You want to make money with your blogging efforts. But, how? Which method is the best one?
In this article, I outline what I believe are the top 10 ways to monetize a blog site. And I’m also going to do my best to rank them in order of workability.
This blog post was originally written in 2009 – and while the 10 items which follow are still quite valid for your blog monetization, I have really perfected and outlined the best monetization business model quite a bit since then. Click Here to view the full Blog Monetization Model.
1. Membership Programs
The “freemium” model is a huge and growing trend in online income right now. You provide a lot of quality content for free to your audience, and you provide a premium-level program to those willing to pay for it. You charge a monthly membership and that provides continuity and a steady income stream.
2. Information Products (Of Your Own)
The selling of knowledge is HUGE. If you build up your position in your market, you can then sell quality information to that market. This can take the form of e-books, audio, videos, or all of the above. You can package them up or just sell them digitally. If you author the product yourself (recommended), then you keep 100% of the profit.
Another great way to make money with a blog is an indirect one. Use the blog to build reputation. Build a brand and build an audience. Then, you make your money by directing that attention into offline services, consulting and/or coaching. This can be quite lucrative. The drawback is that you are, again, trading time for money. So, it is only scalable up to a point.
4. Speaking Gigs
If you become well known as an expert in your niche, you can turn that into speaking gigs which you get paid for. Chris Brogan does this with his blog. Whether he makes money directly with his blog or not (I honestly don’t know), I know he gets paid to speak at various events.
5. Product Sales
If you have a physical product line to offer, you can use the blog as a face for your online store. Sell whatever you want. For example, if you are an artist, you can use an online store to sell art pieces and a blog to build up audience and a following.
6. Affiliate Programs
Affiliate marketing is a great way to build up your income. You offer the products of others to your audience and get paid when they buy it. In fact, any time you recommend a relevant product or service to your audience, check to see if they have an affiliate program. If so, sign up and use your affiliate link. After all, if you’d recommend it to your readers anyway, you might as well make a little cut if they happen to buy.
7. Direct Ad Sales
Banner ads and in-text ads are another popular way to make money. In fact, it is usually the first method you think of. However, if you’re going to go this route, selling the ads directly will result in more cash in your pocket. You may want to consider making a media kit for your blog. As for pricing, I would recommend you shoot for twice your eCPM from Google Adsense. Why twice? Because that’s what Google is charging (they take half).
For some more tips on selling more ads, check out this monetization case study of the Lipgloss and Crayons “mommy blog”, where ads are a pretty big part of what she does.
8. Banner Advertising
OK, if you don’t want to sell your own ads, you can obviously still run network advertising from a variety of different sources. Personally, I am using Adsense, Kontera, IDG and a little bit of Tribal Fusion.
You can also direct sell ads and use network ads as filler for unused inventory. It is done all the time.
9. Paid Posts
Yes, you can get paid to review products and sites on your blog. I’ve seen some blogs sell this option directly. When doing this, it is important to disclose the fact that it is a paid review. It is also important that you maintain your integrity and never give a positive review unless you’re really feeling it.
10. Job Boards
Some sites have job boards. It does work for some sites, however it probably won’t work for a majority of blogs out there.
11. Build It & Sell It
OK, I’ve thrown in an eleventh one as a bonus.
You can build up a blog, build an audience, then turn around and sell the thing. In fact, some people actually buy blogs which are dead or are vastly underutilized by their owners. They’ll then put their marketing skills to work, build the SEO backlinks, build the readership. Then, they turn around and sell it at a profit. It can work. I’ve never done it myself personally, but I’ve read of others who have.
I hope you enjoyed this bird’s eye view of these 11 monetization strategies. But, it is time to take it further…
As I mentioned above, a lot has changed in the last several years and I’ve evolved a LOT since this post was originally written. I want to introduce you to the Blog Monetization Model… a full business model which will monetize your blog more effectively than anything else you can do. It concentrates highly on #1 and #2 above.