The world of making money online through generating content on a blog is not an easy one at times. While there are more options to bloggers than ever to generate revenue that can either be great supplemental income or the full enchilada for their family, the process of making that income a reality is a bumpy road filled with learning experiences. When you start to look objectively at your blog to dissect how it is going to generate income, it requires an outside look in completely independent of daily, weekly or monthly content generation. When I am looking to increase my blogs monetary value, there are several things I look at before I even think about implementing any new strategies and these are some basic questions.
- Is my content attracting an audience that is ready to spend money?
(Releated Reading: 2 Groups That Are 99% of Your Blog’s Income)
- Am I generating content that has the possibility of making money on its own?
- What are the problems that my readers need solved that I haven’t addressed yet?
- What is my successful competition doing well that I am not?
- How much traffic do I have and what is my monthly growth?
Once I have answered these questions, I can start searching for different revenue generating avenues for my blog, but if you do not even know your own audience and content, you are just going to be a hamster in a wheel…spinning really fast but going no where.
7 Basic Monetization Strategies for Bloggers
When it comes to blogging, there are 7 basic groups of monetization strategies that you can start applying today to make more money online.
- Selling Your Own Products – Selling either physical (soft goods, products, etc.) or digital (ebooks, recordings, reports, software, themes, plugins, etc.) is a great way to increase your bottom line and market your blog at the same time. For most bloggers, the look towards selling digital products is the first step into selling something of your own through your blog. With a low cost of entry…in most cases just your knowledge and time…you can release a digital product and enjoy very high profits which allow for high percentage affiliate programs to get it to spread like wildfire. For example, Ramped Blogging and Ramped Reviews both carry an affiliate program that pays out 65% and cost me nothing but my time and knowledge to develop.
- Selling Community Services – In recent years, the sale of memberships, coaching programs and premium content has gained a lot of traction in the blogging world as more affordable software for delivering these programs as become available and the “I can do that too!” idea has spread. One of the biggest advantages of these types of programs over digital products is the recursive income over the one time sale.
- Affiliate Marketing – When you suggest a product to your readers and get a percentage of that sale, you are participating in affiliate marketing. There is not a single market out there that does not carry at least a couple of affiliate marketing programs for retailers and other products that can have commissions ranging from 4% all the way up to 75% of the sale in some cases. This is typically the 2nd place bloggers start when they look to make more money with their blogs.
- Advertising – Just like with a magazine, your blog has a lot of physical real estate that can be sold. Whether it is through pay-per-click campaigns like Google Adsense or selling spots for a monthly fee, you are turning your empty white space into dollars by generating clicks or impressions. The more you have…the more you get.
- Professional Services – Many blogs (like this one) offer consulting or speaking services for a price. If you have built up a solid reputation in your niche to the point people really value your point of view, you can charge for that time.
- Selling/Flipping Blogs – There are companies and individuals out there that want a blog but need to have an audience right away or do not want to hassle with the beginning start up. On the flip side, there are bloggers that specialize in starting up blogs just to sell them off for profit. When these two needs meet, you get the art of blog flipping.
- Non-Measurable Benefits – For many bloggers online, they are not looking to be the next biggest thing in their niche. However, they are looking to get a new job, increase awareness of their photography or art or even just looking to make connections online. When these needs result in a positive outcome (like getting a new, higher paying job), that is an immeasurable, monetary benefit to blogging. While it may not fit next to the “how much money I made with Adsense” column of your spreadsheet, it does have a drastic influence on your life in a monetary sense.
There are always new and inventive ways to generate income online, but these 7 basic strategies are the most common and cover the complete gamut at this time.
Which One Of These 7 Monetization Strategies Is Best For My Blog?
As you look at each of these 7 strategies in pursuit of making more money online, which one is best for your blog? As much as I wish I had the easy answer for you (hoping I would say “that one!” weren’t you…), the solution to that question is not that easy on the surface. It really boils down to the answers you have from the questions at the beginning of this article.
Ideally, I like to mix as many monetization strategies that will operate successfully on my blogs. With each of my strategies taking up a smaller percentage of the big picture, I am able to handle swings in reader preferences and changes in the market much easier than blogs that rely solely on one or two methods. What happens to the blogs that rely on one affiliate program for the majority of their income when that program goes away (which I have had happen)? With Bike198:
- I sell direct advertising space.
- Have PPC campaigns like Adense.
- Sell digital products (Ramped Riding).
- Sell physical products (Bike198 kits and t-shirt line).
- Refer products through affiliate marketing (reviews and suggestions through my active newsletter).
All of these methods are tested over and over again to increase results and to continue adding to my bottom line, so as you look at your blog…you need to ask more questions…
- Do I have enough traffic to make any income through PPC?
- What is the biggest issue I could solve with a digital product?
- Is there another product or service that my readers would find useful that has an affiliate program?
- Do have have the buying audience and capital to release a physical product and what do my readers want to buy?
After you answer those questions for yourself, you can start hammering away at making more money per month on your blog. Typically, bloggers look towards advertising and affiliate marketing techniques as their first jump into making money online. They are the easiest to implement and can have instant results. As you move up the effort chain to creating your own products and selling coaching programs and services, the risk and monetary benefit is higher with the added developmental time and work.
The best monetization strategy for your blog is the one that you have tested and it works. There will be bloggers that will tell you how you should do things, but at the end of the day…whatever performs the best on your blog is what you should be doing. You should then continually test and add over time to keep the snowball effect going. There are many ways bloggers can make money online, it just takes an objective look at your internet real estate and the willingness to step outside of the box and try something new. Most of your ideas will probably fail miserably, but the few that win will win big and the lessons you learn from the failures will prepare you for the next big win.
Side note…a blog without an active newsletter is a blog that is deciding to make very little money. Check out this series on why you need a newsletter on your blog to find out why…1 Thing Your Blog Can’t Live Without.
Adsense is my main income stream. I love it
With my blog, the conventional monetization ideas aren’t really that effective so I’ve tried to diversify my income stream by using my Twitter page. On my blog I promote my Twitter page which then, in turn can be used to tweet ads via Sponsored Tweets.
Another monetization idea that I’ve not yet tried is writing paid review posts but obviously there are moral factors to do with that.
I don’t do paid reviews but I do keep most of the product that comes through the front doors. While that could be seen as a “paid review” it doesn’t really feel like it.
Robb, my niche is video games and I recently requested a video game to review for free. Anyway, I got the game and reviewed it though do you think that I should have stated the fact that I got the game for free or not? Also, do you think that I was obligated to be biased about the product?
I have a disclaimer on all of my sites that states that products that come in for review are sometimes kept or returned based on the agreement with the manufacturer.
You are not obligated to anything when you receive free review product. Just give your comprehensive, unbiased review.
Thank you Robb! I appreciate your help. While I haven’t chosen to use a disclaimer, I have made sure that all of my posts contain a few negatives about something, providing that they have an issue, as I being honest to my readers is something that I hold most important.
t’s a very informative reading. Blogging and web reviews is what I always do.
CPC advertising works for me now especially AdSense but I integrated it with Affiliate Products. And I will not forget direct advertisers