How to Monetize Your Blog Successfully
Blogging is an incredibly popular activity and is increasingly becoming a great source of income for many people. In this article, we will look at 1) the importance of blogging, 2) preparing to monetize and 3) tips and techniques on how to monetize your blog.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOGGING
Blogs are an abbreviation of the expression weblog and are a type of website on the internet. These websites host posts that provide information or initiate discussion. The blog has evolved from a single person or small group run format to multi-author blogs over the years. These blogs have multiple authors, are often professionally edited and used by newspapers, universities, think tanks, advocacy groups or other institutions.
The word blog is also used as a verb, and used in the context of adding and maintaining content on a blog. Blogs allow for comments and messaging, which is what makes them different from other types of websites and more like a type of social media. Blog owners work towards creating and maintaining social relations with their audience, bloggers and often with relevant businesses. Typically, blogs will have a combination of text, photos and other media. There may also be links to other blogs or websites.
As of February 2011, 156 million public blogs on the internet. In 2014, there were 172 million blogs on Tumblr and 75.8 million on WordPress. The most popular blog service is said to be Blogger, but the company does not share usage statistics.
Popularity of Blogging
According to a Social Media Marketing Industry Report from the Social Media Examiner for 2014, blogging is at the top in terms of importance and investment from businesses. The survey includes social media marketing professionals. Blogging overtook YouTube in the 2014 report with 68% of these professionals planning to increase blog investments in the same year. There is also an increased prioritization for blogs optimized for mobile devices.
PREPARING TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG
All this attention and focus means that bloggers are uniquely positioned to make more money from their blogs. There are several ways to monetize a blog, depending on the direction of the blog or the depth of a blogger’s interest.
But before a blog can be monetized, there is substantial pre-work that needs to be put in to prepare. These basics are needed for the blog to gain traction, for a substantial number of engaged readers and regular traffic. Blogs are usually started for reasons other than making money, and the traffic that is built up over time is leveraged for monetization. These basics include:
- Developing a sound content map and strategy;
- Choosing the right blogging platform;
- Designing a great layout for the blog;
- Focusing on bringing in traffic.
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR MONETIZING YOUR BLOG
This is often the first avenue bloggers take to monetize their blog. The pre-requisite for this technique is that there is a steady flow of substantial traffic to your blog as well as engaged readers who comment regularly and message. These two things will be of interest to advertisers. Once these are in place, there are a number of advertising routes that can be taken. Some of these include:
Pay Per Click
As the name suggest, this method allows you to earn money whenever a reader clicks on an advertisement placed on your blog page. Once you select a provider for the service, you are given a code to put on the site. Contextual ads relevant to the website content are sent by the provider. These may be image or text based. The most popular service for this type of advertising in Google AdSense, but there are also other options out there such as Bidvertiser and Clicksor.
Usually, a small percentage of site visitors will click on these ads. So a fairly substantial amount of traffic is needed to make a good amount of money. In addition to this, there are some parts on the website that are more visible than others. The space at the beginning of an article and that at the end are most visible, so an ad placed here will have a higher chance of being clicked on.
Cost Per Mile
Somewhat similar to Pay Per Click, payment is based on the number of page views. The payment is calculated based on a certain number of page views. There are several CPM providers that can be used to get these ads. These providers give different rates with better providers offering higher rates. The placement of these ads is also relevant in this type of advertising.
In-text ads are also placed by a provider for your blog. These are sponsored links that are double underlined. This makes them stand out and when the cursor is hovered over them, a small pop-up appears. If a user decides to follow the link, the owner of the blog gets some money. The ads placed in this type of advertising are more obvious than other methods and can put some people off. The idea is to use the ads properly to make best use of them.
Another popular method for advertising is to add widgets to the website. Widgets are designed to be hassle free and easy to use. They can be a mixture of pay-per-click, text-link ads and affiliate advertising.
Another way to bring in money from a blog is to sell ad space to display banners. This method allows the blogger to remove the fee paid to a middleman and directly transact with the business owner who wants to advertise. Banner deals are usually to display the banner for an agreed upon time period and an agreed upon fee. The only negative is that all the details of the transaction from the arrangement to banner changes etc. all have to be managed by the blogger themselves and that can take time away from developing content for the blog.
Another good way to make money from a blog is to place ads in the RSS feed. RSS feed generators now provide this service but it can also be set up on one’s own. A service provider may offer a CPM or PPC option and you could opt to sell sponsored messages or banners directly. Some options to get started are BidVertiser and Google FeedBurner.
Audio advertisements are a somewhat intrusive form of advertising and should be used with caution. One way of using these ads is the pay-per-play ads. These are automatically played automatically as the page loads and cannot be paused or turned off by the viewer. This is what some might find irritating and even though the ad is usually very brief, you should weigh the pros and cons of the method. Another form is the podcast ad, where a regular podcast feature is added to the website. Ads can be featured in these podcasts. This is a less intrusive version of the method because the ads will work as a commercial break during a radio show.
A well-known form of online advertising is the popup. These are fairly common online, but are annoying enough for there to be pop-up blocking extensions on most web browsers. But there are still ways to use these properly with success. One idea is to have only one pop-up for new visitors. It will capture attention but not bother repeatedly. Pop-ups can also be used to promote certain parts of your own website such as a webinar or a tutorial.
2. Affiliate Links
This is another way to make money from your blog if executed correctly. Many other forms of advertising can be used as affiliate marketing methods as well as product reviews. As an example, if you run a makeup blog, then you could research affiliate programs and find out who features clients related to makeup. You could feature the best mascaras or the most long lasting lipstick and finish by promoting this as an affiliate product. Commissions may be awarded for every sale that results from your promotion as viewers are directed from your blog to the product page. Some good places to find affiliate products are ClickBank, ShareASale, Skimlinks and AffiliateWindow.
Affiliate links can be a great way to make money. Amazon Associates for example, pays up to 8.5% for Kindle Books and 5% for movies and music. Many bloggers make as much as 75% of their total income from affiliate links such as reviews and tutorials. Just remember to put in a disclaimers on the blog letting readers know that you use affiliate links periodically.
3. Social Media Icons
Another good way to easily monetize your blog is to use the social media icons. With the ever increasing popularity of social media, there are social sharing icons present on every page you visit online. Some of these buttons, usually through plug-ins, help change settings so that once a post is shared, there is a request to follow you or someone else. This option to follow someone else can be used as ad space and sold for profit to another party. A good idea is to try and make this link a related one so that it makes sense to people and increases the likelihood of them actually following or liking this other account.
Newsletters offer many different ways to monetize your blog. The obvious choices are to sell ad spaces in the actual pages of the newsletter. But apart from this, there are a few other ways to use a newsletter as a source of revenue. One of these is what happens when a person signs up for a newsletter. When they do, you can just let that window close or let it redirect to your homepage. A good option for monetizing is to have an ad fill this space. Any confirmation emails or auto-responders are also good places for ad space. The smart strategy here is to identify related products or services that would be of interest to our readers. When these are shared as ads, there is more likelihood of it being received positively.
5. Be a Merchant
The most difficult but also most rewarding way to make money from your blog is to become an entrepreneur and sell your own products or services. Though this is the most demanding way to make money, it can reap the most profits and increase traffic to the blog at the same time. Products could be digital or physical, and services could be online or require you to be present in person. You can also sign up with a company to attract affiliates to help increase sales for a commission.
6. Membership Sites
Another time-consuming way to monetize your blog is to setup a membership section. This is a method that requires dedication, commitment and a strict quality control. This is why it is a method that also requires research, preparation and a clear strategy for the blog. Newspapers are an example of websites that offer sections for members. NYTimes allow a user to read up to 20 articles a month free of charge. Beyond this, the reader has to pay a subscription fee and join up. A good business idea could be to offer brief tutorial videos free of charge to bring in traffic and offer extended support and downloads for site members. These members can be charged a monthly fee. Some examples of membership sites include:
- lynda.com– charges a monthly membership for high-quality, HD, production house level instruction videos on training related to software products, technology, business, and skills that immediately help others make money.
- Kiyuko.com and bcgurus.com – charge membership fees for training on Adobe Business Catalyst (Including technology, business aspects of running a BC business, and also Business Catalyst Templates).
7. Hire Me Page
Similar to selling your products online, a blog could be your pathway to increase your clients in the real world. Professionals such as consultants, stock traders, architects, psychologists and trainers are just some of the people who could use a blog to make their views accessible to more people and hence bring in more clients. This could be limited to actual physical meetings or a service could be provided online.
8. Add Call to Action
Another good idea is to make sure that there is some kind of call to action at the end of every post. This could be to purchase an affiliate product, to follow a paid account or to purchase one of your own products or services. If your regular and new readers have enjoyed your article and the call to action is for a relate item, then there is a good chance of a successful sale. For example, if you review a certain software, you could add an affiliate link to purchase software as well as your own services to help use the software.
9. Instant Marketplace
An innovative way to make some money from a blog is to use a service such as Ubokia to add a miniature marketplace to your site. This service helps you add a small niche marketplace without the hassle of maintenance and management of the products or the transactions. A music blogger can add links to musical instruments from Ubokia. The website pays bloggers a two percent commission on sales for hosting the marketplace.