A blog is a great medium to make money online and that is why many of us start it in the first place, but as time goes on, we realize the importance of building trust by giving away free information and how this is very critical to succeeding as a blogger, we go on to give this free information, get side-tracked, and later find it difficult to monetize our blog.
I know there are a lot of arguments on this and not everybody will agree with me but I’m writing this post from my experience of building a successful blog.
My blog doesn’t make me much money (sorry if you believe otherwise) and I know many people with less traffic than I have making several thousands of dollars every month. The reason for this is not because of any other thing but my approach – my approach to blogging and making money online.
This battle is a real battle and I’m sorry to say, many people will die in the midst of it and only a select few will be able to survive – those who will survive will only survive because of two things, either because they got things right or because of their strong passion for their blog.
The truth is, it is not too late, changes can still be made, and that blog of yours bringing in nothing can be putting food on your table, consistently. But the solution doesn’t lie in writing or building more traffic but in realizing your mistakes and working on fixing it.
I’m a victim of this situation myself and I’m a soldier in this battle, I so much love my blog but I got tired of trying to monetize it so I decided to compile a list of some of the best ways to monetize a blog while weighing their pros and cons, from this I was able to discover the approach I want to be using and I’d like to share it with you too.
1. Product Creation
This is probably the best way to monetize a blog and many people have turned internet millionaires by using this approach, however, it’s important for you to realize that no matter how powerful, there is nothing that has advantages without disadvantages.
You are in control – you make the sale, you determine what you want people to see, you determine how you want people to see it, you determine if you want affiliates and you determine how you want them to be paid.
Little Production Cost – I’d like you to know that the production cost depends on the type of product you create. You’ll have to spend more if you create a physical book rather than an ebook. However, if you decide to go the digital route, it only takes creating your product, setting up your website and payment system, and boom, you’re already making money online. Creating your own product is often cost-free, it mostly requires you sacrificing your time (or a little money if you don’t have much skills).
Opportunity for Recurring Income – Depending on the type of product you create, another advantage of creating your own product is that you have an opportunity to earn recurring income from your efforts. For example, you can easily create a paid forum, a membership site or a continuity program that requires the user to keep on paying on a monthly basis.
Lifetime Income Opportunity – You own your own product so you can determine when to stop. It’s easy for a marketer to discontinue affiliates promoting a product or take the product off the market and this can have a great effect on affiliates promoting the product, it is also possible for sponsors to stop sponsoring you but you’re the only one who can determine whether you want to stop your own product or not.
It Takes Time – If you’re planning to give your best, creating a product takes time. Creating a great, value-packed ebook can take months and creating a solid membership site can take years (depending one who you are).
Dealing With Changes – Creating your own product also exposes you to dealing with various types of changes in relation to your product. Most products that are relevant last year are no longer relevant and it is the duty of the creator to make sure the program is updated.
Handling Customer Support – I plan to launch my first product when I’m at least 10 times bigger than I am now. I get bored with dealing with emails nowadays and if not for the high number of guest posts I write I’d stop using email (I’m so sorry to say that). Take a look at this, how do you think everything will be when I launch my own product with support from so many powerful affiliates, this will require a large percentage of my time to deal with customer requests and can take the whole of my day, if care is not taken.
Promoting Your Product – Everyone can create a product but not everyone can make money creating products. It’s one thing to create a product and it’s another thing to promote it and make sure it gets the best attention. Getting traffic to the free info on your blog can be quite a task, let alone getting traffic to a product people have to pay for.
Seeing that this approach takes a lot of effort I’m certain it’s not the way for me to go now.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another great way to make money online and it also has its pros and cons. Many people see affiliate marketing as too easy while many people see it as too complex, if you ask me what it is I’ll tell you it depends solely on your knowledge of the subject. I’ll also like you to know that making money online from affiliate marketing is not about the traffic you have but your knowledge and application of the subject.
It Can be a Huge Time-saver (Very Good for Lazy People – Like Me 🙂 ) – A major benefit of affiliate marketing is that it is a huge time-saver. Creating your own product requires you to spend time and money but affiliate marketing doesn’t require that, it only requires you to drive traffic to your affiliate link and begin to make sales.
No Worries about Customer Support – Another great advantage of monetizing your blog via affiliate marketing is that it eliminates all your worries about offering customer support. You don’t need to bother about people asking you for help on the product purchased, all you need to do is gain their trust and recommend the product, every other thing has to do with the product creator.
100% Risk Free – When talking about creating your own product there’s very little probability of you selling it and in cases like this your investment can be wasted. As far as affiliate marketing is concerned there won’t be any waste since there is often no investment.
Opportunity for Passive Income – Affiliate marketing is one of the best income sources that provides the opportunity for passive income. Offering services on your blog has no opportunity for passive income and often brings about inconvenience on your part, affiliate marketing doesn’t.
More Income Potential – Unlike in creating your own product, the person who created the product you’re marketing would have done the market research necessary and most often would have spent enough on building a brand for their product thereby making it easier for you to earn more money.
You need traffic – The number one major concern of an affiliate marketer is traffic. Traffic sells and if you don’t have it you can’t make sales, but if you have abundant of it you won’t find it difficult making sales.
It is Complex in Most Cases – Yeah! That’s one major disadvantage of affiliate marketing because it requires you building trust with your readers. Your readers will hardly buy from you if they don’t trust you so building trust as an affiliate marketer is very important.
It’s Easy to Lose Sales – Unlike creating your own product in which every sales will come directly to you you’re more likely to lose sales as an affiliate marketer depending on the number of people recommending the product so it is important to make sure your readers buy from you by improving your affiliate copy.
3. Banner Advertisement
This is the old and most used way of monetizing a blog, however it has its own advantages and disadvantages.
It is A Quick Way to Make Some Bucks – I’ve turned down countless opportunities to display advertisement on this blog and I still get emails from advertisers. If you have an audience, displaying banner ads on your blog is one of the easiest and sure-fire way to monetize your blog.
Little Effort From Your Part – Many people won’t agree with me but from experience I don’t see any reason in monetizing your blog with banner ads when you don’t have an audience. If you get some significant traffic you should already be getting emails from advertisers, and in most cases, the only thing you need to do is display the ads on your blog.
No worthwhile income – Especially if you’re a small blogger, it’s very difficult to make any worthwhile income from displaying ads so it is very important to spend more time on other income sources.
Some Readers Don’t Like It – I know you might yell at those readers and tell them to go to hell, but believe me, many people don’t like it. Take a look at Wikipedia and you would see people paying millions just to make it ad-free. As long as you’re providing value people are always ready to buy from you, patronize your service etc.
4. Joint Ventures
Another great way to make money online is by utilizing joint ventures, you’ll be able to partner with another person to create a product and both of you will use your collective influence to make it a success.
Very Effective and Quality Product – We’re talking about making money and monetizing a blog, why should you care about a product’s quality? This is because the better a product is, the more sales you’ll make and the less refunds you will get thereby leading to more income. Since two heads are better than one and you’re combining your knowledge with another person’s to develop a product (e.g. a software developer and an internet marketer), it will be easier to release the best to the market.
More Income Potential – Since you will promote the product using your collective influence, network, audience etc. it is easier to get more sales and traction for your product.
Difficult in Most Cases – Except you’re living together or you’re brothers it’s often difficult to get along with a complete stranger and build your life on your collective effort. If you partner with someone who can’t be trusted it can cost you several thousands of dollars.
You Have to Share The Income – In most cases the amount you see is not what you’ll get. You can be happy that you made a million dollars in sales but at the end not all the money will belong to you.
No Certain Future – You should have read about partners having to split. Another great disadvantage of partnering with someone is that your views about the product can change and this can lead to conflict and eventually having to split.
5. Paid Reviews
Another way to make money from your site is by charging people for paid reviews.
Attractive Income – Depending on your audience the income you get from writing paid reviews can be very attractive. You can make anything ranging from $50-$1000+ for reviewing a product. You can also collect physical products or lifetime access to a particular service.
Very Easy to Do – In most cases the company will give you what to write and if they don’t it is very easy for you to write the review so this takes a very little percentage of your time.
It is Easy to Lose Trust – Another thing about writing paid reviews is that it is very easy for you to lose your trust with your readers if they see what you reviewed to be of low quality so it’s very important to be careful with what you review.
You Need Traffic – Another thing with writing paid reviews is that you’ll need traffic to get great and paying offers.
6. Getting Sponsorship
Can Be Very Effective – One great advantage of monetizing your blog by getting sponsorships is that it can be very effective because your sponsors will take care of all your expenses thereby making sure you have enough funds.
It is Often Difficult to Get Sponsors – In most cases it is very difficult to get sponsors so this particular model is beyond reach for everybody.
You Must Be Recognized – If you take a look at Lifehacker or ReadWriteWeb you’ll notice that those blogs are recognized for their great brand and the quality they provide and they have tons of traffic, subscribers and followers so it is very easy for them to get sponsors.
Sponsor Instability – Another problem with this model is that sponsors can be unstable if they’ve gotten what they want or they see that your blog is not providing what they need thereby leaving you to look for other ways to monetize your blog.
7. Offer Services
Another great way to monetize your blog is by offering services. This model is used by some of the top blogs and can be very effective compared to other models.
Easy to Get Clients – You don’t need a gazillion visitors to be able to make money by offering services on your blog and you’ll notice big blogs like Problogger and Copyblogger are not doing this because they get more than enough clients. You only need a small audience that trust you to succeed with this model.
Great Income Potential – If you’re planning to offer services like consulting, marketing advice and the likes it’s easy for you to make great income from your blog because these services cost hundreds of dollars so you’ll only need a few clients to make serious money.
Recurring Service Potential – If you do this well and your readers love what they get there’s every probability they’ll use your services in the future and recommend it to their friends.
You Need Traffic – A major disadvantage of this model is that you can’t setup a blog today and expect people to use your services, you need traffic to make money offering services.
You Need Trust – When trying to make money by offering services you need to build trust with your readers before they can use your services – they won’t give their hard-earned cash to someone they don’t trust.
Income is Not Passive – Another disadvantage of this model is that there’s no passive income opportunity – once you stop working, you stop earning.
It Takes Time – Offering services on your blog requires your time and this sometimes leads to inconvenience on your part. There are different time zones in the world so you and your clients have to agree. You also have to dedicate hours of your day to satisfy your clients.
Over to You
Have you ever tried monetizing your blog? How do you go about it? What do you think about this post? Feel free to share your views below. I’ll also appreciate you sharing this post on your favorite social media sites.
Image by: Shutterstock