Lesson 5: Monetizing
In the previous lesson, we briefly discussed spending the money to invest in advertising to expand your reach. In this lesson, we will discuss ways that you can make money through your blog. These are great ways to begin generating money, though we suggest that you consider growing a following of readers before you start trying to make money.
The idea of your blog making you money all day long is enough to make anyone start a blog on any subject. People picture themselves creating their first post, clicking the Publish button and then just waiting to see the money being made. However, it is not like that. When you are finally ready to monetize your blog, you have already invested hundreds or thousands of hours into learning, creating content, making your website look appealing, promoting your posts, and creating an audience.
The road to creating a blog that makes money is often a difficult one. The purpose for starting a blog should never be to make money, otherwise you will quickly become discouraged six months in when you have not even seen a penny trickle into your pocket. Be in it for the long-haul. There are some stories of blogs making money after three months, but these are rare. Do not be discouraged if you have not made money six months or even a year of consistent posting and promoting. It is not uncommon.
When is the right time to monetize? There is no one answer to this. You should not try to monetize on the same day you publish your first post. If you feel you have created a valuable blog for your readers, visitors are subscribing each day to your newsletter, and / or you are confident that you have obtained a following of readers will convert into cash, then maybe you are ready for the next steps.
If you are ready to monetize, here are a few ways to get started:
- Google Adsense
- Affiliate links
- Advertisement links and banners
- Sponsored posts
- Products and Services
This is was discussed in Lesson 1 of this unit. With Google Adsense, you can place a banner ad or text ads on your website. You are paid for each click that your website generates. The payment depends on what the advertiser bid on that placement (through Google Adwords) and your cut of that price from Google. This is a good way to advertise on your website if you have the extra space to provide it.
Affiliate links are links that you can include in your blog that link back to a product or service website. From here, if users purchase the product you will receive a commission from this purchase. Every affiliate has their own rules as to how long that link click will last before it expires and you no longer receive the commission. This makes it extremely important to read the terms of each affiliate program you sign up for.
If done properly, this is a great way to monetize your blog and promote a product or service that you enjoy. However, some people abuse this method of monetizing and list anything and everything they can find to make money off of. The problem with this is that you risk alienating your audience. If you list something that you have not used and one of your users clicks it, they are trusting you that it is a worthwhile purchase. If they do decide to buy it and find out it is worthless, you will most likely have lost their trust in you.
This is why it is extremely important to only list products or services that you use and stand behind their quality. Much like a blog, affiliate links should be less about the money, and more about introducing your audience to quality information. The money is just a side product of that.
It is also important to let your readers know that they are in fact affiliate links, and you do get paid commission from each purchase. This is important because it tells the reader that you are transparent with them, and they will value that. Transparency is key when establishing a blog. Do not try to hide that you will make money off of their purchase. If you have a loyal audience, they will have no problem with purchasing the product or service to help you earn money and keep your website running smoothly.
If you are looking for an affiliate program to join, just think about the products or services you use and search for their affiliate program. A good start would be registering for Amazon’s affiliate program.
Maybe you have gained enough traffic per month that you are starting to get people contacting you about placing an advertisement on your page. Alternatively, maybe you believe you have gained enough traffic that you think you can begin emailing companies about paying for space to advertise on your site. Either way, you should do some research on how much you think you could charge them for that space and where you can put their link or banner on your page.
A sponsored post is when somebody contacts you about their product or service and asks you to create a blog post around that specific product or service. This can be extremely beneficial for both parties, but much like affiliate programs, you should be transparent with your audience and let them know that you are being paid to create this post. It is definitely frowned upon not to do so. Whenever you are being paid to make a post, make sure that you are being open and genuine with your audience. They will see right through you.
Creating a product or service can also be another way to create a revenue stream for your website and offer value to your readers. Write an eBook, make an eCourse, or offer counselling services, among many other ways to create a product or service for your readers to digest.
These are just a few of the many ways to monetize your blog. Remember, do not try to monetize your blog from day one. It is important to create a loyal audience around your blog before you begin to monetize. Once you begin to monetize, be transparent and open about it with your audience.
Lesson 1: Why Blogging?
Lesson 1: Creating Your Name
Lesson 2: Choosing Your Host and Platform
Lesson 3: Setting Up Your Blog
Lesson 1: Writing Content
Lesson 2: After You Write
Lesson 1: Blogging Resources
Lesson 2: SEO
Lesson 3: Social Media
Lesson 4: Advertising
Lesson 5: Monetizing
Lesson 1: Continuing with Your Blog