Anybody who already has a blog or online magazine with an established audience already knows how profitable blogs can be, and clients of mine who have taken advantage of my Affiliate Maverick program have seen the kind of profits you can earn with your own website. However, one cannot simply start a blog and expect money to just start streaming in. You have to monetize your site, and whether you are using a program like mine, or creating your own blog, there are several ways to monetize your site that can bring you some serious money. Some of the most effective methods involve selling your own products and services, but you don’t have to have anything to sell yourself to make money. Here are several options that might work for you.
1: GOOGLE ADSENSE/BING ADS
One of the easiest and most popular ways to monetize your site is with ad programs like Google Adsense or Bing Ads. You sign up for an account with Google or Bing, create some ads templates, install them on your site, and Google or Bing will load targeted ads onto your website. Then the money will come in. You can either earn money per impression, or per click, depending on how advertisers choose to pay. If you don’t have significant readership, you likely won’t make a lot of money at first. However, even with 150-200 viewer daily in a non-competitive niche, you can easily make enough to cover your hosting fees and treat yourself to some Starbucks. The longer your site is up, though, the larger your share of the ad revenue will be. As your site’s content increases, so does your SEO ranking, as you stick to effective SEO practices and avoid those that simply do not work. Though this not the only monetization method you should use, it is an effective, free, and easy-to-use approach that has brought many people success. Keep in mind, it is best to have your own hosting so you don’t have to split your money with the free hosting service you might be using, because they will be placing their own ads on your site and will cut into your revenue.
2: AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Another way to make money without having your own product or service to sell is through affiliate programs. Amazon, for instance, offers a great program. Perhaps you run a website that does arts reviews; you can offer links to music, books, and movies that take your readers directly to an Amazon page where they can buy the items you are reviewing. Each purchase translates to a commission for you. Likewise, you can sign up for a service like ClickBank. This service will post niche related programs on your site, and every time somebody buys one, you get a commission. In this way, you don’t have to put in the money or time required to create a product or service, but can still profit from somebody who has by helping to promote their programs. There are any number of affiliate programs out there, like Commission Junction (CJ) and ShareASale, and it is worth checking them out to make sure you maximize your website’s monetization potential. Be careful not to overburden your site though. You want readers to see your content first.
3: PAID PRODUCT REVIEWS
This one is a little trickier, but there is ways to make money by writing product reviews as well. You can solicit companies about doing product reviews for their goods and/or services, and some people see great success in engaging in native advertising like this. One woman, for instance, wrote over 31,000 Amazon reviews, and made a healthy living doing so. You don’t need to be nearly so prolific though, and if you can’t find somebody to pay you write product reviews, you can always use them as a means to enhance your affiliate partnerships. Are you a partner on Ebay? Write a review for some products and provide a link to them. This could help to generate some extra revenue via commissions. Stick to products you genuinely trust though, as you want to maintain your brand and don’t want your readers using a product they won’t be satisfied with under your recommendation. If that happens, they might not trust you in the future, and your long-term reputation is not worth a short-term gain.
4: SELL YOURSELF
This is a little broad, but it’s meant to be because there are any numbers of ways that you can do this. Do you have a service you are selling? A product? Use your website as a forum to promote it. For instance, I have program where I teach people how to use Bing Ads, and when launching it, I did several posts about the value of Bing Ads and included links to my program (as I have here). If you have a product or program, promote it on your site, either directly, or within the context of a broader conversation. Perhaps you’ve written a series of posts about a given topic; turn it into an e-book, or make some videos out of them and sell the videos as tutorials. Your blog is a great opportunity to not only build your brand, but promote your products. It brings targeted traffic related to your niche, and your regular readers obviously come to your site because they trust you. Capitalize on this advertising opportunity!
Whether you are pulling in a decent stream of money or not, including a donation option is always a good idea. I have a client that has an online marketing blog, and he has literally gotten no donations, but I have another client that does a blog based on current events and social issues, and he always sees a spike whenever he has a post that gets a lot of views. If people enjoy your content, and you give them an option send you a dollar, or maybe a few dollars, they may very well take you up on it. Readers know that if they want to keep getting good free, quality content, the people writing it have to have the resources to maintain it. Sites like Wikipedia, for example, get by exclusively on donations. Though it is unfair to expect that you will get the stream of money they earn, it is not unreasonable to assume that some people may think your content is worth paying for, especially if you let them do it on their terms
Creating a website or blog can be a lot of fun, especially if it is a personal project related to a passion you have, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make money off of it. By including an ad program, like Google Adsense, or Bing Ads, you can make money doing what you love. Adding an affiliate program like ClickBank or Amazon can serve to further increase your revenue, and paid reviews can help out as well. And of course, you can always sell your own products, and simply ask for donations. Each of these can help turn your hobby into an income, so be sure to take a look at each and see how they can benefit you. For more tips on ways to monetize your site, check out Matt Smith’s post on the subject from Online Income Teacher, and David Risley’s article from Blog Marketing Academy.
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