With that in mind I’ve put together my best tips to monetize a blog in 2018.
Before you can hope to see some cashflow you’ll obviously want a decent amount of traffic (I’ve addressed that topic previously here) and to attract that traffic you’ll need to be writing some great content.
Next you’ll want to shepherd the crowds to your deathless prose via SEO and Social Media. I find Pinterest and Twitter work best for me in the social media department, along with programs such as Crowdfire and Viral Content Bee.
Having done that, there are several popular methods of monetizing a blog that most experienced bloggers all tend to agree on. They’re time-tested and proven to work well for just about any blogging niche you can think of.
A popular choice for generating blog income and indeed one I’ve utilized myself in numerous places in this blog.
This is also a quick and easy way to start generating income without having to do anything so tedious as actually create a product yourself.
The concept is simple – just find a product you like (and hopefully have tried out), write a review and include links in that review to the product you’re reviewing. Here’s an example with my SiteGround review post.
In the case of SiteGround and most other products and software it’s usually just a matter of signing up as an affiliate on the website concerned. They then provide you a link in the form of code which you can place anywhere on your blog or website.
Since this link is usually something long and ugly, you don’t want to risk losing sales by deterring a potential customer – just install a plugin such as ‘Pretty Links‘ which can easily shorten it to something much more user-friendly.
One of the most popular affiliate schemes for new bloggers is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program. It’s one of the simplest and biggest platforms to work with, and you earn about 10% commission on any products that a person buys there after clicking on the link on your site.
If you later write your own course or ebook you can also get other bloggers to market it for you via your own affiliate scheme.
Both of those also come highly recommended by other bloggers. Carly Campbell says that most of her sales come from other bloggers touting her ebook for her, rather than sales she personally makes on her own blog.
This has long been a contentious method of earning income from a blog, with some bloggers swearing by platforms such as Adsense, Infolinks, Mediavine etc and others declaring that they can do much better by selling their own products such as ebooks and courses.
Still others claim success with a combination of the two.
The truth appears to be that in the long run you’ll do much better with your own products, but in the early stages of blogging you’re more likely to make some income (albeit not a great amount) with the intelligent placement of ads in or alongside your posts.
Samantha from ‘RecipeThis’ gives an excellent report on her reasons for leaving MediaVine, concluding “
I should add that it’s not just the old days – many top bloggers are still saying the same thing regarding ads, namely, “forget about ads and concentrate on producing and marketing your own products.”
Mike Allton from Social Media Hat: “Knowing how little I’d earn from AdSense, and how big a hit my search engine rankings would take as a result of placing the ads, I definitely would have held off on using AdSense – probably never implementing it, in fact.”
As Mike points out, Google avoids driving traffic to sites that are monetizing with ad networks, and anyhow once you’ve built the traffic to start using them you have superior options to monetize your blog.
If you’re still considering paid advertising however, there are a lot of useful articles out there if you just Google ‘Adsense alternatives’ or ‘Adsense vs Mediavine’ (those are the two that I’ve mostly seen and heard recommended recently.)
eBooks and Courses
eBooks and courses are extremely popular choices of ‘passive income’ for bloggers these days, and it seems like almost every established blog is aggressively advertising either one or both.
Chances are if you’ve published a bunch of posts you already have the material for an ebook sitting right on your blog – just copy some (hopefully) related posts into Word, toss in a Contents Page, an intro and a cover, click ‘Save as PDF’ and hey presto! you have an ebook ready to share with a grateful world.
Of course you may not make much money out of it if the quality of writing is poor and/or your marketing is ineffective, but many bloggers have gone on to fame and fortune from ebooks they’ve created themselves (see Pat Flynn’s story for an amazing example for instance.)
Probably the blogging Jedi Master of ebooks is Ryan Biddulph of ‘Blogging From Paradise‘, with an output so far of over 126 self-published ebooks he sells on Amazon and markets heavily on most of the social media platforms.
Courses are basically just more elaborate ebooks, often including worksheets and videos.
A good example of one of the more popular affiliate marketing courses is the excellent ‘Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course‘ by Michelle Schroeder-Gardiner.
Since courses are generally more in-depth bloggers tend to charge substantially more for them than ebooks (Michelle’s costs $197 for instance.)
According to The Radicati Group, by 2020 there will be three billion email users. So despite what you may have heard, email isn’t going away anytime soon.
Blog owners regularly claim that “the money’s in the list”, and based on their published income reports that certainly appears to be the case.
According to Grant Sabatier of Millenial Money, “Somewhere in the $1-$3 per month per email subscriber is actually realistic.”
Experienced bloggers regularly state that one of their biggest regrets is not starting an email list from day one, instead of waiting a year or more and thus missing out on hordes of willing customers.
To quote Harsh Agrawal (a well-known Indian blogger), “I only started email marketing at a later stage of my blogging career. This is one of the biggest regrets that I have, as I now realize the importance of an email list.”
You can’t control who sees your blog post updates, but everyone checks their email.
So I recommend using email marketing software such as Convert Kit to help collect emails from visitors to your site.
See my offer of a free PDF at the bottom of this post? That’s called a ‘lead magnet’, an enticement to encourage you to offer your email in exchange (powered by ConvertKit.)
It also pops up once you scroll two thirds the way down a post (if this is your first visit.) These placements and pop-up settings can all be customized according to your preferences.
Auction Your Website
If none of the above should work out for you or you just get tired of blogging (or just your current blog) you can always try to auction your website.
The most popular platform for doing this is Flippa. This is usually the best choice for websites with a value less than $20,000.
I’d try not to be too impatient though – most blogs don’t start to make any money at all for at least the first six months, and it usually takes at least that long to get anywhere with Google and SEO.
So try and give your blog at least a year before you even consider throwing in the towel – at the very least you’ll probably learn a lot and gain a lot of useful knowledge and experience!
Do you have any useful tips for monetizing a blog? Let me know in the comments below.
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