Okay, here's the deal. You want to make money with your site. I know you do. Further, I know you can. It is 100% possible to make money.
Maybe not right away, but that's okay. You need to build your audience first!
However, you want your audience, the audience who trusts you, to understand that you're intending to make money one day.
So, put ads on your site from the beginning.
That way, your audience won't be offended when ads start appearing.
First, here's how to start monetizing your blog:
- Sidebar or banner ads
- Affiliate networks
- Sell your own products
- Sell your skills
- Sell your blog
Let's get into each of these, shall we?
Sidebar or Banner Ads
These are the ads you see everywhere, and they're really easy to implement. Just a few snippets of code, and whamo! You're set. The problem? It could take you six months or longer to earn your first $100 payout. Networks like these pay based on traffic, and when your site is small, your traffic is also small. Use these at first, so your readers get accustomed to seeing ads on your site, but don't forget to switch them out when your traffic grows.
Ad Networks to Join:
Verdict: Use Adsense while you're figuring everything else out. Refine, edit, alter, your ads later if you want, but we think it's best to start where it's easy, so you don't have too much to think or worry about while you're ramping up your blog.
We'll cover affiliate marketing in greater detail in further posts, but for now, let's make it simple. When you mention a company, make sure you check to see if the company has an affiliate program, and if they do, sign up for it, and use your affiliate link every time you mention a product. Don't link to things simply to get money, link to things you like, or things that caught your eye.
There are a million places you can sign up as an affiliate.
Here are just a few (Amazon and LinkShare are my affiliate links):
Verdict: Use affiliate links naturally. When you're first starting out, the temptation to join all the networks is high, but don't. You'll barely tread water, your site will look like a car with too many bumper stickers, you won't make money early, and you will lose steam because you're writing like a late night infomercial. If you live in a state that allows Amazon affiliate relationships, by all means, sign up for that. It's great, because Amazon sells just about everything and you'll be able to start monetizing your traffic in a small but meaningful way.
Sell Your Product
Do you have something to sell? Something you created yourself? Great. Use your blog to build your platform, and sell your goods. If you can't think of anything to sell, then skip this section for now. Sometimes, you won't know what you need to create until you've attracted and built your audience.
Building your audience is all about trust, so make sure you're trustworthy before trying to sell anything (see above “late night infomercial” comment).
Sell Your Services
Writing online is an absolutely perfect way to start making money. As soon as you've built your site, and you're getting followers, tell them what you want to do. You want to start freelance writing? Great. What about getting started with social media? Also excellent. Think about the things you find easy, and others find challenging, and announce your intentions! You'll never know when or where your next writing gig will come from.
Sell Your Blog
This is one way to make money online, and if you've built up your site to the point where you're bringing in a little cash, it might be a good idea to sell, especially if you've lost steam for your topic. Once you know how easy it is to start making money online, you may get the itch to start something fresh in another niche. Use sites like Flippa to sell your site. Sites that make money are worth more than sites that are about to make money, so if you're almost there, and you want to sell, give it another three months.
Use this as a resource when you're starting to think about monetizing your blog. But remember, put people first, and money will come later.