“How to start a profitable blog” – I am sure you have seen these words floating around on search engines and social media platforms. And for good reason too! Take a look at this startling statistic: according to HostingFacts.com, “the internet influenced sales to the tune of $2.1 trillion in 2016.”
Being a business owner is not a dream reserved only for a handful of people anymore. Anyone with special skills can create and sell their products or services without even having to invest in a brick and mortar physical storefront.
If you sit to think of at least five industries that aren’t online yet, you will just be wasting your time. Almost every industry in some way or the other has an online presence. And taking advantage of this digitization wave are online business owners. Bloggers are a subsegment of this online business owner community.
Bloggers have grown to be online influencers endorsing products and services they have discovered and loved or hate. Or, it could be their own product or service.
Brands are making a beeline for such influencers in hopes of reaching new audience/potential customers. Also word-of-mouth marketing.
Remember the $2.1 trillion?
If you have started a blog in the last year, you most likely want to monetize your blog and earn an income too. You may want to be one of those online influencers who seal the fate of business they like or dislike. Or, you may want to put your own business online and run a blog as a knowledge service.
But is it sustainable to run a blog without earning any revenue? Perhaps not. After all, there are certain operational expenses–such as, domain, hosting, email service, etc.–that need to be taken care of regularly. And of course, if after paying for all these costs, you earn a profit, that’s just a sweet deal.
How to Monetize Your Blog
The Three Types of Monetization Strategies
How you choose to monetize your business will essentially fall under one or all of the following monetization strategies:
- Sponsorship + affiliation
- Advertisement banners
- Own products and/or services
While some niches can leverage all three sources, others may be better suited to leverage one. Before knowing which one is best for your website, let’s explore the pros and cons of each strategy.
Disclaimer: All links prefixed with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. Any purchase you make by clicking these links will earn me a small commission but will not cost you anything extra. For more details, please read my Disclosure Policy.
Income from sponsorship and/or affiliation
Sponsorship and affiliation are not the same thing.
Sponsorship refers to established or upcoming brands offering a monetary compensation in exchange for a mention or full-fledged review from you.
Typically, you will include links to the brand’s website or offering in your blog post so that your readers can visit them. In exchange, you receive either money or access to the free product and/or service that you are endorsing.
Affiliation refers to recommending products and/or services that you truly believe in. The brand doesn’t pay you in exchange for your mention–unless, of course, you make a sale. Then, you earn a commission–a percentage–of the sale price.
For example, I use and recommend my website host, *SiteGround. If you purchase any of SiteGround’s plan by clicking the link I included above, it will earn me a few dollars.
Similarly, I wholeheartedly endorse *Blog By Number, an eCourse by Suzi Whitford, to anyone who is looking to start or is in the early stages of their blogging journey.
The difference between sponsorship and affiliation is the guaranteed compensation. While sponsorship means you are sure to receive a compensation, affiliate marketing requires you to actively promote the products and/or services without guaranteed compensation unless you make a sale.
In both cases, you must remember to add a disclosure statement (about the guaranteed or potential compensation) and mark all brand links as “nofollow” links. Not doing so can affect your listing in search engine result pages adversely and may even land you in a legal soup.
Additionally, ensure that the brands, products, and/or services that you endorse are not only relevant to your niche but are also in alignment with your values and principles. It helps even more if you have personally used and liked the product or service in question.
I know it may seem profitable to promote as many products and/or services as you can and hope some of those will stick, I would recommend picking and recommending no more than 5-7 brands/products/services on a regular basis.
Once you zero-in on your options, be sure to read the brands’ Terms and Conditions to learn how you can promote their offerings. For example, Amazon neither allows you to modify their affiliate links nor do they allow you to include their affiliate links in emails.
Income from Display Advertisement Banners
Displaying third-party advertisement banners on your website is one of the most popular methods of earning an income. This monetization strategy, in the truest sense, is an example of earning passive income.
You may have heard of Google Adsense or Mediavine–those are examples of third-party advertising networks.
These networks rent predetermined space on your website to display their advertisements. How these translate to income for you depends on the Terms and Conditions of the agreement.
For example, Google Adsense will track each visitor on your website and show them targeted advertisements from third parties in the designated ad space(s). You get paid if a visitor clicks the advertisement (pay per click).
Some networks simply pay you per 1000 views (pay per view).
In both cases (pay per click and pay per view), the amount isn’t the best. So unless your blog traffic is at least in 5 figures, don’t expect too much from this income stream.
Income from Selling Your Own Products and/or Services
If you have a product or service that others can benefit from, put it up for sale.
Except it’s not THAT easy. In fact, it’s the most difficult of the three monetization strategies.
First of all, you NEED to have a product or a service that you can offer. Maybe you already have a product or service, maybe you have an idea but nothing concrete yet, or maybe you haven’t even given this option a thought yet.
So, write down what special skills you have and what kind of products or services you can offer because of those skills. Can you write an eBook that helps new entrepreneurs change their money mind blocks? Can you create an eCourse that helps homeschooling moms teach better? Can you write email sequences for other bloggers? Can you be a fitness coach to people who want to build lean muscles? Can you be someone’s maternity photographer?
The options are unlimited. It can be as common or as uncommon as you make it.
However, make sure you are truly equipped to create that product or service offering.
Be prepared to put in some extra effort right from ideation to after-sale. As you become familiar with the process, things will become easier each time and you won’t be spending as much time modifying or marketing your offerings.
Make the offering so awesome that word-of-mouth becomes your biggest marketing tool.
Curious to know which monetization strategy is best-suited for your business/niche?
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