Today I'll be teaching on how to monetize your blog. In other words, how to make your blog profitable.
Why it is important, let's discuss this. A lot of people blog because it's a passion of them. They want to share their ideas. They want to feel creative and really make the lives of other people richer through expressing those ideas in writing or in other media, online. In the short run, it's fine. For the most people, it's really a matter of hobby. You could really blog for a long time without even thinking about any kind of reward or profit.
But there are people who decide to take one step further and make some additional income out of the blog through the ideas that help people. This is perfectly fine. You have to just decide whether it's important to you or not. I think in the long run, it is important that you should treat your blog as a business because then you can devote time, energy and focus to your blog as you would devote to real business, or real work that you do, and you want to be compensated by the work that you do, right? If you provide value on your blog, that's the main reason you do that.
I hope people will want to reward you, in some way reciprocate, say thanks. One of them, of course, ways to say thanks is by giving money to somebody. It is, I think, really helpful for people to know that their efforts, in the long run, are appreciated by enough people so that they have the privilege to show up tomorrow and share the ideas that they want to share with people and help them, and in return, be provided by way of financial security. That's a, I think, win-win situation, both for the readers and for the bloggers.
You have to decide if you really want to do this, because as I say, there is nothing wrong with blogging for the sake of blogging and for the sake of enjoyment, right? Although I think in the long run, you will not be persistent enough to blog for several years without getting some kind of reward, right, recognition out of your efforts. One of the most obvious ways to receive recognition and reward is, of course, through financial gain, some form of payment. I think this is important if you are a serious blogger, if you are in it for the long run.
2. Most blogs don't make any money
There are a lot of studies in the blogging area where you could take survey and people respond to your questions about the blogger's income, whether you have income or not. Majority of blogs don't make any money at all. That's the harsh reality of it. I think you have to understand that and accept that it's not the quick get rich scheme that you see online sometimes, it's really persistent hard work day in and day out.
But in the end, I think those blogs who do make money, they tend to be very focused, tend to be absolutely critical to people, absolutely helpful, and the blogs that people really can't live without. If you decide to choose to make money with your blog, I think you have to become one of those bloggers, and become, so to say, a person who would be missed if you decided not to show up anymore. Otherwise, your blog will become simply irrelevant for a lot of people. That's the harsh reality.
Also, blogs really give people a lot of freedom, right, because you simply can express your ideas very freely, say whatever you want, or at least whatever your readership wants, right? You have to pay attention to your readers. In general, you are very free with your creativity. You could express your ideas in text, in photos, in audio, in video, right, in all those combinations today. Those blogs that do make money tend to be very extensive blogs with great advice and expertise. They employ a lot of multimedia examples, too.
I think most important thing for you to realize if you want to make money with your blog is that it takes time. It takes a lot of time during your day and in the long run also to build up readership, build up trust and expertise. Your profile level has to also get much higher than the average, right? You have to become the go-to expert in your field so that people will trust you with your expertise, and some of them will choose to pay you, right, in exchange for your products or services or other ways you make money on your blog.
3. Hobby or business?
If you decide to make money on your blog, you have to be aware that it can be both. It cannot be both hobby or business. You have to choose whether it's your hobby or it's a business, right? A hobby is something you enjoy in your free time, and you treat it as a hobby, right? Whenever you write your blog posts, they are very helpful for people, but you are not treating as a business because you simply do it in your free time, right, whenever you feel inspired, perhaps, right?
I think it's difficult to make consistent amount of money every month with this kind of approach because hobby is hobby, right? We do this not for the money. We do this for the enjoyment. Whenever our hobby becomes a business with financial relationship, it becomes sort of a burden, right? You have to be aware of this challenge whenever you decide to monetize your blog.
Business side of blogging is also very attractive. It gives you financial stability and security, right? You can blog from your home, from your office. You can go to the coffee shop, or even to the beach. You can blog anywhere in the world, right? That's the beauty of it. It's a lifestyle, blogging and in addition to it, you can be compensated for your efforts. Some blogs do make a quite decent amount of money. Of course, that's not the majority of blogs, but there are blogs who can really live full-time blogging writing efforts. That's becomes a business of blogging versus a hobby.
4. When to start to monetize
The question of when to start to monetize is very important. Also, imagine a scenario when you start to blog, right, when you first write your post one to five post, maybe 10 post, right, and you decide to start making money with your blog. Is this the right time, do you think?
Obviously not, because first, you have to have readers who could buy from you, right? In order for them to buy from you, they first have to trust you, right? In order for them to trust you, they have to like you. In order for them to like you, they have to first know you, know that you even exist, right? They have to find your blog first.
They have to become regular readers, right, as opposed to just once-in-a-lifetime. Basically, your readers, when they show up on your blog, a post or two, and they vanish. There is little a reward for you from these readers. You want to try to convince people to trust you and to become regular readers of the blog. That's crucial if you want to monetize your writing efforts, your blogging efforts. That's not easy to start at the beginning. I would not recommend you start monetizing your blog right away.
In my experience, I made my first dollar online when I had about a hundred subscribers, and about a hundred subscribers, it took me three months to get with my blogging in my little niche. I think you have to, first of all, know that your niche is profitable and big enough to support your monetization efforts.
I think the earliest time you can hope to start making money from your blog is when you have a hundred subscribers from your email, right? That takes time depending on your blogging regularity, your promotion, your marketing efforts of your blog, and of course the competition that's going on in your niche. I think we should not have false hope that right away, right from the first week, we could easily start making money from our blogs.
Keep in mind this magical number, 100 subscribers. That's not a lot. Yes, that's not a ten thousand, not even 1000 subscribers. A lot of major blogs have hundreds of thousands of subscribers and readers. They make very decent amount of money very often because of that, but focus on the number 100 at first. When you have 100 subscribers, just like I had in the beginning, then you can start thinking about monetization, various ways you can make money from your blogging efforts.
Now, imagine the time when you are ready to monetize a blog. One of the probably first and easiest ways is e-books, right? E-books you could sell to your subscribers, for example. How do you create this book very easily? It can be a compilation of your blog posts, right? Imagine a scenario when you are writing for several, at least, months to get your first hundred subscribers.
If you're doing things right, in those several months, let's say three months or more, you might get about 100 posts during that time. If your posts are good and attractive, you can even easily combine those posts into an e-book and start selling your e-book to the same readership, to the same subscriber base that you have, 100 people.
Of course, not everybody will buy your e-book, and only minority of people will choose to buy your first e-book. That's okay, but that will be your first, perhaps, dollar you make online from your blog. E-book is very attractive and is easily created content that you could sell and product that you could create literally while writing a blog.
You could sell your e-book on Amazon, also, to a more general audience, not readership from your blog, but on a general marketplace such as Amazon, very trusted marketplace where millions of people buy. Your e-books might get attention from complete strangers who are not even aware that you even exist, but if your blog topic is right and attractive to your readers, and if you write the e-book around the topic of your blog also, which solves some problems ... very important, problems ... then you can really hope to make some money from writing those e-books. Maybe that might be a start for you. E-book is a very simple way to start making money from your blog.
6. Recordings and videos
Another way to make money from your blog is of course recordings and videos. Like in this training, I'm recording my teaching on the topic of how to monetize the blog, right? You could also take your own topic, your own area, your own niche, and start teaching people from the convenience of your, basically, smart phone, because every smartphone has a built-in microphone and voice recorder. A lot of them have a decent camera if you want to make a video of that. Of course, with video is more complicated because it takes more time to produce decent video. It takes more space on the disk and on the download and upload data.
I think what you need to focus is whenever the information that you providing, whenever the help that you providing, and value that you give to the people can be given, or can be taught just by talking without seeing the presenter, right, then you should go for it without video. That's my advice. Video is secondary to audio, simply because many people choose to listen to audio while they do other tasks, right?
With video, you have to look at the screen, and you have to sit in one place. That's really very time-consuming to listen to one hour of video, right? But you could listen to one hour of recording while taking a walk, while working in your garden, while doing the dishes, while driving or even commuting to work, right, while doing those mundane tasks sometime that don't require mental focus, right? Repetitive tasks.
People like to listen to audio on the go, so to say, on any device, while video, you have to stay focused and really watch your video. It could be on any device, as well, in smart phone, tablet, or your PC, your laptop. That's okay, but you have to look literally at the screen. While looking at the screen, you cannot really do anything else.
With audio recording in training, is of course you are free to do anything you want as long as your mind is listening, as long as you're listening to the recording, right? I suspect if you're listening to this recording right now, you are doing something also, something perhaps on side, maybe taking a walk, maybe jogging, maybe exercising. That's great idea, too, basically doing a few things at the same time, which don't require mental focus at the same time together.
I think you should record your videos only when information is only critical to watch. For example, if you are teaching something, how to make food, right, how to cook, then of course you want your visual material, your ingredients, your cooking process, to be visible. That's where video comes in. If you are teaching, let's say, martial arts, right, and you want to show people some techniques and stances and punches and kicks, then of course you need to demonstrate that. This demonstration, of course, needs to be done by video, right?
There are not too many niches where you really need to have a video, right, when you have to see something literally on the screen. In many instances, you could really teach the same kind of information and provide the same kind of help just by doing the audio recording. That's absolutely fine. That's very convenient because you can be literally anywhere, sitting anywhere in a silent room where there is no noise around you, and you can record. Whereas in video, you have to get good lighting, good video equipment. Then post production expenses, also are quite high for that. But they help you provide for people will be literally the same, right? Why bother with doing video while you can make maybe five or 10 times more audio recording during the same time that you produce the video. The same help you provide will be literally of the same value for people in the recording.
Another way to monetize your blog is through collections of videos or recordings, basically courses. Those courses could be also done by PDF, text, right? You could incorporate text, audio or video, or combination of them. It's just a collection of your separate teachings that you're doing in text, audio or video, and you could sell those courses, training programs, right, to your subscribers at a much higher pricing point because it's more in depth.
Whereas, in recordings and separate video programs, you teach maybe one topic at a time, right? If you create collections of 10, let's say, topics, you could create a home study course just because of you having created 10 separate recordings in the past.
You can multipurpose your separate recordings and combine them. You could do the opposite, of course. You can create a course and split them into separate modules and sell them as separate standalone recordings. That's also fine for low ticket item. People tend to buy higher price range products like courses whenever they have bought something else from you first, something maybe less expensive first, maybe standalone recording or e-book, because the trust level has to be higher in order for your reader.
Basically, they can spend several hundreds of dollars with you in courses, whereas the recordings are of course less expensive, and the reader can more easily part with their money in hope of getting a lot of value from your teachings that you will be providing.
Whenever you create a recording, combine a series of recordings into a course. That's amazing technique. You can multipurpose your products this way and provide even more help to people, and of course be compensated much more higher prices for that.
Another way to monetize your blog is through memberships, membership sites, membership premium content. Premium content means that some people choose to read your blog for free, some people choose to read your blog in exchange of that email address that they're giving to you. They become email subscribers. Then, once they do that, a small portion of them will want to pay you premium price for premium services or products, right, that nobody else is getting access to. You could create a series of courses, series of recordings, series of books, and provide for your private membership area.
In order for this to happen, you have to have the right equipment, software, which basically password protects your memberships, member premium, member content. It's also possible to give away your premium content just through email, just through autoresponders. Imagine, you are providing premium content to your premium subscribers who are paying you monthly or yearly fee, and you are sending them additional premium material once a week.
That's completely acceptable. You don't even have to worry about sophisticated software to password protect your pages and basically keep track of your members and your member data and keep track of cancellations and refunds. You don't have to think about that if you're doing this very simply and easily through email.
But if you want a sophisticated mechanism with multiple layers of membership, you might have a premium content than premium plus, maybe silver membership, gold membership, maybe a platinum membership. Your elite membership group, they would pay you maybe hundreds of dollars a month to get the privilege to work with you through your separate members area, then you do need a sophisticated software, dedicated software to do the membership side for you.
If you are teaching in your blogs to do something, in your area, whatever your niche is, I think one of the things you should consider in order to monetize your blog is through coaching program. What is a simple coaching program? It is basically you're training your lectures, right, provided via PDF or recordings or videos or combinations of them. You provide homework for people. Of course, you get feedback. That's the coaching part.
In a lot of ways, they are really like home study courses, coaching programs, but they do need the feedback mechanism, a way for your students to contact you. That's crucial, because otherwise it will be just a home study course. The value they receive from the home study course is much less significant to them because they're studying on their own, and they don't have the feedback from you. They don't know if they're doing everything right or wrong, right? They don't know if they're getting the right results from your teachings in their courses.
In the coaching program, of course, it's additional layer of support you give to your students through feedback. You provide critique. You answer questions, right, and give feedback, and maybe give advice and guidance for the future to them. That's coaching. That's much more valuable to people, because this really gives better results to people in the long run. That's why they choose to pay you much higher prices for coaching programs.
The feedback you could provide could be done through email access to you, right? You could say "I'm accessible with unlimited email support. Write me an email message whenever you feel stuck, whenever you get stuck and whenever you feel like you need my help, and I will respond." That's also coaching through email and access.
Of course, some people might abuse this rule, your unlimited email access, and might write to you quite a few emails, and thus will take much more time than you really need to, because then your time becomes the scarce resource, and you cannot dedicate enough time to provide enough value for other students. That's not the majority of cases. Only very few people will abuse your unlimited email support.
When you say this, unlimited email support, is very powerful way to build trust and give people a feeling that they will get really attention that they need from you. You could easily include that in your coaching program, unlimited email support.
If you have, let's say, a limited amount of time in your day, and you don't want to deal with email with every student, right, you could provide a forum support or blog, private blog posts, right, for them, or even a private forum for your members of your coaching program. They do to the forum, and they get feedback not only from you, but from the peers. That's also a very powerful mastermind effect when everybody is supporting everybody in your group. It might be a small group or a larger group, but in a forum environment, it's also possible to coach people, to provide feedback.
Take into consideration this, that you will really need to spend a lot of time moderating this forum. It only works when your student base is very high in numbers, right, when your coaching program is with many people involved. If you're coaching in a small group environment, a forum doesn't work, in my experience, because you need critical mass in forums in order to be an active forum, right? You need hundreds of people there, at least.
You could provide feedback through weekly Q and A call. That's completely acceptable. Group call, they show up once a week. You have a predesigned time. In addition to your lectures you provide, in addition to homework you provide, you give one hour a week of Q and A, question and answer session on the teleconference call, which you of course record and send out later to your students of your coaching program to review and have them study at a deeper level on their own.
That's even more powerful way of teaching, because you provide the same value for people, but you only need to show up once a week for this. They get very interesting and powerful questions from the group, you see, also. You will answer the questions not only from one student, but maybe from 10 or more student who show up.
The first student might have one question or two questions, but other questions from other people might be really, really helpful for them, too. Those other people are asking questions, and you are helping everybody this way, even the first student who didn't ask that question. That's powerful. Also, it's a mastermind effect, because a group of student in your coaching call will really provide support to each other, just by being there. Make sure you consider Q and A calls in your coaching program.
10. Banner ads
Another way to monetize your blog, is very popular these days, through banner advertising. It takes, of course, a lot of readers a month of your blog audience, but if you have thousands of readers showing up, and if you have an active readership base who actively shares your content, actively engages with your content through social media and comments, then of course banner advertisement is one of the great ways to do this.
It works this way. Once you have enough relevant readers to your blog, right, of readership, you could contact businesses in your niche, around your expertise of your blog, that might be interested into advertising on the blog through banners, right? You get compensated through clicks this way. Maybe they count impressions or clicks. They will choose to work with you because you have a very active and popular blog.
Sometimes, they would pay a monthly fee for this banner placement, or sometimes they could pay you from simple clicks that they get for performance, right? Despite how many viewers they have, they only pay you for the clicks. Some choose to do the opposite. You give the flat monthly fee, they're happy to advertise on your blog through banners because they will get enough visitors to their businesses, to their website.
Now the challenge you have to deal with banners is that they take away the readers from your site, take away the visitors and potential subscribers from your site. They become the students and readers of your businesses related to your area, but they basically ... you're giving away your expertise for free and you're compensated for your expertise through banners, right, strike the pay you a special fee for this is a privilege to be able to advertise on your blog, but what you're doing, you are actually getting your readers away from you, right, to your competition. You are advertising your competition.
A lot of people are fine with this, really. They just have to focus on providing amazing content on their blog. Their only worry is to get more readers and provide amazing content, write great content that people want to read. Advertisers in their field will place banners. The blog owner doesn't want to be bothered by anything else. He or she will not be worried about providing services or creating products, it's just his or her interest to write, write great content. Banners work amazingly well for this, for this type of individual only wants to create content but doesn't want to go further with this into products and services.
Similarly to banners also works Google's AdSense program. It's an advertisement system. You place some banners on your blog, maybe a few places, right? Maybe in the header, maybe on the sidebar, maybe under each post, right, not too many. You could have strategic places for AdSense advertisement on your blog. The relationship you have with Google and AdSense is that whenever a person who comes to your blog reads it and decides to click on the advertisement from AdSense, you get compensated a few cents for this, right, for this click.
It used to be that AdSense was really, really popular way to monetize your blog, but in today's world, when people are paying less and less attention to advertisement in general, right?. They tend to skip advertisements a lot. The reward you get from AdSense in general might be quite low. If you want to monetize your blog through AdSense successfully, you need to have a very, very active blog.
A lot of people, thousands of people probably, reading your blog, or even tens of thousands, perhaps in order for you to make any significant amount of money. It's possible if you're writing on a very popular subject. You have to choose your topics, choose your niche very wisely if you want to include AdSense.
The problem with AdSense also is this, you have no control about the content of their ads they provide. Yes, they might be somewhat relevant, right, to your niche. Let's say you have the travel blog, right, where you write about various countries, about your travel experiences, and other things related to travels, and people love your blog, and read it a lot, share with their friends.
Basically, you have thousands of visitors, and you decide to offer AdSense advertisement. You place several ads with AdSense on your blog, and you start noticing that businesses that advertise on your blog through AdSense might be just very vaguely related to your general area of expertise, to the topic of your blog. You don't have really control for the content of the AdSense advertisement.
It will be somewhat related, and sometimes it will be very closely created, which is good, but the other times, it might not be closely related. In my instance, for example, I was teaching organ playing. I was placing AdSense at one time. I noticed ads for guitar learning, right, or even guitar access wires.
Think about it, people who want to learn how to play the organ with me are getting an advertisement about guitar related products. That's not necessarily a good fit. That's what I'm saying, you don't have control with AdSense, but if you have thousands of visitors and readers, that works in a way also to monetize your blog, but you have to have very, very active and popular blog.
12. Affiliate products or services
One more way to make money on your blog is through affiliate offers, affiliate marketing. It works this way. You write a post about something in your niche. For example, you go to Amazon, and you find a book related to the topic of your post. You create an affiliate account, they call it Associates. You get a specialized link which you could include in the text or images or banners, basically, in any type of link type that you want. You insert this affiliate link into the text of your post, right? Let's say you write a book review, right? You could really advertise a book from Amazon.
Let's say you have a blog about drones. You are reviewing some kind of equipment for drones, or maybe the newest drones, so you could easily go to Amazon and find a drone that you like and get the affiliate link for that particular drone. In a few instances, you could insert your affiliate links within your post. That works very well, because it's a very closely related content. You are writing about a drone, right, and people are interested in drones.
You just provide additional value for people by giving them access to Amazon product, and you will be compensated if people choose to buy something on Amazon. Not necessarily the same product that you have affiliate link to, but anything that they will buy from you on Amazon through your affiliate link, you will get a small percentage rewarded for that.
Amazon is one of the original affiliate programs. ClickBank is another one. It's a basically marketplace for digital program products. Make sure, though, that you trust the service or product first, you know the provider, you stand behind it, right, every word of it, because on ClickBank, people tend to make spammy offers a lot.
You might get harsh criticism from your readers for advertising affiliates from ClickBank. Although the return from your links from Clickbank is much higher than Amazon in general, but make sure you are trusting your affiliates, your providers of your affiliate products or services, and you know who you are recommending.
Besides Amazon and ClickBank, there are hundreds of others affiliate programs you could also sign-up for, and you could write reviews and easily, simply advertise your affiliate links this way. You could place banners on your blog through affiliate programs. That works also when people click and buy through your banners.
In general, people tend to be more trusting with text. When your affiliate link is inserted in the middle of the text, because you're not really selling your product, your affiliate product this way, you are simply writing about the problems and situations and experiences people have with this product. Yes, you're not really advertising, you're not telling them to buy it, as opposed to really banner advertisement.
Whenever people see the banners, they know exactly it's an advertisement, but whenever people see the link to the book or audio recording, or training program or another kind of product from your affiliate provider, and you're writing a genuine, genuine article, genuine post about it, it works very, very well because you are honest about it.
Don't forget to put a disclosure somewhere in a visible place for your blog that whenever people click and buy through your affiliate links, you get compensated a few cents or a few dollars. People like honesty. Some people really will choose to click and buy through your affiliate link because they trust you already, they want to reciprocate. One of the easiest ways to reciprocate is to buy through your affiliate link.
They have options, of course. They could go to Amazon and buy the same product on their own, but they have an option to buy the same program and product from your affiliate link. People who trust you and like what you're writing about and believe that your writing is helpful for them to the extent that they want to reciprocate, say thanks, right, to you, so they could easily go to Amazon or other place and buy the same thing through your affiliate link. That's how you get compensated through affiliate marketing.
These are all of the ways you get compensated through writing on your blog. This is how you can monetize, write e-books, recordings, videos, courses, memberships, coaching programs, banner advertisement, AdSense, affiliate links.
The best way to monetize your blog, I would say, is through variety of all of these things, or many of these things. It's term called diversification. Whenever it's possible, try to make your sources of income diverse. A little bit from your e-books, a little bit from your trainings, a little bit from your courses, a little bit from your coaching programs, a little bit from banners, a little bit from affiliate links, right, and even from AdSense accounts.
You have maybe ten or twelve sources of income, and they all contribute to the monetization of your blog. That's very important aspect of monetization of your blog.
Keep in mind this diversification, because you don't want to be dependent on just one source of income, because if it's really good, right, and it pays you well, then you're very happy for a long time. But something happens, your traffic might dry out, your trust might drought, your situation might change, and this particular type of income might cease to exist. You don't want that. You have to have many sources of income to feel secure about writing your blog and monetizing your blog.
Dr. Vidas Pinkevicius is the creator of Vidas Blog Academy where he teaches people to empower themselves one post at a time. If you want to become a successful blogger, download his free PDF report "Overcoming 12 Challenges Beginner Bloggers Face".