You spend insane hours on your blog — don't you think you ought to make some money from it? Yah — of course! Well, I'm here to tell you that there are many more ways to fund your blogging than just Google Ads. I want to show you the 4 most solid, bulletproof ways you can make money on your blog.
- Advertise as an Affiliate
Many products out there offer some kind of affiliate program — the idea behind becoming an affiliate is that you promote other people's products and get commission payments for each sale. The thing that's great about becoming an affiliate is that you can promote products that you actually believe in and use.
The downside to becoming an Affiliate advertiser is that sometimes these products don't convert all that well for your audience … Since you don't get paid unless a sale is made, it can be a bit more risky. However, in my experience, if you promote quality products that your audience is actually interested in, you'll see decent conversions.
Signing up for Affiliate Programs is typically pretty easy — you'll usually find the link to a product's affiliate program on the footer of its landing page (although that can obviously vary). When I started adding more affiliate links to my site, I found it fairly difficult to manage all of them so I wrote a WordPress plugin called Pretty Link Pro. Many of the top affiliates out there are now using Pretty Link Pro to manage and track the usage of their affiliate links — it simplifies things by allowing you to choose how your affiliate links appear (cloaking) and have some unbiased and centralized tracking.
- Sell Ad Space on your Site
If you have enough traffic coming to your site you can actually sell ad space on your blog. There's a really good plugin for WordPress called OIO Publisher that will give you the tools you need to get this going today. This approach is great because once you sell advertisers on putting their ads on your site, you're guaranteed revenue (as opposed to Affiliate ads which can be hit and miss).
Sometimes though, this strategy can be tricky because you don't necessarily end up promoting products you know & love — remember, what you promote is kind of an extension to your personal brand. So if you go for this approach, I highly recommend that you use OIO Publisher to screen ads & products before allowing them to show up on your site.
- Sell Your Own Products
You can typically make more money selling your own products than you can through any type of advertising on your site. The drawback to this approach is that you need to research and figure out a good product idea and then you have to actually execute to create a great product. This is actually a massive barrier to entry (which is probably why product creation can be more lucrative) because creating a product and support around that product can really take some planning and long hours to get ready for launch.
Technically speaking though, its never been easier to actually get a system in place to sell your wares than it is today. I recommend keeping it simple and using something like PayPal + the Shopp Plugin for WordPress or just using Authorize.NET with 1Shoppingcart.
- Create and Manage a Membership Site
I think this is possibly the best way to make money online. As with selling your own product, coming up with an offering for a membership site can be daunting though. You also have to put a system in place to keep people interested and engaged once they're a member of your site. But once you have a valuable offering that works for your audience, you can start collecting recurring income from these types of sites.
A great example of a membership site out there that has been at it for a while and is quite successful is the Internet Business Mastery Academy (the first membership I joined). IBMA has all kinds of resources on Internet Marketing and a pretty extensive forum for some really good networking. I think whatever membership site idea you have — you should at least see what these guys have done and try to model your approach after them.
WordPress is the ultimate platform for membership sites because of all the features you can make available and it makes it so easy to deliver content to your audience. Here are some awesome elements that you can get setup in WordPress with ease:
- Premium audio and video content can be delivered with the help of the Flash Video Plugin
- Thow a social network on your site (complete with friend requests, activity feeds and profiles) with the Mingle Plugin for WordPress (here's the Mingle Community site — you should really go check it out)
- Add an awesome, simple forum to your site with the Mingle Forum plugin (by cartpauj)
- These are just a few examples of ways you can provide value to your users but there are literally thousands of additional features you can easily offer to your users with WordPress.
Once you get your WordPress site setup with the features you want to offer — all you need is a way to protect your premium content and features behind a “Pay Wall.” There are actually 2 good solutions for this, the first (and easiest to setup) is Wishlist Member and the other (which takes a bit more technical moxie to setup) is aMember. Again — with the payment processing, I recommend keeping it simple and just using PayPal or 1shoppingcart with Authorize.Net (these solutions will integrate with either Wishlist or aMember).
Usually, you don't have to pick just one of these strategies — why not try a few of them? Every audience is different and so one or more of these solutions will work for each one. But whatever strategies you decide on, you can rest assured that any of these here will bring you more money than Google Ads on your site.