What if I told you that if you set up and ran your own, self-hosted blog…
If you are thinking about starting a blog you can read our 7 Easy Steps to Start your Own Blog on WordPress
You could transmute all your invested time and creative energy into cash?
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible, and most successful blogger gurus are doing just that. In fact, most well-run blogs will have some form of revenue creation capability equipped to their blog. The only difference is that you might not immediately notice it when you visit their site(s). Any time you see a Google Ad, an affiliate marketing link (which I’ll discuss later on), or a program or eCourse subscription on a blog, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re making dollars from it.
So how do we, the startup bloggers, get in on that action? Well, sit tight, because these revenue streams are exactly what we’re going to talk about.
First Thing’s First: We Need Some Sweet Traffic Love
Alrighty, so if you haven’t yet setup your own blog, then go ahead and check out our recent post [Trendy Blogger: 7 Super Easy Steps for Getting Your Blog Off the Ground]. If you’ve already gotten past the blog setup phase, then let us go forth and conquer.
Next thing we’re going to need to do is acquire traffic to this new blog of ours. If anything, this will be the part that takes the vast majority of work and time, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; after all, you just have to do what bloggers do best …and that is… blog. Also, bear in mind that there are other powerful ways of speeding up the process on acquiring traffic to the blog, such as SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, email marketing, and more. We will be covering these topics in future posts. Ultimately, what you’ll want to do is build a following, using solid and unique content that people want to regularly consume.
However, there is one other thing that you should keep in mind. If you’re looking to spend a whopping total of 20 minutes per week on your blog, then monetizing it is going to pose a bit of a challenge. To earn real dollars via blogging, this is something you’ll want to take seriously, much like you would a part-time or full-time job. As Nancy Collamer of Forbes writes that most bloggers…
“…aren’t blogging full-time: 42% work full-time or part-time in a non-blogging job; 30% are stay-at-home parents and 18% own a non-blogging business.”
Basically, those bloggers that make money blogging are in it to win it; but that’s what will make the difference between you, my DIY compadres, and the vast majority of lukewarm blogger-preneurs out there. Hey, it’s probably why you’re reading this post in the first place: you want the win.
Thinking Outside Ye Olde Box
In a FANTASTIC article on the topic, from TheAdventurousWriter.com, the piece really does move this blog monetization project into the realm of reality…
“There are no fast, easy secrets to earning a living as a blogger. Like any small business, you have to work hard on your blogs. Successful bloggers are entrepreneurs who know that “get rich quick” schemes will fail every time.”
If anything, the key is to completely abandon the idea of getting rich quick; however, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the most fundamental truth of what makes entrepreneurs successful …and that has to do with creatively leveraging your time. Getting rich quick is basically the cheap knockoff of time leveraging to building wealth.
On the flip-side, it is possible to automate much of what you do to build traffic on your blog. For instance, using sites, WordPress (WP) plugins, and services (with FREE basic packages) like Jetpack, IFTTT, Hootsuite, and Buffer can increase your efficiency by consolidating your social media networking efforts. For example, IFTTT can automatically post to Instagram every time you publish a blog post, without you having to even think about it. While you may not be ‘getting rich quick’, automation will allow you to increase your traffic exponentially faster, allowing you to increase the size of your catch by having several nets in the water simultaneously.
If anything, a successful online moneymaker is going to implement two basic virtues: endurance and creativity. Possess them, and you’ll make everyone think you got rich quick when, instead, you simply got rich smart.
And with increasing traffic, comes a tribe. With a tribe comes the opportunity to harness the monetizing power of truckloads of followers. Here are a few ways you can get it done.
#7 – Tribally Savvy: Get Paid by Following Your Passion
One of the most overlooked ways of monetizing a blog has to do with rocking the awesome power of the aforementioned “tribe”. Basically, a tribal following is a whole bunch of people who look to you as a “thought leader” on the topic that they’re interested in enough to keep coming back to your website and social pages for information, entertainment, and/or education.
With that being said, this means that if your blog has to do with travel, cooking, entertainment, politics, ancient aliens, or modern unicorns, then you’ll have a uniquely commanding voice in a certain sub-genre. And this, my friend, is where monetization opportunities begin to open up. For instance, YouTube comes to mind in this particular point. Entrepreneur contributor and Co-founder of FE International, Thomas Smale writes,
“Building a popular YouTube channel can be a lot of work. But if you already have a following, or you’re determined to build your audience, joining the YouTube Partner Program to make money on advertising might be a path worth exploring.”
A blog doesn’t necessarily have to consist of only writing words. You can post videos, images, eCourses, or whatever…and even though your blog itself may not be making the cash, it could be creating a following that flows into YouTube… and YouTube will pay you for the love of their advertisers.
Oh, and speaking of Thomas Smale’s thoughts, the guy runs a company, FE International, which brings me to my next lil’ pointer…
#6 – Flip It
FE International is a place where you can buy and sell websites …kinda’ like buying and selling houses. However, while those sites might be multi-million-dollar contracts, that doesn’t necessarily mean that such resources are out of your reach as a small-time newbie blogger-preneur. To illustrate my point, Pradeep Kumar’s article gives 20 sites where you can flip active blog websites.
Now, it might seem a little strange: giving up all your hard work and creative energy just to flip a site; however, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. You’ve gotta’ think like an entrepreneur. What would a guy like, say, Richard Branson do? If anything, he’d probably head over to a site like Upwork, and hire someone that writes professionally to get the job done. Hey, SmartBlogger’s, Jon Morrow said it best:
“The moment you decide to use your blog to make money, you’re no longer just a blogger. At that moment, you also become an entrepreneur, and your blog becomes a small business.”
But remember, if you do hire a writer, then you WILL get what you pay for. Take the cheap route, and you’ll get cheap writing, which will leave you asking yourself: will people actually want to read this? But, if you’ve invested smartly in your talent, then in a few months, you can make a few grand on the site you just flipped, because your traffic answered: yes, we want to read this. And business will pay for a site that’s already getting flooded with the #1 commodity on the internet …sweet, juicy, flowing, golden traffic.
#5 – Provide the Things You Do Best
Speaking of freelance writers, there’s no reason why you can’t “monetize” your blog to pick up clients. For example, what if you’re a freelance writer yourself? Running a highly successful blog is one way that lots of freelance writers actually get hired by very well-paying clientele, since it is basically a portfolio that gets updated 2+ times each week.
By the same token, whether you’re a graphic designer, a videographer, a producer, a musician, or even a conference-speaking life coach that’s destined for the fertile lands of TED Talks, you can use your blog as a showcase that will display to the world what you’re truly capable of. Sure it may be true that ‘monetization’ means landing a job. But hey, if it’s what you want to do, then you might as well go for it.
And employers/clients will pay sweet money to have a thought leader on their team. After all, they look good when you look good. It’s a simple but powerful truth: thought-lead a tribe, reap the monetary rewards in kind.
#4 – From Blog to Book
It’s a rather interesting (and somewhat recently occurring) phenomenon: bloggers have been flipping their posts into published books. The steps on this intriguing process are as follows…
- Create a blog.
- Write enough blog posts that accumulate enough content that constitute something book-publishing worthy.
- While completing step #2, the traffic will naturally begin to flow into your blog on the regular.
- With that content, you make the move to either publish through a publishing house or you can self-publish your book. (Arguably, the latter option is the most favorable, given the fact that you’ve already completed your own advertising campaign via your blog.)
- Promote your book via your blog, and start selling copies to your blog’s followers.
In a way, this seems like a counter-intuitive business model, given the fact that all the content in the book is already posted for freesies on your blog. However, this is where the power of the thought-leadership tribal following comes in: your people trust and admire your work. Whether it’s because your followers simply enjoy the novelty of possessing a book that you published, or it’s the fact all your content is conveniently compiled into one eBook or hard copy, this has translated into sales for many a hearty blogger. One such example was novel enough that Hollywood took note and created a movie out of it, called Julie & Julia (2009).
#3 – Selling Your Own Digital (or Non-Digital) Stuff
If you’ve been following our recent posts, you might have noticed that we’ve been talking about an online eCommerce platform for arts and crafters, known as Etsy. (See our post: How to Start an Etsy Business).
Another interesting takeaway to place in your entrepreneurial brain-toolbox is to realize that the most successful and active Etsy sellers are the ones that also run successful and active blogs. Since blogs offer a means of accumulating traffic, or basically a following of eager and paying customers, the same thing happens that occurs in the blog-to-book phenomenon: you build a following, you also build an advertising platform.
Through a blog, you can sell things like…
- Homemade products
- Educational videos
- …or really anything you can creatively produce and sell on an eCommerce platform.
And by the way, if you’re using WordPress (WP), you can EASILY create an online storefront that operates directly on the blog itself via WP plugins, many of which are completely free.
#2 – Selling Other People’s Stuff
Affiliate marketing is basically the act of selling other people’s stuff, and taking a commission-percentage of the sale for yourself.
This is why I should mention the lovely option of selling other people’s stuff on your blog, because it’s not even a challenging selling platform to set up. In fact, there are even WordPress plugins for that, too. One of my favorite methods of doing this is through Amazon.com, because you’ll actually be able to sell products from an assortment of various Amazon sellers, displaying such products that pertain to the topic and nature of your blog and, thereby, to the traffic that’s already coming to your site.
You won’t have any startup investment, nothing to make, nothing to ship, etc. …all you do is simply let your traffic view these items, click on these items, make their purchases, and whamo… you get the commission payment for all your not-so-hard work. Sites like eBay and Amazon already have programs that support this process, so in reality, your only real task is to fill out a few fields and download the plugin (or paste in the code for non-WordPress bloggers).
Not to mention, this monetization method can pertain to both tangible and digital products as well, because either way, you never even have to worry about the transaction process. The seller used your traffic to make the sale, and you used the seller to make a commission.
#1 – Easy Money: Advertising
Those last two pointers were, in a way, the same thing as advertising …except it’s a bit different in a few aspects. For one, you’re selling products (whether yours or someone else’s) on your site, but while the advertisement itself might be selling a company’s product or service, you’re actually making money on something else: digital real estate.
When it comes to advertising on your blog, it works much the same way radio advertising works. Radio stations receive ‘followers’ in the form of listeners that can tune in for free. At the same time, companies pay the station to play their advertisements for the listeners to hear. From this, a percentage of these listeners will become customers of those companies that purchase an advertisement slot on the channel …nestled somewhere between Justin Bieber and Coldplay.
In the same way, your blog can act like a radio station.
All you’d really need to do is hop on Google Adsense, create an account, and begin carving out areas on your blog that will enable Adsense to place advertisements for other companies on your site. Of course, there are several surprisingly-easy-to-apply WordPress plugins for that, so be not afraid of ye olde technical difficulty.
Additionally, you can also use networks such as Commission Junction for much of the same, as this concept lands in that grey area between advertising and affiliate marketing. But that is neither here nor there. At the end of the day, it’s still money in the pocket and a check in the mail.
Let’s Get Paid
Well, that was a list of my top seven methods of making dough as a blogger-preneur, but let’s just say that I wasn’t even able to scratch the surface. If you’re still curious and looking to find more money-making options for your blog, then feel free to check out the infographic below from ProBlogger.
And, if you know about other methods of monetize a blog, please feel free to leave a comment below and tell us about it. We’d love to hear from you!
And as always, keep it savvy.
————————————–Start your Own Blog——————————————————–
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- You will appear much more professional to readers, companies, and so on if you are self-hosted on Bluehost than being on Blogspot.