Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links and was written by author Christine H.
Your blog is your baby. You invest a lot of time in it. You put in a lot of effort, and you pour your heart and soul into it. If you decide to monetize your blog and make it a player in the online communication and marketing community, that’s a great way to subsidize your passion. You can make some money in creative ways. However, most of us are hesitant to take the step because we’re just not sure how to get started. How do you balance the personal and honest elements of your site along with revenue-generating changes?
What Generates Revenue for a Blog?
Ads are probably the most commonly used because they’re the easiest to set up. By simply adding a sidebar and/or banner on your site, you can start getting paid, either according to the number of people who see the ad on your blog, or a number of people who actually click on it. Either way, you get the most out of these ads when you build your audience and are judicious about which ads you approve for your site and how you place them. Make sure that you keep your ads appropriate for your content and audience, and don’t ever overwhelm your personal content with advertisements.
Affiliate links are often similar to pay-per-click ads, and might even appear similarly on your site. These are links that you post on your site, for which you’ll get paid a small percentage when your visitors click through and make a purchase. The most common program for affiliate links is Amazon’s. What’s nice about Amazon is that it’s usually easy for you to have applicable products that won’t interrupt the flow of your content.
Endorsements and Reviews
For well-established bloggers with a big following, a major source of revenue is endorsements and reviews. This is commonly known as influencer marketing, which is a sort of word-of-mouth marketing technique for the modern world. With this technique, you’ll review and/or endorse a product on your blog for payment from the product or service. Sometimes, you’ll be solicited for these arrangements directly. Other times, it can be useful to propose something yourself. For example, some travel bloggers leverage their blog endorsements to get a free stay at a hotel.
What’s important to remember once you step into the realm of endorsements is to always stay honest. Turn down deals from products and services you don’t feel comfortable touting. This is where soliciting brands and products yourself can be useful because you’ll get deals on products that you really are passionate about supporting.
Sponsorship and Private Ads
If you can get a continuous relationship going with a specific brand, you might be able to set up sponsorship, or private ads. These will usually appear to be the same as affiliate links, ads, or endorsements on your blog. The difference is simply that instead of having a middleman facilitate the relationship, you’ll work directly with the brand.
Some bloggers use a site as one branch of a multi-faceted business. They might use it to cover similar topics to what they’d present when they’re hired as a speaker. It might attract an audience for their exclusive line of homemade products. It might also be a way to build a community of people who are interested in learning more through a full-length book or e-book available for purchase.
How Much to Charge
In the case of private ads and endorsements, you’ll need to be ready to negotiate your own rates. These will depend entirely upon how valuable you are to the other party, which means you need to demonstrate how working with you will benefit them. Be ready to answer specific questions about your social media reach, your site’s Alexa ranking, interaction from your readers, and click-through rates of ads on your site. Assembling this together into a press kit will ready you for professional pitches and official deals.
Determining what to charge on your site can be incredibly difficult. After all, it’s a hard thing to price-match, and you’ll be competing with other bloggers, a diverse group who range from people who get a full income from blogging to casual hobbyists. In the end, you’ll need to think long and hard about what price point will make the effort worthwhile to you, and how much value you’re able to give the client in return.
Once you set up a few streams of revenue for your blog, it’s important to treat this source of income like any other. Be professional, organized, and legal. Figure out how to send and receive invoices, determine how to pay taxes on the income, and keep records that will help you continue to build your media kit. This link has some great tips for handling finances in this kind of setting.