Blogging: The One Secret to Making Money

9 Ways to Make Money Blogging

Blogging's one secret Many bloggers dive into blogging to share their love of their topic with others and think about how to monetize their efforts later as an afterthought. As a result, their efforts aren’t focused on their unstated goal of making money.  If this has a familiar sound, don’t worry.  You’re in good company. 

The one secret to making money with your blog is so simple that it’s hard to believe more people never make the hurdle. You must determine what your business will be. (Need help? Try Michael A. Stelzner, the founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com, online business-building workshop Blogging Fundamentals for Business, (Affiliate link)).

At BlogWorld Expo New York, Adam Baker defined business as “a solution to a specific, emotional problem that generates a profit”.  To get on an effective path, Baker recommends answering these three questions and seeing where the answers overlap.

  1. What are you good at doing?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What of these things will people pay for?

Once you’ve thought about these questions and your blog, here’s a list of nine revenue generating options for making money on blogs. The options are grouped into three main categories.

  1. Sell other people’s products. Leverage your blog as a media entity to generate sales from other people’s content. At BlogWorld East, David Risley distinguished between these different ways to leverage your content to advertise other people’s stuff.
    1. Use ad networks. While this is an easy-to-use option, it tends to require lots of traffic. Further its goal is to drive readers off of your blog. It’s interruption advertising with low payouts.
    2. Sell your advertising directly. This is another form of third party advertising, the traditional media sales that needs large traffic numbers. It tends to transform bloggers’ content into a commodity. Since advertisers tend to need or want ROI, you can put together tailored advertising options.
    3. Post job opportunities on your blog. Expand your advertising with a tailored job posting list. This can be a benefit to your audience because you give them job leads.
    4. Become an affiliate marketer.  In this case, you sell the products in your content and get a share of the revenues without any product creation or fulfillment issues. Affiliate marketing is more effective when you use your content to merchandise the products.
  2. Sell yourself (aka Consulting). Use your blog as a means for marketing your services. This works best for Solopreneurs and other consultants.
    1. Start a freelance business. Just put your “Ready for Business” sign up. This option works well for professionals looking to reach a wider audience. In this case your blog is like the welcome wagon for your business. When blogging for this type of work, don’t hold back information. Use clients to learn common problems, frustration, and solutions.
    2. Speak professionally. Go beyond the volunteer options and ask for fees. Alternatively, join a speaker bureau or other group to find speaking leads.
    3. Craft content for a fee. Face it. A blog is a form of media entity. Take it to the next level by creating content for other businesses and bloggers. You can have a full time job as a blogger or you can write by the post.
  3. Create high value products associated with your blog. Use your blog content to build useful products your audience seeks.
    1. Develop information products. Leverage the knowledge you’ve learned about your customer base to build products your audience wants and needs. All of the revenue is yours and it builds your authority. The drawback is that it takes time and effort to create new offerings.
    2. Build membership programs. These products are great since they tend to drive recurring income. The drawback is that you must win your customer over to keep buying from you.  Further, they require an ongoing commitment.

If you want to make money with your blog, you must develop a business plan around your goals before you start blogging. To loosely quote David Risley, “Blogging isn’t a business. It’s a marketing tool.”

What other ways to generate revenue from a blog would you add to this list and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


NOTE: Do you want to take your business blog to the next level? Then sign up for Mike Stelzner’s Blogging Fundamentals for Business. It’s a step-by-step course designed to help your business quickly implement effective blogging techniques, attract great customers and gain a unique competitive advantage. 
 Blogging Fundamentals for Business covers blogging strategy, creating great content, blogging metrics and technology, 
launching (or relaunching) your blog and blog promotion tactics. Get in at half price if you register by this Thursday June 7th. (Affiliate link.)

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/3442181194/

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  • Anonymous

    I love how you broke this down. I have been blogging a year now about health and fitness, and I am just now trying to monetize my blog. I like the idea of a membership service, but I am going to have to brainstorm how to include it. Thank you for the ideas in a concise format!