The dream of every blog owner is to live a self-sufficient life off the revenue that comes from their blog. It’s entirely possible – thousands of bloggers are doing it right now – but it can take some work to reach that point. You need to build your audience, you need to have the traffic and dedication to support your efforts and, above all, you need a way to monetize your blog. Without that monetization, you’re not going to have the income to grant you the freedom you want.
What follows are ten ideas to help monetize your blog. Keep in mind a few things as you continue to read. Many of these monetization methods can be used in conjunction with one another. Many of them can be misused as well, leading to penalized blogs and alienated readers. Pick your techniques carefully and use them in moderation. Finally, there are several prominent income streams from a blog that aren’t mentioned blow, such as selling consulting services or a product you make yourself. These are left off because they aren’t as passive as you might prefer. Yes, you can sell consulting, but you need to actually consult in exchange for that money. That’s not passive income, it’s working for your cash. What follows are ways you can implement to earn money with no further effort beyond maintaining your blog.
The concept of affiliate marketing is simple. You sign up for an affiliate program – the simplest illustration is Amazon’s Affiliate program – and you post ads or mention products in your content and your posts. Amazon even generates nice little product boxes. When a user clicks that ad and purchases the product at the other end, you get a cut. The process can be a little more complex with advanced affiliate programs, but the theory is basically the same; create a passive advertisement that brings money in when users are interested enough to buy.
Your website is visible space. Your audience is interested in what’s on that website. You can sell some of that space to other people in your industry, to run advertising to the people who are interested in seeing it. Direct sale advertising is a significant amount of work to set up and run, but once you have it flowing, it can be a great source of income. You don’t earn anything from the clicks or the conversions, however. All you earn is what you charge for the space and time for the ad.
Once again, taking advantage of your interested audience; this time with products. The theory is that you buy items and resell them at a higher price. You need the audience to buy the items and the leads to find them cheaper yourself. An ideal reseller program allows you to avoid any shipping and handling yourself; you place the orders and ship them to other people without ever touching the product yourself. This can be a lot of work if you don’t set it up properly, unfortunately. There are reseller programs available if you want to investigate this form of passive income generation.
Your blog is all about publishing content and building an audience of people who want to read that content. Make use of this audience and that content by writing an ebook. Essentially, you need to take some of your most popular posts and expand on them, provide more information and more value. Then simply sell the ebook for a price. Users will buy it, because they’re already interested in the topic and in what you have to say. You only need to write the book once, but it can keep selling for years to come.
Selling software is much the same as selling an ebook, with one exception; rather than selling your insight, you’re selling your services in a distributed manner. With your audience, you can ask them what they need the most in their lives. If one such problem is something you can solve with software, create that tool and supply it to your audience for a price. Creating the product, again, only happens once. You may have to update it as technology improves, but that’s a fairly simple matter for ongoing passive income.
Pay Per Click and Cost Per Mille (thousand) are two different ways to advertise on your site without needing to do the direct ad sales route mentioned above. PPC, such as Google AdSense, allows you to set up some code and lets Google serve ads on your site. You gain money each time your ad is clicked. CPM is the same, except you’re paid per thousand views, not per click. Both types of advertising work in much the same way; register for a network, install the code and wait for the money to roll in.
Sponsored reviews are somewhat controversial. If someone is paying you to review their product or service, can you really say you’re unbiased? Can users trust the review? In many cases, a sponsored review can be valuable just because so many users distrust them that it almost has to be trustworthy to be worth paying for. Still, this method only fits on certain types of blogs. Join a sponsored review network and write reviews of products for profit. Unfortunately, unless you’re selling the reviews yourself, you likely won’t get recurring revenue from your post. You sell it once and it’s gone.
Some popular blogs and forums generate their audience through value and then hide that value behind a paywall. It’s a simple concept; entice people with what you have to tell them and then require payment to see that content. Premium blogs, today, have to be extremely valuable to be worth paying for, so you’re going to have to go the extra mile with your blog. Segregating some free and some premium content is another way to go about this, and entices readers with what you tell them for no charge.
Sponsored posts are like sponsored reviews, except you don’t necessarily need to review a product. You’re just selling a blog post slot on your site to someone else who wants their post promoted. Just remember to set any link you sell as NoFollow, or else you’re going to run into severe issues with SEO penalties. Make sure your sponsored posts are clearly marked as such as well. Google doesn’t take kindly to attempts to circumvent link rankings.
Once you have a successful blog, one option that’s always available is to just sell it. It comes pre-loaded with content and an audience, who wouldn’t want that? You’ll have a tricky time coming up with a buyer and a price, but that can be negotiated. The hard part is starting over from scratch once more. If you’ve built your reputation on your blog, as well, you’re going to have that reputation carry with you, including any taint that might come from the people you sell the site to in the first place. It’s risky, but it can be very lucrative.