Last year, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton (Mario Lavandeira) earned an astonishing $15,000 in daily income, as his website gained a value of $2.66 million. Tech Crunch, starting out as a blog, has become a viable brand, worth $10.82 million.
Blogging has become an industry in itself. Once upon a time it was a platform for personal journalling, but over the years blogs have gained legitimacy, visibility and power on the web and beyond it. As you can see, one of the changes has been the fact that you can make real money blogging, even without becoming a major information powerhouse.
If you have thought about monetizing your website, here are some tips to help you get started.
Get Your Toolbox in Order
Whichever method (or methods) below you pick, the key is to use the right tools to organize the process well. Here are just a few good ones to consider:
- Google Analytics is a necessary evil for properly monitoring your traffic sources
- Register an account at ShareASale. That’s an affiliate marketing network that will connect you to quite a few cool programs
- If you are going to be creating and selling a product or a service, make sure to use a sales management platform to organize leads properly. Salemate is a good affordable option
Don’t Begin Right Away
This is an unpopular opinion with some, but the truth. It might seem like a good idea to immediately start trying to monetize a blog you’ve just started. But in the beginning you won’t have any traffic to drive profit.
The exception to this rule is if you already have a viable brand and are expanding it to include a blog for engagement and social marketing. In which case the traffic will come from your initial site, and monetizing right away makes sense. If not, focus on building that blog before you think about making money from it.
Google AdSense is an important tool for anyone seeking to monetize their website. They provide both text and image ads, and usually the image ads attract the most attention and lead to the most clicks.
Of course, this is dependent on your traffic, as most people will not click through to ads. But the payout is decent, it adds up over time, and they are a trusted source for such a program. Other ad programs exist, but none come as highly recommended.
Here are some great AdSense plugins that will make the integration easier for you.
Use Affiliate Programs
Affiliates are going to be one of your greatest sources of income. Whether someone is promoting your product, or you are promoting someone elses, even small payouts will lead to a decent payout over time.
The more momentum a program gains, the more passive income you will start to make. You would be surprised by the numbers and the way they build after the first six months, and especially after the first year.
You can also use banners to quickly integrate best-working affiliate programs into your blog. Bannersnack offers a variety of free banner templates you can use for that.
You can also offer your blog to companies of products you commonly buy and enjoy. Many will pay several hundred dollars for a solid review on a well established site.
Optimize Your Search Ranking
You have to come up high in a search if you want to bring in the traffic that will inevitably up your income. Here’s a helpful checklist to get you started.
Since no one goes to the second page of Google, you have to have a good market share on certain keywords, and optimize your blog using that data. Invest in market research to find the best keywords that you can use, both long and short tailed, to improve your SEO.
Open a Shop
Having a shop only works for some people, as often a niche won’t really apply to a product series very well. But even selling mugs to those who might want to help support your site can be beneficial.
Try and create products that relate well to your niche, however, and don’t be afraid to take advantage of inside jokes and references that you have built with your followers over time.
Release an Ebook
Ebooks are big, and they have plenty of uses. They don’t bring in a lot of money, however, which can be a problem unless you have the status in your industry to be able to charge a higher price for a download.
Most people will offer them cheap or free, and use it to improve their visibility and draw people to their blog, thereby improving their other income possibilities. It will ultimately depend on you.
Example: The Lost Girls knew that and wrote an excellent book about their travels that has gotten great reviews. Both ebooks and self publication are potential routes for this goal.
Become a Speaker or Consultant
Are you now fairly well known? Have some street cred in your niche? Then start using your blog as a platform for finding guest speaker or consulting opportunities. You can earn thousands doing this.
Offer Freelancing Services
Your blog can act as a kind of portfolio, showing off your writings skills, nature and passion. That makes it a great opportunity to attract other people who want you to write for them.
Occasionally you will want to write a free guest blog post to promote your site. But otherwise you can offer your writing for pay, advertising yourself both through your blog and on sites like oDesk.
Start a Class or Series
Want something a little more hands on or creative? Then why not run a class or webinar series from your blog? People will pay good money for a well organized class, and you can offer the world your knowledge while improving your own financial stability. Everyone wins.
Udemy is the perfect place to start an online course and you can sell it through the platform too! Another great tool is Google Helpouts.
It might seem like a heavy task, and too good to be true. But you can genuinely turn your website into a profitable one, even if it takes time. You just need to know how to do it. Here are some tips and tricks for people who have managed to boost their regular traffic and are now looking to capitalize on that growing popularity
To get inspired, see this list of indie blogs that pay for a living.
Have some tips for monetizing your blog? Questions? Let us know in the comments
1. Research and Target Relevant KeywordsIn order to get a constant flow of traffic, you first need to identify your specific niche and target audience. For instance, if you offer project management software, then your target audience will be online marketers who need to use project management software to stay in control of their projects. Further, you need to determine whether you want to target budding online marketers or seasoned marketers or both. Once you have identified your audience, you can determine the keywords they may use to find useful information. Here is how you can do this:
- Use a keyword research tool to get keyword ideas.
- Choose the most relevant keywords and segment them according to your targeted audience.
- Research about the keywords to determine whether or not its popularity will grow with time.
2. Leverage Visual Content to Maximize TrafficWhen it comes to boosting traffic, you need to leverage the traffic that is most engaged. Research proves that video is the most engaging type of content, and marketers are using it to capture users’ attention. According to a research by HubSpot, video appears to be the most favored form of content by customers and prospects. Moreover, according to KPCB, video will account for 74 percent of all the online traffic in 2017. Again, brands that use video for marketing see their revenue growing 49 percent faster compared to those who do not use videos. So, there is every reason why content marketers should leverage this form of content. Videos also help with SEO. Including video sends signals to search engines that the page contains rich media relevant to the search requests. The transcript part of the video that uses keywords improves the findability of the content. By hosting videos on YouTube, the second largest search engine in terms of the number of search queries, you can easily boost the traffic on your website. You can also share the videos on social media to increase the website traffic. Take the example of Dunkin Donuts that relies on video campaigns to sell its products. The brand took advantage of Valentine’s Day and rolled out a live streaming video. The video showed how the brand creates its new products. As a bonus, the video also featured the creation of a gigantic, donut-themed wedding cake. The video attracted more than 36,000 viewers. To increase traffic for your brand and attract attention, you can create how-to videos, DIY videos, product-explainer videos, and animated videos.
3. Become a Trusted Source of InformationBecoming a trusted source of high-quality and useful information is one of the best ways to increase traffic. Pages that offer useful and relevant content and have high demand among readers are ranked higher on the SERPs (search engine result pages). Sites that have lots of high-quality content focused on a particular subject tend to rank higher. (Tip: If you have a broad audience and cover multiple topics, make sure the content is organized based on topics or themes to avoid content silos.) One of the easiest ways to establish authority in a specific niche is by starting a blog. Blogging helps you create a base for your content marketing efforts. However, blogging requires a lot of investment in terms of time and effort. But when done properly, you can reap long-term benefits. Here are a few tips on increasing traffic by blogging:
- Use a blog design that appeals to your target audience. Starting a WordPress blog is often a great idea as WordPress offers a number of inbuilt themes that can be used to create a professional blog. You can also integrate other themes, if needed.
- Create a catchy title for your posts to attract attention quickly. Keep the titles short, use numbers within the title or use words that invoke emotions. Make sure the post offers exactly what the title says.
- Choose evergreen topics to keep the posts relevant for a long time.
- Include visuals to improve the level of engagement and offer a better experience.
- Repurpose posts to increase viewership. Turn posts into short videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. and share on various channels.
“The essential benefit of content marketing is simply… survival”(Katherine Kotaw, CEO).
True indeed, but there’s better reasoning behind a company’s blog: communicating with customers and readership, voicing the opinions of employees, collaborators and management, showing latest releases, services, and products. And more.
Research shows that blogging replaced SEO as top traffic building strategy and 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company’s voice through blog posts rather than targeted ads (source: Digital Marketing Resource Center). With these facts in mind, here are a few ideas and examples for what to cover on your company blog.
Structure Your Company Blog Like a Course
One of the main counterarguments of blog posts is if you publish very often, the old posts tend to slip the readers’ eyes, unless they rank top in social or search-engine search. But if a visitor clicks your homepage, chances are he/she will most likely access the latest blog posts.
To offer the best information to your readership and customers alike, structuring your blog as an online course can be just the thing to make it work. One example is AcuityTraining.
On their blog, they cover how-to articles related to Excel for business intelligence, MS Office and Adobe. As well as how to prepare for interviews or tips and guides for first-time managers, which breaks away from the traditional “company blogging”.
Add Icons and Gifs to Outline the Subject
Why stick to boring preview images, when there’s so much more out there? Besides adding gifs in the posts and setting up a casual voice for their articles, RavenTools has recently started to add icons just side to the article title.
An article that talks about mobile UX will display a smartphone icon, for example. As opposed to images and videos or gifs that require additional CDN subscriptions to compress files and ease the page load, icons occupy as little as a few kb per image and do not impact site speed. This works not just for a marketing tool business, but for any type of digital services or online products or apps.
Beyond Professional: Personal Advice for Your Customers
A company blog doesn’t always have to stick to company products or services. You can do so much more, such as promote the stories of your customers as blog posts, share life at headquarters beyond Insta stories.
Or why not simply discuss overcoming difficult moments in life, like WP Diamonds does on their blog? The company blog covers important aspects such as recovering after a divorce, what to do with jewelry as inheritance, lifehacks for readers, and more. All using a positive voice as empowerment to men and women worldwide.
More than a Health Directory
Directories have existed since forever, but what if yours could go beyond? GreenGoodnessCo is a fine example of a health directory exceeding limits.
Their blog section is filled with recipes, how-to articles, wellness and health resources, experts highlights, user stories, local best healthy meals, restaurants, juice bars, and more. This approach does not only help businesses with local listings, but also aid visitors looking for more than just a place to eat, drink, hang out at.
Remember that 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company’s voice through blog posts, which means business blogging is still highly relevant. How you do it, it’s only up to you. You can go beyond the typical approach by
- a) structuring your blog as an online course, like AcuityTraining;
- b) using icons side to article titles so people understand the overall topic before they click, following RavenTools’s example;
- c) going beyond professional, and addressing pressing issues of today’s society such as divorce, marriage, lifehacks, like in the case of WP Diamonds; and,
- d) reinventing a concept such as GreenGoodnessCo’s health directory into a new place for users to find inspiration, information, and motivation for a better, healthier lifestyle.