Today I have 6 ways to show you how to monetize your WordPress blog.
If you have an idea for a blog or website, then you probably have an idea or two about how to monetize it. But if you haven’t thought through a variety of options, then you may be leaving money on the table.
I use WordPress.org as my content management system (CMS), but the principles should work for any self-hosted website or blog.
This post was originally published November 20th, 2018 and has been updated to be current with new information. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Full disclosure is here.
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How To Monetize Blogs
When we talk about monetizing a blog, we are talking about what will bring you income from your blog the fastest. This is based on the content you create and what you have to sell.
There are many ways to monetize a blog or website, but it is important to do the ones that will work the fastest. The sooner you are earning cash with your website, the sooner you can duplicate your success.
Or the sooner you can cut back the hours you work and spend less time at the computer.
For example, writing blog posts and using excellent search engine optimization (SEO) is a great way to be found by new people searching for answers to their problems.
But it can take a long time to rank in Google and basically for you to “prove’ yourself to them. You need to publish lots of content that is inter-related (same or similar topics) so that Google know who to show your content to.
To speed up being found online, you can use paid ads.
I mean the ads that you pay for to help your website be found by new readers who also scroll Facebook or Pinterest.
This in turn will help Google find your posts faster and rank them higher because you have their attention due to the increase in visitors to your website.
Yes, Google notices.
1. Sell Your Own Product
This is one of the most profitable ways to monetize your blogs, as you get to keep 100% of the profits. You can sell these products directly from within your blog content, in your sidebar, and using other ads sprinkled around your blog.
If you are already teaching people with the content on your blog, then you might consider setting up a course and put all of your information in one place for your readers, and charging a nominal fee for it.
You can use platform like Teachable.com or Thinkific.com
You can also promote beginner, intermediate and advanced courses, to appeal to a variety or students.
Because you are creating and offering your own products, you control everything. How much to sell the product for, whether to offer an upsell product, and when to increase the price.
It is all in your hands.
You can also easily promote your products to your website readers.
- Use blog posts to review your products
- Promote products to your newsletter subscribers
- Have multiple boxes on your website that link directly to your sales pages
It is a good idea to start with an ebook or small course first…dip your toe in and see if this is right for you and your business.
Trust me, it is. Creating your own products is an excellent step in your sales funnels.
Related Post: How to create a sales funnel
Creating products is easier the more data you have from your website already.
If you know that one topic is popular with your readers, create more content based on that topic.
For example, your blog post on dog grooming is a hit. Create a compilation product for people who want more information:
- Checklists for what to do and in what order
- A resource list of products you use and are happy with
- A report on the best way to set up a dog grooming station in your home and the fastest way to clean up after.
A resource like this is valuable to people who are just starting out with dog grooming at home.
If they want to save money doing grooming at home, you are giving them a wealth of information for a nominal fee. You could probably charge between $15 and $45 depending on the amount and quality of the content.
For higher priced products, you can also have other people be your affiliates and they will promote your course for you.
This is a “double-dip” (you are earning twice from the same product) and it’s the number one way that successful bloggers are earning steady, full-time income.
If you want to see the steps on creating your own course,
I tried multiple times to find a good course on creating good courses, but the best one by far is Kate Doster’s Love Your List.
This course combines product creation (inexpensive digital products that are easy to sell) with an excellent email marketing course (the best way to sell products to an audience of people who already want them).
If you want to know how to gain subscribers ethically and get them to purchase more products, you are going to want to watch Kate’s webinar.
(*Note* Please do not confuse Kate’s course, Love Your List 2.0, for the less helpful List Love course. The only thing that is similar is the name.
I tried that course and it sent me several steps in the wrong direction and is basically about building a huge list…of people that don’t buy or really care about what you sell. They just want free stuff)
2. Sell Coaching Services
Another option is to be a coach. If you know a lot about one subject and feel like helping others to learn what you know, you can promote your services in many ways: online, phone calls or skype, or in a membership area of your website set up for this purpose.
You can offer different time increments, depending on the situation, or just stick to a pay-by-the-hour service.
You can write blog posts and promote your services, have ads in your sidebar or announcement bar, and invite people in your email newsletter.
*FYI* You do not need to be a “certified” coach.
You can coach if you know a lot about one subject and can help others to understand it.
People do not care if you are certified; they only care if your help is what they are looking for and need.
I see many people offering Pinterest coaching
Where someone will assess your profile and pins and offer suggestions for improvements. Many people do not mind paying extra to get to the front of the line and get an answer to their questions.
People want to learn how to overcome their issues. They want the help that one-on-one coaching can give them and the personalized attention.
You will also gain some clients that will stay loyal and come back for more.
3. Freelance and/or Virtual assistant
Going along with coaching is freelance work.
If you have a skill, like a good knowledge of Pinterest, you can easily freelance as a Virtual Assistant. This can give you income while you are monetizing your blog or website in other ways, creating multiple streams of income.
Virtual Assistants are hugely popular right now.
As busy bloggers and website owner’s contract out tasks that they do not have time for, they look to people with specific skill sets:
- Office Management
- Content creation
- Pinterest- pin creation and scheduling
- Creating digital products
- Social Media management
- Special project planning and implementation
You can VA full-time or part-time.
If you have skills that are in need, you can earn money working for other people. And as you learn how to solve other people’s problems, you will gain tons of new blog content ideas!
Bloggers always need VA’s for these tasks:
You can charge anywhere from $20 an hour up to $100 or more depending on your skill level and the client’s needs, how many tasks you do and your specialization.
4. Sell Affiliate Products
Selling affiliate products is an easy way to start monetizing.
Affiliate marketing requires a lot of website traffic to earn a full-time income, but is totally do-able in the early stages of your blog. And it is great way to practice selling as well as earning some passive income.
You can sell both physical (Amazon products) and digital products (either with affiliate programs or other bloggers products).
Amazon has the lowest commission rates because they are doing most of the work.
What you have in your favor is that if someone is already shopping on Amazon and has items in their cart when, you may get the commission for all of the products.
You can also promote Amazon products on all of your blog posts, and possibly get commissions coming in from multiple areas.
Digital products tend to have bigger commission rates because they are easier to create.
People are creating digital products for all niches, all the time. Keep searching the internet for viable products that are aligned with, but not competing with, your content.
For example, in the dog grooming example from above, you are selling a digital product. You can then link to Amazon products in the “Resource List” of your product.
Products you might link to are: clippers, pet toys, dog shampoo products, towels or micro-fiber cloths, dog beds etc.
You can sprinkle ads throughout your blog, as well as posting direct promotions, case studies and other content on your blog.
Related Post: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
Depending on your niche you can promote multiple products
Most issues that people need help with can have several solutions. If you understand the “pain points”, you can search for products that are helpful for different stages of the solution.
It is a good idea to try out some of the products that you promote.
Then write up a good or bad review of the product, being honest and explaining how you used the product and the results that you got.
These reviews are helpful to other consumers who are researching these products and can help to bring more traffic to your website if they are shared by happy readers.
The other great thing about affiliate marketing is that even if products come and go, there are millions of other new products being created that will take their place. Win-win!
5. Sell Advertising Spots
There are two types of ads that bloggers talk about:
- The kind where you pay to promote your product, such as paying to promote your blog post on Facebook.
- Or the kind where an ad company pays you to put their ads on your website.
This is about the latter.
Ads are an easy way to see the power that your website traffic generates. New bloggers can usually be accepted to Google AdSense or Media.net right away.
Just put an ad in your sidebar, one or two in your footer and maybe one in between paragraphs in your blog and then monitor the results.
Different ad types are:
Cost-Per-Click (CPC): this means a visitor has to click on something for you to get paid. Google AdSense and Media.net are examples of these ads.
Cost-Per-Impression (CPI) or Cost-Per-Mille (CPM): based on cost per 1,000 (mille) views. You earn money on how many people could potentially see the ad, so it’s a numbers game and you need lots of website traffic to make money this way. AdsOptimal is an example of this type of ad company.
You really have to look around at the options that are best for your niche.
It is not a good idea to load your site up with a ton of ads
You might be thinking “more ads equals more money right?”. But lots of ads also means a drain on your website resources aka slow loading time.
Too many ads are annoying and make for a poor visitor experience, meaning people will not return.
You know what I mean right? You click to go to a website and it takes 45 seconds to load because there are so.many.ads. Annoying.
Just test out one or two spots first, then if it looks like it is not causing problems for visitors i.e. high bounce rate, consider adding another one or two.
This is a great way to see how website advertising works.
Some people swear by Google AdSense as a great form of passive income, while others never reach the payout threshold. Every niche website is different.
When you reach
25,000 50,000 Google Analytic sessions (pageviews) in a 30 day time period, you can apply to a larger ad network, Mediavine.
When you reach 100,000 Google Analytics sessions in a 30 day time period:
You can apply to AdThrive. This is the goal for many bloggers that I know, as the income from ads lets them back off from time-consuming blog content creation.
And if you are applying to these bigger ad companies, that would be the time to consider ditching some of your smaller ad networks to speed up your load times.
Ad income should be considered passive income and not something that you want fully funding your website forever. You do not have a lot of control with ads, meaning that payment criteria can change at any time. Or the ad companies can change how much they take on their end.
6. Build a Mailing List
No matter what monetization method you choose, it’s a good idea to build a mailing list. That way you can follow up with your prospects again and again to sell targeted offers.
You can read the tales of countless 7K bloggers who regret not starting email marketing sooner. Which is a shame, because it is so easy to get set up to capture email addresses.
Related Post: How to Use MailerLite
The other huge benefit to email marketing is that the people who sign up want to be there.
They are interested in what you have to say and the things that you are offering, i.e. your help.
And if you create targeted free items to give away to subscribers, you get the “know, like, trust” out of the way quicker. The people who download your freebie get to see what you know and how you teach.
If they stick around, it will be easier to nurture them into purchasing. This is much easier than trying to get sales from “cold” website visitors.
The sales funnel goes like this:
- People opt-in to your email list for your free, helpful item (benefit: new subscriber)
- After they opt-in, you send a welcome series of emails to introduce yourself and what you are offering (benefit: if they stay on your list, they are interested in you and your content).
- You then write a newsletter with helpful content and promotions of affiliate products, free webinars, or links to other helpful content from other bloggers. (benefit: your loyal subscribers warm up to you and buy what you recommend)
You can create as many funnels as you want and you should have a funnel for all of your most popular website content. Once they are set up and functioning, you will be earning you money on auto-pilot…a bloggers dream!
I was shocked after I set up email marketing and got 28 sign ups in the first week. People were waiting for me to put that opt-in box on my website! They are waiting for you as well.
I am providing the link, again, to Kate Doster’s free webinar because I want you to watch it see how successful marketing is done. Successful marketing requires a lot of traffic and you need to have people coming to your content from multiple locations.
I recommend Kate Doster’s Love Your List 2.0, because Kate not only tells you how to:
- Best target your real audience (the people who will potentially buy from you)
- How to create the ideal free item to offer to get more targeted people to sign up.
Love Your List 2.0 is about making everyone (you and your subscribers) happy, with thoughtful quality products that help people.
You do not want a ton of subscribers if none of them are invested in what you have to offer and will never buy from you.
Still on the fence about starting a blog?
Grab my 5 Secrets To Finding Your Niche free report and decide if making money online is right for you.
I hope you enjoyed this post and will share it with others who can benefit. Be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter of special offers, freebies and exclusive content.
Until next time, happy blogging and follow me on Pinterest!
3 thoughts on “How to Monetize Your WordPress Blog”
Nice post! Thanks for sharing.
All of these sound great! Starting an email list is definitely key because you establish trust with a customer base that you know is interested in your content and products. I’d love to get into coaching as well – thanks so much for sharing!
That is awesome Will and I wish you much success!