The ultimate goal for most sites and blogs on the internet is to make money. Knowing how to monetize a blog is key is helping a website be sustainable and produce a profit.
While there are a number of ways to monetize a blog, the most common and effective methods are through advertising and affiliate marketing.
Some sites also work by providing their own products and services. Some can do this on day one while others have to work up to this by building an audience first.
Let’s take a look at some of the main methods:
Advertising is probably the most straightforward way to monetize a blog. Advertisements can come in a variety of forms, from traditional banner ads to sponsored posts.
The key with advertisements is to make sure they are relevant to your audience and do not detract from the user experience.
This means ads need to be targeted.
You can have ad agencies or services do this on your site for you.
The benefits of ad revenue
- The keywords are typically easier to rank for
- Ads are the most passive form of revenue
- Ads are easy to set up and get started
- They help monetize some posts that can’t make money in other ways (e.g., informational posts that aren’t transactional)
There are a few main ones to consider:
Google Adsense is the easiest. Practically any site can set up ads through Adsense. There are no minimum traffic requirements like other agencies.
Monumetric is an ad management company that specializes in working with small to medium-sized sites.
Ezoic works with Adsense to improve how much revenue you make from ads.
They do this by using machine learning to test different ad placements and sizes on your site to see what works best.
Mediavine is one of the largest ad management companies.
They work with high-traffic sites that have a minimum of 50,000 sessions per month.
Adthrive is a competitor to Mediavine and has higher traffic requirements at 100,000 page views per month.
Many report high RPMs (revenue per thousand page views) with Adthrive, but it depends on many variables.
Keys to advertising
The important thing to remember with advertising is that you need a decent amount of traffic to make significant amounts of money.
The reason for this is that advertisers only usually pay when someone clicks on an ad.
This means you need a lot of people seeing the ads for there to be any chance of making good money from them.
In our experience, about 85 percent of ad revenue come from CPC (cost per click) advertising while the other 15 percent come from CPM (cost per impression) where some will be just for an ad being visible.
Affiliate marketing is where you promote other people’s products or services on your site and earn a commission whenever someone buys something through your links.
It is one of the most effective ways to monetize a blog as it can generate a lot of revenue with relatively little work.
There are two main ways to do affiliate marketing:
- through banner ads or text links on your site, or
- by writing product reviews and suggesting products to your audience
The key with affiliate marketing is to find products or services that are relevant to your audience and that you would actually recommend.
If you promote products or services that you don’t believe in or that are not relevant to your readers, it will show, and you will quickly lose their trust.
Affiliate marketing networks
A few of the main affiliate networks are:
- Amazon Associates
- CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)
Keys to affiliate marketing
When promoting products through affiliate marketing, always remember to disclose that you are an affiliate. This is now required by law in many countries (e.g., regulated by the FTC in the US), but even if it’s not required, it’s good practice.
It builds trust with your audience and helps you stay on the right side of the law.
You should also focus on promoting products that offer a good commission.
The commission is the percentage of the sale price that you get when someone buys something through your link.
For example, if a product costs $100 and you get a 10 percent commission, you will earn $10 whenever someone buys that product through your link.
The commission rate varies from product to product, but a good rule of thumb is to look for products with a commission of at least 50 percent. This can be hard to get with physical products because the margins on physical products are lower.
When it comes to digital products, companies can generally pass off more of the price to affiliates, as there are generally fewer costs involved. Code is free while tangible products have the input costs.
To find affiliate programs, you can search for them online or contact the companies that sell the products you’re interested in promoting.
Sell your own products or services
Some blogs monetize by selling their own products or services. This can be anything from physical goods to digital products or services.
One advantage of selling your own products is that you get to keep all of the revenue.
However, this option is not available to everyone as it requires you to have something to sell that is relevant to your audience.
It’s also quite a bit of work to create and market your own products, so it’s not for everyone.
Another way to make money from your blog is to offer consulting or other services.
This can be anything from coaching to design work. If you have expertise in a particular area, this can be a great way to monetize your blog.
The key with offering services is finding clients who are willing to pay for what you’re offering. This can be a bit of a challenge, but if you’re able to find clients, it can be a very lucrative option.
Another popular option for monetizing your blog is to sell e-books.
This is a digital product that you create and sell through your blog.
E-books are relatively easy to create and can be an effective way to monetize your blog if you have a large audience.
To sell e-books, you will need to set up a system for delivering them to your customers.
One popular option is to use Gumroad, which allows you to sell digital products without having to set up your own delivery system.
Gumroad takes a small percentage of each sale, but it’s a very easy way to get started with selling e-books.
Sell online courses
If you have expertise in a particular area, you can create and sell online courses.
Courses are usually delivered as a series of videos or written lessons, and they can be an effective way to monetize your blog if you have a large audience.
To sell courses, you will need to set up a system for delivering them to your customers.
One popular option is to use Udemy, which allows you to sell courses without having to set up your own delivery system.
Udemy takes a small percentage of each sale, but it’s a very easy way to get started with selling courses.
Sell physical products
If you have a blog about a particular topic, you can sell physical products that are relevant to that topic.
For example, if you have a blog about cooking, you could sell kitchen supplies or cookbooks.
This option is not available to everyone as it requires you to have something to sell that is relevant to your audience.
It’s also quite a bit of work to create and market your own products, so it’s not for everyone.
Sponsored placements are a way for companies to get exposure on your blog. In exchange, they pay you a fee.
For example, let’s say you get 10,000 clicks per month on a particular article from organic search.
And let’s suppose that the Google Ads cost per click (CPC) for the keywords that bring in that traffic is $5 each.
That means the potential revenue potential of that article is $50,000(!)
You might be able to bring in revenue from that article through ads, affiliate revenue, and maybe your other sources.
But more often than not, you’re probably falling well short of that potential.
How do you fix a “leaky bucket” like this?
One way is through sponsored placements.
With sponsored placement, you can mention companies in your article in exchange for a fee.
What companies are paying for searach ads for your keywords?
You can then go to them and say that you have an article ranking well and can include them in it.
This works really well for listicle articles where you’re ranking companies and giving them exposure.
If the Google Ads traffic is worth $5 per click, you could charge them $2.50 per click instead (50% off) and include them at the top of the list if it’s a good fit.
You could also charge others down the list.
And remember, this is per month. So you can keep charging them on a recurring basis if they’re interested.
So it’s a very real possibility that just one article can be generating thousands of dollars per month. Something that can take care of your rent/mortgage and all of your bills.
There are also forms of CPC monetization that might be available in your niche.
For example, in certain tech verticals, there are CPC monetizations where you can list a product or service. And any time somebody visits the site through your link you get a commission based on the click.
This means you don’t have to generate leads or sales, but instead can get paid based on valid clicks.
It’s like an ad type of monetization system, but often better paying and like affiliate links.
YouTube and complementary assets
YouTube is a top promotion channels these days with the demand for video.
It can be a way to promote your products, services, website, and other assets.
It can also be a great monetization avenue outright with Adsense and the ability to promote offers within your video.
Above all, just focus on providing value and the views will come.
It’s not easy getting in front of a camera, but this is one way to have an edge over your competition because many aren’t willing to make videos.
Likewise, if you create other types of valuable content like infographics or eBooks, these can be used to supplement your blog posts.
And as a result, they can help you get more traffic and exposure.
This, in turn, can lead to more monetization opportunities.
Ultimately, how you monetize your blog will depend on your specific niche and what you’re trying to do.
In order to make money from your blog, there are a few different options available to you.
One is to sell ads through a service like Google Adsense and premium agencies like Mediavine and Adthrive when you have the traffic.
You can also do affiliate marketing by spreading affiliate links throughout your articles, where appropriate.
You could sell courses through a platform like Udemy.
Another is to sell physical products that are relevant to the topic of your blog or your own services.
And yet another option is to secure sponsored placements from companies who are willing to pay for the exposure.
Finally, you could also focus on YouTube and other assets that complement your blog posts and help you generate more traffic and revenue.
No matter which option you choose, just remember to focus on providing value to your audience and the monetization opportunities will follow.