This is a guest article by Ness. Want to become a regular contributor? Check out our guest blogging guidelines.
There are probably a dozen or more ways to make money with a blog. However, what works for some blogs may not necessarily work for yours. You need to have an appealing website and write quality content that pulls in droves of traffic before you can start making any money. For some niche pursuits, however, you must establish yourself as an authoritative voice in the field before you begin reaping the rewards. Here are 5 of the most time-tested and viable ways to monetize your blog.
1. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is usually the top earner for most bloggers; top bloggers can attest to this. The way it works is simple – you recommend a product (preferably one you’ve used) in your posts and users click through to purchase it. For every user that ends up buying it, you earn a commission. You can become an affiliate in pretty much any industry, from insurance to pet food.The Amazon Associate program is really easy to get started with, and depending on the products you pick and your efforts, the rewards could be interesting.
However, some of the most rewarding niches have cut-throat competition in them so you really have double your promotional efforts to get noticed. But all affiliate programs do need traffic to thrive anyway, so find a niche that drives you and focus your efforts there.
2. Product sales
If you are a designer, photographer, artist etc. or have some special skill, blogging can be a way of generating more income and up-scaling your business. For example, you can sell your own photography through your blog. A designer could decide to offer some nifty tips and advice in the industry, establish trust and finally sell some of his pieces of work. That’s always the cycle with bloggers that sell products – you must be a resourceful person before anyone can buy from you.
Selling isn’t just limited to physical products. Most bloggers either write e-books or create some great informational product that the audience might find useful and buy. It goes without saying here that your e-book or info package must be compelling enough for the customer to want to buy it. That means you must work hard enough first to establish your blog as a resourceful site in your niche.
You’ve probably heard of or even tried AdSense ads on your site. Well the truth is that AdSense and other advertising networks like Chitika can be a decent source of income if, and only if, your website receives tons of traffic. That’s why you might make a meager $50 a month with AdSense while another blogger makes $5,000 – all down to traffic and proper ad optimization techniques.
Advertising with ad networks isn’t as lucrative as it used to be, but you still have the opportunity for direct ad sales, which are better paying. As with most business deals, you must pursue the advertiser and be able to convince them that your blog traffic is highly targeted and large enough to warrant some ad placements.
4. Sponsored posts
Some niche bloggers will tell you how they often earn upwards of $500 for a single sponsored post. This monetization strategy is pretty much like direct ad sales: advertisers pay directly to get featured in a blog post, and the endorsement may or may not be explicitly disclosed. The same principles also apply when trying to attract sponsored posts(large, targeted traffic). Again, you must seek out such opportunities if you believe your blog has earned enough credibility and traction.
Membership sites are amazing income earners for their owners. You just set up a system, add some informational product exclusively for members and ask people to sign up. It may sound that simple, but it really isn’t. That’s because membership sites aren’t for everyone.
You must first be able to provide lots of quality content for free to your users, and then make some of the premium-quality content exclusive to members. There’s a balance you must strike, so as not to disappoint your free users with poor quality or unoriginal content; or disappoint members with content that isn’t exclusive to you i.e. they can find it elsewhere for free. This ‘freemium’ model has worked wonders for many bloggers as the income is steady since memberships are renewed on a monthly basis.