Four Simple Strategies to Create Your Own Money Making Blog

4SimpleStrategiesMoneyMakingBlog From the big money makers like Huffington Post and Goop, to the “small” bloggers you might not guess are bringing in 6 figures a year, it IS possible to start a money making blog, from home, part time, and proof of success is all around you!

In more than 16 years of working with entrepreneurs, small business owners, and work at home moms and dads, the strategy I’ve seen work the most often, with the best chance of success for the widest variety of people, to create an income online, has always been blogging.

So what about you? Have you started your own money-making blog yet?

This blog post is for you if…

  • you’ve been considering starting your own blog but weren’t sure how to make it profitable
  • you’ve got a blog, but it’s not making money and you aren’t sure how to fix that
  • you’ve got your money making idea, but you aren’t sure how to actually get your blog online (start with this free guide)

How do you make money with a blog?

People are looking for solutions to their problems and challenges.

If you can connect them with a valuable solution, using your blog, then you can make money blogging.

It really is that simple: if you can show someone how to solve a problem, you can make a sale, whether that’s a sale of your own book, your own services, a product you advertise or are an affiliate for… you’re in the business of solving problems!

And you get paid based on how many problems you help solve – no matter which of the methods below you decide to use to monetize your blog.

So the first step you need to take is to figure out WHO you can help, and HOW you can help them.  You need an audience that has a problem, to which you have a solution, and that solution has to be worth money.

Tip: be careful not to choose to serve an audience who cannot afford to pay for a solution to their problem, or a problem which is so simple to solve that it’s not likely to be paid for.

Next I’ll explain the four basic strategies you can choose from (or mix and match) to create a money-making blog.

Strategy #1: Advertising

Ads need to match your audience’s interests and needs!

 Step One: Know Your Options

For banner ads and text links you can sell based on:

  • CPM: Cost Per Thousand Views
  • CPC: Cost Per Click
  • CPA: Cost Per Action

Ad types may be:

  • Contextual: based on the content on your page
  • Retartgeted: based on websites your visitors have viewed before

You can run ads that are:

  • Network Managed
  • Network Managed, Owner Approved
  • Owner Managed

WATCH the terms (can’t say “please click this link”, limits on ad blocks, prohibited content types, required placements, or non-compete clauses)

Step Two: Do Your Research

Research other blogs and websites in your niche for ideas:

  • What are their rates?
  • Who’s advertising on their sites?
  • What networks are they using or are they running their own ads?

Why to run your own ads:

  • Better rates
  • Better match
  • Build relationships with advertisers
  • You’ve got to reach out

Types of Advertising to Consider Offering (ALWAYS disclose!):

  • Sidebar
  • Below posts
  • Popup
  • Header bar
  • Footer bar
  • In text
  • Intersitial
  • RSS feed
  • Emails (solo mailing, within newsletter)
  • Sponsored posts
  • Review posts
  • Highest traffic pages of your site
  • Targeted posts or resource pages
  • Sponsored Posts
  • Paid Reviews

Step Three: Create Your Media Kit

Note: You can find some of the data mentioned below with Quantcast.com, Alexa.com, Google Analytics or CloudFlare, or by surveying your readers with a tool like SurveyMonkey.com

About Your Site

Include details about your blog, what you write about, and the coolest features (popular posts, tools, checklists, resources, etc).

About Your Readers

Who are your readers and why do they read your blog? Research and share the demographics and psychographics of your audience.

Include details like:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Income Level
  • Education
  • Has Children
  • Browse from Home/Work/School

Site Metrics

  • Monthly Unique Visitors
  • Monthly Page Views
  • Average Time on Site
  • Subscribers on List
  • Subscribers to RSS Feed
  • Alexa Rank

Social Media Reach

Include links to your social media profiles and stats for the number of followers or connections you’ve got on each.

Testimonials

Include reader and/or advertiser testimonials.

Featured Past Advertisers

If you’ve had advertisers, add their logos or other info here.

Advertising Opportunities

Details of your banner ad spaces available (for example: sidebar ad, 250×250, every page of the blog $x/month) and any other advertising options (such as RSS footer ads, etc)

Contact Information

How to get in touch with you.

Examples:

Step Four: Get the “Tech” Setup Done

If you’re going with network managed ads, you’ll need to follow the directions to copy and paste their code into your site where your ads will run. Often this is in a widget in your header or footer.

If you’re going to go after your own advertisers and manage ads yourself, it can help to install a plugin to manage ads and collect payments.

Check out the mindmap for links to plugins and resources for this step.

Step Five: Get Advertisers, Collect the $$

If you’re using network managed ads, they will take care of ads sales and recruiting advertisers. You may have the option to approve/disapprove potential advertisers so keep your eyes open!

If you’re managing your own ads, it’s time to get creative and start brainstorming who you can approach…

  • The peanut butter and jelly strategy
  • Competitive research
  • What are your readers already buying?
  • What are you already recommending?

Three ways to get more from your advertising:

  • Work out barters
  • Look at long-term agreements
  • Package services (ad + product review + link in email)

How can you build value for advertisers?

  • View it as a partnership!
  • Look for ways to stand out and feature them so you’re their favorite blog to advertise with

Strategy #2: Affiliate Marketing (Promote Other People’s Products)

What you promote needs to match your audience’s interests and needs!

Step One: Understand How Affiliate Marketing Works

You might get paid based on:

  • Sales through your link (most common)
  • Actions through your link (like new leads/subscribers)
  • Clicks of your link (least common)

There are ALWAYS rules to how you can promote. Be sure you read the terms and follow conditions of any program you sign up for.

Step Two: Research Who/Want You Want to Promote

How to brainstorm products/services to promote:

  • The peanut butter and jelly strategy
  • Competitive research
  • What are your readers already buying?
  • What are you already recommending?

Networks vs. Indie (Independent) Programs:

  • Networks like CommissionJunction and ShareASale offer less risk
  • Indie programs are run by the product/service provider directly and more likely to be supportive/responsive

Three Key Rules for Success as an Affiliate Marketer

1. Only promote things you love (and have tested or used yourself, or trust the source).

I won’t promote something I haven’t tried, or someone I haven’t had experience with. When I promote something as an affiliate I need to know that I’m sending folks to something valuable that works.

2. Only promote things that make sense (and that your readers would be interested in).

Anything you promote needs to connect with what your readers are interested in.If your blog is about public speaking, it probably doesn’t make sense to promote a product about how to learn Spanish. But it could be a good fit to promote a product about how to look good on stage, create a signature speech, network at events, get speaking gigs, market yourself, publish a book, or similar things speakers would be interested in.

3. Build value around the promotions.

Anyone can send an email with a link that says, “Hey, buy this because I get paid if you do!”One great way to both build value and attract traffic interested in buying a product, is to write a detailed review or step by step guide to using the product or service you’re promoting. Share your top tips for how to get started with it, or how to get results with it.

Step Three: Decide How to Promote

A Few Promotional Ideas to Consider:

  • Sidebar ads or links
  • Below posts ads or links
  • Popup ads or links
  • Header bar
  • Footer bar
  • In text links
  • Interstitial
  • RSS feed
  • Emails (solo mailing, within newsletter)
  • Review Posts
  • Step by Step Guides
  • Resource Page
  • Interview the company or service/product creator
  • Create a case study of how you used the product and your results

I won an affiliate contest with these strategies: How I Won the CommentLuv Affiliate Contest

Tip: Look for resources from the product/service you’re promoting. Smart companies will give you banner ads, social networking status updates, ready to go emails and blog posts, sometimes even videos or other resources you can use!

Step Four: Review and Power Up!

Watch your results. Use a plugin like Pretty Link Lite to track how many clicks your affiliate links get. See what your audience responds best to. Then adjust your game plan!

Five ways to increase your results:

  • Do giveaways and games to feature products
  • Write detailed guides (search engine traffic magnets!)
  • Create how to videos (post on YouTube, link back to the blog post you shared them in)
  • Offer freebies related to what you’re promoting (with PLR, it’s easy!) and have people opt-in for the freebie, then show them the affiliate product and create a follow up email sequence
  • Add a bonus to what you’re promoting

Always keep working to build your audience – the more engaged your audience is, the bigger it grows, and the better ht match you can make between audience desires and products you promote, the better results you’ll get with affiliate marketing.

Bonus Step Five: How to Turn Product/Service Reviews Into Money

Are you writing reviews on your blog? It can be a great way to get noticed and make some money.

Start by thinking about your ideal reader and what types of things you can write reviews about that they’d find helpful. What tools do you use that they’d like? What books or magazines? Are there particular products or services they’d love?

Next, there are two ways you could approach what you decide to review to start with, and you’ll actually want to mix these but staying aware of what the goal for each is.

1) Review What’s Hot for Search Engine Traffic

Check out the most popular websites where people order and review the type of products you want to feature.

I’ll use Amazon as an example. Go look at what the most popular products are right now. If they’re “hot” then people are searching for them and you can capitalize on that and get some search engine traffic by reviewing those items.

2) Review for Connections and Exposure

Look for small to medium sized independent businesses who manufacture products you want to review. They may send you a free item for review and even publicize a positive review (it’s good for them). So when you approach them keep that in mind.

After the review is live, these are the people you want to make sure you let know they’re welcome to quote you and encourage them to use that review.

Make your goal to build relationships with companies who can get you noticed by your ideal readers as a trusted voice providing reviews in your community.

Bonus tip: as a next step, look at print or digital magazines or other publications that print reviews or first hand experience stories. Once you’ve got a few reviews up on your site, start getting touch with them and looking for ways to get your reviews featured places beyond your site, too.

Strategy #3: Sell Information (Your Own Digital Products & Workshops)

Step One: Decide What Problem to Solve

What’s one problem your readers have that they’re already looking to you for advice or resources around? Can you turn that into a product or training for them?

Ways to research this:

  • What’s the most popular post on your blog?
  • What questions do you get asked most often?
  • What are readers searching for to find your site?
  • Survey your readers
  • Look at your competition
  • Browse best sellers on Amazon or similar websites

Step Two: Decide What Type of Solution to Create

Do you want to create a physical product? Virtual product? Audio? Video? eBook? Don’t start with an 8 week video course if you haven’t tested an ebook or an affiliate product to see if your audience is interested!

Before you move forward you must make these decisions (please note, for the purposes of this guide you have already decided WHAT you want to teach and WHO you want to teach it to):

Is this an evergreen or date-based training? 

Evergreen means a new person can purchase the training anytime and start at the beginning of your training series working through it individually.

Date-based means you will be teaching the course live on specific dates and people work through the training as a group on the same schedule (think traditional college classes).

How will you accept payments?

PayPal is the fastest, easiest way to get started accepting payments online. You can accept both one-time payments and recurring subscriptions ($X per month).

You can also check out SquareUp.com and Stripe.com for easy to use payment options.

How will you deliver your content?

Teleseminar is audio only (no slides) and one of the simplest options. You can use a service like FreeConferenceCalling.com to deliver and record your trainings.

Written Content like PDF files and worksheets. You can save each module as a PDF file and use a dropbox.com account to save and share your files. You’ll need the dropbox public link to share them.

Webinar includes audio plus slides (and sometimes Q&A with students). The best option for getting started is InstantTelseminar.com because it will create your web pages for both live calls and your replays.

Which autoresponder service will you use?

You need an email autoresponder service. There is no way around this so just decide on one. If you’re just getting started check out GetResponse but AWeber is also good. If you absolutely need a free option, look at MadMimi.

Are you committed to making this happen for yourself and the clients you serve?

Why would I ask you that? Because I want you to stop and promise yourself right now that you will make fast decisions and take action today to get your course or workshop out into the world.

Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed or frustrated by this guide or the different options in it. Answer the 5 questions above, then PICK ONE OPTION from the two that follow and go with it.

Step Three: Decide How to Sell & Deliver It

You need four pieces:

  • A sales page describing your product
  • A shopping cart (this gives you your “buy now” button and allows your customers to securely purchase)
  • A way to accept payment (PayPal is great to get started)
  • A thank you page to deliver your product (if you use a hidden page on your blog – do NOT set it to private, just keep it off your menu)

If you start with a simple ebook, checklist, or guide, check out E-junkie.com as a super easy way to offer it for sale on your blog.

If you decide to do a group workshop or multi-module training, check out Udemy.com.

Step Four: Promote It!

The fastest way to get the word out about your new product is to get others to help you share it.

Who can you approach that would be interested in allowing you to guest post and share your link?

Or host a promotional webinar or teleseminar for you?

Recruit affiliates and promoters!

A Few More Promotional Ideas to Consider:

  • Create a promotional preview webinar
  • Sidebar ads or links
  • Below posts ads or links
  • Popup ads or links
  • Header bar
  • Footer bar
  • In text links
  • Emails (solo mailing, within newsletter)
  • Do giveaways and/or games
  • Publish extracts from the product as blog posts or share it with your list
  • Create how to videos around the topic of your product (post on YouTube, link back to the product)
  • Offer freebies related to what you’re promoting and have people opt-in for the freebie, then show them the product and create a follow up email sequence
  • Add a bonus to the product as a time limited option

Always keep working to build your audience – the more engaged your audience is, the bigger it grows, and the better match you can make between audience desires and products you create, the better!

Strategy #4: Sell Your Brain (One on One Consulting or Coaching)

The Fastest Way to $$ For Most Bloggers

This path requires only two things: a problem you can solve and a way you can accept payments.

Have you considered offering “pick my brain” sessions for your readers? Just choose an amount of time and a price. You can keep things simple with a PayPal button for payment. Once they’ve paid you schedule the session then show up and answer their questions.

Or, what services could you offer? Do you know how to setup a blog? Create a household chore system that works? Build a business around knitting? What have you done successfully that you can share with others?

Here’s how to make it happen:

1. Decide on your offer and price.

Think about the questions you’re asked most often or the biggest challenges/problems you solve. What do your readers struggle with?

Look around at similar blogs in your niche to see what products or services they offer that are similar. It may make sense to model those.

Check Amazon and search the topic of your blog. What are the best selling books right now? That’ll tell you what “hot topics” are.

2.  Create a page on your blog offering your “brain” for rent.

Follow this simple format:

Hey, if you’ve got problem X…

Here’s what causes it… and why it hurts…

Here’s the solution (nutshell it)…

Here’s why/how I can help you…

Look, I’ve helped these people (testimonials or some social proof)…

Get in touch with me (contact form or buy button)…

Here’s how to create a PayPal button to add: http://en.support.wordpress.com/paypal/ (this works for ANY blog that you can paste in HTML code, just be sure you are in “text” or “code” view and not the visual editor).

3.  Let people know it’s available!

Start by adding a link to your new page to the main menu of your blog as well as your sidebar. Next…

  1. Connect with friends and colleagues and let them know you’re available to help people with… Ask who they know that could be perfect.
  2. Email your list (no matter how small) and let them know you’re available, link to your new page (and/or email them an “invite your friend” suggestion and let them connect you with referrals.)
  3. Connect with professional groups or associations your ideal clients belong to and offer a free talk or resource, they can share you with their members.
  4. Think who offers a good complimentary service to yours (who else do your favorite clients hire or work with?) and reach out to them with an offer to cross-promote.
  5. Network online – show up in meetup groups, Facebook or Linkedin groups, forums, and anywhere else your ideal clients are in groups to get yourself in front of them.

Here are a few other ways you can use a blog to make money…

  • Get a job based on the credibility and expertise your blog demonstrates
  • Flip blogs – build them, then sell them
  • Ghostwriting / Ghost Blogging
  • Add a “Tip jar” where readers can tip you as thank you if they like your content
  • Build an audience so you can land a book deal, or other deals

What if you’ve already got a blog but it’s not profitable yet?

If you’ve tried different strategies and they haven’t worked yet, usually it’s because the path you see working for someone else to monetize their blog isn’t the right fit for where you’re at or who your readers are.

Which money path is right for you?

Take some time to step back and think through, who you are and what you enjoy, what your audience cares about, how much traffic you have…

Then be willing to experiment and try out some different strategies!

Remember to look at your blog as the business you want it to be.

Get serious about committing time daily to it and going “big” if you want to turn it into a full time income and a business that will support you.

So, if you’re starting at the beginning, how do you get your blog started?

Great question! Click here for a simple 5 step guide you can follow to get your first blog online.

P.S. When you click the link above, watch for the popup that will give you a free 7 day email course to help you break down the steps into easy to follow daily tasks to get your blog online.

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5 Comments

  1. Absolutely love this post! Thank you so much for sharing these helpful tips and tricks

    1. Thanks, Sah. Appreciate you reading and commenting.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 7 Easy Blog Posts that Attract Massive TrafficMy Profile

  2. niceConnect with friends and colleagues and let them know you’re available to help people with… Ask who they know that could be perfect.

  3. Great advice. I am going to have to read through it a few more times to really absorb everything. I love writing and teaching people but I want it to earn me more than it does so I can fully invest in it. I know it takes time and a lot of setting up but it will be worth it! These are such great simple tips with excellent guidelines. Most people charge for this information! ;)

  4. Great strategies cant wait to try them out.

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