Monetize…How To Make Money Blogging
This post is part of the series Writing Good Blog Posts Series
Other posts in this series:
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With as much work that goes into writing a blog, why would you not want to monetize it?
First, you have to decide what you want to write about and determine if there’s an audience. Then you have to set-up the blog, learn the tech, design the branding, and get it all to work right. And even though you realize that it will take time to grow an audience, when you first start writing, only crickets will listen.
It’s. A. Lot. Of. Work.
By the time you start growing an audience, you’re probably wondering why you started in the first place. Oh yeah! Because you thought it would be fun. Well, it still may be fun but imagine the fun when you start getting paid for your efforts…now THAT’S FUN!
You MUST Monetize. It’s Too Much Work Not To
There are a lot of ways to monetize a blog but the bottom line is that you have to do the work to monetize it. And honestly, just about every post should include a way for you to make money. So it’s not just throwing up a few ads and you’re done, no, you have to think about how what you write about can be linked to something where you will make money.
I’m sure there are a lot more ways to monetize than I’m going to cover in this post, but I will cover a few here to get you started.
Product recommendations are a very common way to monetize your blog. Just about everything you can write about can be tied to either a digital or physical product.
The most profitable way to sell products is to sell a digital product that you created. An ebook, online course, software, app or plug-in are the most common. These items can be sold again and again without putting in any more work after they are created (exception with software, you may have to do upgrades and service your customers), so these are definitely the best route.
Consider what you know and whether or not it would make a good ebook or online course. Most of us know a lot about something and usually, there is an audience that could benefit greatly from your knowledge.
If you decide to sell your own digital products, also consider adding affiliate software to your site. This will allow other people to sell your product and earn a commission. A little work recruiting your customers or others in your niche as affiliates could make a huge difference in how many people see and buy your products.
Speaking of affiliates, you can also sell other people’s products and get paid a commission. Whether it be physical or digital, making recommendations in your blog posts can lead your readers to click on an affiliate link and buy. When that happens, you get paid a percentage of the sale.
When using affiliate links it’s important that the terms and conditions of your website explain that you use affiliate links. I also have a disclosure policy on this site and add a statement at the beginning of every post in which I use an affiliate link. We operate and market exclusively to people in the U.S. and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a law that states that readers must know if you are getting paid for referring an item. So stay compliant and let your readers know when using an affiliate link.
In order to recommend products through an affiliate link, you need to get set-up at the product’s website as an affiliate. There is usually a short questionnaire and an approval process. It’s not hard, the questions are usually quite easy to answer, and most of the time you will get an immediate approval.
There are also affiliate networks that handle the affiliate relations for hundreds of sites. Many physical products are handled through these networks but a lot of digital products are also handled like this.
Personally, I’m not the one to give you a list of networks, I’m just not familiar enough with them to give you a good list. I know for digital products, Clickbank is a big one with lots of products you can promote. Another I know is ShareASale. And if you’re in the internet marketing niche, JVZoo and WarriorPlus are good but beyond that, I’m clueless. I’m sure you can find what you need with just a simple Google search.
As for physical products, Amazon Associates allows you to sell products on Amazon. CJ.com is a large network of businesses with many being physical product sellers. Personally, I find CJ a little cumbersome to use but if your readers are apt to buy products from the merchants that use CJ, it’s worth learning.
Work With Brands Through Sponsored Posts and Ads
A newer and growing way to earn money with your blog is to work with brand owners. Personally, I have never done this but took a very good course to learn how. Since taking the course I decided to go in a different direction but the course was excellent. I’ll give you my affiliate link at the end of this section.
Basically, sponsored posts are when a brand pays you or provides other agreed upon benefits in exchange for promotion in a blog post or multiple posts. You could also exchange advertising, like a banner ad, for the agreed upon benefit. Terms are negotiated on a case by case basis and are as varied as there are blogs and brands.
The most recent ones I have learned of are when a brand provides a product, or a product plus compensation, in return for a post on your blog or in your social media account. The couple who wrote the course I referred to earlier, do this a lot but mostly for cash or travel. Recently I saw that they went to Hawaii and Hilton paid for the entire family vacation including airfare. In fact, their family travels about 150 days a year 100% compensated by sponsored posts on their blog.
Lifestyle or travel blogs work very well for sponsored ads. As long as the product or brand can be woven into what you write about, the opportunities are endless.
To get going with sponsored ads, you need to be a little patient in the beginning. Build up your blog so it has at least ten good meaty posts, the more the better. Then start spreading the word about your site. Use social media and groups to let others know you exist and build your traffic and readership. After you have 30 to 40 posts, you can start emailing brands you want to work with.
The exact process is explained in the course I mentioned. It’s very thorough with instructions about how your blog should look, how to talk to brands, how to get traffic and readers, and how to get involved in networks where brands advertise for bloggers. It’s the real deal and could be a great way to add additional income to your blog.
Okay, the course I’m talking about is called The 30 Day Blogging Fast Track. It was written by Heather & Pete Reese. They have a short, free, getting-started course called the 5 Day Blogging Crash Course. It helps you get started and if you like what you learn, then each month they open registration for The 30 Day Blogging Fast Track. Here’s the link to the 5 Day Blogging Crash Course, and yes, it’s an affiliate link:
Grow Your Email List and Make Offers Through Email
Imagine you find a great blog about a subject you love. You want to continue reading this blog so you bookmark it. Now two weeks go by and you just happen to remember that blog you loved. But, you have hundreds of bookmarks and after two weeks you can’t remember the blog’s name. Heck, will you even remember that you wanted to go back and read it?
This is just one reason why it’s critical to grow an email list. With a list, you can email your subscribers each time you have a new post and bring your readers back again and again. And, the onus isn’t on the reader to remember you.
When it comes to making money with your blog, your email list is THE MOST profitable thing you can do for your blog. Email will help you grow a strong relationship with your reader subscribers. In addition to getting them back to your blog, they have an opportunity to get to know and start liking you. Eventually, if you are honest and provide good value, they will start to trust you. Once that happens, it becomes much easier to make offers directly in your email for either your own products or those of affiliates.
You can grow your list by offering a free report, cheatsheet, checklist, guide, or ebook. You can even get a little more creative and offer a video or audio. I’m getting ready to offer a 30 Day Blogging Challenge very soon. For your reader to get the incentive, they will be required to enter their email address. The free incentive item must provide massive value. In fact, it needs to be so good that the reader would think, “Wow! I would have paid for this!”.
By placing sign-up boxes on your site in strategic places, you can entice people to sign-up for your incentive. I also build special pages with a sign-up box where I can send people from social media so they can sign-up. You can see one of my special pages at the following link, feel free to sign-up if you want the free planner:
After someone is on your list you can set-up an automated series of 5-7 emails that will nurture them with information, tips, tricks, and stories. But don’t be scared to make offers as well. As long as you’re providing value by sending offers that will benefit the reader, the subscribers that like what you write about will benefit. After that series is finished, you can start emailing regularly with current information, new blog posts, and of course, any offers you find relevant to their needs.
To set-up an email list you will need an email service provider. There are a lot of good ones from which to choose. I used Aweber for many, many years but recently switched to ConvertKit. You see, all the email providers now allow you to tag your subscribers so you know what they purchased or responded to. Aweber recently got onboard and started allowing their customers to do the same, but tags didn’t pass from my theme properly. They are a bit behind in getting up to speed, so I left. They may still be a good provider, but ConvertKit works better for me.
Email service providers normally charge by-the-month based on how many subscribers you have. When you first start out you won’t have many (or any) subscribers, so the cost will be less. As you grow your list, the cost could start to increase. At the time when you see that your cost will be going up, it’s time to pare down your list and delete the subscribers that never open your emails. No need to keep dead-weight that will end up costing you real cash.
I’ll close with a little information about passive income. Passive income is income that you receive on a regular or irregular basis with little or no effort to maintain it. Most passive income that comes from your blog will be irregular because you can’t control when someone will click on a link. However, if you’re able to build your traffic levels, that irregular income might start to feel like it’s pretty regular.
Here are some examples of passive income that you could receive from your blog:
- Blog posts that have a strong call-to-action selling your own or an affiliate product. These are posts that have evergreen content that is well optimized for search engines. When traffic is regular to one of these posts, your income from it becomes regular as well.
- Growing your list with a free report that includes links to your own or an affiliate product. As people sign-up for your list and receive your incentive product, they can click on any links you include. If those links go to your own product or an affiliate product, you earn money.
- Have your own info product and set-up an affiliate program. Others will market and sell your products and income will come in without you having to do anything. Of course, it takes some effort to recruit affiliates, but once one adds an affiliate link to an evergreen post that’s optimized for search engines, it could generate income just as if it were your own blog post.
These are just a few examples of passive income. You can’t depend on it for a full-time income until you have tons of traffic, but it is a nice to have some money coming in where the work has already been done.
I hope this post gets your mind thinking about how you want to make offers that will, in turn, make you money. Monetizing your blog is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to celebrate! Never let anyone tell you that a blog should be purely for the fun of writing, that’s just a load of crap. You put in the work, give valuable information, and others benefit. That should be worth compensation.
End of My Writing Good Blog Posts Series
We have come to the end… this will be the last post in my Writing Good Blog Posts Series. I hope the information I’ve given over these eight posts will help you build a blog that not only draws lots of readers but also entices people to share and spread your posts. Lastly, I hope I gave you a good overview of how and why it’s important to monetize your blog, it’s just too much work to not be compensated. I hope you enjoy the process as much as you enjoy the result.
Ciao for now!