Everyone seems to be obsessed right now with making money blogging. There are tons of articles out there that will share their advice on how to do that and what has and hasn’t worked for them.
I think it is important for you to be true to yourself and your blog. You must choose the income stream that will be a natural fit and not make you feel icky or take you in a direction that does not align with you, your blog mission or your focus.
I have really struggled with this lately. While many opportunities have presented themselves to me, I have made the mistake of accepting some that went against my grain, my vision, my future plans.
To put it bluntly, I want to continue to increase my blog income but I do not want to sacrifice more and more of my time in order to achieve that. I already feel like my blog has taken over my life. To the point where other aspects of my life are suffering. Is that worth it? In my mind, absolutely not.
It comes back to, why am I doing this?
And to me it narrows down to this: enhancing and sharing in hopes that someone else out there can relate, maybe learn and hopefully feel encouraged.
Before you start on any kind of income stream on your blog, I want you to imagine what your life and your blog will look like five years from now if that particular strategy really worked. Is that how you envision your future? If it is, great. If not, you need to re-examine that particular blog money making strategy.
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Which Monetization Strategy Is Right For Your Blog?
1) Ads and Passive Income
Under this umbrella, I include Google Adsense, BlogHer, MediaNet, MediaVine and any other third party that puts ads on your site (includes above, below and in post as well as any and all sidebar ads).
- low maintenance
- third party has secured relationships with brands
- easy integration
- low payout if you have low pageviews
- revenue directly tied to your page views
- to make more money you need to increase your pageviews or the number of ads
Observations: You can actually increase your income with this method if you take the time to do more than just throw ads up. You must be strategic in your approach or employ an ad agency such as MediaNet to do it for you. I currently use MediaVine and I earn thousands of dollars a month. If you are using Google Adsense because you are just starting out, take the time to use better ad placement and set some filters on your ad types to have them align more with your niche.
I know lots of bloggers like myself that are very successful using passive ads.
2) Review/Sponsored Posts
- securing relationships with brands
- the more you do, the more you are approached
- share new products/information with your readers.
- being offered no compensation or only free product
- being told what to write
- feeling like you must give positive review even if it doesn’t deserve it
- sponsored/review content takes over your blog
Observations: Some bloggers are very successful doing sponsored posts. However, if you are not very good at approaching brands or negotiating your compensation, this is not for you and you will end up either promoting products that don’t fit your blog and/or worse, getting stuck on the exchange for free product track forever.
3. Affiliate Links
- income not linked to pageviews
- many to choose from
- can have high payout
- many to choose from
- only compensated by sales
- you need to constantly reassess clicks to create the best rate of reurn
Observations: Affiliate links, if they are a proper fit, can be naturally streamlined with your existing content. It does take some work to find the right affiliates and to market them properly. I love Flexoffers because they have a wide range of brands to choose from.
Related Post: 10 Affiliate & Ad Networks That Accept New Bloggers
- huge potential payouts with no limits
- effort packed at front end, then low maintenance after
- large setup in terms of time and resources
- huge commitment to promotion
- time sensitive
- beat competition to market
Observations: If you are a fiercely, laser focused person and can commit and complete tasks quickly and efficiently, go for it! You can make oodles of money. I create courses on the Teachable platform. It is so easy and I love that Teachable takes care of all the money side for me. It’s a time and stress saver to me not to have to deal with an online shopping cart on my blog.
However, if you have a million things on the go and can never complete anything properly, this may not be for you. Also, this revenue maker requires huge promotion and that usually means you in front of a camera. You should be very comfortable with that if this is the income stream you wish to establish.
- creating income from existing skills
- you decide on which clients you would like to work with
- you decide how much you want to work
- no way to scale
- days off mean no income
- under estimating time for services/working for nothing
Observations: By far the easiest way to supplement your blog income is to sell services. Especially when you have developed a skill that other people need. However, remember there are only so many hours in a day and clients may need you at opportune times. You may not be able to go on a vacation or understand that you have to go without income during those times.
This list is in no way meant to discourage you from making money with your blog. I want you to choose the best methods for you and your blog. If you choose the right fit, you have a better chance of creating a substantial income. In fact, most successful, money making bloggers will use a combination of the above 5 blog money making strategies and more. It all comes down to time and commitment and what you ultimately want.
In the perfect scenario, we could all hire Virtual Assistants and be able to only concentrate on the tasks we enjoy. But blogging is a one man band for most of us and so you have to allocate your time wisely when it comes to developing a money making blog.
Going back to the scenario above, looking five years ahead, ask yourself how you see your blog and how you would like your time being spent.
Use the following questions to help you choose the best income stream for you and your blog.
- Would you love to work with clients and help them achieve success?
- Do you want to concentrate on content and would be happy with some passive income?
- Do you love sharing new products/ideas/services you use with your readers?
- Do you love to create new things?
- Do you love to teach and/or influence others?
- Do you need to be careful of creating too much stress or have health issues that could limit or put the brakes on a project?
- Would you like to travel more or pursue other hobbies and want to have more freedom and don’t want to be tied down to clients needs?
- Do you have the time/skills/resources to commit to a huge project?
Choose wisely. Develop it fully. Create the future you want for YOU and your blog.
Great read, Elena. I believe there are tactful was of monetizing our sites without plastering our sites with ads or coming across as a pushing salesperson. Almost everyone would like a little extra income. If you can do it, I say “Go for it!”
Again, I think this is about comfort too. I have seen many successful sites that are so full of ads, you can’t read the content. They make a ton of money but I, in good conscience, could never do that. But for those that do, good for you. I don’t judge.
As a 49 year-old man with no real skills who has been living on the brink of redundancy for the last couple of years, I can’t help wondering if there might somehow be a way to bring in a little bit of extra income from my blog. I don’t think it’s possible, though.
I have a relatively small number of followers compared to other bloggers who started around the same time as I did, but those I do have are very active and I always get a large number of entertaining or thoughtful comments on my site. The atmosphere is great and these people have become my friends. I’m afraid that putting up ads all over the place would seem rude and money-grabbing and would simply offend everybody.
Great info, but truly, when I’m reading a blog and every second post is trying to sell me something, I’m out. I’m on the internet to be entertained, informed and amused…. not pressured into purchasing a pack of bibs.
I’ve found a mix of those is working for me so far. I do agree that sometimes it’s hard to work with brands and not feel like you’re selling out.