I know at least six dozen ways how blogs make money. And I’m no expert.
Let that sink in.
Yes there are at least six dozen ways how your blog can make money.
A complete list with descriptions of each method will run to the length of a book. So in this article I’ll discuss only five ways how you can start generating money from your blog.
If you are curious about other methods or have any questions, just drop in a comment below. I’ll make sure to reply.
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first.
None of the methods of monetizing a blog will work if you have no traffic.
The advice many amateur bloggers give is keep building your blog and one day an audience will come. That’s wrong. Build an audience and opportunity will come. That’s the correct advice.
Anyways, let’s begin.
1) Freelance writing
How can I ignore freelance writing when I’m writing for a freelance writing blog? You can use your blog to 1) showcase your writing skills; and 2) get increased visibility thus acquiring more clients for freelance writing.
Besides, when applying for a freelance writing gig, it looks far more professional to send the potential client links to articles you’ve published on your blog instead of sending Word files as attachments.
And if those published articles would have received a lot of comments and social media shares, good for you. That tells the client that you can write articles that resonate with readers.
One quick tip. If you want to acquire clients through your blog, create a Hire Me page and put it in a prominent position. Don’t assume prospective clients will understand you are available for work without a Hire Me page.
2) Google AdSense
This is one of the most popular methods to monetize a blog.
I just did a Google search for “books on writing” and I was displayed the following page.
As you can see, apart from the search results, I was also displayed some banner ads and text ads. If I click on them, Google will get a commission.
Google allows website owners to put these same ads on their websites/blogs. When people click on them, Google will share their commission with the site owner.
This programme is known as Google AdSense.
The average click through rate (CTR) of display ads is 0.1%. And one click generates $0.5 on average.
This means if your blog gets 1,000 impressions per day, only one person is going to click on the ad and you’ll make $0.5. That’s $15 per month.
This may sound meager but note this is the revenue from only one ad. The more ads you publish the more money you can make.
3) Private ad sales
Private ad sales are different from the AdSense kind of ads because here you—the blog owner—will set the terms.
With AdSense type of ads you have to just accept their terms and conditions and then publish their ad code on your site. Then you have to wait to earn a minimum amount before they can write you a cheque.
However in private ad sales you are in charge.
Most bloggers selling private ad spaces charge a fixed amount of money on a per month basis. This means, for example, that you’ll earn money even if nobody clicks on the ads.
Also, you can ask for an upfront fee. Or charge a 50% advance. Tell advertisers to pay through PayPal or online bank transfer. Or do whatever suits you.
I know it sounds quite comfortable but I reiterate that you’ll only be able to get advertisers if you are getting a lot of traffic.
Ad rates for private ad sales depend upon a lot of factors and thus vary a lot between blogs. However it’s typical to charge $1.5 for 1,000 impressions for a 125 X 125 (pixels) ad in the top side bar.
Note this is three times more revenue than a typical Google AdSense ad.
To put it another way if your blog gets 1,000 page impressions a day you can charge $45 per month for the ad described above. Not bad, I would say.
4) Amazon affiliate marketing
Register on Amazon’s website for an affiliate account. Select some products from their store you would like to promote. Generate and grab the HTML code from their system. Paste it onto your blog.
If a reader clicks on that link—technically known as an affiliate link—and buys something from Amazon, you’ll get a commission. This is known as Amazon affiliate marketing.
For an example, see my article on recommended books on writing. All links to Amazon there are affiliate links. Now before you inundate your blog with hundreds of affiliate links, know a few things.
Recommend only the products you yourself have used or trust.
Recommending bad products will jeopardize your reputation and your readers won’t trust you even when you will promote the good ones.
Use products relevant to your niche. An affiliate link to a three piece suit from a book blog won’t just look cheesy, but will also project you in a negative light. Your readers will think you are too desperate to make money out of them, which is not good for your brand.
5) Selling your e-book
As a freelance writer you may have self-published an e-book. Or plan to do so one day.
Did you know that apart from selling it on websites like Amazon and Flipkart, you can sell it directly from your own blog?
Why would you want to sell from your blog? Because you’ll make more money.
Amazon normally pays the author 70% of the selling price and keeps the remaining 30%. Other merchants offer similar rates. But if you sell the e-book directly from your site you can keep up to 95% in royalties.
The remaining 5% will be charged by the system, the tool, you’ll use to handle transactions through your blog. There are many such tools available in the market with different payment structures.
One popular option is E-junkie which charges you a flat $5 per month fee for files less than 50 MB.
To give you an idea of space measures, the PDF version of my 60 page e-book has a file size of only 0.725 MB. So 50 MB is more than enough for e-book sales.
I hope I’ve given you enough material to think about.
I’ll be hanging around in the comments below so feel free to say or ask anything.