The Good And The Bad
There’s always pros and cons, right? Well, the good news is that it’s really easy to setup and turn on revenue streams with a blog. You have all kinds of options (several of which we’ll cover below), and they don’t necessarily have to intrusive on your blog visitors.
The bad though, is that evidence suggests users engage at a lower level with blogs that are monetized, which can hurt your traffic levels, and also your revenue is typically tied directly to your traffic in such a way that bloggers often become frustrated and discouraged with the struggles of building up their traffic to a point where it’s providing a decent return financially for them.
There are ways to disconnect your revenue and earning potential from your traffic levels, in fact three of the four revenue streams we cover below do just that and set you up for just that. Still it’s worth noting that the most common (and easiest) method of earning from your blog, which is displaying ads such as Google’s AdSense, is also typically the lowest paying and requires the highest traffic levels to see any sort of noteworthy income with.
Methods For Making Money With Your Blog
We’re going to cover four common strategies for monetizing a blog (or any website for that matter), and try to give you the fullest picture to make your decisions from.
The simplest and fastest way to start generating an income with your site is to just place advertising on your pages. There’s some options here, such as do you use a 3rd party ad serving network like Google AdSense, or sell advertisement placements directly?
Generally using a 3rd party ad serving network is the better option, still selling advertising on your site directly is an option and worth considering especially if you’re blogging in a niche industry or genre and expect the people who would be looking for advertising opportunities might be visiting your site regularly.
Advertising like this is typically a PPC (pay per click) model, which means when visitors come to your site, and click on one of the ads, you earn a small fee. The rates can vary wildly, from a penny to several dollars for a single click, and much of what determines those rates is out of your control.
With some 3rd party networks you will serve the advertising based on a flat-rate for time, in other words advertisers will pay you (through the 3rd party network) $x dollars to have their ad shown on your pages for a week, two weeks, a month, etc.
If you’re working with a network that pays for time like this, then you can increase your earnings by having multiple advertising locations on your site, such as a banner at the top of pages, one or more square advertising spots in your site’s sidebar, and perhaps another banner at the bottom of your pages. Then you’ve got the opportunity to sell time-based ads to multiple buyers.
Of course, the more advertising you put onto your site, the more you risk upsetting or alienating your visitors, and if traffic begins to drop so does the value of your advertising spots.
PPC advertising was wildly popular several years ago, but in recent times has fallen from favor due to low payout rates, the general unpredictable nature of earnings, and an increase in the level of end users browsing the web with ad-blocking technology included in their browsers.
Still, if one of the following methods isn’t viable for you or your situation then serving advertising to your visitors is always available as a way to generate revenue; and it can even be used as a supplemental income stream in addition to one or more of the methods below.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing online gets a bad wrap for a lot of reasons, email SPAMMERS and the whole “Make Money Online” industry of network marketing chief among them, but when done right and with a sense of professionalism affiliate marketing is a very lucrative and respectable means for generating revenue online.
In fact, affiliate marketing has become one of the more popular methods for monetizing a website in recent times because it’s so easy to implement, doesn’t rely on having a high volume stream of traffic (though generally the more traffic you have, the more you can earn), and it lets you the blogger determine what your payout rates will be by determining what products (or services) you will recommend as the affiliate.
How it works is simple: You find products or services related (or of interest) to the general audience of your site which have affiliate programs, join their affiliate program usually by just filling out a simple form though in some instances a phone interview may be required, then using special links with tracking codes in them that are provided to you just recommend the product or service on your site, usually within the content of your blog postings.
Every time a reader of your site clicks your affiliate link with its tracking code and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. Get good at promoting items with the content you create and there’s huge potential for high conversion rates and earnings with this method.
Whole businesses earning hundreds-of-thousands of dollars per month are based on the affiliate model. Just to name a few:
This is just a small sample of affiliate based websites and what can be done with them, the limit is really only imagination and creativity.
3. Sell A Product Or Service Of Your Own
This is often seen as a purely Digital offering avenue, but it doesn’t have to be, though if your product is a software or your service something that’s done online it certainly makes the logistics of taking and shipping orders with this type of revenue stream a lot easier.
Still, even if you’ve created something physical that’s related to the general topic of your blog, for example if you blog about your adventures in fly fishing and have created some fresh new kind of holding stand for tying your own flies, you can offer it for sale through your blog.
The way to generate sales and revenue when selling your own product or service is similar to recommending affiliate products, the difference is you set the sales price and keep all of the profits, not just earn a commission.
Also like with affiliate marketing, creativity and imagination are your best tools with this type of income stream and the only limits to how well you can do with it.
4. Write A Book (Maybe You Already Have!)
This is technically easier than most people think it is today, in fact between software for formatting and the Amazon self-publishing platform anybody can get a book put together and published fairly fast.
The hard part is in writing it, but guess what: if you blog regularly about a specific topic or genre of interest, you’ve probably got lots--if not all--of the material you’ll need for your book already written and only in need of a bit of editing to polish up before publishing.
There’s a whole new and different audience of people who may be interested in your topic that buy books but don’t frequent blogs, so there’s great opportunity for converting your blog content into a book and widening your reach.
Many individuals have widened their reach and popularity online, as well as made some nice income, with this method. From authors of fiction to owners of cooking blogs and technology enthusiasts, whatever your topic of interest is if there’s an audience for your blog there’s likely to be an audience for your writing in book form too.