Blogging is great.
Making money is great.
You are ready for these two powers to join forces but how?
Running ads on your blog is a viable option, right?
What you are going to learn here is:
- why ads are the worst way to make money on your blog
- what to do instead.
If you’re one of those stubborn people who are gonna do it anyways, keep reading to the bottom to learn the right way!
Why Advertisements Undermine Your Blog’s Goal
Why does someone even come to your blog in the first place?
To solve a problem. Period.
Your bottom line is your ability to help your readers.
That’s it, nothing else matters.
How do blog ads undermine your blog’s goal?
In a few key ways. Let’s dive in.
Ads Deter Readers Away From Your Site
How long do YOU stay on a site that is popping ads everywhere?
That’s right… not long!
Now picture your blog’s visitors.
Is this the experience you want them to have with your content?
Instead of finding helpful information, they’re bombarded with irrelevant ads.
This is what will happen:
You’ll lose the opportunity to become a trustworthy authority and they’ll be gone.
Congratulations, you’ve sacrificed a potential long-term customer relationship for a measly dollar.
That is one of the main reasons why ads suck, they negatively affect your bottom line.
A Dollar a Day Won’t Keep the Job Away
If you’re still not convinced that ads negatively affect your bottom line, consider this.
- According to WebFX the average click-through rate (CTR) for display ads is .05%.
If that number still is not sinking into your head, maybe this example will.
Let’s assume that you get a whopping 30,000 visitors to your site per monthly, that’s roughly 1,000 visitors per day!
Keeping the same model above, your CTR is .05%. Let’s take the extreme and say you’ve been working your arse off and you convince google to pay you $5 per click.
When in reality you’re getting around $1 or less, but let’s be optimistic.
Now let’s do the math.
1000 site visitors x .005 (.05%) = 5
5 clicks x 5 dollars per click = wait for it… wait… kaboom! $25.
Your daily revenue is twenty-five-freaking-dollars.
A 2 for $20 meal at Applebees.
Earning the normal around $1 or less per click would mean: your making less than $5 per day!
Your ability to generate thousands of traffic each month deserves a lot more than a movie trip for two.
Click here for a deep dive into the best ways to monetize a blog without using ads.
What’s The Alternatives?
The ingredients to success is taking an audience approach over the give-me-money one.
You’re not a salesperson or con artist, you’re a professional blogger who cares about your audience’s core missions and values.
Take for example, Tim Urban co-founder of Wait But Why who spends 10+ hours per article for the sole purpose of creating content people care about.
His 10 step formula has amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of traffic each month:
- Step 1 – create something that people give a crap about
- Step 2 through 10 – repeat step 1 as many times as you need to
Remember, your blog content is a product within itself, a free one at that.
Your audience will appreciate your efforts and they’ll feel obligated to patronize your brand because your blog helped them in the past for free.
By creating skyscraper content – that is content that’s unrivaled in backlinks, shares, engagements, etc. – you’ll have the grounds to turn your readers into customers.
Their desire to patronize will be so strong that you can get away with selling almost anything.
You’ll be surprised, I’ve seen tech blogs make bank from selling plush toys and t-shirts.
If you want to turn your readers into customers, you’ll want to first focus on monetization strategies that enhance your ability to create engaging and shareable content.
Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing is all about practicing what you preach or selling what you use.
A big negative with ads is that you have no control over what is advertised on your site. That is totally up to the advertisers. Even worse, if you don’t adhere to particular guidelines you will be cut, tarnishing your reputation.
With affiliate marketing, you have all the perks of ads but none of the cons. You have total control of what company you chose to work with.
So instead of having baby diapers advertised on your tech blog, you can reach out to tech companies and start getting paid from products you endorse or personally use.
This is one of the most common ways bloggers make money.
In fact, 57% of bloggers earning over $50k/year are affiliate marketers.
Remember, try to recommend products or services that you personally use in your day to day task.
Take Ryan Robinson for example, he makes tens of thousands of dollars pitching just a few services (that he personally uses) to his audience..
How to become an affiliate marketer
Anyone can become an affiliate marketer, but not everyone can produce winning content that drives traffic and generates conversions.
Affiliate links are very similar to ads in that your audience has to click the link or take action in order for you to get paid. This is known as Click Per Action (CPA).
Affiliates have particular guidelines you must read to find out exactly what action is needed for you to get paid.
That action could be to click the link, sign up to a newsletter subscription, or buy a service or product.
Now I can’t go into too much detail here but I can provide you enough information where you can get started today.
Create content that drives traffic
Create content that answers search questions.
The best way to do that is through keyword research.
Keyword research not only tells you what people are searching for in search engines like Google, but it also inspires content ideas tailored around target keywords or phrases.
Let’s face it people are searching for ways they can make their lives better. Maybe that’s how to change a headlight, maybe it’s a recipe for a cold, delicious smoothie, or maybe it’s advice on how to start a business.
Either way, if you can find the exact language people are using you can better understand your audience to connect with them.
However, keyword research doesn’t come cheap. You need search engine optimization (SEO) tools like Moz, SemRush, or Ahrefs to find keywords if you want a better chance at ranking high in search engines.
But these platforms can run a pretty penny starting at $99 per month.
Now if you can’t justify spending that much, check out this article on free keyword research tools.
Find affiliates to work with
The first step is to find an offer.
You can find an offer by using either ODigger or OfferVault – they’re like the Google of finding offers to promote.
Enter a keyword and you’ll see a list of products/services you can vet by payout and category.
Click “type” to view all the CPA opportunities.
To get general information about the company select one of the companies in the “OFFER NAME” column.
Read the description and view the landing page to affirm if that company is worthy of promoting.
Here are a few signs you should look for in an effective landing page:
- Clean, professional design
- Look for social proof or trust signals (i.e., logos, testimonials, shares, likes)
- Make sure the page is mobile-friendly
Next, you want to join an affiliate network.
Do this by simply clicking on the “Join Network” button on the offer page.
After you fill out the application, at some point you can expect a call.
Yep, the dreaded call that all online entrepreneurs hate.
But if you want tips on how to get accepted check out Brain Dean’s “CPA Marketing: The Ultimate Guide.”
There you’ll find an in-depth guide on how to join a network and how to design your site around CPA and much more.
Sell Digital Services
Digital products can range from a myriad of things. Some of the most popular being consulting, courses, and ebooks.
Consulting / courses
Consulting is a great blog monetizing strategy. You can begin consulting while simultaneously working as a freelance writer.
Being able to write helpful content is an important skill to have when positioning yourself as a trusted advisor in your industry.
Most consultant’s fees can range from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars per session.
According to data from Glassdoor, the average consultant makes about $77k a year.
Most bloggers offer free 30-minute consulting sessions in an effort to upsell an extended service.
Courses are hit or miss mainly because most information in paid courses can be found for free on the web.
Not saying that’s true but it’s something you have to take into consideration if you’re going to be selling courses.
The worst thing you can do is sell a $500 course on information that could be found easily for free.
It’ll tarnish your reputation and you’ll get hate mail for it.
If you don’t believe me visit a subreddit forum, you’re bound to see someone going on a diatribe on how they got scammed.
However, if you do this right you’ll be rewarded beyond imagination. Creatambitionate (Creative, Ambitious, Passionate), Melyssa Griffin helps businesses grow traffic and email lists and charges $997 which earned her $258,108 in one month from e-course sales.
Keep in mind that’s stats for only the launch of that course and is still pumping money into her account right now as you’re reading this.
Imagine if you had a similar outcome to your course. After four courses you’ll literally be a millionaire and earning residual income while you sleep.
Not to mention if you add resources throughout your blog linking to some of your top-performing blogs with affiliate links to relevant tools. In addition to course revenue, you’ll also receive income from your affiliate links and boost SEO. Talk about killing three birds with one stone.
Lastly, ebooks are a popular choice amongst writers. The main reason why is because you return to your blog archives and repurpose your content into ebooks.
Not only can you sell your ebooks on your own website and sites like Amazon, but you also can use your ebooks as lead magnets to gain new subscribers to your email list.
Just make sure that you attached your ebook to relevant blogs. Something as extensive as an ebook people are more willing to give up their email address in exchange for helpful information.
- 69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List
Sell Physical Product
Physical products are tangible materials, so you’re probably wondering what product can I offer as a blogger?
That’s why you have to use what your momma gave you, your brain.
They’re two types of readers your blog attracts:
- Looking for a quick fix to solve their problems
- Fans in for the long-rid
Physical products such as t-shirts and coffee mugs are good for the latter.
However, if you create a catchy phrase, anyone is likely to buy and share it.
Copywriter Pete Boyle for example, sells a t-shirt with catchy slogans.
If you’re in the freelance niche whether you’re a freelance home decorator or web developer you’re going to find a couple of uses for that shirt.
I instantly think of theme parks or state fairs when I look at the shirts, or you can wear it just to flex on haters.
Either way, a catchy relevant phrase is the way to go.
Back in the day if you wanted to publish a book you had to grovel and beg one of the big 5 publishing companies to read your cover page let alone the entire book.
But that age is dead (thankfully!). Now authors are self-publishing their books and pocketing up to 70% of book royalties.
With that freedom comes a new set of responsibilities like marketing, cover design, editing, and pricing. Luckily, Amazon kindle direct publishing has made it easier for entrepreneurs like you to publish content with a single click.
Don’t let the name fool you. Amazon (KDP) used to be strictly for ebooks but Amazon KDP merged with CreateSpace, a book publishing company, resulting in KDP being able to publish paperback books in addition to ebooks and audiobooks.
How to set up your KDP account on Amazon
- First, you want to visit https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/ and sign up with either your Amazon account or email.
- Second, you must fill out all your tax information in order to publish your book. (Note: will not be allowed to publish your book if this information isn’t filled out)
- Third, after your tax form is complete, hit “Finished” and ta-dah your account is complete.
Once your account has been set up, you are now able to upload and publish your content.
You want to follow the best SEO practices and learn the correct format that is common.
While blogging requires very short sentences and paragraphs, books you can be a lot more lengthy in your paragraph structure.
Also, you’ll want to be aware of which format is most conducive to fiction or non-fiction style or writing.
Before you publish your book amazon will want you to choose up to two categories where your book will be found. The best way to select a category is to examine best selling books in your chosen field and choose the exact same categories.
I don’t have enough time to walk you through how to become a best seller author in this blog but I know someone who does.
6x bestselling author Chandler Bolt is a self-made millionaire who contributes most of his success through self-publishing his own books.
His website SelfPublishingSchool has helped thousands of authors to become better writers through his books, blogs, and course.
Recommended Reading: How to Publish a Book in2020: A Step-by-Step Guide for Frist-Timers
Offer Writing Services
Offering writing services is more than about getting paid for your skill, but it’s also about building relationships and positioning yourself as a reliable source of information.
Let’s take a look at how you can monetize your best asset — your ability to write!
Freelance writing is the easiest way to monetize your blog as well as earning brand recognition.
With this approach your blog now becomes your application, resume, and autobiography all in one.
According to GlassDoor, freelance writers can expect to earn on average $53K.
However this is highly dependent on niche and skill set, you can easily be making double that!
Due to the fact that great content writers are hard to come by, companies are willing to pay top dollar for engaging content.
That’s a great way to keep your bills paid while improving your skills and waiting for the more rewarding monetization techniques to kick in (we’ll touch that latter).
Based on data from HubSpot, the ideal blog length is 2,100 – 2400 words.
Long-form blogs, blogs above 1,000 words, are on record for achieving more clicks and shares than their shorter counterparts.
Becoming a freelance writer helps you understand these industry standards and avoid the pitfalls other bloggers will face by mindlessly producing content that doesn’t convert.
In addition to understanding the business side of things, you’ll also be rewarded with being able to stamp the logos of brands that you work with in the past. Thus, appeasing the appetite for those who need a little social proof that you’re the real deal.
You might still think that freelance writing is not for you, that you can spend your time writing your own content instead of making someone else rich.
But consider that nothing worthwhile ever came out of void. In other words, if you can write well enough that someone is willing to pay you for it, you certainly can write well enough that your readers are willing to subscribe and become customers.
Think of freelance writing as going to college with a full ride scholarship. Your work will be vetted, critique, and eventually better. Thus, preparing you for that moment when you showcase your independent blog to the world.
Guest blogging expands your personal network.
Most blogs chose to strategically guest blog 1-5X per week.
Because it’s hard to get popular sites like Forbes or National Geographic to hire you as a freelance writer, writers resort to guest blogging as a way to work with big companies and gain recognition.
Each guest post you published on a top influencer’s blog gives your website a boost in search engine rankings.
By focusing on reaching out to websites with a domain authority of 50 or more, Google will perceive your website as being a reliable source of information.
In fact, 70% of readers view websites with multiple authors to me more credible.
For that reason, companies are constantly looking for writers to contribute relevant information to their audiences.
While they’re many claims that guest posts are no good, those claims are usually directed towards guest blogging ability to generate referred traffic.
While guest blogging does indeed sucks in that respect, it’s certainly an excellent method for building backlinks to your website. Thus, making it easier for your target audience to find your content when searching on search engine platforms and giving you a boast in organic traffic.
The more page views you have the more money you make from other monetization techniques like affiliate marketing.
Join Premium Ad Companies
All the time-consuming tasks that come with Adsense are gone when you’re working with superior ad management companies.
They take care of all of the nuisance tasks like finding quality ads and managing those ads.
Even better, your RPM that’s your rate per mil, or estimate per 1,000 page views is more than 15 to 25 times more than what Adsense pays.
However, there is a caveat. These premium ad management companies reject 75 to 85% of applicants.
Because their reputation exceeds them. Ad agencies are willing to pay top dollar to these management teams because they get results that are profitable. So in order for you to be accepted there are requirements:
- Have 50,000 pageviews/ month (Mediavin)
- Have 100,000 pageviews/month (Adthrive)
- Produce high-quality original content.
- Be in good standings with other ad agencies.
There you have it. You have a lot of work to do.
Whether you want to use advertising to make money on your blog the choice is entirely yours.
However, you see that there are plenty of other options available. I recommend you go without ads and focus on creating content that attracts and engages your reader. Use one or all the blog monetization options to put some money in your pocket. Once you prove yourself as a reliable source of useful information then perhaps maybe consider a top-end ad management company.
But you may have a different monetization strategy in mind that I didn’t mention?
Feel free to drop a comment below and let me know how you feel about ads and how you’re monetizing your blog.