So, you’ve started up your blog. You’ve been posting to it dutifully, on a regular schedule. You’ve got a growing social media presence and at regular influx of readers finding their way to your website every day. Now you just need to figure out how to monetize your blog, without feeling like a sellout for using clickbait ads.
The days of using Google AdSense as your primary money-making tool online are long gone. It was never a model that was going to sustain your blog anyway – getting pennies for clicks. No pay-per-click program is going to be what gets your rich unless you’ve got millions of visitors each month.
On top of being low paying, ads are also clunky, distracting and frustrate many readers. Instead of using these clickbait headlines and ads, you should focus on other ways to monetize your blog. Here we’re going to look at nine of the most common – and successful – ways that bloggers have monetized their websites to make a living.
Probably the most common way to make money from a blog is affiliate marketing. There are many ways that you can go about this – but many people choose to partner with Amazon Associates.
Affiliate marketing, if you’re not familiar with the concept, is promoting someone else’s products through a custom link. When people click through your link and buy the item, you make a percentage commission from the sale. Simple, yes?
The trick to affiliate marketing is not only to have an audience – but to have an audience that trusts your judgement. If you review an item or suggest a product, your readers already know they can trust your opinion and are more likely to make a purchase at your recommendation.
While Amazon Associates might be the most common affiliate marketing option – especially since they have such a wide selection of products – but they aren’t the only one. Every niche has a variety of options for affiliate programs, with some offering better quality products or better commissions than others.
You might think that email marketing sounds outdated – but think about your own inbox. How many of the emails you receive every day are aimed at selling you something? How many times have you made a purchase because someone you trust and follow suggested something you found useful?
No matter what it may seem like, email marketing is alive and well – and is still an extremely viable way to make money online. Whether you are promoting your own products or affiliate products, you’ll reach your best prospects through email.
These people have already trusted you with their email address – meaning they trust your advice and want to hear what you have to say. If you have 1,000 subscribers or more that is plenty to start your email marketing ventures.
Create and Sell eBooks
Another great way for blog authors to make money from their blog is to sell eBooks. Chances are, you’re blogging because you know a lot about a specific subject. So, why not share that expertise rather than giving it all away for free?
Sure, you want to share a lot with your readers – but you can’t make a living helping others for nothing all the time. Take some of your knowledge – narrow it down as much as you can and choose your book topic from there.
People love eBooks – they are shorter than traditional books, they can be accessed from your phone, and they are inexpensive. The downside, if you’re really trying to make serious money, you’ll need to write multiple eBooks – and keep publishing.
Create a Course
Again, going off the fact that you run a blog chances are you know a good bit about something. If it’s a subject that you can teach – then why not create an online course? Online learning is growing – people are turning to online courses to learn everything from how go play guitar to how to write code.
The best part about creating a course is if you offer it through a platform like Udemy then you don’t have to market it again and again. Sure, occasional marketing and a link on your blog is important – but people will find it just from having the course on a popular platform.
You might be thinking that you’re not a teacher – but you really could be. If you don’t know much about video editing and design then it may cost some investment funds up front to make this one happen – but it will pay for itself and then some over time if your course is successful.
The idea of having people donate or give you money just for writing your blog might seem insane, but that’s exactly what Patreon does. Creating a Patreon account and launching a campaign is free – and it gives your followers a way to support you without having to buy something they don’t really need.
Plus, not all your readers will be able to afford your eBooks, courses, or affiliate products – but almost everyone can spare a dollar a month. It might not seem like much – but a dollar each from 400 people is still $400. Consider that while most your patrons will spend $1, there are many who would pay more.
With Patreon you have a platform to offer exclusive sneak peaks and other extras – depending on the amount a follower is spending each month. While someone spending $1 might only get access to a private news feed and occasional sneak peaks, someone spending $100 might get early-access and exclusive content.
Since you’re already posting to your blog, another option is to write sponsored posts. This is when a company or brand pays you to write a post that promotes their products. While it might still feel like a “sellout” option, it’s not.
You’re not trying to trick anyone – only take sponsorships from brands and companies you would buy from yourself. Only promote products you would – or better yet, have – used yourself.
Big brands will pay good money for sponsorships – because as a blogger with a social media presence you’re an influencer. You’re the one people are looking to before deciding on something in your niche – whatever that may be.
If you got a few different sponsored posts each month at $X per post and $X for each additional promotion of the post after the initial launch date, you could quickly be making a reliable income from your blog.
Offer Coaching or Consulting
Going back to using what you know – you can also get paid for your knowledge an hour at a time. You can offer one-on-one coaching or tutoring in a subject you happen to know a lot about. If you offer professional services – or could but prefer not to do the heavy lifting – then consulting services might be right up your alley.
Consulting and coaching are strikingly similar – and in the end it boils down to someone paying you for your time and advice. The good news, people will pay handsomely for expert knowledge and insight. You could charge over $100 per hour – depending on what you’re teaching in your coaching or what someone can expect to learn in a consult call or meeting.
If you’re already planning to implement eBooks or an online course, coaching and consulting goes together perfectly. You can easily utilize all three monetization techniques to help diversify and grow the income you make from your blog.
Like the Patreon option, offering a premium membership is a great way to monetize your website. If you offer some sort of search feature or a job board, then locking some features behind a paywall are a great way to compromise. You can offer the bulk of your expertise for free – but the best your website has to offer must be paid for.
This could look like a job board site that offers a free and premium membership – premium offers you an inside look at your potential clients and puts you on their radar before they even post their listing.
It could also look like offering a free and paid version of a course that you created. You could offer a follow-along version for free – and a paid version that includes group coaching calls and discussions and other live teaching benefits.
Host Regular Webinars
Along with courses, webinars are a great way for you to connect with your audience and share your knowledge – for a fee. This is something you’ll likely want to combine with free webinars.
But once new readers have found a pre-recorded webinar or attended a free webinar or two, they are more likely to pay for a seat to learn from you live. Hosting webinars can be as simple as a Zoom, Skype, or similar video call – it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Like a course this is a great way for you to get paid to share your expertise – but unlike a course it is more a one-time revenue stream. Which is why many bloggers hold regular webinars – and then turn those webinars into online courses that can be accessed anytime for a fee.
There are tons of ways you can monetize your blog without resorting to clickbait ads and the pay-per-click model. Most of these ways will bring in more revenue on their own than ads would in the first place, and you’re providing your readers with something they want. Many bloggers use a combination of these tactics. The more monetization methods you use, the more diverse your income will become, and the more you will bring in month-after-month as your blog continues to grow.