I think we can all agree that making money doing something you love is the dream, right?
And I’m guessing you wound up on my site because a) You love blogging, and b) You want to see if you can make some money from it. Am I close?
Blogging can be profitable, but only if you approach it with the right mindset. Don’t expect to be making thousands of dollars overnight, and don’t expect to put in zero effort and get results. You have to work at it, and it takes time to start earning the big bucks!
If you’re ready to jump in headfirst, here are 5 different ways you can monetize your blog. There’s no right and wrong way to go about it, but some routes will definitely be a better fit for you than others – depending on things like your niche, your traffic flow, and the needs of your audience.
Right, let’s get cracking!
How to Make Money Blogging (+ Which Method is Best For You?)
Here are five methods you can use to successfully monetize your blog, plus the pros and cons of each method.
Method 1. Pay-Per-Click or Pay-Per-Impression Ads
You might not have heard these terms before, but I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of Google Adsense, right? That’s because Google Adsense is by far the most well-known Pay-Per-Impression (PPI) ad network, and for good reason! It’s a breeze to use, and the ads integrate instantly and seamlessly with your website.
The idea behind PPI/PPC networks is that you sign up and create an account with the network or company, and therefore authorize that company to place ads on your website. The type of ads will vary depending on the program you signed up for, and you’ll usually get to choose where they go — in your sidebar, header, footer, etc.
So how do you get paid?
You’re paid based on the number of clicks the ads on your site get (PPC), or how many overall impressions your site gets within a certain time period – usually a month (PPI). Sounds simple enough, right? But, like anything, there are pros and cons to monetizing your site this way…
Pros of monetizing with ads
Cons of monetizing with ads
Overall, ad networks can be great if you have a large amount of traffic coming to your site, and if you think you can place them relatively discreetly on your site without disrupting the flow. If so, it won’t hurt to try them out and see what you think!
Struggling to get your traffic up? Check out this post to learn my #1 traffic tip!
2. Affiliate Marketing
Pretty much every company in the world has an affiliate program these days (or so it seems!)
Like ad networks, the premise of affiliate marketing is pretty simple. You submit an application to join the affiliate program, and once you’re approved, you’re given a specific URL link to that company’s website that’s tied to your affiliate account. When someone purchases a product through your link, you earn a commission from that sale.
There are lots of great affiliate programs out there, but one of the most popular ones is Amazon Associates. I like Amazon’s program because their website has pretty much EVERYTHING you could ever need on it, plus it’s a site that most of your audience will be familiar and comfortable purchasing from.
The other neat thing about Amazon Associates is that even if you link to one specific item – say, a hairbrush – and someone clicks on your link but then purchases something else – not the hairbrush – you still earn a commission from the sale. And again, because Amazon sells pretty much everything under the sun, your chances of someone buying something go way up!
If you’re interested in becoming an affiliate for a particular company, check out their website to see if they have an affiliate program you can apply to join. They’ll often be linked in the “footer” section at the bottom of the website. If you can’t find any affiliate information on their website, go ahead and contact the company directly (either through their contact form or PR email address). Most of them will be happy to hear from you!
Besides working with companies, there are lots of other things you can be an affiliate for, like:
• An online course you’ve taken
• An e-book you’ve read
• Your blog’s theme or template
Get creative with it. Pretty much anything you’ve bought/used/read can be turned into an affiliate collaboration. As one example, I’ve created a “Fave Tools” page on my site, where I share my favorite blogging tools, software, courses, and more. And – you guessed it – a lot of the links on that page are affiliate links!
Next, let’s check out some pros and cons of affiliate marketing:
Pros of affiliate marketing
Cons of affiliate marketing
I’ve started incorporating affiliate marketing into my plan for Blog Beautifully, and I’m excited to see how it pans out. To get started on the right foot, I took a course called “Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers” which I highly, HIGHLY recommend (especially if you’re a noob like me). Tasha also offers an affiliate marketing ebook, which is perfect if you’re on a budget.
3. Working With Brands on Sponsored Posts + Collaborations
Brand work can be super fun and rewarding if you go about it the right way. Whether you’re promoting a brand’s products in a blog post, a review on their website, a video tutorial, or any other of a million possible ways, there are definitely lots of benefits to working with brands.
Pros of working with brands
Cons of Brand Work
My biggest tip for securing brand work is to GO FOR IT. Don’t sit back and wait for brands to approach you. Reach out to them! Make a list of 5 brands you would love to work with, then make an effort to reach out to each of them over the next two weeks.
4. Selling Your Own Services
Phwewf. We finally get to hop off the “promoting other people’s stuff” train. Let’s talk a bit about how you can package, market, and sell your own services to make money through your blog!
A service-based business model works really well for bloggers in certain niches – graphic design, life coaching, health counselling, etc. But that doesn’t mean that you (a beauty blogger, fashion blogger, mom blogger, whatever it is) can’t be successful at it too!
There are plenty of services you can offer to your audience, so start brainstorming. Above all else, make sure you choose something that fits perfectly with your niche and with your areas of expertise (for example, any former training or experience you have).
For example, if you’re a skin care blogger, why not offer skin consultations via Skype? Have an hour-long call with your client where you chat about their skin type and concerns, offer suggestions for products and techniques, and finally, create a custom step-by-step skin care regimen for them. I can totally see that being a big hit, especially if you’ve built up “expert status” in your niche!
Let’s look at the pros and cons of selling your services online:
Pros of selling your own services
Cons of selling your own services
Despite the cons, I still recommend that all bloggers incorporate online services into their game plan if they’re serious about monetizing. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door, meet new people, and start earning cash – plus it can lead to bigger and better opportunities down the road.
I’ve offered several services through my blog since starting Blog Beautifully – everything from blog coaching to Pinterest management to general VA work. And you know what? Despite being a lot of work, offering those services was a TON of fun, and I’m sure glad I jumped in right out of the gate.
5. Selling Your Own Physical or Digital Products
Now we get to the really good stuff, guys.
I’m sure you’ve come across other bloggers who sell products online (byRegina, Melyssa Griffin, and xo Sarah are some of my faves). But there’s plenty of room in the sea for other fishies like you and me!
When selling products through your blog, you have two options: You can sell and ship physical products (planners seem to be a popular choice for bloggers!) or you can sell digital products like ebooks or online courses.
Take a minute to brainstorm all the awesome products you could develop for your audience. For example, if you’re a beauty blogger, you could write skin care books, create makeup workshops, or offer a course on bridal hair + up-do’s. Somewhere out there, someone is wishing that a course like that existed. So be the person to bring it to them!
Related: Quarter 1 Review: How I Made $15,000 From My Blog
This is definitely my favorite of the 5 methods we’ve talked about, and for good reason. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of selling products through your blog:
Pros of selling your own products
Cons of selling your own products
… Which brings me to my next point. If you want to start creating and selling your own products (which I totally, completely recommend), you must, must, MUST start building up your email list. Like, yesterday.
Related: 11 Reasons Bloggers Need an Email List From Day One
Your email subscribers are your most loyal and devoted followers, the VIPs of your blog + biz. They’re the ones who’ll be most excited to hear about the launch of your new product, and the first in line to buy it.
Before you launch your first product, I recommend building your email list up to 1,000 subscribers. That way, even if only 1% of your list ends up buying your product, you’ll still be making money for your effort.
1,000 subscribers might seem like a lot, but I promise you can get there! If you don’t have a mailing list yet, check out my Email Lists category to learn how to create your mailing list, grow your list like crazy, and send emails your subscribers can’t wait to receive.
Related: ConvertKit 101: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners
You’ll also love my ebook, The Blogging Babe’s Handbook. In this book, I share my “10 commandments” for successfully blogging for profit. If you’re ready to jumpstart your monetization, pick up a copy here!
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