Outside of having a love for writing and content creation, one of the most common reasons why people choose to start a blog is to make a little extra money. The process of creating a blog and driving traffic can be daunting to say the least. The work required to actually make money with a blog can be overwhelming and cause many bloggers to quit before they’ve made any traction at all.
One of the ways ways to prepare yourself when undertaking something difficult is to speak with experts in that given area. In this blogging expert roundup post, I asked 16 bloggers the following question:
“What is your best advice when it comes to monetizing a blog?”
Keep reading for tips and best practices when it comes to making some extra money with your blog!
Shailaja – Shailaja V
“Building a connection with your reader and being patient are the keys to making income from your blog. Create a loyal audience as this is the most important and sustainable long-term monetization strategy that will work. Everyone may talk about products and affiliate marketing or sponsored posts, but the truth is every channel will bring in money if you work on the most crucial thing: Building connections. My most loyal clients, network, readers and buyers are the ones with whom I cherish the connections that I’ve built over time. Always serve through your content; the money will follow.”
Adam – Blogging Wizard
“This might sound odd because it’s rarely discussed in the same vein as blog monetization, but content strategy is critical.
A big problem I see bloggers make is that they dig into their niche research but they don’t dig far enough into specific monetization tactics and what types of content it takes to make those tactics work.
For example, a lot of tech bloggers will write product reviews and wonder why they earn less than a dollar from AdSense each month.
This is because the ad revenue model requires the ability to drive huge amounts of traffic. I learned this the hard way when I was working on a video game blog 9-10 years ago. On release day, we’d publish reviews of new games and consoles. But hundreds (if not thousands) of reviews would be published at the same time by sites far bigger than ours. The reviews we published would fall flat on their face.
But, our newsworthy and viral content would get a meaningful amount of traffic. And if we still ran the site today? We’d be able to get even more traffic with viral quizzes such as “What type of Pokemon are you?” (fortunately, there are plenty of quiz plugins you can use these days). The best part is that these types of content would actually take far less effort than writing a full game review that required spending 24-48 hours playing the game.
My point is this:
Your revenue model, your niche and your content strategy need to be fully aligned with each other.
If either one doesn’t align fully with the rest – growing your revenue will feel like pulling teeth… without anesthetic.”
Lily – Finding Balance
“My best tip for monetizing your website is tripwires. I made $7 within 24 hours of setting up a tripwire and my blog was only 2 weeks old then. In the end, I made around $50 with 5 blog posts in my first-month blogging because of tripwires.
The advantages are enormous and it’s not a huge time commitment.
You start making money immediately.
You are more motivated to build your email list.
You prime your list to buy from you.”
Becca – Boost My Budget
“My favourite way to monetise a blog is affiliate links. But if you want your affiliate links to actually convert, my best tip is to really pay attention to what your audience likes, and then look for suitable products to promote. I see too many people in blogging groups asking ‘what’s the best affiliate network’ or ‘what’s the highest paying affiliate program’. But these people are looking at it backwards. If you pick your affiliate programs based purely on what they pay, you’re overlooking the most important part of the equation, which is whether your audience will actually be interested in the product. I recommend looking at your top 5-10 posts, and brainstorming products that fit naturally into those posts. Then you can go looking for affiliate programs for those products. It’s more important to choose a great product that will genuinely help your audience, rather than a high paying offer that nobody will click on.”
Trinity – The Pay at Home Parent
“One of the best decisions I’ve made in blogging was to create a product that supported the main topic and theme of my blog. Since I target online business owners, it made sense to write an eBook that would support them and help them in their journey.
It took just one month for my book to earn me enough money to cover the costs of creating and marketing it. Now, with the help of my affiliates, the book continues to bring in a residual income and add to my bottom line each month.
I share my story to encourage you to create digital products that solve a problem for your readers and help grow your income. The hard work up front is worth the passive income that a printable, eBook, or online course brings in.”
Francisco – Passive Income Wise
“When it comes to blog monetization, take it one step at a time. There are many ways to monetize your blog, but some of the most common – and profitable – ones are paid advertisement, affiliate marketing, selling your own product, and publishing sponsored content. Let’s jump into my favorite ones for new bloggers (and not so new)!
If are serious about blogging, you should start thinking about joining Mediavine. In the past, I used other ad networks like AdSense, Medianet, and Monumetric, but none of them performed as well as Mediavine.With an average RPM of $20 (depending on industry), if you get 50k sessions/month and get accepted, you would be instantly making around $1,000/month.To reach this goal, Pinterest can be of great help. If you manage to get a couple of viral pins here and there you could manage to get the minimum traffic required to join Mediavine. After being accepted, if your traffic goes below 50k, they won’t kick you out!
If you are new to affiliate marketing, I recommend you to start promoting no more than 10 affiliate products. There are thousands of products to promote, but I always recommend to stay with the ones you’ve tried before. To promote affiliate links, I’ll include below the ones I use for my blog that might help you.
- Review articles. You can create a review of a product or course providing your honest opinion and leaving affiliate links.
- Comparison article between two products. Pros and cons, which one is your favorite, and why. At the end of the article, you can showcase which one is the winner and include your affiliate link. This type of article works very well because you are answering the question “which product is the best for me?” and helping to make a choice.
- Explain an issue you had in the past, how did you resolve it, and link to the product that helped you resolving (for example a book/course). Chances are that some of your readers will go through the same issue and you can help them with the recommendation.
- Email marketing. An email list is one of the most important resources for any business. It gives you DIRECT access to your subscribers and it’s a great way to make affiliate income. Every time I send an email to my subscribers I get at least one sale, normally more. Of course, I don’t spam them with emails otherwise they will lose my trust.
Remember that you should help your audience, so always recommend products you’ve tried and are happy with. If you promote something that is going to help them, it’s a win-win, and they will come to your blog for more.
By applying these techniques, I managed to make a constant stream of over $1,000 per month from affiliate marketing.
Start Your Email List
If you only take one piece of advice from me, make sure it is this: Start Your Email List asap. Did you ever hear “the money is on the list”? Well, it’s true! I used many email list providers in the past (Mailchimp, Mail Poet, Convertkit), but my favorite one is MailerLite (cheapest and best service for the price, their customer support is also great). If you have less than 1000 subscribers it’s completely free. A few things to keep in mind to grow your list:
- Create opt-ins (inside the article). Add a different opt-in for each blog category you have and create a freebie for each of them. People love free stuff and this will help a lot getting new subscribers.
- Create pop-up forms (also give something for free). My pop-up opt-in triggers after 30 seconds of anybody landing my blog. If they close it, they won’t see it again until 30 days later (MailerLite has an option to set it up this way).
- An email list is not for generating traffic but to make money. It’s true that you can get a bit of traffic if you link to any of your articles in the emails, but the real power is when you promote your own products or other affiliate products. From time to time you can give them some sort of freebie to keep them happy and engaged. Remember that it’s about trust 🙂
- Create an email workflow. Every time you get a new subscriber you can automatically add them to a workflow. Workflows are sequences of emails that are sent automatically at a preset time interval. For example, if somebody joins today your email list, you can plan to send an email every 2 days that you have written beforehand. Doing this you will keep your new subscribers engaged for weeks and months (if you create a workflow long enough).”
Michelle – Making Sense of Cents
“My best tip for monetizing a blog is to try affiliate marketing. So many bloggers either skip it or think that it’s as easy as slapping affiliate links all over their blog. I recommend starting by going to Google Analytics and looking at your top 10 blog posts, and really brainstorming what you think would be most beneficial to your audience to recommend. This is a great way to start because your top 10 blog posts have probably been popular for quite some time, and they most likely also generate the majority of your traffic.”
Megan – LoveFamilyHealth
“When it comes to making money with your blog, you really want to think about what your readers need from you. If you are a parenting blogger, maybe affiliate marketing is where you want to be. If you are always talking about products that have worked for you and why you like them, then you 100% can be joining affiliate programs for the products you recommend! Nothing sells a product better than an honest review and letting others know how it has worked and helped you in your everyday life! If you know what your readers want and like, your chance of making a sale is pretty high!
If your blog is more on the education side, such as marketing, SEO, or anything digital, you may want to consider creating and selling a course. I know this is scary for a lot of content creators since the most common thing I hear is, “why would someone want to buy my course when they can find the info for free online?” People will pay for knowledge and accessibility. Why would they spend hours a day searching when they can get right into the nitty-gritty of it and be taught by an expert in that specific field. Filling a course with all the information you will ever need, all in one spot!
Be sure to set realistic expectations for yourself. Know that it takes time and dedication to make a consistent income with your blog. It took me a solid 18 months to really see the money start to come in. Slow and steady wins the race!”
Eden – EdenFried.com
“If you’re attempting to monetize your blog, the first (and best) thing you can do right off the bat is create and launch a digital product. Most people try all the wrong things when they’re getting started with monetization. They try to make money off of ads, only to find that ads require insane amounts of website traffic in order to make any kind of significant income. Likewise, they attempt to make affiliate sales, only to discover that affiliate sales rely in large part on a large audience size, as welll. Most monetization strategies require you to have a large audience in order to earn big. Digital products are different. It doesn’t matter how big or small your audience is when you’re selling a digital product. In fact, I earned my first $500 online when I had less than 400 people TOTAL in my entire audience. Once I created and launched a digital product, I was hooked and never looked back. Now digital products are how I earn 100% of my income online. My best advice – don’t wait to make a digital product because if you do, you’re leaving money on the table. If you want to learn more, check out my personal story on how I generated my first $1,000 online > https://edenfried.com/case-study/.”
Angela – AngelaGiles.com
“My biggest piece of best advice when it comes to a monetizing a blog:
Build your list so that you can sell to your list. Create a course and sell it to the list.
Do sponsored posts that work well with your blog.
Get on Media Vine.”
Lisa – Inspire to Thrive
“Here are some top ways to generate an income from your blog:
First, you must build an audience with great content on a topic. Don’t put ads on the blog to distract from the content.
After you begin to build an audience and an email list you can decide which affiliates you may promote on your blog. Pick the ones that are the products or services you use regularly use and really love.
That way you can easily promote them on your blog and talk about them freely and easily. Then put in the affiliate links (be sure to use the rel =”sponsored” for Google…..
Another way to make money from your blog is to sell your own products like a book, product or tool that others in your niche can use.
My biggest way of making money from my blog came by doing services but now I’m turning to affiliates and sponsored posts as more of a passive income.
But before you can do any of these you must build an audience and their trust by providing great content and useful advice and genuine help to that audience.”
Jeff – Breaking The One Percent
“My favorite way to monetize a blog is through affiliate marketing, but regardless of what method you chose for your blog, my biggest piece of advice is to always put your readers first. They should always be your Number One priority. Here’s what I mean:
- Become known for amazing, best-in-class content. Your readership will grow.
- If you are promoting an affiliate or selling your own product, make sure you are promoting the best solution to your readers.
- The best affiliate deals are not always the best fit for readers. Be careful of this.
- Never stop finding ways to improve your content — that will be the ultimate differentiator between you and your competition.
- If your readership and engagement is growing and you’re promoting great products/services to your audience, it won’t feel like selling. I promise.”
Melissa – Perfection Hangover
“I would advise people to utilize YouTube as a tool to increase affiliate conversions. I’ve found that you can increase rankings on YouTube much easier and faster than through Google SEO efforts. This is particularly effective if you’re able to partner with companies to offer an exclusive coupon code, and Google and YouTube love when you interlink content.
Create SEO-optimized titles and descriptions on YouTube and links to correlating blog reviews. Then, embed the video within your blog post, and it’s a win-win for conversions!”
Carly – Mommy on Purpose
“My best advice for monetizing a blog is to TRY MANY THINGS. Try EVERYTHING.
Sometimes we get an idea in our head – that ad income is the only way, or that Amazon affiliate sales are the only way, or that product sales are the only way…. but the truth is that there are MANY ways and that not all ways work for all blogs, and you won’t KNOW what ways work for you until you try them. Don’t be discouraged if the first thing you try fails. Or if the second thing you try fails! Blogging is a long game, and it requires MUCH trial and error.”
Jay – Dope Dollar
“One trick I learned early on about monetizing a website/blog post is to start with the product in mind. That means you’ll want to find an affiliate product that you’d love to promote first, and then build your blog post around that product. I find most people write an article first, and then fill in affiliate links wherever it makes sense. While this strategy absolutely works, you’ll likely find more success if you build an entire blog post around a specific affiliate product you’ve already chosen beforehand. This way, you’ll be able to pre-sell your affiliate product better which will likely mean higher conversions!”
Female Entrepreneur Association – Female Entrepreneur Association
“Know who your audience are – the easiest way to do this is to ask them. Are they men or women, what is the age range, where are they based? etc. Knowing more about your audience will enable you to monetise your blog much better, because you will be offering them something they will resonate with – whether you’re putting sponsored ads on your blog, designing a digital or physical product to sell them and so on. Once you know who you’re speaking to, you’ll be able to establish what they will buy into.”