Sunday, April 19, 2015

6 Top Ways To Monetize Your Blog And Make MoneyIf approached correctly, monetization is not that tricky. In this final chapter I will cover the points that you need to keep in mind when trying to make money with your blog.

Authority First, Money Second 

I reserved the last chapter for monetization exactly because it should be the last part of your overall blogging strategy. In other words, before worrying about making money with the blog you need to make sure that:

1. your content is top notch,
2. your traffic is high,
3. your blog is seen as an authority inside its niche,
4. you have a loyal audience, and
5. your design is clean and ready to receive ads.

As this point many people wonder: “Should I avoid all sorts of ads on my blog initially?” The answer is: “It is up you.” Both routes have pros and cons. Starting with no ads keeps your blog cleaner, but once you add them some readers might be disappointed. Starting with ads signals to your readers your intentions and it also lets you experiment with different revenue sources. The drawback is that while your blog is not established the ads might have a negative impact on the traffic. The important thing, though, is that you focus your energies on the content, networking and promotion. Build an authority blog first, and then worry about making money with it.


Most bloggers experiment with Google AdSense sooner or later, but very few manage to make
substantial money with it. The reason is simple: CPC ads do not work on every website. You need to meet two basic requirements if you want to make good money with AdSense:

  • 1. Your blog needs to have high traffic (e.g., 1,000 daily unique visits or more) 
  • 2. A good percentage of that traffic must come from search engines (e.g., 70% or more)

Getting traffic from search engines is essential because those visitors are the ones who most often click on ads. If you meet these two requirements, it will be just a matter of choosing the right AdSense units and positioning them effectively.
According to Google itself the most profitable ad units are the 336x280 large rectangle, the 300x250 rectangle and the 160x600 large skyscraper. As for positioning, you must be willing to hurt the user experience a bit if you want to have a good CTR (click-through rate). This is so because ads blended with the content perform much better than ads isolated in the sidebar.
The best combination is usually the 336x280 unit on top of your posts, right below the headline. If you want something less intrusive, try placing it between the post and the comment section, or try using a 160x600 unit on the sidebar.

Finally, if you don't want to annoy your loyal visitors with the AdSense units, you can use the Search Ads plugin to display ads only to visitors coming from search engines.


 If your blog generates a good amount of page views (e.g., 5,000 per day or more), regardless of where the traffic is coming from, you could experiment with CPM ads. CPM stands for cost per mille, and it is a type of online advertising where advertisers pay for every 1,000 impressions on their ads (in Latin mille means thousand).

Here are some popular CPM advertising networks that you could try:

  • Technorati Media 
  • Tribal Fusion 
  • Burst Media 
  • ValueClick 
  • Casale Media

The most common CPM banner formats are the 728x90 leaderboard, the 300x250 rectangle and the 160x600 large skyscraper. Usually networks pay a premium price if you display the banners above the fold, so the trick to making good money under CPM deals is to have a design that supports all the three banners above the fold.

Direct Advertising and Sponsorships 

Once your blog achieves a certain size (there is no magical number here, it varies from niche to niche) you will find that selling your ads directly could be more profitable. Basically you will reserve some spots for the advertisers, create an “Advertise with us” page, and start handling the ad sales yourself. The advantage of this strategy is that you have more flexibility regarding where and how the ads will be sold, and you also cut the commissions of the middle man. The disadvantage is the fact that it will take some extra work to manage the whole process. A common question among bloggers starting to sell direct ads is: “Do I wait for advertisers to approach me, or should I approach them first?” If you are getting started with this monetization strategy you will need to approach advertisers. In fact, you will need to hunt them down! First of all create a list of potential advertisers. Those are companies that are already spending money with online advertising and that have a product or service related to your audience. Here are some tricks that you can use to find them:

  • Check who is advertising on the other blogs inside your niche.
  • Search for keywords related to your blog on Google and check the companies that will appear on the “Sponsored Links.” 

  • Create an account with advertising networks like and to check their advertisers. Once you have 50 or so potential advertisers on your list, start contacting them via email. It is important to send a custom message to each of them, as this will improve your chances of success. Here are some points that you should include in your message: 
  • Introduce yourself and your blog. 
  • Explain that you are opening some advertising opportunities, and that you believe the product/service of that company would be a good match to your audience. 
  • Give some basic statistics about your blog, including traffic and subscribers. 
  • Highlight the advertising options, including banner formats, position in the blog and price.
 At this point you might be asking yourself: “All right, but how much should I charge for my ads?” A rule of thumb that I use is to start charging a $0.50 CPM for 125x125 banners on top of the sidebar. If your blog generates 200,000 page views monthly, therefore, you 125x125 banner on top of the sidebar should cost $100 monthly. Make sure to use the real page views of your blog for this calculation. You can find that with Google Analytics, as opposed to software like AWstats and Webalizer that always inflate numbers.
 If you want to use other banner formats or place them somewhere else you will just need to adapt that initial CPM. For example, if you want to use a 300x250 banner on top of the sidebar, you could charge a CPM of $2.00 for that, since that banner is roughly equal to four 125x125 banners. Again if your blog generates 200,000 monthly page views, you could sell your 300x250 banner for $400 monthly. Finally, remember that this is just a rule of thumb to get you started. Over time you will find the optimal price level that will maximize your earnings while keeping your advertisers happy.

Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate marketing can and should be used as a complementary revenue source on your blog. First of all examine the products and services that you already use (e.g., books, online applications, web hosting, gadgets), and check if there is an affiliate program for them. If there is, write a review about the products, and use your affiliate links. As long as you are honest in your reviews and upfront about the fact that you are an affiliate for the product or service, your readers won't stop trusting you or reading your blog.

Secondly, keep your radar on for the launch of new products and services that could be useful for your audience. Once you find one, approach the owner to see if he has or will have an affiliate program. Finally, you can also join affiliate marketing networks like or and browse for products that are related to your blog. If you find some, experiment with them on the blog, using both banners and links inside blog posts.

Email Marketing 

Ever heard the saying “the money is in the list”? Well, it is true. Having a large and responsive email list is one of the most profitable assets you could have. Why? Because email is the most direct form of online communication, as it puts your message right in front of people. If on top of that you manage to build relationships with your subscribers, you will be able to leverage your list for a wide range of purposes, from driving traffic to your website to selling affiliate products.
The takeaway message here is: start building your email list or newsletter as soon as possible. There are some free services for email marketing available, but since getting emails delivered is a critical issue (due to spam problems) I recommend that you pick a paid service. Three reliable companies that offer email marketing ct and ConstantConstact.
Once your list is ready to go, start experimenting with different techniques to get people subscribing, and focus on building relationships with them.
For the content part, try to send one message every week, or at least one every fifteen days, and make sure to add valuable information in every email you send.


Beyond Advertising Money 

Generating advertising money with the strategies I described above is possible, and some bloggers make enough with it to live comfortably. Limiting your blog to being a source of advertising revenues would be a big mistake, however. A blog is a much more than that. It is your interface with the Internet (and consequently with the world). You can use your blog to: 
  • Make friends. 
  • Build an audience. 
  • Establish your expertise. 
  • Network with relevant people. 
  • Experiment with new ideas. 
  • Find Partners. 
  • Launch related projects.
 In other words, you should aim to make money with your blog but also thanks to it. And the interesting thing is that you don't even need to know what you want to do in the future. If you manage to build a popular and authoritative blog in your niche, you will be able to leverage it for any type of venture, be it launching a product, publishing a book or landing a dream job.


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