Smart Blog Monetization
All online bloggers can be divided in two groups:
- those who started blogging inspired by the idea of getting rich through blog monetization
- those who just created a blog having something to say – so making money from it was not the primary goal
Regardless of what group you might belong to, you must admit that blog monetization tips and secrets are very good to know. It’s not about turning your page into a large wobbling advertisement and either annoying or even losing your audience. In this article we will cover more sophisticated and delicate methods to monetize your blog.
For some people from the group two (mentioned above) – blog monetization sounds really scary as they think it may compromise their integrity or make them sell something valuable. If you are smart enough, it’s not your case.
Here is the list of the most common doubts bloggers have when it comes to earning money:
- Unreliable income split in small parts
- Wasting tons of efforts and time looking for advertisers
- Waiting for years to get paid
- Necessity to get into the mechanism of Google AdSense
- Irrelevant banners and other types of clutter on the page
Alright, here are some tips you can use to monetize your blog faster and easier without selling your soul:
Direct methods of blog monetization
1. Sell contextual ads
Yeah, some of you may be skeptical about this point, but you may change your mind if we say that you can:
- gain full control of the number of ads on your blog pages
- specify the pages available for advertising
- set size and location of ads on the page
- control prices for your text advertisements
Sounds good, right? For example, you may use a website monetization plugin by magenet.com to entrust professionals with this task and start earning money without searching for advertisers and wasting time on organization issues. You can get the money to your PayPal account and take part in a variety of affiliation programs offered by MageNet service (more on affiliate programs below).
You can start small to grow and promote your blog and earn more and more money. By the way, there are lots of alternatives to Google AdSense, don’t think of it as of the only way to place ads. By the way, some people consider it looks disgusting.
How profitable is contextual advertising? Without saying the names, let’s just analyze the cases:
|Blog A||For 1 month blog A had about 20,000 page views from about 10,000 of visitors total. The income of this blog (from contextual advertising only) made $790.91|
|Blog B:||Blog B had a little bit more than 40,000 page views over the month, and the number of visitors amounted in 13,000. The total revenue from contextual advertising (taking into account that the amount of ad units was the same as in previous case) made $99.0. In addition, about $35 came from an affiliate program.|
|Blog C:||The last example in this list is a blog with about 160,000 page views per month and approximately 80,000 visitors. It helped its owner to earn $515.12 from contextual ads and something about $2,500 from affiliate programs.|
To put it simply: when a visitor clicks on the ad in your blog – you get money for the click. The sum can make from 50 cent to $5, but this method of earning money usually works with high traffic websites and blogs – this way you can receive hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month and quit your job concentrating your efforts on blogging.
2. Sell products
“What if I don’t have any products to sell?” – you might ask. Create it then! It can be:
- an e-book (there is a great article about that here)
- a guide or a tutorial
- an online education program
- a ticket to some event organized by you (like training courses or workshops)
and whatever else.
What is good about selling products – it continues working when you are away bringing your benefits.
Having a blog definitely means having something to write about, doesn’t it? Gather the most delicious pieces, add some valuable piece of advice and combine them in an e-book. Make sure you provide easy, secure and convenient ways to pay for that.
This way of blog monetization is worth trying, because once created it is able to bring you income on a consistent basis.
3. Promote affiliates
Keep in mind that you don’t have to advertise something that is irrelevant to your blog topic or something not trustworthy. Find products you use, find people and companies you really like that can be beneficial to your target audience, contact them and offer your promotion services.
For example, whenever you write about some software, mention an article by some blogger you like. It won’t deprive you of integrity and no one can ever say you are not sincere enough.
Perhaps it’s the best point to start: to promote affiliates and to be an affiliate for some other blogs and projects – by the way, there are 4 widespread myths about affiliate marketing at Forbes, good to take into consideration.
The best rule for running affiliate programs if you don’t want to lose your face: if I don’t use it, I don’t advertise it. Remain congruent with your blog and with your self-created brand and add more value to your readers.
How does it work?
Quite simple. A visitor clicks on your affiliate link and either buys the product or uses the service offered – and you get you piece of pie in the form of commission. The commission in this case may vary from 30 to even 70% of service of product price, because affiliates understand how important traffic sources are. And high quality traffic is of great value nowadays.
Imagine someone promotes and e-book and it costs 10$ – you can get from 3 to 7$ for it, not bad, right?
Here are some websites with links to loads of affiliates – maybe you can find something interesting there:
4. Use advertising widgets and banners
Using widgets in blog monetization is a method that is getting more and more popular recently. You can place them nicely and easily to any place on the webpage, they will look way better than regular ads. Actually widgets represent a mixture of PPC, text link ads and affiliate program banners.
It this case you can set up your price, for example: “A banner at the sidebar will cost $ X per month”. Usually it is paid in advance and the price fully depends on your traffic and on the topic of your blog. It should be interesting to the banner owner’s target audience.
If your blog is visited by thousands of people per month – the banner price can reach even $5000 per month. However, if your blog isn’t very popular now, you shouldn’t expect much.
Check out something from this list:
- Magenet plugin
- Ad Widget
- WP 125 plugin
- In Post Ads plugin
- Ad Rotate
5. Create paid membership with bonuses
Here you can offer:
- more unique content
- no ads on the page
- free tutorials on a regular basis
- free consulting services
- private forums with other members (where they can interact in professional environment) and so on.
You can also attract affiliates to offer their goods and services to your premium members. Affiliates get promotion for free, and you have something to offer to your premium audience. Here you can find some useful tips for creating paid membership.
6. Place a button for donations
Perhaps the simplest way out of this list, but many people miss it! Donations are a great alternative source of income for your blog.
If you have a lot of readers, at least some of them won’t mind donating some money “for a cup of coffee”. The key to success: make donation process and simple as possible. It’s a good way to monetize small websites and blogs, but it may work for bigger ones as well!
Indirect methods for blog monetization
1. Start your own workshops or webinars
Workshops or webinars help your audience to interact with you and get direct real-time feedback. It is stressful, time- and effort consuming, but it gives a great opportunity for you as a blogger to win new followers, because such events give people an opportunity to ask you questions face-to-face. It helps them realize you are there to provide them with customized answers and assist in taking decisions.
Workshops usually are considered to be more appealing than e-books or tutorials as they imply feedback taking into account particular cases, rapidly changing circumstances and so on. That is the reason why people are more willing to pay for workshops and seminars than for books and tutorials.
You can promote information products by providing links to them or giving the name of some books (if you need to promote books) in a “must-read” list at the end of your workshop. Such an approach builds trust in your target audience and promotion won’t be accepted as promotion. It will look more like sharing valuable experience.
More on technical issues of how to organize a webinar is available here.
2. Generate leads
Help other businesses and organizations make money. Leads usually can be in form of a simple e-mail submit or phone number, or whatsoever.
For example: you own a blog about teaching people math. It means you can nicely and easily build links to different schools and universities and other education institutions that offer education services and math in particular. After that, in case your blog visitor submits an e-mail or a phone number to this company or institution for application – you’re get paid.
It’s very similar to affiliate marketing, but your visitor doesn’t necessarily have to buy something. A short contact information is more than enough. The sales people will take care of the rest.
3. Offer consulting services – sell your time
Although it’s not a method for startups and for people with little spare time – consulting can bring you significant income in comparison to other methods. Here you have a chance to monetize your blog by promoting consulting services in your specific niche.
To do that you should have a significant number of followers and a brilliant reputation in your field. Here you can offer one-on-one consulting online for a fixed rate. People are ready to pay when you offer undivided attention. You can start from setting a lower price to analyze the demand and to increase the rate in the future. Offering consulting services you can use affiliate programs that are mutually beneficial to both parties.
4. Organize sponsored events
If you can organize workshops and make them interesting – you can organize events with lots of guests. It is not necessarily to be a live event, it can be a webinar or a weekly podcast. All you need is to find a relevant topic and sponsors that will be promoted directly.
This type of monetization is common for TV and radio, why not using their methods? Advertisers are interested in sponsorship deals on high traffic websites and blogs because it allows them to reach their target audience. You can find sponsors online using specialized platforms or trying to contact local sponsors directly.
To sum up, it would be necessary to say that indirectly monetized blogs have recently become more popular, it’s a hard job though to make everything work without using AdSense. It’s not the only business model, nowadays it’s up to you to choose which method of blog monetization you should use.
Blog monetization today does not have to be overt to be effective!
Some bloggers tend to say “without continued blogging none of my consulting, coaching, training or writing clients would even know of me let alone hire me” – think of it in this regard.