When you started your blog, you most likely had plans to monetize or make money, from your blog or business site. If you have a blog or service based business, it is possible to make money by offering services, sponsoring ads, writing sponsored posts, doing reviews, or using affiliate marketing for products and services.
There are many blog articles, courses, webinars, and masterclasses that all teach you how to make money from your blog or business site. How do you really know the best way to monetize? How do you choose the way that best worth your time, that serves your readers and actually makes you money?
When I started my first blog, I was not concerned about monetizing. The more I did research and kept blogging, I was convinced that Google Adsense was the way to go. I signed up, added the code to my blog and waited. I never earned more than pennies. Through networking with other bloggers who were in my niche, I identified not only a need but a love for brand and blog design.
I started an Etsy shop and started taking clients. After several months of my business and clients growing, I launched my brand new business site. It was at that point that I started to learn about making money through affiliate marketing. I identified what my clients needed, and what methods of monetizing were best for my brand, which was offering services, creating products and affiliate marketing.
The point I am trying to make here is that every single blog and business is DIFFERENT. So different. Creating an online course may work best for a blogger who is established and has a steady audience who is interested in learning what their course is about. Offering services may not be right for you if you are a food and recipe blogger (though, you could get really creative with that!) Being new to blogging and business, it takes time to identify what’s going to work for you. In this post, I am going to discuss the many ways you can monetize your blog, and how to know which method is the best for you.
1- Ad Networks
This first form of advertising is the easiest, but not necessarily the most profitable. You can sign up for Google Adsense or Halal Ads without any minimum traffic restrictions. There are other Ad Networks that do have minimum traffic restrictions, so check around.
You can sign up for the network, add your codes to your sidebar, headers, and footers and forget it. You can earn money through two ways, which are pay per impressions (or PPI) and pay per click (or PPC). Pay per impressions basically means that for every certain amount of visitors who see the ads, you get paid a small amount. This type of advertising is mostly chosen by advertisers who are looking for brand awareness and is a less costly way to have the brand shown to large audiences. With pay per click, you get paid a higher amount when your readers click on the ad displayed on your site and they leave your site to visit the advertiser’s site- just DO NOT click your own ads, that’s cheating!
There are a few drawbacks when placing ads on your site. When working with Adsense, you can choose a limited amount of filters for ads not to display, and you can also choose to manually approve certain ads which can get time-consuming. Google is fairly good at tracking your reader’s recent browsing history and displaying ads that will be more appealing to click, though there is always a chance that something indecent or inappropriate for your brand will pop up every now and then. With Halal Ad, you can choose your niche and have more control over the ads that are displayed which is very important if you have a spiritual blog with an audience who is interested in Islamic brands and campaigns.
Other Ad Networks may operate a bit differently, so before signing up be sure to do your research. Unless you have tons of traffic, you can expect to learn very little from ad networks. Another quick thing to note is that different networks will have different payout limits. I believe Google has a $50 payout minimum, and Halal Ad has a $10 payout minimum.
2- Affiliate Marketing
One of my favorite ways to earn a passive income through my blog is through affiliate marketing, though some bloggers will say affiliate marketing is not the best idea for your blog or business site because you are encouraging your readers to leave your site and go to another. When done properly and on brand, making an income from affiliate marketing is possible without throwing your readers off or being sleazy or salesy.
As a blogger, you can sign up for affiliates who are in line with your brand values and recommend your favorite products and services to your readers. You can add affiliate links to your blog posts, newsletters and share your links on your social profiles.
The key is to choose the RIGHT affiliates. For example, if you are a mom blogger who often talks about natural and organic parenting, you could choose affiliates such as The Honest Company who sells natural and organic diapers and hygiene products along with Growing Up Herbal, who has created mini-courses and ebooks for how to treat childhood illness using essential oils and herbs.
If you are a fashion blogger who often talks about finding deals and steals, you could join the Stitch Fix affiliate program and become a referral for the online thrift shop, ThredUp. Would it make sense as a mom blogger to have a banner on your site for WordPress Hosting? Probably not. However, if your web host has been awesome and you see someone on social looking for a good host you can always recommend them using your affiliate link, so it doesn’t hurt to sign up.
You do want to take care to sign up and recommend products that you use or have tried yourself. Don’t sign up for random affiliates, because your word is on the line here. If you have never tried a product, why recommend it to your audience? Take by chance that someone tries a product you recommend and have a terrible experience. Do you think they will come back to your blog? Maybe, but they will be naturally cautious knowing that you recommended them to a product that was terrible, yikes. You don’t want to build that type of reputation.
You can sign up for affiliate programs for most business sites, and even through bloggers and brands who offer digital products for sale such as ebooks, courses, and other digital goods. The affiliate percentage for most retail brands are less than 10% of the first sale, however, there are some programs who offer lifetime recurring commission on referred purchases and digital products that have a much higher referral commission that could range from 10-50% of the purchase cost. For example, if you love my products you can sign up to be an affiliate for Etsy and Creative Market and earn for recommending stuff you already love (just to toot my own horn and help us both earn a bit).
You also have to be sure that you are letting your peeps know that your link is, in fact, an affiliate link. Add a note at the beginning of your posts, a disclosure in your footer or sidebar, add a snippet to your newsletter and hash tag it, or mention it on social when you use your link and, please do take care to keep track as you will have to report these earnings on your taxes! If you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed about affiliate marketing, but know it’s a good choice for your new, budding or established blog or business, you can sign up to learn more when my new mini kit, Affiliate Amore, is ready!
Affiliate Amore will teach you how to find the right affiliates for your blog or business site, how to earn from your blog, site, newsletter and social and how to track your earnings so you know what affiliates are worth it to keep. It will also walk you through the tech side of things, like adding affiliate ads to your sidebar, the disclosure, and tax stuff and even how to maximize your earnings with sales and promotions! – Coming soon, stay tuned!
3- Sponsored Posts and Reviews
Sponsored posts and reviews can be pretty fun, especially if you are getting paid! Basically, a sponsored post or review is when a brand sends you a product and/or offers you monetary compensation for your honest review on your site. Your review could be in the form of a blog post, video or social media blast. When just starting out, it will be a bit difficult to secure monetary compensation, though you may be able to get in touch with brands that you love and ask them for a sample of their product in exchange for a review on your blog.
Before approaching brands, be sure to have a blog or website that is populated with posts so that the brand can see your writing style as well as if your content aligns with their brand (they WILL look, trust me). You could also even do a few review style posts for products that you love. Include high-quality photos, make your post super shareable, and be fun and engaging with your audience (you can still add your own affiliate links into these posts for products you love).
When reaching out to the brand you want to work with, link them to your best review post and invite them to visit your blog. You can also suggest some examples of how you can work together, and invite them to offer their suggestions. Be brief, professional and highlight the benefits for THEIR brand by working with you. At closing, offer them your media kit that you will send upon request when you hear back from them.
You should also contact them through a professional email. I do recommend a domain email, which you can get for free through some hosting companies such as *Siteground or *A Small Orange, or you can sign up for a Google Apps account, which is $5 or less per month for a domain email and Google Drive (which is great for writing, image and file sharing, and collaboration). You can do that through Namecheap, and it may be on sale (last I checked, it was). If you absolutely can’t afford a domain email, go with one that is firstname.lastname@example.org. Go the extra mile, it really does make a difference.
You should also really consider creating a Media Kit, most brands (if not all) will ask for this. A Media Kit is basically your blogger resume. It talks about your niche, your experience and expertise, and your blog and social stats. Even if you are just starting out, you can still make a fabulous media kit that shows you mean business. One of my favorite courses to recommend is *Media Kit Smash, which walks you through how to make the most amazing media kit EVER. Or, if you can’t swing a course, you can get a super awesome template from Twelve Skip who is pretty much an expert when it comes to making money blogging.
Wrapping it up- for now!
Phew, that was a ton of super useful information that I hope will help you get started on the RIGHT track to making money from your blog! If you have these down pat, and want to explore a few more ways then look out for part two- it’s coming!
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