It’s the most common second question I get asked.
In fact, I was just having a discussion with two friends yesterday that started like this:
So what exactly are you now?
My response: I’m a professional blogger and I also do coaching and consulting for online businesses and individuals who are building businesses with blogs.
This is inevitably followed by Question #2 – So how in the world does someone make money with a blog?
Blogging started out as a sort of “online journal” where people could share their thoughts on different subjects and today there are all these weird people (like myself) doing it full time.
So in an attempt to answer this question, I’ve decided to start a new four-part series on how to make money with a blog. If you read this series from beginning to end, you will not only NEVER ask this question again, but will also have some actionable strategies for going out there and making some money with your blog (or future blog).
If you already have a blog, you will learn how to think about Blog Monetization in a strategic way that will help you increase the amount of money you are making.
That’s what I plan on delivering to you in February, and trust me – there’s gonna be a ton of value in this content. But first, I need to reveal something to you. Are you ready?
The truth – and most bloggers don’t like it
I’m going to start off by saying something that most bloggers won’t like. Are you ready for it? Here goes . . .
A blog is NOT a business
Yes, there are some people who get paid to blog, but that’s not running a business. That’s a job.
Allow me to put it into perspective.
A blog is not a business, but a platform around which you can build a business (or multiple businesses).
A smart entrepreneur will seek to build a blog that’s a part of a bigger goal. Lets talk about how it all works.
The Three Essential Circles Of Monetization
When I started my Become A Blogger University to teach my students how to build a business with a blog, I knew that there was one course that I needed to create before any other.
That course is called Blog Monetization 101.
In that course, I taught something that I learned from one of my Mentors – Gideon Shalwick. I call it the three essential circles of monetization, as illustrated below:
This concept emphasizes the fact that you need three essential components to be able to build a blogging business.
This is really where your blog comes in. In order to make money from a blog, you have to actually have people who visit your blog. It doesn’t matter how awesome your content is, if nobody sees it, nobody will know that you have anything of value to offer.
The fact that I have a Biology blog that I’ve built over the last few years to where it gets over 60,000 people visiting it in a month means that I have an audience to which I can provide value, and if I do things in a smart way – I can make money with it.
This is something that is earned over time. Here’s the thing – You can have millions of people visiting your blog on a monthly basis, but if they don’t trust you, they will never buy what you’re selling and you will never make a cent.
However, if you are constantly creating high value content that helps your audience accomplish their goals, you will earn their trust and they WILL buy what you’re selling.
Caveat: Even if your audience doesn’t trust you, if you are getting a TON of traffic, you can still make some money with ads. However, you won’t be able to realize the true potential of your blog without the trust element.
Alright, lets say you have a significant audience (or are building an audience with your blog) and your audience trusts you because you always deliver value, you still aren't going to make any money if you don’t offer a way for them to buy SOMETHING.
This is something that a lot of us are uncomfortable with – selling. However, when you look at selling in the right context, you will see that doing it the right way is a way of providing even more value.
Once you have these three essential circles, you’re on your way to building a very successful business. You’re essentially landing in that “sweet spot” and that’s where the magic happens.
The Offer Secret
When many of us think about selling, we get the picture of the “sleazy car salesman” who’s sole purpose is to get you to drive away in a new car, whether or not it’s a good fit for you regardless of your financial situation.
But here’s the beauty about building a blogging business the right way. If you can build your blog to where you have a HUGE audience that trusts you completely, you don’t have to make huge offers to make lots of money.
In other words, you don’t have to be that pushy salesman that always does the hard-sell. In fact, you hardly have to sell at all. Just let people know about the offer and that’s it.
Since they have such a huge audience and produce such high quality content on a regular basis, they don’t have to do a ton of selling.
In fact, they offer 2 main things that drive most of their revenue: An in person event in the beautiful San Diego, California called Social Media Marketing World (sidenote: I’m speaking there in March. You should come) and an online event called the Social Media Success Summit.
That’s not a whole lot of offers, but because of the size of their audience and the amount of trust their audience has in their content, it’s more than enough to build an extremely successful business.
Five Ways To Make Money
Ok, so we’ve gone through the theory. Now lets make it Practical. Lets talk about the Offers part of the three circles in more detail, because that’s how you actually make money with a blog.
There are many ways to make money with a blog. However, my goal is not to create an exhaustive list, but to show you the five ways I believe are the best ways to do it. Here goes:
This is one of my favorite ways to make money with a blog. In essence, you are promoting someone else’s product or service in exchange for a commission.The beauty is that you don’t have to create the product or provide the service yourself.
You just make thoughtful recommendations and make money as people buy.For an example, check out my post on Aweber vs. GetResponse.
Whenever someone signs up for service from that post, I get paid, and of course – I smile.
This is one of the easiest ways to make money if you have enough traffic. It’s relatively easy because all you do is add code to your sites, then ads are automatically displayed and you get paid as a result of either ad views or clicks.One of the very common ways most bloggers get started with this is by using Google’s Ad network called Adsense.
It’s the main monetization strategy I use for my Biology blog and is responsible for about $1,000 in monthly revenue on a blog that I haven’t touched for more than a month over the last 3.5 years.
To learn more about how this works, check out this guide on how to make money with Adsense written by Dan Morris.
This is my absolute favorite way to make money online with a blog. Since you’ve been building an audience and they trust you, they will be more likely to purchase something you’ve created.
Also, once you’ve created your digital product and set up in the right way, whether you sell 1 or 1,000 doesn’t make a difference in how much you had to create. It’s all digital and that’s a beautiful thing.
This can be as simple as an eBook or an all out training program/membership site like my Become A Blogger University.
#4: Create and sell your own physical products
This is my least favorite way to make money with a blog but it definitely works.
The reason it’s my least favorite way to make money is simply because it takes much more work and you have to deal with inventory and a bunch of other details that I don’t like to think about.
But for someone like Cassandre, it’s perfect.
#5: Providing services
This is a way that most people can get started with relatively quickly because what you’re selling is not something you’ve already created.
Whether you’re a Plummer, blogger, writer, coach, consultant, or website designer, people will pay for what you have to offer, if you position your service well.
So there you have it – An introduction to how to make money with your blog.
But it doesn’t end there. There’s a lot more coming. Here’s what I’ll be covering in the next 3 posts in this series:
- Article #2: Your Money Map – A strategic way to taking the right kind of action that will make you money.
- Article #3: How to optimize your blog to make sales.
- Article #4: How to use teaching to sell.
These posts will go live on the next four Mondays. If you’d like to get email notification when the next post goes live, click below to sign up to my email list and you’ll also get access to my 10 hour Blog Business Blueprint.
Question for you: Do you have a blog? If so, I have a few questions – What’s the blog about? What’s The URL? Is it a business or a hobby? I know, a lot of questions but I want to get to know you a little better as I plan out this entire series.