The world wide web is host to millions of online bloggers. According to statistics, you can find close to 7 million bloggers on dedicated blogging sites, while 12 million bloggers are concentrated on social media channels. Even if you might not be part of these statistics, you probably know someone personally who’s also maintaining a blogging site, either for fun or to generate additional income.
In the early 1990s, most blogs started out as an online, personal diary of sorts for people who wrote them. Some of these sites became so popular that they went mainstream, attracting huge traffic numbers and distributing their content to the masses.
Free publishing platforms such as WordPress and Blogger have made it simple for blogging enthusiasts to start their own site with only a few mouse clicks. These blogging services and relevant technologies have given personal blogging a whole new meaning: a hobby that can also be turned into a business.
Fast forward to today, anyone with a valuable content offering can become a blogger in an instant. The hard part, though, is getting around to turning a profit from personal blogs. Sure, there are bloggers who are able to monetize their personal blogs, but it can be an unnerving process, especially for someone who’s barely getting their head around the business part of blogging.
Here’s the thing, you probably won’t manage to generate much income if you don’t have a solid audience base. Although it’s not the be all and end all, strong, targeted traffic is the main pre-requisite before you start thinking about any sort of monetization strategy. So, the first objective of monetizing your blog should be finding your target market.
Finding Your Niche
To put things in context, let’s first define what a niche is. Content-wise, it’s the overall theme or subject matter that you write about post after post on your blog. Your niche market, meanwhile, is your target audience for which your blogs are written.
That said, finding your niche takes precedence over setting up your blog or creating your lineup of topics, and the reason for that is pretty simple. Having a niche makes it easy for your readers to distinguish your blog from all the rest and gives them a good reason to keep coming back for your content, which is what they’re specifically looking for.
Some might argue that unlike niche blogs, general blogs that serve a variety of topics are more versatile and far-reaching, which helps with increasing brand exposure. The truth is, people prefer reading targeted content that answers a need or solves a problem they have – something that niche blogs do naturally.
Last but not least, niche blogs can provide monetization opportunities through lead magnets, which are downloadable content offers gated behind landing pages. These content offers require users to submit their contact information via online form before gaining access to them.
Since you’re writing specifically for your niche, your content will inherently be more valuable and relevant, which means that it’ll be easier to attract a loyal following that comes back on a regular basis. This list of repeat visitors and subscribers can be a goldmine when it comes to blog monetization.
Driving Targeted Traffic to Your Blog
Website traffic can sound like music to the ears of bloggers. The general perception is that the more traffic you get, the more successful your blog is. This may be partly true if your goal is for people to take notice of your blog because quite frankly, some people write to impress.
But, if you have a grander plan of converting your readers into paying customers, then you should probably be more concerned with your site’s traffic quality rather than quantity. Your blogging metrics will determine how well you’re performing for each metric and which needs improving on.
Remember that one of the most important parts to driving targeted traffic is to make sure your website is optimized for search engines. This involves making use of the right keywords, creating a strong link network, and addressing the need for on-page optimization.
Personal Blog Monetization Strategies
Now that we’ve gotten all the basic stuff out of the way, it’s time to get down to business. Here are the best strategies to help you generate revenue from your personal blog:
1. Implement PPC Advertising.
You’ve got a few options when it comes to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, and one of the most popular choices is Google Adsense. In a nutshell, you display ads on your website and Google pays you every time a user clicks on it. For obvious reasons, the more relevant the ad is to your website’s audience, the higher your chances of clicks.
You can also choose to get paid based on the number of impressions the ad receives. In this case, Google pays a set dollar amount for each thousand views that your page (with the ad) gets. This might be a better option if your website already gets plenty of traffic (>10000 unique visits per month) but doesn’t have a focused audience base.
2. Charge for subscriptions, memberships, or gated content.
If you’re able to produce uniquely valuable content that’s (for whatever reason) better than alternatives out there, people will probably be willing to pay for it. One of the most popular ways to do this has to be with paid eBooks. Your topic could be about pretty much anything, but needless to say, the more closely related it is to your website theme, the more conversions you can expect to have.
Another option would be to gate a selection of your content behind a membership wall. This way, users would pay a monthly/annual fee to get unrestricted access to your premium content. You could initially offer a free trial to prospective customers to let them try their hand at what you’re offering. If you give them a positive experience the first time, you could then start charging a reasonable fee when they’re ready to take advantage of your full service.
3. Promote affiliate sites.
Your blog could also earn from doing affiliate sales, which happens when you link your site to a third-party product or service online that’s related to your business or industry. You then get a commission for every sale that’s made when users click on your affiliate link and follow up with a purchase.
It’d be hard to talk about affiliate marketing without mentioning the Amazon Associates Program, they’re arguably the biggest single affiliate program out there. But you don’t always have to go with big name brands. A legitimate alternative would be to form a partnership with a fellow blogger who might be offering eBooks or online courses in your niche.
This monetization strategy works best if you’re publishing product reviews on your blog. Just keep in mind that the quality of your content comes first and you should try not to do anything that generates profit but negatively affects the user experience.
4. Write paid reviews.
You can choose to join a review network as a publisher like SponsoredReviews, or you can tie this up with an affiliate marketing program for a specific business partner. One way to approach this is to create a blog category (or an entire website) that focuses on providing user reviews for products and services that are relevant to your website’s theme.
For example, if your theme is digital marketing, you could paid write reviews for various marketing automation tools being offered online. The reviews could then become valuable resources for marketers looking to invest in a marketing automation tool.
You should always be as objective as you need to be. If you want to be a successful product reviewer, you want to come off as honest and transparent. The worst thing you could possibly do is give your audience the impression that your opinion can be bought.
5. Join a paid survey affiliate program.
This is one of the easiest but equally effective ways for you to monetize your blog. Sign up as a publisher and companies will pay you for placing links to surveys and polls on your website and having your visitors complete them. You’d normally promote these links with a variety of Calls-To-Action (CTAs) and banners placed strategically around your website.
Look for paid survey affiliate programs that match your audience’s interests for best results. You could even use the polls to complement your website’s content and engage your readers in a fun, meaningful way. That’s definitely a win-win!
6. Sell an online course.
If you’re an expert in a particular field of knowledge, why not teach people how you do it? For example, as a professional content marketer, you could set up an online course that teaches people the principles of content marketing and how to use them in a business context. Your two options are to host the course on your own website or to leverage an online course platform such as Udemy to publish your course materials.
There are an infinite number of fields and concepts that people want to learn about. The only restriction is that you need to develop a course that people actually care about. The first thing you want to do is gauge interest levels in your course topic, then design the course so that it focuses on concepts that users care about most.
The value derived from your course will be determined by the level of insight you deliver via presentations, podcasts, videos, tutorials, and any other teaching media provided. So, it’s a good idea to take your time and produce high-quality assets that add value to the course experience.
Apart from the strategies mentioned, you could always use your blog to sell a product or service. If you’ve got a patent on a particular product or can offer consultancy services, you’ve got yourself something worth selling.
In general, to turn your blog into a revenue-generating machine, you’ll have to focus on traffic quality, not quantity. For optimal results, you need to be testing different strategies on a regular basis. But be sure to keep a close eye on your blogging metrics to determine your best sources of quality traffic and particular strategies that need attention.
Remember that your contact list is key! With a database of qualified prospects, you’ll be able to drive loyalty by maintaining communications with them via email marketing and ad retargeting. This will increase the average number of brand touchpoints for your audience and enhance conversion rates.
Finally, don’t think about blog monetization as a form of totally passive income. It takes time to build a revenue funnel that works, and you’ll need to be improving continuously to remain competitive in the ever-growing industry that is personal blogging.