“Monetizing your blog” is the big buzz phrase these days among bloggers.
The fact that this phrase is thrown around so much makes it sound like it’s such a simple process.
Like you just hit the big red MONETIZE button and the cash starts coming in. If only it was that easy!
Even though monetizing your blog isn’t as easy as people make it sound, it is possible.
You’ll probably start off making only a few bucks a month. Maybe a few cents. That’s okay.
But if you stick with it and perfect your execution of certain monetization strategies, you can start pulling in serious money with your blog. And it can start to change your life.
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Your earnings potential as a blogger really is unlimited.
As long as you’re able to produce awesome content that people consistently want to read, there’s no reason why shouldn’t be able to replace your full time job income with your blog’s earnings. I’m serious.
Unfortunately, most bloggers don’t end up making any money at all with their blog. There’s a lot of reasons for that:
- They give up too soon
- Their content sucks and no one wants to read it. Harsh, but true. (note: I don’t sugarcoat things around here)
- They’re more focused on making money than they are on creating valuable content for their readers
- They don’t know how to market their blog
But if you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you’re not like most bloggers. You clicked this article because you’re serious about learning the business side of blogging and you want to learn the best ways to start monetizing your blog.
What to Do Before Monetizing Your Blog
Before you start daydreaming about sipping Pina Coladas in the Greek Islands and soaking up the sun as all your “passive” income flows in from your blog, you need to step back and make sure you’ve got a solid foundation first.
I’m talking about traffic.
None of what I cover in this article is going to work unless is you have a decent amount of traffic.
And anybody who tells you otherwise either a) is lying to you, or b) is clueless/naive.
So what kind of traffic should you shoot for before you begin monetizing your blog?
There’s no right answer for this, but I would say you should aim for at least 5,000 unique monthly visitors to your blog before you even think about money. And really, this is the bare minimum, in my opinion. I didn’t start making any notable money until I was getting over 10k monthly visitors.
If you have less traffic than that, I think your focus needs to be 100% on creating content and increasing your traffic.
One of best ways for new bloggers to increase their traffic is through Pinterest. Here’s a post about how I grew my first Pinterest account from 0-750k monthly reach in just 3 months. I share almost everything I know getting insane traffic from Pinterest in that article. Read it and follow the 7 steps. For an even deeper dive into Pinterest, check out our brand new course: Pinterest Design 101: How to Create Viral Pins that Drive Insane Amounts of Traffic (we get over 100k monthly visitors from Pinterest each month).
You Have Solid Traffic and Now You’re Ready
It’s time to start monetizing your blog.
There are dozens of ways you can make money with your blog. I’m going to cover the 5 that I think give you the best chance of success. Some are harder (but more financially rewarding) than others. It’s always smart to diversify your income streams and see what works best for you.
This is a form of advertising that can be incredibly lucrative.
Basically, companies pay you to refer readers to their products and services. If one of your readers ends up buying from the company after clicking on your referral link, you get a commission on that sale.
This is great because you don’t have to deal with any product delivery or customer support issues, and you can refer thousands and thousands of customers.
The one downside to affiliate marketing is that conversions are much harder pull off than just getting someone to simply click on an ad. That’s why having amazing content that converts is so important. Content is the backbone of any successful affiliate marketer.
For a full review on those networks and a more detailed guide on how to get started making money with affiliate marketing, check out this article.
You definitely won’t get rich overnight with Adsense, but it should be a staple in any blogger’s income repertoire.
Instead of you picking who you want to advertise (like with affiliate marketing), Google picks what ads are displayed on your website based off what information they have on each person that comes to your site. And instead of getting paid each time a sale is made, you get paid every time someone clicks on an ad.
You can place small ads throughout your website (and within your blog posts) that help you generate a little bit of income each month. Google gives you everything you need to get set up and it doesn’t take much of any coding knowledge to insert it into a blog post (phew).
Just make sure you don’t overwhelm your readers with ads! Remember, user experience is paramount.
Here’s a good article on maximizing your AdSense earnings.
This is a great strategy for monetizing your blog.
Depending on your blog’s social media influence and your regular monthly traffic, you may be able to work with brands in your niche by way sponsored posts. Believe it or not, companies are willing to pay big money to bloggers to get the word out there about their products/services.
For brands, working with bloggers is a very effective form of advertising. You have a direct relationship with their target market, and that’s something very valuable.
A sponsored post can be written by either you or the company (just be sure to charge more if you’re the one producing the content!). Most bloggers can pull in anywhere from $50-$500 per article, depending on their traffic and engagement, among other metrics.
Noticing a theme here? It all comes back to traffic.
Here’s a list of sites that connect influencers (that’s you) with brands for sponsored posts and other promotional gigs:
I recommend joining a handful of these networks so you can start exploring sponsored post opportunities. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out directly to the companies themselves! If you can get in touch with the right person, the direct approach is often more effective.
Freelance Writing for Other Sites
I don’t think this should ever be your primary source of income on your blog. But it could easily add a couple hundred bucks to your bottom line each month, so you shouldn’t ignore freelance writing opportunities.
Think about it like this: if people are willing to pay you money to write an article for them, it means that they expect to make more money from your writing than what they are paying. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be paying you.
With that in mind, I think it’s important to keep your original content yours. With freelancing, you are usually doing it as a ghost-writer, which means you get no public recognition for you work. You want to stay focused on establishing authority in your niche and building brand equity- both of which are usually not possible with freelancing.
As long as you recognize it for what it is (quick income with minimal long term gain for your business), I think freelancing is a decent option for monetizing your blog.
After building up the website and social media presence of our personal financial coaching company VTX Capital, it occurred to me that I had learned a hell of a lot along the way about how to create a following out of thin air.
I knew that this knowledge and experience could be valuable to other business owners focused on building an online presence. So, in addition to the regular financial consulting I did for VTX Capital, I started reaching out to companies and other blogs for social media marketing gigs.
I mainly focused on helping bloggers/business owners with Pinterest, since I had developed a process for amassing insane monthly reach and traffic in a short amount of time:
It was surprisingly easy to sell myself for providing these services. I just let my past results with VTX speak for themselves when pitching to prospects, and people were eager and willing to work with me.
Main takeaway here: Don’t be afraid to break out of your niche!
I was a finance guy getting paid by mom bloggers (among other people) to grow their Pinterest accounts.
Just think about that for a minute.
If you’ve got something of value to offer people, then do it! And get paid for it!
Again, though, keep the big picture in mind. Just as with freelance writing, moderation is key when it comes to outside consulting. Focus on perfecting your income streams that aren’t about trading your time for money.
Side note: If you’d like to work with me to step up your Pinterest game (designing pins, profile setup, overall strategy, etc), shoot me an email at email@example.com. I know this stuff inside and out- it can really bring your blog and your earnings to a whole new level.
Tying It All Together
When I first started out, I thought the only purpose of having a blog was to establish credibility with readers so they would buy my own products and services.
Most non-bloggers (and even many new bloggers) vastly underestimate how much money there really is to be made in blogging. Since the blogging industry didn’t even exist a few decades ago, most people are just unfamiliar with all the different ways you can make money from monetizing your blog.
It’s not easy, though.
Starting a blog is just like starting any other type of business.
The sooner you can approach your blog with a business mindset, the better. Many people seem to think that just because you can start a blog from your couch, that somehow that means it’s easy.
Starting a zero revenue blog is easy. Starting a blog that makes you money and provides value to other people is a different story. Most bloggers fall into that first category of zero revenue.
If you’re at the point where you are ready to get serious about monetizing your blog, my recommendation would be to start with affiliate marketing. In my experience, this one of the most lucrative “passive” income generators out there, and you can get started without looking spammy.
There are dozens of other ways of monetizing your blog, but these 5 should serve as a decent foundation for you to build on. And you don’t have to do all of them! Find what works best for you and do more of whatever that is 🙂
Next Action Steps
1). If your traffic isn’t where it needs to be yet, read this Pinterest guide. Come back in two months, after you’ve read the guide and have tens of thousands of monthly visitors.
2). Sign up for at least 1 affiliate network and find a company/product you want to promote. I recommend FlexOffers, ShareASale, and CJ for affiliate marketing networks. Here’s my review of these networks plus a beginner’s guide for getting started.
3). Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. I read every one of your comments and emails so please reach out!
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