Monetization. Sounds like something Scrooge McDuck would be singing as he dove into his room full of gold coins. But if you’ve been in the blogworld for any bit of time, you know there’s nothing skeezy or scroogy about it. It’s actually how bloggers are paying their bills, hiring virtual assistants, and earning their living.
Blogging – while it’s not all about the money – is becoming a more and more well-known way of making a living. People have been actually doing it for years now. Even before the existence of Pinterest and Twitter, bloggers were working their stay-at-home ethic to create brands and businesses out of this do-what-you-love career lifestyle.
And while it may seem like a lot of smoke and mirrors, there’s really no magic to it all. Making money with a blog involves nothing else but WORK. –Are you tired of hearing me say that yet?
Making money from your blog is going to take time to build up to. Sarah Von Bargen, founder of the lifestyle blog Yes and Yes worked at her full-time job for three years while also building up her blog before she was able make a living off it. And those really successful multi-million dollar blogs? Yeah, they started way back in 2005 or earlier.
Just like starting any kind of business that you hope to make money from, blogging involves research, dedication, time, and passion. And before any money can be made by blogging, there’s a couple other things you’re going to need first.
- A blog.- Obviously.
- Creation of valuable content.- This is how you’re going to get a following of readers. It’s where you’re using your experiences to teach everything you know.
- Trusted relationship with your readers.- Once you’ve put in the work, you’ve given them reason upon reason to believe you and trust that you’re an authority on your subject…then you are in a solid position to start monetizing.
Did you get that last caveat? The “you must be this tall to ride the ride” line hits when you’re consistently creating value for your readers.
You’ve got to have a loyal following of readers who trust you, your judgement, wisdom, advice, and knowledge. They’re the ones buying from you first. They’re the ones who will tell their friends and co-workers about you. Without them you’ll be selling to an unmarked void.
Now that you know what you need to make money with your blog, let’s get real and talk about how you actually go about doing it.
Ways to make money with your blog
Since the beginning of blogtime, bloggers have been making money on their blogs in many different ways.
“I make money a bunch of ways on Yes and Yes. I'm signed with an ad network called Style Coalition and they place ads on my site… I very judiciously use affiliate links and I only use them for stuff that I'm completely obsessed with, like Rumbas and the NutriBullet Blender…I have 3 ebooks about travel that people can buy, I have an app, and I’m working on a new e-course…”- Sarah Von Bargen on the Reach podcast
That’s what I call a renaissance woman, right there! Ebooks, ads, affiliates…oh my! The blog world is full of opportunity if you know where to look. And now, you don’t need to look any further. Here’s your complete guide to making money with your blog:
This is the first thing most people think of when this topic comes up and it’s subsequently where most bloggers start as well. Simply put- bloggers make money through advertising by selling space on their blog. There are a few different ways this can happen, but one prerequisite for advertising is that marketers are usually looking for bloggers with decent traffic to their site to work with. With that in consideration, here are some ways to make money with advertising on your blog:
- Display ads- These are similar to the ads you would see in a magazine and are found on the sidebar, header, or footer of a blog. Also known as banner ads, display ads are often provided through ad networks which act as the middlemen between advertisers and bloggers. If you want to check into some of these ad networks, here are few to peruse-
- Private ads- These are similar to display ads expect you don’t use an ad network. These partnerships are done directly between the blogger and the advertiser. The first step in these partnerships could be taken by either side.
- Sponsored Post- Sponsored posts happen when a blogger is paid to create a post about and/or with a company’s products. While these work with all kinds of bloggers, you’ll see the often in DIY blogs.
This type of promotion happens when you have an affiliate link on your site to a product that is for sale on another site. If one of your readers clicks that link and purchases the product on the other site, you earn a commission on that sale.
So, the more engaged you readers are, the more they will trust your recommended products and services, the more commissions you can earn off their purchases.
It’s a no brainer, right?
Everyone has something to teach. Yes, that means you! I bet if you really looked into it, you’d find a small army of business looking to hire someone with exactly your skillset.
Think of services as the freelancing gigs of the blog world. Selling a service is just like being paid for whatever skills you have. Anything that you can put your expertise behind is marketable. Here’s a short list of some service-based blogging work:
- Virtual assistant
- Copy editing
- Social media manager
Without much overhead (you’re selling your time), services are quite profitable. But you have to consider that the majority of your work will be client-based. That means potentially doing some work you might not be psyched about, but you’ll be bringing in revenue and can adjust who you do business with over time. It also means a lot of hands-on time to make a profit which isn’t always scaleable (the ability to grow).
If you’re looking to be more hands-off, think about creating some products. They can take quite a bit of time and work up front, but the payoff can be all that sweet passive income you’ve been dreaming about. And not only that, since it doesn’t involve you constant babysitting, creating products for your blog is scaleable. There are two different ways to think about products:
- Digital- If you don’t want to worry about shipping, storage, or actually physically creating something and have the right skills set, digital products are the way to go. This can look like ebooks, courses, software, videos, cooking recipes, or knitting patterns.
- Physical- If you are into working with your hands and building something tangible, sites like Shopify, Etsy, Gumroad, and Woocommerce have made digital storefronts easy enough for anyone to setup and start selling. If you do choose this route, you will need to think about shipping, storage, cost of goods, and all those others little things that add up to creating your product.
Events aren’t on the list of things most people think of when they think about making money as a blogger, but nonetheless they can be a fun way to create community while also adding to your bottom line. They can run small with meets up, local trainings, and classes or go big with conferences and online summits.
Events take a ton of prep and time to plan out. You’ll need to consider whether you’ll be paying for it all, if you’ll find a sponsor to foot the bill, or if you’ll partner up with other bloggers to make it happen.
Speaking of community, if you have an active community or readers on your blog that are always hungry for more information, creating a membership site is another way to make money with your blog.
Consider it an all-access pass for your members filled with exclusive content only available to the them. However, to make it truly worth the extra expense, the content you create must be extremely niche driven and unique. For example, if you run a career based blog, you membership site could include access to elite job boards.
Promote a brick and mortar
Whether or not they identify as bloggers, there are so many established businesses out there that use blogging to bring more awareness to their brick and mortar location. They could be creating promotions to increase their online sales or driving more people to the physical locations, but either way, they’re making money with their blog.
How will you make money with your blog?
When considering how you’ll make money with your blog, make sure you figure out which path works best for you. What fits best with your personality, brand, audience, and your niche? What works for one blogger won’t necessarily work for you, so be true to what makes you the unique you that you are and monetize wisely.
Choose one, choose a couple….maybe don’t choose them all, but diversifying your income is the smart way to hit that full-time blogger status. The more streams of income you have coming in, the less risk you’ll be taking of putting all your proverbial eggs in one basket.
Are you already monetizing or are you about to start monetizing your blog? What streams of income are your using? Do you have one that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear about new ones!
Did this blog help you see how you can make a living with your blog? If so, please share it with your friends so that can get it on the fun too!