Mr Problogger himself, Darren Rowse, put together a comprehensive introduction to monetisation. A full time blogger, Rowse makes a lucrative living from blogs like Digital Photography SchooI and TwiTip. His number one tip for blogging monetisation:
If you want your blog to be a business one day…treat it as one today.
So, even if you’re not ready to monetise your blog yet yet, begin thinking about your blog as if you are already. According to Rowse, the best way to do this is start driving regular traffic to your blog today. You need to build the foundation for a blog that can be monetised by concentrating on three important tasks, right from the beginning:
- Creating great content
- Finding readers and promoting your blog
- Building your community and engagement
Rowse also warned his audience of fledgling bloggers to get their expectations right. Blogging is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is estimated that only 10% of bloggers make more than $10K per annum through their blog. It is much more common for bloggers to make enough money through their blog to supplement a part-time job. And, even then, it can take four to five years to reach that stage.
Ways to Make Money Through Blogging
According to Rowse, there are more than 40 different ways to make money through blogging. He has very kindly laid out all these ways in the colourful mind map included here. If you’d like to take a closer look, it’s available via the Problogger website.
So, let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular ways to make money from blogging.
There is a multitude of advertising options when it comes to blogging; your imagination really is the only limit. Rowse ran through a few of the most popular options:
- When it comes to blogging, one of the easiest ways to integrate advertising is to use an ad networks service like Google Adsense, Chitika, or Nuffnang. These ad networks serves only advertisements that are relevant to your blog content.
- Selling ads directly to companies on a month by month advertising deal.
- Sponsored posts, where you work directly with brands to write a sponsored post.
- Advertising in newsletters, often in conjunction with banner advertisement on the blog itself. Often, newsletter adverts can be used as an effective upsell to existing advertisers.
- A jobs board where companies pay to list their vacant position.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing revolves around the idea that, as a blogger, you can recommend a product and, if someone then clicks through and buys the product (via the direct hyperlink that you have listed on your blog), then you get paid. Sort of like a commission. Amazon is one of the biggest affiliate marketing partners, from which you receive a commission of between 3% and 4%. Other networks, particularly those that sell e-books can offer a commission of up to 50%.
Another great way to make money from blogging is to sell products off the back of your blog. There are two main types of products, including:
- Virtual products: online courses, e-books, software, WordPress plugins, apps, videos, whitepapers, reports, and podcasts
- Physical products: books, clothing, merchandise, DVDs, and anything else you can think of
Image courtesy of Problogger.net
One of the most obvious ways to make money from your blogging is to sell services off the back of your blog. Services that slot in nicely with blogging include freelance writing, designing, or photography, coaching and consulting services, and public speaking.
These types of programs usually involve the offer of some type of subscription or membership with added features and benefits, including free webinars, software, access to community forums, and additional or premium content.
Last but by no means least, Rowse ran through the idea of blog farmers; people that set blogs up, build content, readers, and advertisement networks. Then at the end of the year, they put them up to sell.
The most important thing, according to Rowse, is to run lots of money-making avenues, all at the same time. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Making Your Blog Ready for Monetisaton
Blog traffic is all-important. Monetisation opportunities and return increase with traffic, particularly the right type of traffic. Traffic that converts. The more traffic you have, the better. Small blogs that have focused niches can make as much as blogs with thousands of visitors every day. There is no particular magic number. Rowse suggests the following broad timeframe for preparing your blog for monetisation:
- Years One and Two: write cornerstone content and content that is shareable. A tool that is perfect to aid in this is Buzzsumo: it will tell you what content is most regularly shared on your site, and on the sites of others. For more information on what type of content you should be crafting in years one and two, check out this post on Problogger: Problo.gr/firstyearcontent. The other thing you should be doing is using email and social media to drive traffic to your website.
- Years Three and Four: this is usually the time when you will need to expand your blogs horizons; you might need to hire some staff, or some additional contributing writers. It might be time to improve the design of your blog, or to brush up on some additional skills. This is also the time to start monetising your blog with banner ad campaigns and ad networks.
- Year Five: this is the time when you can really kick advertising up a notch. Approach the big name brands that you’d like to see involved in your blog.
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