10 Ways to Monetize Your Blog
From a Blog That Makes Money
I have been blogging professionally for over eight years now. And I think I’ve just about tried every single way to make my blog pay for itself, pay my staff, and make a bit more on the side. Because at the end of the day, you can’t keep working and slogging it out – for nothing! We are all in it for the money – but we keep going because we love it!
Now there are so many different ways that a blog can make money – but these are the main 10 ways, and are the very monetization strategies that I use myself in my blog, every single day. The key to being a success in the blogging game is to utilise as many income streams as you possibly can, and then consistently optimise every single stream!
So whether you are new to blogging, or have one up and going and want to make it more profitable, here is where to start!
Use Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is promoting other peoples products, in exchange for a commission. Affiliate Marketing is probably one of the main ways that I have monetized Stay at Home Mum, and it is by far my favourite. It has so many advantages, (and disadvantages!). Advantages are that you are offering your followers a very non-invasive way of advertising. They choose to follow the links, should they wish. No pressure.
The disadvantages are that affiliate marketing can take quite a while to become profitable. It is the sort of thing that needs to be done consistently over a long period of time. If you are just starting out in blogging, I highly recommend you start affiliate marketing from day one, and make it part of your daily blogging routine. Many bloggers get discouraged with it early, as it is quite work intensive. But hey, blogging full time is work anyway – if you make it part of your day to day work – it becomes easy!
The bigger your audience, the more you can make with affiliate marketing – so growing your audience is a must!
What is Involved?
You need to find products and services that your audience will actually buy – and every audience is different! The highest paying affiliate commissions are in pretty un-sexy areas such as:
- Weight Loss
Whilst the more popular affiliate marketing areas tend to have lower commissions – so you have to sell a lot of them to make cash. Popular examples include:
- Skincare and Makeup
How much does it cost to start?
Nothing! You don’t need to pay a cent to sign up to all the affiliate platforms out there! All affiliate marketing will cost you is time!
How to Start?
You will need to sign up to a couple of affiliate marketing platforms and get approved. Here is a great list of places to sign up to!
Where to Find Out More
- Starting a Business Using Affiliate Marketing
- Top 15+ Australian Affiliate Programs to Monetize Your Website
- Highest Paying Affiliate Program Niches for Bloggers
Sell Products in Your Own Online Store
Think about items that you can sell in your online store that are a great fit for the content you are producing. There are many options for products. You could do:
- Downloadable Products (ebooks, anything you can send via a computer file)
- Buy Wholesale Products and Re-sell for a Profit
- Dropshipping (purchase from a supplier – and they send the product direct to your customer)
Finding products that are both unique and your audience will love and purchase is the key!
Some product ideas for women include:
- Planners or Diaries
- Personalised Products
- Your own like of fashion or branded t-shirts
- Funny Mugs
- Eco-friendly items
- Subscription Boxes
- Adult Products
How much does it cost to set up an online store?
Setting up an online store will incur a fee unless you want to do it yourself. Then there is the cost of purchasing the products and postage. So an online store is not cheap to set up!
How much can you make?
Well it depends on your marketing and audience. Many blogs make a lot of money through selling items through their online stores. If you can find the right niche and the right product – you can make a lot of money!
Where can I find out more?
Ebooks are fantastic because you only have to write them once, and you can sell it over and over and over again. What do you know better than anyone else? What do people come to you for seeking information? Then write about it! Ebooks only need to be a maximum of 30 – 50 pages – and are rich with information. They aren’t a novel or a whole book.
Plus there are so many different outslets to sell ebooks now. So yes, sell it on your blog or website, but also list your ebook on all those other locations!
How much does it cost?
Well nothing really if you have a computer and a good word processing program. Of course if you are not a writer and need an editor and perhaps someone to design the front page, you could be looking at a couple of hundred dollars to get that done. But if you use programs like Canva – then it’s free!
How much can you make?
Well quite a bit! Say you sell your e-book for $10.00 – and even if that e-book cost you a few hundred dollars to get edited etc, it doesn’t take that many sales for it to pay for itself and start making you profit. But it isn’t ‘set and forget’ – you will need to promote it, get people to leave reviews etc. My first e-book on Once a Month Cooking (before it was a real book) sold thousands and thousands of copies!
Write Sponsored Articles
Sponsored Articles are one of the main ways MOST blogs make money. They are a paid partnership whereby the brand pays the influencer to promote them in a ‘native’ way. Native means that the influencer writes or does a video about a topic, and weaving in the brand so it doesn’t appear too ‘in your face’.
Now influencers need to be careful here as a wrong brand coupling can damage both the brand and the influencer. So only choose brands who are a great fit for your blog. Be super picky, and don’t be scared to say ‘NO’.
How do you get Sponsored Articles?
First you need to have a Media Kit with all your details included, and a way that brands can get in touch with you. When the emails come in about a promotion, judge whether that brand is a good fit. If it is, ensure that you outline all the work required – so everything is in writing and both you and the brand have a good understanding about the work to be undertaken, timings, costings and tone. As an influencer you will be expected to send the Brand a draft or preview of the work to ensure it is in line with what they are trying to achieve.
If the brands are not smashing down your door to pay you to do a sponsored post – you need to be pro-active. Don’t make the mistake of doing the mass-email out – try and personalise each one, find out who you are emailing, their position and what you can offer them that is of value!
What can I make?
Again this depends on many factors. The size of your audience, the size of the brand. Available advertising budget. Work required.
What if I can’t write Sponsored Articles?
I will admit that writing a sponsored article can be TOUGH – and I write for a living. Sometimes you just need to write down what you need, what you are trying to achieve, then have a professional writer or copywriter do the actual article. That’s their jam, that’s what they do. And it is worth the money to get a great result!
Become a Brand Ambassador or Do Influencer Marketing
If there is a particular brand that you really really love, why not approach them to be their Brand Ambassador! Some brand ambassadorships are paid, others are not – but offer other benefits. I am lucky enough to be Suzuki Queensland’s Ambassador – I love Suzuki’s (my first car was a 1.3 litre Suzuki Swift!) – so it is easy to talk about them positively because they are something I would buy with my own money!
The key to being a great Brand Ambassador is the relationship between yourself and the Brand. There needs to be a real relationship for it to come across on the internet. I am so lucky that I adore my Suzuki People (Hi Steve! Hi John!) – genuine friendship, and that ‘flow’ between the influencer and the brand.
How to you go about it?
I truly think the best ambassadorships are when the brand approaches you, but you need them to actually KNOW you first. So start following them on social media, get to know their products, comment, share articles – flirt with them on Twitter. Then – just ask!
What Does a Brand Ambassador Actually Do?
A Brand Ambassador is a representative of the brand. I know myself I attend Driver Training Days, Suzuki Events and New Car Releases. But I look forward to them, to me, they aren’t work, they are good fun!
Where can I get Influencer Work?
If you are planning on being an influencer on Instagram, there are a few really great apps or websites to go to to find instant work that you can apply for!
Here are some to try:
Now with influencer marketing there comes a big responsibility to your audience. You need to disclose any paid work – and therefore any backlash that you receive for actually getting paid! Plus if you recommend a brand that isn’t a good fit, then you will lose credibility with your audience. So seeking to work with brands that are a match is so very important!
Imlement Google Adsense on Your Website
Google Adsense is a platform that is run by Google that allows you to run automated advertising through your blog or website. Once you have signed up to Google Adsense and embedded the codes (or have a Web Developer do it for you) – it is set and forget.
Google learns what your audience like, and will slowly start showing them advertising that will appeal to your audience. When your followers click on an advertisement, you get $$. Now different advertisers have different rates – so if someone clicks on the advertisement and it is say a fashion ad, you may get 5c or 10c – not much huh. BUT, if you are doing a blog on Brain Injuries, Google will promote an advertisement such as an insurance company – and some of them pay up to $40 per click!
The more traffic you have, the more clicks you get, the more money you make.
The best thing about Google Adsense is that they are regular payers – every four weeks – on the dot, you will receive your payment in your bank account. You don’t have to chase payments, you don’t need to do invoices.
Where can I find more information?
Create an Sell an Online Course
Online courses are all the rage now! And the best part of them is that you open up the amount of customers because anyone in the world with a computer, can get access. An online courser can be written (article based) – video based or a combination of both. The courses are broken down into lessons which are to be kept quite short so you don’t lose your customer’s focus. Best of all, once all content has been done – your course is complete and can be done at any time of day or night!
What you will need:
First of all you will need to sign up with an online course platform where you can create your online course.
Some of the best Online Course Platforms to Create Your Course include:
Next you need to fill it with your content – what people will learn, together with images or videos.
How much does it cost?
Some of the above online course platforms are free, others have a monthly subscription. If you need to outsource your content creation, this cost can really add up – but if you can do the content yourself, you won’t have much of a financial outlay.
Write or Brand White Label Products to Sell
White Label Products have been huge in the United States for years, but they only seem to start getting traction here in Australia. But they are such a good idea! Say you are a Recipe Creator. You need to create a recipe to sell it (or the other way around – it doesn’t matter..). White Label Products means that you create recipes that can be ‘Re-Branded’ by other people. So you can sell the same recipe to multiple people as their own work.
There are online courses, articles and even whole websites now that are white-labeled. So if you are a content creator or blogger looking to make more money – perhaps consider writing some content to sell to other people! Think of stock images – really they are the epitome of white labeling. The same image by the same photographer is sold over and over again.
Other items that get white-labeled:
How to Go About it?
You will need to create the content, and then place it for sale in your online store (watermark it). Then you just sell it like you would normally sell an item. It is a good idea to have a limited run (for example only sell say 10 copies of the same recipe).
What can I expect to make?
If you are writing for a US website, you can easily make a few hundred dollars per week if you can smash out the content. It might take a bit longer to get into the Australian market – but as it is pretty new here – it is worth trying!
Where can I get white-label products?
Do Product Reviews
Product Reviewing has been an age old way that blogs can make an income. But are you willing to tell your audience a product ISN’T great if they are paying for a review? That is the dilemma with product reviews. Your audience will get to know you, what you like, what you don’t. But they will also smell bullshit from a mile away! So only ever do product reviews for products that you genuinely like, even if it means knocking back money to do so!
When you are starting out as a smaller blog, many companies will try and get your to review products in exchange for the product, or in exchange for a giveaway. Try and avoid this if you can, not only does it ruin the entire industry, you can’t pay your electricity bill with makeup samples. Put value on your work and your time!
What to charge?
Well consider how much work has gone into the review. If you did a video, how long did it take to edit. I like to think most product reviews – even basic ones, should start at about the $400.00. This includes putting a bit of boost behind the Facebook or Instagram Post to give it a bit of a kick!
Do you get to keep the product?
Not all the time. Some companies throw the product in as part of the package, some require the product to be sent back. Respect the wishes of the advertiser. This should also be negotiated before you receive the product, and the return details if needed.
Start a Directory
A Directory is an online catalog of contact details. White Pages and Yellow Pages are examples of directories. Many business blogs and websites have directories where you need to pay to join. A Directory can easily be added to a blog via a WordPress Plugin or you can have one professionally built by a developer.
Directories are really good for SEO, and are a great way to keep followers coming back to your website to seek information.
But don’t think that only business websites can have them – many websites are now doing an alternative to Directories in the form of Listicles. Think about it – have you done a listicle for your website? What happens when people wanted to be added to a listicle? You charge them for it! Call it a ‘Link Inclusion’ or an ‘Administration Fee’.
A link inclusion is a great way to add extra value to your website and if you have a very popular blog, it can be very lucrative!
How to Get Started with a Directory?
First of all decide what sort of directory you are wanting. Ask yourself why people come to your blog – what are they looking for? Then collate a list – this is your directory. Ensure at the bottom of each list you have directions on how to get added to the list. Something like ‘Do you want to be included in our List Article on …..’. Send those people to your contact form!
Always test the waters with listicles before going to the cost of installing a formal directory!
But No One Will Pay For It?
Oh Gawd if I had a dollar for every time people email me wanting to be included on a list but didn’t want to pay the money! It’s easy – don’t include them! Thank them for their time, be polite, but decline. Never be afraid to say no to people. In fact, I think the more you say no, the more business you get!
If someone asks you to lower your price?
If someone asks for a discount and they have never advised with you before?
Someone wants you to do a product review in exchange for product that isn’t worth anything?
People tend to take you a lot more seriously if you value your content and your time!