How to Monetize Your Blog Like a Pro

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

salesmate

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.

Join AdSense

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.

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 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.

Don’t forget that for both affiliate links and sponsored reviews you should use a proper disclaimer not to lose your readers’ trust and to be in-line with the US laws (and Google).

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

5 Psychological Factors That Affect Your Sales

People don’t make any purchases like they used to. Most of them make their buying decisions on Google, other buyers are done digitally. Each customer typically uses different interaction channels to finish their buying journey.

Using the common acclaim in sales and digital marketing is imperative, but many companies are still behind with their efforts. You often hear this phrase: "We know that it is very important, but we don’t know where to start". Most business owners should spend enough time on sales.

Convincing your customers should be one of the key jobs for each marketer and advertiser. They always face two important problems that can affect your business decision-taking process. First of all, what you need to do, and, secondly, how to get moving. To grow your sales and improve your brand awareness, you should take the advantage of five psychological factors that can explain and impact on customers’ decision-making.

1. Use social proof to boost sales

As you know people love to be a part of something big. They love to feel their peers accept a product before they make a crucial decision. There are various social proof tactics that can affect your sales. You can use product reviews, polls, surveys, expert or celebrity approval, etc.

The approach of social proof is closely associated with the approach of liking. We all are social creatures and we like everything that delights the eye. Other people do that as well. Everything that displays the popularity of your products and your website can enhance a response.

Many studies reveal that 70% of consumers rely on product reviews before your decision-making. Make sure that product reviews are more reputable than product descriptions made by manufacturers. This tactic is perfectly demonstrated by Bestmattress Brand that provides a list of the most popular mattress and beds reviews.

Description: seochat social proof.png

Make sure that product reviews are not the only way to show social proof. You can also use other ways to increase sales:

  1. Polls and surveys. Most of companies use this tactic when they state like "92% of clients are pleased with their purchases".
  2. Expert or celebrity approval. Many brands take after this strategy to increase sales. Influencer or celebrity words mean a lot in a certain industry.
  3. Follower counts. Using social media icon on a page that shows a number of followers and shares is a good form of social proof. When people see these tickers, they are more likely to share it themselves.

2. Use the principle of consistency and commitment

Many brands go all out to be consistent in their actions and works – even they do things that are totally unwise. If you want to highlight something in your product or make changes in your life, it will be useful to state your benefits publicly. As soon as you do it out loud or online, you should build up more incentives to complete your sales deal.

As a marketer, if you want to get more clients, you need to make a good commitment to your brand. For example, you can use like sign up for the newsletter or try out for free. This is one of the most effective principles behind WorkExaminer:

Description: commitment.png

But if you actually don’t offer products or services, for example, you offer online courses or tutorials, even if there is no official commitment, you will get more chances to increase your sales. For example, WHSR demonstrates it in a proper way. They make it as coherent as possible – download now, start e-course and read review.

Description: whsr.png

I also love Zappos’ shipping and returns policy that provides less dissidence for customers. If they don’t like anything, they can easily return it. This is a good commitment to increase sales.

3. Use free offers

It is common knowledge that people love all free things. No matter what you write or post, as soon as people view the word "free", they will stop and study your offers. Even if you provide offers that don’t intrigue people, some customers will respond you, just because it is free.

Description: free offers.gif

Each marketer or advertiser should get the value of "free". When customers shop online and understand that they need to spend $10 to get free shipping, they will add another product to their shopping cart to get this free shipping.

Description: free.gif

Make sure that another $10 or more can boost the size of your transaction. That’s why 60% of companies use and think this marketing tool like " free shipping with conditions" the most effective. When it comes to e-commerce companies, free shipping and trials are enough to convert leads into customers.

Based on the research from Duke professor Dan Ariely, free offers give us an emotional snatch that we feel what is being offered as tremendously valuable than it can be. It should imperative for you to use this factor to your advantage.

4. Boost desire using the scarcity principle

The principle of scarcity is one of the most effective ones that highly motivate people by the thought not to lose something important. If someone tells you about something that you don’t have, – man, you will want to have it.

Online marketers use this principle to offer their products and services that can soon be disappeared or somebody attempts to discontinue a certain product. It is important to use deadlines for your sales. Lily Pulitzer counts seconds when sale prices will be unavailable.

Description: scarcity.jpg

Another online shop ModMom use the principle "out-of-stock announcements". You need to hurry up to get this product –  only 3 left!

Description: scarcity-example.jpg

Seasonal or limited sales are another great tactic to attract more sales. The fact that the product is kind of limited within a certain period of time really motivates people and make them feel like a chance to "win" it.

Description: seasonal sales.png

5. Integrate the appearance of authority

Most of famous companies are inclined to the principle of authority. People seem hard-wired to respond to influencers.  When people see a man in a white coat that tells something important about products, it will build up the compliance effect for all volunteers.

If you have some secret content of your products, you can integrate the credentials from professionals like Herbalife:

Description: herbalife.jpg

Showing different course books are another good example of authority. Especially, if you use books with big names and they share their secrets of awesome sauces or other dishes:

Description: cookbook-village.jpg

Summing up…

There are a bunch of other psychological factors that affect your sales, but these five referenced in this post stand out in recent years as the most effective factors in online marketing.

Whether you use the principle of authority, scarcity, social proof, etc, it’s evident that online marketers can easily integrate these psychological impacts to increase online sales and income flow.

Sprinkle these factors across the website and watch how your sales go up!

5 Tips For Selling Your Online Courses

With so many other e-learning course providers, selling online courses can be quite challenging.

How do you convince your target audience that you are offering the best online course among all the others? Realistically speaking, it will not be easy.

But, with the right approach and techniques, you will be able to  get your online courses noticed by your online learners. Here are a few tips:

Understand Your Target Market

It’s always all about your target market. After all, they are the ones who will be buying from you.

So, know your target market well enough to present your online course in a way that will make them see how your offer will cater to their needs.

Identify who they are, what companies they work for, their online preferences, and what will motivate them to sign up for your online course.

Invest in Your Website

Your website is your most powerful tool – it can establish your credibility, make raving fans out of site visitors, widen your market reach, and, the most important of all, sell your online courses.

They say content is king, so provide quality content that will make your readers want to share your page and come back to your website again and again. Optimize your webpages to ensure that you are visible on search engine result pages. Provide blogs that will show your readers that you are relevant to them.

And make it easy for them to sign up for your e-learning course by having a simple and straightforward online form that allows convenient and secure payment through various channels.

Focus on Your Unique Selling Point

Research on what the other training organizations who are targeting the same customers are offering and determine what is unique in the online courses that you are selling.

Focus on your unique selling point or USP and make sure that your target clients know that you are the only one among your competitors offering this.

Show them how this USP will benefit them or cater to their specific needs.

Set the Right Pricing

Applying the most appropriate pricing strategy for an online training course is very important and needs to factor in a few things. First, the cost of creating the online course. The cost should at least be covered by the price to breakeven.

Of course, you’d want to earn profits from selling an e-learning platform, but what is the best amount? Another would be the pricing of your competitors. You wouldn’t want to price your course too low and trigger a price war.

On the other hand, pricing too high might drive your potential learners to choose your competition.

Meet the Needs of Your Target Market

Today’s clientele is getting more and more demanding. It is important that you are able to meet these growing demands if you want to keep getting more people to sign up for your e-learning platform. One way to keep them satisfied is through branching.

This enables learners to maintain control over the process and makes their learning experience personalized and more engaging. It is also recommended that you make your online course accessible on mobile gadgets as more and more people prefer using their smartphones and tablets.

Selling an online training course is definitely not easy, but following these practical tips can help increase your chances of getting your target market to notice you and choose your online course. Always remember – it is not just about developing great online courses, it’s also about getting your potential learners to sign up!