How to monetize a blog

Whether you’re running a personal blog as a hobby or managing the official blog of your business website, you can definitely monetize your work. It just takes a bit of time and effort. Have a look at these proven strategies and start experimenting to understand what works for your content, business goals and audience.

People love blogs. We read them, think about them and use blogs not only to promote our brands and products, but they also represent our hobby or personal hobbies and pursuits. Evidently, it’s possible to earn money blogging, otherwise, there would not be such heavy appeal. If you have a solid blog that people like to read, how can you turn that traffic and audience into real revenue?

Fundamental rules of blogging

Before we dive into a few blog monetization methods, it is necessary to cover some fundamentals of blogging. If you pay attention to these, you will succeed over time. Ignore them, and you will find it impossible to drive any real traffic and eventually monetize your blog. Whether you have already built your blog or you haven’t started yet, make sure that you go about it right way. The first thing you need to do is create a successful blog.

Keep in mind to:

Choose a valuable focus. Finding a valuable niche or topic which is interesting not only for you but also for others is the very first step. You need to stay focused, on-topic and deliver valuable content. What are you an expert at? Are you able to help people understand or figure something out? Also, be sure to understand the competition you have.
Create for a specific audience. Who are those people, their demographics and interests, you are posting for? What kind of voice will you use? You need to know your audience.
Create amazing quality content. This is the most important step to building a great blog. It is also the easiest to understand and the most difficult to be done. Blogging is not just about producing a huge amount of content. Your content needs to be thorough, well-written and give credit to its sources. It must be practical, informative, detailed, easy to follow, reliable or entertaining and somehow unique.
Make a professional website. It’s pretty sure that you will not get very far with an ugly, unprofessional or outdated website. The design is supposed to complement your writing abilities. You can use a template to make sure to live up to current trends.

Webnode blog templates

Nurture and grow engagement. Your quality content, unfortunately, is not enough to attract, keep and grow your audience. You’ll probably sweat to earn the first hundreds and thousands of regular visitors. Does your blog encourage people to spend enough time reading, watching or messaging? Enable your visitors to engage with each other. Offer a forum or field for comments. It is also necessary to go out of your way to promote your blog. Use social media and respond to posters’ comments.
Become an authority. The more authority you have, the more likely you will monetize your blog rapidly. Be an expert on what you are writing about. If you are already followed on social networks or are a best-selling author, you already have the authority and you just need to leverage it.
Cultivate fidelity. There are different ways to avoid losing your audience to a competitor or due to visitor disinterest. Offer subscribing perks, giveaways, extra content in email lists, etc. Make them stick around forever.

Do you have a successful blog? Now you’re ready to monetize it.

8 direct ways to earn money with a blog

You managed to create a successful blog and have your loyal audience. Now is the right moment to choose the right strategies to monetize your blog. There are many direct and indirect methods. Direct methods are those where publishing the post is directly connected to monetization, while the indirect, also called inbound marketing, are those where you attempt to attract people by your content so that they will turn into your clients in the future. Let’s take a look at the most common and proven direct strategies of blog monetization.

1. Advertising banners and ads

You can probably guess how these monetize your blog: you get paid for every click a visitor makes on these ads or for every 1,000 page views. You sign up with a provider and they provide you with a code to be placed on your website. The provider will then send relevant ads to your website, either images or text. The most famous provider is Google AdSense. The amount of money that you make depends on your traffic and how many people are willing to click on your ads. Unless you have a massive amount of traffic per day, the income will be marginal. Keep in mind that ads could be a distraction and worsen your audience’s experience on your website.

Website advertisement layout – example

2. Affiliate programs

If you don’t have your own products or services to sell, you can promote someone else’s products and get a commission for any sale (or another action) made via your affiliate link. It is sufficient to create some content that will be in harmony with whatever you plan to promote, ideally, products you use and love (but not necessarily). You will subscribe to an outside partner’s affiliate program becoming an affiliate. You will then be given custom links to their products that can track customers referred by your blog. These links can be added as banners, text links or any kind of recommendation in order to facilitate sales. If someone clicks and buys the product, you will get a commission. For example, if you promote Webnode, you will get $100 for the first purchase made by any user you refer. Thanks to affiliate programs, you can create an automated stream of passive income.

Webnode Affliate Program

3. Sponsorships

You can pursue a sponsorship and give a bit of space to sponsored content. For example, some agencies or companies could contact you to post about their products. It’s worth being transparent and frank labeling this content as sponsored. Most readers don’t mind seeing an ad here or there, but you might still encounter some reputation problems if you have too many ads on your website. Try to find a perfect fit for your blog: ads that complement your content, are valuable for your visitors and are not purely commercial or manipulative.

Your blog shouldn’t look like this. Though, be transparent.

4. Physical products

Bloggers can also make income from selling physical products, based on what their blog is about. You can make these products or wholesale it from someone else. Are you a photography blogger / fashion blogger / travel blogger / lifestyle blogger or illustration blogger? What about creating an online store and selling cameras / handmade clothes / secret pocket travel scarves / organic tea or handmade vegetal soaps / painting books illustrated by you? It’s true that physical products require storage and shipment, but the advantage is that they sometimes can be easier to sell than digital products. Obviously, launching such a business can be very expensive because you also have to handle logistics and customer service. Though, with deep planning and passion it could turn out in a big thing.

Homemade marmalades made and sold by a food blogger

5. Digital products and downloads – E-books

Are you trying to help your audience see you as an authority? An e-book or downloadable assets aligned with the content of your blog to promote yourself rather than others’ material is a good way. Every time you promote your e-book, you will be promoting your blog and personal brand as well. Naturally, if you want your readers to pay for it, the content needs to go above and beyond what you provide for free in your blog (greater length, more details or examples, better design, etc.). The biggest disadvantage of this strategy is the upfront work and time involved. On the other hand, you can use the e-book as a free download to encourage people to subscribe to your email list or you can even sell advertising within the e-book.

Get added to the library of your audience. They just need to click.

6. Online courses and workshops

Similarly, as in the case of e-books, you have something to teach your readers. You can formalize it in an online course, webinar or workshop. The point is to create a paid step-by-step guide, ideally interactive, to guide people to help them reach a goal within your field. You can consider offering it for a one-time fee or monthly fee. Anyway, you need to create something unique as many organizations offer online courses for free. A downside of this strategy is that it requires even more upfront work than a downloadable product. On the other hand, if you work with effort, you could strike gold.

Online learning is becoming more and more popular

7. Coaching and consulting

You attracted visitors with your blog, you’ve become an expert in your niche, so you can try to offer them one-on-one sessions for a fee. Coaching and consulting takes that education you provide on your blog to the next level. This strategy has a high revenue potential: you will be setting the rates. You’d better start with both reasonable and acceptable rates. As you get more experience, you will be able to increase them. Remember that a consulting career will demand hours of preparation and continuous learning. We’re not talking about passive income anymore.

Would you prefer to read about an expert or meet the expert?

8. Donations

Maybe the most straightforward way to earn money online. If people enjoy your content for free, why not to ask them to contribute to help you to keep things running? Do you remember coming across some “Buy a cup of coffee” buttons on any websites? That’s a form of donation. You can use PayPal buttons, provide details of your bank account, etc.

There are so many websites we use every day for free. Buy a coffee to say thank you.

To sum up…

You need to create your own blog, write blog posts that are searchable and drive traffic to it. To monetize your blog and make some money, you should find the right mix of monetizing strategies. For example, recommend relevant affiliate products, build an email list of subscribers and send them a premium (and paid) e-book and/or ask for donations. Remember, if you don’t see immediate results, it does not necessarily mean you’re doing wrong. Often it means you need to continue to persevere. Big players didn’t get there overnight, they just didn’t quit when they were almost there!

Which strategies did you choose? Or, what worked for you in general? Let us know in the comments below! Are you planning to start blogging? Try the step-by-step guide.