If you have a blog or site – or you’re thinking of starting one – it’s never too late to start making money from it. There are several ways to monetize a blog. This article covers different online revenue models and popular strategies for digital content monetization.
Let’s start with the basics. What is monetization? To put it simply, monetization means making money from your site. When you earn revenue from the online content on your blog, that’s monetization.
To begin making money from your blog, there are several online business models:
- Affiliate marketing
- Physical or digital product offerings
How can you make these work for you and your blog? Let’s take a closer look at each monetization model.
Ads monetization: Offer advertising on your blog to make money
As the publisher of a blog, advertising can provide a healthy revenue stream for your online content. Advertisers are willing to pay to gain exposure to your audience. In the same way that a newspaper with a large circulation can charge advertisers more, the more popular your site and content become the more you can earn.
You can offer advertising space on your site directly to businesses that want to appear alongside your content. That’s called a direct deal. You can also use an ad network – such as Google AdSense – to sell your ad space on your behalf.
The way AdSense works is by serving ads that are relevant to the content appearing on a specific page of your blog. For example, if your blog is about adventure travel and you’ve just uploaded a post about a trip to Rekyavik, AdSense might show an ad about travel insurance, Iceland or warm clothing. As the owner of the site where the ad is appearing, AdSense pays you when a user views or interacts with an ad.
With the ability to make online ads relevant to the content and readership of your blog, many advertisers are keen to pay a premium price for your ad space.
Affiliate marketing: Earn income through product recommendations
Affiliate marketing is when you include a link in your content to a product or service for sale on another site. Here’s how it works: when someone clicks the link on your site, goes to the affiliate’s site and proceeds to buy the product you’ve endorsed, you earn a commission on the sale.
For blogs with an engaged audience of people who are interested in product recommendations, this can be a viable revenue model. Informational, how-to and lifestyle articles offer lots of opportunities for promoting affiliate products.
Using the example of an adventure travel blog again, say you’ve posted a story about a tour of wild swimming spots. You could use affiliate marketing to recommend the gear – such as a swimsuit, towel and goggles – that you packed for your trip. When a blog reader clicks on the link to the swimsuit you’ve recommended and then buys it, you generate an income from your blog.
To make sure you maintain the trust of your audience, aim to be transparent about your affiliate relationships. In many countries it is also a legal requirement to disclose your affiliate relationships, so be sure to discuss with legal counsel before engaging in affiliate marketing. Also remember the reputation of your blog is related to the product or service you’re promoting, so focus on quality when choosing your affiliate partners.
Physical or digital product offerings: Sell things to make money from your blog
As a way of monetizing their blogs, many bloggers establish a presence on an ecommerce platform, create an online store, and start selling products. Your products could be physical or digital. In the example of the adventure travel blog, you might sell t-shirts displaying your logo or digital guidebooks for exotic destinations.
Whether your products are physical or virtual, you’ll need to set up a system for accepting payments. Selling physical merchandise requires you to think about storing your stock, organizing shipping and handling taxes and duties. Digital goods can be less complex logistically because they can be delivered electronically.
Subscriptions: Charge a regular fee to add a new income stream
If your blog has an active community that’s eager to know more about your subject, a paid membership or subscription model is another way to use your valuable content to generate revenue over the long run.
In this business model, readers pay a fixed amount on a regular basis, typically monthly or annually. By collecting a membership or subscription fee from readers in this way, you can produce recurring income. This kind of continuous cash flow offers the potential for a more stable, predictable and accurate revenue stream.
In exchange, you might offer subscribers or members premium content, a community area, learning resources, videos, or extra services and tools. You could combine several of these elements to suit your blog.
Coaching: Monetize your blog through training
If your blog lends itself to training services, you could earn money by setting up and charging for online courses or coaching packages.
When you create self-guided teaching materials such as videos or downloadable ebooks, you allow members of your audience to proceed at their own pace. As people progress through your course, you can gauge their interest about other topics to cover.
Developing an online curriculum can require significant time and resources upfront, so you’ll need an engaged audience to make it viable.
Another option for increasing your revenue is to offer live video coaching and be paid for your time.
Whether your offer is based around an online course or on-demand coaching, you can also include opportunities to communicate with your students via email or within your blog itself.