Making money from your blog should not just be seen as a way to earn passive income. Some bloggers make a very good living from their blogs. And there is absolutely no reason why you can’t do the same. So, in this article, we are are going to show you how to monetize a blog:
Popular ways to monetize a blog
Affiliate marketing is often the first route people use to earn money blogging. The concept is simple and suitable for those taking their first steps in blog monetization. You sign up to an affiliate program, write great articles and add links back to the merchant. Merchants give you promotional text, url’s and banner adverts to add to your site. You then get a percentage of any click throughs that lead to sales.
Affiliate programs are easy to sign up to. You basically fill up a form, wait to be accepted on the program then receive promotional links and images that you can add to your site. Each of these will have your unique affiliate id that will record clicks. One of the more popular marketplaces to find affiliate programs is ShareASale. You can find merchants from pretty much any niche on here, ranging from small businesses to large global organisations.
You can also find out about popular affiliate programs by going to the company website directly. Some of the biggest ones include Amazon and eBay. It may take some time to earn money from affiliate marketing initially, but it will grow as your websites traffic grows.
Another straightforward way to make money from your blog is by adding adverts. Most bloggers do this by signing up to a program like Google Adsense. It’s free to sign up and after you have given them your details including your niche, you are given a piece of code to add to your website’s code. This can be added wherever you think it is most likely to be clicked by your visitors. Going by your niche and visitor stats, Google then generates relevant adverts that appear where you have placed your Adsense code. You are then paid a certain amount every time the advert is clicked on.
Although Adsense is the most popular way to earn a few dollars through advertising, there are other options available. One is BuySellAds. Again, it is just a case of signing up and being accepted into the program. You can then search for companies relevant to your topic, add their banner to your blog, then receive payment based on the company’s program.
A sponsored article is where a company pays you money to write an article on your blog, promoting their products or services. Although this is similar to advertising, it is important that your content doesn’t push a product too hard. Instead, links to the products should be placed naturally in a piece of content that is helpful and interesting to your readers.
There are a couple of important points you will have to consider before offering sponsored posts. Firstly, your website will have to be established and have a considerable amount of traffic. Otherwise, businesses won’t be clamouring to you for a post. This has to benefit the business you are promoting. Secondly, your article has to be sincere. Your readers deserve an honest review of the product or service you are writing about. This should be made clear to the business you are promoting before you agree to the article.
Sell digital products
If you create digital products such as templates, eBooks, audio files, software or photography, then you can sell them on your blog. Selling goods online is much easier than most people think. With a WordPress blog you can use an e-commerce plugin such as WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads. These fantastic plugins do all the hard work behind the scenes after installation. E-commerce plugins also integrate your blog with payment gateways like Paypal.
Sell online courses
Passing on your knowledge to others is something that comes naturally to most. You may already be writing articles that show readers how to complete specific tasks. This can be structured into online courses. Popular online course providers such as Udemy and Codecademy have thousands of people signing up to their courses. Like them, you can offer step by step guides or even videos with detailed instructions on your chosen subject.
Setting up a website to offer online courses is straight forward. If you are using WordPress then you have a selection of LMS (learning management system) plugins to choose from. LearnPress and Tutor LMS are two of the most popular ones you can download. Both allow you to build up your courses with ease and come with add-ons that will help you integrate with payment options and membership plugins.
Start a podcast
If you are comfortable behind a microphone, starting a podcast might be the career for you. Podcasts are popping up everywhere at the moment. In fact, almost 2 million podcasts are currently active. That tells us that people love this form of media. The good news is that starting a podcast doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take up lots of your time. You can pick up a microphone and a pair of headphones for under $100. Software and hosting can be sourced for a low cost or even for free. If you are a mac owner then GarageBand is an excellent piece of free software for editing your podcast. For non mac users, Audicity is a good free alternative. Buzzsprout is a popular choice for podcast hosting. It includes a free starter plan , as do several other similar services.
Once you have your equipment in place, you can begin working on your content. If you already have a bunch of blog posts, you can use them to form your initial podcast episodes. Spend some time honing your podcasting skills and building an audience. After a while you can offer customers a monthly subscription to your podcast. Podcasting is a growing and thriving medium. It also has a massive amount of brilliant resources that will help you get started.
Tools to help you monetize a blog
When you begin to think about how to monetize a blog, your head might be spinning at the amount of work involved. You need to consider which platform to use, SEO, marketing, design and much more! Thankfully there are lot’s of free tools out there that can help. Let’s look at some e-commerce and digital marketing tools that will give you a big advantage:
Finding the right platform to build your blog with is a very important step. You have a lot of options here. Wix, Squarespace, Shopify and Weebly are just some of the great platforms you can pick from. But for more flexibility, low costs and ease of use, I suggest you opt for WordPress. WordPress comes in two forms. One is called WordPress.com which is a hosted service similar to Wix, Squarespace etc. These platforms cost a monthly fee and have limitations on your domain name and extra features. The version of WordPress I am suggesting you opt for is the free WordPress.org platform.
WordPress.org powers over 40% of ALL websites. It’s popularity is down to it’s ease of use, thousands of themes (templates), thousands of plugins (add-ons) and because it is free! What you do need, as with any website, is a domain name and hosting. Big hosting companies such as GoDaddy and Bluehost offer WordPress packages. For just a few dollars per month, they install and set up WordPress for you. The great thing about WordPress is that you can install free plugins that will help you monetize your blog right away.
With over 5 million active installations, WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce solution you can find. This WordPress plugin allows you to create professional store fronts on your website. It works equally well with physical products and digital downloads.
WooCommerce integrates with all major payment gateways. It also works seamlessly with SEO, digital marketing and page building plugins. For more complicated e-commerce functions such as tax and shipping, WooCommerce allows you to configure these in detail. For a free plugin, this is an extremely powerful e-commerce solution with in-depth documentation and a large community on hand to help.
Another excellent WordPress e-commerce plugin is Easy Digital Downloads. EDD is aimed at those selling digital products that can be anything from music files to e-books. This free plugin is super easy to use. It allows you hook up your website to any major payment gateway. It’s then just a case of adding EDD payment buttons to your website next to your products. It has a wide variety of add-ons that you can download for free or sometimes a small fee. These include add-ons for SEO, marketing, security and customer engagement.
Email marketing should always play a big part in your marketing efforts. Building a strong mailing list can bring you a lot of success down the line. Giving away something free on your website, such as an e-book or e-guide, in exchange for someone submitting their email address, is probably the easiest way to build a mailing list. You can then use the list for future promotions. Mailchimp is a free tool that allows you to create nice emails from pre-made templates. It also has excellent reporting tools.
We highly recommend that you link your blog to Google Analytics from day one. This free tool provides you with vital data as your blog grows. Data includes how your visitors got to your website (i.e. organic search, direct or referral traffic), which type of device they used, which country (or even city) they came from and a lot more. Some of this data will help you understand how your visitors interact with your content and thus helping you decide on changes to make improvements.
Google Console has a few tools that can help you improve your website including sitemap submission and web crawler reports. But its most interesting aspect is its search performance reports. This tells you exactly what your visitors are searching for in Google to find your web pages. For search terms they are entering, you are also given the clicks, impressions and average positions of those searches.
Yoast is a free SEO plugin for WordPress with over 5 million active installations. SEO is a big and often complex subject. But Yoast makes it much easier to optimize your content for search engines. For each post or page you create, Yoast allows you to add a focus keyword or keyphrase. It then tells you how to optimize your content for that keyword. Additionally, the plugin also rates your content readability and offers tips on how to improve it.
This fantastic plugin also assists with your off-page SEO. It has options for sitemaps, social media integrations and much more.
Using relevant keywords in your content is essential if you want to bring significant traffic to your blog. Finding these keywords is simple with tools such as Google’s own keyword planner. The planner tool is essentially for Google Ads, but you don’t have to create an advert to use the tool.
Simply search for a keyword or term related to your topic and you will be given data on how many people search for that term monthly. Even better, you are given a list of related search terms and data for those terms.
Canva is a free tool for creating promotional material for websites, blogs and social media. It has a fantastic drag and drop interface and is perfect for those who don’t have design skills or access to expensive software such as Photoshop. Canva also has a large library of ready-made templates for everything from web banners to social media posts, saving you a lot of time and effort.
How to promote your blog to make money
Setting up your blog to make money is only half the battle. In order to actually bring in some income, you are going to have to get visitors to your website. Promoting your blog requires learning a few techniques we will explore next. But above all it requires a lot of patience.
You are unlikely to attract thousands of visitors to your blog right away. But don’t worry, nobody does. If you continue to believe in your content, write consistently and use the correct SEO techniques and tools, you will find success before long.
Let’s look at some of the best ways you can promote your blog:
Create a strong brand image and message
Having, or not having, a strong brand can make or break your blog. How others perceive you is important and it is therefore vital that you know who you are aiming your blog at. It’s difficult to create a brand that everyone buys into but the important thing here is that your target audience buys into you.
Your brand should work well on all levels starting from your colours, logo and images. This should then follow all the way through to your content on your blog, social media channels and offline marketing. Think about what is important to you, your subject and your visitors. A good clear message should be consistent over all media types.
Put these things together and others will look at you as a serious professional with something important to say or sell. People follow and engage with strong brands, so this is a great way to promote yourself.
Create optimized articles with SEO techniques
Writing interesting content alone is not enough to bring visitors to your blog. If you want your articles to be seen among millions of others posted daily, you will have to optimize your content for search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) includes techniques used to boost your rankings based on what we know about Google’s algorithms.
This, among other factors, is done by using your keywords in your content in the right places. It looks at how you form your title tag, URL, image alt text and the page content.
Remember that well written articles are more likely to be shared on readers blogs or social media feeds. This will provide backlinks to your blog which is another very important factor for how Google ranks your site.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing can be used as an important part of your overall Content Marketing strategy. Pushing your products or services constantly on different social media platforms is not the way to do it though. The most successful businesses on social media offer something valuable to their followers.
By offering industry related advice, links or guides, you can become an influencer within your field. This earns trust from followers and they will be far more likely to go to your blog to find out more about you and your services. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the obvious platforms where you should have a business presence. But new social media platforms become popular overnight. So keep an eye out for emerging websites. Also remember that YouTube is always a popular place to promote your business.
Email marketing has been around since the beginning of digital marketing and remains a profitable strategy to this day. It’s a low cost promotional tactic and is not difficult to do. A common way to successfully use email marketing is to offer your visitors something in exchange for their email address. This might be free ebook, newsletter or anything you can entice them with.
Once you have built up a list of subscribers, you can email them regularly with promotional emails. Remember not to always go for the hard sell in these emails though. Most people can’t be bothered with sales emails and will bin them right away. Instead, use similar tactics to your other content marketing strategies. By offering useful industry news or tips in your emails, customers are more likely to read them. You can then offer links to your products or services within this content. If, however, you have a special discount or offer, then sure, go for the hard sell!
If you are starting a new blog, it is likely that you will have a small budget to begin with. Advertising your blog doesn’t have to be expensive but if you don’t do it properly, the costs can quickly rise. A good place to start is social media advertising. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest offer advertising options that will only cost you a few dollars.
This is a great way to test different platforms and campaigns to see which bring the most success for your blog. The reporting tools on these platforms are excellent and give you an insight into who and where people are engaging with your adverts.
You can find other blogs in (or related to) your niche that are looking for guest authors to write posts for their blog. This is something that can benefit both their blog and yours at the same time. The blog owner gets extra articles with little effort. You, as the guest writer, can add a link back to your own website to boost your blog traffic.
You can find guest post opportunities by searching for something like this in Google:
keyword “submit a guest post”
Replace the word keyword with your topic. This will give you a list of guest post submission pages within your niche. Read their guidelines closely and submit an eye- catching article idea. When accepted, remember to write an engaging post just as you would on your own blog. Also remember to add a relevant link back to your website. This will provide traffic, a strong backlink and will boost your search rankings.
Monetizing a blog has never been easier than it is today. There are many ways it can be done, from adding a simple advert to your website, to selling your own products. It doesn’t have to be expensive as we have shown. What it does require is a lot of dedication and patience. Almost all blogs won’t make you money from day one. But by using some of the free tools and techniques we have discussed, you can make your blog a financial success.