You’ve heard the buzz, read the latest stats, and you’ve even had some great results from your blogging efforts. But there’s a downside … blogging takes up a lot of time. Time that could be used for moneymaking activities. Fortunately, there are lots of ways for you to be compensated for your blogging time and efforts.
Here are five easy ways you can start making money from your blog.
This is probably the first idea that comes to mind when people think about monetizing their sites. So let’s talk about some preliminary steps you need to do before implementing this strategy.
First, do not use a free blogging platform.
What this means is you need to purchase your own domain name and hosting, so you can monetize as you wish.
The free version of WordPress is not intended for profit use. So selling ads and participating in affiliate marketing is out of the question if you’re using the free platform.
Next step. You’ll need to have a system in place for serving your ads. With WordPress, there are numerous plugins you can download for free to add this functionality to your site. Once you download the plugin, you’ll be able to set up ad zones, track clicks and impressions, as well as schedule run dates.
Here are a few ad management plugins to check out:
When you sell ad space, advertisers will want to know your blog’s statistics. How many visitors does your site receive? How many page views does it get? You can get all of this information for free by adding Google Analytics to your site.
Lastly, you’ll need to set up a page for your advertising options. Usually this page will include your ad sizes and locations, traffic stats, and cost to run the promotion.
To see an example, check out WritetoDone’s website.
Now that the groundwork has been laid, you’re ready to implement your advertising options. There are basically two ways to get started with advertising: a) direct ad sales and b) work with an ad network.
With direct ad sales, you get 100% of the profit, but you also do 100% of the work. And just because you hung out your advertising shingle, doesn’t mean you’ll have advertisers knocking down your door. If you’re just getting started, you’ll most likely need to do some prospecting for sponsors.
On the other hand, when you work with an ad network, they do all the legwork … but your cut of the pie is a lot smaller. Personally, I’ve worked with a few ad networks and my experience is you have to have a LOT of traffic for it to pay off.
Here are just a few of the advertising networks you can work with:
2. Affiliate Marketing
Not only is affiliate marketing a great way to add some extra revenue to your blog, but it can also be your blog’s main source of income. Tricia Meyer from SunshineRewards.com makes the majority of her blog income through affiliate programs (you can read her story here). With affiliate marketing, you promote products and services, and in exchange, you earn a commission on each sale that’s generated from your site.
With this method, you’ll want to promote products and services that are within your niche and that you yourself would use. A good rule of thumb is … if you wouldn’t use it or recommend it to friend, don’t promote it on your blog. Your integrity always trumps earning a quick buck, so don’t lose readers by promoting lousy products.
To find affiliate programs to promote, you can check out some of the bigger networks like Amazon, ShareASale, or CJ. Or you can look on individual websites to see if they host their own affiliate program. Generally, this information will be on the footer of the website or on their contact page.
3. Add a Job Board
Many freelance, career, and niche-related blogs will add a job board to their site for additional income. Some examples include: All Indie Writers and Problogger. Of course, to do this, you’ll need to create an area that accommodates this sort of function. Luckily, there are numerous WordPress plugins like WP Job Board and WP Job Manager just for this sort of thing. The great thing about these plugins is they can totally automate the process, so there’s no extra work for you.
4. Paid Community
Many bloggers add private membership communities to their sites that offer advanced training. Depending on the resources and tools that your membership site offers, you may be able to charge an annual or monthly recurring fee.
Carol Tice, owner of MakeaLivingWriting.com makes a large percentage of her freelance income this way. In fact, she has over 1,000 members who pay $25 a month to be part of her writer’s community. (I’ll let you do the math.)
To add a private community to your blog, you’ll need to purchase a premium plugin, like Member Mouse or Magic Members. Once the plugin is in place, you’ll be able to register, manage, and bill clients all in one spot.
5. Create and Sell an Information Product
Depending on your niche, writing an e-book or other information product may be an excellent way for you to cash in. Popular bloggers like Darren Rowse and Ruth Soukup have had great success with this method.
So how do you know whether or not selling an information product is right for you? If you’re often asked about a certain subject over and over again — that’s a good clue. If you’re always asked, “Can I pick your brain?” that’s another good clue.
For this monetization method, you’ll need to add a shopping cart to your site. A plugin like WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart (that’s a mouthful) or a service like E-Junkie can add this additional functionality to your blog … and you can start cashing in.
One final note: Making money from your blog doesn’t happen overnight. But with a little persistence and some well thought out content, you can reap financial rewards for your efforts.