While many people start blogging out of a passion for a particular subject, being able to make money as a result of that blogging and that passion is a bonus few would turn away. Successfully doing so, however, is easier dreamt of, talked about, and read about than done — especially if you want to continue to provide value to your readers and avoid the risk of chasing any away. Here are seven ways you can monetize your blog’s traffic that won’t also make your readers want to leave.
1. Get Native
If there’s something you hate encountering on a website, the chances are good your readers will hate it as well. So, don’t do it to them. Yes, advertising is a quick and simple way to monetize your blog, but most of the ways site owners go about generating money through ads is downright distracting and annoying. Pop-ups, banners, and their lesser cousins — auto-play video and full-screen, scrolling ads — take away from the look and feel of your blog, which, in turn, takes away from the visitors’ experience. If you’re going to advertise, go native. Choose one of the native advertising networks that specialize in creating ads that won’t distract by ensuring ads look like a natural part of your blog’s landscape.
2. Offer a Service
The most successful blogs are run by people who know something other people want to know about and are able to convey it in a manner that’s appealing. Is there any way you could offer a service related to your area of expertise? If you run a small-business blog, offer business consulting services. If you blog about fishing on Lake Erie, offer guided fishing trips for a fee. If you blog about marketing, offer your services as a marketer. It won’t work for every blog topic, but when it works, it works amazingly well.
3. Create Products
In much the same way that offering a service works for some blogs but not all, some blogs can make money by developing and selling different products. From e-books to online courses, offer products that are in line with your blog’s topic and subject matter. Just be careful to only create and sell products that your audience will truly find worthwhile. In product creation and promotion, just like in advertising, the best rule of thumb is to follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, or: Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t want to buy.
4. Sell Merch
Some blogs develop more than just an audience; they develop a following, and if you’re blessed to have a blog whose readers associate it with The Cool, then, by all means, sell merchandise promoting your blog. Brands with the ability to appeal to a person’s sense of self can compel consumers to buy-in as brand promoters, and blogs are no exception. Whether through T-shirts, hoodies, or bumper stickers, merch is a great way to monetize a popular blog.
The key is to pick something to try and to see whether it connects with your readership and to learn as much as you can while you’re doing it.
5. Be an Affiliate
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to make money off your blog, provided you go about it in the right way. Basically, an affiliate marketer is someone (or a site) who earns a paycheck promoting other companies’ and people’s products. It works best when you’re an affiliate for a product you would use and believe in even if you didn’t get paid to do so. That way, the fact that you’re promoting it is honest, which actually makes for much more effective marketing. All you have to do is agree to promote a product, develop great content around it on your website, and when your readers click through to make a purchase of the product you’re promoting, you earn a commission.
6. Provide Paid Posts
Similar to affiliate marketing, offering paid posts allows you to review products in exchange for payment. All you need to do is make sure you’re up front with your readers about the fact that they’re about to dive into a paid post. You also need to make sure you never, ever give a positive review that isn’t warranted. Your integrity and reputation are not worth the money you might earn from disingenuously offering positive paid posts.
7. Be Smart
Perhaps the most essential thing to remember when figuring out how to monetize your blog’s traffic is to be smart. At the end of the day, you’re the one who built your blog and its audience, and there’s no reason to throw that away in pursuit of a quick buck. Money can be made, but moneymaking should always be weighed against the visitors’ experience. If how you’re thinking of making money is going to tank your readership, find another way.
So, monetize your blog if that’s what you’d like to do. Just make sure you don’t drive away your traffic by following these seven tips.