Last week I wrote the first post in my guide on how to make money from your blog. Today I’m going to complete that guide.
In the first part, which you can see here, we looked at what you need to build a successful blog.
If you’re still new to blogging or are only just thinking of starting a blog, then I strongly recommend that you read that post first.
In this post, we’re going to focus on how you can monetize your blog. So get ready to make some money…
Once you’re blog has got an audience that trusts you, it’s time to start thinking about how you can monetize it.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking about the monetization of your blog too soon. If you want to start a blog, as opposed to a store, then you should want to do it because you want to share your thoughts in a particular niche.
While the long-term goal may be to generate revenue, this should come once you alread have an audience.
Monetization can be broken down into five main categories, and these are:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Digital Products
- Physical Products
We’re going to look at each of these categories over the course of five weeks so that you can make a decision on which is best suited to you and your blog.
Today we’re going to start with…
Website advertising can be done in a number of ways. These include…
- Display Ads
- Newsletter/Podcast Sponsorship
- Sponsored Posts
- Underwritten Posts
Display Ads are something you will be very familiar with if you’ve spent more than five minutes online.
These are the graphical ads that you see positioned in header, sidebar, content or footer of blogs.
These ads are supposed to complement the content on your site so that your readers can relate to the product that they’re selling. Advertisers want your visitors to click on their ads so they visit their offer pages.
Very often these ads are provided by ad networks which work as a middleman between the advertiser (the person who wants to advertise) and the publishers (the person who owns the blog).
Sometimes advertisers do go direct to sites but this usually only occurs if the site can offer a very high volume of traffic.
Generally speaking, most bloggers prefer to use ad networks as it takes the hassle out of running ads on your website. The ad network will ask you to put a piece of code on your blog and this will then automatically display the correct ads for your site. You get paid into your ad network account every time someone clicks on an ad or, depending on your deal, every time an ad is displayed.
Examples of ad networks are Google Adsense, Blogads and Beacon Ads. There are a lot of ad networks if you start googling for them.
If you’re just starting then Google Adsense is going to be one of the easiest to get setup.
The question is… can you make any money with these ads?
Of course you can. But there are generally some conditions that need to be fulfilled. Either you need to have an insane level of traffic, or… you need to be in a niche where advertisers are prepared to pay huge amounts for a click. These niches are, as you would expect, very competitive to get into.
For these reasons it’s generally best not to focus on using display ads as your primary monetization method if you’re a relatively new blogger or your site is getting less than 500,000 page views per month.
If you’re running a blog then you should be sending out a newsletter at least once a week. You may also have a podcast.
And this means that… you can accept sponsorship for your newsletter and/or podcast.
You can reach out to potential advertisers and offer them advertising spaces with information on how many people you reach in your newsletters and podcasts, why it’s the right audience for their products and what you’ll do to maximise the amount of clicks they get to their site.
Make sure you only reach out to advertisers who are selling products that are of high quality and your audience will be interested in.
How much do you get for these sponsorships? Well… that’s down to how good you are at negotiating but the more people that will read or listen to their advert then the more you can charge.
When setting your initial price always ask yourself what you would be prepared as a maximum to pay for the same amount of visitors that you would be able to send someone. This is usually a good starting point, but always know what is too low for you. There should be some flexibility for the advertiser to negotiate with you.
A sponsored post is where you work with a company and write a post about their products or services.
Make sure that you disclose your relationship with the business at the beginning of your post so that your readers know you are writing a sponsored post. If you try to hide this fact you are likely to lose the trust you have worked so hard to build.
Sponsored posts can be a good thing to do occasionally, but make sure it’s worth your while writing the post and letting your audience know about it. There are a lot of people out there who try to get sponsored posts for ridiculously little amounts.
One word of warning…
Don’t write too many sponsored posts as they can irritate your audience. One every few months is fine but I wouldn’t recommend doing more than that.
Which means you can be very picky about who you work with and only choose the best companies.
An underwritten post is different to a sponsored post because it’s about whatever you want it to be about. It can be a normal blog post… with one big difference… there is a message at the top, or somewhere in the post, saying:
This blog post has been brought to you by COMPANY NAME
And the company/product/service name is linked to the company/product/service.
To use this type of monetization to it’s maximum you should have a very good understanding of your audience and what content they’re most interested in.
You can then predict which posts are going to generate the most views and pitch them to companies that may be interested in underwriting the post.
Advertising is a very easy to setup and maintain method of monetization. Although generally you’re going to need a lot of traffic to make any serious money from it, it can be a very good way to gently introduce your readers to advertising.
They get used to seeing adverts and sponsorship on your site and can help to eliminate more heavy “ad-shock” later on.
However if you’re blog is only getting a small amount of traffic the time spent on this form of monetization is often not worth the amount generated. There are better forms of monetization for a smaller blog which we will look at in the coming weeks.
Before I finish this post I would like to offer a word of warning. You are likely to get emails from people offering a few dollars for text links to their sites.
Don’t take them.
They look spammy, often go to poor quality sites and Google is looking down on them.