Flog Your Blog – For Money
Your blog is your passion. It’s something you do either because you love writing, you love a particular subject matter, or both.
If it isn’t part of a wider business or SEO strategy for your website, it’s likely you started it as a hobby. But here’s the cool thing; if your blog is popular, or has built up a cult following, there are some easy strategies to help monetize it. By following the tips in this article you can turn your blog into a business.
Content, Content, Content
Before you contemplate monetizing your blog, you need a blog that is valuable to someone else. This will be by it a strong fan base or organic source of traffic.
To get either of these, your content needs to be good. This may not mean linguistically, or grammatically—don’t worry too much on these points—as long as you’re creating content people want to consume. People read for two primary reasons: to learn, or to be entertained. Know which you are (perhaps a combination of the two), and then make sure all your content fits into this bracket.
If you’re just starting out, it’s best to write what you know, and in the style you are most comfortable with. Readers can sense sincerity and authority on a topic innately. If you need tips on how to approach interesting content, we have other blogs that can help you. Use novels to help you write more interesting content, or discover how to integrate your blog with business.
To get your content ranking organically (that means people find it on search engines), there are a few tricks you can use. See our in-depth blog about how to write for search engines for more tips and tricks.
The Community Approach
Networking is the key to a successful blog. By talking to other blog and site owners, you can create a community. There are even groups for this kind of networking on Facebook. One of the biggest things you can do with other bloggers and site owners is exchange backlinks.
It’s ‘not what you know, it’s who you know’ in the blogosphere. Although here, the ‘who’ is a backlink (a hyperlink from another site to yours). The domain and site authority of the link (how big and important the site is on the Internet) impacts the value of any given backlink (this is measurable on sites like Moz). The more you can get, the merrier because these are probably the single most important metric which it comes to getting a good ranking on Google. A good Google ranking will ensure your site is found by people searching—93% of Internet sessions start with a search—and this makes a blog easier to monetize.
Backlinks can happen organically, by people finding your site and wanting to link to it. Don’t worry if this doesn’t happen because especially if you’re just starting out, the chances are nobody will find your content yet, how ever good it is.
By networking with other blogs, you can find the best candidates for a backlink exchange. With other blogs, this can fairly easy, as everybody wins. You probably rank about the same and will appear on a page of similar value. Approach only the blogs with the best Moz ranking of their own, because these are worth the most for your time.
For non-blog websites (like retailers), it might be a more difficult pitch. But this is where you can be clever. Offer to review a product for retailers, or a service for service providers—just make sure that it’s something in keeping with your blog.
These reviews are a great way getting your name about because if you share them with the product creators, they’re likely to get shared on their website, earning you another high-value backlink.
You could approach the sites first to agree to the backlink in advance or even negotiate a free or reduced-cost product.
Facebook group and Social
Networking on Facebook and Twitter in blog groups offers an immediate way to communicate with your audience, or even others in the blogging community. You can end up on PR lists, and then businesses will contact you directly.
Creating a Facebook page for your site is another great step to get followers and build social interactivity. Remember the most important thing other than organic ranking (that goes hand in hand with it), is general traffic. Return traffic is incredibly valuable.
Interact With Other Blogs
To boost stats and domain authority, read and comment on other blogs—especially sponsored posts, as often other companies will see it and click back through to your blog, generating traffic from exactly the people you want to be looking at your stuff.
There is usually a community among bloggers of a certain type. Find yours, and use it to strike up partnerships with other bloggers, or even websites in general. By getting them to give a shout-out to your site within a blog (the backlinks we mentioned earlier), you’ll improve your site and domain authority.
A lot of companies will ask to see site traffic figures when deciding whether or not to work with you. Especially if offering you a fee.
Running Ads on Your Blog
Adding ads to your site is one obvious way to monetize your site.
Be aware that your followers may start to get annoyed at being sold to, so the trick is to make ad placement subtle and non-intrusive.
Google AdSense is a great, free platform that allows you to add responsive ads to your site by simply pasting a basic script. You are meant to have a minimum of 250 unique views per day to use it, but it can technically be implemented with less.
Because it utilizes Google’s Display Network for its ads, you don’t need to think about picking ads to target your customers. The algorithm will take care of that for you. We’ve all been on sites that seem to know what we’ve just looked at and sell that thing to us. With Google Adsense, that will be your blog.
What Are Affiliate Programs?
Many large sites, including Namecheap, offer an affiliate program. This offers third-party sites (like blogs) commission for any sales they are responsible for after driving traffic to them.
Unlike regular ads, affiliates are specific companies you are working with that are in some way relevant to your customers. For example, if you sell computer hardware, you might be a good fit to be an affiliate for a company selling computer desks and chairs.
Affiliate marketing allows itself to be more integrated into your shopper process than standard ads. For example, you’ll have noticed it in shopping carts of certain websites—they push their affiliate products as you check out.
The great thing about most affiliate programs is it is mutually beneficial, meaning both sides get something from the transaction.
Finding Potential Affiliates
Firstly, compare what your content is about to what affiliates are looking for. Finding out what the niche of your blog or site is can help you target certain affiliates above others. Perhaps you’ll discover your current niche isn’t a particularly lucrative one, and that writing a few blogs in a slightly new area will help you make more money. If you haven’t started your blog/site yet, you could base your site around a ‘gap’ you find in the market.
Also, research who your current demographics are (age, gender, location, etc). They’re not always who you think, and this information could really help you decide which affiliate programs are right for you. You can check metrics to discover this. If you are set up on Google Analytics, the hard work is done for you, but other plugins on platforms like WordPress will do a similar thing.
Paid Endorsements from Influencers
Anyone who works in marketing in the last few years will have heard the word ‘influencer’ crop up. Videos (whether posted on a personal site, or YouTube, Instagram, etc) are maybe the easiest way to summarize this kind of marketing. We’ve probably all seen videos ‘sponsored’ by a product or site, with a personal endorsement before it, or simply a product used/tested in a video (for subtlety), or simply reviewed.
In a world where a woman laughing through a wookie mask can become an Internet sensation, there is great potential to be harnessed. Unlike celebrity endorsements of the past, where a well-known face says marketing rhetoric about how great a product is, today’s influencers can be more creative and personal in their approach and don’t need to be ‘famous’ in the same sense.
These ‘influencers’ are usually people with a strong following that big corporations approach to promote their products. In a similar way to a traditional affiliate partner, the companies pick somebody whose following matches their own demographic, knowing the audience is ideal for them. It’s an efficient way of raising brand awareness and the (often, less polished) personal endorsements seem more believable and sincere than traditional ads. Everybody wins.
There’s no particular ‘way’ to get to this level, other than have a lot of followers, but you could try approaching companies already interested in affiliate partnerships if vlogging is your thing.
When in Doubt, Push Through
Nobody said making money from a website is easy. As we’ve mentioned, the key to success is organic traffic or a returning fanbase. Don’t forget, generating a loyal fan base through social media platforms could lead to organic traffic eventually.
Maybe the most important thing to remember is this: Making money from ads, reviews, or affiliates should always be a secondary to your love of your site or blog. Income channels like these never guaranteed when you start out, and you can only start thinking about once you’ve spent time creating content, and getting a fanbase. Even then, how much you make may vary.
Think of it as a great added bonus for doing something you love anyway.