Blogging is big business. If done right, it can provide a nice little income. But how exactly do bloggers make money online? Contrary to popular belief, just posting words online won’t cut it. So where’s the method to the madness?
Selling affiliate products
In order to get buyers for their products, product creators will often pay referral fees to people like you and me if we can get others to purchase a product.
Imagine with me, a talented, hard-working author named George. George has worked tirelessly on his latest and greatest eBook, and now he wants to sell the finished product. Awesome.
George realizes that while he could get some sales promoting his own product and sending traffic to his sales page, he could do even better if he had an army of people doing the same. That makes good sense.
Of course, these people aren’t going to send traffic for free or out of the kindness of their hearts. George knows they will want something for their time and effort. How about a cut of the profits? Ah! There’s the ticket!
George negotiates with his army of marketers. “For every sale you make, I’ll give you half of the sale.” Deal!
This is affiliate marketing in a nutshell. There are many Georges out there. You and I can sign up to promote products. For every sale we make, we earn a commission.
Blogs are ideal platforms for affiliate marketing. Bloggers find relevant, helpful products from people like George and talk about them. We may promote them to our lists or place an ad on a page. We may even write a post discussing the pros and cons – why someone might want to buy this.
This arrangement works well, and many actually turn affiliate marketing into a full time business.
Blogs with plenty of traffic can be included in ad networks. These networks will pay a blogger for placing advertisements on his or her pages and posts. Payment terms vary, but usually they fall into one of the following three categories:
CPM – Cost Per Thousand
CPM-based ads pay according to the number of impressions – or views – an ad receives. These work well for companies who are simply trying to build brand awareness and get their name out there without expecting anyone to really do anything – like click on the ad or fill out a form.
CPC – Cost Per Click
This type of ad pays every time a visitor clicks on it. With this type of ad, advertisers usually hope to drive traffic to a website or landing page. Google Adsense loves this type of ad. Bing also offers CPC advertising through the Bing Ads platform.
CPA – Cost Per Action / Cost Per Acquisition
CPA ads pay only if a visitor fills out a form or completes a purchase. It doesn’t matter if the ad receives 10,000 clicks and 50,000 impressions. If no one completes the desired “action,” the blogger isn’t paid. Advertisers love this kind of ad because they are only paying for results – not just clicks or views. It’s entirely possible to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on ads and not get results. This type of advertising removes that risk for advertisers – but also means more has to happen before you get your money.
Personally, I’m not a fan of placing ads on my websites. I prefer for my readers to enjoy a clean, ad-free environment where they can learn and share without annoyances. However, if you decide to place ads on your site, you’ll get no judgment from me. It’s purely a matter of opinion and preference.
Selling their own products
This is a big one – and my favorite way to make money with a blog. Take a look at any of the biggest names in Internet marketing. How are they making their money? Sure, they sell courses teaching how to make money doing this or that. That’s fine. But how do you think they’re making a big chunk of that dough? Selling their own products. Brilliant!
In today’s noisy marketing climate, I contend that every serious blogger and affiliate marketer absolutely needs to have his or her own product to sell. Why?
Branding. Your own product is part of your brand. This is your chance to make a great impression and make people remember your name.
Control. If you own the product, you control every part of the customer experience. No one can tell you what you can and can’t do with the product. It’s yours to sell or give away.
Value. Providing value is the number one way to gain attention and trust in any industry. With your product, provide something people want. Help them achieve something. When others see the time, effort, and care you have put into their positive experience, they will be itching for more.
A well-done blog is your home on the internet. It’s your house. Your base. Blogging is one of the only means of user engagement in which your target audience comes to you. You don’t have to leave home searching for them. Simply provide value, and they will come. This affords a unique opportunity.
While they are in your house, offer them something to drink or a bite to eat. Show them what you can do, what you have to offer. Let them engage with your products there.
If you don’t yet have your own product and would like to create one, check out my free ebook that teaches how to create a product to sell or give away.
Blogging can be very rewarding – both personally and financially. If you play your cards right, your blog can easily drive affiliate traffic and sales, and help promote your own products as well. Your blog is your home base. Write helpful, engaging content, and your audience will come play ball on your home court.