It sounds so easy. Start a blog. Make money from it. Be your own boss. Live anywhere.
If you’ve ever started a blog and attempted to grow it into a money-making machine, you know how hard this is – how hard it is to consistently write, attract new readers, and come up with interesting ways to monetize.
Never fear, help is here! If you’ve been dreaming about turning your blog into a business, here are five strategies bloggers are using in 2019 to make money.
While most strategies require you to have thousands and thousands of readers, these methods can be profitable even if you have a smaller audience.
1. Affiliate Marketing
If you’ve ever seen a disclaimer on a blog that the author will receive a commission if you purchase a product through the links on their page, this is an example of affiliate marketing. It’s a method where blog owners can promote products and services and earn a small percentage of revenue from every sale.
Affiliate marketing works best when you only promote products that will benefit your readers — the ones you would recommend even if you weren’t getting paid.
With that in mind, when you come across products, services, or apps you think your readers should know about, find out if the company has an affiliate program you can join.
Most affiliate programs are free to join. If you want to sell consumer goods, you might want to consider starting with Amazon.com. The e-commerce giant lets anyone promote products through its Amazon Affiliates program.
Once you sign up, you generate a custom link to the product on Amazon. Then you place this link on your website. Anytime someone buys the product through the link on your website, you get money.
Once you have a loyal following, affiliate marketing can be a great source of passive income.
2. Sell Physical Products
With the rise of different types of website building tools, it’s becoming easier to sell products directly on your website. This method is a little more complicated than affiliate marketing because you’ll have to consider manufacturing, storing inventory, and shipping orders.
That’s why many bloggers use drop-shipping or fulfillment companies instead of turning their home office into an e-commerce warehouse. With drop-shipping, products are branded and shipped straight from the manufacturer. All you have to do is process the orders on your blog.
With fulfillment companies like Amazon FBA, you can send a shipment of your product to a warehouse where they handle storing and shipping orders.
When it comes to which products to sell, the options are nearly endless. You could sell branded merchandise featuring your logo or website name. T-shirts, hats, mugs, towels, and stickers are popular options.
If you’re an artist, you could create new pieces to mass-market on your site. If you’re a fashion blogger, you could partner with a designer to offer one-of-a-kind articles of clothing for your site.
3. Coaching and Consulting Services
Coaching and consulting services are a great way to make money quickly when you’re starting out with a blog. To get started, consider what topics you have in-depth knowledge of.
It could come from prior professional experiences or hobbies where you have invested significant time. Based on this expertise, you can offer one-on-one or group coaching and consulting services.
To be successful in this model, you’ll need to be able to attract loyal customers who are willing to pay for your help. This will require marketing of your blog and likely building a social media presence.
While there are many coaches and consultants in the market, you can use your blog to differentiate your services and offering. You can use your entries to build your brand and demonstrate your value proposition.
The key to success in this area is keeping an entrepreneurial mindset when setting your rates. It is tempting to set low rates to attract clients – and there are times when it makes sense to offer introductory discounts – but you have to remember that you’re offering expertise in these sessions and should be paid appropriately.
4. Online Courses
It’s easier than ever to create and sell courses online. You can use a third-party platform like Teachable or Podia, or host it directly on your site.
Similar to coaching, online courses are a way to leverage your knowledge and expertise into income. The difference is that online courses can provide passive scalable income. After the initial work of creating a course, you can keep making money as long as new students join.
To get started, get a sense of what topics your current blog readers are interested in or questions they are struggling with. You could also conduct simple market research to determine what your target audience is focused on. With these subjects in mind, develop an in-depth course that provides a solution to your blog readers.
5. Create a Membership Site
Once you have a loyal fanbase, consider offering an online membership option. Memberships, where readers pay a set amount each month, can be a strong source of recurring revenue rather than a one-time purchase like a course or product.
In exchange for their monthly payment, members will expect something in return. As a blogger, you can keep certain advanced content inside the membership area.
Another option is to give members special discounts to products and courses, or early access to new content. An active community forum within the membership area can also draw readers to sign up.
Some bloggers choose to go with a direct appeal that just asks for people to become members to help sustain the production of high-quality content on the site.
Start Making Money
Whether you’re a long-time blogger or just starting out, don’t listen to the naysayers! There are plenty of ways to earn money no matter how many subscribers you have.
Think about monetizing your blog the same way as publishing content — adding value and providing benefit to readers should always be your first concern.
Each of these methods has its own unique challenges, but with a little determination, you’re sure to find the best way to monetize your blog in 2019.
Jon Nastor is an entrepreneur who helps people start online businesses and find side hustle ideas. He is also the host of Hack the Entrepreneur, which has received 4.8 million downloads, since its launch in 2014.
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