I’ve been blogging since 1999, seriously since 2005. I started out on blogspot, writing well over 500 posts in a five-year span. In 2010, I finally moved into the 21st century (as demanded by site readers) and had a site designed in WordPress.
Now, I’m having the site redesigned again. One of the main reasons is, it’s not mobile friendly. I tend to be slow about upgrading to new technology because it’s just not my thing. I’m a writer, and spend the bulk of my time churning out content. But I know I’m missing out on tons of traffic by not having a mobile-friendly site, so I’m finally getting with the program.
Also, I want to monetize it more. Other than having a few affiliate links throughout some content, some Google AdSense ads plopped in, and a “Shop” page which contains all of my ebooks and courses, it’s not really monetized effectively at all.
So, for more than one reason, it’s time for a site overhaul, which is already in the works and I’m looking forward to unveiling in the next couple of weeks.
6 Questions to Ask – And Answer -- When Monetizing Your Blog
As I was jotting down notes for my web designer, I had to put a lot of thought into what will go where, and why, on the site. It forced me to really think about how to go about monetizing the site. Following are the four guidelines I used to monetize my new site.
No matter what niche you blog in, it can help you if you’re relatively new to trying to monetize your website/blog.
1. Who Is My Target Audience?
You must know this beforehand – and you must know them intimately. Clearing defining who they are will help you determine what they want, need and will pay for.
2. How Much Do I Want/Need to Earn?
This will be largely determined by who your target market is. For example, my blog caters to freelance writers. It’s never going to earn as much as say, a tech blog because the products and services I monetize my blog with just aren’t wanted, needed or will be paid for by freelance writers.
One benefit of asking this question is that you may determine that you can’t meet your earnings goal with the target market you have in mind. At this point, you may want to target a different group, or adjust your earnings goal.
3. What Products/Services are Successful Blogs in My Niche Promoting?
The “competition” can be extremely insightful in trying to figure out which products and services to monetize your blog with. So look at 5 to 10 of the top blogs in your niche? How are they monetizing their sites?
If they’re having success with a particular product or service, there’s no reason you can’t either (assuming your marketing skills are reasonably good).
3. What Products/Services Does My Target Audience Already Use?
This is a no-brainer, and it’s the reason why you see so many affiliates for evergreen products and services like webhosting, domain name registration and WordPress themes.
If you have a website or blog, you need these things. This is low-hanging affiliate marketing fruit. Pick it ..and rake in those easy-to-come-by dollars.
4. What Products/Services Will My Target Audience Pay For?
This can be wildly different from those in #3. How do you find this out? A good way is to ask your readers directly. For example, when you send out your next newsletter, stick in a question asking them what they’re having problems with.
Then, find products and services that solve those problems.
For example, one of the problems that many freelance writers have told me over the years that they have a problem with is writing good content faster, without sacrificing quality. So a good affiliate product would be something that helps them to accomplish this goal – perhaps some type of affordable transcription or speech recognition software.
5. What Products/Services Can I Produce for My Target Audience?
As I wrote in last week’s post here on digital sharecropping:
“As an affiliate marketer, it’s nice to promote the products and services of other, but to diversify, create some of your own. This way, you have complete and total control.”
I have written and self-published over 50 ebooks, and developed a couple of online e-courses, so thankfully, I already have a head start in this area.
6. Who Are the Reputable Providers of the Affiliate Products & Services I Want to Promote?
Be sure to only deal with reputable providers for any affiliate program you sign on with. Following are a few things to check out before signing on.
What to Look for In Affiliate Programs
a) Make sure their products are kept up to date;
b) That they have clearly stated customer service and return policies;
c) That they indeed pay out: I’ve belong to a couple of affiliate programs where I had problems in this area); and
d) That they’ve been in business for a while: It’s hella easy to get into the affiliate marketing game. I like to see some kind of track record before I sign up.
Deciding to monetize your blog is a big decision. It shouldn’t be taken lightly; realize you will most likely have some bumps along the road. That’s fine. Learn from it and move on. Don’t be afraid to test new products – getting rid of what’s not earning, and holding onto those that do.
It make take a few months, or even a few years, but if you follow the steps here – and keep educating yourself about what it takes to effectively monetize a site – you can earn a very handsome living practically on auto-pilot once it all starts to gel. Now wouldn't that be nice?