Your ultimate goal is to become an entrepreneur by starting an online business. You’ve been working hard on your blog, publishing a ton of high-quality content and even earning a bit of traffic and email subscribers along the way. Unfortunately, this form of success means nothing without revenue.
It’s true what they say. A blog is not a business. You can earn all the traffic, shares and subscribers you want, but if your blog isn’t earning any money, it’s more of a hobby.
Fortunately, there are a number of different ways you can monetize a blog. In this post, we’re going to cover a few different methods you can use to monetize a WordPress blog and finally start earning revenue.
First, let’s talk about a few different ways you can optimize the monetization of your blog.
Prepare Your Website for Monetization
If you want to make money blogging, your blog needs to have a few things set in place. After all, you can’t hope to generate revenue or even acquire leads if your site doesn’t have visitors and your readers aren’t interacting with your brand and content.
You need to…
- …find your niche.
- …know your audience.
- …optimize your website.
- …start an email list.
Let’s briefly touch base on each of these.
Find Your Niche
The internet has exploded over the last decade. The popularity and influence the digital space has is astonishing, especially when it comes to business. Unfortunately, this means there’s a blog, business or influencer (or several) in almost any industry at this point. If you want to get noticed, you need to niche down.
Instead of covering broad topics and hoping to get noticed in an overcrowded room, focus on one individual topic assigned to a far less occupied room. Basically, you need to find a sub niche within your parent niche that has some traffic but little competition.
This is true even if you have a WordPress magazine blog. These types of blogs tend to focus on a wide variety of topics, but you should really narrow things down and optimize your blog for one or two niche topics until you have a consistent flow in traffic and revenue.
Know Your Audience
You can’t earn much traffic let alone conversions and revenue if your target audience is not interested in your content or products. That’s why it’s important for you to get to know your audience, find out what their biggest problems are in regards to your niche and solve them with content and products.
There are a few different ways you can find your audience’s biggest pain points. The most effective way is to simply ask them. This involves one-on-one conversations with your readers and speaking with members of your target audience in forums. You can also see what people ask in forums as well as the complaints they make in comment sections on content related to your niche and reviews for products related to your niche.
Optimize Your Website
Once you have a specific topic you want to optimize your site for and are creating content you know your audience cares about, you need to ensure your visitors can view and interact with your site easily.
This mostly involves optimizing your site for speed by using a quality host and WordPress theme. If you have a WordPress magazine blog, consider using our own MH Magazine theme. You can also implement caching, optimize images and follow responsible plugin protocol.
Start an Email List
Not every user is going to click your affiliate links or purchase your products when they visit your website for the first time. In fact, most will probably leave without ever visiting another page. If you start an email list, you can capture some of these visitors as “leads” and start a slow yet rewarding journey that nurtures them into loyal customers.
Start an account with a quality email marketing service provider, such as MailChimp and MailerLite, and place opt-in forms across your site, especially on individual posts. You can even create content upgrades and other lead magnets to encourage visitors to subscribe.
How to Monetize Your WordPress Blog
Now that you know the basics of what you need if you want to monetize your blog efficiently, let’s get into the individual methods you can use to start earning revenue. We’ll be covering six to be more specific.
Let’s start at the top.
Method #1: Affiliate Marketing
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to monetize a blog. It allows you to earn money promoting other people’s products and services. You do this through what’s known as an “affiliate link” that leads to the product or service you’re promoting. If someone clicks the link and makes a purchase, the company will pay you a commission typically between 5 and 30%.
Getting started is fairly simple. All you need to do is apply to affiliate programs for products and services you use and/or feel confident recommending. It’s best to recommend products related to your niche, but if you can make other products and services, such as Audible, work in your marketing strategy, go for it.
If you recommend products you can find on Amazon, consider becoming an Amazon Associate. This allows you to earn commissions when people purchase products on Amazon using your link.
You should also consider using an Amazon affiliate plugin, such as AAWP. It allows you to generate different types of affiliate links, update product information automatically and use custom designs.
If you’ve got a few course ideas in mind but aren’t quite ready to get the ball rolling on creating them, consider generating a little bit of revenue by promoting other people’s courses.
Online Learning Courses is a plugin you can use to showcase Udemy courses on your site and generate affiliate links for them automatically. You can even choose between standard and masked affiliate links and view stats that tell you which courses sell best.
Method #2: Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts work differently than affiliate marketing, but it’s still revenue you’ll earn from promoting a company’s product or service. They’re also harder to obtain as you need to negotiate with the company directly and have them pay you to create content for their products.
While you’ll earn more from a sponsored post than you would with a commission made through an affiliate link, earning revenue this way is difficult as sponsors will want your site to have a decent amount of traffic and influence in order for them to be interested in sponsoring your content.
Method #3: Online Courses
Online courses are great for blogs for two reasons. First, they allow you to build a regular flow in income generated directly from your own products. Revenue from affiliate marketing and sponsorships are highly effective ways to make money blogging.
However, promoting other people’s products for a living comes with its own set of risks that mainly revolve around having your main source of income pulled out from underneath you the second the company closes their affiliate program, changes their product for the worst or goes bankrupt.
Second, they’re simply fantastic sources of revenue. It’s not uncommon for bloggers to charge a few hundred dollars for online courses. Times that by 100, 1,000 or 10,000 students, and you’ve got a real money maker on your hands.
Method #4: Paywall
Managing a blog can be stressful. You’re either working yourself overtime publishing high-quality posts on a consistent basis or managing a team of writers to produce even more pieces of content. This is especially true if you operate a WordPress magazine blog.
One simple way to monetize your content is to hide certain or all pieces of content behind a paywall, a tool that blocks access to specific pages and posts until a user logs in. Your reader will pay for an account on your site, which they’ll use to access exclusive content.
It’s best to create free content for the most part and save paywalls for premium content, such as longer, more in-depth posts and videos.
Method #5: Membership Site
A membership site is a site that offers a variety of exclusive products, services and content for a monthly, quarterly or annual fee. It’s a step up from a paywall as you’ll be offering far more than exclusive content.
A few things you can offer members include an exclusive community forum, online courses, premium content, an ad-free experience, discounts on products and more.
Method #6: Advertisements
When people think of monetizing a blog, they make the mistake of immediately pointing their thoughts toward advertisements. Some even create a Google AdSense account right then and there and implement the ads on their sites as soon as they’re approved. Unfortunately, this is one of the least effective ways to monetize a blog as well as the least user friendly.
You’ll be promoting other people’s products and services, but unlike affiliate marketing and sponsorships, you don’t have a say in what gets advertised on your site. The ad network generates that for you. This generally leads to low click-through rates as the ads typically don’t relate to your content.
They can also be distracting not to mention taxing on your site’s performance. Despite all of this, when done properly, advertisements can generate a small amount of monthly recurring revenue for your business.
Turning the traffic your site receives into revenue for your business is difficult. However, when you use the right methods and have everything you need to monetize your site, you can make the leap from blogging as a hobby to blogging for a living.
The first thing you need to do, long before you sign up for any affiliate programs or get to work on creating an online course, is work diligently on your blog well enough to create a regular flow in traffic and email subscribers. It’s just a matter of choosing the right monetization strategies for your blog and implementing them.
Here are a few additional posts that may help you on your journey to success: