Most bloggers wonder how they can make money from their blog and the many hours spent writing “give away high quality content”. Nearly all of those who are trying end up adding some ads and writing content to drive traffic to the ads. The idea is simple and fools many to believe it works. Write killer content + get famous online + sell ads + attract sponsors = live the highly attractive Internet entrepreneur lifestyle . Truth is that with ads you may be lucky to earn a few dollars a day. Unless you manage to attract several thousand targeted visitors every day that click on your ads like crazy this approach will never be a business model and help you reach your goals and dreams. Problem with advertising is that it doesn’t scale at all. Think about it – you have very limited space available to sell if you also care about user experience and the supply of available spots on the Internet is enormous putting too much pressure on the price. Good news is that there are many other ways bloggers can follow to monetize their blog, but it starts with changing mindset.
Try to think about a few very successful businesses you know. What are they all doing to make money? They sell stuff right? They sell a product or a service of some kind that someone is willing to pay for. The Internet is the land of opportunities of our time, but unless you understand that you need a business to make serious money, you are just a blogger giving a lot of valuable content away for free. Most bloggers are subject matter experts (SME) and started writing because they had a strong passion for something and wanted to share their ideas and advice. This is one of the main reasons why blogs became so popular and why they drive so much traffic, but acting as SMEs only is also what keeps bloggers from monetizing their blogs. Bloggers you need to build a business and it requires new skills, but first of all it requires a new mindset.
Blogger (SME) + Product + Internet Marketer = money in the bank
OK this is a bit way off I know – Experts type of people doing marketing stuff is that possible at all? Yes in fact it is and it is a combination that have made many men in the twenties rich internet entrepreneurs. Unfortunately most bloggers don’t get this and miss the opportunity completely. Truth is that people today are information addicts and more than willing to pay for the right information if it solves a problem or address a need they have. In fact in most cases a high price makes a product more interesting and trustworthy to many people. The model is to build trust and relationship with your blog readers through giving away high quality content on a regular schedule and then use this platform to make a relevant offer selling either your own or a affiliate product, a service, a membership subscription etc. Acting as a marketer also requires that you start building a email list and not only rely on RSS. Clever marketers actually give away products that could have been sold and pay for traffic to get lead to sign up to their list. Why? Because a large email list is a powerful traffic engine that is completely independent on companies like Google and simply the most powerful channel today for generating sales. All this is about building a business model on top of your blog to make a full time living from it!
Ways you can make money with a blog
There are several ways you can monetize a blog, but not all of them are worth the effort. Below I will cover the most important techniques briefly. Of course you can also earn money on advertising, paid posts, sponsors etc.
Promote other peoples products – Affiliate marketing
Whenever you are covering a topic where there are tools, services, etc. that your reader can benefit from you should consider if adding an affiliate link is possible. This will give you a commission of typically 5-50% every time a sale is referred. Depending on your niche and audience it can be a good idea to be open about it and let your reader know that you have decided to promote a product. Also make sure you are not creating content just to add as many affiliate links as possible. You posts must address the needs of your readers and keep building up your authority as an expert and though leader. This is still top priority.
Most vendors have affiliate signup pages on their websites or can be found on large affiliate networks like Clickbank or Commission Junction. Affiliate links are typically very long and ugly and it can be a good idea to make a redirect on them to for example http://www.yourdomain.com/nameofproduct.html. If you are using WordPress the Redirection plugin is highly recommended for doing this.
Offer a subscription to a membership site
This is a trend right now and probably because it is a good way to make money from sharing your knowledge. You simply ask your reader to sign up and you get their email and accept for sending newsletter and offers. Once signed up they can access “VIP” content and you can offer them fx. a premium and paid subscription. This model is awesome because members stay on your list to keep their access to your best content and in case you have a premium membership they will keep paying you as long as they are members. Recently there was a lot of buzz about the new membership and internet marketing platform called Kajabi. This certainly is the latest and greatest technology for building smart membership sites but you also have a lot of other options. For example if you are using WordPress there are several plugins available that transforms WordPress into a membership site.
Create your own information product and sell it
Selling information, knowledge, advice that solve problems is a huge and growing industry. People is willing to pay you a lot for collecting, organizing and packaging information that is already available for free on the Internet. Really? Yes! Why? Because they need the information and they need it right now and they don’t have time to spend a few nights surfing all over the Internet! If you can convince these information addicts that you have done a great job putting together an e-book or a few videos you are going to sell your product for sure.
You may think that it will be a challenge to create an information product. Really it is not if you are a skilled blogger. You are used to do research and write about your findings. These skills are essential for creating information products and there are no excuse for not getting started today! If you sell your product through sites like clickbank you will get easy around the shopping cart and payment stuff and you may as well open up for affiliate marketers to promote your product.
Build a list of email subscribers
One of the most important things to prioritize for any online business is email list building. Now even though email is one of the oldest internet techniques it is still one of the most powerful. Reason is that if you have a list with thousands of targeted subscribers you are less dependant on other traffic sources (like for example google that will change their rules for ranking now and then…). And lets face it traffic matters and is the single most important thing for any online business. Even if you have the best products, the lowest prices and the most friendly and competent customer service it does not matter at all if you have no customers.
There is more to this than just asking visitors and customers to sign up. If you only send tons of “sale letter” style emails people will not open your emails and unsubscribe faster than you can imagine. Generally speaking you need to build an relationship with your list and give them incentive to open your emails. Give them something valuable making them trust you and curious about what’s coming next. Then one of every 5-7 emails can contain offers that you believe is really targeted to the list and your conversation will be going in the right direction. Consider using a professional tool for your list building. Your list will soon turn into your best friend but you need to make the right choices from the beginning. Changing your list service provider later can be problematic and require subscribers to opt in again.
Good luck on trying to make a living from your blogging efforts. Please share your experience and ideas on this topic in a comment!
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