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I’m SO excited to be sharing the second post of my new Blog&Soul Series (yes, I’ve named it!) which showcases a few ways to monetize your blog. And, I’m going to go ahead and ditch the small talk and get right into the good stuff…the question you’re probably most curious about if you’re reading this post: How can I make money blogging?.
As part of this blog series I’m going to be walking you through a ton of steps to help you get your blog launched. But I realize you might not know how other bloggers like myself make money doing our blog thang. I should rephrase – the “how” is a million and one blog posts in itself (and those babies are forthcoming). Today I’m focusing on the “what” – from affiliate networks, to creating online courses, to selling advertising and getting paid for your clout. Five of the most popular ways to monetize your blog are right down there waiting for you to discover them.
Let me know if any (or many) of these ways to monetize your blog are a fit for Y-O-U. Next week we’ll get into the “how do we get this thing launched” part. Can’t wait.
5 WAYS TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG
#1: Affiliate Networks
Affiliate Networks are a great way to monetize your blog if you have something to promote, like fashion, products, services or…ahem…subscription boxes. Brands create partnerships with the Affiliate Networks and bloggers create relationships with the brands through the Affiliate Networks. The Affiliate Network provides the blogger with all of the necessary tracking links, valuable reporting, click and traffic data, calculates your sales, and issues payment directly to the blogger.
Some bloggers (like me) sign up for individual affiliate programs and promote brands via blog posts, social media, newsletters, banner ads and more. When one of my links is clicked and a purchase is made, I get a commission. Oftentimes brands will offer exclusive coupons, deals and product reviews to their affiliates to aide in the promotional process. This is an awesome way to create a win-win with your reader. They help you by giving you the click and you help them by getting them an exclusive deal.
Here are some of the Affiliate Networks I’m working with now and each, are free to join:
- Share a Sale
- Affiliate Window
- Amazon Affiliates
- Commission Junction
- Flex Offers
- Impact Radius
- Rakutan LinkShare
Tip: If you’re interested in promoting a specific brand, just go to the brand’s website and stalk their page to see if they have an “Affiliates” or “Brand Ambassador” section. Usually, the links to the affiliate network they work with is found right there for simple sign up.
#2: Ad Networks
Ad Networks are a little different than Affiliate Networks in that you host advertisements on your blog and are paid based upon clicks (user takes action) and impressions (user takes no action) rather than sales specifically. In a nutshell, the Ad Network matches up bloggers with advertisers and merchants that offer payment to the blogger for the exposure. Some of the more common Ad Networks this year are:
Since I don’t currently work with Ad Networks, I’m not an expert in this area. But I found a couple of awesome bloggers who wrote some great posts on the subject: Single Moms Income and FrugalFanatic. Show em’ some love!
#3: Selling Ads on Your site
Another way to make money blogging is to sell ads on your site. In this situation, you weed out that middle man and work directly with the brand to negotiate the terms. Once you have the terms negotiated, the sponsor hooks you up with an awesome ad and you post it on your website (usually in your sidebar, up by your blog header and in posts).
This is a great time to introduce “media kits”. Awesome new bestie? Meet Media Kit. Media Kit? Meet future blogger. Your media kit includes information about your blog (including demographics, followings and traffic numbers as well as your fee structure for various services you offer (like ad placement). The Media Kit plays an integral role in establishing connections and closing deals. Keep your eyes peeled for a post that discusses media kits in more detail.
#4: Selling your own products (like tutorials, ebooks)
Do you have something to sell? Do you want to sell something? Lots of bloggers make additional income by selling things that they create, such as informative e-books, online courses and other tools that help their readers achieve a particular goal. Expect a follow up post on this.
Um, “Expect a follow up post on this” should become my new motto. But seriously, lots to share on the topic, including some great resources. Stay tuned!
#5: Sponsored Posts & Social Influence
Sponsored posts are posts you write for a brand specifically based upon a pre-set criteria they set forth. You infuse your flair and get paid by the post regardless of the success of the post. Social Influencer programs are similar in that brands are connected with “influencers” in the social world who repurpose the brand message and blast it into the social world. Most influencer programs have pretty tight guidelines for participation, such as a certain volume of traffic, genre, following (i.e. Instagram vs. Facebook), etc. In these cases the brand finds bloggers who have the ability to reach its target audience in mass (and with influence) instead of reaching out to its target audience directly. Here are a couple of popular influence based sites to link up with:
Some might. But that’s okay. You can’t and never will please everyone. But, you also want to make sure you create a welcoming environment for your readers! Use your “money makers” wisely so that whatever vehicles you are using to make money, also fit within the theme of your blog.
For example, if your bog consists of hillarous cat memes (omg, please email me once your blog is up!), you’re probably not going to want to have affiliate links and banner ads for computer projects plastered all over your blog. In order for readers to relate to you, you have to make sense.
Some bloggers will say that too many affiliate links or ads will be a red flag to your readers and they won’t follow you anymore. But, I disagree with this theory to a point and head straight back to grade school when my mom told me “honesty is the best policy”. Be honest about what your intentions are and if it makes sense, it will work. Stay consistent with your brand. Find your focus. And don’t just stick a bunch of stuff on your blog because you think it will make you money. If you are offering something of value, people will stick with you.
IS MY NEWBORN BLOG TO SMALL TO EARN?
The more traffic you have, the more opportunites you have to sell, the better your chance of making money. It’s simple math. But we’ll talk traffic boosters in another blog post.
The short(ish) answer is no. Many Affiliate and Ad Networks will accept you into their programs without having longevity or heavy traffic numbers. Some brands however may turn you down until you are exposed and building your volume of visitors and followers. Don’t be afraid to start building relationships from the get go. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no, you follow up with them when you have more traffic and they say yes? I promise you this happened in my previous blog life, and 9 times out of 10 the relationship that got turned down, turned into a “yes” once I had established myself a bit.
So, have you launched your blog yet? Ha-ha…KIDDING! I encourage you to take the next week to brainstorm and start strategizing. Do any of these methods of monetizing your blog feel like a good fit? Do many of these methods of making money blogging feel like a good fit? Now is the time to ask yourself the tough questions and start deciding if turning your blog into a profitable business is for you. I’ll be back next week to talk strategy and help you get your business plan started. Yee-haw!
This post contains affiliate links.