There are a number of ways to make money with a blog, but sometimes it is difficult to cut through the hype to figure out exactly how the whole thing works. There is as much misinformation out there as there is truth, and telling the difference can be a challenge.
Also, before you even begin you need to understand that making money with a blog is hard work, and it won’t just happen accidentally. Those who make thousands right away with a brand-new blog are definitely unicorns. However, it does not have to take years to build a thriving, money making blog either.
Here are some practical steps nearly anyone can do to start making money with a blog.
What’s in a Name?
One of the most vital decisions you will make about your blog is the domain name. You need to carefully select one before you even get started, and just purchasing anyone that you see available probably won’t serve you well. Before you select your domain name, you need to carefully consider some factors, and then run it by some people you trust to make sure there are no issues with it.
Relevance: First and foremost, your site name must be relevant to the subject you intend to focus on. Whether that is a product review site or a technology or business news site, or even just something more general, you need to make sure that the content you want to create and want others to create will fit with that theme.
Keep it Simple: Your domain name needs to be simple, and something easy to remember. It also needs to be easy to say, spell, and type into a browser. This will make sure that a user can find you easily. You should be able to share the name of your site verbally with someone, and they should be able to type it into a browser without errors every single time.
Check your spelling: This doesn’t just mean accurate spelling, although that is important. It means making sure that any abbreviations you used are not inappropriate, and that words that have been run together to form the name don’t result in any unfortunate words as well. There are countless examples of horrible domain names on the web: don’t make your website a part of those lists.
Your name is the first impression users will have of you and your blog, before they even lay eyes on it. The right name can generate traffic: the wrong one can turn it away. Select your domain name carefully.
One sure way to make money with a website is affiliate marketing. The question is how much money can you make, and how does it work?
Essentially affiliate marketing consists of a product link posted on your blog in a variety of ways with a unique code embedded in it. The code pays you if a person both clicks on your link and buys a product or products from the online store it leads to. Obviously, this is a form of passive income. Once the link is on your site in one or more places, it is simply activated once a user clicks through.
Of course, you will want to change these links up from time to time, and you can even include them in your blog posts from time to time if you write about the products you have affiliate links for.
There are programs and websites that allow you to apply to be an affiliate for certain products and to get paid all in one place. These are often the best way to get into affiliate programs rather than contacting the manufacturers themselves. However, once your site is established, manufacturers may reach out to you and ask you to be an affiliate for them.
Just make sure you have affiliate links that are relevant to your content: those will net you the most money. Also, you need to legally tell users that there are affiliate links on your site. You can do this in the footer of your site, or even in a short statement at the end of your blog posts. Just make sure you comply with all state and Federal laws concerning transparency.
The most common native ads are those provided by Google, but there are many other advertisers as well. The way it works is that you basically post code from either Google Adwords, Amazon, Outbrain, or some other program into your site, and the code will react to the user and present them with ads they are likely to click on.
In this case, the pay is much less per click, but you get paid if a user simply clicks the ad. They don’t have to buy anything on the other end. Most of these programs, aside from Amazon and Google, require that your site has a certain amount of traffic before you can place their ads and benefit from their program.
Some of these ads are better than others too. Some are rather salacious and sensationalized, and while these can earn clicks, they may not be what you want to be associated with your site. With some programs, like Google Adwords and Amazon, you can filter and select what kind of ads will appear where you put the code, allowing you a certain amount of control.
Finding a Sponsor
A less common, but just as viable option for monetizing your blog is to find a sponsor. If you have enough traffic and you focus on a certain niche enough, you can even have sponsors that approach you.
Be very careful with these sometimes though. Some require you to sign contracts that prohibit other types of advertising on your site. Be sure you are being compensated sufficiently to make this worth it.
On the positive side, a sponsor can mean a contract and substantial, regular monthly income. This consistency is often one of the most difficult parts of monetizing a blog, so often a sponsor is a simple answer to this issue.
While these methods can all be expanded on, essentially every way to monetize a blog fall pretty much into one of these categories: affiliates, advertisements, or sponsorship. If you want to make money blogging, first be sure your name and content is solid. Then you can follow this guide to determine what method or combination of methods will work best for you.