Unlike corporate blogs which are created to promote a business, individuals set up personal blogs for a wide variety of reasons. However, for many bloggers, the aim is to create a blog that can generate an income. Whilst there is no magic formula to help you get millions of visitors and sponsorship from leading brands, there are some ways to make money from your blog, from the outset, and in this post, we’ll show you what they are.
1. Make money from displaying adverts
Displaying adverts on your blog is an easy way to start generating income and one that most bloggers take advantage of. If you are a regular reader of other blogs, you’ll have seen these banner and text ads displayed in the header, footer, sidebar and between paragraphs on posts.
The way you make money from these adverts is through what is known as Pay Per Click (PPC). This means that every time a visitor to your site clicks on an advert, you’ll get paid. The amount per click won’t be much and will vary depending on what ad is displayed. However, the more traffic you get and the more clicks visitors make, the more income you will generate.
The most popular PPC programme is Google AdSense which is free to join. Once you’ve registered, it will supply you with a small section of code which you can place on your site and this enables ads to display. The code uses machine learning to display the ads which are most likely to get clicked on. Different ads will appear for each user who visits the site, based on your site’s content and on the user’s recent internet behaviour. You do have the option of blocking ads that you don’t want to be shown.
If you don’t want to go with Google, the best alternative is to go with Media.net which is the Bing alternative. However, there are many other display advertising companies you can use.
If you do display PPC adverts, the one thing you must never do is click on any ads on your own blog in order to get paid. It’s fraud – and because your IP address is logged, the companies will find out. Any income you generate will be withheld, your account will be permanently disabled and you won’t be able to open a new one – ever.
2. Start affiliate marketing
While PPC is a good place to start, you can potentially earn far more from affiliate marketing. Lots of businesses run affiliate programs and these also require you to place ads or text links on your website. The main difference, however, is that in order to get paid, not only has the customer to click on the link, they also need to make a purchase. The good news, though, is that the payment you receive is substantially higher than what you get for a PPC click.
Payment from affiliate marketing is usually referred to as a commission because it is calculated as a percentage of the sale price. In this sense, the more expensive products and services you promote, the more you can potentially earn from each purchase.
Commission rates can vary from sector to sector and at different times of the year. However, in general, physical products usually offer between 2% to 10% and, typically, around 5% of the price of the product. Non-physical products, such as software downloads, can earn much higher rates, between 25% and 75% and, typically, around 50% of the price.
Often the most lucrative rates are for selling long-term services, such as memberships, mortgages and even web hosting. You can earn up to £250 as a WHUK affiliate. Some programs also offer annual commission if customers renew their contracts every year.
For many bloggers, the affiliate program of choice is Amazon Associates. As Amazon is highly trusted by its users, the purchase rates for clickthroughs are good in comparison to other sites. It also pays up to 10% commission on any products users buy and you can earn income from international Amazon sites, not just Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
eBay has a similar program called the eBay Partner Network and you can also sign up with affiliate management companies such as Webgains or Affiliate Window. Some companies don’t use affiliate managers and run their own programs. The details of how to join are usually found on their website.
To make the most of your affiliate marketing, make sure to display ads to companies whose products are linked to the content of your blog.
3. Display sponsored content
A third way to begin making money instantly from your blog is to display links to news articles on other websites. You may be familiar with these types of links as they are very popular on newspaper websites and on social media. Basically, at the end of your posts, users will find a selection of article headlines and images. If one of your visitor’s click on them, they’ll be taken to read the article on another site and you’ll get paid.
Alternatively, you can be sponsored to place these posts directly on your site. You won’t need to actually upload and publish them, they can be made to magically appear by placing a piece of code on your site or through installing a plugin. Again, every time someone reads the sponsored post (or watches a sponsored video), you’ll get paid. Companies which offer this type of service include Taboola and Outbrain.
As you can see, it is possible to start earning money from your blog as soon as you launch it. You won’t make a great deal when you first start out, but as your traffic grows and more people click on the adverts, affiliate links and sponsored content, this will start to increase. One last piece of advice, however, is not to overdo it. The most important content on your site are the posts you write – you don’t want these drowning out by having too many advertisements all over the place.