You had a plan when you built your blog.
Create clever content.
Say important things.
But it’s that last step that can be so elusive. Just how do you profit with a blog?
Some websites offer these get-rich-quick solutions, but more often than not they don’t pan out the way you’d expect. Fortunately, if you’re willing to invest some time and effort in learning the key methods to online monetization, it’s not hard to make decent money off your blog content. In this post, I’ll give you personally tried and tested recommendations
Show Ads That Make Sense and Money
Traditional advertisements can be a big turn-off for readers. Flashing banners and annoying pop-ups may make some money in the short term, but they can drive your visitors away eventually. Fortunately, advertisements have advanced as much as the internet has, and now you have the option to include content-rich advertisements that actually benefit visitors and add value to your content.
Native and contextual advertisements are the perfect example of these. A visitor lands on your site looking for information that interests him/her. While looking at your content, he notices a few keyword-topics, closely related to the content of your page. On clicking on any of them, he gets a bunch of listings relevant to the topic he is keen to explore, which he might choose to engage with through a click that leads him to fill a form or make a purchase etc.
In the reader’s journey, the last engagement happens to be with a sponsored listing or an ad. The difference, from a typical ad, however, is that unlike ads that jarr and disrupt your readers’ experiences, these ads are native to the form of your content and remain true to the theme of your content.
So, from your content’s environment, the visitor has seamlessly moved to the advertiser’s page with each stage being so inherently intuitive and relevant.
In all of this, you’ve made a profit!
A great option to try out for such native and contextual ads, is Media.net. They are the world’s 2nd largest contextual ads network that provide exclusive access to the Yahoo! Bing network of advertisers. What that means is that there will always be premium quality ads available for your content and audience.
The reason I recommend them is because they are great with assistance on content monetization which, let’s face it, is a combination of a lot of factors falling in place together. So, if you’re a blogger looking to make more off your blog, you could use all the help you can get. And that is exactly what Media.net offers. They assign a dedicated Account Manager to you right after they approve your website. This person actually works with you to help you drive up your revenue with actionable suggestions regularly. In my opinion, that makes Media.net a solid option to add to your current mix of revenue strategies.
Sell Your Product
Of course, if you have a product of your own, that reduces the need to host a ton of advertisements for other people’s products. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a variety of monetization techniques on your site, but don’t lose sight of what you can offer customers directly. After all, if customers buy your clever new gizmo, you stand to gain the full profit of that interaction, rather than just a percentage of the sales.
Some blogs come about as a support tool or sales tool for a product that has already been developed. Other bloggers realize that they have a built-in, captive audience and could stand to turn a profit if they could find something that those readers might enjoy. Clever slogans, t-shirts, e-books and gizmos are all fun ways to enhance what you’re already offering a make a bit of extra money in the process.
There are many ways to sell products through your blog. You have the option to sell the item directly via posts and promotions, or you can sell your goods through a third party platform like Amazon.com or eBay where you can create your own shop, or you can sell more personalized material through a site like Etsy.com.
Provide a Service
For bloggers already used to writing interesting articles or creating clever infographics, selling a service may be more natural than trying to create a clever product instead. Of course, you’ll have to decide if selling your abilities to write clever things or take excellent pictures or even edit all of those things together is going to undermine your own blogging effort.
If you sell your articles to competing blogs, you might create a problem for yourself. There is also a possibility of burning yourself out by doing too much writing for others and losing interest in doing it for your own enjoyment. But at the end of the day, if you’re already running a successful blog, you already have multiple skills you can sell to others, along with a ready-made portfolio to showcase your talents.
Again, you can establish your own writing business as a side hustle on your blog and embrace the networking and marketing that this will require establishing a client base, or you can take an easier path. Marketplaces like Upwork or even Fiverr offer freelance opportunities for both beginning and established writers, editors and other online professionals. You don’t have to do much of your own hustling for clients, but you may pay a bit of a premium by using the service.
Affiliate marketing is often one of the first ways people profit from blogs, because it’s relatively simple to set-up. Affiliate marketing is simply including links on your site to items for sell from other websites. Amazon is a prime example of affiliate marketing. A blog post discusses the latest developments in cloth diapers or baby shoes and there on the side of the blog is an ad for the exact shoes mentioned in the article!
Many bloggers also accept items for review as well and link to those items through their content. If you are going to review and try to sell items through affiliate links in your content, be mindful of the truth in advertising requirements and basic advertising ethics. Trying to hide affiliate links with fake reviews and dishonest practices is a recipe for financial (and blogging) disaster.
There are big names in affiliate marketing. Many bloggers start out with Amazon items linked through their posts, but there are many more options available. Clickbank and Rakuten are excellent places to start as well as you search for the ideal products to fit your purposes and your audience on your blog.
Gather Leads and Information
Products, services, affiliate items. So many clever things to sell through a blog, but what about the most obvious of all? Your readers. Lead generation and opt-ins are a booming business online. You encourage your readers to sign up for something that includes information and promotions from partners and advertisers and you suddenly have permission to sell those email addresses to other advertisers.
Granted, if you plan to capture and sell leads through your blog, you may run the risk of alienating readers who aren’t excited to suddenly be receiving emails from hundreds of your “partners and advertisers”, so choose this path carefully. If you are just selling demographic information or carefully culled leads for certain items you may have better luck boosting your revenues while still providing your readers with the information or entertainment they visit your blog for without interruption or irritation.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of profitable blog activities, but it is the best starting place for most bloggers. Before you decide on the best way to profit from your blogging efforts, consider your audience, your blogging goal and your current stats. Make a plan that allows you start earning now and well into the future as well.
4 Blogging Lessons Learned in Bali
I have spent over a year collectively on the Island of the Gods.
Bali is a special place.
This popular island in Indonesia teaches you 4 clear blogging success lessons too.
Let’s dive in guys.
1: Expect the Unexpected
During a house sit at a huge villa in Jimbaran I:
- faced down and helped slay a spitting cobra
- dealt with a chicken killing dog
- lost 2 of the pets (1 to cancer and 1 to likely thievery)
This list could go on forever. From this sit alone.
Bali is a fun, fascinating and sometimes wild place. Like most developing places; you never know what waits around the corner.
I am writing this guest post because the security certificate expired on my blog. I had no idea this would happen right now. Completely unexpected. But being a blogger for 10 years I know to expect the unexpected.
When my developer wakes up he addresses it and we move forward. Until then I am at peace with my blog being down. No worries. Part of the blogging game.
Expect the unexpected with your blog guys. It will happen.
2: Learn to Celebrate Everything
Balinese are an appreciative people who celebrate everything.
Staff at the villa in Jimbaran regularly took off for ceremonies, celebrating everything from cell phones, to papayas, to motorbikes.
Even cremation ceremonies are lavish, eye-popping celebrations of life and death.
Appreciate it all with your blog. Wins, losses, and all in between. Celebrating it all makes you appreciative of the internet lifestyle.
I celebrated big wins and tough losses because all these experiences made me I am the blogger I am today.
3: Step Away from the Herd to Be Heard and Seen
Kuta is a tourist trap. Ubud town center can be a bit too much.
But the rice fields well outside of Ubud and the Bukit region of the island are authentic, colorful, peaceful gems.
My wife Kelli and I stand out from many other bloggers because we tend to stay in more remote areas of the island. Even in the popular fishing village of Jimbaran we did a house sit in off the grid farm country and rented a place up in the hills, away from the heavily touristed bay. Our experiences are authentic; not many tourists in Kuta facing down spitting cobras.
Blog in your voice. Tell your story. Be genuine. Blog from the heart.
Step away from the blogging herd. All success lies well away from the herd of bloggers in your niche who tend to follow each other like blogging sheeple, blogging in 3rd person voice and never sharing authentic experiences.
4: The Best Experiences Happen Outside of Your Comfort Zone
We rented a villa in the rice fields outside of Ubud once.
We had to ride a motorbike 5 minutes into the rice fields to reach the villa.
Save 1 other human living on the other side of the compound no people existed for miles around.
The experience was amazing. Once in a lifetime deal. But we had to get used to snakes slithering inside of the house, using an open air bathroom as huge fruit bats flew over your head at 2 AM and roaches, mosquitoes and other insects regularly shacking up inside of the crib.
I would never trade in this amazingly fun, freeing and brilliant experience but of course I felt terrified at times. Definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone.
A bit before 10 PM on a Wednesday night I’d be comfortable in bed. But since my site is down for a bit now I nudge myself outside of my comfort zone to write this blog post. All part and parcel with being a full time blogger who renders generous service for his readers.
All of my biggest blogging wins occurred because I went the extra mile; even if doing so felt highly uncomfortable.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Your greatest blogging success occurs well outside of your comfort zone.
What blogging lessons have you learned recently?
Top 5 Most Competitive Niches for Bloggers
Finding the perfect niche is like a unicorn for many bloggers. The right mix of passion and competitiveness can be found in the most surprising places and isn’t always clear until you’re already well on your way. But the good news is that the harder you look, the closer you get — which is a cliche, but surprisingly true in this case. So before you give up on your dream of creating content about knitting dog pajamas or anthropomorphized helicopters, start by having a look at what niches are the most competitive at the moment.
Most blogs earn their money through affiliation. The good thing about affiliation is that it doesn’t require you to focus on one particular brand, unlike sponsorships. You’re free to place links in your content or not. And to write whatever you like about the brand in question. Money is earned through reader engagement, not through passive exposure.
Of course, the most coveted and stereotypical blogging dream niche is travel. Who would turn down reviewing hotels in the Caribbean or exciting jungle safaris? Only a few bloggers get to do this, however, but there are still a lot of sub-niches that are easy to get into and earn well in. Local guides and localized content is a great way to find perfect fits for valuable affiliation links and you can even make direct content advertising if you ask. The future is definitely localized.
Making content about gambling is often as much about search engine optimization as affiliation links. This has made reviews and guides extremely competitive, but creating content only for SEO purposes can be a little monotonous. More localized information in a specific niche like mobile gambling makes mobile-casino.ca a perfect example of how to stay competitive without losing quality.
Health & Fitness
For ethically minded bloggers, this niche can be a minefield. Health and fitness bloggers can benefit from having a blog of their own in many ways — such as keeping themselves healthy and fit, while also inspiring others in the process. This niche market is also filled with misinformation, dangerous recommendations and straight up lies. Are you the one to finally inform readers about the one true way to stay healthy or get fit? Joking aside, whether you’re a zealot or a skeptic, there are affiliation networks for you. Just include a source or two, please.
Including this niche might be cheating. It can cover so much — but that doesn’t mean that your blog should. Specialised content that you’re both passionate and informed about can be very valuable for direct ads. Everyone has some kind of lifestyle niche they’re focused on, whether it be simple admin improvement or urban hiking. Find out if readers are interested in the topic, either directly or related, before you go all in, though.
With how competitive blogging is, blogs that explain how to succeed are more popular than ever. You’re reading one right now and you could write your own very easily. You don’t have to be the best or the most insightful to write an inspiring blog about blogging — it’s more useful than you think to write down what works and what doesn’t in your own humble experience. You can be an expert in learning.
Have you noticed any commonalities yet? If you look hard enough in any niche, you’ll learn enough to create content with a fresh and exciting take. And that’s the current trend for being competitive: Being both subjective and informed; localized and aware of international trends.
Do You Really Know Your Readers?
See the featured image up top guys?
I know readers dig my eBook. Said readers dig my paperback too.
Enter this featured image. I use similar images frequently on Blogging From Paradise. Smart way to appeal to my audience.
But during lean years I did not know my readers because I:
- did not listen to my readers
- did not ask my readers questions
- did not spot my reader’s pain points
- did not read my reader’s comments carefully
- did not spot patterns among my readers
Eventually I woke up. Easy to see this now. But back in the day I had a hellish time owning the fact that I did not know my readers.
Reader Red Flags
You do not know your readers if:
- traffic stalls or disappears
- blogging profits stall or disappear
- engagement dies on your blog
- nobody seems to reach out to you on social media
These are a few red flags guys. Own the flags. Honestly. Owning your mistakes is one quick way to turn things around, to free yourself of this common blogging error.
Do You Know Your Readers?
I mean; do you really know your blog readers? Be genuine before you answer the question.
I know my readers incredibly well now because every blog post, video or podcast I create meets their needs. No guess work, no writing and publishing because I want to write and publish a post and certainly no off topic posting here, on Blogging From Paradise or any place where I guest post.
The other day one of my blogging buddies endorsed my paperback with a YouTube review. In addition to feeling grateful I tuned into one other idea; his endorsement, emails from other book customers and smiling selfies from other book customers alerted me to the fact that my readers are beginning to buy my paperback too, in addition to my eBook. I published a post linking to my paperback and explaining how my book solves pressing blogging problems after spotting this pattern.
I know my readers better and better each passing day because I listen to my readers more closely each passing day. As everything expands with my blogging campaign I find it easier and easier to help folks, to come up with blog post ideas and to know my content hits the mark because blogging with my readers in mind has been the simplest way to connect with these folks.
Your blog is for you and your readers. Never forget this fact. Never forget that if you write just for yourself you are publishing a cyber diary. No need for anyone to read a blog if the blog does not solve their problems.
Knowing your readers genuinely requires you to be:
Listen to the latest podcast interview I did with Alonzo Pichardo on his Sound Cloud channel:
He has invited me to chat on his highly popular channel – with over 300,000 listens between only 8 episodes.
Alonzo is a master at spotting the most pressing issues of his audience. My readers also suffer from problems related to these topics. Naturally, as he shares and builds his impressive tribe and as I build my tribe, we have well over a quarter of a million listens between only 8 podcast episodes.
If you get to really know your readers and patiently hit the mark with your content, over years, 10 listens becomes 100 listens, then 100 becomes 1000, then 1000 becomes 10,000 listens, then 10,000 becomes 100,000 listens, and upward from there.
Develop an intimate bond with your readers guys. Poll them. Email them, asking how you can help them.
Much of your blogging success rests on knowing clearly what your reader wants so you can serve it up to them.
Listen. Ask. Observe.
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