Let’s face it – everyone and their brother has a blog or website these days. While many people manage blogs and sites for the love of it, still more are hoping to get rich from their efforts.
You might have the passion to hammer out content for your blog hour after hour and day after day, but just how do you make money out of it?
Obviously, the first step is to have a blog or website, but assuming you already got to this stage, here are a few of the basic ways to go about making a bit of cash.
Adsense is almost as old as the internet and one of the staples as far as monetizing a blog or website is concerned. There are alternatives such as BuySellAds, Propeller Ads, Chitika and Skimlinks but Adsense is the (grand)daddy of them all.
It’s a fairly straightforward idea – you must have been to a website that has Adsense adverts. Basically you sign up for an account and a code is generated which you add to your site:
This code looks at the keywords in the content of the website page you have placed it on and then displays adverts that might interest people who are reading your page.
The ads can be vertical or horizontal and they are ‘geo-localized’ so, if your page is about ‘Judo’, and its being read by someone in Mumbai, India, a list of advertisers in that area will show, and the reader might get a list of Judo clubs in the area. If the reader clicks on a link and goes to a provider’s site, you get paid.
The minimum requirement is that your blog or website should be over 6 months old to qualify for an Adsense account. In addition, there is content Adsense won’t support and as with anything there are terms and conditions and these differ depending on which country you are in.
Although it’s possible to make a lot of money using Adsense, you have to be realistic. Depending on the subject matter (and it does make a big difference), a website with 1000 visitors a day might only make between $60 to $120 per month. It’s not a bad start, but don’t quit your day job.
2. Banner Advertising
Like Adsense, banner advertising has been an internet staple, but while it is less common than it used to be, a few tastefully placed ads (remember: Google likes adverts “below the fold” – meaning not in the top half of the screen) can still make money. Basically if your blog or website has any type of niche people relate to, advertisers will come out of the woodwork and ask you if they can place adverts that will drive visitors and potential customers to their websites.
How much do you charge them?
How long is a piece of string?
If banner advertising is advertising a product, try to find out what the percentage is available for commission on a sale on that product. If the commission is $10, and of the 1000 people who come you your site you can be pretty sure at least one will buy the product, then charge $10 a day, or $300 a month. If it’s a service you might have to think how many people you can get to sign up for that services.
Every situation will be unique and only with experience will you get a feel for how much you should charge. At that stage you might have some fixed prices that you might advertise.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is sometimes also called ‘pay-per-acquisition’. Basically it is a scheme where an advert is placed on your blog or website. Rather than getting paid for a click to a provider’s site, Affiliate Marketing requires someone to make a purchase. Your advert will have a code attached to it, and once a payment is made you get a commission. Depending on the product or service, commissions can be quite high. Best of all, many companies pay commissions on repeat sales.
Let’s say for instance, if you have a blog or website about cloud computing, and someone signs up for a service and they have to pay annually. If they signed up using your affiliate code, you receive commissions on continuing annual payments, and that can soon mount up. Some schemes also allow you to add your code on other people’s websites.
Affiliate Marketing is all over the internet but click here to get a feel for what is available.
4. Hotel room bookings
I suppose this is a subset of Affiliate Marketing, but it has become so prevalent that it warrants a specific mention. Again, a code is added to your site and if someone books a room in a hotel room through your site, you get a commission.
Obviously travel websites can benefit from this revenue stream. However, it’s not just travel sites that might benefit from this type of revenue generation – sites about any aspect of business could benefit from it, as could sites showing information on exhibitions, etc. Check out Agoda as an example of one of the best booking sites.
5. Product and Service Sales
This is getting into the realms of ecommerce, and products fall into the categories of digital products and physical products. Digital products can be things like an ebook you have written. The transaction is simple: a customer pays for an ebook using PayPal and you send a product. This can be the model for music you have created, online courses you have developed, and anything else digital. Physical products require FedEx and a fee and, of course, what you sell can only be limited by your imagination.
6. Social Media
Blogs and websites are inextricably linked to Social Media these days. Social Media is the best way to manage any type of community that might be connected to your blog or site and if you get enough followers, the rest will follow.
Let’s say for instance you have a blog about nightlife in Boston. A new bar is opening and wants to reach out to potential customers. Where better than to reach out to your Facebook audience?
7. Sponsored Posts
Google is not big on sponsored posts these days so they need to be done with a bit of discretion. Basically people write articles that are put on you blog or site with the purpose of driving people to their blog or site. This is somewhat akin to selling links which Google absolutely frowns upon, but with some vision and caution, it is still possible.
"If you build it, they will come"
Well, that might apply to baseball fields in movies, but it does not necessarily apply to the internet. However, what is true is this – if you build it, and it gets a following, you are almost certainly going to be approached to do some advertising for someone. So keep at it!