Wednesday, 31 August 2011

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Top 10 Blog Monetization Strategies, Ranked In Order

You want to make money with your blogging efforts. But, how? Which method is the best one?
In this article, I outline what I believe are the top 10 ways to monetize a blog site. And I’m also going to do my best to rank them in order of workability.

1. Membership Programs

The “freemium” model is a huge and growing trend in online income right now. You provide a lot of quality content for free to your audience, and you provide a premium-level program to those willing to pay for it. You charge a monthly membership and that provides continuity and a steady income stream.
Any blog can be turned into a “freemium” business model, and I outline it in more detail in my report, The Future of Blogging Income. Download it for more details.

2. Information Products (Of Your Own)

The selling of knowledge is HUGE. If you build up your position in your market, you can then sell quality information to that market. This can take the form of e-books, audio, videos, or all of the above. You can package them up or just sell them digitally. If you author the product yourself (recommended), then you keep 100% of the profit.

3. Services/Consulting/Coaching

Another great way to make money with a blog is an indirect one. Use the blog to build reputation. Build a brand and build an audience. Then, you make your money by directing that attention into offline services, consulting and/or coaching. This can be quite lucrative. The drawback is that you are, again, trading time for money. So, it is only scalable up to a point.

4. Speaking Gigs

If you become well known as an expert in your niche, you can turn that into speaking gigs which you get paid for. Chris Brogan does this with his blog. Whether he makes money directly with his blog or not (I honestly don’t know), I know he gets paid to speak at various events.

5. Product Sales

If you have a physical product line to offer, you can use the blog as a face for your online store. Sell whatever you want. For example, if you are an artist, you can use an online store to sell art pieces and a blog to build up audience and a following.

6. Affiliate Programs

Affiliate marketing is a great way to build up your income. You offer the products of others to your audience and get paid when they buy it. In fact, any time you recommend a relevant product or service to your audience, check to see if they have an affiliate program. If so, sign up and use your affiliate link. After all, if you’d recommend it to your readers anyway, you might as well make a little cut if they happen to buy.

7. Direct Ad Sales

Banner ads and in-text ads are another popular way to make money. In fact, it is usually the first method you think of. However, if you’re going to go this route, selling the ads directly will result in more cash in your pocket. As I mentioned in my video evaluation of Jim On Light, make a media kit for your blog. As for pricing, I would recommend you shoot for twice your eCPM from Google Adsense. Why twice? Because that’s what Google is charging (they take half).

8. Banner Advertising

OK, if you don’t want to sell your own ads, you can obviously still run network advertising from a variety of different sources. Personally, I am using Adsense, Kontera, IDG and a little bit of Tribal Fusion.
You can also direct sell ads and use network ads as filler for unused inventory. It is done all the time.

9. Paid Posts

Yes, you can get paid to review products and sites on your blog. Sites like PayPerPost and ReviewMe are popular options. I’ve seen some blogs sell this option directly. When doing this, it is important to disclose the fact that it is a paid review. It is also important that you maintain your integrity and never give a positive review unless you’re really feeling it.

10. Job Boards

Some sites (like ProBlogger) have job boards. It does work for some sites, however it probably won’t work for a majority of blogs out there.

11. Build It & Sell It

OK, I’ve thrown in an eleventh one as a bonus. :)
You can build up a blog, build an audience, then turn around and sell the thing. In fact, some people actually buy blogs which are dead or are vastly underutliized by their owners. They’ll then put their marketing skills to work, build the SEO backlinks, build the readership. Then, they turn around and sell it at a profit. It can work. I’ve never done it myself personally, but I’ve read of others who have.
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