Blogging is a very profitable online activity. There are thousands of bloggers who generate six figure income from their blogs month after month. However, they just don’t throw banners on their blogs and wait for some magic to happen. There are proper ways to monetize your blog and see beautiful results.
In this post, let’s talk about ways to monetize your blog starting today. The simple truth is that some of these blog monetization methods are evergreen but because of competition and changes in human behavior, things must be done differently to earn money from your website.
Before deciding to monetize your blog…
Before we discuss the various ways to make money out of your blog, let’s quickly deal with some important points first. If your blog has to generate income for you, it has to be healthy in some sense. Here are four things you must work on to create a solid infrastructure that will allow you to add monetization elements and build up a sustainable blogging business.
1. Your blogging niche
Having coached bloggers for years, I have seen many stumble at this level. Not choosing a proper blogging niche can be the reason you are not able to see income from your blog. I believe that in any niche, as long as there are readers, you will be able to generate some income. But remember that some niches are more profitable than others.
However, the profitability and money making drive shouldn’t be the only reasons to pick a niche. Some niches have become highly competitive and this should play on your choice of industry to blog about.
2. Technical stability
Once you’ve picked your niche, your next challenge will be to have your blog setup and running. If you are serious about it, consider your blogging as a business and invest in getting the necessary premium resources together. This includes paid web hosting, premium themes and plugins and other tools you will need to maintain your blog’s stability.
The good news is that most of what we need today to create a professional blog is readily available. With less than $200, you can already have a stable blog with all technical items needed to start going.
Further Reading: How to Start a Blog? A Comprehensive List to Guide You in Creation
3. Attractive content
Content is the core of your blogging business. Poor content may completely shatter your monetization strategy. Focus on creating content that will attract readers. While SEO content is important, write more for humans than for search engines.
You may want to optimize your content to rank well and drive natural traffic. Remember that Search engines don’t buy or spend money. While they are responsible for bringing some of the readers who have the purchasing power, focus more on providing value for these human readers.
4. Have a promotion strategy
Your blog cannot generate income if it’s not taken out to the market. Your content promotion strategy will allow you to build a marketplace that will be responsible for the income from your blog. Briefly, your promotion strategy should be developed around:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- List building
- Social media traffic
- Guest posting
Further Reading: 10 Ways How to Promote Your Blog
The value of search engine traffic
Search engine traffic, in my opinion, is the most profitable source of traffic. While search traffic is generally seen as free traffic, you may have to spend money at some point to get the tools or experts in order to get some SEO jobs done.
In my early days of blogging, I found good results going with free SEO tools but to scale my income, there was a need to upgrade to premium tools. I don’t want to talk about free SEO tools in this post but some you want to start with include Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz browser extension, Google Search Console, etc.
Google Search Console is my favorite free tool. It helps reveal to me which keywords and posts are already getting traffic from Google. With this, I’m able to refresh the posts, improve ranking and drive more traffic.
SEO is broadly divided into On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. On-page SEO simply refers to everything you can do, within your website, to optimize your content for improved results. Off-page (sometimes referred to as Off-site) refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings on search engine results pages.
Further Reading: The 16 Best SEO Tools to Power Your Search Engine Marketing
My email list is something I don’t joke with. As a blogger who wants to generate income from your blog, you should start creating a list of targeted subscribers as soon as possible. Many of the first buyers of products I recommend are my list subscribers. Each time I do an affiliate product review post (more on this below) and mail my list, sales start dropping within the next two hours.
Further Reading: How to Grow Your Email List: 10 Best Practices to Follow
Now, those are some of the key points to build before getting into monetizing your blog. Note that while you need to pick the niche and set up your blog at the very start, content production and marketing are activities you are constant with as your blogging business grows.
When should you start to monetize your blog?
Now, before you get into exploring some of the ways to squeeze income from your blog, let me answer this question first. It’s one of the most common questions I get from my blogging students.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, depending on which monetization method you want to implement, you may want to start with your very first article. You don’t have to wait until you have 1,000 daily readers.
Just one person on your blog can generate a sale or make a click that provokes earnings. But if you want your income to grow, you should work on expanding your marketplace by getting more readers.
Blog monetization is actually math, not magic and the formula is simple:
More relevant traffic + Proper monetization = Profit.
Now, let’s move right in to the:
7 proven ways to monetize your blog
1 – Affiliate Marketing
This is by far the most exciting way to monetize your blog as it doesn’t require any particular skills. Looking at income reports of many bloggers, you’ll find out that Affiliate Marketing always tops the list of their income sources.
Affiliate Marketing is simply an activity where you promote products owned by other individuals and/or companies to get paid a percentage of sales you generate.
The company whose products you promote must have in place an affiliate marketing platform which allows you to track your activities, keep record of your sales and withdraw your earnings when it’s time.
There are two very important aspects when it comes to Affiliate Marketing:
A – Get the right product to promote:
In my opinion, this involves investigating the quality of the product, the uniqueness of the product, the team working on the product and the affiliate commission that is paid out.
Low quality products will often lead to poor Conversion Rate and high rate of refunds. You have to properly do your research to make sure the product you promote meets some quality standard. Read reviews and product ratings from existing customers of the product.
For International Marketers, make sure the platform you promote products on has the facilities to pay your commissions to your country. This has been one of the main challenges some affiliates face online. As PayPal is not available in many countries and being one of the most widely used payment processors, it makes it difficult to promote some products that only pay out commissions to PayPal.
B – The commission structure:
If you sign up to promote a digital or physical product where you get paid one time per sale, it means you have to be generating new sales every month to keep having income. The month your blog does not make new sales, you earn nothing from it.
What about promoting products/services that pay recurring earnings? A typical example is a membership site where your referrers are expected to pay a renewal fee every month to maintain their subscriptions and each time they are rebilled, you get paid a percentage. This will go on for as long as they don’t cancel their paid memberships.
Promoting products with recurring commissions is the best way to build a sustainable source of income from your blog. If you find such a product that pays you $33 in monthly recurring earnings, by generating 10 new sales per month, you will soon be earning $10k a month from your blog in a few years.
Drawbacks of Affiliate Marketing
- If you don’t generate a sale, you don’t get paid. Clicks and impressions don’t pay.
- Each time there is a refund that takes place within the guarantee period, you lose money
2 – Contextual Advertising
Contextual advertising is not new at all. In this money making model, automated systems display ads related to the content of your blog based on keyword targeting. A well-known example is Google Adsense. As the world of content marketing grows, many more niche-based advertising platforms are popping up.
Unlike Affiliate Marketing, you don’t have to generate a sale to earn money with Contextual Advertising. For the most part, you get paid per thousand impressions (RPM) and clicks on those ads displayed on your blog.
Here are a couple of things to note before joining any advertising platform:
- Possible revenue-per-click (RPC) and revenue-per-thousand-impressions (RPM). Some platforms pay more than others
- Platform performance reviews
- Cash-out methods
- Ad block customization for Native Advertising.
Drawbacks of Contextual Advertising
- If your blog is very new, you may not be accepted on many reputable advertising platforms.
- Even with an aged blog, you may need a certain minimum of daily traffic measured in impressions or sessions to qualify.
- You need high traffic to earn considerably
3 – Display Ads
This is a way of displaying adverts (banner ads) on your blog. You can use this to monetize your blog in three different ways:
- Display banners of affiliate products you promote.
- Display banners of your own product.
- Sell space to advertisers who purchase and display their own products.
The question with point 3 is where does one find advertisers to buy space on their blog? Well, you can sign up to advertising platforms like BuySellAds if you meet their requirements. Another option is to advertise the space to your readers and manage the ads with a plugin.
Drawbacks of Display Ads
- Many people suffer from banner blindness
- You may have to hire a designer to create quality designs for your own products.
- Working with affiliates products or ads platforms, you may not have full control over the quality of banner designs to display on your blog
4 – Sponsored Content
Allowing brands to sponsor content on your blog is one of the ways you can monetize it. For the most part, advertisers will create content and submit for publication. Sometimes, you will be sent a keyword and asked to create content based on it.
How much you charge will depend on a couple of factors:
- Who provides the content
- The traffic of your blog
- The Domain Authority or Domain Rating of your blog
- How to promote the sponsored content
- How much the advertiser is able to pay
- How strong your brand is in the market
There are generally two ways to land sponsored content deals:
- Make it known to your readers that your blog is available for sponsored content by creating a page on your blog with necessary information.
- Submit your blog on platforms that host these opportunities
Drawbacks of Sponsored Content
You stand being penalized by Google for link scheming if you follow the exigencies of some advertisers who insist on keyword-rich link anchors. Some will request that you do not disclose the content as sponsored and for more SEO benefits, they require the link to their page to be dofollow.
Many of these advertisers sponsor content on blogs solely for the SEO benefits but if you insist on complying with Google and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you lose the deals.
5 – Sales of Your Own Services and/or Products
In Affiliate Marketing and Contextual Advertising, you promote and sell products not owned by you. However, you can still monetize your blog by exposing your own products or services.
Creating a shop on your blog has been simplified by the availability of shopping scripts. While dealing with physical products may face delivery and other aftersales challenges, services and digital products are excellent to promote and sell directly on your blog.
A good point here is that you keep 100% profit from the sales. No platform fees to split your earnings.
6 – Accept Donations (for Nonprofits)
For non-profit and charity organizations, you may just add a donation button on your blog. This allows visitors who sympathise with your sision to send in their support through your blog. PayPal offers a quick and easy way to add donation buttons to your blog.
7 – Sell Links (at Your Own Risk)
I have had this point coming up from some of my students. As your blog grows and gets more traffic from Google, your Domain Authority (DA) also grows. DA is a simple SEO metric that shows how impactful a link from your blog is. It’s a value between 0 – 100 and the higher the value, the more attractive your domain.
As soon as your DA hits 50+, your blog becomes very attractive and on a regular basis, you will be getting link sale deal proposals here and there. Some of these deals are financially very tempting and attractive. The bad news however is that Google hits hard against selling links on your blog and they have a way to find out if you get involved. It may take some time but once you fall in their radar, your blog will suffer heavy consequences.
Link selling/buying is an abusive SEO activity that manipulates search rankings. Generally, both the site linking out and the site linked to are penalized heavily if discovered.
You may not implement all of these on your blog to monetize it. You have to test and find out what works for you and focus on. In my case, I found out that contextual advertising wasn’t working the way I expected. So I took it down and optimized my blog for what generates more income.
Further Reading: 9 Types of Blogs That Can Make You Money Today
Hero photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash