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Blogging: How to Make Money

Make Money BloggingCan you really make money blogging? Yes, you can! There are so many ways to make money with your blog.

In this post, I’ll explain the few I have used personally over the past seven years on my various blogs. Most of these are all disclosed on a page that lists the ways I make money blogging. The others are obvious pay-for-product/service income generators.

Product Sales

Websites with blogging features can help you promote and sell your products.
This is most easily done with an integrated shopping cart that features your products with pictures and details. For example, these LonTalk routers are offered on a site with an integrated shopping cart and a back end blog used for news and updates.

Another way to sell your own products from your blog is to create posts describing the features and benefits of your product and then linking out to the site from which they are sold. One example might be this blonde joke shirt I created a number of years ago. (It’s OK. I married a blonde and four of my six kids followed Sam’s lead!)

Service Sales

Websites with integrated blogs are a great way to promote and sell a service. On this site, for example, I offer my blogging startup package to create new blogs. As with product sales, having an integrated shopping cart can streamline the process and make it easy for clients to get started with your service.

Paid Advertising

Once your blog gains a good traffic flow, you can sell advertising space to other businesses. Generally, this will be in the form of banners in the sidebar, header, or footer, and are purchased on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Just like a magazine or billboard, the better and higher your traffic, the more you can charge per period.

Contextual Advertising

There are multiple companies that will serve ads to your website. The most well-known is Adsense, offered by Google, but there are others. The basic concept is that you sign up and enter some fancy code on your site. Then the company scans the text on your site and determines what ads (from their paid advertisers) best fit your content.

You get paid in one of two ways, depending on the program. You can be paid:

  1. By impression — each time the ad is displayed on your site
  2. Per click — each time one of your site visitors clicks on your site

You have little control over what ads are served from your site, but you can refuse particular links you don’t like.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are probably my favorite way to make money blogging. In affiliate marketing, you sign up either directly with a company or with a company through an affiliate aggregator. Two of my favorites are ShareASale and LinkShare.

After you’ve chosen which companies you want to promote (and they accept your offer to be an affiliate) you can put up banners or text links on your site. When your readers click through and take the required action (make a purchase, sign up for something, etc.), you make a small commission.

Affiliate programs give you a great deal of control, because you choose which companies to promote, which products to feature, and how to expose your readers to the advertiser.

It is important to note that when your readers click through and make a purchase, they do not pay more for the service in question. Often, in fact, they pay less, because affiliates can offer special sales and promotions to their readers. It’s a win for your readers and a win for you!

Product or Service Compensation

Businesses often like to have their product or service reviewed. It gives them publicity and name recognition and they know that word-of-mouth advertising can be some of the best. Sometimes companies will send a free product or offer a discount on the product or service that they offer, in exchange for a thorough review.

I love to prepare these kinds of posts. But beware that any review I do will be honest about pros and cons of a product or service. There is no default glowing review. Readers deserve an honest evaluation. If you are interested in having a written review, please contact me.

Keyword Links

There are companies that specialize in paid text links. In most cases, these companies automate the linking of particular words within your blog to their clients’ sites. Other services pay for blog posts (generally by post, with a particular word count) that have specific linked keywords.

Both these methods help to optimize those linked sites for particular keywords for search engines and provide some traffic as well.

A word of caution about paid linking: in general, Google doesn’t like it. The use of some of the automated services will almost guarantee a pagerank dump in the next review. Personally, I don’t much care about pagerank and, frankly, think it’s a bit manipulative on the part of Google to penalize blogs when they don’t use “Google approved” monetization — particular since Google is competing against these other companies. But understand the consequences of this choice before you do it. I still use keyword links, such as , on some sites where it makes sense. This method has been fairly lucrative and requires no extra work on my part. (No work = good thing.)

What Monetization Methods Do You Use?

There are many others to make money from your blog. What ways have you found most lucrative?

I suggest you pick one or two ways to focus on at a time. Add more methods as you become successful with the first. As your blog grows and your expertise grows, so will your blogging income.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Ileane January 7, 2010, 4:59 am

    I never set out to make money from blogging but I’m beginning to gain interest. Have you ever submitted articles to any sites like eHow, HubPages or Xomba. I started doing this about 2 weeks ago but I haven’t spent much time on it. What about Blog Engage submissions, have you seen any checks yet? No me.
    Thanks for the post.
    @Ileane

  • Todd - Home Construction & Improvement January 7, 2010, 7:05 am

    Alison,

    Great advice. I started my first blog (HCI) just over three years ago. It now makes over 40K per year and the best part is….I have fun doing it. The blog started as a hobby and soon turned into a profitable part-time job.

    The key however is hard-work and patience. It took well over a year before it really made much money. As they say….”Nothing is Free!”……Thanks for sharing your tips.
    .-= Todd – Home Construction & Improvement´s last blog ..Top 10 Things To Consider In A New House Plan =-.

  • Hesham January 7, 2010, 7:32 am

    I am actually using almost all of these ways to generate income from my blogs, but not too much in Affiliate and Products Sales! I would like to enter this world soon.

    Great informative post.
    .-= Hesham @ FamousBloggers´s last blog ..How to Win a free access to The Income Blogging Guide course? =-.

  • Karl Foxley January 7, 2010, 9:46 am

    All of the above are great ways to inject income streams into your blog / website. After our service, affiliate marketing is our top earner.

    Thanks for sharing Alison
    .-= Karl Foxley´s last blog ..My Number 1 Tip For Achieving Your Blogging Goals =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 7, 2010, 2:48 pm

    Thank you all for the comments.

    @Ileane I’m glad you’re getting interested! There are many ways to monetize that take very little time. Since you’re already working on SEO to get traffic, no reason not to bring in some income with it.

    @Todd you are a great example of the potential of blogging. Any tips on how you have been so successful? What methods do you like best? I notice that you run a lot of contests. I’ve never done that. Any pointers?

    As you said, blogging is not a quick way to make money, but it has many advantages. Using this as additional income, as you have, is one. Another is being able to work from home. And, yea, it’s fun. 🙂

    @Hesham thanks. What has worked best for you, so far? I think you have a great space to work in some affiliate marketing. Since there are so many possibilities, it’s likely that you can find some really good matches.

    @Karl I’m pretty much in line with you, although the keyword strategy has done really well on some of my older, bigger sites.

  • Todd January 7, 2010, 4:44 pm

    Alison,

    I think the most important thing is diversifying the revenue streams and not counting certain things out. I used to completely ignore affiliate marketing and now it’s almost as big as my Adsense income.

    Contests honestly don’t seem to do much for my site. However, it is a reward for my loyal readers. I get so many products sent to me that I enjoy sharing them with readers.
    .-= Todd´s last blog ..Top 20 Sites About Construction Managers =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 7, 2010, 5:35 pm

    Good tip. I’ve found the same thing and sometimes it’s surprising where the best income is generated. I just try to figure out one system at a time, so that I’m not just flipping from one to another without any real success.

    Good to know about the contests. I’ve thought about trying to do that, but haven’t had time. Often is seems like a crush of traffic from people looking for the freebie, but then it drops quickly back to normal. OTOH, having a bunch of free stuff sent to you isn’t all bad. 🙂

    Years ago I owned an educational products company for homeschoolers (Bright Spark Press). Every week I’d get a new boxes of books, school supplies, educational games, manipulatives, etc. We were just out of college and trying to make our way in the world, and I’m telling you, it was like Christmas when we’d get these piles of fun, new things to try.

  • mk akan February 15, 2010, 6:22 pm

    not earning anything on my blog yet..am taking time to build a readership and followership before i start implementing monetization strategies…doing alot of study on the matter though…will start soon..which me luck
    .-= mk akan´s last blog ..How To Totally Clean Up and Kill Mistakes, Omissions and Typos In Your Blog post =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 15, 2010, 7:06 pm

    That’s the way to go about it, mk akan. I wouldn’t say monetization should be an afterthought but, rather, an after-action. 🙂 First, learn the mechanics of blogging and how to provide information that is worthwhile to visitors. Then you can begin to implement honest monetization without losing credibility.

    Promote things you believe in and speak the truth, even if it means no sale. Having solid business ethics will serve your readers and you!

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