How to Make Money Blogging
This blog post is part of a series of posts on How To Start A Blog And Make Money Blogging. If you haven’t already started your blog you will want to check out one of our how to articles to either Start A Wix Blog In Just A Few Easy Steps or check out our article on How To Start a Blog Using WordPress. If you already started a blog and you are wondering if you can you make money blogging or how do you make money blogging, then continue reading.
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No matter whether you started blogging for money or for fun, if you have people reading your blog, it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunity to monetize your blog. There are lots of ways to make money blogging, ranging from placing ads on your website to creating an ebook or even marketing related products and services to your readers. While there are literally hundreds of ways that a popular blog can make money, we will get into some detail on a few of the most popular ways.
1. Affiliate Marketing
This is one of the most common ways to make money blogging. Affiliate marketing in the simplest of terms is someone advertising the products or services of another company in exchange for a commission of a subsequent sale. In short, if you like a product, you can discuss it either in your blog or newsletter and then give your reader a unique link to the product.
The link is provided to you by the affiliate and it allows them to track users that you referred to them. There is usually a specific set of actions the user has to complete for you to get paid. That could be as simple as clicking on your link or signing up for a website or making a purchase. This tracking is usually done with the use of a cookie.
Affiliate programs have varying lengths of time that the cookie is good for. What this means is that the user has to complete the agreed upon action within the specified time period for you to get paid. It could be a day, or a month or even a year or longer depending on the advertiser. In some cases, you will work directly with the company that you are marketing products for by signing up directly as an affiliate on their website. In other cases, you will work with what is called an affiliate marketing network.
An affiliate marketing network is basically a 3rd party company that acts as a liaison between you, the publisher, and the advertiser who is paying to try to drive new traffic to their website. You are the publisher because you are publishing content that gets people reading about the advertiser’s products and includes links to the advertiser’s website. The advertiser is willing to pay for this because it drives new people to their website that otherwise would likely not have visited.
The benefit to working with an affiliate marketing network is that they can provide you with immediate access to thousands of advertisers that you can market to your readers. You won’t need to fill out an individual application for each of the affiliate programs you want to work with. The downside to working with an affiliate marketing network rather than directly with an advertiser is that you will share a piece of that commission with the 3rd party affiliate network.
In some cases, you won’t have a choice, some companies don’t work directly with publishers, they only work with 3rd party affiliates. They let those companies manage the affiliate program and track clicks and conversions through affiliate links. They pay the 3rd party affiliate network who in turn pays you, the publisher, your commission.
The Best Affiliate Programs To Make Money Blogging
FlexOffers is my favorite affiliate marketing network. They have over 12000 affiliate programs across dozens of categories spanning 27 countries. They add several hundred new advertisers every week. They have an easy to use dashboard to see how your campaigns are performing. Signup is free an easy. And so far, I have been approved for every affiliate program that I have applied to on their network.
Awin is another top affiliate marketing network. They have over 13000 advertisers and working with over 100,000 publishers. Their advertiser directory is organized in a way that makes it easy to find merchants that fit your niche and that you will want to work with. They do charge a tiny fee to sign up ($5) but that gets automatically deposited into your account and then paid out with your first affiliate payment. So, it’s basically free to sign up, the fee is just to weed out the people that aren’t really serious about affiliate marketing.
Skimlinks is an extremely easy way to make money blogging using affiliate marketing because they manage all of the affiliate links for you. You don’t have to waste much of your time researching affiliate programs, signing up for affiliate programs, creating and managing affiliate links throughout your website and managing payments from hundreds of different affiliates.
Some will look at Skimlinks and think they don’t want to share 25% of their commissions. But others will look at is as the time you save not having to manage all of the affiliate links yourself can afford you the opportunity to focus your efforts on creating more quality content for your website. This way, you can continue to make money blogging instead of wasting your time trying to find new affiliate programs.
This can actually result in you earning even more commissions than if you managed your affiliate programs yourself. And Skimlinks will respect your existing affiliate links. They will only monetize opportunities you are currently not utilizing. You setup any affiliate links you want and they will only use the ones you missed. So, you pretty much have nothing to lose, if you are already blogging for money then you can sign up for free and Skimlinks only gets paid when you get paid.
2. The Amazon Associates Program
Amazon is usually one of the first affiliate programs most people join when blogging for money. Amazon is probably the most popular affiliate program in the world because it is so easy to join. They pretty much accept anyone, you don’t even need a website. Once you are a member, there will be a little bar at the top of your Amazon.com page called the Amazon Associates Site Strip.
Any time you see a product you want to promote you can just click on the top of the page and get an affiliate link for that product. If you discuss that product and put that link on your blog and someone clicks on that link you get a commission on the sale if they make a purchase.
The great part about the Amazon affiliate program is that when a person clicks on your amazon link you can get commissions on other products they purchase even if it wasn’t the specific product you were marketing. The downside to the Amazon Affiliate program is that the commissions tend to be on the low side and the cookie duration is quite short (24 hours). You can check out the full rules of the program on the Amazon Associates website.
3. Pay Per Click Ads
Pay Per Click Ads are yet another way to make money blogging. Google Adsense is a platform that allows website owners to easily display ads on their website or blog. Google is essentially renting space on your website and they display ads for the advertisers they work with. When a user clicks on an ad they collect money from the advertiser and they pay you a commission on the money they receive from the advertiser. To do this, you first have to sign up for a Google AdSense account and then they give you code to add to your website which will display the ads.
If you are a Wix user, you can use the Wix Google Adsense App to do this. If you are a WordPress user, this would typically be done using a Custom HTML Widget. You can add the widget to the appropriate location of your website and then paste the HTML code from your Google Adsense account in there.
The positive to adding Google Adsense to your website is that it is totally passive income. Once you add it to your website there is no more work to be done. The ads get displayed on any page you added the code to and you get money when readers click on them.
The negatives to adding Google Adsense are:
1) It doesn’t pay much, google takes most of the commission and usually pays you pennies for most ads. Unless you have an extremely popular blog you won’t make a lot of money from Google Adsense.
2) People generally don’t like seeing ads on websites they are visiting. Make sure you limit the number of ads you have on your website and you put them in areas that are not too disruptive to your main content on the page or your website will give the user a spammy feeling.
3) Too many ads can slow down the load times of a web page. Ever click on a link in Facebook or other social media account and get taken to a page that is just littered with dozens of ads? If you are like me, you probably close that page before it even finishes loading. Bottom line, its ok to have ads on your site, just make sure they are carefully placed.
4) It is not easy to get approved for Google Adsense. They are pretty picky about the types of sites they like to work with. If you are a new website, you have virtually no chance of getting approved. You need to be a fairly well established website with a decent amount of high quality content.
A Great Alternative To Google Adsense
If you are worried about not getting approved by Google Adsense because you either have a newer website/blog or because you are in a niche that they do not approve of then Media.net is a terrific alternative. They are the Yahoo! Bing equivalent of Google Adsense.
Media.net is the 2nd largest contextual ads program in the world. They will usually approve you within a day or two at most after you have applied. You will find it significantly easier to get approved for ads from Media.net than Google.
4. Create and Sell an Ebook
If you have specific expertise in whatever niche your blog happens to be focused on, you can capitalize on that knowledge by putting it into an eBook and selling it. I use Designrr to create eBooks. Designrr allows you to easily create professional looking eBooks in just minutes using blog posts you’ve already written so there is no need to write content from scratch.
Designrr lets you combine blog posts from your website to create beautiful eBooks with fully clickable affiliate links in a matter of minutes. You can upload these pdf’s to submission sites like Slideshare, Scribd, etc. and instantly drive new traffic to your website since the PDF will contain links back to your website. Designrr works on just about every website or blog including Wix, WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify, Hubspot, etc.
In addition, if you are willing to give away your eBook for free this is a great way to get new subscribers to your email subscriber list. At the end of the blog post you can offer them the free eBook if they sign up for your subscriber list. Email Subscriber lists are a great way to make money with a blog which is a nice lead into my next topic.
5. Start an Email Newsletter
A good email subscriber list is one of the best ways to make money blogging. I’ve read some bloggers who said that 90% of their monthly revenue comes from their email list. One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make when blogging for money is they do not start a subscriber list right away. This is usually because they either think it is not important or they just don’t think they have enough readers yet to start a list. But there are so many ways to make money with an email subscriber list like sending emails that sell your own products, emails that sell other people’s products through affiliate links and even selling direct ad space if your newsletter becomes popular enough. It is critical to start collecting subscribers as soon as possible.
Some basic tips for maintaining your email list:
- It all starts with a good email marketing service like AWeber. Don’t try to maintain an email list on your own. Any time you let a website visitor leave your site without signing up for your email list, there is a good chance you have lost them as a customer forever. A great service like AWeber can help with easy to use signup forms and website integrations to help you turn visitors into subscribers. They also have email templates and drag and drop tools for creating email newsletters. You can try AWeber free for 30 days.
- If you are new to blogging and just starting it, you may not be able to afford a monthly fee for a full service email marketer like AWeber. In that case, you may want to start out with something like MailerLite. They let you get started at absolutely no cost for up to 1000 subscribers. So, you can begin to build your subscriber list for free and then upgrade to a better service once you have enough subscribers to begin turn a profit.
- Know your target audience, that might seem obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people pitch products just because they were accepted into an affiliate program. You’ll obviously be much more successful focusing on marketing products to your readers that are relative to your niche.
6. Sell Direct Ad Space
This is an opportunity that likely won’t become available to you until after your blog or website has gained popularity and lots of web traffic. But once you get to that point it can be much more lucrative than using Google AdSense or Media.net because you don’t have to share the revenue with Google. You can add a section to your website that lets visitors know they can contact you to discuss advertising on your website. You can also offer to have them sponsor your newsletter. There are some great marketplaces online where you can find an advertiser to work. BuySellAds is one of the more common ones that you can check out.
Well, that is it for our series on on How To Start A Blog And Make Money Blogging. We hope you found it informative and it helped you get started blogging. Please join our subscriber list so we can keep you updated with other tips and tricks on how to make money with your blog.