Alternative Methods of Monetizing Your Blog

Let’s say that you built your platform the right way. You have a nice blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, all that. You have, what some might call, a following.

And maybe you’re not happy with the exposure you’re gaining from doing all this stuff (which, let’s face it, takes a lot of time.) So you want to earn a few extra bucks while you’re at it. Here are some of the ways you can do that.

1. Advertising

The most obvious choice.

WordPress.com sites don’t allow for Google AdSense or other advertising programs, but you can use WordAds (apparently you need a custom domain to be eligible.) There are several options in terms of ads placement, and you get paid around $1 per thousand views. Which isn’t bad.

You can also sell banners/ads directly. Some self-publishers even make their own media kit and all that.

Another option is to use Feedburner to add advertisements to your RSS Feed.

You can even go as far as Advertorials and Product Reviews. You can use sites like PayPerPost or ReviewMe.

I have a mixed feeling about all this. Honestly, I’ve considered this option, especially using WordAds. I get a decent amount of traffic on this website, but there are still drawbacks to consider, no matter how good the pay might be.

One of them is that those ads/banners/whatever are competing with your own ads (the ones you’re using to promote your books.) Furthermore, I feel that people might not like it. My site is still young, and I don’t want to irritate readers/potential followers, so I don’t want to rush into anything too early.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and a bunch of other retailers pay you to promote products on your site. You get paid a certain percentage of the price of that product.

I’ve played a bit with Amazon Associate and I find it quite intriguing. You can set up an e-store type of thing, create banners, widgets, and all kinds of other cool stuff.

3. Paid Subscriptions

There’s no secret that information is a highly valuable asset, so if you’ve established yourself as an authority in your field and you’ve gathered a nice following, you can sell exclusive content, such as webinars, guides, essays. If you have an Amazon Payments account, you can use MailChimp.

4. Services

I’ve seen some self-publishers offer formatting/editing services. Some might offer cover and book interior design. This way you can earn some extra money by helping other self-publishers.

***

My advice to all this: try to find a balance. There are websites out there that offer incredible amounts of information, but are just flooded with ads to the point that my laptop crashes. The key is to find the perfect balance between banners/ads, affiliate links, and other stuff.

If you’re primarily a writer, your website should be a place where you showcase your books. Too many ads and no one’s going to click on your covers.

As with paid subscriptions or services, the quality is very important. Be honest with yourself and try to set up a price that’s right for your followers. A fair price attached to a quality product/service is going to earn you a lot more money in the long haul.

I have a couple of questions for you:

  1. How do you feel about advertisements? Have you used them? Why? Why not?
  2. What other options have you tried/considered trying? Any you would recommend?
  3. Do you think a writer/self-publisher should use these alternative methods or simply stick to making money out of writing books? Do you think these alternatives are hurting the way readers perceive him?

 

Tomorrow: Giving it away for FREE (I know, ironic.)

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39 comments on “Alternative Methods of Monetizing Your Blog

  1. iwtkangaroo says:

    I don't mind ads. ALTHOUGH, if it comes to the point where it sacrifices the look of the layout (blog) with it being crowded, busy etc. then I wouldn't.

  2. doddera.com says:

    sign up for wordads …..wordads look similar to googleadsense…but payment is low….Wordads will going to improve in the future…

  3. Brian Garner says:

    I don't mind the ads. They don't usually distract me, but then I at times find myself composing or arranging music with the radio etc. playing something different.

    I'm looking forward to finding some of your books in the library here in Guelph, ON – the first free library in Ontario, Canada.

  4. I despise ads. I stopped watching network television years ago because it was overrun with commercials. Now they're all over the 'net. I pay NO attention to them, none, nada! I will never buy something because an ad jumps up at me online.

  5. Good advice; doing advertising of the sorts you mention above does have its pros and cons.

  6. ~S says:

    No doubt about it-Ads are irritating!

  7. chantman17 says:

    I am still new to blogging in general, and to WordPress specifically (1+ year on the former, 3+ months on the latter). I am getting views, but nothing big enough to be able to make money through ads as of yet. But I am trying to prepare myself for the day when hopefully my blog can at least provide me with pocket change. So thanks for the information!

  8. Ms. Nine says:

    Some writers offer editing services. Some offer on-line courses. The writers I most admire share their platform for free. Personally, I just like to write. I've not considered monetizing.

  9. livingforjackie says:

    I'm too new to blogging to really answer whether you should use ads or not. Personally they don't bother me unless the blog is just so full of them that I lose sight of the blog itself, and I have never bought anything from an online ad.

  10. annie says:

    I don't mind ads if they are in the same style as the site layout itself. And as long as they don't pop-up in your face and shut down your PC. I hate that.

  11. I don't mind ads if they are out of the way. I like them in general because I know that they help things stay free; I would rather have ads on Facebook than have to pay for it. On the other hand, I do wish there was a way to truly customize ads. I would not mind advertising for lots of books or products on my WordPress site, as long as I could pick what they were. That way, I could pick the things that truly may benefit my readers, the things that would add to what I am trying to do, and the things that I fully believe in. I am not familiar with many programs, so perhaps there is a way to do that. If the ads can be consensual to click on and not dominate the page or add to loading time, I could see using them on my page, especially to meet the needs of making money and helping folks in the mean time. :) I'm glad your page is doing so well!

  12. I've tried adsense, Amazon associates and found they do everything they can to pay you as little as possible. Your space will be a lot more profitable if you advertise your books and YOUR services. The best way to make some extra money is get a day job. Hahaha! Another way is to write articles at othr sites and be sure to mention that you are the author of your latest book in your signature. Advertising works best when people don't see it as such.

  13. seapunk2 says:

    I don't like the ads at all. I'm with TheoFenraven, and shut off network tv about 13 or so years ago.

    I really love to write, and since I'm just jumping back in, with nothing but a blog to my name, I'm happy doing it. I think I'm giving away free reading material now,and I don't see anything wrong with it. I can easily spend hours writing and rewriting one blog post, especially comedy.

    I'm planning a limited edition art book for children, with a surprise, and have some folks already interested.

    I want to enjoy my writing and life, and if I make little or nothing, I'm okay with it. I'm not a trendy person, and it seems that, for the most part, one must follow the trends to become "someone."

    As to alternative methods hurting writers, it may, if it's done to excess. I was in sales for many years and found that the more money I made, the happier the customer was. It was quite odd, but always true. Bargain hunters collect. Readers pay.

  14. thoughtbaker says:

    -Do not mind them, that is because I hardly notice them. No I have not used them and why? I have not been around that long and currently, money is not a goal. Plus I am still really learning how to blog, create a page and so forth.

    -Have not tried anything yet! A few ideas kicking around. Mainly turning your brand (whatever you do, art/photos, writing) into some kind of merchandise. Coffee mugs, shirts, cards. . . The list could go on and on, and requires your own spin to make these common place products, stand out.

    -I think this one is entirely a personal choice. As mentioned above, there could be alternative methods through those ideas. Might be hard to figure how to merchandise writing besides books/eBooks… But where there is a will, there is a way. I would like to say no, that using alternatives would not hurt how the author is perceived. Would not affect me, but there is so many different personalities out there, that it will probably change someones view. But I have to take a phrase from one of MC FrontALots songs (it is comedic and also the truth), "I need you to buy my CD so I can buy food." So I like to think people would understand if this is your career, your living that you need to eat too.

    Thanks for the thoughts on this subject, and the questions. Got the brain thinking.

  15. Writers and self-publishers are entrepreneurs, so to speak. As such, they need several vehicles for generating income. If advertising on their sites work, then they should go for it. Personally, I think web ads are a brilliant, non-intrusive way to earn extra money. However, you have to make sure your product gets the most attention, especially since that’s the primary purpose for the website. Thanks for the ideas!!!

  16. jdgarner68 says:

    How I feel about advertising: as long as its not obnoxious advertising, like when you are visiting a website and the site forces streamed video and sound on you, then it is fine. I can choose to ignore it, or, if I'm in the mood, take an interest in it.

    I have been following your blog, because I like your stuff. I have a suggestion, but don't take it wrong. You seem to be too worried about annoying your readers with self promoting your stuff, like the story you have for sale on Amazon. For one thing, its only .99. Even someone on a very low income doesn't find that too demanding to support a writer they enjoy. So, don't worry about it. Do what you have to do. You have the talent to be a successful writer, and its ok to promote your work or do what needs to be done to answer your calling.

  17. I'm questioning myself about monetizing… I don't want to let people subscribe with an amount of money. My blog is for 'friends' from all over the world, even if they are poor or rich, whatever the color of their skin, their religion, their profession… I'm more for advertising and let pay big firms.

    Céline
    http://bestjazzclubs.wordpress.com

  18. sabahsongs says:

    My blog has been going since 2009, and I've got quite a loyal readership now. People are always asking me why don't I make some money out of it, but am reluctant to take the step. I hate blogs with all these "Nuffnang" type ads flashing or popping out at you, which is common in Malaysia. Because of the subject matter, people suggest I approach a big name music school or even the government tourist board, which kind of makes sense. But you know the moment you accept money from anyone, they will ask you to promote their products, and what if you don't think much of them? I try to be true in my blog (I never say a musician is rubbish, but I don't write about them if there's nothing good to say in my view). That's where it has value, I think. There are very few opportunities to just be true to yourself and forget about the demands of the client etc. I would rather make money from spin-off work (copywriting) where your name is not attached to the bought work.

    Your blog is your baby! It's a big deal to sell it, I think.

  19. grumpytyke says:

    Well Cristian, I just bought 'A sad, sad symphony' as I said I would. At 77p from Amazon it won't swell your coffers much but hopefully it is a token of appreciation for the short story itself and of your blog. Ads? I really do not like them. I am considering them for the site which I 'manage' in my role in managing communications for my part-time employer, a small UK charity, but I would never put them on my personal blog. I 'dropped' Yahoo because I was fed up of the constant interference from intrusive advertising. And if there was a good alternative to Ebay I'd stop using that too because of the intrusive advertising. But I don't mind the little ads down the side of Google; I just never 'click' them.

  20. Christian, I believe you have enough posts on 'digital' tips to compile into a book. I'm planning to go back to all your posts and take notes when I'm ready to publish – digitally of course. Thanks.

    • This is another thing I see self-publishers do. They group related posts into e-books. I thought about it, mostly because posts get lost — I update my blog quite frequently, and I'd like for everyone to be able to read them.

      And I'd also like to group my essays about writing.

      But since it's all content that's, otherwise, available for free, I wouldn't feel good about charging money for it.

  21. masquerade21 says:

    hey :)

    I wouldn't mind seeing adds on any blogs I follow, after all I don't have to click on them or anything like that, plus they are likely to be realted to the blog in some way i.e. beauty blog will likely have beauty product ads, so I think it is just another dimension to your blog, something else your readers might be interested in. x

  22. wtgeorge says:

    I know I'm just starting out, but for most of my life I have not liked ads whatsoever. I believe that they detract from the product. I believe that they do more harm than good. How many times does one change the channel when and add comes on. How many ads does a person ignore on a website. How many times does a person leave a website because of ads.

    Like I said, I'm still an amateur, but I think that a writer should focus on their writing, and let the rest come naturally.

    Anyhoo, love the blog, keep it up.

  23. Excellent post. I don't mind ads as long as they don't cover the website/blog. Just reblogged this on my blog. I hope you don't mind. Not sure how keen you on on sharing content. If you want me to take it down, let me know.

    Keep these great posts up!

    Cheers,

    Bob

  24. Reblogged this on Part-Time Novel and commented:
    Great blog post about monetizing your blog. I would recommend following Cristian Mihai as well. He has some great things to share with the beginning writer.

  25. I've looked at ads, but I find them incredibly distracting on blogs depending on how they are handled. If they are not done well, I feel like there is a possibility that they detract from the content. I may consider it in the future, but I would need to learn alot more first.

  26. bookpeeps says:

    I think advertising on your site is fine. I would stick to ads somewhat related to the subject matter of your blog and don't go crazy with too many ads that can be, as you noted, distracting. There is also a way to advertise within the content of your posts by using a link (not all advertisers have this option but you might want to look into it). An example would be if u want to send your readers to a self-publishing site where you are an affiliate you would create a link in your post saying something like "go here for more info". This phrase once clicked would take your reader to that site. Some sites pay per click which means you would get paid just by having your link clicked on. Done right you can make some extra cash but note it is NOT a get-rich quick thing. Another suggestion is, if you are a little skiddish about advertising on your current blog why not to start a new blog with a subject matter that would interest the masses, eg. .entertainment news, weird news, etc. It's easy to add content to this type of blog because there's so much stuff on the internet to draw from. Once you build a following on your new blog start placing some ads and see what happens. This way if it doesn't work out you still have your original blog which is the home of your passion, writing and promoting your books. Hope this helps.

  27. I didn't even know I could place ads on my blog here even though I have my own domain, but I don't think I'll bother anyway.

    I do have quite a few self-hosted blogs which run advertising of all kinds, but this one is different. Its really for me to work out my writing process and communicate with other bloggers (not necessarily writers).

    As an aside, what I have noticed is that blogs running their own advertising often take longer to hit the search engines. Could be coincidence, or it could be Google's (slight) antipathy to those who they consider are publishing primarily to make money (not saying this is the case, just Google's thoughts on the matter).

    Either way, it usually balances out in the end, so I think it's the blog owners choice. And as long as I am not assailed by more ads than content, Ill still read.

  28. Thank you for this. I honestly don't mind ads but I must admit that my main blog is way too overrun with them. I am in the process of weeding them out but of course it is taking much longer than I ever expected. I am going to have to reblog this post as well on my WordPress.com site.

    Much love new friend,

    Kimmy
    http://www.withoutalabel.me

  29. Reblogged this on Kimberly McPherson's Blog and commented:
    How do you feel about ads on blogs? Does it bother you, or is it okay? If there are too many do you leave the site all together? Let me know what you think.
    Much love,
    Kimmy http://www.withoutalabel.me

  30. I'm pretty cranky when it comes to crass commercialism. I don't like ads, but I'm not against using the blog as a pointer to a "sales" link. Flashing ads be damned. I bought my URL so my readers wouldn't have to look at unwanted and unpredictable ads.

  31. nice work u are doing here…will definitely be back…

  32. kerbey says:

    I think I will just stay poor. :) I hate to have my readers have to scroll down past videos and ads.

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