Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to Monetize a Blog: How to Blog and Make Money

This post is dedicated to showing current and potential bloggers how to blog and make money in the process. That is, this post shows bloggers (new and old) how to monetize a blog. However, before bloggers get too concerned about making money, they really need to worry about ways to increase blog traffic. Without traffic, there's no way to make money blogging.

If you're already blogging, why not seek a little income?

After you've started building traffic to your blog, then it's time to consider ways to monetize your blog. Personally, I haven't put too much effort into monetization yet. Instead, I've been focused almost exclusively on providing quality content that increases traffic. Sooooo, this post is going to share links to other resources who are generous with their experiences.

How to monetize a blog:

  • Sell content. By selling content, I'm thinking of your words and/or art. These can be packaged in e-books, white papers, print books, exclusive newsletter subscriptions, etc. If you blog, you're a content creator. Why not package some of that content and make a little money from it. Of course, the more exclusive and valuable the content is to your readers, the higher the price point.
  • Offer education. Related to selling your content, you can package that content as educational opportunities through tutorials, webinars, podcasts, and videos. Btw, each of those links shows how to tackle each of those tasks. You could also offer online courses related to your specialty.
  • Write sponsored posts. Be careful if you're dealing with sponsored posts, because they're basically advertorials--or at worst, blatant advertisements--for other companies and services. As a result, these have the potential to kill traffic. If done well however, they can add value to your blog in more ways than one. Here's a list of sites that pay for blog posts.
  • Share affiliate links. I have a little experience with affiliate links--mainly through my use of Amazon Associates--and it's an easy way to bring in some extra money. Again though, an abuse of affiliate links can turn readers off fast--so only pursue this method when it adds obvious value for your readers. As far as which affiliate program is best, you can go with a general program (like the Amazon one mentioned above) or a more specific one, since many companies offer affiliate programs. For instance, my employer Writer's Digest has a writing product affiliate program.
  • Place ads. There are so many different ways to serve ads. You can use an ad service or solicit them yourself. Around the middle of this 101 Ways to Monetize Your Blog post, several advertising options (and links) are provided.
  • Provide services. I mentioned education above, and really, that does fall under providing services. But there are many other services you could provide as a blogger depending upon your specialty. For instance, some popular services include critique and consulting services. Or speaking services.
  • Sell merchandise. If your blog is truly popular and has a personality, selling blog-related merchandise might make sense--like T-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse pads, etc. Here's a list of some companies.
  • Ask for donations. Of course, there's always the option of just asking for donations. If you go this route, be sure your blog does two things: First, make sure it offers an amazing experience for readers; and second, make sure you're not monetizing in any other way. If you are, it's doubtful you'll be able to secure donations on top of those other methods.

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Mark K said...

Great article. A friend of mine has always stated that blogs can earn you money, but I could never see it really. But you've just opened my eyes to a whole world of potential.

Nice work :)


Mark ED

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Thanks for the comment, Mark!

The possibilities are out there, but the first priority is getting traffic. After that, it's just a matter of figuring out what works best for your specific readers.

Mark K said...

Yes. Traffic. It's very much like prostituting yourself on the blogosphere to accrue numbers. The thing I find disheartening about that is knowing full well the majority won't even be bothered with reading your work/content.

Robert Lee Brewer said...

If you're providing good content, then people will read. If you're just using gimmicks, not so much. But then again, the numbers won't stick without the content to keep people returning.

linda a janssen said...

I'm happily focusing on continued growth of my blog while concentrating on bigger writing projects. I've been loathe to monetize, but what I find helpful about your post is pulling together much of what I've read into one place and adding new nuggets on top. Better to know your options so that, when/if the time is right, you can select those appropriate for you. Thanks

Robert Lee Brewer said...

I'm with you, Linda. I didn't get into blogging to monetize, so it's not something that's dominated the way I've blogged (if it was, I'd have a much more focused blog).

That said, it's great to know options, and if there are ways to make money blogging, to take advantage of them (if they make sense, of course).

Unknown said...

Like Linda, I've just not really gotten into the monetization part of blogging.

I waver between thinking I should, at least with one of the blogs I write, or only focusing on finding freelance jobs and letting the blog stand alone.

Looks like I'll be thinking about it again today! Thanks. :)

Bitsy Brooks said...

This was blog was amazing. Thanks for sharing this information. I'm just starting my blog and am reading all the information I can get my hands on. This by far has offered the most extensive and useful info.

Thanks again!
Bitsy Brooks

Sandra Rogers said...

I have been steadily increasing my blog traffic. For instance, last month we had 11,000 readers. We are a nonprofit that asks for donations but haven't really received anything for the past 2 years except from friends and family. I think t-shirts with our logo will work. We are BrokeButNotForLong, Inc. Our blog is Blogging4Broke.

J-ROK said...

Thanks for a nice overview. LIke the others, I started blogging for ME, but lately I've been thinking "I spend time writing my blog. I love it. If there's a way to make money doing it, I should!" Fingers are crossing :)

Nina Amir said...

Great post! You've pulled together a lot of the information published by some of the great blogggers, like ProBlogger, on how to monetize a blog. I'm working on doing just that.

I highly recommend bloggers think of themselves as experts in a niche and try to own that niche by repurposing their content. They are, as you mentioned, content producers. They can blog a book or book a blog, which I highly recommend. They can turn their posts into audio programs or podcasts or video to support online classes. They can produce information products out the wazoo if they want. And as experts--especially experts with books--they can go out and speak and teach and earn more. Why? Because authors are considered thought leaders and experts. So are bloggers, actually (see Techorati's surveys...).

I'm not big on ads. I have one on two of my blogs. I use Amazon Affiliates when I talk about books. Mostly, I just promote my own books, products and services.

As for the traffic part...yeah, well. That's a fact of life for a blogger. Without readers, you won't be selling much of anything.

Keep up the great work!

Howard Lovely, Jr. said...

This post is very helpful to me as a new(6 months) Blogger...
Currently I'm slowly building readership-traffic; moreover, I never considered the possibility of advertisement in the area of Mental-Illness / Health issues.

Howard Lovely, Jr.

Anonymous said...

Very informative and useful, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The other way to make money blogging is to write for other blogs, whether that be guest posting (for someone who pays, such as those listed at http://www.youngprepro.com/websites-that-pay/) or getting a gig to contribute regularly to a company's blog. Both routes require persistence. And connections help.

Diane Dettmann said...

Thanks, Bob, for all the great blogging information! My head's spinning, hope my blogging does the same when I start using your suggestions. Decided to start with the editorial calendar. It'll help get me focused.

505pure said...

Awesome advice, thanks! Here is another suggestion, you can sign up for a blogging platform that has the monetization system already built in, along with all the tools and resources to market your blog for some great income. Check out my blog to see an example. I love the system and I am having a lot of fun with it.