Make money from your hard work.
Most people will set up a blog with the idea that it will eventually make them money. Even if that isn’t your intention then you can at least use some of the methods discussed here to meet your hosting expenses.
Just how profitable your blog will be depends on a number of things. How popular is the subject being discussed? How many other blogs are there that already exist? How often will you be able to post new content? All of these are factors in whether or not you can convert your blog into income.
Of course, there’s no good blogging unless you actually want to blog; you’re probably not going to be able to turn your blog into your sole income, and even those that have do so by writing about things that they have a great deal of passion for.
Millions of people have started blogging with the sole idea of making money. My opinion is that you shouldn’t blog unless you want to, and if you happen to make money then great!
Whatever your motivation, there are several ways that you can make money from your blog. Not all of these methods will apply to all types of blog, but there’s something for everyone and hopefully these will give you some insight into the possibilities.
Banner ad’s are the graphical ones that you see on most websites, they come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit different areas of your blog.
Some common sizes that we use on alonsys.com are 300×250 and 150×150 pixels. You can see these ad’s in the sidebar to the right. There are two ways of getting banner ad’s on your site.
The first is to sell advertising space directly to companies or organisations. This can be difficult at first, especially if you’ve only recently started blogging. Companies will want to see evidence that your blog is popular and regularly produces high quality, original content. Your blog is probably going to have to be around for a year or so before anyone will consider dealing with you directly.
The second way is to join an ad network. With an ad network you register your blog’s details on your account, the network provides you with an HTML script to place on your blog, and then they do the leg work in finding you advertising partners. Some networks will take a large percentage of the revenue for themselves, but others will pass the majority on to you.
There are two main types of ad network campaigns, and which one you choose will depend on the type of content (and the type of people) on your blog.
The first type is known as CPM (Cost Per Mille or Cost per Thousand impressions) and offers you a payout rate dependent on how many views an advert receives. This is good if you experience high levels of traffic, but don’t represent a specific product or service.
The second type is CPC (Cost Per Click) which gives you a payout ONLY when someone clicks on the advert. The disadvantage to this is that if you don’t get the right ad campaigns running on your site then you won’t get many clicks.
Whats the best ad network?
There are many different ad networks out there, and the class of service is different for all of them. Your experience with these networks will differ from anyone else’s as your blog is unique and so is their’s.
Early on, Alonsys used Google Adsense, which is simple to setup and offers reasonable advertising rates. They also have a great portfolio of advertising clients, and use contextual advertising, meaning that the ads on your blog will be relevant to it’s content.
We’ve also used a few other ad networks, detailed below:
AdBrite – A good alternative to Adsense, but I found that payouts dropped considerably after the first few weeks. I also received a lot of “adult” themed ads as well as flash videos, even though I’d specified that we didn’t want them. The up side is that they’ll take on pretty much any publisher (that’s you) so if you’re just starting out they’re a good way to get some ad space filled.
Burst Media – I’ve had a few problems actually getting campaigns, but the ones that I do get are of a high quality and very family friendly. They’ve made me more money than any other ad network, but I have found that they’re ad script can mess up my site’s sidebar sometimes. A lot of their ad portfolio is geographically based, so if you have a UK account then visitors from other countries will not see any ads (and you won’t make much money).
Cox Digital Solutions – I use these guys to fill ad space that Burst Media haven’t been able to fill. Most of their portfolio is based on US traffic, which is my secondary market. The only downside is that their web based control panel only works with a handful of browsers; Chrome and Safari both cause me trouble when trying to view my stats.
There are tons of other networks out there, but I’m not about to suggest them when I haven’t given them a try.
Early on you’ll find that most of the major ad networks won’t take you on as a publisher, don’t be disheartened! Keep doing what you’re doing, get your viewing stats up and then try again. Almost all networks are happy to take another look at your site further down the line.
Some ad networks will cater for link advertising as well as banner ads. Link advertising works by adding a piece of HTML script to your posts which will search for keywords and find suitable ads or links for them. These words are then (usually) double-underlined and clicking on them will display the ad or forward you to the link.
Most users hate these links as they are easily mistaken for links that the author has purposefully put there. Most users will feel “duped” if they click on a link and are faced with an ad, so think about it before employing this on your site.
I used link adverts in the early days of Alonsys, to be honest they annoyed me, so I dread to think what my regular readers thought.
The advantage of these types of ad is that you can add the HTML script to your post template, so there’s next to no administration with getting them there in the first place.
If you ever review products or services then you can earn money by advertising said products on your site for a third party.
The idea of this is that your readers read your review, and at the end of it they see an advert from a major online retailer giving the price and availability of the product in question. They click through to the retailers site, buy the item, and you get a share of the profit. Sounds easy.
Here’s a few affiliate programs that you might want to consider:
Amazon Associate Network – I use them exclusively and the returns have been quite good. With Amazon’s program the percentage cut that you receive increases as you make more sales, so the more traffic you generate the better off you’ll be.
Amazon cater for most standard ad sizes and you can choose whether to advertise a specific product or type in some keywords and let Amazon do the work.
I’ve never used them, but I hear good things. You place the supplied script on your blog, people click through to eBay’s services and partners and you get money.
It sounds quite simple if it’s true, however I can’t comment on how much money this will make as I’ve never used them.
You can also look at using an affiliate network, which operates much like an ad network; providing you with links to products and services from major retailers. They take a slice of the pie, but you should be able to find more than one retailer to advertise with.
The ethics on this one are up for debate, but you can often make good money writing blog entries advertising a product or service.
I’ve used sponsored posts as a source of income before, but you’d be hard pushed to find them. Writing a sponsored post doesn’t necessarily mean blindly advertising a product. I’ve often written posts which just include a link which is used as an example of the point I’m making. That link is what’s made me money, though I’ve not specifically said “go to this website, their products are the best”.
The exact terms of your sponsored post will be provided by the interested company, they may want you to fully endorse their product, which I would always advise against. They may just want a link back to their site, which I personally don’t have a problem with, I probably would have used a link as an example anyway.
There are tons of companies out there that do this, but most will contact you, rather than the other way around. To protect my interests (and theirs) I won’t be listing any of the companies that I use here.
Above are the best ways that I’ve found to make money from a blog. There may be others, and your mileage may vary depending on the subject of your blog and your traffic.
As I said at the beginning of this post, you shouldn’t blog just to make money. Blogging is about pursuing your interests and cataloging your experiences.
If you run your blog just to make money then it begins to feel a lot like work. What’s more, if you don’t have a passion for your blog’s subject then you won’t enjoy doing it, which is the whole point of blogging in the first place.