Starting a blog for making money online is a good idea, unless you know how to actually use a blog for making money. It takes a lot of hard work and it is not that easy as it may seem from the surface. With persistence, hard work, learning and enough experimentation, you can earn decent revenue from blogs by writing and developing interesting content which readers want to read.
There are lots of potholes in the way and the beauty of the system is that you don’t know which way will work for you, unless you walk that path. Different things will work for different people at different situations with different executions, so you have to experiment all the time till you get things in place.
Please note: If you do not have a blog or website and you think you will start one and earn money from day one, that won’t happen. That is the reality. The first step is creating useful content and driving traffic to your sites. Once that’s done, then you can adopt a monetization model listed below. It could take 3 years, it could take even longer, depending on how soon you are able to generate content and attract high quality traffic on a consistent basis.
There are different ways to earn money from a blog and below I will explain some of the ways to earn money from writing blogs
- Google Adsense
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling Products
- Sponsored content
- Text Link Ads
- Membership site and portals
- Direct advertisements.
Earn Money Using Google Adsense
Google Adsense is by far the easiest way to earn money from your blogs, which requires little or no effort to set up. You write content on your blogs to get traffic, paste Google Adsense ad codes, Google shows contextually relevant ads to your visitors, they click the ads and you get paid.
It is not that simple as it sounds but in comparison to other monetization methods, Google Adsense is the most easy model to understand and implement. However, Google Adsense is often not the best paying model if you want to earn really big. But in case you are just starting out, give Google Adsense a try.
The advantage of using Google Adsense for your blogs is that you don’t have to hunt down advertisers for your website since Google does that heavy lifting for you. Google scans the content of your page and shows contextually relevant ads to your site visitors. And there is nothing that you need to sell or the earnings do not depend on actual sale of a product or service.
Google Adsense is the most straight forward monetization model which you can adopt, if you are just starting out to earn money blogging.
Affiliate marketing is a highly profitable model for monetizing your blog where you promote products and services on your website and earn a commission for each valid sale. Unlike Google Adsense, where the money is made for each valid click, here the money is made for each valid sale.
Let me share an example so you get how this works.
Let’s say you have a blog on Shoes where you write and review about shoes. You find a list of companies which pays a fixed commission fee to people, whenever a valid referral is made.
You pick some of these programs,review their product and services on your website or blog and add your unique affiliate links. When your site visitors read your review, click on the affiliate link, go to the target website and purchase the product, you make money.
In short, you find interesting and highly profitable affiliate programs and write content to drive traffic to those pages. A percentage of those users will click your affiliate links and a fraction of those users will end up buying those products. When a sale is made, you will earn a flat commission per sale.
And how do you find affiliate products which you want to promote? This depends on the niche where you are playing, the popular paid products for whom affiliate programs exist and the earning potential for each affiliate program. You will get the hang of it when you start digging into it. But by far, the most highly paid affiliate programs are in the niche of web hosting, WordPress themes, SaaS products, eCommerce, Website themes plugins and others digital goods. You can also try your hand with Amazon affiliates and other eCommerce sites which pays good commission for the sale of physical goods.
Selling Products And Services
This is one of the best ways to monetize your blog or website and it is often the most rewarding one – sell your own products and services through your blog or website.
Is there something that you can do better than others? Then start a website around that thing and start selling. This could mean a whole host of things, I will share some examples
- If you are a good web developer and have a knack with different programming languages, you can start your own website and write useful content around the services that you have to offer. This will drive highly relevant traffic to your blog or website and some of them will turn into paid customers. I have friends who are application developers and they run their blogs on custom web development, seo and website design services. They keep writing useful content around that niche, which drives traffic from search engines which in turn generates paying customers who want their service.
- If you are a graphic designer, you can start a blog on graphic design and sell design, art and other creative solution to clients and companies. Your blog has to be very informative and should establish authority in your niche, then some of your site visitors who need graphic design services may want to try you out.
- Do you have an idea of creating a good SaaS product? Then go ahead, create it and you can charge a fixed subscription fee to your customers. It will be very difficult to create the product but once you have created a product which people would pay for, you will surely be able to generate revenue out of it.
In short, it is possible to generate revenue by selling your own products and services, provided there is enough demand for the product or service that you are offering and you are able to carve out a niche among your competitors.
Sponsored content is another good way to generate revenue out of your blogs or websites but it has few limitations, when compared to other monetization models.
And how does sponsored content works?
You start a website on a topic and create useful and informative content around that niche. When your website grows in traffic and has a steady volume of traffic every month, you will slowly become an authority and will be able to build up readership. Once you have built enough readership, some of the advertisers who would want to promote their products or services on your blog would like to pay you for writing an article about their product on your website.
This is the monetization model for sponsored content. The money is usually paid by PayPal or online bank transfer after or before the sponsored post is published(remember to negotiate the terms with the publisher before accepting money). Usually, money should be collected before the post is published but it is upto you to choose.
The limitations of sponsored content is that you need to first create an authority website, bring in lots of traffic and only then the advertisers will come to you to publish sponsored content. It works only after a certain stage of time and beginners will not be able to adopt this medium that easily.
And there are caveats to this approach. Sponsored posts, if not done correctly may hurt the SEO and rankings of your website and is often considered a grey area. If you publish too much sponsored content, your website may get penalized by search engines and may stop getting traffic.
Sponsored posts done once in a while is good but it cannot be a steady source of income, unless your site gets millions of page views every month and dozens of sponsored posts requests every week.
Text Link Ads
Text link ads are another way of monetizing your website or blog but it is again considered a black hat method so be careful before using it. If something goes wrong, you may get de-listed from search engines and will end up losing lot of traffic.
Here is how text link ads work.
Once someone clicks that link, you get paid.
Text Link ads are not a very white hat method of monetizing your blog or website since it could severely hurt your website’s search engine rankings. I would recommend newbies to stay away from this monetization method. If you still want to try, it is better you create a niche site and test the monetization potential of text link ads before trying it on your main sites.
Membership site and portals
Membership sites and specialized portals are a great way to make money online, if done correctly.
How does a membership portal works? And how can you earn money from it?
There are several ways to make a membership site work for you and it greatly depends on the monetization strategy you implement. I will share one way so you get some idea.
You first create a membership portal website which offers unique services regarding something which has enough demand and lesser supply. Once you have figured the niche of the membership site, you start attracting users to your website. Once you have a sizeble number of users, you can charge a fixed fee to each user for keeping the subscription.
There are other ways too.
You can start a membership site that teaches something to the user. You can offer a free course on something, reading material and high quality video tutorials also. If your niche has enough demand on the web, you will be able to charge a fee for signing up users to your membership course.
Membership sites mainly need good content and premium services around a topic which is not available for free, so people usually subscribe to those membership sites and get access to premium content against a one time yearly or half yearly fee, which is otherwise not accessible freely.
Example – A membership site on creating cartoons where members learn how to create cartoons with different tools. Or a membership site which teaches people how to create specific food recipes, which is not available online. The scope is endless and depends on your knowledge around a subject and how you execute it.
Direct advertisements are another viable source of earning money from your website and blogs. In general, direct ads are used on sites that achieves millions of page views every day and direct advertisement model is not viable for beginners who have less or no traffic.
How does direct advertisements work?
You develop interesting and useful content around your niche and attract lot of traffic to your blog on a regular basis. Once that’s done, it will attract the right kind of company or advertiser and they would want to display their products or services to your audience in exchange of a fixed monthly fee.
Depending on how much traffic your website has, you can decide the direct advertisement fee. If both parties agree, then you can put a banner ad for that advertiser on your website and earn a fixed fee through direct advertisement.
There are some direct advertisement websites out there where you can find direct advertisers for your website but it typically happens the other way. The advertiser finds out your website and drops an email to you through the contact page. If your website traffic is high, it won’t take you much time to find a direct advertiser but the general observation is that direct advertisement can’t beat contextual ad networks since direct ads are not always relevant to the audience of the page where the traffic is. In other words, direct advertisements can be a supplemental source of income if your website has decent traffic on a regular basis.
These are some of the most popular ways to monetize your website or blog. There are other ways available too but they genreally don’t result in generating a substantial, steady income stream.
Please let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.