Would you, someday, like to spend your days blogging about your interests, and make a living doing so? More and more bloggers are making that dream a reality – and as big businesses increasingly recognise the value in reaching engaged, niche audiences, more are reaching out to bloggers to advertise and promote their products and services.
Pro Blogger Darren Rowse suggests it’s never too early to monetise your blog (and he should know!), particularly if your ultimate goal is to earn revenue from it, in which case you’ll be setting your audience expectations right from the start. If you’re just launching a new website or blogging venture and you intend for it to someday provide you with an income stream, start as you intend to go on. It’s far less jarring on your readers than suddenly including ads or affiliate links on a blog where there were none before.
Include a donations widget on your blog or website. If your readers like what you do and would like to support you to keep doing it, they may be inclined to make a donation. This type of monetization is likely to offer few-and-far-between rewards, but there’s no harm in giving your biggest fans the option.
eBook or eCourse
Selling an eBook or eCourse via your blog can be an effective means of generating income. First, your readers already know they like your style and are interested in your area of expertise, so you’ve already warmed them up for a pre-sell without even really trying. Second, if you sell your eBook or eCourse as an instant download, you won’t have to share your earnings with a third party digital publisher.
Selling sponsored post spots has gained popularity in recent years, particularly as web users have savvied up to traditional online advertising methods. Sponsored posts – not to be confused with guests posts which are unpaid and very different – generally refer to posts that have been written relating to a particular product, service or business, and where the blogger has been paid to publish that content. It might be in the form of a review, or it might just be a run-of-the-mill post where a specific business or product or service or website is given a special mention.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to sponsored posts, but for the sake of your readership it is advisable, if you are considering selling post sponsorship, to remain authentic and be transparent – that is, noting at the bottom of a post that it has been sponsored by Company XYZ. Your audience will quickly pick up if you are compromising the style, tone or content of your blog for money, which could drive readers away in droves. Remaining true to your style and ethics, and being transparent when a post is sponsored, is the key to earning revenue from sponsored posts without jeopardising your credibility.
Including advertisements on your website or blog is one of the most obvious forms of monetisation, and one of the longest utilised. Banner and sidebar ads have long been used by bloggers to generate income, and there are a number of international services available connecting bloggers with advertisers looking to promote their brands, websites and products to existing and relevant networks.
Like banner ads, affiliate programmes have been around for a long time, and have remained a staple used by bloggers to generate income from the traffic visiting their blogs. Essentially, affiliate advertising, or affiliate marketing, involves bloggers earning commissions when a reader follows a link on their blog to another site and then makes a purchase, or take some kind of desired action – such as signing up, or subscribing. Check back on Thursday for a post about affiliate sales programmes that you can try for yourself to monetise your blog.
Ready to begin monetising your blog? Check back on Wednesday for a post about blog ads and on Thursday for a post about affiliate programmes. Got a question about monetising your blog? Post it below in the comments.