In a previous post, we looked at different ways that people are making money from their hobbies. Most of them are using a blog as the vehicle to do that. So the natural question raised was, How are they making money from a blog? There are a lot of creative ways to do that, but today I’m only going to talk about the 7 main ways people use blogs to make money.
1: Pay-Per-Click Advertising
The first way is probably the most common: Pay-per-click Advertising. Most blogs you might visit will have a banner add at the top or several along the sides of the blog post. The blog owner has signed up with Google (usually) and allowed boxes of advertising to show on their page. If you as a visitor click on one of those advertisements, the blog owner gets a small payment for that click. This is probably the easiest way to start monetizing your blog, but it really doesn’t yield a lot of income for you, unless you have massive amounts of visitors.
2: Affiliate Links
Another easy way to generate some income is through affiliate links. This is a program started by Amazon.com originally and now is pretty pervasive in the webosphere. The idea is that you as a blog owner sign up with a company, and they provide you with a unique code. When you make links in your blog posts, you embed your unique code into the link. When a visitor clicks on that link (let’s say it’s a link to a product on Amazon), your unique code travels with them. If they buy the item, Amazon pays you a small “finder’s fee”. Just like Pay-Per-Click Advertising, there’s typically not a lot of money to be made through affiliate codes, unless you are promoting high-value items.
3: Product Reviews
You may have seen blogs whose posts were strictly reviews about different tech gadgets or new electronic items. Sometimes the review contains affiliate links back to the product being reviewed, but sometimes the review is done as a paid service to the owner of the new gadget. What happens is that the owner of a new software, for instance, wants to get the word out, so he may approach the owner of a really popular techie blog and ask that person to do a review of the product in exchange for a fee (fees can vary dramatically, based on the size of the blog’s audience and on how deep the pockets of the software owner are).
4: Lead Generation
Lead generation basically means using your blog as a method of capturing email addresses from interested visitors. Let’s say your blog is about weight loss. You can use interesting blog posts and desirable content to attract a lot of people who are also interested in weight loss. When they come to your blog, you ask for their email address, usually in exchange for some type of free content, like an e-book or a special report. You may wonder how having someone’s email address translates into making money. The answer is that if you ever have anything to sell (like an e-book or any kind of product), you have a ready audience of people who are interested in your topic (like weight loss) that you can easily market to.
Another kind of lead generation is done through contests. Many blogs will have multiple past posts that include some kind of contest: a book bundle giveaway, an iPad giveaway, etc. The purpose of these contests is two-fold: to spread the word about the site, and to capture email addresses. The more people who visit the site, the more email addresses the blog owner can potentially capture. The more email addresses one has, the higher the possibility of sales you can make when you decide to market to that email list.
6: Subscription Service
Continuing with the weight loss blog example, suppose you have some uniquely bundled content–tips, tricks, research, reports, etc.–that pertain to weight loss. You can use your blog to advertise all this content, and create a subscription service for really interested visitors to join so that they can get new content on a regular basis. You charge a small fee for this person to join, like $17 a month. If your content is really interesting, and the visitor thinks it is worthwhile to continue receiving new content, you will have a monthly income of $17 per person who has joined. This is a good way to make a solid income stream.
7: Online Store
Many blog owners have a physical product that they are trying to sell. So they use blog posts about related topics to draw interested visitors into their site. Then they point visitors to their online store, which can be on the same website as their blog. They may use their blog posts to announce new products, to announce sales or coupons, or to provide how-to instructions on using their products.
Like I said before, there are a lot more ways to use your blog to make money, but this is just a sampling of 7 of the most common ways. If you don’t have a blog yet, I encourage you to go ahead and get started as soon as you can, if for no other reason that to start gathering email addresses of interested visitors. Your first step is to buy a domain name (like “JenniMcKinney.com”) through Hostgator or Bluehost, and sign up for Web Hosting as well. Then, you can use WordPress to create the structure of your blog, and you will be ready to go!
Until next time, keep your head above water!