Here’s how most bloggers think…
Start a blog, throw some ads on it, make money.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
While many (many!) people start blogs each year with dreams of making a full-time income, most blogs barely bring in enough money to buy a cup of coffee.
Because ads are not as lucrative as you might think. To make $100 a day with Google AdSense, you need at least 40,000 page views per day. Yes, per DAY.
You’re probably wondering…
“How can you do it, Sue?”
How can you make money with your blog without killing yourself trying to get tons of traffic?
By selling your own services, courses, or products.
So, here’s the deal:
There are 6 ways to REALLY make good money with your blog. And I’m going to tell you about them right now.
Sound good? Let’s dive right in.
#1. Selling Services
To make money, you need to take the focus off ads and focus on your services.
What kind of services can you offer?
If you are a content writer, copywriter, virtual assistant, etc., you can use your blog to get attention and build your brand with your readers. Freelancing is hard work, but you can build your rates as your increase your experience.
Pooja has leveraged her writing talent and turned it into freelance work. So can you.
Are you really good at what you do?
Instead of selling your services, you could teach others to do what you do. Like freelancing, coaching is hard work. However, you take on fewer clients, and you can charge more per hour.
Don Purdum created and sold a business that generated nearly $20 million annually. He has a lot of knowledge and insights to share, which is why everyone from Adrienne “Engagement Superstar” Smith to “Two-Time Super Bowl Champ” Gary Clark have tapped Don for his skills as a business coach.
By offering 1-on-1 Internet Marketing Coaching on his blog, Unveil the Web, Don is able to leverage his experience into extra income.
Jonathan Milligan offers a similar service at Blogging Your Passion:
Through his site, bloggers who “need a blog breakthrough” can hire Jonathan for a one-hour, 1-on-1 coaching session.
And if you’re really short on time, you can hire blogging guru Chris Lema by the minute:
By using a service called Clarity.fm, Chris is able to offer his insights to readers quickly and easily over the phone.
How To Get Started w/Services
Create a “Services”, “Work with Me”, or “Hire Me” page on your blog. Use this page to list what you offer, display testimonials, etc.
Here’s an example from Ashley Faulkes of Mad Lemmings:
Ashley is an expert at WordPress and SEO. So, in addition to regularly blogging about these (and similar) topics, he offers these skills as paid services.
You could do the same.
Pick your areas of expertise and offer them as services on your blog.
(And if you’d like to set up a Clarity.fm account like Chris, just click here. It’s free.)
#2. Selling Products
Another option for generating income with your blog is to sell products – either physical or digital. Your blog can act as a way to bring attention and traffic to your online e-commerce store.
Are you the crafty type? You can sell art, jewelry, and other wares.
If you’re not the crafty type, you can sell digital products. The opportunity to sell knowledge and information is HUGE!
Position yourself in your niche as an expert and the buyers will come. Whether it’s an eBook, printable PDF, checklist, or guide book… people are always on the hunt for information to make their lives easier.
And here’s the kicker:
The great thing about digital products is you create it once, but you get to sell it over and over.
John Lee Dumas and Kate Erickson have created numerous products for their Entrepreneur On Fire audience.
Kate’s eBook, The Fire Path: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Online Business, shares the step-by-step process she and John have used to grow a 7-figure business.
You might not have million-dollar insights to share, but if you have valuable knowledge (or skills) there’s no reason you can’t create a product people will want to buy.
By creating artwork once, Jaime is able to profit from that hard work over and over. For example, here is an artwork bundle he sells for $5.99.
Jaime knows there is a market for bloggers in need of funny, original visuals their readers haven’t already seen a hundred times.
By using his skills as an illustrator to create a digital product, Jaime is able to bring in yet-another stream of income for his family.
How To Get Started w/Products
Ask yourself, “What does my audience want?”
“What problem can I solve for them?”
You see, the type of product you create doesn’t matter nearly as much as the need it solves.
Jeni Elliott knew this, which is why she decided to create a professional-but-affordable media toolkit for bloggers. Jeni saw bloggers were faced with choosing between substandard quality and paying a painful amount of money, so she created The Brand Magnet:
You need to create your Brand Magnet.
Figure out what your audience needs, and then go create it.
Products haphazardly thrown together without rhyme or reason might make you a little money, but they don’t hold a candle to worthwhile products that fill a need.
#3. Selling a Course
Figured out what your audience needs?
Instead of a one-time download, why not create an entire course on the topic?
You can create courses comprised entirely of written material, videos, or a combination of the two. You can also bundle them with coaching sessions, private group memberships, or priority customer support – allowing you to create several different price points for your audience.
How’d Bryan do it? He created a course that filled a huge need for his audience.
Elna Cain has done the same with her recently-launched freelance writing course:
Elna’s readers kept asking her if it was really possible to make money by online writing.
After answering “YES!” over and over again, Elna decided to create a course showing them exactly how to do it.
How To Get Started w/Courses
#4. Offer Workshops
Are you seeing a trend here?
There are so many “things” you can sell on a blog.
If you have something you can teach or solve for your readers, you can host an online workshop or live training session.
In them you can give your readers the tools they need to take action and make positive changes in their lives. You can even record the session to sell as a training video later on down the line.
Though he is no stranger to online workshops, Will Blunt of Blogger Sidekick often opts for live, face-to-face interaction.
Will offers in-house training to digital marketers in his native Australia. Given his wealth of knowledge, Will is in high demand.
How To Get Started w/Workshops
Google Hangouts, Blab, and Periscope have made hosting workshops easy. They’re viable alternatives for those who can’t (or don’t wish to) pay for a pricey GoToWebinar account.
#5. Have a Membership Area
Want another way to make money with your blog?
How about creating a membership site or offering premium content?
They are both exclusive, members-only features your blog readers pay a fee to access.
Exclusivity is key – the perks behind your paywall can’t be mundane and easily accessible elsewhere. They need to be worthwhile.
With Tara Gentile’s coaching fees typically running $7,500 or more, the $39 required each month for membership to Kick Start Labs is an outright bargain – members have access to two group coaching calls by Tara each month (among other perks).
Also a bargain is Sarah Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival community:
In addition to resource guides, access to well-known authors, and other perks, members of Read Aloud Revival get to join a community of over 1,800 other like-minded parents with a common goal: getting their children to love reading.
And all for $14.95 a month.
How To Get Started w/Memberships
Using a plugin like Restrict Content Pro allows you to create premium content only your paying members can read. To read more about it, check out this tutorial by Syed Balkhi.
However, for ease of use and accessibility, it’s hard to beat the convenience of private Facebook groups. If you’ve never before created a Facebook group, here is the simple three-step process:
Sign into Facebook, find “Groups” in your navigation menu, and click “Create Group.” The following window will appear:
Choose “Closed” or “Secret” for your “Privacy” settings.
Click the “Create” button.
#6. Affiliate Programs
Want to know the best part about selling affiliate products?
When you promote the products of others and your readers buy it, you get paid a commission.
With affiliate sales, you’re still selling products, courses and programs, but you’re not the one creating them.
Yes, this isn’t as lucrative as creating something of your own. But for bloggers who don’t want to offer services or create their own products, it’s a very viable option.
You can promote affiliate products in all kinds of places. Place affiliate links in your:
Add affiliate links into your blog posts. You can write informative posts and link to products (where they fit, of course), or you could write a full product review to tell your readers all about the product (both its pros and cons).
Be A Better Blogger’s own Kevin J. Duncan wrote an all-encompassing article explaining his reasons for switching to The Rainmaker Platform:
In addition to giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at his decision-making process, Kevin sprinkled affiliate links for Rainmaker throughout his article.
There really is power in your list.
Your subscribers have already shown an interest in what you have to offer, so capitalizing on that interest from time to time by sending out emails with affiliate links is a great way to generate income (while also offering your readers a [hopefully] beneficial product).
Jeff Goins’ readers trust him. When he shares with them a course or product, they know it’s something good:
In the email screenshot above, Jeff shared with his readers a discounted price for Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever course.
Your “Resources” Page
Your readers want to know what tools or products you use. They’re curious. They’re also likely to give the resources you use a try (at least on a trial basis).
Becoming an affiliate for the products you love and use, and sharing those affiliate links with your readers on your Resources page, is an excellent way to generate income for your blog.
Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard has tested and reviewed virtually every product under the sun. His favorites are listed on his “Tools” page:
Ana Hoffman does the same on her “Resources” page:
By organizing the products they use for readers to see, and by using their affiliate links for readers to click, Adam and Ana bring in real and tangible incomes.
How To Get Started w/Affiliates
Every merchant is different, but many use ShareASale to manage their affiliate opportunities. Here’s how to create a free account:
Step 1: Choose Username and Password
After clicking the “Affiliate Signup” button on ShareASale’s homepage, you’ll see the following screen:
Choose your username and password, and select your country of origin.
Step 2: Enter Your Website Info
You need a website in order to use ShareASale. Assuming you have one, on screen two you enter your URL, the primary language in which your website is written, and a few miscellaneous pieces of information about your site (such as whether or not it contains adult material).
Step 3: Enter Contact and Payment Info
On screen three, you’ll enter your name, address, and all other applicable contact information. Next, you’ll configure your payment settings (though you can skip this step and come back to it later in your ShareASale dashboard).
And that’s it. You’re now ready to sign up for thousands of different affiliate opportunities.
What’s The Bottom Line?
It is possible to make real money with your blog.
However, long gone are the days where you could do so simply by writing a few posts and throwing Adsense on your site.
You need to offer a service. You need to create a product, course, or membership site. You need to offer live training. You need to learn all you can about affiliate marketing.
Monetizing your blog can seem a little overwhelming. So, start small. Make it your goal to earn $1,000 this year.
Create a $97 course and sell it to 10 people. There’s your $1,000.
And you want to know the best part?
As your blog grows, more opportunities to make money will become available to you.
Play your cards right and you can obtain the freedom that lets you work from home doing what you love…