Before Choosing Your Monetization Strategy
Monetizing your blog is not as easy as 1-2-3. Each monetization method has its pros and cons. Don’t waste time jumping from concept to concept, first consider these seven important factors. They will help you decide which method would be best for you, your blog, and your followers.
How Much Time and Resources Can You Commit?
Your blog is technically a business. In order for it to be successful, you must run it as such. Don’t expect to generate $1000 overnight. You may not even see your first dollar for a few weeks. The key is to focus on providing something valuable to your readers. So, you must seriously consider how much time and resources you can commit to your blog.
The monetization methods I describe can be simple or complex depending on your abilities and time. If you feel overwhelmed, not to worry, I can personally help you get back on track.
Read my post on how blogging is important to driving traffic and building community. It’s imperative that any content campaign you’re working on is paired with smart conversion iterations based upon Google Analytic’s tracking (more on that later). Depending upon the competitiveness of the niche you choose, you may need to do a lot more marketing such as: social, press release, and niche community sites.
Are you thinking about selling products? You’ll need to develop your own eCommerce store with a popular platform like Shopify or WordPress. You may also need to setup your own customer service if your product providers are not able to do that in-house.
How Much Money Can You Commit?
Again, since this is a business, you may need to invest as such. AdSense accounts require no investment at all. One of the first things you should consider after you’ve gained some traction on your blog is to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) from elance, or odesk. Look for a quality assistant who can write content for you so you can focus on other important tasks in your business.
Quick tip: One of the reasons I like using the WordPress platform is the amazing free plugin support. The WordPress community has a plugin for almost anything you would ever need. This means no coding experience needed! However, if you do need a coder, there are a ton of great WordPress freelance coders on oDesk that can customize your WordPress site.
How Much Income Would You Like to Generate?
Some blogs start purely because of a person’s love of a hobby or subject. That’s great! In fact, if you’ve got a hobby website with a significant following, you own your own personal gold mine.
If you want your blog to provide you a full time income, consider multiple monetization options. Just know that they may require extensive research and time. If your audience is large enough, one of the simplest things you can do is create an AdSense account.
Consider your revenue goals >> Choose a niche you enjoy >> develop a marketing plan >> execute/iterate = Success!
Is The Monetization Method Appropriate For Your Blog?
Consider the types of blog posts you have, how often you will generate new content, and your audience. If you have a casual blog, with frequent short blog posts, AdSense may work wonderfully for you.
If you have a professional blog, AdSense may come across as too spammy. You need to focus on having high quality, useful content on your page – something that can benefit your niche readers. Your posts should be long, insightful, and carry an authoritative voice. Tailor your writing voice to specifically hit this niche accurately, and you’ll be able to sell your own sponsorships and products. Once you’ve built a strong community you can also offer a premium membership area to your readership.
How Will Your Short And Long-Term Goals Affect Your Strategy?
Let’s say you want to flip blogs for some quick cash. This is a short-term goal. You don’t need to invest a lot of time selecting the perfect affiliate programs or incorporating a “members only” area. This is an effective strategy. A lot of popular affiliates and SEO’s are looking for niche blog sites that can help them boost their online rankings and community.
If you decide you are “in it to win it” and want to see your blog grow steadily, then your strategy should be focused upon long-term benefits. Your subscriber base will grow if you invest time in producing quality content and products with good outreach.
What Are You Comfortable Managing?
Consider how comfortable you are implementing and maintaining your monetization product and services. Some of these have updates and technical terms that you may feel are too overwhelming. If it’s too technical, remember that hiring a Virtual Assistant is easy on sites like oDesk and Elance.
For those with a fully-formed concept, an eBook is easy enough to write. The challenge is the time and effort it takes to develop the cover, content, and all of the other aspects that entail writing an eBook. This may not be something you are comfortable with. Granted, you can always hire a freelancer to work on these, but if you don’t have the money to invest in their services, this is a waste of time.
What Are Your Competitors Doing?
As the old saying goes, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” As you are enter the world of blog monetization strategies, it’s OK to mimic the practices of others. Notice how they develop their content, offers, and calls to action. If they are a successful blogger, then they do what they do because they’ve probably tested their strategies with hundreds of thousands of visitors. Use this to your benefit as you have yet to grow your readership to the point that they have. Consider it free research and development.
Do a competitor analysis of the best five sites in the niche your looking at. Study how they develop their site content, keywords, products, calls to action, etc. Doing a competitor analysis will literally save you thousands of dollars in research.
How to Monetize Your Blog
Now it’s time to dive into the different methods of blog monetizing. There are many ways; however, here are six popular blog monetization options.
Google AdSense Account
This is the most popular method of blog monetization. It’s simple, and Google allows you to use the same account and create multiple campaigns for multiple blog sites. You will earn a commission any time someone clicks an ad on your page. The pros include:
- It’s easy to get accepted into the Google AdSense program.
- There isn’t much to manage aside from changing a program from time to time.
- Google AdSense handles everything, including automatically deciding the best content to advertise.
- It’s a well-known and reliable network. So you can be confident you will receive payment.
- There are no long-term commitments; you can cancel or tweak at any time. You have the option to deny particular ads to run, such as adult content, alcohol advertisements, etc.
Now for the cons of AdSense:
- Too many ads displayed may turn your readers off as it can come across as spammy.
- You can’t control the payout. Visitors must click the ads for it to count.
- Google can terminate your contract at any time. You must abide by their terms at all times.
There are so many networks to join, as well as individual companies, offering you money to refer customers to them. You can do so with banner ads, through social media sites, or have a direct affiliate link in your blog posts. Select products and services from affiliates that you stand behind. As long as they offer value, you should see great success with this program. The pros of affiliate programs include:
- It has a large income potential and easy to set up. You don’t need to be a salesperson nor close any sales.
- There are an abundant affiliate programs so you can choose the perfect one for your blog.
- You can offer valuable products and services on your site without investing the time or money to create them.
- You can experiment with the best types of products to offer on your own site and later implement your own products.
Affiliate programs are great, but there are a few drawbacks. These are minimal to most bloggers.
- You can’t try everything, so you may have a hard time deciding what to promote on your site.
- You must find the right affiliate program as some will pay you per lead and others per sale.
- You can’t control the price of the product or the landing page.
Sell Your Own Products and Services
Why make others money when you can generate a revenue for yourself? Selling your own products and services is easy with the plugin and platform technologies that exist today. Here are the pros:
- You can sell so many things: eBooks, how-to videos, infographics, online courses, etc.
- You can leverage your content to promote your products and vice versa.
- Your products can serve as passive income generators.
The cons of selling your own products:
- You must invest a lot of time.
- There is no guarantee of sales. So you may feel you wasted time creating the products.
- Your customers may find similar information free online. So, you must ensure your content offers value.
Sell Ad Space
Small and large companies may want to pay to have a spot on your blog. You are familiar with them as they can be banners, videos, or text links. There are advantages to selling ad space such as:
- Selling ad space can be easy using advertising networks.
- If you have a high traffic blog, you can generate a significant amount of income.
- High traffic blogs attract organizations that want to partner with you.
- Your past blogs can help you generate passive income.
Just as there are pro’s, so are there cons to selling your ad space.
- Ad’s may annoy your visitors, and they will lose interest in your site.
- Ad’s lead your visitors off your website, and they may not return.
- You typically need to have high traffic to generate a decent interest and income.
- Your visitors may get easily distracted and confused while reading your posts.
Create A Members Only Area
A member’s only area provides “free” access to your more valuable products and services. You can have the same extended videos or webinars for specific monthly costs your members can access. The member’s only area may provide discounts to your products and services. The pros include:
- You have recurring income, such as monthly or annually. There is no limit to how much you can earn.
- You must offer something of value. So your members may refer their associates to your membership as well.
The cons of a member’s only area include:
- Your visitors may be hesitant to sign up. So you must show you are an expert and offer value to them early on. This may require a lot of time.
- You must invest in an outstanding and reputable membership system. Your site needs to accept payments, keep usernames, passwords, and other personal information secure.
Allow Sponsorship Posts
The more popular type of sponsor posts includes announcements, product reviews, and giveaways. Companies need the exposure and paying you to do so is well worth it. The pros include:
- You may get free products or have access to services on top of receiving pay to review them.
- There is a huge demand for bloggers with a large network of readers.
- With careful selection, your sponsors may provide an enormous of value to your readers.
The con’s include:
- You may lose the trust of your readers. Some aren’t too keen on paid advertisements and feel you may lead them astray.
- You may put a lot of time in managing your reviews and sponsored posts.
- Google could penalize you if you have sponsored links.
There are many things to consider before choosing the right blog monetization strategy. Your blog’s content, followers, and your own intentions will help you decide on the best strategy for your blog.
Remember that you need to reverse engineer your revenue goals into a marketing strategy that you can afford. The internet is truly the “Wild West” of money making opportunities. Make sure to share your success stories with me. I look forward to figuring out what works best for you!