(This is a guest post from Victoria Greene, branding consultant and freelance writer. You can find her website at VictoriaEcommerce.com)
You’ve got your blog online, it’s full of awesome content and your traffic is growing. So far, so good, but how do you monetize your blog so that you can generate some income.
For digital nomads, a blog that provides a full-time salary is the dream, but one that is hard to achieve: a survey by ProBlogger found that 4% of its users are making over $10,000 a month. However, the same survey found that 9% were making $1000 per month, a decent part-time wage that is very achievable if you’re prepared to put the effort in.
Here are six ways to monetize your blog and take your first step on the road to becoming a full-time blogging hero.
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Put ads on your site using Google Adsense
Google Adsense allows you to display ads on your site and makes money for you based on either impressions or clicks:
● Impressions. You receive a set dollar amount for a set page view amount, for example, $1 for every 1,000 page views.
● Clicks. You earn a cut from the ad revenue if a visitor clicks on the ad on your site.
How much money you can make with Adsense depends on how much traffic your site gets and how willing people are to click on your ads. However, the basic rule is that the more people who are exposed to them, the more money they will earn you. This means that putting plenty of effort into driving traffic to your site will result in increased revenue.
Chris Lee of RankXL reached a full-time income, which he estimated as around $100 per day when his websites were consistently generating 150,000 visitors per month. Spencer Hawes of Niche Pursuits went even further by generating over $13K in one month. Google Adsense can be an incredible money earner, but you have to get traffic to your site in large quantities to make it work.
Use affiliate marketing to make money on your blog
One of the most popular methods of making money from a blog is through affiliate marketing. This is perfect for bloggers who are just starting out and don’t currently have any products or services to sell.
You include links on your site to a product or service offered through another business’s affiliate program. Where you see the benefit is that if one of your visitors clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you receive a cut of the cost.
The important part is that your content is in harmony with the affiliate offers that you plan to push out. For example, if you run a blog about sailing, you can choose advertise affiliate equipment or hire services. Since your content is already appealing to people interested in sailing, selling these products should easily gain you a nice little passive income stream.
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Passion and hobby based niches, such as sailing and golfing, are great money earners when it comes to affiliate marketing. Forbes.com reported that the golf industry alone is worth $70 billion dollars, proving that people are prepared to spend money on doing things they love.
Monetize your blog with influencer marketing
As the popularity of your blog grows, you will become recognized as a social influencer. Research has found that 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers when making buying decisions, which demonstrates the importance of social influence.
If you can position yourself as someone who consumers trust and listen to, you will have companies and businesses falling over themselves to pay you to review their products. There are a number of platforms you can use to find the right brand to work with.
Once you have partnered with a brand, the way you make your money is by shouting about their products on your blog.
As your readers value your opinion you are in a position to be able to influence their buying decisions and this is what brands pay for – the relationship you have with your followers. Just make sure you keep it genuine and don’t recommend products you don’t believe in.
Sell your own products on your blog
While influencer and affiliate marketing allow you to make money from selling the products of others to your readers, you can take advantage of the reach you have with your blog’s audience to sell your own products.
E-commerce is open to almost any product and if you employ the dropshipping method of selling, you don’t even need to stock your own products. You could sell products that you already recommend on your blog, or create some branded swag or digital downloads to sell to your fans.
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Setting up an online store is a simple process too. You can add an e-commerce plugin to your WordPress blog, or use an online store builder to set up a store using free templates and themes quickly. Just make sure that you don’t spend too much money on an expensive store or theme — you want to DIY bootstrap this as much as you can.
E-commerce is a $100bn dollar industry. If you want some more detailed tips on you how can monetize your blog by selling your own products, the excellent video below is the perfect starting point…
Getting sponsorship on your blog
Pursuing sponsorship, a form of direct advertising means that you announce one company as the sponsor of your blog for a specific post, time period, event or on an ongoing basis.
Having a sponsor allows you to bring a brand on board which you are comfortable with, and fits with the focus of your blog and with the views of your readers. If you’re smart you can choose a sponsor that enhances the experience of reading your blog, rather than detracting from it, as other forms of advertising can.
You shouldn’t wait for a sponsor to approach you, but instead be proactive about finding them. Put a page or a post on your site letting people know you are looking for sponsorship, and use social media to spread the message too.
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Research companies that could be a good match for your blog and approach them directly with a well thought out sponsorship proposal. Finding a sponsor and developing a good relationship with them could provide a stable and lucrative income stream.
Try out donations or recurring pledges
Some bloggers include a Paypal button their site, asking people who enjoy their content to effectively pay for what they read. It is a way for readers to support the person who actually writes the blog, rather than their advertisers or sponsors, and has been used to great success in many areas of the web, the best-known example being Wikipedia, which made an enormous $82 million dollars through donations in 2016.
The amount your blog could make is a drop in the ocean compared to Wikipedia, but the online encyclopedia’s success demonstrates that people are willing to pay for things that they like, trust and use on a regular basis. Visiting a site that is free of ads is also a novelty that many people enjoy, and can become part of your USP, just the same as Wikipedia. If you can build up a loyal following through providing excellent content on your blog, your audience will be prepared to donate to you to keep it running.
Monetizing your blog won’t be easy and it will take time for you to develop an income stream from it — so be patient. The most important thing to do is concentrate on creating engaging, useful and shareable content because this is what will bring people to your blog, keep them coming back for more, and encourage them to tell their friends about you. Driving traffic will drive more revenue and enable you to make a living from doing what you love.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on how writers can find their niche and monetize their gift for words. I found mine in e-commerce!
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Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.