I just got back from the WordCamp US conference, where I learned about all kinds of new and interesting things for bloggers. One thing that was really cool is how easy it is for you to set up your own website or blog using WordPress.org—and even make money with them! But what about people who don't want their site hosted by someone else (or are too busy to deal with setting one up?) They can use WordPress.com instead.
WordPress.com hosts millions of sites but they're also owned by Automattic, which owns several other popular web services like Tumblr, Jekyll, etc., so many users might not realize that they can actually monetise those sites as well. In fact, there's more than one way of doing this (more on that later). What makes WordPress such an attractive platform for blogging is its ease-of-use and simplicity. You don't need any technical skills at all. If you've never used WordPress before, check out our beginners guide here.
But why would anyone want to start a blog when they could create a fully functional website in minutes and host it themselves? The answer lies within two words: branding & SEO. Many businesses choose to invest in a custom domain name rather than let others handle their online presence because of these reasons. Also, having control over your content gives you full creative freedom without worrying about getting complaints from other parties. And finally, most importantly, being able to promote yourself and your business will mean better results for search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo and Blekko —which means higher rankings for your keywords!
So now we come to the question: How exactly can a blogger monetize his/her site once it's setup? Let me show you five ways...
1. Sell advertising space via TextLinkManager. This method has been around since 2010. It works very similarly to AdSense, except the adverts you see appear directly above your posts. There's absolutely no coding required whatsoever, and the process takes less time than putting together an eCommerce page. All you need to do is sign up and wait for approval. Once approved, you'll receive 50% revenue cut each month.
TextLinks only shows text links. So you won't earn any clicks through affiliate products. However, the good news is that Textlinks usually pay anywhere between $2-$6 per click —depending on where your link appears and how high your traffic is. As far as I'm concerned, that amount isn't bad considering the effort involved. Furthermore, Textlinkmanager offers various types of banners (rectangle, skyscraper and slideshow), as well as popups, which allow visitors to opt into newsletters or mailing lists. Each banner or popup costs around $0.50 -$3 depending on size and frequency of usage.
To find out whether your blog qualifies for Textlink management read their terms and conditions carefully. To ensure smooth integration with your existing wordpress theme, go ahead and install TMLM plugin after activating your account.
If you'd prefer to work with another company offering similar service, try selling your spot on Text Ads Manager ($4.99) or Banner Exchange ($5.99). These companies offer fewer options but require significantly lower investment. Both are reputable websites with excellent customer support. Be sure to compare prices first though.
2. Sell sponsored post packages. Sponsored Post allows bloggers to sell access to specific sections of their blog. For example, you may decide to give away 10 spots every week to companies interested in sponsoring a relevant article. Or maybe you want to write three reviews based off of certain criteria (e.g. "the best laptops under 500 dollars"). Either way, you'll still retain ownership rights over your articles. Your readers will appreciate the extra value added to their experience thanks to your unique insight and original information.
The downside is that you'll need 1,000+ monthly visits to qualify for commissions. And while your readership will certainly increase once you begin publishing quality content regularly, remember that sponsored posts aren't going to bring in significant income unless you treat them like regular pieces of journalism. Don't worry though, you don't necessarily have to include advertisements in your sponsored posts. Instead, consider including callouts or sidebars containing product recommendations. That way you can generate qualified leads and sales without breaking any rules.
Another option is writing guest posts for related publications. Guest posting is becoming increasingly common among professionals working in fields unrelated to yours. Some publishers charge authors fees to publish their posts, while others simply ask for a credit line attached to the author bio box. Again, you don't have to advertise anything during your guest posts. Just provide useful content that adds real value to the reader. A lot of successful writers swear by this approach, so if you feel comfortable sharing valuable insights and opinions then give it a shot.
3. Offer private label widgets for sale. Widgetbox offers hundreds of customizable widgets designed specifically for personal blogs. Users can either download the code for free or subscribe for a small fee ($19.95 annually) to gain access to premium themes, plugins and widgets that are updated weekly.
Widgets range from simple social media buttons to full fledged shopping carts. Depending on the type of widget you wish to develop, you can expect to invest between 2 hours and 3 days creating professional looking designs. Widgets typically cost $25-$100+, although larger ones often run upwards of $200+. Pricing varies according to complexity and customization requirements.
You can build a pretty impressive list of passive income streams by focusing solely on making widgets. After all, your customers already trust you enough to buy from you. Why shouldn’t they trust your widgets as well?
Check out these 6 amazing WordPress widgets that will boost your profits. If you think you might enjoy building widgets, the following courses could prove invaluable: Learn HTML5 Programming With jQuery From Scratch and Create Amazing Internet Applications Using BackboneJS.
4. Start promoting your brand on Twitter and Facebook. While these platforms are perfect for self promotion, you should also utilize them to inform potential clients and followers about events and promotions relating to your field of expertise. If you're unsure how to properly manage your accounts, consider hiring a social media marketing expert.
In addition to creating engaging tweets and status updates, you should also follow industry leaders on Twitter. Doing so helps you stay informed about current trends in your niche and provides additional opportunities to interact with influencers.
As mentioned earlier, automation tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are extremely convenient for managing multiple accounts simultaneously.
5. Become an Amazon Associate. This is probably my favorite way to generate cash aside from freelance gigs and donations. Not only is it relatively straightforward, but it also requires minimal maintenance and upkeep. Here's how it works: whenever you refer a friend to purchase something on Amazon, Amazon pays you a commission. On average, earning $10 per referral is possible.
For instance, let's say you referred 100 friends to shop on Amazon last year. Then again next year, those same 100 shoppers bought 20 items worth $120 total. By making $10 per person, you earned approximately $2000. Now imagine referring 30 new buyers next year, bringing your annual earnings up to $6000. Pretty soon you'll be racking up referrals faster than you ever imagined.
Amazon Associates' program is completely automated. No special software needed. Simply drive traffic to Amazon's pages, and you'll automatically collect payments. Best part is that Amazon handles everything behind the scenes. Their system tracks purchases made by your referred shoppers, and sends payment requests to your PayPal email address. When merchants accept your request, Amazon transfers funds onto your behalf.
You've got yourself an awesome new blog, and now all that stands between you and the potential of making it into something big is one simple thing... traffic! You want people coming to read what you write about, right? Good news - there are many ways for a site like yours to earn income online. The trick lies in knowing which method will work best for your specific situation. Before we begin, let's explore how you can use free blogging platforms such as Wordpress.com or Blogger (formerly known as Google Sites) to create a profitable website.
If you're not familiar with these sites already, my friend, check out our beginners guide to using Wordpress first. If you'd prefer to skip ahead, here's a brief overview of each platform so you'll know exactly where they fit within this article's scope.
WordPress.com offers its users a range of paid themes and plugins that allow them to easily set up their own personal websites. This service also gives users access to a plethora of tools designed specifically to improve their SEO rankings. While WordPress has been around since 2003, most of us probably don't realize just how powerful it is until we start exploring other uses for it. For example, did you know that you can even use WordPress to run a business? The good news is that you don't need any technical skills whatsoever if you choose to go down this route.
Blogger, formerly known as "Google Sites", is another popular option among bloggers who wish to maintain a presence on the web but aren't interested in creating a fully fledged content management system. It was launched back in 2008 by then-employees from YouTube and DoubleClick, and allows anyone to quickly build a professional looking website with very little effort. One downside to using Blogger however is that you won't gain full control over your domain name unless you pay $1 per month for premium hosting services.
Here at MUO, we often point readers towards various helpful tutorials covering everything from setting up your own podcast feed to building a custom ecommerce store, and today I'm going to show you five unique approaches you can take to generate revenue off of your latest creation. First things first though... Let's talk about why you should consider putting ads on your blog.
Why yes, you can. Of course, placing advertisements on your site isn't always ideal because you end up having two competing entities fighting against each other -- the advertiser wants eyeballs while you want clicks. However, depending on the type of blog you have, you might be able to find an advertising solution that works well for both parties.
For instance, if your blog focuses heavily on photography, you could try posting sponsored posts featuring products relevant to your niche. A lot of advertisers offer deals where they only pay when someone actually purchases a product after clicking through from your ad. There are plenty of companies offering quality programs like this, especially those specializing in digital marketing. Don't worry too much about getting scammed either. Most reputable marketers will give you enough information upfront to ensure you feel comfortable before agreeing to participate in their program.
Another way to monetize your blog involves incorporating affiliate links into your articles instead of directly promoting particular products. Simply put, whenever somebody clicks through on said link, you receive compensation. This approach doesn't require any extra fees from advertisers, except for maybe paying commissions when folks purchase certain items via your links. Again, there are tons of reliable affiliates available who specialize in providing high quality products/services for low prices. Take advantage of these opportunities by signing up with multiple partners. In addition, some merchants may provide you with special promotions exclusively for members of their affiliate networks.
Finally, if you enjoy writing reviews and reviewing products, you could try joining Amazon Associates and eBay Partner Network respectively. Both programs reward writers based on sales generated through referrals provided by the respective network. As far as I know, neither requires membership dues nor does it include additional commission fees. Just keep in mind that you need to stay focused on generating organic leads rather than spending time trying to come up with clever promotional materials for your blog.
As previously mentioned, you can place advertisements anywhere on your blog that you'd like. However, depending on the theme you chose, you may notice that certain areas are blocked due to copyright issues. To solve this problem, you could replace your existing images with ones sourced elsewhere and insert the text manually. Although you won't be receiving direct payment, the benefits of doing this outweighs the small amount of manual labor involved. After all, you can pretty much copy & paste text from any number of freely available sources these days.
Alternatively, you could simply hire a freelancer who specializes in graphic design to customize banners, header graphics, etc. These individuals typically charge somewhere between $25-$50 USD per hour depending on experience level and location. Additionally, you would still need to cover costs associated with your monthly fee to host your blog. Finally, if you're willing to learn more advanced techniques, you could also try designing your own logo with Canva. Once done, you can upload it onto your blog along with your custom background picture. Obviously, this takes longer to implement since you wouldn't be saving any time compared to hiring professionals, but it's definitely worth considering if you really want to maximize profits.
Even if you decided to forego advertising altogether, your blog itself can serve as a valuable commodity by being used as a sort of virtual storefront. Instead of relying solely on customers visiting your page, you could leverage social media groups dedicated to your niche to spread awareness of your blog. Whenever someone visits your shop, they must sign up for updates in order to view future messages. This means that you can send out periodic emails containing important links to specific topics related to your field. Furthermore, you could also post coupons and discounts on Facebook so that loyal followers can save some cash.
In general, you shouldn't rely entirely on visitors alone to bring home the bacon. Even if nobody ever comes across your page, you can still benefit from search engine optimization efforts. Try optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, and keywords for targeted searches. Also, look into adding fresh content to your blog regularly. Search engines love new material, and updating your pages frequently increases your chances of ranking higher amongst competitors. Lastly, you should never neglect social bookmarking! Share interesting stories and tidbits on Twitter and Facebook to attract more attention.
We recommend avoiding placing banner ads on your site because they usually distract users away from reading your actual content. On top of that, they're typically hard to ignore and detract from overall aesthetics. Banner blindness happens when people see an advertisement so numerous times that they eventually become desensitized to it. As long as you avoid flooding viewers with too many popups throughout a single session, you should be fine.
However, if you plan on running a legitimate blog, it makes sense to incorporate affiliate links into your content. When linking to products related to your subject matter, stick to trustworthy sellers that have been recommended by others. Never promote sketchy businesses that haven't passed basic scrutiny. Remember, once you publish a review, people trust your opinion and expect similar candor regarding whatever products or services you endorse. If you suddenly became obsessed with pushing a bad item under the guise of honest feedback, people would stop trusting you completely.
You probably already know that there are many ways to make money online, but did you know that it's possible to use your free blogging platform of choice to generate income and even become an influencer in your niche? Here is how...
This post will focus on three specific platforms - Wordpress.org (WP), Blogger.com and Squarespace. The method can easily be applied to other services as well. We'll also provide a few helpful links at the end for those who want more information about each one.
Before we begin though, let me explain what exactly this means when we talk about "monetizing" a free service like these. It simply refers to using your content to gain exposure and earn revenue from advertising partners or affiliate programs. That said, not all bloggers have access to these types of tools, so if you're looking for something with greater flexibility, then check out our guide on making extra cash through freelance writing.
Now without further ado, here are five proven strategies for generating income from your free blog.
If you've ever used AdSense before, then you may remember them mentioning their own program called DoubleClick Digital Marketing Suite. This software allows publishers such as yourself to display ads within your page while collecting data on user behavior. In theory, you could create multiple accounts per domain name (if you own several) and start earning commissions off of every click generated by visitors.
The downside? You need a high traffic rate to pull in substantial earnings. If you don't receive much attention, then expect very little success. However, once things pick up, they should continue growing steadily over time. For example, my first account earned around $10/month after being active for just two months!
There are plenty of other options available too. One popular option is TextLink which offers similar functionality, except instead of displaying text-based advertisements, it uses images with hyperlinks attached. A quick search on Twitter reveals dozens of others including Revenue Point [Broken URL Removed], Affiliate Window [No Longer Available] and LinkSharer.
All of these require users to visit sponsored pages in order to see results, so it helps to include targeted keywords where appropriate. Don't forget to keep track of which domains produce better conversions than others because you won't see consistent growth across many sites. Also, take note of any recurring issues that arise along the way. Maybe certain ad formats aren't working properly or maybe you received bad feedback from customers. All of these factors must be considered when considering whether or not a particular strategy works best for your audience.
In addition to promoting your own products, you can try selling items directly from your site. Check out Amazon Associates for easy setup and integration with shopping carts. Alternatively, you might consider offering premium memberships via Patreon or Gumroad.
Lastly, you might choose to sell digital downloads via PayPal buttons. This method isn't quite as lucrative since most people tend to ignore download prompts unless they feel compelled to look inside. Nonetheless, you can still enjoy increased visibility and brand awareness among potential buyers. Plus, it doesn't cost anything to set up.
Overall, we recommend starting small until you determine the right approach. Once you find something that works, stick with it! There are no guarantees, however good luck regardless. And now onto another top contender…
Wix has been gaining popularity lately thanks to its convenient drag & drop editor. Although it only launched earlier this year, it boasts millions of users worldwide. They offer both traditional hosting packages and self-hosted solutions, meaning anyone can sign up for a free plan and immediately launch their own website. As long as you stay away from spammy tactics, Wix can actually work pretty well.
Like many other companies, Wix includes built-in tracking features to monitor performance statistics. Additionally, many owners opt to integrate third party analytics apps such as KISSmetrics, Google Analytics and Flurry. These allow managers to review visitor trends and figure out what kind of content generates clicks, likes and retweets.
What sets Wix apart is its ease of customization. Since everything is done automatically upon submission, there's no reason why someone shouldn't be able to design their own theme. Furthermore, you can customize colors, fonts, logos and backgrounds without having to worry about technical limitations.
Another unique feature is Wix's marketing suite known as Site Builder Pro. This tool comes complete with hundreds of professionally designed banners, headers, social media posts, slide shows and email newsletters. Some themes come with additional plugins that enhance SEO capabilities, increase engagement rates and boost conversion rates.
Finally, if you decide to go down the path of creating your own product(s), Wix provides simple instructions on how to upload files to various marketplaces. Examples include Etsy, eBay and Facebook Store Kit. From there, you can promote new releases alongside related merchandise through dedicated landing pages.
For beginners, we suggest setting aside 30 minutes of uninterrupted time during weekends to test drive their free package. Afterward, you can evaluate whether or not it meets your needs. Remember to factor in maintenance costs associated with maintaining a website as well as paying monthly fees for hosting and upgrades. Just recently, Wix introduced a new pricing model, so make sure to read up on that too.
Despite all these perks, we wouldn't call Wix a reputable source when talking about serious business. Many experts advise against relying solely on automated systems due to lacklustre customer support and security loopholes. Nevertheless, it remains a viable alternative that can potentially pay the bills if nothing else does.
Web applications often fall into a grey area between personal projects and full scale businesses. Most developers build them thinking that they'll never turn a profit, yet simultaneously hope to attract enough interest to sustain development efforts indefinitely. Unfortunately, these goals rarely coincide.
That said, if you manage to capture a sizable portion of your target audience, then you can leverage this group to generate steady residual income. To achieve this goal, you first need to understand where your competition lies. What makes your application stand above everyone else's? Is it price point? User experience? Or perhaps its ability to handle large volumes of concurrent requests? By answering questions like these, you can effectively position your venture as a legitimate competitor.
Once you discover what separates you from the pack, it becomes easier to formulate a strategic plan. Your next step would typically involve finding investors who believe in your idea enough to fund it fully. Of course, this depends largely on the type of project you intend to pursue. But regardless, building a team of loyal supporters is essential. With this foundation in place, you can begin converting ideas into actual profits.
As far as monetizing goes, there are a number of possibilities depending on what you develop. If you plan to charge for subscriptions, then consider charging by usage rather than flat fee. Otherwise, charge based on the number of hours spent on the system itself. Either way, you should always think outside the box. When designing your interface, keep in mind accessibility concerns such as color blindness, dyslexia and low vision settings.
On the subject of branding, make sure that your logo represents quality and professionalism. Be mindful of incorporating recognizable elements that appeal to your intended demographic. For instance, if you're targeting seniors, ensure that your font size, menu navigation and overall layout is legible. Likewise, avoid adding unnecessary distractions that clutter the screen. Keep your design clean and uncluttered to prevent distraction fatigue.
When developing a mobile version, be careful to strike a balance between usability and aesthetics. People usually prefer faster loading times and fewer navigational interruptions. Therefore, try avoiding complicated menus and unnecessary animations whenever possible. Ultimately, aim to simplify wherever possible while keeping the core features intact. Lastly, bear in mind that a lot of people browse the internet using their phones. Make sure that your app looks fantastic on tablets and smartphones alike.
Become CEO of your own lead generation software company, just follow our battle-tested guidelines and rake in the profits.