Ways to Make Good Money Blogging, Part I

blogging chalkboard

The other day I decided to look up how much money good bloggers make. By the end of an article on some of the most lucrative blogs, I wanted to take the rock that my kid left on the floor and hit my head with it.

Why? Well, you know the infamous mommy blogger, Heather B. Armstrong? I bet you didn’t know that this lovely lady is noted as making $50,000 per month in pay-per-click advertising. I bet you also didn’t know that Problogger Darren Rowse is noted as making $40,000 per month from advertising banners alone. This isn’t including all the money these two make from other appearances, eBooks, products, etc.

Obviously,  I was missing the boat on something. So of course, I wanted to dive in and figure out how to help all of you (not to mention myself) make money from blogging.

So, whether you already have a blog or have been considering creating one, here are some strategies that will help you monetize your blog to the fullest extent possible.

Strategy 1:     Become an Affiliate

What better way to make money than by recommending great products and services to your readers so they can enjoy them as much as you do? That’s the gist of affiliate marketing. Affiliate programs give publishers the opportunity to make a commission off of selling premium, handpicked products.

Say, for example, that you were a health-conscious mommy blogger who provided healthy lifestyle choices to your readers. By becoming an affiliate of a merchant, you could host advertising on your site that would direct your readers to products or services that you endorse, but that also relate to them – such as juicers, blenders, supplements, vitamins, etc.   Affiliate programs are not just limited to physical products.  For example, you could partner with someone who sell information products such as an ebook on how to make money blogging and promote that on your site and get paid a percentage or a fixed amount for every one you sell.  Of course, you need to believe in the product and it needs to be a good fit for your audience.  Therefore, choose wisely.

There are a number of top affiliate programs for nearly any industry. Some great affiliate programs include Linkshare, Commission Junction and eBay Partner Network but you can also work directly with individual corporations such as Amazon.com Associates, Best Buy, CafeMom, Nannies4hire.com and countless more. If you want to know if your favorite brands offer a program, just go to their website and type “affiliate program” in the search box.

When choosing to incorporate affiliate marketing, it’s important to understand that it isn’t just about placing ads on your site and waiting for the revenue to come streaming in. There are steps to follow to ensure you’re connecting your audience to the best products and services that will benefit them, rather than just benefitting your bank account.

Strategy 2:     Advertise with Google AdSense

AdSense is Google’s advertising program that, for bloggers, measures what you talk about in your posts and serves up relevant advertising. Though you have to be accepted by Google to take part in it, if you can get accepted, it’s probably well worth your effort.

Advertising with AdSense is hassle-free on WordPress, thanks to the Google AdSense plugin. And if you want to go beyond AdSense, you can also download the Easy Ads plugin, which lets you manage a handful of providers including Chitika and Bidvertiser.

How much money you can make from AdSense varies greatly. Essentially, Google is paying you a commission for allowing them to advertise on your blog. So the commission you receive depends on the amount advertisers are paying Google for particular key words.

If your website is within a hot niche where advertisers pay a great deal of money for relevant key words (i.e. work-at-home moms), your earnings per click will be that much greater.

Of course, regardless of your niche, the advertising on your site won’t generate anything if there is no traffic to click on them. Also, if advertising doesn’t align with the needs and wants of incoming traffic, you also won’t make good money because no one will be clicking on them.

If you’re using Google or other advertising programs with a goal of making a good profit, focus your efforts on creating quality, keyword-oriented content and generating the appropriate traffic. Doing so will benefit both your users and your advertisers, and will continue to bring both groups back to your site.

Strategy 3:     Sell Private Ad Space

Rather than selling your ad space through networks like Google, you can choose to sell it directly to advertisers.

This is a great article on strategies for selling ad space on low-traffic blogs, but also includes some tips that any size blogs can use to find quality advertisers. The author has some great suggestions, which include researching other sites in your niche and looking at who advertises on these pages. You could also make a list of brands, products or services that align with your content and contact these companies directly.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to make a good case for why these companies should advertise on your blog. Compile an analytics report that includes statistics such as unique site visitors, average time spent on site, bounce rate and page views to help influence the decision.

Now how much you should charge for private ad space depends. First, focus on getting your traffic to a good spot so that when you do sell your ad space, you’ll get the most lucrative brands on board. Here are some solid tips from Problogger for pricing your private ad space.

Strategy 4:     Write and Sell eBooks

In case you aren’t aware, eBooks are on fire. Between 2011 and 2012, eBook sales increased by 177%. Just as fast as sales are increasing, authors are self-publishing. How can you jump in on one of the fastest growing trends? Just start turning all of that knowledge and/or imagination you have into eBooks.

What can you write about? Anything! There are eBooks for every industry and authors of every skill level writing them. Some hot topics are self-help books, how-to’s and insider-secrets.

Once you have your book written, websites like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), booktango, Smashwords and publishgreen.com can help edit, format, publish and distribute your book. But the best part of this is that as a blogger, you can choose to handle all the writing, formatting, publishing and selling yourself if you want to earn 100% royalty. Software like Mobipocket Creator let you create your eBooks for free, or you can format  them yourself in Word and convert to an electronic version.

Then, with your high-traffic blog as a sales medium, you can target your loyal readers who already enjoy reading your content.

Want more ways?  Go ahead and read on.  Continue to Part II for More Ways to Make Money Blogging. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.