This is a holy grail to many of the Internet bloggers! We all write for many different reasons and only a small part of us does it for money. This article is not going to dwell on the moral dilemma about whether you should monetize your blog, but is rather a guide for people who already have a presence on the Internet and want to learn how to earn money from blogs.
So you own a blog and have come to the conclusion that it is time to make some money on it! You might have been doubting for long time, as writing is your hobby, something you really love and monetizing it just seemed so wrong! However your financial situation might have gotten worse or you had seen so many other bloggers to jump into the boat that you decided to give it a go!
Great! I am here to help you, because starting to make money on your blog, however popular, can be a daunting task! You might not have a clue where to start. I will give you some guidelines, but I will also make some assumptions: You don’t have any products of your own to sell. If so, I would suggest you read my review about how to create a website, which will guide you how to learn marketing your own products online:
The two main ways of making money on your blog are both a form of advertising somebody else products, the only difference being how you get paid! Affiliate programs pay per product sold and advertisers pay per click. Both can be very effective ways of earning money on your blog and many popular bloggers use both! You might have to do some trial and error before you find something that works for you!
Pay Per Click Advertising
There are a lot of pay per click advertising programs out there! A lot of the travel search engines work this way as does clickbank. You can easily find many programs that offer you various amounts ranging from 0.1 to several dollars per click. However most of them are now facing a serious competition from the Internet giant Google!
This program is unique in many senses, which is what makes it so popular with many bloggers. Unlike the other programs that promote certain product or program, which might have no interest for the person reading your blog, these commercials are customized for the person reading it!
Sounds pretty cool, right? It of course means that Google is spying on you and knows everything about you, including your interests, hobies and browsing habits. For me this breach of privacy sounds pretty scary in fact and I often wonder what Google and eventually the Big Brother actually knows about me *smirk*
It also means that when I am browsing a website for instance about Yoga retreats, I might be confronted with a commercial for Google’s SEO keyword tool, simply because I am googling that a lot. Something about that just feels wrong and can sometimes even cause embarrassing situations if someone is sitting next to you, reading over your shoulder, if you know what I mean *wink*
It means that advertising towards me might also get very repetitive and in fact boring, based on Google’s perception of my persona. Google is also known not always vet the programs that it accepts to it’s program properly and some of them honestly speaking really stink far! You can somewhat chance the behavior of the commercials by teaching your likes and dislikes to Google, but I rather not.
The program is free to join and it’s rather easy to get accepted, but the program has very strict rules. You are not allowed to click on your own links or you will end up in trouble! This means with couple of wrong clicks or perhaps just testing can cost you all your hard earned money! Google is known to disqualify people without any notice, keep your money and never accept you back into the program. There is no real process to appeal their decision, how ever wrong!
This is common for a lot of the pay per click programs and also the reason why some bloggers stay away from them, preferring to join affiliate programs to promote some products relevant for their blog!
The internet is full of affiliate programs. All you need to do is to write a keyword in the browser, followed by affiliate program to find the ones. For instance if you are writing a blog about sports fishing, type: Sports fishing Affiliate Program, which will return 1.880.000 results. Not all of them are affiliate programs of course, however I think you get my point; Affiliate programs are easy to find for every niche!
Popular Affiliate Programs
There are many popular affiliate programs out there. I am going to introduce you to few, but feel free to explore the Internet for more. They all work the same way:
- You sign up
- You use a special link to drive people to the program and all the sales can be linked back to you
- You get paid % for the sales you have made
Amazon store is one of the most popular affiliate program out there. Basically after you joining their program, your can promote any of their services and products. You will get a percentage of the product sales, or a bounty for the service. Many people join their program as Amazon is available in most parts of the world and it’s name carries a lot of power and people trust it’s services.
Although you can easily make money with Amazon, it also have several down points. First of all you need sign up with different Amazon stores all around the world and then use a special plugin which redirects you to the correct store based on your location. Secondly their cookies only last for 3 months, so you will not be earning on someone’s shopping forever.
Thirdly their payment conditions are crap to be honest. You need to wait 3 months to get your money out, since they are afraid of refunds. Additionally they can only pay you using certain methods such as check or Amazon gift cards if you don’t reside in the country of that particular Amazon store. Also their percentage are tiny! They can be anything as little as 3% and upto 10%.
However often their bounties are larger. For instance they have at the moment an offer to sign up for Amazon prime trial for free and the person who refers you get 3USD for each referral, which is not bad at all. Additionally they have a lot of different promotions, such as Cyberweek, Christmas, January Sales and so forth, which make promoting them rather easy! It is rather easy to get accepted and generally unless if your website has too much adult content, you will get accepted. In any case Amazon only works for website with large volumes of traffic.
Is one of the many services out there, which provides a collection of affiliate programs, of which you select the ones relevant for you and request to join. The good thing about this approach is that you don’t have to worry about the payments from each individual program as they take care of everything. Neither you have to browse around to find the appropriate links or banners. Additionally they provide a tool to make your own links to any products you like!
However it is upto each individual program to either accept you or not. Some of them are really picky, spend a lot of time reviewing your blog, which will make the waiting times for acceptance or decline long. They will only accept you if you are offering relevant content and some demand that you have already built a good following for your blog, making it less ideal for beginners. The percentages are also dependent on the individual program and vary 5-30% depending on the product.
You can also use this program to promote your own products and services. You can also feature yourself and sometimes relevant programs contact you directly, which is a reason I prefer to them instead of the many other popular programs out there.
My Personal Favorite Affiliate Program
However, my favorite affiliate program is Wealthy Affiliate University, a platform for learning about online marketing. It’s comprehensive program teaches you how to build and monetize a website, as well as how to make it rank on Google searches. They will also host your platform, have a great keyword engine and are extremely technically competent.
Besides the whole project is built on a community concept, meaning that you can learn from others who have already succeeded with online marketing, this is a huge advantage for someone who is just getting started! You can read about my review here:
There are of course couple of other ways to make money with your writing, but I consider them more advanced and time consuming than the marketing based methods mentioned above. Some of these include:
Some online magazines offer payments for well written articles. However you might have to look for long time someone to take a shine on your and your might have to rewrite your articles several time before they are accepted. The process can be very frustrating. Also don’t expect first articles to compensate anywhere enough to cover the amount of time you put into them. Typical fees as around 50-500USD.
On the long term this does pay off as you get more experience and know what is expected from you. For instance you will be contacted by magazines and asked to write an article with a certain subject and guidelines, which makes the whole experience much more positive. At this stage you can expect to make upto 5000USD per 2000+ word article.
I personally hate this platform and others its kind, as the bidding process basically means you are never going to make much money on your articles, doesn’t matter how good they are. If you are offering high quality articles and your prices are high, someone writing mediocre articles will always underbid you and most of the times will be selected instead. The global market makes this especially difficult as for an Indian or African student, 200USD might be a lot of money as for you it’s not enough to even bother competing with.
That being said, it does serve it’s purse in getting you some experience with writing and I do sometimes recommend it for people who are beginners to paid article writing. It does feel good to see the first money rolling in, even if we talking about few dollars.
You can always write your own down loadable book! This is what a lot of good bloggers end up doing and it’s a great way to migrate into a published writer. There are many great tools out there, some free, which will help you to create your own e-book, in a pdf format. You can then use your e-book as reward for something, such as competition or give it in return for leaving the person’s contact details for later marketing purposes, or sell it.
E-books can be sold rather easily via for instance Amazon book store or some of the other online services. You can also install an e-commerce plugin on your website and create you own store for your e-book offerings! Remember to make some research online about other books written of the same topic and price your books competitively. If not, you will fail to make sales, especially before you have made a name for yourself!
I hope you have enjoyed my introduction into ways of earning money on your blog! There are plenty of other ways there, but above should be enough to get your started. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I would be happy to help you out in any way I can with your quest to become a stellar writer!
I wish you a lot of success!