How to Monetize a Blog
Recently, the blogosphere has been inundated with articles by self-professed “experts” explaining how it’s so simple to make money off your blog. And oftentimes they leave the reader with more questions than answers. This predicament is aggravated by the fact that the vast majority of such pieces are written by celebrities or already-established industry veterans. All too often, their “advice” lacks concrete and actionable information that beginners can apply; instead, it’s simply a guise for hawking their professional content marketing services.
In order to remedy that, below, we’ll discuss simple and real actions you can take to turn your blog into an actual success story by monetizing it.
How to Monetize a Blog
Running a blog is no simple matter. It can often feel like you’re trying to climb a mountain blindfolded without having any clue as to the location of the mountain itself. There are so many factors and hurdles you face, including:
- The sheer time investment
- Adhering to the strict requirements of SEO
- The demands of producing consumable, informative, and authoritative content
As a result, blogging becomes more of an art than a science. And, if mastering such things wasn’t hard enough, the whole matter seemingly becomes even more convoluted when you attempt to monetize the dang thing. Although there’s no denying that content is king, generating meaningful income from a blog requires more than simply writing beautifully. You need to be cognizant and attentive to all aspects of a blog, including:
- Engaging readers
- Building a loyal audience
- Maintaining proper SEO protocols
- Seeking revenue streams
Fortunately for you, today, there are more monetization options at your disposal than ever before; however, before we dive into the plethora of ways you can derive value from your blog, first, it’s essential that you understand and adhere to the five pillars of blogging. These are:
- Focus your blog – Although you may wish to write about a variety of topics, it’s best to find a niche that’s specific to your company’s products or area of expertise and then start producing regular content that speaks directly to that. Both you and your readers should be able to easily boil down what your blog is about in just one sentence.
- Deliver value – Don’t simply fill the page with words just for the sake of doing so. You never want your reader to walk away feeling as if their time was wasted or that they didn’t really get anything out of it. Your main goal should be to deliver value by providing them with high-quality, informative, and engaging content. So, if you approach a topic that’s been spoken about ad nauseam, be sure to approach it from another angle or provide information that has been lacking from others.
- Provide quality – Remember that quality trumps most other factors. A well-written post that is 500 words but is snappy, memorable, and to the point will have far more lasting an impact on readers than a 2,000-word behemoth that is meandering and repetitive. full of repetition. Similarly, one high-quality blog per week will be far more effective than several haphazardly thrown together blogs. If you make claims, back them up. Cite reliable sources, link references, and bring in other experts to supplement your material and really give it depth and punch.
- Encourage engagement – Your goal should be to not only have people read your material but engage with it. You want to start a dialogue that leads to comments, discussion, and dissemination of the piece. The more engaged your audience is, the easier time you’ll have monetizing your blog.
- Leverage your authority – Ideally, you’re an expert in whatever your field may be. It’s crucial that you lean heavily on your experience, qualifications, and established clout. So, if you’ve written books, lectured, taught, or established yourself as a major player in your industry, be sure to let your readers know. After, you can continue establishing yourself as an authoritative figure by producing solid content. If you lack that, then you better immediately demonstrate to new readers what sets you apart from the millions of other “experts” shouting into the wind.
Monetizing Your Blog
Now that we’ve covered the essentials of the craft of blogging, we can begin diving into the various monetization avenues at your disposal. Naturally, how effective many of these revenue streams are will very much depend upon the size of your readership, which is why you need to initially focus on simply building an audience. That said, the following options are worthy of consideration:
Invest in Your Website’s Design
Although this suggestion doesn’t provide revenue in and of itself, sometimes you need to first invest before you can reap the rewards. This is especially true when it comes to website design. Simply put, it’s incredibly important that your company’s website is aesthetically appealing, user-friendly, and utilizes unique design concepts. Doing so helps to differentiate your blog and the content on the page from the countless others you’re competing against. So, be sure to devote the capital necessary to have a website that has an arresting visual layout and utilizes high-quality graphics, images, videos, and graphs.
Offer a Product or Service
If your blog isn’t already positioned to boost a current business, that’s fantastic. If not, then you should be offering relevant products or services to your target audience. In truth, this is the primary revenue stream for most prosperous blogs. Examples include:
- Online courses
- Training programs
- Software tools
Whatever you offer, it should be a solution to a problem that your audience is seeking answers. That said, if you wish to indirectly create a monetized blog via increased traffic and conversions, Forbes writes, “B2B businesses, in particular, use various creative offerings to attract leads they can then nurture. These are commonly offered free in exchange for at least a first name and email address. Look into using marketing automation to improve your lead nurturing capabilities.”
At its essence, a blog is all about building up trust between the author and his or her readers. A regular reader will return to a blog they like because they trust the writer’s opinions, expertise, or general takes. According to Mashable:
Blogs with quality content attract loyal readers. Since readers benefit from the content offered, they grow to trust the authors of that content over time. Consequently, an author’s blog posts are a logical place to promote relevant products and services without compromising the integrity of the content.
After a while, this trust becomes a more nebulous thing that is no longer strictly constrained to the specific topic at hand. And This is where affiliate marketing comes in, which is the most powerful passive income stream a blog will typically generate.
How it works is simple. Once you have an audience, you partner with other businesses to promote relevant or even tertiary products or services that might be of interest to your shared audience. For example, if you run a health blog, you can sell affiliate products such as supplements, juicers, or exercise equipment. So, if you pick the right affiliate program, you can rake in the dough without doing a whole lot.
According to Google, AdSense is, “a way for publishers to earn money from their online content. AdSense works by matching ads to your site based on your content and visitors. The ads are created and paid for by advertisers who want to promote their products. Since these advertisers pay different prices for different ads, the amount you earn will vary.”
At its essence, you are making virtual billboard space on your website for PPC advertisements. If readers click on those ads, you are given a commission that ranges anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars. Naturally, this is far more effective if you select advertisements you think would be of actual benefit to your readers. That said, Google can also analyze your blog’s content and then provide relevant ads based on what it believes your target audience is looking for.
Sell Ad Space
This is quite similar to the previous option, except you cut out Google as the middleman. The benefits are obvious—you sell direct advertising space to businesses on your own and make 100% of the revenue generated. That said, this will require you to go out and find advertisers and convince them that it would be worthwhile for them to do so, which is easier said than done.
As demonstrated, there are a variety of ways you can leverage your blog to generate revenue. In truth, each method can be effective, if used correctly and in such a way as to provide benefit to your readership. Without that, audiences will quickly lose interest the moment they realize that you’re simply after a quick buck. So, as you formulate your monetization strategy, be sure to properly pair it with relevant, informative, and engaging content for best results.
Forbes. How to make money with your business blog. https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2016/12/29/how-to-make-money-with-your-business-blog/#2e438c45494f
Mashable. 4 Steps to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing. https://mashable.com/2013/02/09/monetize-affiliate-marketing/
Forbes. 25 ways to make money from your blog. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2017/11/09/25-ways-to-make-money-from-your-blog/#55560f7a4892