Monetizing a blog is scary right?
You’re worried that if you monetise your blog, you’re going to lose readers. That your subscribers will suddenly think you’re a sell out, and that you’ve become part of the corporate machine.
And, in a way, monetising your blog is scary. It’s a big step.
But here’s the thing – your audience doesn’t just want you to start selling, they need it. In fact, it’s your duty as a blog owner to do it.
Because, monetizing a blog isn’t about the money. It’s about helping people.
Every product you sell helps your audience improve. No matter what the niche. From letting them know about an important book on Amazon, through to the latest course they could buy on.
All of it helps them with their goals. And why shouldn’t you stand to make a little money whilst you do it, right?
So, don’t look at this article as 31 ways for you to make money from your audience.
Instead, think of monetizing a blog as 31 ways to help your audience improve their lives. Which is a lot more fun to do, isn’t it?
What You Will Learn
Here’s what you’re going to learn today:
- Why monetizing a blog is easier than you think
- 31 simple strategies to monetise blog traffic
- How to start making money by the end of the day
- Why advertising isn’t the devil
- Why your audience is crying out for you to sell to them
A Quick Note On Monetizing A Blog With Advertising
It’s easy to think that adverts are the devil.
Because, well, TV advertising sucks. And it’s products you don’t want being forced down your neck.
But with your blog, you have complete control over the adverts that are on it. If you don’t approve of it, they can’t put it on your site.
That means you can choose products that will benefit your audience, and are on topic.
So remove any negativity you have about advertising, because it’s simply another way to help your audience.
#1: Product Reviews
This is a super simple and effective strategy for monetizing a blog. If there is a product that fits your niche and will help your readers, why not write a review about it?
Are there any:
- Physical Products
- Online Services
That your audience would benefit from knowing – or having your opinion – about? If so, this is a great way to monetise blog traffic.
This works in either of two ways:
- Paid Reviews: Where services or companies ask you to run an article about their product. They’ll usually give you free access, and you can give your honest opinion.
- Affiliate Sales: You could promote a really good book from Amazon. A service you’re connected to. Or, set up an account with a site like CJ Affiliate for lots of options to fit your niche.
“To put it simply, if there is an affiliate program available for the product you’re reviewing, by all means do sign up. Just don’t make affiliate sales your main goal when writing the review.” – Karol K
#2: Udemy Courses
Udemy has really come to the forefront these last few years.
Mostly because of the success stories, like Nick Walters, who is making $100,000+ a year from creating courses.
If you’re not sure what it is, here’s the simple version: you create video courses to help people in your niche.
It’s a little like University. But from the comfort of your own home. With less commitment. No life-crippling fee’s. And lessons you actually care about learning. Sounds good, right?
It also works as two simple income streams for you too. Because you can:
- Create your own courses: If you’re confident standing in front of a camera and teaching your audience, you can create and sell your own courses.
- Affiliate sales: Camera shy? Don’t fret. You can sell links and places on other people’s courses through their affiliate program so you never have to do the dirty work yourself. Just, be sure to vet the course before you promote it.
#3: Blogging Assignments
Blogging assignments are a fun way to make some money from your blog, whilst trying new things and connecting with brands in your niche.
And, it’s not who you know, it’s who you’ve helped. Which could work out well for you in the long run too.
These assignments come in three main forms:
- Events: Attend an important brand event in your niche. Write about it. Get paid.
- Reviews: Get first hands on a new product and write about it.
- Affiliates: Join a brand’s network of affiliates, and get paid to write about their new releases when they come around.
A big part of the spin of these is blogger outreach – connecting with others in your niche – so not every job pays. But most of them come with free products, so it’s a nice little addition, without needed to be your main source of income.
#4: Renting Space For Adverts
Hopefully you’ve come round to the more wholesome way of thinking about advertising.
And, if you’ve got a steady flow of traffic, advertising space is a great way to create some passive income month to month. And, you can even set it up as a subscription service, so you get a lump sum each month. Neat, huh?
Most theme’s now have a space for advertising. And, you might as well make some use of the empty space that’s reserved for it.
The more engaged your audience is, the more you can charge for space. Even the smallest, most ugly looking adverts can bring in a fair bit of coin.
For some good guidelines on how to set this up – and convert – Matt’s advertising page is one of the best.
“[With Avertising] I was soon making a couple of thousand dollars a month. After eighteen months or so, I was averaging $3,500 to $5,000 a month—not bad for something that had started out as a hobby.” – Michael Hyatt
#5: Google AdSense
Google AdSense is the most popular way to advertise and make money on your site. And, well, it’s completely free for you to do and stands to make you a fair bit of money. Like those wonderful viral sites that make upwards of $100,000 a week from them.
You might not run a viral site, but they are still a powerful tool for making you money. Like Justin Cooke, who made $3000 per month from them, in just six months.
However, Google are starting to get a little pickier over the sites they accept for the AdSense program, so here are a couple of things to bear in mind before you apply for it:
- Have a steady flow of traffic: Google won’t accept new sites, hands down. So make sure you’re a little established before you go for it.
- Have 4-6 weeks worth of content: This isn’t an official number, but your site needs to be populated or your chances of being accepted plummet.
#6: Amazon Affiliate Sales
The Amazon Associates program is really simple to use.
It’s also the best way of promoting some of the more psychical products – like books and appliances – that you can’t buy and sell wholesale on your own.
You can simply embed the links as banner images on your site, pop them into a blog post or just cut the affiliate link from the HTML and use it as a hyperlink.
- Run a blog about juicing? Promote your favourite blenders.
- Run a blog about running? Link to your favourite shoes.
- Run a blog about fancy dress? Link to all the products that make up your outfit.
Simple. Easy to do. And unlocks a lot of the options on this list for you.
#7: Recommended Products
This is a little different to running a shop and doing a product review. Instead, these are products that help your reader with – or are relevant to – the content they’ve just read.
Here’s some examples to give you an idea for what I mean:
- Ran a post about how to tune your guitar? Recommend an electric tuner in, or at the end, of the post.
- Posted about writing your first book? Give them an affiliate link to Scrivener.
- Written about designing your own blog? Pop an affiliate link to the theme you used at the bottom of the post.
This sort of selling has a really high chance of converting through Tutorial, Case Study and How To posts. Especially if it’s something that made your life easier.
#8: Recommended Reads
Similar to the recommended products – this is something you can use to recommend books, guides or premium content that will benefit your reader too.
You can make it really accessible too with simple amazon affiliate links and images.
Just, again, make sure it’s completely relevant to the content you’re writing about.
Yeah, I just heard you gasp for air as you read that. It sounds a little like begging right?
But sometimes – like Maria Popova at BrainPickings – your blog is a service people want or enjoy, that you can’t quite monetise. It’s quite common with your more artistic, less practical blogs.
And there is no shame in monetizing a blog by asking for donations from people who so graciously read your content for free, to buy you a cup of coffee or some sweet potato fries for your efforts.
Of course you shouldn’t try and build your sole income from this. But it’s a good source of income if you really don’t have other options for monetizing a blog.
#10: Charge For ‘Premium’ Content
I’m a firm believer in giving away as much as you can for free.
But there comes a point where you do need to draw a line in the sand and say, “Hey, I’m going to need something back for the time I spent on this!”.
Which is exactly what Brian Clark over at Copyblogger did with his Authority program.
He decided to keep giving away free content on the blog, and valuable eBooks to free members and the general public. But, he sorted the wheat from the chaff by only allowing paying readers the opportunity to read their most valuable content.
It benefits you because you know your readers are getting their best results.
It helps your readers because they get exclusive content nobody else can.
And, you get an actual return on your time invested in your longer, more actionable content.
That what we in the business call a win/win/win.
#11: Write And Sell An eBook
If you’ve got a blog, you know something of value about your subject. And, usually, the best content is beyond the scope of a blog post.
Because well, a book in the hand is worth five blogs in the bush. Or, something like that. If something is in book format it:
- Is always accessible to your reader
- Carries more authority than a blog post
- Makes the reader more invested in the subject – because they paid for it
Which makes it a powerful tool for you to use. And, writing an eBook isn’t hard. Especially not with Kindle Publishing and PDF Downloads now at the touch of a button.
People without blogs have made an entire living from it, so why shouldn’t it add to your income?
For example, I decided to write a book – 7 Reasons Nobody Cares About Your Content – purely to overcome my fear of writing a book. I didn’t tell anybody about it. I never promoted it. And, I never really looked at it again after I published it.
And, with zero marketing whatsoever, it still trickles in a tiny amount of money every month…
Okay, so it’s nothing to write home about. But it’s $20 in my pocket! And, imagine what it would be like had I actually told someone – anyone – that I had published a book.
Beau Norton, the owner of Health and Happiness Foundation, makes $2000 – $3000 each month from the sales of his eBooks, purely on Amazon. You could be doing the same too.
“[Sell] Ebooks. If you can create premium content for your readers, they will be highly likely to buy it. Plus you’ll make more money than if you just shoved ads on your blog.” – Neil Patel
#12: Hold A Live Online Workshop…
Got an authority blog? This is perfect for you.
And, well, you don’t have to be the world’s best public speaker to do it. Trust me, I’ve run them myself. It’s like having a simple Skype call with a few hundred of your biggest fans.
The way to create the content for these is simple:
- Think of a popular question in your niche
- Answer it in your own way
Think of it as a Podcast – or spoken blog post – that your students openly interact with. Which, if they’re reading your blog already, they’re going to want to do.
It doesn’t matter how niche your blog is. How obscure the question is. Or how little you think people want to hear you talk. If they’re on your blog, there is a workshop to be made for them.
You might be thinking, “How do I promote it?” though. Which is a really good question.
There are a couple of easy ways you can do that, though:
- Set up your own affiliate sales program
- Guest blog and link to your new course
- Feature on someone else’s podcast
- Facebook and Twitter Ad’s
Follow the same principles you have been doing whilst you build your blog, and you’ll soon find lots of people willing to pay you for the pleasure of your time.
#13: …Then Sell The DVD’s or Recordings, Forever
If you do decide to run your own Online Workshop, remember to record it. Because now you have a real product you can sell, over and over again.
Basically, you just started your own passive income product. Well done you!
You can turn it into a:
- Online Course: Just like the Udemy courses you saw before, but straight from your own site.
- Multi-Level Package: You could charge $99 to own the workshop. But if they want to e-mail you and ask questions? Well, that’s going to be $149.
- eBooks and PDF’s: Jump on Elance and hire someone to transcribe the whole course, and turn it into a cheap, easy to download eBook.
There are a lot of benefits to doing this outside of money, too.
For example; you can connect with your readers on different time zones, or reach out to people with different learning styles who need more auditory or interactive learning styles.
The value here is endless – to you, and your audience – so when you feel you’re established enough in your niche (lets say 1,000 e-mail subscribers as a benchmark) this is a brilliant way to go.
#14: Rotate Your Buy In’s (Free Then Paid)
Every online marketer – if you run a blog, that’s you too! – Should have a ‘buy in’ for their mailing list. Something enticing that gets readers onto your list, in exchange for this wonderful product.
The standard products are:
- eBooks and Guides
- Exclusive Podcast’s
- Email courses
A really cool way to make a little money from this simple process is this:
- Create three products
- Make one your free buy in
- Charge for the other two
- Rotate every couple of months
This creates scarcity for your product – which is a powerful tool in sales – but also creates some hype and buzz when you finally release it as a free product to new users.
It also means that, straight off the bat, you’re able to promote and make the new subscriber aware of some more of your lovely, reasonably priced, products too.
#15: Create A Product Bundle
“You could get my eBook for $3 – but how about I throw in this product I just reviewed and these other amazing product, and we call it $30?”
That’s essentially what you’re doing when you create a product bundle. And it works. Quite well, actually.
Your readers want value. Because, well, who doesn’t want to see their money go as far as possible?
The more products you can bundle together, for a ‘lower’ price, gives you a perfect way for monetizing a blog and go up in your readers estimations too.
This works well for:
- Courses and eBooks
- Physical Products – like the T-Shirt and Journal combo in the picture above.
- Subscription packages and Services
- Pretty much anything it makes sense to bundle together
You can mix and match this with affiliate products, and your own products, too. For example:
“Buy this $100 blogging course and get my $50 coaching course for half price!”
#16: Use It To Freelance
I’ll be honest – this is the sole purpose of any blog that I run.
And, it’s a great way to add a little bit of extra cash into your back pocket too. Because if you’re good at the skills you’re talking about – people will actively look to hire you.
I find you’re going to get a lot of business coming your way if you blog about:
- Copywriting and Blogging
- Health and Fitness
- Accounting or Finance
- Marketing or Advertising
- Development or Design
So why not use your own blog as a platform – or a portfolio – to launch your own freelancing service? It’s a fun way to become more immersed in your topic, and in-directly monetise your own blog.
I currently earn $3,500 – $4000 a month this way, solely through copywriting and blogging services. And you could be doing the same by simply adding a small link or e-mail address into your by line.
“I recommend adding your own products and services to your blog. What kinds? That depends on what you are blogging about and what you are good at.” – Ashley Faulkes
#17: Sell Your Website Theme
If you’ve got a self-hosted WordPress blog – which you do, right? – a simple way to make some cash is to have an affiliate link to the theme you use.
Now, this might not fit every niche. If you’re writing a healthcare blog, people may not be actively looking to buy a theme when they come to your site.
But there is nothing stopping you from promoting it whenever someone asks you what theme you’re using. Or simply dropping a link to it on your resource page is there?
Nikhil from Universal Blogging Tips made $2000 just from promoting MyThemeShop theme’s last year. Who knew you could make a little bit of money just selling the theme your site is made from, eh?
#18: Promote Your Web Host
Now this is big business. If you can promote your Web Host well, you could start making some serious affiliate money.
Pat Flynn, the owner of Smart Passive Income, made $37, 650 in February 2015 alone from promoting his host, Blue Host. Even when he was first starting out way back in 2011, he still managed $7000 a month.
Which means that this, if you would like to, it a great way to start earning a little cash, simply by referring people to your own host.
There are people out there who want their own sites. And they’ll come to you for advice at one time or another. This is a nice little affiliate to have in your back pocket to help others get online.
#19: Subscription Forums
Want to know the one thing your readers are dying for you to create?
They all want to feel like they belong. That they’re part of your tribe. Where they can come together and discuss ideas with like-minded people.
And, it doesn’t matter what niche it is. It can be anything in the world. Heck, I bet you could start a whole paid forum on Tumble Dryers if you really wanted to.
You might be thinking, “I can start a forum for free!”
And, you would be right. But here’s the thing with that – you’re sacrificing the quality of your forum. If anybody can join, anybody can post. And if anybody can post, they can post any old rubbish they want.
It keeps the spammers away, which leaves your readers – now members – in the peace of mind that they’re in the right place.
#20: Offer Coaching Or Consulting
Some of your readers need a hand to hold, and to show them how to do exactly what they need to do.
If you’ve ever been to a local gym, you’ve almost definitely seen the rise in Personal Trainers. And the same is happening with personal coaches on the Internet too – in all niches.
In the interests of helping people, this is where you can have the biggest impact on your readers. It’s also the most common-sense follow on from blogging.
Because, well, they’re there for you, aren’t they?
Cost, pricing and timings come down to who you are and the niche you’re in. But you have free reign over all of it.
I can 100% guarantee you that there is someone out there willing to pay you for it. So why not add a coaching page now?
“Even a beginning blogger can usually get $99 an hour for a telephone coaching and sometimes a great deal more.” – Jon Morrow
#21: Create A Job Board
Are there people in your Niche looking to get hired, or find freelance work? If so, you might just have found the perfect income stream.
The ProBlogger Job Board is a perfect example of this.
Not only does Darren Rowse’s blog teach people how to be better bloggers, it connects them with blogger jobs too. But like all smart businessmen, he doesn’t do this for free.
To post a job on the board for 30 days costs $50. Which keeps the riff-raff at bay, but allows people to find good quality jobs in the blogging niches.
Even if only one person were to post a job on his board, that would still be $50 in his pocket for little to no work whatsoever.
Could you do the same on your blog?
I’ve seen it done on:
- Fashion Blogs
- Marketing Blogs
- Development Blogs
- Engineering Blogs
- Art Blogs
- Health and Fitness Blogs
If you could put the right people, in front of the right jobs – for the right price – not only are you helping your audience, but you’ve become a networking mastermind.
#22: Create A Shop
An online shop might be something you never even considered. But, through the power of affiliate sales – and marketing – it’s a great place to put the products your readers might need; right next to the content they love.
- Sell your own products: Like this Gentleman’s fashion blog
- Affiliate sell other people’s products: Like the guys at I Want One Of Those
- Create an online affiliate-bookstore: Just like the owners of GoodReads did
The only limit to this is your creativity, and the relevance of the products you’re selling. But, at the core of it, you’re just making your readers lives much easier.
#23: Sponsored Posts
Native Advertising is a rapidly growing strategy.
Mostly because it builds trust and rapport with readers, before you’ve even found out they’re selling to you. It’s essentially guest posting for companies.
And it could be a great way for you to make a little extra cash.
From small SEO companies, through to big corporations, if you’ve got a platform worth publishing on, they’re going to be interested in getting on your site.
Plus, it’s a little more honest than other sorts of advertising because you have:
- Editorial control
- The final say if it goes on your site
And, at the end of the day, the content is there to benefit your audience too.
But you’re definitely wondering how you get these posts, aren’t you?
There are a few ways:
- Pitching: If you want income this way, you can actively pitch to companies or advertising agencies and offer the space.
- Create an Advertising page: Outline how much it costs and sit back and wait.
- Network: Speak to companies and agencies to see what they want from native advertising, then offer it to them.
You could stand to make a couple of hundred dollars, and lighten your content load all at the same time.
“Sponsored content is what a publisher creates and then a brand pays for.” – Copyblogger
#24: Promote A Relevant Service
There are always new services in your niche. And, they all have a Marketing Manager – or blog owner – who is looking for ways to market them.
Why not help them out by giving them a place to promote it, and joining them as an affiliate?
Helping your audience doesn’t end at your blog. It ends when they’ve achieved their goals. So putting them in touch with the right products and services makes you even more helpful than you were before.
If it’s truly a product you believe, and would use yourself, you’ll have no problem selling it and turning a profit.
#25: Paid Mastermind Groups
Mastermind Groups and Blogging are a match made in heaven when monetizing a blog.
It’s where the truly committed minds from your audience can come, talk about ideas and you can help them – quite directly – move forward towards their goals, or with your niche.
This is a bit different to a forum. In the way that it isn’t ‘Ask a question; get an answer’.
It’s more that you pose a question, or a task, and your readers can join in, or achieve a weekly goal that they’ve committed to with the group.
Think of it more as a support group for people working towards a common goal. Like Alcoholics Anonymous but for your niche.
This makes a great subscription service, and can even be an addition to your forum for those elite members. It’s simple to set up as a Facebook group or private area on your site too.
It also comes with a ton of benefits for you:
- Content Creation: You can ask, directly, what your audience is looking for – and how you can help them.
- Evangelists: Help enough people and you’ll have people marketing your blog for you.
- Instant Customers: Just add water. Or products. Whichever works for you the best.
Prices for these kinds of groups vary. So it depends if you want a lot of members, for a lower price. Or fewer members for a higher price.
The Nichehacks Private Mastermind has over 1,000 members on Facebook right now. Imagine all of those people were giving you just $3 a month? You’d be laughing all the way to the bank…
#26: Create A Membership Site
Throughout this article you’ve read about:
- Mastermind Groups
Now this is where you roll all of those into one, lovely, membership site.
Technically this is an extension of your blog. But, my g**, is it a good one or what. If you’re positioning yourself as an authority in your niche, this is one of the best products you can create.
For example, Jeff Goins’s Tribe Writers, is a membership site that only open three or four times a year. And it only lets in 150-200 students on average. Which are always filled in a matter of days.
It’s a full-blown course with: forum’s, eBooks, mastermind groups and personal coaching that teaches you not only how to become a better writer, but to find your whole entire audience.
He also charges upwards of $100 per membership.
You can make one of these sites for literally any niche.
Here’s a few ideas that I’ve come up with for some main blogging niches that might get your creative juices flowing:
- Parenting: The New Parents Crash Course – How to manage your life from the moment your baby is born, through to teething and everywhere in between.
- Finance: The No-Debt Society – A full membership with strategies to manage your cash, get out of debt and plan each and every month.
- Personal Development: Mindfulness Matters – A step-by-step course, with forum, that helps you get from overthinking life, to living in the moment.
- Business: The Well-Fed Affiliate – How to start an affiliate business, from scratch, with a forum and mastermind group for guidance.
They might not be million dollar ideas, but you see what I mean.
Take all the questions your audience might have and give them a place to find the answers, and work alongside you.
“[They] launched ViralURL four years ago and the site currently boasts 74,494 members with a total all-time membership count of more than 210,000. Since the launch, Klinkert and Bauer have seen a total income of $3.2 million.” – Marla Tabaka, INC.com
#27: Promote A Membership Site
Don’t want to set up your own membership site? Then try monetizing a blog by promoting another one in the mean time.
Again this is a great affiliate scheme that can really help you make a few extra dollars each month.
oDesk – the freelancing site – are willing to pay $50 for every lead you send them, that converts into paid work for someone. If you know people in your niche looking to hire, why not send them that way?
Find a relevant site, join the affiliate program and promote it. It’s really that simple.
#28: Surveys And Poll’s
Google Consumer Surveys now gives you a way to make money from simply asking your audience questions.
The amount you stand to earn from these depends hugely on your traffic. The split is 50-50 between you and Google. But you can earn $0.05 per question answered. Which, over time, is a nice little piece of passive income.
And it could even give you a little insight into what your audience is really thinking too.
#30: E-Mail Adverts
Earlier you read about Native Advertising, and how it can be used in blog posts.
But do you know what’s even more valuable to someone looking to advertise? Your email list. This is the Holy Grail for them – and, if used sparingly – can be highly effective for you, too.
It can come in many forms:
- E-mails about products
- Adverts in your footer or signature
- Direct promotion
- Affiliate sales
From renting space, to sending that e-mail, there are lots of ways for you to make money with the right customers.
However, don’t ‘plug’ too often, or you run the risk of being the boy who cried wolf and disengaging your audience.
#31: Sell Your Blog
There comes a time in every blogs life where you feel that you’ve taken it as far as it can go. Which leaves you three options:
- Let it die: Log out and never log back in again.
- Give it away: Find someone good to run it and hand it over.
- Sell it: The smart option, right?
Sites like Empire Flippers help you sell your site to the right person, for the right amount of money. And, if you’ve got the right following, you’re able to sell it for quite a good sum of money too.
Think of it this way:
You’ve taken the time to build a business. That’s what your blog is at the end of the day. You shouldn’t just hand over the keys and walk away, you should get the best possible return on your investment.
This is it.
Wrapping It Up…
There you have it, 31 different ways you can monetise your blog right now. Even if you’re the most pure artist in the world, there is a method here that will make you some extra cash.
I told you that monetizing a blog was easier than you thought!
And remember, your audience wants you to monetise your blog. Because, if nothing else, they’re going to want your advice for years to come – and that’s hard to do when you’re not getting anything in return.
So, my question to you is now you know how to make money off your blog, how are you going to monetise your blog?
Let me know in the comments…