We’ve all heard about people making money online… But what about REALLY making money online? How about staring a blog and generating some passive income so that you can quit that job and escape the rat race.
We’re not talking about making $2.47 a month from your hobby. We’re talking about making hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars every month doing something you enjoy.
Selling your time for dollars is one of the worst ways to make a living, but people do it because it SEEMS safe. But how many times have you seen hundreds or thousands of people without a job because of some corporate layoff? And do you really enjoy fighting traffic twice a day and barely getting an hour or two with your family when you get home exhausted and ready for bed?
Whether you’re seeking freedom or just some extra money, this is the best time to start a blog and make real money online.
Is Passive Income a Myth?
Well, it depends on your definition of passive income. Many people think that passive income is sitting around doing nothing while the checks roll in. This is not passive income, this is free money, like winning the lottery! Our definition of passive income is doing the work once and reaping the benefits (read passive income) for years to come. We call this mailbox money and making money while you sleep. There is nothing more refreshing than taking the day off and checking stats at the end of the day to see that, even though you were not working, you still made money!
Can You REALLY Make Money Online With Your Blog?
Absolutely! But, there’s a catch, the golden rule: it’s all about CONTENT. If you provide extreme value with great content, people will come back again and again, and you’ll make more and more money. It’s that simple.
Some people spend tons of time trying to trick the search engines only to find their income stream ripped out from under them the next time Google updates their search algorithms.
Content is king! Provide lots of good, relevant content for your readers and Google will love you for it.
What about all those people making $2.47 a month with THEIR blogs?
As with everything in life, there are people who are very successful, and there are people who are not successful. Those who make a meager effort and quickly throw in the towel end up just wasting their time and telling everyone else that this blog thing doesn’t work.
But the successful ones, the ones who are willing to put in the effort, have escaped the corporate world and set themselves free!
And what about choices? There are many who choose to keep their corporate jobs and enjoy making a few thousand extra dollars every month.
Which group do YOU want to be in?
In just a few months we went from nothing to bringing in over $2,000 every month with our Dating & Relationship advice blog. We have personal friends making anywhere between $500 and $40,000 per month, all from their blogs.
STOP! Think about that for just a minute. What are the possibilities for you? What do you enjoy talking about, writing about, reading about? Why not turn your hobby, or obsession, into a passive income stream?
What TYPE of monetization will work best on your site?
Depending on whether you have a product-focused blog or an information blog, different monetization options will work best. But regardless, the most important concept here is to make an educated guess and actually implement a few of the following money making options. Only then will you know what will work best on your blog.
And remember – test, test, and test some more to truly optimize. We are constantly testing and trying new monetization schemes.
Top 10 Tips to REALLY Make Money with Your Blog
Tip #1: Make Money by Showing Ads
Is it right to show ads and make money with your blog?
Hmm… the age-old question that’s been plaguing bloggers for years.
Should you provide great information to people free of charge? Do ads make your blog seem cheap and of lower quality?
To be honest we never had this problem, in part because we started our blogs specifically to help people and make a good living at it. Why go to a job when you can make better money actually enjoying what you do?
Visitors expect to see ads on successful sites. In fact, not showing ads can make your site seem small and unimportant because people EXPECT to see ads on popular sites. Every major website shows ads. Just look at Netscape.com, Amazon.com, About.com, etc… They ALL show ads.
Another example. You go to a job every day, and ask your employer for money if they want you to show up for work. Really, would you show up if they didn’t pay you? Nobody has a problem with that and yet many will not ask for money or show ads on their blog for fear that it will devalue the content.
Get over it and monetize your blog. You don’t have to market products or charge a subscription fee, but to us, ads are a no-brainer.
How soon should you put ads on your blog?
Ok, now that we feel fuzzy about making money online with our blog, where to begin? Should you place ads from the very beginning? Do you need to wait a minimum of 90 days? How about waiting until you have 2,000 visitors a day?
The answer is simple – do it now!
You COULD wait until the magical day when you receive 2,000 visitors a day, or even 10,000 visitors a day. Unfortunately it’s likely that day will never come unless you monetize your blog to help it pay for itself.
How would you like to see 1,000,000 people visiting your site every single month?
Guess what – that type of busy site costs money to run, and takes a LOT of time invested on your part. But here’s the wonderful part – if your blog is well monetized, you can quit your day job and work on your blog full time, writing about and promoting things that make you happy.
What is the best ad placement?
Different placement works better for different niches and for different ad networks.
Test, test, test. Changing the placement of an ad can make you dramatically more or less money, so test and track your results carefully.
What types of ads are NOT OK?
It’s all about relevancy.
Ads that provide value to your readers are generally welcomed by them. For example, recommended books and services that are truly related to the content your visitors came to see are great. But ads that are NOT related to the content your visitors came to see, will annoy and alienate your visitors – and will NOT make you money.
Use quality, relevant, ads that actually provide value to your readers, and you’ll be surprised at how well the ads are received.
Make it easy for advertisers to buy ad space on your blog.
This is the first step to making money with your blog – make your intent clear.
Always make it EASY for people to take whatever action you’d like them to take.
Create a visible page on your site to tell people exactly HOW to go about advertising on your blog. The easier you make something, the more people will go for it.
If someone comes by your site and would like to advertise, but they don’t immediately see how to do it, they’ll lose interest and move on to someone else’s site – and they’ll advertise with THEM.
Create a page that explains in simple terms what types of advertising spots you’re offering, what the rates are, and how someone can go about purchasing your ads right away. Don’t make them email you to find out the details. They won’t.
Make it simple and it’ll happen.
Tip #2: Make Real Money with Affiliate Marketing
Ah, the art of affiliate marketing… the well kept secret of some of the most successful Internet marketers.
Many people have tried and failed to make any money with affiliate marketing… usually because they have given up too quickly. Fact is, affiliate marketing takes some up front effort to get optimized and working right, but when it’s working, life is very good.
Most bloggers only use Google AdSense to monetize their sites. AdSense is a great revenue option, but affiliate marketing can easily bring in double your AdSense revenue, WITHOUT impacting your AdSense earnings.
What’s more, the work you put into developing a good affiliate marketing strategy will pay off for months and years to come. Now that’s working smarter, not harder.
How do you find affiliate products to promote?
You know your niche inside and out, don’t you? If not, go back to the drawing board and learn it!
To make thousands of dollars every month, your information must be top notch, and for that you have to be an authority on your topic. It’s that simple.
OK, so now that you have an idea about what products MIGHT be interesting to your nice, you set out to find the best performing products. No, not just any products… you want to find the ones that are performing well for others, and you start there. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
ClickBank is a huge marketplace for selling digital products. And it has the easiest to use affiliate program out there. You literally just sign up, search for products to promote by keyword, and get the code to promote them on your site.
The downside: ClickBank has the worst stats tracking of any affiliate program out there. They don’t show you how many clicks you’ve sent to a product, which can be really frustrating. They only tell you when you’ve made a sale, and how much you made. This approach also doesn’t allow for testing to make sure your links are good. But alas, it’s basically a must for any serious affiliate.
So go sign up for ClickBank and find some products to promote.
Comission Junction provides great stats for clicks sent, and also gives you great comparative numbers on how much others are really earning for sales across all merchants. But their products are generally not as juicy as those on ClickBank. But sign up for Comission Junction as well to round out your list of affiliate products.
The secret to affiliate marketing
The secret to successful affiliate marketing is that it’s all about the pre-sale. Putting up banners and links will get some conversions. But people want to see an honest, objective review of a product before they buy it. They want your seal of approval. So find great products, provide and honest review with benefits and weaknesses, recommend the product, and offer affiliate links to purchase them.
Must have affiliate marketing tools
Don’t waste your time fumbling around in the dark. You can easily waste too much of your already scarce time and energy. Find successful affiliate marketers and copy what they’re doing!
Tip #3: Create True Passive Income with Paid Text Link Advertisements
Don’t sit around waiting for advertisers to come to you. People are out shopping for link ads RIGHT NOW in marketplaces like Text-Link-Ads. If you’re not in there, then someone else is going to get paid to put links on THEIR site today.
Go sign up with Text-Link-Ads right now. This is a real no-brainer.
There’s no work to do whatsoever, you just fill out a form, install their small code snippet on your blog, and your name shows up in their marketplace.
Yes, they keep 50% as their fee, but fact is that’s the cost of being in their catalog of links that people to go IN ORDER TO BUY LINKS. If you’re not there, they’ll buy links on another site.
One mistake many people make is to leave a very low price for links on their blogs. Of course, don’t set it too high… just value yourself appropriately as compared to other advertisers in your niche.
We consistently make over $500/month from Text-Link-Ads these days, with very little effort. We get an email to approve an ad, log in to Text-Link-Ads, and approve the ad. Whew… time for a break! THIS definitely qualifies as passive income – talk about Blog Monetization Zen.
Check out our review of Text-Link-Ads and how well it really can work for bloggers.
Tip #4: Make Easy Money with Contextual Pay Per Click Advertising
Google AdSense is so successful because of their ability to show ads that are truly relevant to your site. Irrelevant ads annoy readers and also won’t make you any money.
For a blogger, Google AdSense is the easiest option to implement.
Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN)
YPN is the major alternative to Google AdSense. In fact, many publishers have changed from AdSense to YPN because YPN tends to pay more on a per click basis. But their content targeting is nowhere near as effective as Google’s, so in the end you’ll likely bring in less money with them.
Test your AdSense and YPN placement
Test, test test… start with Google AdSense and try out different placement options around your site. Track all your changes thoroughly, and make only one change at a time. Literally, only make one change at a time to placement, link color, and text color. If you change the placement and the link color at the same time and your click throughs go through the roof, how do you know which change worked?
When you’ve figured out what placement is the most effective for your site, you can try replacing AdSense with YPN for a few weeks, or few months, depending on your patience levels, to see how your bottom line results differ from AdSense.
Tips #5: Make Money with Related Search Results from Ask.com
Ask.com just launched a really great monetization tool that can be implemented alongside AdSense and the other monetization items already in place on your site.
Your visitors click on these related search links, and they are presented with Ask.com search results. You make money when they click on the sponsored results at the top.
How can you sign up for this monetization tool?
Currently this program is invitation-only. Ask.com is also limiting the program to publishers with over 50,000 visitors monthly.
If you have a quality site and receive 50,000 total combined monthly visitors between all your sites, send us a message and we can make a personal recommendation which should get you accepted.
Tips #6: Get Paid to Write Reviews for Related Products and Services with Sponsored Reviews
Your readers can feel your credibility in everything you write. Think of it this way – if you’re not telling the truth, the person you’re talking to can tell. It’s the same when you’re writing. People can smell BS a mile away. So keep it real and talk to your readers like you would to your friends.
There are several major sponsored review marketplaces today, but our best experience has been with ReviewMe.
Go sign up for Sponsored Reviews with ReviewMe right now, this is a real no-brainer. There’s no work to do whatsoever, you just fill out a form and your name shows up in their marketplace. When someone purchases a review for your blog, you get a notification to log on and review this offer. You can accept it, reject it, or ask for different terms. It’s literally that easy.
While this is not passive income, it can be a nice boost for your wallet.
Tips #7: Monetize Your Content Automatically with Dynamic In-Text Advertising
Services like IntelliTXT and Kontera can dynamically embed ads in the text content of your website or blog.
Unfortunately these sites are generally difficult to get up and running, and we consider these dynamic text ads to be intrusive in the body of your articles. More importantly, our results have been less than impressive. In fact, this was he least fruitful of all our monetization efforts, even below the Amazon Affiliate Program.
We do however know bloggers who make good money with this type of advertising – as much as a 20% increase in revenue. These sites are focused on technology and gadget topic. Basically product and technology oriented blogs tend to do well with this type of in-text advertising.
Tip #8: Make Money with eBay AuctionAds
Unlike Amazon, eBay shows some serious lovin’ for it’s affiliates. In fact, in June 2007, eBay nearly doubled it’s affiliate payout amounts. That’s some serious affiliate lovin’.
eBay pays you both a flat reward for each referral you send them (a customer who creates an eBay account and eventually buys something) and also a percentage of the sales generated from the referrals you send them. Now that’s pretty cool.
What’s the best way to add eBay listings to your site and make money?
Until recently, it’s been a challenge to add eBay listings to your site in a visually appealing way, so as to really get your visitors engaged. But AuctionAds makes it very easy to do this, with their easy to customize widgets. You can customize the ad unit on their site, copy the little code snippet, and add it to your site. Done – you’ve got eBay auction ads.
Can you make more money with eBay by using AuctionAds?
YES! The eBay affiliate program is tiered to pay you a lot more money as a high traffic affiliate. So if you have a lot of sales and referrals every month, you make much more PER REFERRAL than someone with just a few sales / referrals per month.
By joining AuctionAds, your commissions are based on the entire AuctionAds member base, not just your own sales. So each referral and sale you generate are compensated as a very high traffic affiliate. Again, this is working smarter, not harder.
Sign up for AuctionAds to add eBay auctions to your site – and make money as a high traffic eBay affiliate.
Tip #9: Make Money Online with a Product Review Blog and Chitika
Product Blogs are focused on discussions and reviews of products, such as electronics and other goods, as opposed to providing information and advice. The readers visiting these product blogs are generally in the market to purchase the products they’re reading about. So you’re inherently writing to an audience of perspective shoppers.
In contrast, information blogs are visited by people who usually have no particular goal of purchasing anything. For these blogs, the publisher has to be much more creative in selecting very compelling offers that tie directly in with the content presented, so that the reader will immediately see the benefit and consider making that purchase.
Once you have your product blog set up, you’ll want to make it EASY for people to purchase the products you’re talking about.
A great way to do this is with Chitika. They provide all kinds of graphical widgets, dynamic product photos, interactive product comparison shopping widgets, and even custom shopping portals, for most any product you could be talking about on your site.
A comparison shopping widget is a great way to engage the reader of a product review. And get this – you make money when your reader just CLICKS on the product widget. Yes, this is a CPC program. So even if you don’t have a lot of site traffic, you should see good results from adding Chitika to your site.
Chitika is a natural extension for any product blog, and it’s also quick and painless to set up.
Click here to sign up for Chitika, to easily add interactive product comparison shopping to your site and product reviews.
Tip #10: Don’t Forget to Include The Amazon Affiliate Program
For some truly bizarre reason, the Amazon affiliate program is one of the most popular and successful affiliate programs in the history of Internet marketing.
Maybe it’s because it’s downright easy to set up Amazon affiliate links for your site, and start making a little money. More likely, it’s because we all BUY books and other products from Amazon regularly, so we’re comfortable with it. And we know that others buy from Amazon as well.
Here’s the catch though. Amazon pays you roughly 5% of the revenues you generate for them. That is lower than just about ANY website and blog monetization scheme out there.
While it is another monetization option, there are just too many other better options with much higher payouts.
Knowing this, should you still sign up for the Amazon affiliate program?
Yes, you should definitely still sign up for this program. You will eventually either refer to or actually review various books on your website. These books will likely not have direct affiliate options, so the only way to monetize these referrals will be through a quick link to the Amazon product page.
Also, that Amazon affiliate link is a great way to provide your reader more information on the book you’re talking about, and make it easy for your readers to purchase the book.
For an example of the Amazon product preview pop-up, check out this post on AskDanAndJennifer.com answering a reader question about steamy date night DVDs – hover over the DVD titles.
So go ahead and sign up to the Amazon affiliate program as well, but don’t spend a lot of time putting up their banners and other sales tools. Instead, us this as a laser focused way to monetize reviews and references to popular books that you include in your articles.
And suddenly you have ONE MORE revenue source paying you every month…
Bonus Tip #11: Add CPM Banners and Make Money With Every Single Page Viewed on Your Site
CPM banners are banner ads that pay you a certain dollar amount for every thousand impressions shown on your site.
Nobody has to click on any link, buy a product, or anything else. You’re guaranteed that revenue for just showing those banners on your site. That’s it.
You will, however, have to reach a certain traffic level (normally around 100,000 page views per month) before most CPM agencies will approve your application. So once you’re established this is a great way to add additional revenue.
One of the more popular CPM ad companies, especially for bloggers, is Tribal Fusion. The application period takes about a week, and then the implementation is very simple.
Bonus Tip #12: Make Money While Helping People – Answer Questions and Give Advice
Once your sites starts to grow in popularity, you will gain a regular reader base and a growing following. Many of your readers will start asking you questions about how to do this, how to do that, how you you would solve this problem, and so on.
This is an opportunity for you: offer to help your readers in exchange for monetary compensation.
Yes, you could help them for free, but you’ll quickly see that all your time is spent solving other people’s problems, and you won’t have time to run your site and grow your business. All this while you’re probably still going to a job every day, working for someone else. Yuck. 🙂
Also you’ll likely not have time to help every person who asks you for help. Adding a paid options helps to prioritize which questions to answer first.
Take control of your time AND give your readers a chance to get a guaranteed response.
Some people have issue with asking people for money to help them. But understand this: you can always help as many people for free as you CHOOSE to.
Now think about your readers, from their perspective. Why not make it fair to them, and offer them a guaranteed, helpful, well though out, and timely response to their problem, for a certain fee. Your employer pays you for your time, and that’s OK. Then why not allow your readers to decide for themselves if they are willing to pay you for your time, to help them with THEIR problems?
Check out www.AskDaveTaylor.com and askdanandjennifer.com for some great examples of how this can work.
Your next steps…
- Bookmark this article to be sure you implement all the choices above.
- Are there any great monetization options we’ve left out? Leave a comment below and let us know what’s worked best for you.
- Then, sure to subscribe to our RSS feed so you don’t miss the great series of follow-up articles. We’re going to be delving into the juicy details of EACH monetization method above – hot insider tips, what works best, what will just waste your time, and what to really watch out for.