People talk about a variety of ways to make money online. One of the popular ways for anyone to make money online is via blogging. Blogging is when you write many posts on your site and share tips about a topic you are very passionate about. But to be sustainable in the long-run, in addition to choosing an interesting topic, you also need to generate an income from blogging. So what are the different ways for bloggers and vloggers (or) video bloggers to make money online?
Ad revenue and affiliate revenue are the main ways to make money with blogging. Over a period of time, you can also create informational products, books or apps to sell on the blog and place them alongside your blog posts. Blogging is what drives people to your site when they are looking for specific information on the topic you’re writing about. Ads are basically product recommendations from the ad network on topics that relate to your blog post. This is a passive way of making money; all you need to do is to insert the ad network’s embed code within your post and it displays numerous related ads. Then when users click on that ad, you earn a few cents for every click as part of a PPC or pay per click program.
Affiliates require a bit more active participation than just placing ads on your site. With affiliate marketing, you recommend specific third-party products to your site visitors and place product affiliate links at key locations within your blog posts. The affiliate links are provided by affiliate networks or product companies whereby you earn a commission whenever users purchase products through your affiliate links.
In a broad sense, ad networks sit between publishers and advertisers. Publishers are bloggers like you and me with our own websites that contain a lot of content. Advertisers are people or companies who want to promote their products or services via advertising. So advertisers create their display ads or video ads, sign up with ad networks and pay for certain ad spots or set their ad preferences. Publishers in turn sign up with ad networks by providing their website information.
Most ads are contextualized, so when a user visits a site or blog and begins reading a blog article, ads are displayed within the post that relate to the same topic as the blog post. Now if the user clicks the ad to get more information, the publisher earns a few cents in commission. The publisher also earns commissions every time an ad from the ad network is displayed on his/her website. Similarly, for every ad display/ ad impression or user click, a few additional cents are deducted from the advertiser’s monies and the difference between what the publisher earns and the advertiser pays is pocketed by the ad network for its platform. Clicks are usually more valuable than just ad impressions and are charged accordingly.
There are a variety of ad networks such as Google AdSense, Media.net, Adknowledge, Taboola and so on. Each ad network is different and it’s good to get familiar with their approval requirements, payment terms, payment schedules and so on.
Just like ad networks, affiliate networks also act as the middlemen between advertisers and publishers. But the key difference is that publishers earn a far greater commission with affiliate products than they do with ads. Also, publishers have much greater control with affiliate links as they can choose which product’s affiliate link they want and where to place the affiliate links or images in the post.
The main advantage of ads is that this is totally passive for the publisher and you just have to place the same ad network’s embed code is different places in your wesbite and the ad network with dynamically control which ads to display each time. Since a lot of work here is done by the ad network itself, the publisher earns just a few cents for each ad impression or ad clicks. But when a user purchases a product via an affiliate link, the publisher makes a commission which is a percentage of the product’s sale price. This percentage of affiliate commission can range anywhere between 5 or 10% to about 60% in some cases. It is up to you to choose quality affiliate products that also reward you with a higher commmision for each affiliate sale you bring in through your website.
As a publisher, be sure to thorougly research or try out the affiliate products so that you choose products of good quality which you can gladly recommend to your users. By choosing great affiliate products that your users find to be helpful, their trust in you will increase and you will be well rewarded for this with your affiliate commissions.
The other good thing about affiliate sales is that your job is restricted to driving traffic to your site and providing valuable content and product affiliate links to your users. Managing the product inventory, shipping, logistics and customer service are handled by the product manufacturers or resellers themselves for their individual products seperately.
This can include worksheets, downloadable guides, books, eBooks or courses that you sell on your website. Once you’ve established yourself with your branded website, it will be much easier to sell such informational products on your website.
Self publishing books and ebooks has been greatly simplified nowadays with Amazon, Smashingwords, Draft Digital, Lulu and so on. There are several guides available for help with writing and self publishing a book. Check out the Art of Writing a Non-Fiction Book by Bryan Collins.
Udemy is a great platform for creating and hosting your own online courses so you can point your users to these courses. Take a look at the Udemy Course Creation Tutorial for more information. The courses are entirely hosted on Udemy and you will make money everytime someone purchases your online course.
Creating a mobile app can also be a great way to provide additional services to your website visitors. It is not as hard as you think; anyone can create an Android app with some practice. Have a look at the google developer online course on Android app development.
Here is another easy and fun way to develop a mobile app for your niche with MIT’s Mobile App Inventor. Video ads and display ads do very well with mobile apps so you can develop a free Android app that has some simple and interesting features for your users. Then upload it to Google Play store and once users download the app for free on their devices, you can make money with ads.
OTHER PHYSICAL PRODUCTS
You always have the option of selling your physical books and ebooks directly on your wesbite. If your website topic is related to physical products, once your website traffic increases, just sell some popular physical products directly on your site as a reseller.
SHOPPING CART/ PRODUCT CATALOG
For selling either digital or physical products on your website, there are several wordpress plugins available. In most cases a good and simple plugin such as WP Easy Cart or eBook Store is sufficient. Or if you are looking for a plugin that can easily scale and later on expand into a complex online store, WooCommerce is another plugin you can consider.
Instead of a text blog with images, if you choose to create a blog with just a lot of videos, that is considered vlogging. Vlogging works great for people who enjoy being in front of a camera and who are either funny or entertaining in some way!
With YouTube, once a video has over 1000 subscribers, it can be monetized via Google AdSense. You can also place affiliate links and your own product links and embed those in your videos to generate a consistent income.
Our interests tend to change over time as change is the one evitable thing in life. So ots always best to have a long-term strategy for your blog and gradually move it towards a passive source of income. By doing this, you will be able to build and grow one niche site to revenue and then move on to the next one while the 1st one continues to bring in good ad revenue and affiliate income. That’s one reason why I always prefer selling products rather than providing services of my own which would require constant active participation.
Of course once your blog starts to generate a consistent income, you will still need to periodically create more posts and monitor the traffic and sales. You will also have to check for broken links and keep the blog up-to-date. As you grow more and more, you can hire writers to write posts, an assistant to post on social media and to report on traffic changes and anything else that would require your attention. When getting hired writers, especially in the initial stages, care should be taken to ensure that the posts have the same goals and feel to them as the ones you write yourself. For this, it is best if you can keep track of newer posts when hiring new writers.