Blogs are a big business. What were once small corners of the internet to find like-minded users and share content are now multi-million dollar operations. Blogging has become a career choice for many, and there are an increasing numbers of full-time bloggers. So, just how exactly can you monetize a blog?
Monetizing a blog takes strategy and know-how but before you’re even at the stage of being ready to make money from it, you need to make sure your blog is well set up and optimized.
When creating and growing your blog, content is king. Knowing your audience and creating content that they want to read is essential. You also need to think about elements such as keyword optimization, the overall user experience, and image optimization. If you do all of these things then you’ll give yourself a solid foundation to start making money from.
There are no set numbers you need to hit before you can start implementing tactics to monetize your blog but having a solid readership is important. If nobody is reading your blog after all then how can you expect to start profiting from it?
Depending on what stage your blog is at, you can create and implement a monetization strategy that will work for you. For instance, if your readership is smaller you may need to consider different tactics than someone who regularly receives hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors.
Here, we’ll take you through some strategies that will help you to monetize your blog at whatever stage it’s currently at.
Further Reading: 9 Types of Blogs That Can Make You Money Today
1. Use AdSense
AdSense is one of the most common ways of monetizing your blog. Put simply, Google AdSense allows you to make money by displaying Google banner adverts on your blog. You then make a small percentage of money based on people clicking on the advert and/or via the number of impressions the banner ad receives. Although Google takes most of the money made via banner ads, you will still receive a small percentage.
Once you’ve set up your AdSense account you’re able to choose which ads will show up on your blog as well as their size meaning you can ensure that only relevant ads for your audience appear, which will, in turn, be more likely to increase clicks and engagement.
Although running a few, small banner ads on your blog won’t bring it hundreds and thousands of dollars, it can be a great way to monetize your blog with little upkeep and work required. The ads can run in the background, allowing you to focus your attention on other areas and ways to make money.
It’s important when deciding to add banner ads to your blog that you take into account the impact they will have on both the functionality of your blog and your audience’s enjoyment of accessing your site. Nobody wants to be inundated with banners and adverts when they click on a page, making it almost impossible for them to access the content that they are looking for. Display ads can also direct your readers away from your website so you must weigh this up against their earning potential.
It may take some time for banner ads to start working for you and your blog, but by playing around with how and where you place them you should be able to find the optimal solution.
How to Use AdSense
Follow the simple steps below for setting up AdSense on your blog.
- Step one: Sign up for a free Google Adsense account.
- Step two: Fill out the sign-up form including inputting the website where you want the banner ads to appear and your email address.
- Once approved by Google copy the code found in your account page.
- Input the code in the HTML source code between the <head> tags of your website.
- Set up your preferred payment method.
- Once your account is approved choose where and how you want to place your banner ads.
How to Get Your Blog Ready for Ads?
To be approved by Google to run banner ads, you need to make sure that your blog is of a high-quality and that you are creating and publishing content that’s relevant for your audience.
Things to consider implementing to make sure your blog is ready for approval include:
- Creating unique and engaging quality content.
- Optimized page layout, including images, and user experience.
- Introduce a comment section to allow readers to leave feedback.
- Check your blog is functional and that all buttons and drop-downs are working correctly.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways for bloggers to make money in 2021. Affiliate marketing is a big business and drives just as many e-commerce sales across America as email marketing.
Affiliate marketing works by you as a blogger encouraging people to buy products from other businesses, allowing you to earn a commission for every sale you prompt. The concept of earning commission for making sales isn’t new and affiliate marketing is simply bringing it into the 21st Century.
The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t need to have a great product yourself, you just need to find a business that does. For affiliate marketing to be a success you need to ensure that what you decide to promote aligns with your blog and audience. There would be little point in promoting items that your audience has no interest in, as they won’t be encouraged to purchase them and you, in turn, won’t make any commission.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, you mustn’t make yourself sound like a pushy salesperson. Instead, find products that naturally align with your niche and disperse affiliate links sporadically for the best results. Once you have gotten used to including affiliate links within your content you will find it easier and easier to make use of the various platforms available to you.
You can sign up to various affiliate networks and once approved, start including affiliate links to products and services within your content. If your audience clicks on one of these links and makes a purchase then you will receive an agreed % of the commission. Some of the potential affiliate networks that you can sign up to include:
You can of course also contact businesses directly to see if they would be interested in working with you on an affiliate basis.
Affiliate Marketing Tips
- Make sure the products you choose are relevant to your niche.
- Write individual product reviews and include an affiliate link to the product.
- Target keywords to drive potential customers to your blog first.
- Analyze how your competitors make use of affiliate marketing.
3. Create Online Courses
Online courses are a great way to make money and by selling and advertising them through your blog they can help you to convert an idle hobby into a money-spinner. Ideally, any online course you create will be relevant to your blog niche and therefore your audience. You don’t need to be a top-level expert in the field to create an online course, you just need to make sure that you have a good level of knowledge that you can pass on to others.
More people are taking online courses than ever before, especially due to current restrictions brought on by the pandemic that has seen so many aspects of work and learning move online. Online courses are proving so popular that e-learning is predicted to be worth $325 billion by 2025.
Online courses are a great way of gaining a steady, passive income too. You don’t need to create an active course that requires you to host individual sessions (unless of course, you want to) but instead, you can create a downloadable online course that people can access at any time. Furthermore, as the online course you create can and should be filmed, the number of video viewers worldwide is increasing. Infact, digital video views amounted to over 2.6 billion and this is projected to reach over 3.1 billion by 2023
Whilst it will inevitably involve a considerable amount of work and effort to get the course together, once complete all you need to do is sell it.
Courses are lucrative and if you have the right knowledge then people are often willing to pay hundreds of pounds for one course, providing they’re sure that the course will offer them the solution they’re looking for. Another great benefit of creating and selling online courses is that you’re in control of every aspect, allowing you to update the course should you feel it’s required or decide the price based on what you determine its worth to be.
Tips for creating an Online course
- Find a topic that you feel you are knowledgeable and passionate about.
- Define the problem, relating to that topic, that you wish to solve for people. Think about why someone will want to buy your course.
- Identify the solution to this problem. This solution is what your course will teach.
- Do your research. Make sure your course can add value to someone and that there isn’t already the same offer out there.
- Map out your content. Have a clear plan of the content your course will include and how it will solve a user’s problem.
4. Offer Sponsored Posts or Reviews
Creating a revenue stream via sponsored posts and reviews can be incredibly lucrative, but it’s not an easy task. To convince brands and agencies to pay you to write a post then you’ll first need to have built up a strong audience and credibility in your niche. You’ll need to be able to prove to them why you’re worth the payout.
Sponsored posts work by company’s paying a blogger a fee to write a pre-determined blog post. These blog posts can be anything from a product review to a broader thought piece that includes a link to the company’s website. The benefit for the company is that their brand or product gets exposed to the blogger’s audience who trust their opinion.
Sponsored posts are a form of influencer marketing and can produce big money, once you’ve built up your audience. It’s important to remember that you’ll only keep securing sponsored posts as long as your audience is engaged and trust your content. If your content starts to appear spam-like then your audience will begin to doubt your credibility as a blogger. It’s therefore essential that you create a content strategy that includes a mix of sponsored and organic (non-paid for) posts.
It’s also worth taking into account that sponsored posts will often require a substantial amount of work, especially when compared to other monetization techniques. Sponsored posts will normally come with a contract, agreed on between you and the company you’re creating the post for, that will detail your requirements. These can often include the creation of the blog post and a pre-approved length, image creation, social media promotion, and email list promotion. Before agreeing to a sponsored post you must be able to decide if the proposed fee is worth the amount of work that will be required of you.
Tips for Getting Sponsored Posts
- Create a media pack that includes all of your blog stats including audience figures and click-through rates and any social media figures. A media pack is the equivalent of a CV for your blog.
- Decide on your rates for a sponsored post.
- Actively pitch to brands who you would like to work with.
- Include a page on your blog specifically for advertisers. Make it clear that you accept sponsored posts.
- Join a blogger network to make connections and contacts in the industry.
Monetizing your blog can be a great way to turn your hobby into an income generator but it’s not something that happens overnight. To start even thinking about monetizing your blog you’ll need to have built it up into a solid position. You’ll need a substantial and engaged audience who actively trusts and enjoys your content.
There are pros and cons to all the aspects we’ve discussed above but if you manage to execute them successfully then you can sit back and watch as your blog generates a healthy income for you to enjoy.
Lucy Nixon is a digital marketing consultant with almost a decade of experience in helping brands of all shapes and sizes to master their digital marketing strategies.
Hero photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash