Once your blog and social media platforms are up and running and you’ve mastered the art of SEO optimization, it’s finally time to dive into one of the most enjoyable aspects of blogging – monetization.
This moment in your blogging journey represents an important milestone. You’ve put in a lot of time and work to reach this step, and now you get to start implementing strategies that will repay you for all that dedication.
Though you 100% deserve to treat yourself to a mini-celebration, it’s important that you don’t go overboard in monetizing your blog. If overnight, your website fills with flashing banner ads or obvious advertorial content, you will undo everything you’ve worked for and lose the faith of your readership.
Monetization does not mean forcing ads on people or deviously marketing to them. Instead, the strategies you’re about to learn are designed to create more value for you and your readers. Handle your monetization in an honest and ethical way, and you will be paving a path to success.
With that important caveat covered, here are the best ways to start monetizing your blog today:
1. Affiliate marketing
This is one of the most popular monetization methods for bloggers because it offers excellent returns without you having to invest in any inventory. In the simplest possible terms, affiliate marketing for bloggers involves adding special links to your content that will direct readers to products they can buy. If they make a purchase via your link, you get a commission.
There’s a right and wrong way to go about affiliate marketing. It’s essential that you don’t just start creating content to drive people to whatever’s going to pay you the best. Instead of being tempted to create content around affiliate marketing opportunities, it’s best to focus on what’s going to be most valuable for your readers, and then add affiliate links where appropriate.
So, if there are products you’d like to recommend (like a piece of fitness equipment you love or a book you got a lot of value from), check whether there’s an affiliate linking option for that item.
Don’t ever recommend anything you haven’t personally tried out yourself. Not only is this insincere, it puts you at risk of alienating readers. Sometimes the item you receive is nothing like the pictures advertised online. Imagine recommending a product to your readers and they end up receiving something like this:
That’s an immediate trust killer!
For a deep dive into this blog monetization strategy (complete with all the resources you’ll need), check out our complete guide to affiliate marketing.
2. Sponsored posts, reviews, and brand partnerships
Teaming up with companies to create sponsored posts or product reviews can be a profitable way to monetize your blog. However, there are many ways to get this wrong, get yourself in trouble, and alienate the audience you’ve worked so hard to build up.
Before even considering stepping into this territory, make sure you understand the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on disclosure (if you’re not based in the US, search “your country” + sponsored content rules). The main thing you need to take away from this document is that you must disclose if you’re receiving compensation for any content you create.
There’s a very big difference between reviewing a camera because you love it and reviewing one because a company has paid you to – the addition of money to the equation changes things. Of course, that doesn’t mean sponsored posts are “fake” or that you shouldn’t look for brand partnerships. It just means that you need to be transparent if you’ve been compensated and be 100% honest in your appraisal of the product in question.
Though you can wait for companies to approach you for sponsorship deals, it’s also worth getting in contact with any brands you love, especially if you’ve already created content promoting their products.
Note: There are sites out there promising to connect bloggers with advertisers for promotional opportunities, however, we cannot in good faith recommend any of them as we don’t use them and so can’t vouch for their credibility.
A word of caution on monetizing your blog through brand partnerships:
It’s worth reiterating that you should never compromise the quality of your content in order to secure a brand partnership. Do not ever let money lure you into promoting something you don’t truly believe in. So many bloggers and YouTubers have alienated former fans by allowing promotional opportunities to turn their once engaging content into something that just feels like a sales pitch to the audience. Don’t let this be you.
3. Sell your own ebook or product
Affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to monetize your blog, but if your niche is calling out for an ebook or a new product (or range of products), then why not fulfil that demand?
Whatever your niche, there’s bound to be plenty of related topics on which you could focus an ebook. Use this as an opportunity to go deeper than you would with the content on your blog. Break up the text with graphics and diagrams, and if you can, include useful resources like templates, checklists, and structures people can lift out and put to use.
It’s worth getting your ebook professionally edited, and if you’re not that experienced in design, hire someone to handle the layout and visual aspects. If you’re on a tight budget, hit up sites like Fiverr or Upwork to find the services you need at an affordable price.
Once your ebook is ready for public consumption, you can market it using the promotion channels you’ve already established for your blog.
4. Create an online course
You can do this instead of creating an ebook, or even better, make both and make them complementary to each other.
Keep each course you create highly focussed and be clear about what skills people will walk away with. For example, if you’re a polyglot and you’d like to make a Russian language course, start by offering an introduction to the Russian alphabet and then create follow-up courses that teach people the next important aspects of the language (like a travel-related Russian course, a course focussed on greetings and basic conversations, and so on).
Some excellent platforms on which to build your course include:
- Skillshare (for a free 2-month trial from our partners at Skillshare, click here)
- YouTube (if you’re confident in how you want to present your course and don’t need any direction in terms of structure)
5. Offer your services
Your blog can double as a portfolio of your work as a content creator and as an expert in your field. Make it clear that you’re available to do freelance work and, if you have a good blog promotion strategy in play, you will boost your chances of receiving job offers.
You can also get proactive with this and use your blog as a platform to reach out to people you’d like to work for. If you’re interested in learning more about this, hit up our guide to finding the best freelance writing jobs online.
Depending on your niche and your qualifications, you may be able to offer more than your content creation skills. For example, if you’re a qualified fitness expert running a health blog, you could offer coaching packages or webinars. Even writers could offer writing workshops, book critiquing, and other industry-specific services.
To do this, you’ll need to be transparent about your qualifications and create a page on your blog that details the service packages you offer along with detailed descriptions, pricing, and booking instructions or a booking widget.
Though ads are often the first thing people think about when the topic of monetizing a blog comes up, we’ve put them last because they often end up being your smallest income stream compared to the strategies listed above.
Ads can also be distracting and off-putting for readers if not handled well, so you need to tread lightly when working them into your blog monetization strategy.
An easy place to start is with Google Adsense. The process is as simple as signing up and following prompts, then adding a script to your website, thus allowing Google to display ads.
Known as Cost Per Click (CPC) ads, these won’t take up too much room on your site and are designed to fit naturally in with your design. As the name suggests, you’ll get a small fee every time a visitor to your site clicks on one.
The drawback is that you don’t get any say in the types of ads that appear. If you want more control, you can actually put your affiliate marketing resources to a dual-use. As you’ll learn in our affiliate marketing guide, there are networks you can join to get access to hundreds of companies offering affiliate programs. In addition to affiliate links, many of these companies include advertising packages. Basically, this allows you to select not just the companies you give advertising space to but the design, size, and content of the ads you place on your site.
Monetizing your blog: final thoughts
There is no perfect monetization plan that will work for every blogger. With so many factors affecting how things will work out, the best strategy is to be prepared to dive in and give things a go. Always be ethical in whatever you do, track your progress, and then adjust your approach where needed.
If one angle really isn’t producing any results, consider putting it aside or taking a different approach. Likewise, if you’re finding success with something, throw as much energy as you can into scaling it up. If you’re consistent with this over time, it’s inevitable that you will find success.
Have you got questions about the blog monetization process? If so, please feel free to comment below. Otherwise, we wish you all the best in your journey!