You want to make money, right? Of course you do. Everyone wants – and needs -to make money. So you started a blog since you’ve heard it’s an easy way to make cash, but you’re not quite sure how to actually make money doing it. Or maybe you already have a blog and you’re exploring ways to monetize it.
No matter which group you’re in, making money with a blog – whether it’s a hobby blog or a business blog –is possible. It’s not a get rich quick ordeal, but if you do it right, you could make enough to support your family and more. Let’s dive in and see how you can make a profit with your blog.
Monetize with CPC or CPM Ads
One of the most common ways bloggers make money is through placing ads on their site. There are two popular types of ads:
- CPC/PPC Ads: Cost per click (also called pay per click) ads are usually banners that you place in your content or sidebar. Each time a reader clicks on the ad, you are paid for that click.
- CPM Ads: CPM Ads, or “cost per 1,000 impressions,” are ads that pay you a fixed amount of money based on how many people view your ad.
Perhaps the most popular network for placing these types of ads is Google AdSense. With this program, you do not need to be in direct contact with advertisers; you simply place the banner on your site, Google chooses ads relevant to your content, and your viewers click on the ads. There are countless similar programs available if you find that AdSense doesn’t work for you, such as Chitika, Infolinks, and Media.net.
Sell Private Ads
Working with advertising networks isn’t your only option when it comes to selling ads. If you end up with enough traffic, advertisers may come directly to you and ask you to place their ad on your site. You can also contact advertisers yourself. The biggest difference from the above mentioned option is that there is no middle man, which means you can set your own ad rates.
Selling private ads can come in the form of banners, buttons, or links. You can even make money writing sponsored posts where you write about or give a review of an advertiser’s product or service. Another option is to write an underwritten post or series, which is where you can write about any topic, but the advertiser pays for a “Brought to you by” mention in the content.
The ways you make money with this can vary. For instance, you might charge a one-time fee for a link within a post. If you are hosting banner ads, you might charge your partner monthly.
Bonus tip: To maximize your income, you can also choose to sell sponsorship space in your email newsletters (here are 5 best email marketing software), podcasts, and videos.
Include Affiliate Links in Your Content
Affiliate marketing is also another great tool for monetizing your blog. Here is how affiliate marketing works:
- An advertiser has a product she wants to sell. She agrees to give you a commission from each sale if the buyer is coming from your site.
- She gives you a unique link that tracks your affiliate code. That way, she knows when a buyer used your link to make a purchase.
- You include your affiliate link on your site. You can do this directly in the content or through banner ads. If a reader clicks on your unique link and buys the product you have recommended, you earn a percentage of what she purchased.
You can utilize affiliate marketing through ad networks like Amazon Associates, or you can create private partnerships with advertisers and businesses with an affiliate program.
Sell Digital Products
If you would rather not advertise other people’s products on your site, or if you are looking for another stream of income, consider selling digital products. This can include items like:
- Online courses/workshops
- Images, video, or music people can use in their own content
- Apps, plugins, or themes
Just remember that if you are going to choose one of these avenues that you make it relevant and useful to your readers. A lot of bloggers make the mistake of assuming they are developing a product their readers need; listen to your readers first, and then create a digital product that will meet their needs.
Use it as a Content Marketing Tool for Your Business
It is also possible to sell physical products on your blog and to make money that way. Instead of thinking of it as making money from your blog, however, think of your blog as a content marketing tool that will drive visitors to your business website.
The possibilities are practically endless when it comes to developing a business blog. You could sell hand-made products, books, manufactured products, and so much more. Or you might already have a business and decide to start a blog to convert loyal customers.
Lets say, for example, that you refurbish and resell used smartphones out of your home. You could use a blog to attract visitors to your website where you list your current phones for sale. Your blog might cover topics about DIY refurbishing. On one level, it seems counterintuitive because you want people to buy your phones, but it also helps you build a brand and gain recognition. Social media guru Jay Baer explains the concept on Copyblogger:
I was at a conference a few years ago, and this is where I first sort of started thinking about this concept, and their founder, Robert Johnson, was speaking…
He said, “Well our best customers are the people that think they can fix it themselves.”
But eventually you are going to get out of your depth either on that project on a project down the road, at which point who are you going to call? Are you going to call somebody randomly that you discovered on Google or are you going to call the guys who you just watched their logo in the corner of a 14-minute instructional video?
This concept can also be applied to services in all types of industries. For instance, if you offered electronic repair services as opposed to physical products, you could still use the same blogging concept to increase brand awareness and convert more clients.
Another option to make money is to sell memberships to exclusive corners of your website. For instance, a career blog might charge $10 per month for users to gain access to their job board. A startup business blog might sell memberships to their forums where people can get personalized advice about their business.
The key here is that your exclusive membership has to be more valuable than something your visitors can find for free somewhere else, so be sure you are developing something of value and worth the price.
Use it to Build Your Credibility
Blogging to build credibility can lead to many money-making opportunities. For instance, let us say you start a blog in the finance industry. People start reading your content, and your blog becomes very popular. You are now a recognized figure in the finance industry.
Once you have that authority, people might approach you to co-author a book on debt management, or you could charge to speak at conferences or to run employee financial training days.
This certainly isn’t a direct form of making money blogging, but it has worked for many well-known bloggers, and it can work for you, too. If you are looking for a direct revenue stream, popular blogs have sold for 4-7 figures (sometimes more) by selling their branding and content.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that making money blogging is not possible by putting your site up and letting it sit there. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work here, so be sure you’re willing to put in the time. Most bloggers don’t see a spike of income for several months (sometimes years) after starting their blog. Before you dive too deep into blogging, remember these little bits of advice:
Create Quality Content
You are not going to make any money from your blog if people don’t read it. After all, your readers are the ones who are going to make you money, whether they’re clicking on your ads or buying your products. Always put your readers first.
Don’t Spend Your Time Exclusively on Your Blog
Developing a successful blog has a lot to do with building relationships. That can include relationships with sponsors, affiliate partners, or simply other bloggers who will direct traffic to your blog. Be sure some of your time is spent on forums and other blogs (or whatever works for you) to build these relationships and your blog.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
Not all of these tips and avenues of income are going to work for you. Don’t be afraid to tweak your methods to see what works best for you and your readers.
Making money blogging can take a lot of persistence, but it can pay off in the long-run if you’re starting out from scratch. Just remember that you don’t have to use all of these money-making avenues at once. Consider what other people in your industry are doing, and start from there.
Over time, you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t. If you are looking to make money from your blog, which option will you start with?
This article was written by Jessica Knapp.
Jessica has been helping businesses get online since 2006. She is currently the editor of BloggingBasics101.com. BloggingBasics101.com provides different guides about Blogging and Social Media. You can connect with Jessica on the Blogging Basics 101 Facebook page or via email.