Even though it seems hard to make money on your blog, it really isn’t that difficult. Let that soak in! It’s really not that hard to earn money on your blog. This is especially true if you have a loyal readership. Make no mistake about it, the only way you are going to make money on your blog is if you have readers. A lot of people poo-poo the importance of traffic to the earnings equation, but honestly, it’s the way the online world works. If you have Dooce traffic, you’re going to make a lot of money. If you have significantly less (and I mean significantly less) traffic, you’re not going to make that much cash.
So, how do you make money on your blog?
You must write a blog that people remember and want to read. Period. How do you create a blog like that? I believe it’s a three-fold approach:
1) pen great stories or share useful advice
2) establish a consistent voice and point of view (let people know where you’re coming from)
3) have a beautiful blog (people like pretty!)
1. Private Advertising
Once you have worked on creating the best blog you can and are ready to accept advertising you should start selling private ads. Small businesses are always looking for affordable advertising options. Make sure they know you are accept ads. Why? Unless you have a lot of traffic, being a part of an ad network is not going to net you a lot of money and you have to wait for your checks to arrive. Also, affiliate advertising won’t work that well either unless you are clever about placing them in your posts or on your blog where there is also full disclosure.
Private advertising is effective because companies pay for ad space up front and you have complete control of the advertising that runs on your site, unlike on ad networks. If, however, you have a lot of traffic, then an ad network is an optimal option for you. Ever since I started creating sites in 2003 I have always sold my own ads. I use AdSpeed.com to monitor impressions and clicks, which companies — large and small — really like.
2. Write An E-Book
If you have advice to share that you think is valuable to your readers, you should capitalize on your know-how. Writing an e-book is never a task to be taken lightly, however. Due to the sheer volume of competition, your e-book needs to have fresh content, be well-written, and be packaged professionally. And you never know, your e-books may turn into a book deal. Just ask Australian blogger, Sarah Prout.
When you sell your e-book, consider using e-junkie. They provide an easy way to sell your downloads and even help you accept affiliates as well.
3. Sell Your Wares or Merchandise
Or, if you have a loyal following and readership, you might want to sell merchandise that your readers can purchase where you earn money on each sale. CafePress has been a leader in the custom merchandising arena for several years. You can sell everything from mugs and t-shirts to totes and journals either with your unique branding on them, or you can create designs from templates they provide.
4. Write for Others
Establishing a strong point of view eventually gets you noticed in your niche, no matter if you blog about family life or are a gardening guru. This is particularly true as large blogs and traditional media sites clamor to discover new voices to make their editorial presence stronger. For example, if you are a really great book reviewer and write an exceptional literary blog, it is only a matter of time before a large media site asks you to blog for them about books and pays you for your words. Think about all the bloggers who now blog for Lifetime Moms or CafeMom’s The Stir. Or, take Josie from Yum Yucky, for example, who was asked to write for her local newspaper about her quest to live sugar-free.
Aside from media sites, brand and product web sites are also realizing the importance of creating their own original content for their core consumers. This is going to be an area that balloons over the next few years. And who is creating quality content on a day-to-day basis? Mom bloggers! It’s you and other mom bloggers who brands will tap to lead their editorial efforts. For example, as a Land O’Frost ambassador, I contribute monthly posts to LandoMoms.com and blogger/writer/author extraordinaire Jen Singer has been writing original content for Pull-Ups for years. Even Kellogg created a microsite called SnackPicks.com and staffed mom bloggers as freelancers.
This is all to say, keep writing and developing your voice and expertise because there is going to be ample opportunity to spread your writing far and earn money. But first, you’re going to need a springboard and that’s a well written blog with a strong point of view.
5. Dabble in Vlogging and Podcasting
Extending your voice off your blog to other media platforms is also a way for you to earn money. It’s never an easy move to create another project aside from your blog, but give vlogging and podcasting a try. They could earn you money in the long run.
Just like selling private ads on your blog, you can also sell private ads and sponsorships on your vlogs and podcasts. Visit Kimberley Blaine, the Go-To Mom, who has partnered with several brands like Yahoo!, Sony, and Vimeo as a vlogger.
And, if you want to aspire to the success of the mom podcasting juggernauts, visit MommyCast.com and ManicMommies.com. They have built their audiences over the years and both work with major brands as sponsors and advertisers. While you won’t become MommyCast or ManicMommies overnight, you can always start small and attract small advertisers and then grow bigger as your following grows on both your blog, podcast, or vlog.
6. Create a Community
I am a huge believer in Ning. Ning allows you to grow a robust community for your blog. Just look at what I’ve been able to do with the Mom Bloggers Club. When I started MBC three years ago, I had no idea moms would even join the club. I am here to tell you you can create a community for your blog if you are consistent. Unfortunately Ning is no longer free, but as you grow your community the amount you pay to host your site is far less than you can earn as a community owner. And Ning will soon offer easy ways for you to host skyscraper, leaderboard, and footer advertising on your community.
Also, consider adding a forum to your blog. Giving moms the opportunity to talk to one another on your blog is a clever way of creating more space to sell advertising. Check out what Amy did with MomSpark.net for inspiration.
One final note: The skills you learn as a mom blogger easily translate into areas where you can also earn money in the corporate world. Companies often look to mom bloggers as consultants when launching new campaigns and when they are in the product development phase. The social media skills you are developing organically is already in high demand. Brands also are increasingly working with mom bloggers as paid brand ambassadors and spokespeople.