We remember the web when the only source of income was direct sales and domain squatting… Today, there are many options available for those who wish to monetize their sites without driving away readers. The important first step for any blogger is to test every monetization service out there and find out what works best for your sites. Don’t assume because something is great for someone else’s blog that is the case for all blogs! One note of caution: read the terms of service as some monetization services are not compatible with competitors.
Recursive Affiliate Income systems: Affiliate marketing is excellent because you sell something and you don’t have to deliver any product or provide customer service. No inventory, no packaging, no shipping. With commissions as high as 75% you can run an online business that never produces anything, all on the back of affiliate marketing. The down side is anyone can do this and the field is getting very crowded.
Direct Ad Sales: we call this fixed sponsors. It’s a fantastic way to monetize a blog, but you have to know your metrics and be able to pitch your site. There are no middlemen to take profits and you can maximize the return on investment of your advertising inventory.
Lately direct text links have become more popular, but it really doesn’t matter what the format is, it’s all about providing value to sponsors. In our experience we’ve usually had a small handful of sponsors who remain regulars and buy on a repeat basis. If you don’t have one already, the first step for attracting sponsors is to set up an “advertise with us” page.
Text-Link-Ads is a very well known text link broker that connects advertisers with publishers who are paid to place text links on their site. The Text-Link-Ads service acts as the middleman, taking a cut of the revenue in exchange for sourcing the sponsors for you.
From a blogger’s perspective this is a low-maintenance monetization method. You install the plug-in, if you are a WordPress blogger, add a line of code to your theme template for where you want the text links to appear and then sit back and let Text-Link-Ads do the work. It’s been a proven income source for me now for many months, and while it’s not a massive return, a consistent $500-$700 a month is nice to have.
For smaller bloggers Text-Link-Ads is still an option, just don’t expect to earn a significant return or sell all your ad inventory until you increase your traffic and pagerank.
Affiliate income remains on our list but the difference with recursive affiliate income is that this time we’re talking about products that pay out once, each time you make a sale. The money isn’t quite as dependable as recursive programs since you need to keep selling in order to generate revenue, however some products have large payouts and just one sale can make it worth while. Programs like commission junction are classic affiliate income providers.
Another other good seller is a specific type of products, things people in our industry eventually buy. Most industries have a book or a service you can’t do without (such as web hosting) and if you review these products and mention them now and then you usually can sell a few on a regular basis.
Paid reviews: a great way to start earning from blogging. In previous months paid reviews has been a consistent income source, but it requires constant output from us to generate income. Since you have to write the review to get paid it’s far from the kind of passive or near-passive income sources we prefer.
Google AdSense has never been a favorite monetization strategy for anyone. It forces you to focus on increasing pageviews and thus AdSense displays in order to earn more, which is a labour intensive strategy. Payments are low and unless you blog in certain product categories even high traffic sites earn little.
There are many other options, including ad brokering services like Chitika, BlogAds, AdBrite, AdVolcano and Blogkits. Some of these we’ve briefly tested but did not like their systems. Again, these options might be fantastic for one person’s blog but you won’t know until you try.
Good luck !
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