How to Make Money Onlineby Monetizing Your Blog
Many years ago, when I first joined the online world with my very own personal blog I had no intention to make money online with it. I was talking to a group of friends about my adventures, my complete and utter inexperience and the many stumbling blocks that had nearly made me give up the whole thing as a bad joke. We started chatting about how much I was earning with my online business efforts and if it’s at all possible to make money from home this way, and then one particularly intelligent individual (can you see the sarcasm dripping from my words?) piped up with ‘Well why don’t you monetize your blog?’
If I had known how to make money by monetizing my blog I would have already been doing it! Many years down the line I have learned the ins and outs of turning a blog into a source of income, and I’ll even say I think I’m relatively good at it. But every day there are newcomers just entering this world I have become comfortable in, stumbling around while they try to figure how to make money online and generally making a mess of my beautiful internet. So I figured that I have become knowledgeable and confident enough about monetizing a blog, and it is time to share what I have learned about the ways to make money with your blog.
Any Blog Can Be Monetized
The first thing that I learned is that it is possible to monetize any blog, no matter the topic, the niche, the market or the type. If your blog is a personal journal of your daily adventures that you like to share with the public, it can be monetized! If your blog is business based and caters to a specific niche, it can be monetized! And if your blog is about your favourite personal hobby that doesn’t really attract all that much interest – it can STILL be monetized.
But a very important piece of advice to keep in mind is to remember that whatever way you choose to monetize your blog, HAS to be relevant to your blog. If your blog is about medical advances or the medical industry, having a banner advert for a fashion boutique is just foolish. It’s going to be hard work, you’re going to tear your hair out sometimes and you’re going to experience some despair – but it can be done! I PROMISE!
Cost Per Click or Cost Per Mile Advertising
Thanks to a variety of ‘plug and play’ plugins that require virtually no technical knowledge on your part, you can now see CPC and CPM adverts on just about every blog and website you may come across. These are normally those banners at the top of a page or in the side bar.
CPC ads work with actual clicks, every time someone clicks one of the adverts on your site, you get paid. CPM is a little more complex and works on cost per 1,000 impressions. That means that you get paid for every 1,000 people who view the advert on your page.
When you’re first starting out, CPC will be better and only once you have enough daily and monthly visitors will CPM be a viable option.
If you think about it, your blog is kind of like a free community newsletter. So just like they sell advertising space to keep paying for their monthly costs, so can you! Unless you have a fair amount of traffic, most advertisers won’t be too interested in paying you for advertising space. But if you keep calling them and badgering them, they may just give in. If you have enough visitors, advertisers might even approach you and ask if you would be willing to have their advert on your site (the first time you get an offer like that, your head spins a little and you might do a crazy weird victory dance!)
These ads are basically the same thing as the banner adverts used for CPC advertising, only there is no middleman involved. So you get to set the rates! These private ads can also take a variety of formats such as banners, buttons or even links which mostly work with a monthly agreement. You could do a ‘paid’ review of that advertiser’s product or company, or even do a sponsored post where you write about anything you like and simply add a ‘This post brought to you by that guy’ somewhere in the article (possibly with a link to their site) which is normally a once off agreement.
Become an Affiliate
Explaining this becomes a little more complicated if you don’t know what an affiliate is. But here goes! An affiliate marketer is kind of like a freelance sales rep for a company, product or service (or a site, seeing as we’re talking about the internet!). You don’t earn a monthly salary, but you do earn commission on every sale that you bring to that particular advertiser. So you’re provided with a unique code or link that will tell your partner this buyer was sent by you.
In the online world, this works with affiliate links. You could write an article and embed the link in that, or you place a banner or button somewhere on your site. When one of your visitors clicks on that link and makes a purchase (make sure of the terms of your agreement as some affiliate partners pay you simply for convincing someone to sign up for their newsletters) you earn a percentage of that sale. Again, this could be for a specific product only, or for an entire purchase so read your terms and conditions!
Advertising widgets are relatively new in the blogosphere, you’re not as likely to see them as you are to see a banner advert. But they’re becoming ever more popular because they are designed to be easily integrated anywhere on your site, and are able to display a combination of PPC, text link advertising and affiliate programs. I’ve used a couple with a relatively profitable return so as long as you’re sure of what you’re going to putting on your site, the payment terms for placing it on your site, and the relevancy of what is displayed to the content of your site – you should be golden!
An RSS Feed Is Auto Advertising
If you have a blog, then you should have an RSS feed. If you don’t have one – then get one!! Seriously, not only is an RSS feed one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with your followers, it’s a great way to send out daily, weekly or monthly advertising campaigns as well. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, then I’ll tell you – selling advertising space is one of the BEST ways to monetize your blog.
There are a number of RSS feed generators that offer this as a built in service so it’s easier than ever to get started. But there is of course the private method, where you can offer advertising in the form of sponsored messages or banners in your feed. Again, if you’re just getting started with your blog then the built in option works better, but if you have a lot of followers, then the private option may be more viable.
Directory Listings For Your Niche
Now I’m not saying that you should turn your website into a phone book, but including paid directory listings on your site is a way to generate small amounts of money in large quantities. Instead of having a whole advert on your site, you can rather have a list of links to the websites of product or service providers within your chosen niche. If your blog is about being a single mom, then you could link to babysitting services, children’s clothing stores, toy stores and even beauty salons. If your blog is about gadgets then you could link to various electronic stores, electronic repair services and even specific brand or product sites.
Sell Your Own Products
Now this is one of those things that you should make a decision about before you ever start your blog. But with some careful planning and a little manoeuvring, you may be able to implement it long after your blog goes live. This works in a similar fashion to affiliate marketing, except that you are selling your own products. Now this could be a tutorial or guide that is related to what your site is about, it could be software or an app that you have developed, it could be an eBook about a topic that suits your chosen niche, it could be an online course of some kind or it could be a physical product that you make with your own hands.
The options are endless, almost! As long as the product you’re selling suits your content, you should be able to sell it with some success. The one thing to keep in mind is that if you’re going to sell anything, then you need to have a SECURE payment gateway for your buyers. Everyone is leery of identity theft and internet based fraud so make sure that both yours, and your buyers details stay safe at ALL times!
Sell Your Services
Most blogs are founded with the sole intention of selling an individual or a company in some way. Whether you’re a single mom juggling home, work and play and sharing your daily trials and tribulations with others, or you’re a corporate professional with years of experience who is sharing their insider knowledge with the public, you can use your blog to sell your services – as long as what you’re providing is related to your content of course!
If your blog is about the finance sector, then you’re not going to offer your services as a babysitter. Some people build entire websites dedicated to promoting their business so that they can build their client base, while some people use their personal blogs as a sort of resume or portfolio for the very same reason. Some people start a blog as a way to share advice, then get so many private requests for assistance that they decide to do some consulting on the side. It is not possible to offer services with every blog, but most bloggers have something to offer and can find a way to integrate this with a ‘Hire Me’ page.
Donations are Not Begging
You might think that only major sites who have thousands of visitors could really turn a ‘Please Donate’ button or link into a profit but you’d be surprised how many people are willing to give you a little something if they feel your site has benefited them in some way. It could just be that you made them smile while they were having a bad day, or it could be that the ‘How To’ guide on your site helped save them hundreds of dollars in repair costs.
The nice thing about a Donate button from PayPal is that your visitors don’t HAVE to donate if they don’t want to. You’re not harassing them by placing the link where it can be seen, you’re simply giving them the option to show material gratification for the service you provide. And a donation can be as small or as big as they want it to be! Make your request smart or funny and you could have people donating even though they didn’t really find what they were looking for on your site!
Finally, the very last way to monetize your blog is to sell it. People are lazy, they like to buy things that make their lives easier. And if you can sell them a site that is already live, already built and already monetized then they are more than happy to spend the cash! You might decide to sell because you’re not getting the number of visitors you wanted, and someone may feel that with a little customization of their own they could turn that around. Or maybe you realize that you’re not quite as into that particular niche as you thought you were. You’ll be surprised to see just how much some people are willing to pay for a site that you think is completely worthless, but if you’ve tired of yours for whatever reason then simply find a website auction service, list your blog and then wait and see!
Good Luck and Happy Blogging
There are a number of other ways to monetize your site, but many of them involve a lot more work, and a lot more capital than the ones I have listed here. When you’re just getting started you want to see some results and you want things as simple as possible while you try to find your way. With these tips you’re not going to turn into a millionaire in months, probably not even in years – but over time you will start earning a viable income. And thanks to the genius who first came up with the concept of plugins that automatically integrate with your site and do what they’re supposed to, it won’t require much technical knowledge on your part!
I’m going to remind you to keep your monetization strategies relevant to your content, and to always do your research before you add anything to your site. Reading the small print can be a pain, but searching for reviews, forums and comments about the specific product or service you’re considering can save you a whole lot of money in the long run!