For most Bloggers, a blog is a time consuming and unprofitable hobby. That's ok, as most people start a blog to enjoy the therapeutic effects of writing and creating.
The truth is that at some point the majority of bloggers, whether blogging for fun or business, grow tired and frustrated of blogging and give up, leaving the blog to rot away to the digital graveyard.
But, some of us (myself included) don't need another hobby. 😉 We want to run a successful business. A business that feels less like work and more like a hobby. A business that can make us a full-time income with part-time effort.
The good news is that blogging can be a very lucrative business when treated like a business. In any successful business, the business owner knows how the business makes money (hopefully lots of it!).
In this post I'll cover the 5 primary ways successful bloggers make money. I'll provide an overview of each tactic, real-world examples, and the pros and cons or each.
Now, let's cover each tactic in a little more depth.
A quick way to monetize a site is to place advertisements on it. The eyeballs reading your articles are worth money. Businesses seeking to get their product or service in front of the right audience are willing to pay for it.
For example, if a woman views a specific handbag at an online store, but does not buy, it is possible to follow her across the internet targeting her with an ad for the exact same bag, enticing her to come back and buy. She has already shown an interest in the bag, so to that online retailer, delivering an ad to this woman is valuable.
Did you know that website owners make $2-$4 for every 1,000 ad impressions? Place 2-5 ads on each page and make $4-$20 per 1,000 ad impressions.
Young House Love is a successful home renovation blog for people that want to create a beautiful home. They have 5 total ads on their pages, with 3 "above the fold" (can see on a desktop computer without scrolling) and 2 "below the fold" (require scrolling).
Affiliate marketing is earning a commission for promoting another person's (or company's) product. As a blog owner, you send your visitors to another site, and when the referred visitor takes a specific action (buy, apply, start a free trial, etc.), you earn an agreed upon commission. The commission is typically a % of a sale or a flat rate fee.
Amazon, the 1,000 pound ecommerce gorilla, has a famous affiliate program paying affiliates up to 10% for referred sales.
Personal Capital, our favorite tool for tracking our net worth, pays affiliates $50 to $100 per qualified sign up.
Thrive Themes, the WordPress theme provider we use, pays 35% commission on the initial purchase + 25% commission on any recurring revenue.
SiteGround, the company we use to host our site for less than $5 per month, pays affiliates $50-$100+ per sale.
Airbnb, our favorite for accomodations, does not have an affiliate program. However, they have a similar offering in a referral program, paying $25 for a new traveler.
Quick Math Exercise: If through your blog you get 1 reader per day to purchase/apply/sign up for a product earning a $150 commission, you've earned yourself $4,562.50/month, which is $54,750/year. Not bad!
An advertisement in the form of a blog post that promotes a specific company, brand or product. Whereas a banner ad is an obvious advertisement, a sponsored post is a "native ad." It feels much more like editorial content, and can be hard to distinguish as an ad.
The Roasted Root is a recipe blog run by a young woman named Julia, focused on healthy and tasty recipes. The Sangria Recipe above is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey, a company selling extracts. Why would Nielsen-Massey want to sponsor a Sangria Recipe?
It's simple. One of the main ingredients Julia calls for in the recipe is an Nielsen-Massey extract. Per the post....
"I used Nielsen-Massey’s Orange Blossom Water to bring even more citrusy flavor to this sangria. I love how authentic Nielsen-Massey’s extracts taste – they’re my main squeeze when it comes to extracts!"
In a world where people are bombarded with traditional advertising, sponsored posts is a very effective way to stand out from the crowd.
Services, helping companies or people do their work, are everywhere. Housekeeping, car maintenance, computer repair, life coaching, resume building, roofing, dry cleaning, pet sitting, staffing, Uber, etc. The list goes on and on.
Great Resumes Fast offers services such as Resume Writing ranging from $495-$2,295. LinkedIn Profile Writing for $495. Recruiter Distribution for $275. They are experts in their field, and solving real problems (helping people land a job) with their service offerings.
Creating & selling your own product is one of the, if not the very best tactic in monetizing a blog. This is especially true if you offer a digital product vs physical product. Digital products require no inventory, come with no shipping expense, they don't break, etc. Digital products are the ultimate product to sell.
Regardless of whether you sell digital or physical product, it is very difficult to sell another company's product. It's nearly impossible to compete with Amazon's low prices, Prime 2-day shipping, liberal return policy, and the trust that consumers have in Amazon and other large online retailers.
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