Is your blog in the red?
To be profitable, your blog should be making more than enough to cover the costs of running your blog: web hosting, domain name registration, premium themes and plugins, and custom graphics.
That’s just for starters. Does your blog also pay for your email management system, stock images, training programs, and maybe even a virtual assistant?
Most of all—and many bloggers don’t realize this—is your blog making enough money to pay for your time? Try a little math here:
Let’s say your blog brought in $100 last month and you worked on it for 15 hours. That means you earned $6.67 per hour—and we haven’t even accounted for the other costs mentioned earlier. Would you accept a job that paid you $6.67 per hour?
If right now you’re thinking, “I need to make more money with my blog!” then read on.
In this post, I’m going to share with you the three best blog monetization strategies in 2016—and beyond. These same strategies helped me pay off $250,000 in debt and build a multi-million dollar business.
Why Your Blog Is In the Red
When a blog bleeds more money than it earns, blog owners usually think the problem is traffic. “If only I could get more traffic,” they lament.
So they jump from one blog monetization strategy to another, one social media platform to another, add other media—audio, video, graphics—to bump up those traffic stats and get more money out of the little traffic they do have.
This quickly leads to overwhelm.
Bloggers struggle and strive aimlessly, like frantic rats in a maze, until they’re broke or exhausted, or both. They burn out and give up.
In fact, the problem with blogs that are in the red is more subtle. There are so many ways to make money blogging and not all of them work for every blog. Usually, blogs fail to make money, because bloggers are using blog monetization methods that don’t align with their audience, topic, market, or audience size.
Below, I’m sharing with you three tried and tested blog monetization strategies, when they work best, and what size audience they work with.
You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish with modest traffic. You’ll realize you don’t need to compete with the big guys at all.
3 Tried and Tested Blog Monetization Strategies: Which Ones Are Best For You?
These strategies aren’t new, but they’ve been proven to work—and will continue to work—given the right conditions.
Selling services is the fastest way to make money with a blog. You don’t need to put in the time, energy, and money to develop a product, or even to build a massive audience. Use your blog to nurture an audience of people who know, like, and trust you. Readers will see you as an expert in your field and pay for your services. Soon, your blog will be out of the red.
The best thing about services is that they usually cost more than products. Labor tends to be expensive, which means you can sell less of your time and still pay your bills.
If you have a skill people will pay for, then you can sell services. This might be writing, designing, or programming. It could be something as simple as setting up a WordPress site for other businesses, and maintaining them afterwards — a great way to have continuous income! Coaches and consultants can also make money blogging by offering their services.
Sell digital training products
If you have a strong desire to teach and empower others, then selling digital training products is for you!
With this method, you create online training materials that your students go through on their own. These could be eBooks, coaching emails, demonstration videos, Facebook groups — or a combination of different media.
As you can imagine, this entails much more work than hanging up your virtual shingle and selling services. You have to create a digital product you will sell online.
However, there’s a high demand for home study courses, now that people want to consume content on their own time and pace. Selling digital products is also easy to scale: after the initial cost of producing the product, it doesn’t cost you more to sell more. Also, you can be as hands-on or hands-off as you like with your students, offering them the level of support you’re comfortable.
This blog monetization method works best if you have an audience of at least 1,000 people. By “audience” I mean people on your email list who willingly opted into it. They signed up to be on your list, because they care about content you share and want to keep hearing from you.
What if you don’t want to create and sell your own products?
You can still make money with your blog by promoting other people’s products through affiliate marketing. It’s a great way to attract and serve the needs of audiences who are ready to buy. Your traffic will most likely consist of people who are actively researching a product or looking for a solution, with the intention of buying it. If they buy the product through your affiliate link, then you earn a commission.
Like selling services, you can get started easily. Begin with products you use and like and would recommend to your mother. Blog about the product. Make videos showing how you use it. Post before and after photos. Write honest reviews. See, this method doesn’t just help you make money; it also gives you a lot of ways to create content for your blog.
What if the product you want to promote doesn’t have an affiliate program? Promote it anyway. Sure, it won’t make you money, but you’ll earn the trust of your readers — which is much more valuable in the long term.
To make significant income with affiliate sales, you must have a sizable audience of at least 2,000 subscribers. Unless of course you’re promoting expensive products, like furniture, electronics, and cars.
Your Next Steps
If you want to make more money with your blog, here are some things you can do today.
First, choose which monetization method you want to implement on your blog. Choose just one to begin with.
To decide on one, you may find it helpful to do mental experiments. Experiment in your mind first, where it doesn’t cost you anything to fail. How do you do a mental experiment?
With your blogging goal in mind, imagine yourself using one of the business models I discussed above. In your mind’s eye, see yourself clearly implementing a particular monetization strategy. Imagine how you feel. Are you fired up? Is it interesting enough to stick with it? Further imagine what results you get. Does the strategy bring you closer to your goal?
Now choose the strategy you want to pursue, and commit to stick to it until it’s working at the level you’re happy with. Some people find it helpful to write a promise or contract with themselves. If you think this will work for you, then do it.
Finally, roll it out. Get the technology you need for your chosen monetization method. Buckle down, and do the work.
To get step-by-step guidance on implementing these and three other blog monetization models, read our report, “How to Make Money Blogging.” It’s free and accessible in its entirety—no opting in required.
And if you have questions about the monetization models I described above, post them below. I’ll be happy to respond!