I have spent years trying to find ways to monetize a blog and make money online. I have read tutorials, blog posts, articles, watched how to’s videos and much more. The point is, I have spent a lot of time and resources researching.
Just like you, I also came across articles telling me that making money online is very easy and highly paying. All you need is a well designed website and a huge audience and boom, you start becoming rich. That’s a lie. Though close to the truth. It’s a lie because a huge audience isn’t a guarantee that you’ll make good revenue from your website and it’s close to the truth because you actually need a well designed website filled with rich content. And by rich content, I mean blog posts that are appealing to your audience.
When it comes to finding ways to monetize your website and making money online, the best thing I have found is to use a variety of different techniques and to always be testing.
This blog (my blog) makes money by selling online courses, software and other people’s products as an affiliate. However, there are a lot more than two ways to make money online. What I know is that every site needs to be treated differently.
It can take a while to work out how to best make money from a website. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Don’t just give up. The main reason people fail with blogging, isn’t because their idea or website is bad but because they give up too soon.
If DON’T WANT to be like me, you don’t have a lot of time, so let me give you quick answers to common questions first. If you want more details, you can read the rest of the post.
How do bloggers make money? The quick answer…
Bloggers actually make money in a variety of ways. They might:
- Sell physical products and get paid when you buy those physical products from them.
- Sell services and get paid when you hire them.
- Promote products or services for others and get paid a commission when you click through their “affiliate link” and make a purchase. (This is called affiliate marketing.)
- Sell digital products and get paid when you buy those digital products from them.
- Put ads on their site and get paid when you click on those ads.
What helps a blogger make money? The quick answer…
Let me give you a secret, most of the bloggers you encounter on the internet aren’t making much. On the other hand, there are some bloggers making excellent money.
What distinguishes the two groups of bloggers is that, successful bloggers:
- Don’t rely on just one of the above ways to make money. Instead, they use two, three or even more monetization ways to make money online.
- Don’t see their blogs as the source of all their income.
- Don’t expect to make money quickly. Instead, they understand this to be a long-term business venture. They are in it for the long haul.
- Don’t copy what other bloggers are doing. Instead, they are creative. They work hard to be different and stand out.
- Don’t start a blog just to make money. Instead, they blog about a topic they truly enjoy and can write about for years to come. They let the money grow out of that topic organically.
THE REAL STORY
Things you need to make money blogging
Whether you are a beginner or have been blogging a while, here are the basic things you need to start making money with a blog:
- A blog
- Useful content
- Relationships with others on social media and around the web
- A strong platform & reputation
- Income streams
Now let’s cover each of those in more depth.
1. Start a blog
If you want to make money blogging, you must have a blog. If you don’t already have one, no worries. Here are easy instructions explaining how to get your blog up and running.
2. Create useful content
Once you have a blog, write useful content. Draw from your expertise & experience. Write informative posts and articles about your chosen topic. Make your content excellent.
3. Build relationships with others on social media and around the web
While you create valuable content, start building genuine and sincere relationships with others on social media and around the web.
Other than being active on social media, here are more ideas: participate in Facebook Groups, comment on other blogs or join forums. Find or start a mastermind group. Reach out to people in your niche by tweeting them.
4. Establish a strong platform & reputation
Keep growing in the knowledge of your craft so the content you produce gets increasingly deep and valuable. Use your blog to get exposure, build authority, gain trust and be helpful.
5. Choose your income streams
Once you’ve started your blog, created some excellent content, built some relationships and given thought to your branding and reputation, start thinking about ways to generate income.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are 5 main ways you can do this. In the rest of the post, I will dive into each in much more depth.
Streams of income used by bloggers
Following is a list of income streams bloggers adopt, broken down into the five main categories I’ve already mentioned:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Digital Products
- Physical Products
Display ads are graphics or images similar to billboards or ads in a magazine. Typically they are positioned on your site in the sidebar, header, footer or within your content. Sometimes they are referred to as banner ads.
Ads on your site are meant to complement your blog’s content, making them attractive and relevant to visitors. Advertisers hope that your visitors will then click on those images to explore and purchase the products or services they offer.
Display ads are often provided through ad networks. Ad networks are companies that connect advertisers with publishers (bloggers). Ad networks act as a middle man between advertisers and publishers, negotiating partnership details between the two. The ad network takes a cut from the partnership profit. Ad networks are attractive to many bloggers because they take the hassle out of display advertising.
Some ad networks, like Google AdSense, are relatively easy to get into and are easy to set up. Other ad networks though, are selective in who they accept. Examples of ad networks are Google AdSense, Blogads, BlogHer, Beacon Ads, Federated Media, Sovrn, (formerly Lijit), Media.net, Rivit and Sway. There are many more, so once you get involved in your niche’s community of bloggers, you’ll soon hear of others.
If you are looking to have your Adsense account approved by Google, here is an article by Phil Blophs explaining the whole procedure.
Private ads are similar to display ads in that they also come in the form of buttons or graphics and usually appear in the sidebars of blogs. They are unique in that there is no middle man (ad network) to negotiate the partnership. Partnerships are arranged directly between a blogger and an individual, small business or company.
Giveaways & Reviews
If you’ve read blogs for any length of time, you’ve surely seen a review or giveaway and maybe participated yourself. A company supplies a product to a blogger to be reviewed and/or given away to readers.
If you have an email newsletter or podcast, you can accept advertising just as you would on your blog. You can reach out to potential advertisers, tell them how they would benefit from advertising with you and pitch your idea.
As an affiliate marketer, you promote someone else’s product or service in a post or elsewhere. You link to that product or service using your unique affiliate link. When, someone clicks through that link and makes a purchase (or completes a desired action set by the company), you earn a commission.
You can sell music or video that others can use as intros or outros. Try Audio Jungle.
Apps, Plugins or Themes
If you have a knack for code-writing and can write your own themes or plugins, you can sell them at a place like Creative Market. Also, many plugin authors offer their plugins for free but ask for donations.
Do you have a domain collecting problem? Did you know you could sell them for profit? Try a site like Sedo.
You could do all sorts of things with this type of digital product. You wouldn’t have to go big the first time around. Test the waters by holding a small, local event first. Grow bigger as you learn the ropes and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Simply pick something you’re good at that other people want to know and teach it! Do it once or twice to refine your presentation and then start charging a small fee to those who want to take your class.
Selling Blogs & Websites
Many bloggers have sold their blogs or websites for 4-, 5-, 6- and even 7-figure sums.
There is also something called flipping websites where you obtain a small blog or website, grow it and then sell it for profit later. If you want to flip a site, check out Flippa.
For many bloggers, their blogs have helped them sell books, both self and traditionally published. I’ve heard over and over again that traditional publishers will not typically consider your manuscript if you don’t have a blog first.
And if you’re a self-published author or a hybrid author (that is, you have both self-published and traditionally-published books), a blog is a great way to sell books.
Conferences, Classes or Special Events
I consider hosting an event like a conference a “physical” product since it involves an exchange of something tangible (in this case, money for a ticket to an experience) and happens in real life (as opposed to an online class). You can also do bigger events like day-long seminars or workshops or even multi-day conferences.
Do not underestimate the work that would go into pulling off one of these events successfully. It’s a huge undertaking, but if you have a background in event planning or are extremely motivated, organized and are good at networking and making connections with companies (sponsors) etc., this might be for you.
In your niche or area of interest, it’s likely there are large, established conferences already. So, try narrowing down your conference topic in order to target a more specific group.
If you’re going to put on a large-scale event, be very clear and very specific in your goals and make sure there’s a strong desire for the information you can provide. And then do it with excellence. The way you would make money, of course, is to charge a fee to attend and/or partner with sponsors to cover your costs (and your salary).
You can sell manufactured products and use your site/blog/newsletter to promote it.
If you create the product yourself, that’s great, but if you don’t know how to create your own product, you can sell someone else’s in your own shop.
Think of this like freelancing. If you have a skill (who doesn’t?), why not offer your service(s) via the internet (a.k.a. virtually)? It does not have to be computer related. Think of ways you can use your already-gained skills in your favor and put them online.
- Administrative Assistant
- App Developer
- Audio/Video Editor
- Concierge/Personal Assistant
- Digital Freelancer – Pick a task you can do quickly that others “will get around to someday.” For example, digitizing their boxes of photos.
- Photo Editor
- Project Manager
- Social Media Manager
- Software Writer
- Visioneer – Have people send you pictures of their room/house/yard and offer suggestions for improvement. Post before & after photos on your blog.
- Web Builder – If you’ve set up your own site, contact local brick & mortar businesses and see if you can set up theirs. Barter services to get your feet wet, gain experience and build a portfolio.
- Web Developer
- Writer – The advantage of writing for other sites is that you get to be a part of something that’s already established. Also, you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of running and maintaining your own site. Keep your ears peeled for contributor opportunities. You could start by guest posting.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? You’re not alone. It is overwhelming.
You should know there are no magic bullets. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another and vice versa. There are no guaranteed, across-the-board results either. Your mileage may vary. Take the time to think through what might work for you.