If you were to guess how many active websites and blogs there are in the world today, what would your guess be? The correct answer is over a billion, and 300+ million of them are blogs!
That is a lot of websites and all of them are constantly creating new content to flood the internet with — which also means more frustrations and headaches for your site, brand or business to try and compete with.
However, to find success on the internet today, it’s not about “just creating content”. Instead, it’s about providing value and figuring out a monetization method that works best for you and your blogging audience. Having been actively making money online for 20 years now, I know what it takes to create a blog, brand, and business that stands the test of time. Today I’m going to share with you some of the best ways to monetize your content without jeopardizing the user experience of your audience in the process.
Each of the following methods to make money with a blog are unique in their own way. What’s also exciting is that each of them can be used in really any niche market or business model that you might be working with. Read through each of my favorite methods below and see which might work best for your audience and brand.
1) Provide Examples and Resources for Your Audience
Blogging is all about creating quality content that provides value to your audience. This is something that most e-commerce and businesses struggle with when trying to make a presence and build ROI online. However, the concept is actually a lot easier than many of them make it out to be. If you are currently selling a product or service, simply use your blog to provide content based on product reviews, examples, how-to guides and ultimately making the buying decision process that much easier for your audience.
A perfect example of this can be seen through this custom magnet company. While a traditional site might just list their stickers or products for sale, a site like Stickermule actively uses their blog to highlight how customers are using their products, and providing examples to inspire new potential customers.
2) Recommend Products and Services through Affiliate Marketing
Many blogs are started because they are a case study, test or side project that actually turns in much more. A common example of this might be if someone started a blog about their favorite crafts or how to become a better chef. No matter the topic discussed, as long as it’s something other people have a passion and interest for, it’s something that you can likely monetize through affiliate marketing — which is the concept of earning a commission for referring new sales or leads to another business. Amazon.com currently has an affiliate program, which allows site owners and bloggers to send visitors to Amazon and earn a commission for each referred sale.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best business models on the internet today, simply because nearly all programs are free to join and there are never any products, orders or customers to deal with. Amazon’s affiliate program is just one example, but there are thousands of websites and brands that have affiliate programs of their own as well. In short, no matter what you are recommending or talking about on your blog, there is most likely an affiliate program out there that relates to your target audience and existing content.
3) Create a Product or Ebook to Sell to Your Readers
As mentioned in the point above, most blogs are started out as something small and continue to grow into something much larger. This is also true of the audience for such blogs and the people behind them. For any entrepreneurs with blogs or bloggers who are creating content based on their expertise, this is a perfect opportunity for you to build a following and ultimately create your own products or ebooks to sell.
This is something I’ve had a lot of experience with over the years, as I first started making money online in the mid-90s, started a blog in 2007 and have been creating content to help others accomplish the same. Now that I have a respected and established following in place, I can release my own products, webinars and courses to my audience who are looking for more value beyond the written content found on my sites.
The benefit of having your own product or service is that you would earn a much larger percentage of each sale. Usually 100%, minus any transaction fees. For established bloggers with lots of content, creating a product of your own to sell could be as easy as compiling your best content and packaging it up on ebook/PDF form. The value here is making it extremely easy and fast for your audience to get your best premium content.
4) Gain Sponsorships from Relevant Advertising Partners
The one constant on the internet is that all businesses and brands need more traffic and exposure. This is one area that bloggers can take full advantage of. Since most blogs are niche specific, it shouldn’t be hard to reach out to other brands and businesses within your space to see if they would like to advertise on your site or sponsor an upcoming event. Sponsorships are great because not only does it help your advertiser get more exposure, it can help fund upcoming projects as well. A few working examples of this could be a sponsored podcast, blog post, webinar or even a contest to give something away.
A good majority of businesses online are already doing this type of promotional advertising, it’s your job to make sure they find you. When approaching sites for sponsorship, be sure to know what you are offering them in value. It’s also important to note any necessary disclosure within your content, such as “This is a sponsored event”. If all goes well, your sponsor will likely renew for several months to come.
5) Build a Mailing List and Autoresponder Series
Of all the methods mentioned in the article so far, building a mailing list has to be the best long term solution for success. The sad truth is that 70% of the people that visit your site for the first time will never come back. This is simply a numbers game and there is just way too much content out there for everyone to consume. The good news is that a mailing list can help bring people back to your site time and time again. On the flip side, you are going to need to get a bit creative and offer some value to your audience in the process.
A great way to do this is through the use of a free gift and using popup subscribe forms to increase conversions. To get a better understanding of how this process works, look at these popup email form examples. Each of the sites created a free downloadable gift, which is the incentive to getting site visitors to join a mailing list. Once you have a mailing list in place, be sure to setup an autoresponder to keep the conversation and engagement going.
How to Make Money with a Blog in 2016
Starting a blog is easy… making money with a blog is not. If you want to find financial success online with a blog, you need to find the middle ground of creating content, providing value to your audience and monetization plan that makes sense for both sites. The good news is that once you find this formula for success, there is no limit to your success!