7 Easy Ways to Monetize Your Blog
Contrary to what you might think, the art of blogging is alive and strong. Blogs are not dead—and they won’t be anytime soon. While the way we consume content has changed, the fact remains: we still rely on long-form content—blogs, articles, infographics, whitepapers—to consume and relay information. If you want to get paid to blog, it’s important to create a business model that caters to various revenue streams and emphasizes new-age communication.
The fact is, it has become increasingly difficult to get quality traffic from social media platforms. As social channels and “micro-blogging” grow, these platforms have become increasingly crowded and competitive. Data proves that bloggers still have a strong place online:
Image source: Source: Statista
Modern blog posts are a melting pot of content. They contain images, audio, charts, videos, and interactive graphics. If you want to get paid to blog, create an editorial calendar that includes different content forms and publish on a regular basis. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can monetize your blog:
Social media—as prolific as it has become in today’s day and age—does not negate the fact that content remains king. In fact, social platforms often act as an intermediary between published content and readers.
Take a look at your latest Twitter feed and you’ll see that most tweets refer back to website content or contain commentary on published content. Furthermore, social media does little in terms of search engine optimization.
Businesses need social media influencers, sure, but they also need to outperform their competitors in search engines.
Google relies on content for context clues; it needs to understand how relevant and valuable a business is. That’s where the blogger comes in.
Social media marketing might be gaining steam—but studies show that it’s not as important as content marketing. Brands who sponsor posts pay an influencer to recommend their product or service to their subscribers. Therefore, if you want to get paid to blog, don’t leave sponsored posts out of your strategy.
Sign up for Scalefluence to join a network of bloggers seeking sponsored post opportunities. Once you create your influencer profile and set your price, you’ll appear in relevant search results when brands or agencies want to partner with someone like you.
For example, let’s say you’re a beauty blogger in the organic skincare niche. Marketing and SEO agencies that use Scalefluence search the platform for influencers whose content aligns with their client goals. From here, they’ll reach out to you with project details and you decide whether you want to accept or decline the campaign. It’s as easy as 1-2-3. You can learn more about the Scalefluence platform here.
Affiliate marketing offers a non-obtrusive, passive revenue stream that can generate income for years to come. Simply sign up for an affiliate program (like Amazon’s) and use your special affiliate link to link products you can vouch for.
According to Mediakix, there’s been a steady 10.1% increase in affiliate marketing spending every year. Furthermore, 15% of the total digital media revenue comes from affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing allows bloggers to earn a commission on the products they recommend. There are a few must-haves when it comes to affiliate marketing:
- To remain compliant with the FTC, your blog posts should clearly disclose that your content contains affiliate links
- Don’t recommend products for the sake of recommending products; only link to products that you’re findent in
- Place affiliate links naturally and prioritize valuable content over selling; don’t fit content to align with your affiliate link. Write the best content first and then determine where your affiliate links fit
You might be wondering, “If I want to get paid to blog, how much can I actually earn from affiliate marketing?” The answer varies. Top affiliate marketers—like John Chow and Shawn Collins— earn over $100,000 in affiliate sales each month. Middle-class affiliates can generate anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000 per month, while new affiliate markets earn few sales.
However, with consistent quality content, you can start earning within a few months and your growth potential can continue to climb. James Njenga, who runs a part-time blog called Freelancing Ninjas, earned nearly $8,000 during his first year of blogging.
Create Digital Products
Digital products are a great way to grow your email list, earn passive income, and provide valuable content to your readers. Digital products include e-books, research, online courses, and digital downloads.
Your digital products should solve a problem that your audience is having. For example, if you blog about real estate, you might offer a class on how to navigate the tricky world of mortgages or offer a short e-book on how to get a home with bad credit. Or as a travel blogger, you might create online guidebooks to popular cities and destinations. Take a look at a few digital products that travel blogger Matt Kepnes offers on his blog Nomadic Matt:
When you start thinking about the problems or goals your audience has it becomes much easier to brainstorm different types of content that caters to those needs. Let’s say you start a blog in the “small USA towns” niche. From here, you can branch out to different content forms: e-books, detailed or customize itineraries, or special access to local deals in different destinations.
Consider a Subscription Setup
A subscription model is a payment structure where site visitors pay a fee for access to premium content. While a subscription model can certainly create a new revenue stream for your blog, you have to be particularly careful. With the vast majority of information available online for free, the last thing you want to do is isolate a chunk of your audience.
Many publishers have already shifted to a subscription model, including the New York Times and niche websites like Inman, a real estate industry publication. However, these are popular sites with very high traffic volume. Start off with a hybrid-free model to test it out, where you offer a certain amount of articles for free before the reader is prompted to sign up.
Alternatively, you can keep the majority of your blog content free while offering “premium” content on a separate tab. Be sure to market your premium content across your social channels and in your email marketing strategies.
Sell Physical Products
While informational and digital products may be the de facto revenue generator in the blogging industry, selling physical products is a great way to get into the entrepreneurial spirit and bring in a few bucks. Don’t be afraid of going the physical route; there are plenty of benefits. Physical products enhance the perceived value of your brand, give your followers something they can see and feel, and can be used as an extension of your physical products. When you create something tangible and can pass it off to someone, it also adds sophisticated touch.
One of the biggest downsides of creating physical products for your website is the cost. However, cost isn’t as big a barrier as it was several years ago. For instance, you can use the dropshipping method to get started quickly with under $100. Dropshipping is an ecommerce tactic where products are sent directly to the customer once the customer has made a purchase. This way, you don’t have to place large inventory orders or waste unnecessary funds on products that will sit in your garage until (and if) they’re all sold.
You can sell custom dropshipping products on platforms like Printify and Printful. Simply upload your design to hundreds of different types of products, from tote bags to mugs and t-shirts, and generate a mockup of your own. Put product images on your website and you don’t pay a dime until a customer orders from your website.
If you decide to go the dropshipping route, be sure to order product samples for photography and marketing purposes.
Related Post: Productivity Guide For Bloggers
Google Adsense is a program that allows website publishers to show relevant ads to their website visitors. Some bloggers gawk at the idea of placing ads on their beautifully curated pages, but the fact is, many publishers—including media conglomerates—use Google AdSense to generate extra income. AdSense is free to use and you never have to deal with advertisers directly. Google automatically connects website users with publishers based on the content produced. Website owners are paid based on different bid types:
- Cost per click (CPC): website owners are paid when a visitors clicks on an ad
- Cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM): website owners are paid when an ad is seen 1,000 times—even if no action is taken
- Active View CPM: Active View CPM ads are paid when at least 50% of an ad is shown for at least one second
- Cost per engagement (CPE): Website owners receive money when an action is taken, such as when a visitor hovers over an expandable lightbox ad
The amount of money you make will, of course, depend on the amount of traffic you bring in. Experiment with different ad units and placements. For instance, don’t assume that the first place you put your ad will be the highest-converting position. You should always be testing different aspects of your revenue stream(s) to see what works best. Check out successful websites in your industry and see where they place their ads. Check out this list of best practices for ad placement on Google; it provides data-backed suggestions for ad placements based on the type of website you have (news, gaming, travel, etc.).
Accept Fan Contributions
There are many content creators who use fan contributions as a means of generating income. Contribution platforms like Patreon are a great way to spearhead contribution efforts. Remember: fans are amazing people that love your work and want to support you in whatever way they can. Much like donations, contributions give your fans a meaningful way to contribute to your ongoing content creation.
It’s important to understand that Patreon—and similar fan contributions platforms—aren’t designed to be discovery platforms. As a blogger, you should build your following before you focus your efforts on creating a Patreon page. When this happens, your community of fans can quickly become your community of patrons.
Setting up a fan page on a contribution platform is easy enough, and most are structured in a way where you only pay a small percentage once you begin receiving a certain amount of contributions. When you’re ready, build your profile and create membership levels that cater to different types of fans. Membership tiers offer rewards to fans based on the level they subscribe to. For example, you might offer a $5 monthly membership that includes a custom sticker and all-time access to premium, as well as a $20 monthly membership that includes all rewards from previous tiers, plus a quarterly one-on-one consultation. Think about the rewards your audience is most likely to want and be creative with your membership options.