Making money with a blog really has to be one of the biggest concerns out there I suppose, so I want to address it directly. There are different approaches of course, and I can only speak to the techniques I’ve personally employed, what has worked well for me and what HASN’T worked well for me. This will be a two-part rundown of what has not worked for me…and what has 😉
Today I’ll cover a couple things I’ve tried that have failed for me. I’ll follow up shortly with more info on what DOES work for me, and what I’m doing today to generate income from blogging.
First off, I’ve failed in a number of areas over the last few years since I’ve been blogging and building niche sites. I made many mistakes when I first started, so hopefully you can read this and avoid the same time wasters. Monetizing a site is always a concern if you’re doing something as a business, and the two most common ways of monetizing are through ads and affiliate marketing.
Making Money with Ads
There are a number of ways to do this on your site. Adsense is the most common way to put ads on your site when you’re small and just starting. A lot of beginners don’t realize that putting ads on your site isn’t something you can just do on a whim, expect through Adsense. If you’re new and wanting to monetize your site, you’ll likely go down this path a bit and look into putting some ads on your site.
Hopefully I can save you some time here…what you’ll find is that most ad networks won’t even talk to you. Why? You don’t yet have the high level of traffic they’re looking for. The most popular networks really want you to have a high level of traffic to start. What do I mean by that? Requirements vary from vendor to vendor of course, but I’ll say it this way: if you’re not getting at least 50k visitors a month on a regular basis, your prospects will be limited. Some vendors won’t be interested til you get into six figures or higher. Adsense doesn’t have this requirement though. This makes Adsense highly accessible and easy to implement.
Adsense is also very simple to optimize and style to your site. How does it pay? It pays fairly well actually, if you compare what most other ad networks pay. The problem is that if you aren’t getting a high level of traffic, Adsense is not going to pay you more than a few dollars (I mean that quite literally) per month.
What do I mean by saying it pays well then? It pays well on a per visitor basis.
It’s important to understand that the larger ad networks (like Federated Media and others) don’t pay much better according to my research. It’s just that monetizing with ads does indeed pay well, if you’re bringing in a large number of visitors. If you’re not, it doesn’t. That’s pretty much all she wrote. Even A-list bloggers rarely depend solely on advertising income. There’s also a growing trend for well-established bloggers to be trimming back or even removing their ads altogether. They’re concentrating on much more profitable income sources. Even when you are getting tons of traffic, advertising still rarely cuts it on its own.
Making Money with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another avenue I tried when I was first starting. I didn’t sell a single thing. Nothing. This is just my personal experience. I’ve since learned how to do affiliate marketing more effectively, and it’s a terrific way to earn some extra money. It is not in any way a significant source of income for me at this point, but earning an extra few hundred bucks here and there is not something I’m gonna turn down 🙂
That said, most beginners (like me too when I was first starting) just put up some affiliate banners in their sidebar and wait for the orders to come in. In most cases, they just don’t.
As is the case with most things, you can overcome lack of skill with sheer numbers. Will you sell some product by simply placing an ad in your sidebar when you’re pulling in a ton of visitors? Yes, of course. If 200,000 people hit your site in any given month, it’s likely someone is going to click through and buy something.
I’d like to say I have no problem with this form of monetizing, except for one thing…it simply doesn’t apply to most sites. Yet ironically, it’s what most people try. And then when it doesn’t work, people conclude that “blogging doesn’t work”. It’s a massively incorrect conclusion to draw, although I understand why it happens.
These are the most common avenues I see new bloggers take, and they almost never work…for the same reasons. Hopefully you can read this and save yourself some headaches. However, let me assure you that there are some effective ways a new blogger can generate income. If you’ve read Next Level Blogger for a while, you already know…my experience is specifically in small niche websites. I generate 100% of my income online, and I don’t have a single website that pulls in more than 5-6k visitors a month.
I’m a blogging advocate for a reason! You can most definitely generate a good income and lifestyle with your blog. Even after only running this blog for a short time, I’m already seeing a significant change in the way I do business, and I expect this process to continue. This is what I’ll use to continue in Part 2. That is where I’ll cover some things that really work for me, and they’ll work for you too. In the meantime, please comment or contact me any feedback or questions. Talk to you more soon. Thanks!