How to Monetize Your Blog – Part 1
Are you looking for advice about how to monetize your blog?
Me too, but Here’s What I Know 12 Days Into Blogging
We began our adventure into the unknown blogging world by doing a whole lot of research. I am the queen of research and strategy. It’s just what I do. I had to prove to myself that this could actually be a viable option for an income stream before I put the effort into getting a blog setup and rolling.
I had no doubt that we had funny stories to share, awesome ideas for DIY and parenting hacks, a love of technology and exploring new products and a knack for writing. Travis has such a great writing style that friends and family have been trying to get him to start a “Dad Blog” for many many years now. I tend to be a bit more technical and dry sometimes, so I thought that writing a blog would actually help me separate from the businesswoman mentality that I’ve been lost in for a while now and remember the more carefree Toni I once was (while also still using my uber business skills to propel this adventure forward).
If you are looking to start a blog and make a profit, one thing is absolutely for sure and that is that you must have a monetization strategy. I know many of you are shaking your heads right now thinking that I can’t possibly know what I’m talking about since I haven’t proved my methods just yet. Well, you are right. That’s why this is Part 1. To have a monetization strategy, you have to understand how to monetize your blog to begin with. It’s a confusing thing to comprehend if you are only just getting a blog started.
How exactly do you monetize a blog?
- Ad Networks
- Private Advertising
- Sponsored Posts
- Selling Your Own Products or Services
What are Ad Networks?
Ad networks are companies that work with a lot of different advertisers who pay to have their ad placed on websites. Ad networks have different payment options for how you make money from the placement of ads on your website. These payment methods include: pay-per-click payments, CPM (cost per thousand views) payment based on the number of pageviews or a combination of those methods.
Examples of Ad Networks:
- Google Adsense
Ad Networks that I’m currently using include:
- Google Adsense – waiting for approval
- ShopStyle Collective
What are Affiliates?
Affiliate advertising is a way of monetizing your blog by including an ad or link to a company in exchange for a commission if a purchase results from a click through the link or ad.
Examples of Affiliates that I use:
Affiliates that I’ve signed up for, but haven’t applied for any specific programs:
In my opinion, Referral advertising is also considered Affiliate advertising. This includes referring readers to sites and receiving payment or “bounties” when that reader signs up for that service too. There are a ton of sites that do this.
Some sites that I refer readers to that offer a referral bonus to me and to YOU if you sign up with one of my links below:
- Walmart Grocery
- Amazon Bounty Programs like Amazon Prime, Amazon Baby Registry
- Plan to Eat
What is Private Advertising?
Private advertising is paid directly by the company that is being advertised rather than through a network. Different terms are placed on how long the ad stays up on the site, where it is placed, etc.
What are Sponsored Posts?
Sponsored posts are posts or a series of posts that are quite popular with bloggers. Bloggers work directly with brands to promote their products or services and advertise these brands in different ways including product reviews, brand ambassador, giveaways, social media promotions, conference sponsorships, paid product giveaways, etc. There are several sponsored post 3rd party networks that bloggers can also utilize to be connected with brands.
Examples of Sponsored Post Networks that I use:
Selling Your Own Products or Services
A lot of bloggers start their monetization strategy with eBooks, printables, eCourses, or other physical products that they can sell via their website. Some bloggers even sell services helping other bloggers get setup, evaluating websites, or providing consulting services.
Examples of ways to sell your products online:
I also work as a freelance contractor doing industrial, commercial and residential green energy consulting for which I write technical reports, do data analysis and review company performance. I DON’T count the income I make from my consulting work as income driven from this blog since I’ve been working as a consultant since 2010 in addition to my full-time career outside of the home.
So What Do You Do Next?
Every blogger’s monetization strategy is different and there is no “one way” to make money online. This is just a representation of my understanding of monetization strategies based on a ton of research (and some old college courses!) Our blog has been live for 12 days now and we have generated close to $50 in revenue with the above monetization methods. Our December Blog Goal was to make $50 for the entire month since we didn’t know what to expect, so we are thrilled that we are almost at our goal after only 12 days. I’m still working out what is most impactful for our blog, what will resonate most with our audience (as we are only just building an audience right now and up to >1500 pageviews this month) and different strategies for presenting the brand image for Our Family Code that we are striving for.
The goal is to deliver a profitable blog by providing an awesome, content rich blog that ultimately allows us to replace our other income sources. We don’t want to present a blog covered in ads or showcase brands that we don’t recommend. I’ve been very quick to remove ads immediately from ad networks and affiliate networks over the last 12 days because they don’t fit with our brand image. The best part is that ad networks want to work with you if your impressions are high (we’ve topped 40k on some ad impressions for a few ad networks and affiliates already). I’ve been able to communicate exactly why I removed advertising from my page and have had account managers reach out to me to figure out how to optimize their ads to fit our brand image.
If you are interested in learning more about our progress with the blog, you can check out our Week 1 Results.
The message here is to trust your gut, stand by your values, understand your brand and the business you want to drive and then chase the crap out of it. Don’t let a “no” deflate your spirits. Figure out what works for you and make a plan to make it happen.
More to come in Part 2! I’ll talk about beginning bloggers and some tips/tricks that I’ve picked up on how to communicate with ad networks and affiliates as well as add some strategy to your page to deliver a stronger return on your monetization strategy.
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