The Only 4 Ways To Really Make Money With Your Blog
We bloggers are all fools, aren’t we?
To the rest of the world … blogging is just a joke.
It’s not a real job. You can’t make money with it. Let alone change the world.
Blogging is just a trend. A hobby. Nothing more.
Okay. Wait. Some of these bad guys have a point.
But let me tell you more. Why you can’t make money blogging.
You can’t earn money with your blog itself.
I have already discussed it here in detail. “Making money with blogs” is not a business model.
But you can build a business around your blog. That’s what a blog is made for.
Your blog then only serves as a marketing tool and hub. The business side, with which you earn the actual money, has hardly anything to do with your blog.
According to the well-known AIDA formula, your blog generates attention and keeps interest. But you achieve the wishes and the action somewhere else.
Nevertheless there are still many blogs that monetise themselves with advertisements. So let’s have a look why advertising banners don’t work.
Why Advertising Banners Don’t Work
This is really the worst way to make money with a blog. It’s much smarter to sell your expertise, not your attention.
Above all, banners are just so bad because you need a lot of traffic. And getting tons of traffic is a) hard and b) you focus too much on yourself … and do everything you can to earn more.
But you forget the most important person: your reader and potential customer!
And let’s be honest. Banners make for a mega bad user experience. I hate those online magazines where the whole background is a banner ad. And if you accidentally click on it, you end up somewhere else.
Is there anything more annoying than that?
Here, smart bloggers have realised that there is a much more lucrative way – namely to solve real problems by real people.
Not only do you earn more money, but you also make the world a better place. And I mean hey, what more do you want?
If you have internalised this mindset, then you set the prerequisite to not only earn 10€ a month, but 1.000€ or 10.000€ with your blog.
When I started blogging this way in 2012, I was pretty much the only one. In the meantime I see more and more bloggers focusing on the following four ways.
1. Consulting and Services
431 billion dollars. That’s how big the consulting industry is. And we smart bloggers are all consultants in a way.
That’s reason enough to get into this industry too, isn’t it?
So are you in the personal development niche? Then offer coaching. Are you in the web design niche? Then offer web design services.
I think the concept of consulting and services is so cool because you can start right away. Make a public offer on your blog and bang … you’re on the market!
Another advantage is that you will recognise certain patterns over time. You will then know exactly what problems keep coming up. You can then, for example, perfectly create your own product.
That is nothing for me. I was a freelance web designer before my blogger career and just didn’t feel like it anymore. What I like most is the scalability of digital products. I find that exciting.
But many people value direct exchange. There is a place for everyone. And if you are up for advice and service, then go ahead!
Example: My good colleague Walter Epp from Schreibsuchti offers 1-to-1 coaching and charges a 3-digit hourly rate for it. Works.
2. Affiliate Marketing
With affiliate marketing you save yourself the product creation, because you advertise a product here and receive a commission for it.
It’s a great way to see if your audience is in need of such a product.
Because digital products have a high profit margin, the commission is on average 50%. That’s what makes them so interesting.
But physical products also make sense – especially when I think of Amazon’s affiliate programme. There you can really advertise everything from books to kitchen knives.
As long as you create high quality articles and focus on your audience, you can monetize your blog with affiliate marketing.
Unfortunately for me it was the case that there were no suitable products available at that time. I would have really wished for something like that at that time. That’s why I now offer affiliate programmes, so that others have a better time.
Ben Paul from Anti-Uni and Katharina Lewald from Blogging for Smart Women are good examples. We all make money from a sale. Win-win.
And because it fits so well: Many people stick to the banner idea and just slap a banner down and leave an affiliate link. That is okay. But it’s even better if you provide additional content. For example, create an honest testimonial or explain the advantages for your audience on your own landing page.
Example: Fashion bloggers earn money through affiliate links to the products they write reviews about.
3. Own Products
Own products are the most interesting. Why? Because the profit margin is highest there. That’s logical, isn’t it?
In principle, own products can be anything. This starts with digital products like …
… and stops at “physical” products like seminars or really physical products.
As I said in the beginning, you are selling your own expertise here.
If you create quality content regularly and free of charge, a part of your audience will buy your paid content.
This also supports the point that blogging helps you to have a solid relationship with your subscribers and that your product comes from you. These are wonderful conditions for selling.
I am still annoyed that I didn’t launch my monkey book earlier. Therefore I advise you to start with your own product as early as possible.
example: You can offer an e-book and a membership site where users can signup for paid services.
4. Sell Complete Blog
Many forget this point.
Because in the beginning your blog is just an empty shell. Then you have to fill it with high-quality content.
Over time, your content, your subscribers, your search engine rankings and your brand will be worth a lot:
Your blog becomes a real asset.
And other companies would be interested in buying it.
Example: Brian Clark of Copyblogger has at least once received an offer to sell his blog for a seven-figure sum. The interesting thing is that the buyer only wanted the blog and not the business units.
But Brian turned it down. He knows that there is more to it in the long run and that the blog is the most important part of the whole marketing model. Just like it is for me.
Even if the rest of the world thinks that we are all fools and that blogging is just a joke, the topic should not be underestimated.
Blogging is not a trend. It is a serious business model.
As a rule of thumb you can say: If you want to specialise in affiliate marketing, you need more visitors. For services and own products the profit margin is so high that less traffic is sufficient.
That is generally the beauty of this business model. You do not need many visitors. You only need the right ones.
But no matter which of the four ways you choose, focus primarily on your tribe. After that, you can always ask them and see what kind of products they want.