So you’ve started your blog. Congrats.
Truly, I commend you for starting. Do you know how many people want to start a blog, but never hit publish? I get it. It can be scary…
People start blogs for all types of reasons, but mainly they fall into one of two categories. They either treat it like a HOBBY, or they treat it like a BUSINESS. There’s not a right or wrong answer here, just take a moment to determine where you stand, because it can help when you’re wanting to monetize your blog. I assume that’s why you’re here, right?
Treat you blog like a business.
Those that approach blogging as a HOBBY, will likely discover that’s exactly how it pays, like a hobby. Those that approach blogging as a BUSINESS can discover multiple streams of income, active and passive, that can surpass their wildest dreams. You may watch others and think how the heck does he/she do it?? Well, I’m going to give you some insight into how many bloggers make money. A LOT of money.
So now that you’ve hit publish for the first time …or the hundredth time, many bloggers reach a point and think, now what? How the heck do I monetize this thing I’ve created? The average millionaire has SEVEN streams of income. It’s important to not put all your eggs in one basket. When you start creating multiple streams, they add up fast. Blogs are a great opportunity to create multiple streams.
Please note, I’m not going to get into How To Start a Blog because that’s a different post. For these purposes I’m going to stick with ways to monetize your blog and my own personal experience of what’s worked for me and other bloggers I know.
When I started my blog in early 2014, someone told me about the two types of bloggers and it was helpful to realize I did want this to be a business. I wanted to be proud to say I was an entrepreneur, girl boss, etc. They also said that if I decided to treat this like a serious business…”You’re going to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your entire life.” That was a tad intimidating but at the same time I knew why. Self discipline. This can be tough when all of a sudden you’ve run out of ideas to blog about…or a friend calls…or that binge-worthy Netflix show is calling your name. If you haven’t decided that building your blog is as important as a typical J.O.B., you’ll likely drop the ball.
Okay, here we go…here are my tips. First you must lay the groundwork that will help you have more success later.
Establish your “Know, Like, and Trust Factor”.
First, establish some groundwork. One of the most important things to know from the get-go is to establish your “Know, Like, and Trust Factor” This means gaining trust from your audience. Bottom line… if your audience doesn’t know you, like you, and trust you… they won’t buy what you’re selling, whatever it is. The best way to do this is to provide value to your audience and be authentic. Share, give, educate, be vulnerable, …and then give some more. It takes time to establish trust in your audience but it will be well worth it. Be yourself, be relatable, be YOU. We all have something to share. How can your voice help others? When you come from an unselfish place and make it about helping others, you’ll succeed. Once you have something to sell, a good rule of thumb to follow is Give, Give, Give, Ask. Give, Give, Give, Ask. …and so on. Keep creating valuable free content most of the time and then ask for the sale in between. It’s okay to sell. Don’t let that be a hangup for you. We’ll get to that later…
Start an email list. Now.
This is the biggest regret I’ve heard from bloggers. No matter how big or small your audience is, develop a way to gather emails because this will be very beneficial when it comes time to monetize your blog. It’s more important to have a large email list than it is to have a big social media following. You don’t own your social media following but you do own your email list. The best way to gather emails is to create an opt-in. This is a small free gift to give in exchange for them giving you their email address. You can check mine out at the bottom of this page, give it a try to check out my opt-in eBook. Mailchimp is a great service to start with because it’s free to start, easy to use, and only starts charging you when your list gets bigger.
Become an affiliate.
Most bloggers start off monetizing their blog by becoming an affiliate. Essentially you use and share products you love with your audience and when they purchase through your affiliate links, you make a commission. An easy one that anyone can easily sign up for is Amazon Associates. There are all kinds of companies that offer affiliate commissions, depending on your blogging niche. Being an affiliate can mean many different things, from recommending a product, a program, a subscription, a course…. it can seem like a small amount of income at times, but don't frown at that “some money life” as one of my mentors, Nicole Walters used to say. It adds up and can contribute as a consistent stream of income for you. Just be choosey and only recommend products and services you stand behind and use yourself. I’ve turned down most of my affiliate inquiries because my “know like and trust factor” is very important to me and I’ll never dishonor that just to make a buck. If you’re a fashion blogger or even dabble in it, you can make a good income sharing your outfits. The gold standard affiliate program for fashion and home that gives you access to hundreds of brands is Reward Style or LIKEtoKnow.it which has been a good source of income for me. It is an application process and if you’d like a referral, let me know which may help.
Create Digital Products for passive income.
One of my favorite ways to monetize is through knowledge-based products, also known as Digital Products. When I first learned about this my mind was blown. I came from a place of working a day job for 17 years and only knew how to exchange my time for money. I’d heard about the elusive “passive income” or “residual income” that people spoke of…but I never thought that would be possible for me. Think again. This is very possible and can be a strong stream of income for bloggers. Everyone knows something they can teach someone else. Everyone. It can be as small as creating a simple PDF of a “how to” or a grocery list that you sell for a few dollars. It can be an eBook of your recipes. It could be an eBook teaching anything at all! It could be a full blown course where you teach a more detailed topic with multiple modules. That’s the thing…it can be ANYTHING people need to know about. The price of digital products can be very low to very high depending on what you create. This is the kicker… with a digital product, you create the PDF, eBook, training course, whatever, ONCE. You create it ONCE and sell it OVER and OVER and OVER again. Digital products are usually digital downloads that can be completely automated and delivered to the buyer without you even knowing it at the time. This is what I like to call “Sleep Money”. Oh, and guess who your audience is that can purchase that digital product? …THE WORLD, that’s who. There is no limit. Stop for a minute and think about the numbers for a minute. What if you had a digital product that was $9.99 and you sold X-number of them for years and years? THAT’S TRUE PASSIVE INCOME. Just make sure you create products that have VALUE. Now I realize there’s a lot more to know here because you might be thinking ok, Shannon that sounds amazing, but HOW DO I DO THIS?? Those details might be another blog post for another time. …or possibly a digital product teaching you exactly how!… See, once you become a blogger and start monetizing your blog, you get a ‘monetized mindset” and start seeing ways to earn income by creating valuable content in different ways! Are you starting to see why that email list and your “know like and trust factor” are so important?