How to Earn Money From Your Blog
Everyone blogger wants to be earning a full-time living from their blog, but it's not that common to actually achieve this. Many new bloggers assume that monetizing a blog is simply a matter of putting a few adverts in place and are then confused and frustrated when they earn dollars or less for their efforts. In reality, monetizing a blog involves more than just uploading adverts and hoping that they do the trick. If you really want to make good money from your blog, you need to go far beyond this and look to actively build repeat traffic before you can realistically expect to be earning more than a pittance from your blog. Once you're in a position to start making money your blog, building multiple income streams is a good move as it means that you can still earn money if one particular income stream dries up for a while.
Building your audience
This step is often bypassed, but it pays to spend time building a loyal audience if you want to make good money from your blog. Advertising can be placed on your blog as soon as it's been created, but you are unlikely to make more than a few cents at a time unless you take the time to build a solid audience. This may take some time to establish but it's one of the best ways to help your blog bring in more money.
Choosing multiple income streams
If you want to make a steady income from your blog, multiple streams of income will spread the risk if one of your income streams goes through a rough patch. Many bloggers use a combination of the following income streams to help them ride out bad periods.
Adsense uses a pay-per-click payment (PPC) scheme in which you are paid whenever one of your blog visitors clicks on one of the Adsense adverts on your blog. The amount that you earn can be quite erratic as it depends on the cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through rate (CTR) of the adverts. The CTR can be heavily influenced by where the adverts are placed on your blog. For example, if you place them above the 'fold' or mixed in with the blog content it will often bring a better CTR than those that are placed below the fold or at the top of the page.
Although it's one of the most popular ways to make money from a blog, Adsense can be far less lucrative than other income streams as you only earn when your blog visitors click on the Google adverts on your blog. However, if you regularly receive high traffic, you can earn a nice side income depending on where this traffic is coming from. For example, 'organic' traffic from search engines is more likely to result in clicks as the people who come to your blog through this are already actively searching for information on a given topic, whereas traffic that originates from social networking websites is less likely to bring in clicks as these users are more savvy.
In affiliate programs, you earn 'referral' or 'commission' money when a blog visitor clicks through a link on your blog and buys a product from the advertiser. For example, in the Amazon Affiliates program, you earn if a visitor follows the Amazon link and buys a product from the site. This can be much more lucrative than CPC income as you earn commission on any products that are sold through your affiliate link.
Selling advertising space
Selling advertising slots on your blog can be a big earner, but you'll need big traffic to encourage advertisers to purchase advertising space on your blog as they need to be confident that they'll see good returns for their investment. Because of this, it works best for more established blogs that are bringing in good traffic every month. Unlike other forms of monetization, you're in direct contact with your advertisers and it's your job to keep the links maintained and communicate directly with them if any problems crop up so it can require much more effort in that respect.
This involves writing reviews on specific products or services, which gives you less editorial control over your blog content as you're effectively being told what to write about. In addition to this, it can compromise your credibility as an impartial blogger given that you're offering up an endorsement. Despite this, it can be a good way to monetize your blog if you decide to go down this route. For blogs with good traffic, you can cut out the middleman of the sponsored review marketplaces (such as PayPerPost, Sponsored Reviews, ReviewMe and BlogVertise) but newer blogs with lower traffic won't have this luxury and will probably have to use these for a while.
If your blog is attracting repeat visits, it may be worth appealing for donations from your visitors given that they obviously find your content interesting or useful enough to come back. The basic idea is to provide an opportunity for your blog visitors to donate to you if they choose but don't make this too obvious as it can irritate visitors. If you're using Wordpress to host your blog, you can take advantage of the 'buy me a beer' (or similar) plug-in, which can be more appealing to your visitors as it removes the feeling that they will be required to stump up a donation that is more than what they were willing to give. You'll usually see more donations on an established blog and you'll usually find that it is less successful on a brand new blog as it can easily put your visitors off your blog.
For in-text advertising, advertising networks such as Kontera will place sponsored links inside your blog text (for example, they will place a link on certain words in your posts). If the sponsored links are then clicked on by a blog visitor, you will be paid so it's a bit like Google Adsense in this sense. The main drawback is that blog visitors can be very put off by this type of advertising as the fact that the links are found directly within your blog posts can be too obvious as there are in your face whether you want to see the advertising or not and there is no option to ignore them.
Selling spin-off material
If your blog really takes off, there is the opportunity for selling spin-off material such as e-books, especially if you've been able to establish yourself as an expert blogger with lots of credentials. This is unlikely to be very successful unless you've built up a good following as a result of your blog as your readers need to have a high level of trust in you and your content before they'll commit to buying spin-off material.