One of the most popular ways to make money with a website or blog is to sell advertising space. Most commonly this is for banner ads, but it could also be text links, video ads, or some other form of ad. Personally, I have more experience with ad sales than with any other blog monetization method. It has worked out well for me over the years, but it is not a good fit for everyone.
Google’s AdSense program is one of the most popular methods for monetizing a website, mostly because it is so easy. Just about anyone with a website can use AdSense. Google does have terms and conditions, but there are not a lot of minimum requirements like you might have to meet in order to join another ad network. Even low-traffic websites and blogs can use AdSense.
If you are not familiar with AdSense, it works differently than if you were selling ads directly or through a network. You determine what size ad you want to display and whether you want it to display text ads only, image and rich media ads only, or both. Google will then provide you with the code and you’ll place that code into your pages or templates where you want the ad unit to appear. Ads will be displayed and you’ll earn a commission whenever a visitor clicks on the ad. The ads that are shown are purchased through AdWords, which is the other half of Google’s advertising program (it is called “AdWords” for advertisers who are buying ads and “AdSense” for publishers who display the ads on their site). The specific ads that are shown on your blog will be determined by the content of the specific post or page and by the amount that advertisers are willing to pay per click.
Affiliate marketing presents another great opportunity to make money with your blog. As an affiliate marketer you promote someone else’s product and you earn a commission every time one of your referrals leads to a sale. For example, you could sign up for Amazon’s affiliate program and you could promote any product that they sell. Whenever a visitor clicks the link on your blog that leads to Amazon, if they make a purchase you will earn a commission.
There are other types of affiliate programs that don’t require a sale, such as a pay-per-lead program. In this case you could earn money by making referrals who fill out a form or sign up for a free trial.
With affiliate programs you can use text links within your page/post content, you can use banner ads, you can use links in email newsletters, and you can even use links on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook (be sure to check the terms of any affiliate program that you join).
In addition to making money through methods like ad sales, AdSense, and affiliate programs, another popular method for making money as a blogger is to sell your own informational products. In most cases these are digital products like e-books, videos, and online courses.
Info products are a natural fit for authority blogs because you are already working on building your reputation and teaching your readers.
Selling access to members-only content is another excellent monetization option for bloggers. With a membership website you would be charging a recurring fee for access to some type of premium content. The fee could be monthly, annual or at some other interval. Paying members will get access to the premium content as long as they have an active membership. As long as the member does not cancel, their next fee will be charged automatically, which helps to increase the percentage of members that renew. There are some exceptions where fees are one-time only or where the renewal fee is not automatically charged, but typically a membership website will involve automatic recurring payments.
One blog monetization method that is usually surrounded by differing opinions and sometimes controversy is the use of sponsored content. Bloggers can make money from sponsored content in a number of different ways, and we’ll take a look at the most common methods in just a moment.
The main reason that there are a lot of differing opinions on sponsored content is because it can, in some cases, put the blog at risk of a penalty from Google. Because Google’s search algorithm puts so much emphasis on inbound links, many marketers and site owners are willing to pay for links from quality websites and blogs. Google doesn’t like paid links because they can skew the results of their search rankings, so they often penalize sites that are selling links in order to discourage it. A penalty may involve a decrease in Google’s PageRank, a drop in the search engine rankings, or even a complete removal from Google’s index. Paid links could be sidebar links (such as those in a blogroll or friends list) or they could be within the post content, which is typically the case with sponsored content. Most companies that are paying for sponsored content will want that content to include a link to their site, and that can be viewed by Google as a violation.
Most blogs offer an RSS feed, and readers can subscribe to the feed and use an RSS reader to stay up-to-date with all of their favorite websites and blogs. When I first started blogging in 2007 RSS was a hot, relatively new technology available to website owners and bloggers. There were a lot of articles praising the benefits of RSS and listing its advantages over email marketing. The biggest advantage involves deliverability. With email marketing you’ll always have to be concerned with spam filters and keeping your emails out of the spam and junk folders of your subscribers. Spam filters can at times be such a headache that many people were saying RSS was going to bring an end to email marketing because there were no spam filter issues with RSS.
Within just a few years it was pretty clear that email still is far more powerful than RSS for marketing. Yes, there are concerns about avoiding spam filters, but a good mailing list manager like GetResponse and AWeber will have tools to help you avoid having your messages flagged as spam. And email simply blows RSS away when it comes to getting any type of response from subscribers. RSS is still a good technology and most bloggers will want to offer an RSS feed for those who prefer to subscribe by RSS, but building a responsive email list is critical to success as an internet marketer.
This action plan is intended to lay out the steps that you need to take in order to go from novice to profitable blogger. It is intended to be a complementary resource to the The Guide to Profitable Blogging. If you haven’t already read the e-book I highly recommend starting there as it goes into more detail on most of the topics covered here.
You can follow this guide step-by-step, or you can chose to deviate a little bit where you see fit. It is intended as a suggested course for those who are looking for more actionable steps to making money with a blog.
The steps covered in this blog cannot be completed in their entirety in a very short period of time. The amount of time that it takes to go through the steps will vary from one person to the next and will depend on how much time you are able to put in on a consistent basis. In general, if you are able to dedicate 10 – 15 hours per week towards building your blog it will probably take somewhere around 6 months of consistent effort to reach the point where you have completed the steps and are making a nice little profit with your blog.
Selling advertising space is one of the most notable blog monetization strategies, and many bloggers dream of being able to earn a living simply be selling banner ads on their blog.
Recently I wrote 9 Convincing Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Sell Ads on Your Blog, but as I mentioned in that article, there are some situations where it does make sense to sell ads. Most high-traffic blogs can make a decent income from selling ad space, so while it may not be the best monetization option for most bloggers, there are times when it can be an effective strategy.
A few years ago I made the vast majority of my income from selling banner ads on high-traffic blogs, and I learned a lot through the process of attracting advertisers and keeping the ad spots filled. In this article we’ll take a look at 10 steps to making money by selling ads. While there are other monetization methods that I now prefer, like product sales, these tips should prove to be very practical and helpful for bloggers who aspire to sell ads.
Creating niche websites is one of the more popular ways to make money online, and it can be an especially good option for people who don’t have loads of time to invest in a site on an on-going basis. Building a successful and profitable niche website will take work and time, but with most niche sites the majority of the time is spent at the beginning of the process. Once the site reaches a certain level you can cut back, and it will generally require much less time than an authority blog or most other types of websites.
Another great thing about niche websites is that the process can be duplicated, so you can create as many niche sites as you want. Also, much of the work can be outsourced for reasonable prices, which will even further reduce the amount of time that you’ll need to devote to it.
In this post I want to highlight a number of resources, tools, and websites that can be extremely valuable when building niche sites of your own. Some of these resources are free and others must be purchased, but there is plenty here to get you started on any budget.