9 Ways To Start Monetizing Your Blog
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “When should I start to monetize my blog?”, the answer is: right now!
Granted, you shouldn’t expect to make six figures right off the bat (and if you do- please let me in on your secrets!). However, you should have some monetization strategies in place when you start your blog. That way, you aren’t scrambling to figure it all out once the SEO kicks in and you’re finally getting some serious traffic. So if you’re interested in making a full-time income from your blog, then read on for a few simple yet effective strategies that you can start implementing, today!
01. Find an affiliate product to promote
One of the first steps bloggers usually take when they are looking to monetize is: signing up for an affiliate network. The process of affiliate marketing includes linking a product or service to your blog that is for sale on another website, and making a commission on that sale once it is processed.
Here’s how it works: Say that you decide to sign up for Amazon Affiliates, which is an advertisement program for Amazon products and subsidiaries (and is free to sign up). You would place a custom link on your blog (provided by Amazon) for a product that you refer to your customers/ audience. Once your customers click through those links and purchase the products, you will earn a referral fee. Easy, right? You can earn up to 10% commission on every sale you make- which can definitely add up if your blog receives a high amount of traffic (yet another reason to start marketing on Pinterest and boost your website traffic).
Use your Amazon Affiliates account to provide your readers with links to relevant products. For example, because I am a web and graphic designer, I could provide my audience with a link to purchase my favorite design software, Adobe Creative Cloud, somewhere in my website (this could be in the form of a blog post, tools and resources section, or in your blog sidebar). If you're a photographer, you could provide a link to purchase your favorite photography gear or maybe your editing software of choice. There are SO many options out there- what are you waiting for?
One important thing to note: only promote affiliate products that are relevant to your blog/ business, or those in which you can truly give your complete recommendation. If your only goal for starting a blog is to make money with affiliate products, you will come across spammy and will quickly lose the trust of your readers.
02. Advertisement: Ad Networks
Advertisements are one of the easiest monetization methods to implement on your website. However, as with affiliate marketing, you are recommending other businesses to your audience (which isn’t exactly ideal). Nevertheless, there are a few advertising options you can consider for your blog. The most common advertisement network that you may have heard about is Google Adsense. However, there are a variety of options to consider: AdThrive, BlogHer and Sovrn, to name a few. The process is relatively straightforward: You apply to the ad network. Once accepted, you will receive a code to import into your website. Advertisements will then start displaying on your website, and you receive income based on impressions and clicks (the network will pay you every time someone clicks on an ad). Simple! The challenge to monetizing with ad networks is that you usually need high website traffic in order to see results. But it definitely doesn’t hurt to try it out and see if you can make it work for your business. Some bloggers focus their efforts on ad networks and generate as much as $50,000 a month (crazy!), while other bloggers say that affiliate marketing works better for their business (The blog Making Sense of Cents generates around $50,000 every month). Just figure out the monetization strategy that works best for your business, and roll with it!
03. Advertisement: Private Advertising
Private advertising is different because it is all handled directly through you. As a blogger, you may have created a media kit which features the available advertising opportunities you offer brands. This could include newsletter features, display advertisements on your blog, or a social media shoutout. Typically brands will reach out to you expressing their interest in private ads, and you can then decide whether the brand/product is something you want to promote. If you are interested, you will request payment and display the ad yourself.
04. Sponsored Content
The more that your blog grows, the more likely it is that brands will take notice of you. Companies love sending products to bloggers to write and review about. And not only can you get a complimentary product from a great brand, but you can also get paid if your audience is large enough. It’s important to note, though, that advertisers typically prefer to gift product rather than making payment. Nevertheless, start posting about the brands and products that you genuinely love on your blog and social media accounts. Make sure you tag the brands in your social media post- this will help you stand out in a saturated space.
You can also take initiative and email your favorite brands to let them know you are interested in working together. Write out a thoughtful email about why you are interested in collaborating, along with a media kit detailing your information: website/blog stats, who your audience is, brands you’ve worked with in the past, pricing for your services. If you’d like to get a better picture of this, check out the media kit templates in my shop! Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to request a custom media kit for your business.
05. Sell digital products on your website
Let’s shift over from promoting other people’s products, and start promoting your own! The best thing about digital products: the passive income potential is much bigger (and don’t we all just want to make lots of money while we sleep?!). The worst thing about digital products: they can take a great deal of time to create (particularly if you are a perfectionist like me). However, once you get some systems and strategies in place for your products, they will take up much less of your time. For example: My product mockups (the way I display my products) took me a while to design when I was first starting out. But once I got them how I wanted them, future products became much easier to create (because the product mockup design was already finished).
Here’s a few ideas: if you are a designer, you could sell Adobe Photoshop and Canva templates (for example, social media design templates), tutorials and guides for your audience. If you are a photographer, you could sell Adobe Lightroom presets or an editing guide. If you are a blogger, you could sell worksheets or other relevant templates for your audience. Have some of your blog posts been a huge hit? Create a more detailed version of them, combine them into a PDF e-book and put them up for sale in your digital shop! Your readers are clearly interested in the topic, so this product might just be your next big seller. The list of digital products you could create is virtually endless- let your imagination run wild!
I am ALL about passive income, working smarter (not harder) and making money while I sleep. However, don't be fooled: you must provide your readers with relevant, high-quality content. Always build trust by providing your audience with products they will find useful.
06. Offer a Service
One of the most important ways in which you can earn a full-time income from your blog, is to offer a service to your audience. This service really depends on your skillset, and can range from freelancing to coaching or social media marketing. You just need to offer your potential clients with a quality service that you have experience with or an authoritative opinion/view on. For example, I focus my blog content primarily on Squarespace websites, branding and design. I also offer services aligned with my blog content: Squarespace website design, brand design, social media strategy and other various services for small business owners. Take some time to think about what you really love doing, who your current audience is, and then brainstorm a few ideas for a potential service-based business you could pursue.
07. Grow your email list
Have you ever heard the phrase, "There's money in the list"? Hint: this isn't about your to-do list.
I cannot emphasize enough how important building your email list is; It’s the one marketing channel that offers both the best quick return on investment (ROI) as well as the best long-term ROI. If you haven’t even started this process, I suggest you do today (I personally recommend ConvertKit over any other email marketing provider- I’ll be writing a more comprehensive guide on this later).
While there are a wide range of monetization methods with email marketing, it helps if you have a service or product available for purchase in your online shop. You can then market your products on social media channels such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. You might be asking what this has to do with your email list. When your subscribers are opting into your list, they are intrigued by your content and want to know more. Even if they aren’t making a purchase today, they are more likely to make a purchase in the future than anyone else.
One of my favorite website traffic drivers is Pinterest. Read this quick guide to find out more.
Want my FREE Canva templates to make enticing Pinterest graphics (and grow your email list)?
08. Write a guest post for another blog/website
If you love writing blog posts, then why not submit your content to other high-traffic blogs and get paid for it?! It’s a simple way to make some cash, network with a new audience & get more eyes on your brand! Start by creating a list of your favorite blogs/websites, and jot down notes on the type of content you would like to create for each one. Then find the website’s submission form to pitch your outline! Simple yet effective.
09. Sign up for RewardStyle
RewardStyle (think: Liketoknow.it) is a content monetization platform for fashion & lifestyle bloggers. Using this platform, bloggers and influencers make commission on sales that are made through product links posted on their social media account. RewardStyle is an invitation only platform, and you can apply on their website.
Monetizing your blog may take some work in the beginning, and you will have to test out which method works best for your business. Consider the following, though. Products will typically offer a higher potential profit than services. Although digital products do require a large time commitment upfront, they can be sold over & over again (passive income, holla!). Services, however, offer a one-time payment which typically depends on the amount of time you put in. With ads, affiliate marketing and sponsored content: you will want to use these methods strategically so you don’t lose trust in your audience. Regardless of the direction you decide to take, start working on monetizing your blog now- don’t wait until the SEO kicks in. I promise- if you are consistent with your blog content, you will start to see results in no time.
I’d love to hear about your experience with blog monetization! Feel free to share any strategies below, along with any questions you have for me. I look forward to hearing from you!
*Disclosure; Some of the content above may contain affiliate links. However, I wouldn't recommend tools, apps or resources if I didn't use them and find them helpful myself.