When you’re just starting out with your blog, it can seem like one of the most arduous and frustrating tasks. With so much information to consume and strategies to digest, how is that any one person can find the time or the wherewithal to not only grasp the art of blogging itself, but also that of driving significant amounts of traffic?
We all know blogging isn’t some altruistic pursuit. People want their words to be seen and shared. They want to gain the respect of the masses and boost their authority in their respective industry or niche. However, clearly it isn’t quite that simple. Not only is it difficult to drive traffic to a blog, but it’s also hard to monetize the traffic that you do receive.
The problem? Most people ignore the fundamentals of online marketing when attempting to earn any semblance of an income from their blogs. When you fail to pay homage to these fundamentals, you’ll find it excruciatingly difficult to earn anything. But if you go about it the right way, you’ll certainly profit in the long run.
5 Immutable Laws of Blogging
Before I jump into the various ways you can actually monetize a blog, whether you just started that blog or you’ve had it for some time now, I wanted to cover the five immutable laws of blogging. If you pay attention to these laws, you’ll succeed over time. Ignore them, and you’ll find it nearly impossible to drive any respectable amount of traffic and ultimately monetize your blog.
Blogs need focus. You need to have a specific industry, niche or topic that you write about repeatedly. Try not to go all over the map. You’ll find that veering off on tangents will make you lose your core audience. People want to visit a blog — and keep revisiting it — because it fills a need or a void. That happens by staying focused and on-topic.
People think that blogging is about pushing out an enormous amount of content. But it doesn’t work if it’s thin content. Your content needs to be quality content. It needs to be thorough, well-written and cite its sources. If a study is referenced, it needs to be linked to. Don’t skimp on quality if you’re serious about monetizing your blog.
Your blog needs to deliver value. What can you teach other people about? What are you an expert at? Take the time to deliver value. Create thorough tutorials and informative posts that interweave things like videos and other media to truly help people understand or figure something out. Value is a precursor to income in any industry, but especially in blogging.
How engaging is your content? Does your blog incite people to spend a lot of time reading articles, watching videos or messaging on a forum, for example? The more people engage with your content, the more likely they’ll be to purchase something from you. Without engagement, there’s very little chance of monetization.
How much authority do you have? How well-known are you in your field? The more authority you have, the more likely you can monetize your blog quickly. For example, if you have a large social media following and you decide to launch a blog, you can drive traffic quickly. If you’re an expert at something else or a best-selling author, for example, you already have authority, all you need to do is leverage it.
Monetizing Your Blog
While there are arguably dozens of ways to monetize your blog, there really are eight core methods that will help you earn a healthy income from your efforts.
1. Affiliate marketing
One of the most popular methods for monetizing a blog is to leverage affiliate marketing. This is especially useful when you’re just starting out and you don’t have your own products or services to sell. All you have to do is develop content that will ultimately be in harmony with whatever affiliate offers you plan to push out.
For example, if you’re running a fitness blog, you can easily sell affiliate health, weight loss or body building supplements. Since the content is already attracting people that are interested in fitness, selling these types of products helps you to create a near-automated stream of passive income.
While most people might think that adding some pay-per-click (PPC) ads will be a great way to make lots of money with their blogs, unless you have massive amounts of traffic — as in 10,000+ visitors per day or more — the income will be marginal at best. The real income here doesn’t start until you cross about 100,000 visitors per day.
However, you could easily negotiate terms directly with advertisers by utilizing display ads as opposed to PPC ads. As long as the ads are within your specific niche or industry, you can likely negotiate an amount that would be much more competitive than income from standard PPC ads.
3. Email marketing
One of the most powerful methods for making money from your blog is directly through email marketing. But to be successful, you need to build your list. Whether you promote blog updates or create a lead magnet, utilize one of the more popular email marketing platforms like ConvertKit, Aweber or InfusionSoft to implement the systems necessary to begin marketing via email.
By building a strong bond and a connection with your readers, you can effectively generate a sizable amount of money through the course of marketing both your own products and services along with affiliate offers directly through email. You can expect to generate approximately $1 per subscriber per month.
4. Sell ebooks
Ebooks offer a relatively quick pathway for making money from your blog. Develop an ebook that’s aligned with the content of your blog. Non-fiction ebooks are relatively simple to create, and if you’re teaching a skill that many people struggle with, it’s likely that the ebook will produce a healthy profit.
You can easily promote your ebook directly through your blog by creating attractive content that will draw people in, then enticing them with your ebook. You could also build a sales funnel, which is an online marketing term for an automated multi-step sales machine, and sell your ebook on autopilot.
5. Sell courses
Selling digital online courses is another way you can profit from blogging. Develop intuitive and helpful courses that add a tremendous amount of value and the rest will be smooth sailing. By putting your heart and your soul into these courses, you can simply allow them to sell on autopilot for you, another great avenue for passive income.
Courses work great when it comes to technical skills like web development, digital marketing, graphic design and so on. But they also work in formats like finances, stocks, currency investing and accounting. Find what you’re really great at and do the due diligence before building your course. Thenm make something far better than the other courses out there in the marketplace.
6. Sell digital products
Creating digital products is a great way to profit from your blog. You can effectively sell any type of digital information product on your blog as long as it’s in harmony with your content. You can build a webinar to market your product and deliver them through a member’s area or through other downloadable means.
Digital products can be a combination of videos, downloadable guides, resources, PDFs, software components, SaaS and others. Do your best to create something that helps fill a need or a void. Don’t second guess yourself, as you’d be surprised at just how much money you can make by selling digital products on your blog.
7. Sell coaching services
While it does seem like coaching services are infiltrating every aspect of the market these days, selling coaching services through your blog can definitely be a lucrative prospect. Whether you set yourself up as a life coach, a career coach or a business development coach, you can earn a significant income through just a handful of clients.
Decide on a number of packages, and do your best to ensure that you address any objections upfront. Customers tend to abandon the purchase process when it’s too complicated, they have to leave the site, create an account or a number of other reasons according to one such study by Baymard Institute.
8. Secure sponsorships
Sponsorships are a great way to make money from your blog, but you need the traffic if you’re going to sell it for a significant amount of money. You can create sponsored posts as long as you label them as sponsored. The FTC cracks down on marketing products and services, including articles that are sponsored when in fact they’re passed off as organic.
You have to be careful with sponsorships. Be sure that you’re upfront with your readership. Google also cares acutely about sponsored links and will penalize you if you’re selling links along with penalizing the site that you’re linking to. Simply put, it’s not worth it, so be as transparent as possible.