Ah, I thought that might get your attention…..
Yes, what blogger does NOT want to make money from their hard work? Oh what’s that? You’re independently wealthy and just doing this for kicks n’ giggles? That’s nice for you. Now go sit in the corner with my other imaginary friends.
But for those of you that would at least like to make a little cupcake money….
The most important thing you can do is ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING PEOPLE CAN CLICK ON THAT WILL EARN YOU MONEY!
‘Duh?’ You say? Perhaps not. Most of the people that I talk to who would like to make money from their blog, are not offering anything that actually enables that to happen. Take a look at your blog. Is there anything that can be clicked on that results in money in your bank? I’m talking about something glaringly obvious, not a tiny paragraph of text hidden on your ‘About’ page that says you accept advertising.
No matter how brilliant a writer you are, people don’t tend to go around giving out money unprompted. You need to have some kind of structure in place that enables this to happen. So this might be an area of discomfort for some folks – you want to make money, perhaps have some sponsors etc, but you also feel reticent to make such a bold gesture. Perhaps you think it’s a little declasse to actually ask for money. Well you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone on this one.
So it’s time to really think about how you may want to make money from your blog and take some steps towards implementing that. I mentioned a few strategies in my WordCamp presentation – Treat Your Blog Like A Business. This is clearly not an exhaustive list, but just a few seedling ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Google Adsense is where a lot of people start because it’s easy to set up. To make any real money you typically have to have a lot of traffic and you will get the best results only with pretty aggressive ad placements, which can be a turn off for some bloggers. You’re also making money from people leaving your site which seems counter-intuitive if you’ve put in a lot of effort to get readers and keep them there. However, for some people Adsense is a good place to start – the barrier to entry is very low and when you see the first few cents show up in your account, no matter how small, it helps you get motivated to try other things.
A lot of bloggers may have something on their site that says they offer advertising, but a passive approach rarely works to bring the PR people knocking on your door with money. You have to get out there and actively pitch your site to companies you think would be a good fit. See who’s advertising on other sites and/or make a list of some local companies that you think would be a good match. Remember that when you approach these people you have to have your offer nicely packaged – you are essentially selling your audience so you must know who you are reaching and describe the benefits of reaching them for the potential sponsor. If you don’t fancy yourself an ad salesperson, you can also find ad networks in your niche that do the selling for you – you just stick the ad code on your site.
Create & Sell A Product
Is there a product, such as an ebook that you could come up with and sell directly from your site? What knowledge or expertise do you have that you can package in written format? This is where you have the greatest opportunity to make profit. Ebooks are easy to create and sell – it’s as simple as creating a .pdf. You can then use a service like E-Junkie to help you sell, or WordPress users can install a simple shopping cart plugin like Cart66 to enable sales. Video products are another option if you’re more comfortable with that format.
If you don’t have your own product to sell, the next best thing is to sell someone else’s. I’m not talking so much about the Amazon-style affiliate programs here – some people do make money from those, but the commissions are typically quite low. A better bet may be to look for products by other popular bloggers who probably have more generous affiliate programs.
Now I’m not saying you’ll immediately be raking in the dough – that’s definitely not the case and you’ll probably make chump change at the beginning. What’s important is taking that first step toward the goal of monetization. When you see those first few cents come in ,it changes your mindset. It lets you see the possibilities and motivates you to do more. Experiment and try different things to see what works for your blog and your audience. Rather than throwing a million different things on your site at once, I would focus on one tactic for perhaps a month at a time and then compare earnings.
header image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eejaehee/4889580551/in/photostream/
What have you tried, if anything, to monetize your blog? Share your experiences below!