8 Ways To Monetize Your Blog (2020)
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Whether or not to monetize your blog can be a controversial subject. But the truth is, if you want to make a career out of blogging, you have to monetize.
You Deserve To Be Paid For Your Work
Whether or not to monetize your blog can be a bit of a controversial subject. Some readers will get mad if they start seeing ads, sponsored posts, or they notice that you’ve started selling products. They will claim that you are selling out. That you are cheapening your blog.
But that does not change the fact that you should monetize your blog. It takes a lot of work to create content, and you need to be compensated for that work. So go ahead and start monetizing, and ignore the haters. You deserve to be paid for your work, and most of your readers will support it!
8 Ways To Monetize Your Blog
The classic way to monetize a blog is still one of the best. Ads have been around forever, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. For the longest time, we resisted putting ads on our site. We thought to put ads up was a betrayal to our audience. In fact, we were so stressed about it, that we wrote a post explaining to our audience why we decided to put up ads. You can see that post here.
The truth is, no one cared. We got a ton of messages of support, and only a few complaints. If you are serious about making money off of your blog, then ads are one of the easiest ways to do so. You have to drive a ton of traffic to earn a full-time income from ads, but even without a ton of traffic, ads are a good way to supplement your income as you grow.
The main advertising networks for people who want to monetize their blogs are Google AdSense, Ezoic, Mediavine, and AdThrive. Google AdSense is the largest network and is the easiest to get accepted to, but it pays peanuts compared to Mediavine and AdThrive. We are currently with AdThrive and love it, but it takes some time to build up the required traffic to get accepted into their network.
Another proven way to monetize a blog. Affiliate marketing is really quite simple, you promote someone’s product, and if your reader clicks through your link and buys that product, you get a commission. However, it is worth noting that it can be hard to make a great deal of money from affiliate marketing. In order to be successful as an affiliate marketer, you need to build trust with your audience.
The best way to build that trust is to focus on promoting products that you actually use and love. For instance, our top converting affiliate sales page is our My Supplies page. Why? Because our readers know that these are not just products we are promoting with the hope of making money, but because we actually use them.
There are thousands of affiliate programs to help you monetize a blog, but here are my 14 favorites.
Sponsored work can be a great way to monetize a blog, but it can also be a ton of work. Anytime you work with clients; you are at the mercy of those clients’ demands. We don’t do a ton of sponsored posts, but we’ve done enough to realize that demands can differ drastically from client to client. It’s important to lay out clear expectations before you even start the work. Make sure you have a signed contract firmly laying out what is expected of you and what you are willing to do.
One of the easiest ways to layout the type of sponsored work you are willing to do early in the process is to put together a media kit. A media kit is just a simple document or brochure laying out your website’s numbers and is an important first step to landing clients. You can see our media kit here.
A media kit can be a bit of a pain to design, but luckily you can just buy a template. There are a ton of blog media kit templates available on Creative Market for less than $20. Save yourself the time and grab one. We did, and it’s already paid for itself 100 times over.
I’m a huge fan of digital products as a way to monetize a blog. I love the passive nature of the products. There is no need to package or ship the products. You simply create it and start selling. If you’ve wanted to give digital products a shot, then an Ebook is a great place to start. An Ebook can be as long or as short as you like. They can be an extended blog post or a full-fledged book.
Ebooks also make a great lead magnet to help you grow your email list. If you’re a big fan of writing, then creating and selling an Ebook is a great way to monetize your blog.
Ecourses are my absolute favorite way to monetize a blog. We’ve been selling Ecourses for years, and they are going to be our main focus moving forward. Why? They are a great way to deliver information to your readers and maintain the same passive nature as Ebooks. Video is the future of the internet, and it’s not going anywhere harness it and grow your income. If you’re serious about making money from your blog, Ecourses are a sure-fire way to do it.
We use Teachable for our course creation, and we love it! Teachable is a one-stop-shop for everything you need to plan, create, and sell your Ecourse.
Sell Printables or Workbooks
I was skeptical about selling printables and workbooks at first. I mean, do people actually buy digital printable products? I didn’t really expect that people were willing to buy something online that they then had to print out. Boy, was I wrong! We recently released our Fancy Flourishes workbook. This simple 10-page workbook helps people learn how to add flourishes and accents to their hand lettering.
We decided to kick it off by doing a 72-hour flash sale, where it was available for $6 rather than the normal $12. We were proud of how the workbook turned out, and we knew it provided great value to our readers for only $6, but we really didn’t really expect to make much money off or it. However, by the end of the 72-hour sale, we had earned over $1,300 from this simple workbook! You can now consider me a believer in printables and workbooks.
If you want to create printables or workbooks of your own, but don’t really see yourself as a designer, you can grab easy to use templates from Creative Market.
Sell Physical Products
Physical products are great, but they can be really time-consuming. We sell stickers in our Etsy shop, but the truth is it’s more of a labor of love than anything else. Physical products can give a great deal of satisfaction. Knowing that you’ve created something beautiful, taking the time to lovingly package up your products, and hearing how much your customer loves the product can be a great feeling.
But physical products will never be as scalable as digital products. Your margins are thinner and you’ll need help in order to grow. Does that mean you should not even consider creating physical products? Absolutely not, but just remember that you can only sell as much as you have time to package.
We’ve never done coaching, so I really do not have much to say on this topic. But I know some people swear by it, so I wanted to make sure to include it on this list.
Although you may have hundreds, if not thousands, of unread emails in your inbox, email marketing is still the best way to make money from your blog.
Unlike the rest of this list, email marketing is not something you can sell. Rather email marketing is how you make money from the things you do sell. Building an email list allows you to stay in constant contact with your audience, and gives you direct access to them at all times. And unlike social media, no one can take that away from you, you and no one else owns your email list.
We get a ton of traffic from social media and Google, but almost all of our product sales come from emails. Sending someone an email is a great way to build a personal connection with your audience. It gives you a chance to speak directly to them and their needs. No matter how great your products are, no one will buy from you unless they trust you, and email marketing gives you the tools to build that trust.
My Favorite Monetization Tools
Here are a few of my favorite tools to help you monetize your blog:
- SamCart: We’ve been using SamCart for years, and use it to sell and deliver all of our digital products.
- Teachable: Are goto software for making all of our eCourses. Teachable is an incredible tool for anyone wanting to create courses. The best part? You don’t even need a blog to start selling courses.
- ConvertKit: I can not stress how important email marketing is to making money from your blog. Pretty much all of our sales come from email marketing, and Convertkit makes creating and sending emails easy.
Don’t Try To Do Too Much
When you first start to monetize, it can be a bit overwhelming, but there is no need to panic. You don’t have to change how you run your blog overnight. Just try one thing at a time until you form the perfect monetization methods for you.
And remember, just because you try something, doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. Go ahead and put ads on your blog; if you realize they are too invasive, you can remove them later. But you’ll never make anything unless you try.
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I always used to be so against monetising sites with ads, but now I use getting enough traffic to make decent ad revenue as my goal whenever I start a new website.
Until I do, I just concentrate on getting those pageviews, rather than spreading myself too thinly trying to make products. I also don’t use social media to promote – just SEO. That way, I know I’m creating useful content that people are actually looking for.
In the beginning (like, 6 months to a year) it’s all about creating content.
SEO is absolutely important, and we receive way more traffic from Google than from any other source. That being said, my years of blogging have taught me that it is not a good business model to put all of your eggs in one basket (SEO in this case), but rather it is best to diversify your traffic sources. By investing in social media early, you are able to insulate your business from negative algorithm updates.