Let’s get real. Blogging costs money and takes a lot of our time.
There are costs involved with your web provider, domain registration, website development and plugins, just to name a few.
What about being compensated for your time? Time is spent developing your content and getting it online. Shouldn’t that be worth something?
Wouldn’t it be nice to turn a little profit from your hard work? Maybe make a couple bucks to help pay for some of the costs?
That’s what this book is about. How to monetize your website. Even if you have no plans to monetize your site at this time, you should keep a couple of these ideas in your back pocket, just in case…
One thing to consider before we get too deep into monetizing your website is to concentrate on writing great content. This is how you will gain your followers. It will allow you to hone your skills and develop loyal website fans. Once you achieve this, monetizing will be easier.
Affiliate links are an easy way to make some cash from your website. They basically work like this:
You place a link in your blog post to a particular product or service that you use and like. This link has a dedicated ID that is only associated with you. When someone clicks on that link and purchases the item or service, you get a small commission, (at no cost to the buyer!). The nice thing about affiliate links is you can get them for just about anything. If you are interested in adding affiliate links to your website, then google your favorite product + affiliate link. They may have an affiliate program and if they do, great. If not, try something else.
So try something like:
bookit.com affiliate link
Fiverr affiliate link
Adobe affiliate link
Another place to look is CJ Affiliate or Clickbank. These two sites are for websites that have a lot of traffic. The beginning blogger should pass on these. But keep them in mind for a later date.
If you are interested in adding affiliate links but are not really sure where to begin, Amazon has a great affiliate program.
If you are going to add affiliate links to your site, you MUST disclose the fact that there are affiliate links on your site.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) basically says this, the affiliate link disclosure needs to be where the reader can find it. It needs to be located in a clear and conspicuous location. So that means you cannot bury it somewhere on your website, such as hiding it in an About US page or General Info page. It MUST be somewhere that the reader can find it. See my disclosure in the right-hand column of every page.
For information on the affiliate link disclosure, check out the FTC.gov web page.
This is for US based websites. Be sure to check your local regulations. There may be similar rules in your country.
If your country does not have rules for affiliate links, my suggestion is to add a disclosure anyway. It’s just the right thing to do.
When in doubt, check with a qualified lawyer for any questions about the FTC disclosure policy.
Create an eBook
What is an eBook?
An eBook is simply an electronic version of a book and it can cover any topic under the sun. Some popular formats are PDF or Kindle versions. They are both electronic versions of a book, but they are formatted differently. So, you may need two versions depending on where you publish. The Amazon publishing site, Kindle Direct Publishing can convert your manuscript into a Kindle format for free.
How to create an eBook
There are two options for this. You can sit down and write an eBook, start at the beginning and finish at the end. Or, you can look at what you are producing every week.
Let me explain. Are you producing content on a regular basis? (If not, you should be…)
Do you cover a particular topic consistently?
Maybe you are covering that topic and different aspects of that topic?
If so, then it sure sounds like you have an eBook in the works!
Take that existing content, have it organized and formatted.
I bet you’ll start to see the beginning of an eBook. Or better yet, you’ll have a complete eBook!
When you have it all together, do some editing and add a cover. I like to use Fiverr (yes, this is an affiliate link) for my quick jobs. Sometimes it’s best to outsource some work so you can concentrate on the important things. Hmm, does that sound like another blog post…?
There are several ways you can sell your book.
For Amazon, head on over to kdp.amazon.com. If you place your book on Amazon, you could earn up to 70% of the sale. Let’s face it, Amazon is the biggest retailer in the US, probably the world. So, it would be a good idea to convert your book, so it can be readily sold on Amazon. Also, kdp.amazon.com can convert your book into the Kindle platform for free.
You can also use, Clickbank (hmmm, them again). They charge $1 plus 7.5% of the sale. I’m sure there are other sites, you’ll just have to do a Google search to find them. But read the fine print before selecting any of the eBook retailers.
You can also set up a store on your website and sell it from there. PayPal makes it kind of easy, but you will be responsible for delivery, returns and all that kind of fun stuff.
Advice about eBooks
Make sure you are writing on a topic that you know. No one wants to read, or worse yet, purchase a book that is filled with fluff.
Create a professional layout. There are plenty of websites that can do that. I wouldn’t overwhelm yourself with trying to write a book AND doing the formatting as well.
Create a professional looking cover. Again, this is a great place to use Fiverr. That’s where my book cover came from.
This is also a great place to add some affiliate links. (Hmmm, there’s that word again.)
No, it’s not begging. It’s more giving people an option if they want to donate. You can set one up easily using PayPal.
Note, there is a small fee for using their service.
Download the PayPal button and place it on your website. If someone wants to donate, they simply click on the button, enter an amount, and it gets added to your PayPal account. I haven’t tried this yet, but I see it a lot on WordPress plugin sites.
Create a membership site
A membership site is a pretty slick thing. You develop member only content that requires special member status to access. You can develop special member content such as premium blog content, special how-to videos, or allow your members special access to ask questions (office hours). There are several WordPress plugins that you can use to build a membership site.
This one doesn’t count in the list, it’s a freebie because Patreon is the combination of accepting donations and creating a membership site. It is a place where people donate to you and in turn, they receive something, such as premium (subscriber only) content.
First, you have to set up the rewards for your site. For example:
The Red Reward at $1.00.
The White Reward at $5.00.
The Blue Reward at $10.00.
The Star Reward at $20.00.
Then you set up the rewards for each donation category. So, you could set something up like:
The Red Reward is a shout out on your blog or podcast.
The White Reward is a sign up for member-only content, plus the Red Reward.
The Blue Reward is a guest spot on your podcast plus the Red Reward and the White Reward.
The Star Reward is a copy of your eBook plus the Red Reward, the White Reward, and the Blue Reward.
Kind of a slick idea. If that’s something that you are interested in, then head over to patreon.com and sign up. It’s easy.
Accept Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are where you let someone else (or a company) write a post that you then post on your website. But it’s not a guest post. A guest post is an article that helps your readers. The author is introduced to a new reader group in return for them writing a post. A sponsored post is where someone (a company) writes a post, basically an advertisement, and it gets placed on your website. You are compensated, of course.
There are certain rules that need to be followed when accepting sponsored posts and again the FTC has it all laid out. They basically want to you announce that this is a sponsored post. Check out this FTC page for more information.
Extra Blogging Tips
Extra Bonus #1
Create a coaching class. Do you have a skill that others may want to learn? Start a coaching class to teach others.
Extra Bonus #2
Build a niche site. This goes along the lines of affiliate marketing but finely tuned to one product or niche. For example, is there a new line of hamster cages on the market? One that all of the hamsters are just dying for? Create a website. Develop some content to advertise the new hamster cage design. Add affiliate links to that page.
I hope these tips help you in your quest to monetize your website. Remember, this is a marathon and not a sprint. Don’t expect the money to come rolling in just because you put a couple links on a website. You need the traffic. Keep creating awesome content. Use your social media to promote this content and the traffic will come. It just takes time.
Until Next time,