Do you want to make money? No? Well, alright then. I guess you don’t need to read any more. If you change your mind, though, you might find the rest of this piece of interest. Remember that old LiveJournal you had? How about that failed attempt at a personal Blogger account? Or that WordPress.com blog you set up and used for a few weeks before losing interest? What if I told you that you could make hundreds or thousands of dollars per week off of that blog?
Okay, well, it’s going to take a lot of time before you reach that level. You can follow every bit of advice I post and you’re still going to take months or years to reach that level of income. The thing is, it’s possible. When you make your first dollar, you’ll realize it as well. So, how can you monetize your blog?
The first thing you need to do is establish a blog with a following. It’s not as hard as it sounds, really. All you need to do is write a lot, publish posts consistently and do a little marketing. Share your links on Facebook, post them on Twitter, push them through Google+, do whatever you need to in order to build awareness of your site.
Every way you might make money from your blog requires you to have an audience. Money from affiliate ads requires clicks. Money from ad impressions require views. Money from product sales requires people to buy. It all comes down to traffic.
The first thing that comes up when you talk about making blog money is selling ads. You have a blog, you have traffic, sell that traffic through ads. Simple, right? Banner ads, sidebar ads, they’re all easy to set up. Ad space is easy to capitalize on, and if you have a lot of traffic, you can charge premium rates for your ad space. It’s even passive; when your users keep coming back, they keep seeing your ads and you keep earning.
Ads aren’t perfect, of course. For one thing, whenever an ad is clicked, that’s a visitor leaving your site. If you have other means of monetization, possible more lucrative options, sending visitors away isn’t going to do you any favors. Ads can also be disruptive, which has led to adblockers and customers who just leave when the ads are too much.
Ads also have an earnings floor. No one wants to pay to advertise on your blog when you only get a dozen visitors per week. There’s no real ceiling, most of the time, but it’s hard to reach that buy-in level.
Finally, ads don’t necessarily scale well. You might double your traffic, but your ad revenue won’t necessarily double along with it.
Part of the problem with managing your own ads is finding the connections you need to get the right ads in the right place. Services like AdSense do a lot of that work for you. AdSense in particular is a Google property, meaning you have plenty of support and documentation available.
AdSense ads are easy to set up and they work automatically. Google’s system handles the entire process, from ranking your site to serving appropriate ads to getting you payment on time. AdSense is also decent for payments; there’s no floor, and the ceiling is high. AdSense has no contracts, either, meaning you can remove it the instant something better comes along.
AdSense ads do require clicks, and the payment you get on each click varies depending on the ad, the keyword, the positioning, the time of day, the position of Jupiter and who knows what else. Of course, you also split the take with Google; they’re doing a lot of the work, so you’re paying them a share for their services.
If you’re a blog that tends to lean towards reviewing or mentioning products and services, you can earn commissions from those vendors. One of the most common and lucrative options is Amazon’s Affiliate network. Mention a product in your blog? Turn that mention into a link to a sale page and earn a commission on the sale.
Affiliate ads are some of the highest earning sources of passive income available. It’s not uncommon to find an affiliate link from years ago still earning you hundreds of dollars per month. You also gain the benefit of being a salesman without needing to limit yourself to a particular product line or whatever your parent company wants to push. Your reviews are genuine and you earn through those recommendations.
On the other hand, if the product or service you’re hawking doesn’t sell, you get nothing. You’re also building a list of customers, but not for yourself. You can’t leverage that information later, unless you collect it now. Affiliates are also incredibly popular, so there’s a lot of stiff competition out there.
You can develop and sell a product of your own. I know, it’s a difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be. By building a blog, you’re building an audience. You can test that audience and determine a product they want. You can create and sell that product and rake in the cash as they buy what you know they want.
Selling your own products – particularly if they’re software or content, like music or an ebook – allows you to make money forever, so long as that item is up for sale and not outdated. You also make the jump from blogger to entrepreneur. You can always develop a new product, too, to keep the whole thing going.
On the other hand, research and development takes a lot of time and money. If you can’t produce the product easily, like you could with an ebook, you’re going to have a hard time.
Selling a membership for gated content can earn you a decent amount of money over time, but you need to make absolutely certain that there’s interest for your gated content. Simple blog posts aren’t enough; you need premium content to really get rolling with membership exclusives.
Memberships aren’t easy to set up, either. You need to be deeply concerned with user security, because one lapse can ruin all of your goodwill for years. It’s also difficult to convince people to sign up and pay for content in this era of prolific free content.
With so many ways to monetize your blog, it’s amazing anyone doesn’t make money from theirs.
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