As a general rule, there are four main approaches to monetizing a blog.—profit through ad networks, profit through affiliate sales, profit through private advertising, and profit through selling your own products.
At Elite Blog Academy we go in-depth into all four strategies and you will get plenty of practical ideas and strategies to implement as you move through these units, but I know that sometimes it can be hard to wait.
Sometimes we just want a quick win!
The following list contains seven ideas that any blogger can implement relatively quickly and see results within days or weeks rather than months or years. Many are ideas that I have used personally, or I have watched other people, including many Elite Blog Academy students, use to increase their income this past year.
As you work to monetize your blog, keep in mind that while it is both important and essential to grow your audience, it is equally important to fully optimize the traffic that you already have. There is no sense in having a million readers a month if you aren’t effectively monetizing that traffic. In the end, it is always better to be profitable than popular!
1. Optimize Existing Content
The first and easiest way to immediately increase your income is to work on optimizing your existing content to make sure that it is not only well written with crystal clear FOCUS™ and visually appealing with a Perfect Pin™, but that each of your most popular pillar content posts has been optimized for maximum monetization.
There are a couple of easy ways you can do this. First, simply add affiliate links or links to your own Revenue Center Pages (see #4 below) wherever you can. If there is a product or service you talk about in the post, check to find out whether an affiliate program is available, or, at the very least, link to some related books or resources on Amazon at the bottom of the post.
Second, add one or two ad network spaces directly into the post. As we will talk about more in Unit 7, this is especially powerful for posts that receive a lot of search engine traffic, as the ads will automatically be optimized to sync with the search engine results, but it can work well for posts that are popular on social media as well.
2. Raise your prices
If you currently offer sponsored content or private advertising on your blog, try simply raising your prices. Chances are that a company willing to pay $75 for a post will be willing to pay $100, and a company willing to pay $500 will just as willingly pay $600. Whatever you are charging, it is probably not enough.
When it comes to sponsored content and private ad sales, don’t sell yourself short! Personally I think it is better to say no to an opportunity than to undervalue your content and your time. Set limits, be firm about your worth, and play hard to get and you will be amazed at how much more willing brands are to work with you on your own terms!
3. Repurpose Existing Blog Content
We talk a lot more about creating successful products to sell in Unit 10 of Elite Blog Academy, but chances are that if you have been blogging for a while, you already have enough content on your blog for a self published book or ebook.
Many bloggers make the mistake of thinking they need to completely reinvent the wheel and come up with an entirely new concept and 55,000 words of brand new content in order to write a book, but the truth is that you DON’T. You can create a fantastic book using content you have already created, and just packaging it in a different way.
The book above, 31 Days to a Clutter-Free Life, is available on Amazon and it is exactly the same content as the 31 posts I published on my blog in October. Not only has not a single person complained, but that book has also generated close to $1,000 per month in sales since August, despite the fact that the only place I’ve promoted it is in the intro post for that series.
Perhaps you’ve written a similar series or even just a number of different posts on a related topic. Maybe you’ve been publishing recipes or DIY projects for years and could compile a collection of them. I promise it doesn’t matter that some people have already read it. The key is that MOST people haven’t! So take what you already have and make it work for you in different ways.
4. Create Revenue Center Pages
While you don’t want every post you write to sound like a sales pitch, it is a smart idea to create special landing pages—a Revenue Center Page–for high paying affiliate programs or even for direct sales programs such as Young Living essential oils. My own oils page was modelled after the one created by my enroller, Rachel Holland at SurvivingtheStores.com, and so far it has been quite effective, simply by adding the following ad to my sidebar that links to the page.
In addition to selling oils, I personally use this Revenue Center Page option a lot, especially for affiliate programs that require a little more explanation, such as Inbox Dollars, Swagbucks, and StitchFix.
A special page works well because not only are you able to give your readers high-quality information about the program and why you like it, you can promote that page independently on social media. If it is a high-paying program with a good conversion rate, you may even want to consider paying to promote the page using a targeted Facebook ad as we talked about in Unit 5.
5. Optimize Your Ads
We talk about this more in Unit 7 of Elite Blog Academy, but if you can, get signed up (or at least on the waiting list) for a DFP management service as soon as possible! There are two that I know of—AdThrive and The Blogger Network.
Of the two, I have personally only worked with AdThrive but I know of many bloggers who have been very happy with their results from the Blogger Network. AdThrive currently has a minimum requirement of 100,000 page views per month, while the Blogger Network does not have a minimum requirement posted, but we have heard through the grapevine that they now require a minimum of 80,000 page views before you can apply. There is a waiting list for both services, but the AdThrive wait tends to be longer.
If you are very tech-savvy, you may want to try installing and managing DFP yourself, but if you are not tech-savvy, I suggest simply applying to multiple ad networks and testing to see which ones perform the best on your site.
6. Work as a VA
Blogging is not a get-rich-quick plan, and it can take a while to build momentum, establish a strong reserve of pillar content, and to grow your traffic levels to a number that can be easily monetized. Don’t let this frustrate you—it is part of the process!
In the meantime, you are developing important skills that have real value in the blogging world. Why not leverage them to your advantage? Working 10 or 15 hours a week as a virtual assistant or VA to another blogger can not only help pad your wallet but give you important insights into how a successful blog works. You could almost look at it like a paid apprenticeship. You might just be surprised at how valuable that insight can be!
A fantastic book to help you get started down this path is The Bootstrap VA by Lisa Morosky. Lisa has worked for many successful bloggers through the years, including some work for me several years ago. She definitely knows her stuff!
Another great resource is an online course created by EBA graduate Gina Horkey, called 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. It offers step by step guidance on how to get started from someone who knows the ropes.
7. Plan a Seed Launch
Did you know you can launch a product without actually having a product to launch? No, this is not a trick question—people do it all the time, and there is even a name for it. It’s called a seed launch.
The idea behind a seed launch is that creating an informational-based product (usually some sort of online course) for actual paying customers will only make that product more effective because you will be creating it in real-time based on the real feedback you are getting from your real-life students.
For instance, say you are a health & wellness blogger who wants to create a course about losing weight. You have a general idea of what that course will look like, but you’re not quite sure how to make it all come together, or even exactly what your clients will need. And so you decide to plan a seed launch.
You start by sending out a series of emails promoting your upcoming course to your existing list. If you don’t yet have a list, you might want to start by creating some sort of PDF Lead Magnet & promoting on your site or with Facebook ads to get people added to your list.
Then, once you’ve promoted the course to your existing list and had a small number of people sign up for your course, you begin hosting your course, in real-time. You might start with a webinar or conference call that allows your clients to share what they are hoping to gain from the course or send out a survey asking the same questions. From there you begin to create the course content, doling it out in small doses, and modifying it based on the questions that arise.
By the time you’ve finished your seed launch course, you will not only have a complete product ready for a bigger launch, but you will also have a number of testimonials from satisfied customers that saw real results.
For more information and great examples of how a seed launch works, I suggest checking out Jeff Walker’s Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula to Selling Anything Online.
Ultimately the opportunities for monetizing your blog are almost limitless. These seven ideas can help you start earning quickly, but as you go through Elite Blog Academy, try to keep thinking outside the box for additional revenue possibilities.
Finally, keep in mind that not every revenue stream needs to be a smash hit or a bestseller. A lot of small streams can add up to a great income, so just keep plugging away and you will get there eventually!