Show Me the Money
When you are just starting out on a blog there are so many things to think about that money can sometimes take a back burner. Then again, for some, the money is the reason why they started in the first place. Regardless of which boat you are in, there are ways that you can start monetizing your blog from day one.
Of course, you could cover your site in ads but without the traffic, the money won’t just magically show up. We’ll talk about driving traffic, SEO, and just how to get those people to your site in another post, though.
Why Should I Bother if I Just Want to Write?
Listen, I get it. I absolutely love writing and could easily fill up multiple blogs. Sometimes, you just don’t care about the money. I was on that end of the spectrum for a long time. Several of my past blogs were more on the “hobby” side of things. It was fun, and much more of a casual thing but I was missing out on a passive income that was just waiting in my words.
There are so many ways that you can monetize your blog without being overly aggressive about it, and many of your readers may be interested in products you have used in a craft or a book that you recommend if you are a writer.
In the end, depending on how you go about it, monetizing your site can be a benefit to both you and your readers.
Monetizing With Ads
There are two main routes that you can go with ads. If you want, you can do both methods of ads to vary your income and to better cater your advertising to your readers and their interests.
You can choose to work with an ad network such as Adsense which will display ads relevant to your readers based on their logistics. This is more of plug and play version of advertising.
Adsense – This platform is from google. They offer a variety of ad units that you can apply to your site by choosing your preferred ad type and copying the code that is generated.
Infolinks – Much like Adsense this platform is a plug and play version of advertising with various ad types that you can apply to your site using a code that is generated.
There are many other ad networks that you can work with as a blogger. However, many of these have pageview requirements. Once you are further along in your blogging journey you can visit our post on those ad networks (so be sure to bookmark us for later!) The two listed above are a great starting point that will earn you money from day one.
Plugins for Ads
When installing ads onto your site you can copy and paste the code into a simple text widget or you can use one of many plugins available for running ads. Some will insert ads into your posts using a shortcode. Others will create a dynamic ad widget for you. Ultimately, the decision on which to use will depend on how you want your site to feel.
Advanced Ads – This plugin has around 40,000 users and is a good choice for simple ad insertion in sidebars, banners, and posts. It allows you to choose when and where your ads are displayed as well as keep track of how many impressions each ad has.
Ad Inserter – This plugin can be used for a variety of ads including Amazon. It allows you to put ads anywhere in your content using shortcode or widgets.
AdRotate – I have to say that this is my personal favorite when it comes to ad plugins. It allows you to create ads and groups of ads for dynamic rotating ads to provide your readers with more variety.
Selling Ad Space
Another way to monetize your blog using ads is to allow other sites to place their ads on your blog for a fee. Many of the above plugins can be used for this as well or you can use an image widget such as the Modern Tribe Image Widget to easily place buyable ad space on your site.
There are also a few networks you can use to help set up ad space on your site, approve or deny ads, and much more. We’ll discuss those in the advanced advertising post coming soon!
Using Affiliate Networks
We’ll be going over affiliate marketing in much more detail in a later post. However, for the purposes of this post, I want to discuss the basics of using affiliate marketing to monetize your blog.
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn a passive income by promoting products or brands that you support to your readers. In return for this advertisement, you receive a commission for each sale that is generated for that product or site through a unique tracking link that your readers use for your post.
The most important thing to consider when looking into affiliate marketing is the products and services that you personally love as well as those that your readers will find value in. Using affiliates too much can seem spammy and insincere.
When using affiliate marketing it is important to also be sure to let your readers know that there are affiliate links in your posts. This is due to FTC guidelines that state that your readers must be made aware that there is a monetary or product gain in them purchasing a product or service through a link on your site.
Popular Affiliate Networks
CJ affiliate – When it comes to product widgets CJ is one of my favorite affiliate networks to use. They offer an easy to use widget creator that you can customize to your site and easily place into your content using a generated code. The brands that use this network are varied as well including Barnes & Noble, Crayola, and Fandango.
Rakuten Affiliate Marketing – Possibly one of the largest affiliate networks, Rakuten ( also known as Linkshare) offers a large variety of global brands as well as those located in the United States. These include names such as Best Buy, Motherhood Maternity, and Walmart.
Webgains – This is a lesser-known but equally useful affiliate network with a variety of great brands.
Earn with Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts can be one of the best ways to monetize your blog. They offer a set fee or a fee based on your personal quote for promoting their product, service, or even a certain deal that they have going on.
Tip: Not sure what you should be charging for a sponsored post? Check out Social Bluebook to find out the industry standard rates for your traffic and reach!
In order to start doing sponsored posts you need to be approved by a network, and then you can apply to be approved for each individual campaign based on what you would like to promote and what you feel your readers would like to know about.
If you don’t want to work with an influencer network you can reach out to companies on your own with a pitch. We’ll be talking about that soon in an upcoming post so be sure to join our mailing list so you don’t miss it!
Many of these networks have a requirement based on your social media and web presence. However, even newer blogs with strong content can be accepted to a variety of campaigns and earn.
Massive Sway – This network run by the SITS girls site is a great option for parenting and lifestyle blogs. They offer a great variety of family-oriented campaigns that even the smallest sites can apply for.
Linqia – Another great option for lifestyle blogs, this network has a good variety of family-oriented content, beauty content, and more.
Blog Meets Brand – While not an agency that will handle everything for you, Blog Meets Brand is a great place for bloggers and brands to connect. They provide campaigns based on your demographics, reader demographics, and more.
BrandBacker – A great option for influencer marketing that offers a stream of available campaigns you can apply to based on your site’s demographics.
Activate – A great network for beauty posts, family-oriented content, and much more! This platform began as an extension of Bloglovin’ and has expanded from there to be a very popular option for bloggers.
There are so many others that I won’t go into every single one available. You can research more on your own to find those that meet your personal blog’s size and demographics. However, the ones listed are a good starting point for newer bloggers.
You can also join networks based on social media platforms such as Heartbeat for Instagram. This can be a great option if you have a strong social media presence but don’t quite have a large following on your blog just yet.
What About the Money?
It is important to realize that for newer sites the likelihood of making instant millions is low. It can be done, but those instances are pretty rare. Rather than focusing heavily on marketing and monetizing I highly recommend focusing on your content, your branding (such as a well-made logo), and your message.
Without the content needed to bring traffic to actually see the ads, they will not do as well. In addition, finding your target audience and specific niche is crucial to market the proper things to your readers. If you are a crazy cat lady blog who writes to cat lovers you won’t do very good marketing auto parts to them. I will be providing a fun worksheet for finding your ideal readers in an upcoming post so don’t worry if you are clueless about this.
Absolutely get a head start and apply to affiliate networks or influencer networks. It can’t hurt to have the chance there. However, don’t let yourself focus on them while letting your content slip because this will set you up to be let down.
I hope you found this post useful but if you have any questions about how to monetize your blog or any of the specific networks mentioned be sure to leave a comment or submit a question. I’m always happy to help out newer bloggers. We’ve all been there confused and staring at a screen with no clue where to start. So much in the blog world can be overwhelming because there is so much information out there.
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