Blogging is a great way to get exposure for your business. It’s a great interactive social media and marketing tool that allows personal interaction with clients. (Find more information about social media tools on our recent post.) You can write about the products and services your business offers and which you’re passionate about—and earn a bit of income on the side. That’s right! You can make money on the blog that’s already promoting your business. How? There are several different ways. But know that as with anything regarding your business, it may take some experimenting before you determine what works best for you.
New bloggers can start earning money on their blog with ads. There are a couple main types of ads, such as display and private ads. Display ads, also called banner ads, are usually placed on the side bar of your blog. They are similar to ads in physical magazines or newspapers, except that they are interactive—advertisers hope readers will click on the display ad link and visit their site. You receive your income share according to the agreement between you and the ad network (the middleman between you and the company whose ad you’re displaying). There are a number of different ad networks you can work with—Google AdSense, Blogads, BlogHer, and Federated Media, to name a few.
Display ads can be effective, but be wary of having too many. You’ve probably experienced website ads that get in the way of content. It can be frustrating—so much so that you leave the site altogether (and you definitely don’t want your clients leaving your site). Remember, your customers are going to your blog for your content (and hopefully for your products), and you’ll earn more money from your company’s product sales than from display ads, so be cautious. Choose ads relevant to your customers, ads that compliment or enhance what you’re already offering on your blog. For example, if you sell handmade jewelry, you could advertise for another blogger who sells handmade clothing with the angle that your customers may be interested in the clothing and the clothing customers interested in your jewelry.
Private ads have no middleman and are negotiated between blogger and advertiser (these are usually small businesses). Private ads are featured on your blog as buttons your blog visitors can click on. To set up private ads, you usually have to contact the advertiser first (but not always) since most advertisers aren’t actively seeking out your specific blog for their advertising needs. If you’re not sure who to contact for private ads, visit blogs similar to yours and see what companies are advertising on their sites.
Another way to make money blogging is to offer digital content such as ebooks, webinars, and online courses. Your blog is where you provide expertise on your product, so why not offer your clients a bit more of your knowledge? For example, if you are a photographer, you could offer short webinars on the basics of photography. You could then offer more in-depth online courses to those who want to learn the basics of photoshopping. To entice your clients even further, you could write a short ebook on how to photograph a specific subject such as nature, portraits, concert, or abstract photography. You could give away free “teaser” chapters for your ebook and then offer the whole book for a fee.
Take it one step further and offer premium content for your members. Your most exciting or informative blog posts, VIP chat rooms, insider spaces, and one-on-one interaction with you can be set up behind a paywall, which clients can only access if they’re paid members. Setting up a paywall is like setting up a membership site. Using a membership site management system like MemberPress will allow you to put your creative efforts into your premium content. Information can be accessed online for free at any time, so you will need to think of creative ways to show your customers that the information you’re going to provide to them as member clients is truly unique and like nothing they will find online for free. Here is where you can really show how you’re the expert on the business, where clients are coming to you for your advice. In the members-only room, you could offer coaching, consulting, and even special discounts on popular products.
Make the most out of your blogging by implementing these savvy strategies, but remember, unless your blog is your main business, this means of earning income is designed only to enhance the content and products you’re already offering. That being said, it could prove quite lucrative as it attracts customers who otherwise wouldn’t have come across your business. So whether it’s through banner or private ads, digital content, or premium insider information, be sure to use your blog to promote yourself—and earn a little extra income at the same time. It may just be one of the best tools for letting people get to know you and for increasing business!