Friday, June 27, 2014

Freelance Friday: Different Ways to Monetize Your Blog

Blogging, for me, started out as a hobby, and slowly evolved into a "business-like" venture. Today, I still consider myself to be a "hobby blogger," but I have also started exploring the different ways to earn money with my blog.

Because there are so many different options out there, for today's Freelance Friday, I'm going to sum it up as best as I can, and teach you more about the different options available.

Third Party Advertising

Google AdSense and Chitika are two examples of third-party advertising, and are also the most popular. To begin earning money, you sign up with these websites, create ads, paste the codes onto your blog, and then ads relevant to the content of your blog will be generated.

It seriously is that easy, but there are other ways to utilize these tools. For example, a way to get the most of your third-party ads is to find out where your readers click the most, how they view your blog, and what they're doing. This way, you can strategically place ads that they may be interested in, as to increase the chances that they see them.

Now, a word of advice for those just starting out. If you're still promoting your blog, trying to gain loyal readership, and increase your stats, I wouldn't recommend using numerous advertisements off the bat. Instead, start smart. Place one ad in the sidebar, and maybe a search bar somewhere.

As you begin to see an increase in stats, you may increase the number of ads, but don't go ad-crazy. It will disturb the visual appeal of your blog and make your readers think you only care about money--not your readers who actually help your blog grow.

Private Advertising

As your blog becomes more established, you may begin being approached by potential advertisers looking for space on your blog. This is a great way to earn some extra income on the side along with your third-party advertisements.

You can also set up a sponsorship store with Passion Fruit where people can purchase ad space on your blog with ease. Simply create an account, set up your ads, and add the codes to your blog. You choose the spot, the price, and the types of ads you'll accept, the advertiser purchases the spot and voila! The ad shows up right on your blog without much effort on your part!

Affiliate Programs

My absolute favorite affiliate program is through Amazon. It's been the most successful for me, and since Amazon is a trusted company, I feel safe posting their products on my blog.

The way it works is you sign up, and then you post products that are relevant to your blog. If someone clicks on and purchases the product, you will earn some cash. You may place general affiliate ads on your sidebar, or you can place individual products on each blog post (I only recommend adding an Amazon Affiliate product to a post if it's relevant to the information within that post).

Private Sponsorships

As your blog begins picking up speed, companies and individuals may begin to approach you for private sponsorships. You may also begin pitching companies on your own. Private sponsorships are often in the form of sponsored posts (where you discuss a product or service on your blog, often including links, in exchange for monetary compensation), or hosted events, such as giveaways and/or Twitter parties for example, where you earn money for your efforts.

I want to add a word of caution when doing private sponsorships. Always research the client or company that you're working with in order to determine whether or not they're trustworthy. All too often, bloggers get involved with shady companies or individuals, and even after delivering the work, they're never paid. Beware!

Sell Products

Perhaps you're pretty crafty and can create cute items that others may be interested in buying. If these items are relevant to your blog, go ahead and sell them! You can create a store on Etsy, for example, and link to it from your blog. Alternatively, if you're not very crafty, you could always sell third-party items, like personally designed t-shirts from CafePress or SpreadShirt, or even purchase items wholesale and resell the items for a profit.

Be sure to look into the laws in your area regarding vendors licenses before selling items.

As you can see, there are numerous ways to earn money via your blog. There is no one way that will guarantee you thousands of dollars overnight, but with time, effort, and research, you're likely to find an option that works best for you.

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