At first, it can be a bit confusing and intimidating when learning how to monetize your website. When I first started, I was reading new articles and doing more research every day trying to figure out how the top bloggers made money. When all is said and done, there are multiple ways that you can generate an income from your blog.
After extensive study and research, and trial and error on my part, there are 3 common ways on how to earn money from your blog. Each of these strategies were mentioned by almost every blogger when I researched how to make money with your blog. My conclusion: Focus on these top 3 income earners for your blog before you move on to other revenue sources.
The 3 best ways to make money with your website
For the quick version of this post, I've numbered below the 3 strategies to focus on. Each of which we will discuss in more detail and how to start with each revenue source. But for those of you in a hurry, here's the short version. The top 3 ways to make money with your blog are:
1. Google Adsense
2. Affiliate Commissions
3. Email Marketing
I'm willing to bet that if you research this topic, and read from other top bloggers on how they make their money, one of these 3 and sometimes all three strategies will be mentioned. Follow this step by step process for each of the strategies, and your blog will be making you some extra cash in no time.
1. How to make money with Google Adsense
What is Google Adsense? Google Adsense is a digital ad marketing platform. By linking your website to Google Adsense, you can allow Google to place ads on your website related to your website topic, and every time a visitor to your website clicks on that ad, Google will pay you for it.
Google Adsense is basically the other side of Google Adwords. Have you ever paid google to post your ad on search engines or websites? That is done with Google Adwords. So all the ads that websites make and pay Google to market for them, are essentially being posted on the most relevant places from those of us that are looking to post ads on our website.
Google Adwords clients pay Google to market their ads on websites, and Google Adsense clients get paid to post those ads on their website. I don't present this first because it's the most lucrative, but rather because it's the easiest to set up and get going.
How do you place Google Adsense ads on your website?
First, you need to have a Google gmail account, or an email hosted by Google to start. Once your email is set up, go to adsense.google.com and click the sign up button.
Google will walk you through a series of questions such as which email account you are using for Adsense, what is your website URL, and what is some basic contact information.
Once you have set this up, you will need to verify your website with Google. This is done by copying the website code provided to you by google after you fill out your contact info, and pasting that code on your website.
Not to worry, I don't know how to code too well myself either. I've made a quick youtube video walking you through this process here.
Once you have verified your website with Google, you will then build an ad unit with Google (they walk you through this process within your account). Next, you will need to copy and paste the code for that ad in a similar way as the verification process, onto the pages you want an ad to be placed.
If you're using WordPress, I recommend adding the “Ad Inserter” plugin to manage what pages your ads are on and to speed up the process.
Keep in mind that the amount of money you make per click on an ad can sometimes be as little as $0.01. So in order for this to work you need to build up a good audience and continual traffic. If you're just starting your blog out, I recommend that you place no more than 1 ad per page. Focus first on getting good traffic and visitors, and then start placing up to 3 ads per page to maximize ad clicks.
2. How to make money with affiliate links
Affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to generate a consistent income stream from your blog. Affiliate marketing is simply the marketing or recommendation of other peoples products or services. As your website visitors click on a link that is on your site that directs them to a recommended product, and if they purchase that product, you will get paid a small commission for the referral.
Don't confuse this with multi level marketing (MLM), as many people do. This is simply referring your audience to good recommended tools and resources, then getting a commission for the sales. After all, you did send clients to a companies' website, why shouldn't you get paid for that?
How do you set up links for affiliate marketing?
This may seem harder than it really is. First off, you want to only recommend products or services that you personally use or have used, or otherwise have done extensive research on and truly believe it is a good resource. The focus should be on helping your audience, not making a commission.
Secondly, you want to focus only on a handful of affiliates to start up, otherwise it will be awhile before you see any commissions. The reason for this is, it takes multiple blog posts about each product to generate a “buzz” and ultimately get enough people visiting your recommended website, and not all end up purchasing.
By focusing on a handful helps keep track of your affiliates, as well as allows you to capture a larger audience by having multiple blog posts on each product. The contrary is having tons of affiliate products, and each product post only gets a little traffic, resulting in less sales.
Again, we don't want to focus on the commissions, but at the same time our second focus is generating a commission right? Focus on being helpful first, and choose the products that will best help your clients, and focus on those. This will result in your second priority which is getting paid.
Once you have determined what products or services you want to promote, simply do a Google search for “[product name] affiliate program.” Most likely you will be sent to the companies' affiliate sign up page. Keep in mind that not all companies' have an affiliate program. If this is the case, you will probably get a search result mentioning that they do not have an affiliate program.
Once you find the affiliate program website, you want to sign up and after they will give you a specific affiliate link. This allows that company to track traffic that is sent to them, and link it to you so they pay you for any sales.
There are multiple platforms that serve as a one stop shop for all your affiliate partners links. Places like shareasale.com will be the middle person between you and your many affiliate partners, and will generate the affiliate links for you. This allows you to keep track of all the links in one place, and get paid by all the companies from one place. Other options similar to shareasale.com are:
Within your blog post, you will insert a link to a specific phrase or word that links to that product, resulting in your visitors clicking that link after reading your post.
Where should you insert the affiliate links on your website/blog?
When visitors of your website read a blog post, and you are already trying to send them to a product web page, they can smell the salesman in you before even starting to read the article.
I can't stress how important it is to focus on being helpful for your client, so don't put the cart before the horse.
You will want to address specific questions that clients are looking for answers to. Share with them your personal experience from using that product, as well as the pro's and con's. Some will want to know who the competitors are, and what the benefits of this product is.
After you have addressed these main questions, simply insert the link a few times at most in the second half of the article or near the end. Your clients will appreciate your input, and want to know more. This will result in them clicking on your affiliate link.
Some bloggers make affiliate marketing their main source of income and do very well at it. Pat Flynn, author of smartpassiveincome.com and a well-known expert in blogging is a great example of someone who focuses his blog in such a way that the main source of income is through affiliate marketing.
3. How to make money with email marketing
You might be asking, “what does email marketing have to do with blogging?” My response, absolutely EVERYTHING! If you can get someone to like your content, trust your input, and ultimately give you their email address, this gives you the approval to keep sending them good content, which results in more traffic and more commissions or ad clicks.
When you ask a customer for their email, their response will most likely be “what's in it for me?” You need to give something of value for your visitors, and offer it to them for free. Some good examples of this could be a market update, a list of tools or resources, a list of ideas for making money, templates, a free ebook, etc.
The focus is to aid them and show them the value in your free offer, so that they will deem it worth the cost of them giving you their email.
As your email list grows, you need to have a system in place to nurture your subscribers with great content. Email marketing services such as ConvertKit allow you to set up a “sequence” of emails pre- made, that will send “x” amount of days after the last email.
Thus, your email list can be set on autopilot as new subscribers come. Mixed in with your email sequences, it is also a good idea to either send out a broadcast of your new blog posts, or a quick one time email with a new idea or lesson you learned that you think might be helpful to your audience.
The rule of thumb is you should be able to make approximately $1 per month for every subscriber of your list. Now this can vary widely, but is a good average to target. Again the focus is to always be helpful, not a salesman. Your audience will read right through the salesman and your unsubscribe rate will increase.
Despite what kind of business you have, email marketing needs to be a focus. For more details on how to build an email list the right way, see my post on this topic here.
How long does it take to start making money?
Each of these strategies for monetizing your blog vary a bit in the time it takes to make money. To add to that, it also varies per blog. Some blogs I've seen make a good profit within the first month to the first few months, others it takes 6 months to start seeing the results, and others even longer.
The important thing is to stay persistent, and trust in the process. The process is bulletproof, and shows results every time if you keep to it. That's why it is so important to start yesterday! But to give you my opinion on the question of how long it takes to make money, I'd say the following:
- Google Adsense: A noticeable amount of income most likely won't show with Google Adsense until your blog is well-established. At least 6 months to a year (in most cases, some fewer). But the thing that determines your income from Adsense is your daily traffic. Until you start to see some significant amount of traffic to your website, you won't see much money from Google Adsense. It is however the easiest of the three to get started.
- Affiliate Marketing: Probably the quickest way to start seeing some revenue from your blog is through affiliate marketing. If you can write compelling content and sincerely offer great help to your audience, people will click on your links and purchase. Some see results from this in the first 1 – 3 months.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing is very similar to how long it would take to make money from affiliate marketing. The process is essentially the same, the difference is you have an audience you can reach out to immediately when you release your new ebook, or have a new post with great content and recommendations. Again if done right with good compelling and helpful content, some people see results within the first 1-3 months. Keep in mind this is also dependent on building your list. That is the hardest part. It may be worth setting up an Adwords account and pay google to send traffic to your email sign up page with an offer for free content, resulting in a quick list for your email marketing.
If you focus on these three, you are bound to see some results from extra income from your blog. My advice, pick your top priority and gear your whole website toward funneling traffic to your number one monetization method. If your focus is email marketing, focus your whole blog on driving traffic to your free offer page. If it's affiliate marketing, focus your blog on great content leaving your visitors desperate to know more about your recommendation.
Whatever your method or focus is, I can't stress enough two aspects mentioned already. They are:
- Focus on being helpful and not “salesy.”
- Be persistent and be patient. Stick to the process and the results will show.
Stick to those two, and you'll be racking in the money quickly. For more information on my top recommended training on monetizing your website/blog, take a look at this review.
What other ways have you found helpful to generate money from your blog? Please post your comments and questions below!
A sincere thanks to reading, and I sincerely hope this is of help to you. Best of luck!