Meanwhile, the internet continues to shower you with information overload.
What should you do with your online business/blog first?
What should you NOT do?
How can you make sure your new blog makes money?
While I don’t have concrete answers to the first two questions (at least not in this post), I do have answers to the very last one:
How can you make sure you position your new blog to make money?
According to a little known fact, only 5% of bloggers end up making money with their blogs.
That’s…a very small percentage, especially after realizing that as of 2013, there were more than 152 million blogs floating around.
I’m not even sure I can visualize that number in my head, it’s so darn big.
So, the next best thing you can do for your blog right now is to make sure you’re on your best path forward, but—
First things first: How do you monetize your blog?
The direct answer is there are TONS of ways. Just take a look at the ProBlogger diagram below. I often hear a misconception— that there is only one way to monetize a blog—and this couldn’t be further from the truth.
That’s why a blog is is a hugely useful tool when it comes to marketing your skills (and yeah, making your unicorn dreams come true) online, because it’s so versatile and can be molded into the best platform for your very own monetization strategy— whether that’s marketing your very own e-course, mastering affiliate marketing, writing and selling e-books, even starting your own membership program.
Generate as much traffic as possible
Hands down, the fastest and easiest way to direct traffic to your brand-new blog is through two weapons combined:
Pinterest + Tailwind
Traffic is key to pay attention to if you want eyeballs on your content and blog. And a great way to do that is to create pinnable images to pin on Pinterest and schedule through Tailwind.
Tailwind not only saves you TONS of time but it also makes sure that you pin at the best times and keeps your pinning organized. You can always try it for 30 days and see if you like it enough and get substantial results to stick with it.
Note: Tailwind has recently released a new feature called Tailwind Tribes. Though right now it’s still in its early testing phase, many bloggers (including myself) have already seen a significant boost after using it.
It can be yet another traffic channel for your blog if you use it wisely. And you don’t have to have a Tailwind account to have complete access.
Of course, the Pinterest + Tailwind pairing by itself won’t get the job done. There is a complete strategy that goes into generating traffic and engaged readers that you can read more about in this detailed post.
The general rule here is that more traffic equals more income, but that’s only true if you’ve set up you blog the best way possible. It can be completely possible to have a blog with a ton of traffic but little or no income.
Set your site up for success
Having a good foundation is always key for everything, and when starting and maintaining your blog it’s no different.
Site design should be at the top of your list if you want to be taken seriously and keep your audience coming back for more.
Adobe says, two-thirds of people getting to read for 15 minutes prefer reading something beautifully designed than plain. Even more, 38% of people will leave your corner of the internet if your content/layout is unattractive.
Those are pretty big chunks and definitely not internet traffic you want to miss out on because of silly mistakes.
And true, while ‘unattractive’ can be subjective, there are still some basic rules of thumb you can go by to ensure that you’re setting your site up for success.
A few questions to ask yourself about your site design are:
- Is it uncluttered and clear what it’s about as soon as people land on it?
- Are there any things I can take away to make the branding look better?
- Is my font size, type, and color legible and does it pass the squint test?
- Is my writing engaging and free of typos?
Keep in mind, there are tons of tools online (many of them free) that can help you get where you need to be design-wise.
The fastest way to monetize for beginners
The quickest way, especially when you’re just starting out, to monetize your blog is through affiliate marketing.
That’s not to say quick as in ‘get rich quick.’ To start making at least a decent amount it takes tons of hard work and dedication.
Often, as a blogging beginner it isn’t unusual to get caught up in the excitement of wanting to launch your first product, or selling your first e-book.
And while all those routes all absolutely doable, affiliate marketing is the easiest way to get your foot in the door and learn the ropes of online marketing, for a few particular reasons:
- You learn to market other’s products instead of your own (which is great practice without the initial investment of your own money, which means no risk of financial losses)
- It can be income that carries you through as you get over the blog learning curve, listen to and grow your own audience, and see what direction your blog takes
- It’s easy to get started
If you don’t really know how it works and want to learn the ins and outs of monetizing with affiliate marketing you can always check out my in-depth no-nonsense post on how to get started as soon as today.
If you already know how affiliate marketing works, some great affiliates you can easily apply to, whether you’re a beauty blogger, a food blogger, marketing, or frugal living blogger, are:
ShareASale: You can sign up for free to find products to promote. I love it as an easy way to keep your affiliates all in one place and has over 2,500 merchant programs you can apply to. It’s great for keeping things organized and tracking payouts and clicks in real time.
Awin: Applying is easy and they’ll get back to you right away letting you know if you’ve been accepted. They currently represent more than 6,000 brands worldwide including a bunch of hotel chains, Fiverr, Pet Supplies, DressLily, and Etsy (for all the crafty bloggers out there).
Ebates: You can get cash back with Ebates every time you shop through their site, or by downloading their extension and getting Ebates alerts as you shop online, or by downloading their app to get in store coupons and offer alerts. They are synced with over 2,000 retailers and can be a great affiliate for lifestyle and finance blogs.
Amazon Associates: This one is by far the easiest to get into and promote. After you’ve signed up and been accepted you can virtually promote any product of theirs (which are like a bajillion) you think your audience will find useful. The cool thing about it is that if someone happens to click on your link and not buy what you promoted, but they navigate over to other products and buy a random piggy bank or a chew toy, you’ll still get a commission.
Eventually, you’ll want to have more than one income stream and not just stay stuck with affiliate income forever.
To do this you want to make sure you establish your blog for the long-term.
Are you building your credibility?
For your blog to be credible you should aim to make sure you’re giving as much value as possible. This way you show your audience you know your stuff, have results from your practices, and they can trust your learnings.
Today, that’s how huge (and smaller) brands are able to make money.
Through giving. Or a more fancy way to put it is content marketing.
They always aim to sell their awesomely helpful content to their audience, and once their audience buys into their content and trusts them, that’s when they’re sold into the ‘real’ product.
Giving to your blog community can come in the form of:
- Value packed freebies
- A valuable list of resources
- Free tutorials
- Kick ass information-packed content
When you give, you can’t help but graciously receive from an audience that’s followed you and benefited from the fruits of your giving.
This inevitably leads to increasing your blog income.
Connect with like-minded friends + create a network
One of the most ROI (return on investment) positive thing you can do for your new blog is making sure you are constantly building connections.
Thinking back, I’ve always said: If I were given a choice between starting with the perfect blog site or networking and making blogging friends before even having a site up…I’d always choose the friends.
They are invaluable to your growth as a new blogger and some pretty cool connections can form as a result.
Now, I get that reaching out to other bloggers in your niche can be daunting at first, but really, after sending that first email and getting a response, you simply lose the fear.
A simple way to work outreach into your content strategy is to commit to email at least one blogger you’d like to connect with/admire per day. As time goes by and you stick with it, before you know it you’ll be able to grow your blog network.
That’s about thirty attempts to outreach per month. Out of those thirty you’re bound to connect with/get meaningful responses from a couple.
As time goes by and you stick with it, before you know it you’ll have a growing group of online friends.
And, naturally, friends want to what? They want to help each other.😊
In the future, they’ll have no problem promoting your posts and/or products as an uplifting way to help each other out.
Create traffic + proof by guest posting
Creating social proof by guest posting is a way to:
- Direct more traffic from bigger blogs back to your own site (usually through a byline)
- Make your blog/brand/business more credible when you’ve been published somewhere else that already has an established credibility
Guest posting can be a little bit daunting, especially if you have no idea where to start.
Elna, a freelance writer and kick ass blogger, wrote a great post on getting started on your fist guest post.
If you’re looking for an extensive list of blogs that accept guest posts and how to pitch to them, you can always download my opt-in and go for it!
Define your target audience, + go for it
Let me ask you a this: How likely are you to hit your target with your eyes wide shut?
This is why it’s important to build an ‘audience persona’ of the type of person you are trying to attract with your blog.
Are you aiming to build a blog targeted towards working mothers with children who are tight on income and short on time?
Or maybe your blog is aimed at working nomads who travel, value frugality, are U.S. based, and make a living through their laptops?
Or maybe you’re aiming for people in their mid 20’s with a $50,000 annual income who are serious about body building?
You get the point.
If you aim for content geared towards travelers, for example, your angle will be different than if you were targeting bodybuilders— where you might write a review on a protein powder or lean snack bar.
The better you target your ideal audience the less you’ll miss and be able to attract the right people who will follow you, read your posts, and have a keen ear for your recommendations and content after you’ve earned their trust.
Meera Kothand wrote a great post on how to profile your ideal reader that goes in-depth and can help you gain clarity as to who your ideal target is.
Be Actively Seen on Social Media
This is yet another source of exposure, which again, ultimately leads to income generating traffic.
Simply, be seen.
After starting to be active on social media, I’ve seen a difference in my reader traffic and see a surge of visitors when I post on days you’re allowed to promote.
This is especially true for Facebook groups.
If you think about it, the best way to ‘sell’ what you’re offering and get people to listen is to go where those people hang out, and a great place to start are Facebook groups.
There are tons of Facebook groups you can join and be active on. Many have designated days for promotion and social media shares.
As an example, Blogging Boost, with more than 20,000 members, is an active community interested in the blogging niche.
There are all kinds of Facebook groups online, not just blogging ones. It’s all a matter of going out of your way to find them and become an active member.
Create and grow and email list
It’s likely by now you’ve heard how important it is to grow and stay connected to your email list.
- Because it’s a list of contacts you own and no algorithm change from any social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest) can affect that negatively
- It’s been proven time and time again to increase your income
- It’s a direct + more personal way to connect with you readers
Email lists can also be a great way to direct traffic back to your blog when you have a new post, content upgrade, or product to promote.
When I started blogging, I wanted to make sure I started on a solid note, which is why I chose to go with ConvertKit— to manage my list growth.
Their interface is ridiculously easy to use and personalize, and it helps me keep my email list in order and clutter free aka no accidental emails sent. You can always use their free trial to try them out and see how much you like their interface (which was a big thing for me).
It’s estimated that for every email subscriber you earn about $1. This, multiplied by thousands of subscribers, can bear real results when growing your income.
It’s time to optimize your monetization strategy
An overall part of your monetization strategy is patience and consistency, without both you’ll either miss seeing results or take way longer than you might have needed to.
Monetizing succesfully takes more than only doing the bare minimum— That’s to say only doing two or three things right.
And that’s why patience and following through is key.
It’s time to stop hesitating and start your monetization strategy. Now over to you— is there something in particular you struggle with the most?