You’ve spent months writing the greatest articles, creating the coolest graphics and perfecting the look of your blog. You’re starting to see a decent little amount of traffic. You’re excited that people are actually visiting the thing you’ve created. You’re really hummin’ along. But what’s the next step?
That’s easy! Start monetizing! Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re ready (or almost ready) to start making money from your blog.
I’ve got 9 easy ways to monetize your blog. This is an introduction to some of the best methods to make money from a blog. It’s just a scratch of the surface if you will. I hope you find something that resonates with you and you take action. That’s the key here. You have to practice what you learn. Simply reading about how to monetize a blog isn’t going to do anything. Put your knowledge to work!
Oh, and don’t forget to check out my post on the 6 Mistakes To Avoid When Monetizing Your Blog.
Let’s start off with the easiest way you can make money with your blog. Running ads.
Naturally, the easiest way to make money is not the greatest. Here’s why:
First, you need a shitload of traffic to make money. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of pageviews per month just to make a few hundred bucks. If you’re just starting out, chances are you’re only going to make pennies from running ads.
Second, you’re promoting someone else’s brand. When you run ads on your site you’re actually promoting other brands. With the rise of retargeting (ads that follow someone around the internet. You’ve seen them before), these ads are often for direct competition of yours.
Lastly, you’re opening up the door for readers to leave. Think about it. If you have an ad pop up on your site for something that really interests one of your readers, there’s a chance they’re going to click it and ultimately leave your site.
As you can see, I’m not the biggest fan of ads. To me, it isn’t worth running them. Your goal should be to keep people on your site and engaged in your content. Ads are just a distraction and possibly an escape from your blog.
I’m not saying “don’t run ads”. I’m just letting you know how I feel about them. They work great in certain situations (just not mine).
2. SPONSORED POSTS
Sponsored posts are another great way to make some extra cash from your blog.
A sponsored post is when a person or company pays you (or gives you something) to write about a product or service they offer.
Be careful with these, though. I would focus only on products or services you believe in. It’s way too hard to blog about something you don’t personally connect with. Trust me on this.
To be successful with sponsored posts you’re going to need to have a relatively large following. When a company or person reaches out to you they’re going to ask you about your metrics (pageviews etc). Just be prepared for that.
I don’t personally use sponsored posts on my blog, but if it’s something you’re interested, be my guest.
3. AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
If you haven’t heard of affiliate marketing, you’re missing out, my friend.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is promoting (or recommending) somebody else’s product. You put a link on your site and every time someone purchases through the link you get a cut. There’s a large range in how much commission you’ll make. It really depends on the product you’re promoting.
Some programs, like Amazon, pay around 5% while others (like some software products) could be as high as 100%. Crazy right!
I know what you’re thinking…”That’s great but I don’t think there are any affiliate programs in my niche”. You’d be very surprised at how many programs there really are out there.
Jump onto Google for a second and search “your niche” plus “affiliate program”. You should see a bunch of results. Feel free to dig around and see what’s out there.
All you have to do now is apply for the program, get your link and throw that link up on your site. Easy peasy!
For a more in-depth guide to using affiliate links check out How To Monetize Your Blog With Affiliate Links.
Services…I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.
There are an infinite number services you could offer. You could have a coaching program. You could do consulting. You could offer graphic design services. Or maybe you draw pictures of cats for people (saw this on Dragon’s Den…it’s a real thing!).
Whatever your service(s) might be, your blog is a great place to offer them to your audience.
People are willing to pay for the craziest things. Don’t be afraid to try something unique!
5. CREATE COURSES
Creating courses has got to be one of my favorite ways to monetize a blog.
It’s dead simple. You just create something that helps people achieve “X”. That could be anything. You could teach them how to cook vegan food. You could show them how to ride a unicycle or how to use photoshop. The possibilities are endless.
Don’t be scared, though. It’s not like you have to draft up and record a full university level course. These can be basic, as long as it gets the customer to the outcome you promise. Remeber that, it’s a key point. When you’re selling the course you’re going to explain an outcome (learn to knit a baby toque, learn to sleep upside-down etc). The customer is paying for that outcome. If you deliver on your promise everyone is happy.
Courses can come in many forms too. Here are a few examples:
An email course (you could email them a new lesson each week or each day)
A video course (a number of short videos)
An audio course
I suggest you think about creating a course at some point. You may not be prepared to do it right now, but keep it on the back burner.
Let me start by saying this isn’t a monetization strategy I’ve used in the past. However, I know they can be very lucrative and I’ll most likely try them out at some point.
So, what is a workshop? Basically, it’s a one-time event that teaches a group of people how to do something. Similar to creating a course, but it’s more of a live environment.
Thinking about a traditional workshop might be overwhelming. You might picture having to rent a conference room, get some refreshments, plan your exercises and lessons just to have nobody show up. That would scare me too!
Fear not! A workshop can be extremely simple. If you’re not comfortable with a face-to-face setting (or it doesn’t make sense because of geography) you can host an online workshop. You can host a webinar using something like GoToWebinar or Demio. You could host a Facebook live event or Google Hangouts (which are both FREE by the way). There are so many ways to do this, be creative.
Workshops are great because they can work for so many types of businesses. A bonus is that they also build your authority because you’re viewed as a teacher. This can be HUGE for your brand.
Have you ever dreamt of being an author? Well, here’s your big shot! Write an eBook you son-of-a-gun!
I’m assuming most people know what an eBook is. If you don’t, it’s simply a book that’s available only in digital form.
All you have to do is put your knowledge together in a PDF (or something similar), have a nice little cover made up and BOOM! You’re an author. Just like you’ve always dreamed!
The beauty of eBooks is that they cost nothing (or next to nothing) to have produced and they can be easily delivered. What do I mean by easily delivered?
Think about writing a physical book. The basic steps would be: write it, have it printed and then each time someone buys it you have to have it shipped to them. Printing and shipping have significant costs associated with them.
With an eBook, you avoid these costs. Yeah baby! You’re not printing it since it’s digital and customers can download it once purchased. It takes the same amount of effort to get the book to one customer as it does a million. Make sense? *Virtual high five*
Writing an eBook doesn’t have to take years. The goal with your book should be to give your reader as much value as you can while being as concise as possible. People often think they need to write some 10,000 word eBook but that’s the opposite of true. I’ve seen 30 page eBooks sold for hundreds of dollars because of the value they contained.
It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Channel your inner author and write your first eBook. I dare you! In fact, I double dog dare you!
8. MEMBERSHIP SITES
Membership sites have always intrigued me. I’ve had the opportunity to help others with theirs but have never actually had a chance to run my own *tear*. I know just how successful they can be if done right.
Let’s talk about what a membership site is, then I’ll share some of the benefits.
I like to think of a membership site as a vault. You keep a pile of really valuable content in there and people pay a membership fee to have access to it. The membership can be a one-time payment, a monthly or yearly fee or any other combination.
One of the biggest benefits of running a site like this is the recurring income aspect. Anyone who runs a business from home knows that income can be inconsistent. If you run a well-oiled membership site, you have a source of predictable income. Amazing!
The keys to a successful membership site are that make sure your customers feel they’re getting more value from your content than what they’re paying. The second is to continuously be adding new content. If people are paying a monthly fee, you don’t want them running out of content.
The biggest challenge with monetizing this way is dealing with customer drop-off. Each month (or whatever billing cycle you use) you’re going to have a certain portion of people drop off and you’re going to have to get new members to offset that. People will generally stick around for about 3 months (this is an average, every case is different). Keep that in mind.
9. PHYSICAL PRODUCTS
Last, but not least. The ole physical product game.
This has become quite the trend in recent years. A lot of people are selling physical products online through their blogs. The reason is, it’s very easy to do.
Years ago one would have to buy products in bulk and then find a way to store all that inventory. Then they would have to actually set up a storefront in order to deliver the goods to their customers.
Now, you can sell physical products as a one-person show with almost no upfront costs.
The possibilities for selling products from your blog are endless. I’m just going to touch on a few of the basics for the purpose of this post.
One of the easiest ways to get started is to sell something that you make yourself. Maybe you know how to knit and you want to sell toques to us Canadian folk. Maybe you have a knack for restoring vintage furniture. Whatever it is, you can sell it online.
There’s quite a few channels that allow you to set up a storefront and sell your own products. One of the most popular being Etsy. They allow you to showcase and sell handmade goods. Other options to consider would be Shopify. They’ve created an easy-to-use platform that can be used to create a beautiful online store to sell almost anything.
If you’re not into making your own goods (like me) you can look into dropshipping. Dropshipping is where you sell a product from your site and then pay the manufacturer or distributor to ship the product to the customer. You hold no inventory at all. You’ll usually get a smaller cut for the sale than if you held the inventory but you don’t have the hassle and costs of shipping and warehousing. It’s a great model because you can scale it to the moon!
If you’re just starting out, I would stick to one of the models above. They are the most beginner friendly and there’s tons of information on how to do it all over the internet.
Well, there you have it. You’ve got yourself a nice list of different ways you can monetize your blog. I urge you to pick 1 or 2 methods and get started. Take what you’ve learned, apply it and make some money from that blog of yours.
Best of luck!