By Amine Rahal, a tech entrepreneur and writer. He is currently the CEO of IronMonk Solutions.
I’ve been in the digital marketing game for multiple decades now. I have had the unique privilege of witnessing the industry mature and develop into what it is today—a highly competitive and saturated space, yet one in which many hardworking people can earn a decent living.
This is especially true for blogs. While it may seem like everyone and their grandmother has some sort of blog these days, the fact is that not everyone is adept at monetizing them.
The good news is that, in my experience, monetizing a blog isn’t as difficult as many people assume. For myself and my clients, I’ve focused on five key monetization pathways that have served me well over my career. In this article, I’ll explain what each of them is and how to capitalize on them.
Once you have built a website generating high organic search traffic, you can start making money from advertising revenue. These ads are generally of the pay-per-click variety, where advertisers pay out different rates depending on the product’s or service’s niche.
The main player in this space is Google Ads (formerly AdWords), which has dominated this market segment for a long time.
Generally, you can earn between $0.01 and $0.30 per click by taking this route. The best part about it is that it’s almost entirely hands-free: You sign up with Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Raptive or any other provider and let the advertisements generate clicks.
Note that your website visitors may see this form of monetization as intrusive and annoying. If you decide to take this route, keep your ad usage limited and tasteful so that you keep your page’s UX/UI intact.
Affiliate marketing has been the big money-maker for myself and my clients. However, it takes time and effort to be able to pull this monetization lever.
In essence, it involves building a popular niche website and then including tracked hyperlinks to third-party products or services whose providers pay you a commission for each sale you bring to the company. A niche website could be about just anything—from pet food to sporting goods to financial products and everything in between.
Success in this monetization pathway can generate significant revenues per month for well-optimized affiliate blogs in a high-volume niche. The downside, however, is that you need to create a lot of high-quality content on your blog and build lasting relationships with affiliate companies in order to insert tracked hyperlinks into your content.
While building your website, you may want to start with affiliate programs that have a low barrier to entry.
At the very least, you can sell consulting services. Chances are good that if you run a successful blog with a good number of organic visitors, there are potential customers out there looking to learn from your expertise.
Popular website builders like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace have simple plug-ins that allow you to add a checkout function to your blog. Offering consulting services—or any service, online or otherwise—is a simple method of blog monetization.
Typically, I see consultants command $50 to $250 per hour, but your earning potential is only limited by your level of expertise and your ability to market yourself as a leader in your field.
You can think of this one as a scaled-up version of selling a service. However, instead of one-on-one consulting, you sell a group course. This has the obvious benefit of multiplying the amount that you can earn on a per-hour basis but demands much greater effort from the course provider.
Before you launch a course, you need to build one. This requires creating written and graphic materials (often delivered via encrypted PDFs that can be unlocked with a password) that you pair with group conferences or seminars that go over the written materials in greater depth.
There’s no need to use a middleman to take this monetization route. While Udemy and Skillshare can help you build your course platform, you can offer a course sign-up function within your blog and get the ball rolling on your own.
My last suggestion is to consider “flipping” your website on online marketplaces. There’s a huge market of both buyers and sellers looking to purchase blogs that generate high amounts of traffic.
I’ve found that most blog buyers consider a site’s monthly revenue when determining how much to offer for it. Therefore, you should already have monetized your site before you decide to cash out.
There’s no clear pathway to blog monetization. Rather, your strategy should appeal to your website’s natural strengths and your strengths as a blog creator. If your website has a particular niche that is well-suited for selling products, consider running ads or creating affiliate content.
On the other hand, if you feel like you could make for a better product, consider selling a course or a consultation. This way, you can share your domain expertise with an audience for a fee.
Once you have successfully monetized your site, you can cash out by flipping it on an online marketplace and then, well, rinse and repeat by starting a new blog from scratch.
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