This guest post is by James Penn of AcceleratedNicheProfits.com.
A few weeks ago, on the ProBlogger Community Boards, I started a new forum topic titled, “Help Me Monetize 1,000 Visitors Per Day.”
Yet my income was pitiful.
My only monetization strategy was linking to relevant Amazon products, and I was generating just over $100 per month. I worked out that if I carried on like this, simply promoting Amazon products, I’d need to be clocking 50,000 visitors per dayto make a comfortable, full-time income with this blog.
That wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, so I sought advice from fellow ProBlogger forum members, undertook my own research, and carried out my own experiments in a quest to discover alternative ways to increase the revenue I generated from my blog.
In this post, I share twenty strategies you can use to increase your blog income. Many I’m already using, many I plan to use, but some I don’t think would work on my particular blog, though they may work on yours!
1. Google Adsense
I’d always been against adding Google Adsense to my webpages for fear of it taking away from the user experience.
I needn’t have worried as I’ve been able to add one ad unit in a fairly prominent position and one in a more secluded area of the blog without disrupting my readers.
I’ve only had these ads up a few weeks but initial results suggest they will earn me more this month than I earned with my entire blog last month.
2. Sidebar linking
Your sidebar appears on every single one of your blog pages. You need to be making the most of it.
Something I’ve experimented with is adding a new link category with a title that’s something like, “My Top 5 Health Books.”
Then below that title I’ll link to my favourite health books on Amazon. It’s a good way to get more readers in the door at Amazon and earn more Amazon commissions.
3. Deep-linking Amazon products
Sidebar links can work well, but deep linking to specific products that are relevant to the content I’m sharing is the most effective strategy for driving Amazon sales.
For example, on my health blog, if I have a post about the benefits of avocado oil for skin and hair, then linking to the most effective avocado oil on Amazon will generate a number of clicks and sales.
4. Localize your Amazon links
One of the problems I was having with my blog is that I was only linking to Amazon.com. Only 55% of my traffic was from the US—meaning I was missing out on a huge portion of commissions from the rest of the world.
There are a few plug-ins that “localize” your Amazon affiliate links, so a reader from the UK is taken to Amazon.co.uk, for example. This is a good way to pick up extra commissions that you wouldn’t have received otherwise.
5. Sell your own products
A large chunk of Darren’s revenue is now generated from selling his own ebooks. In January and February of this year, ebook sales were his number one revenue generator.
Bloggers have a huge advantage when it comes to selling their own products since they’ve already gained trust from their readers and displayed their expertise. If your free blog content is good, then readers will assume your paid content is even better—and you won’t need to be a copywriting whiz to get sales.
I have two ebooks already written from a few years ago that I have simply let gather digital dust. A few tweaks and a new design and these ebooks will be promoted on my blog to my reader base.
6. Adding promotional boxes
On problogger.net, at the end of each individual post page, Darren has a promotional box that promotes the Genesis Framework.
After setting my blog up with Genesis, I had my programmer design a promotional box for me, promoting a hair care product that pays $40 commissions. I added this box to every single post in my “Hair Health” category, meaning the promotion is shown only to the most targeted prospects. I’ll now be making more of these boxes so that I can put them into other categories, promoting other specific products.
7. Find alternative affiliate programs
With my health blog I got a little too comfy with the Amazon Associates program. It was so easy to just find a product, get a link, and put it on the blog. It was easy to set up, and easy to keep track of, but I was only getting about 7% commission.
Now when I go to insert an Amazon affiliate link, I do a search first to see if I can find a better commission rate.
This is another technique Darren’s using on prologger.net currently. At the top of the page is a very unobtrusive, 1cm thick pop over that simply serves to get people to click to his 31 Days To Build A Better Blog course.
This is something I plan to add to my blog when I have my eBooks up for sale, but it’s something you could do today to get people to click through to affiliate products.
9. Donate button
I’m not a big fan of this strategy, but some use it effectively. If you have a loyal following that you treat well and really help, many may be happy to send a few dollars your way for blog maintenance, or merely as a thank you.
Perhaps put a Donate button on your blog for a few days and see how it works? Have you ever tried this? Did it work?
10. Convert more visitors into subscribers
If you aren’t building an email list, then every single person who leaves your blog is gone, forever, unless they find you again via a search engine or link on another blog, which is unlikely.
But if you manage to collect their email addresses, you can stay in touch. You can send them back to your blog regularly and you can promote your own ebooks or affiliate products to them.
If you can get their email addresses, you can send them back to the blog every time you publish a new update. This achieves a number of goals:
- It gives them another opportunity to click on one of your Adsense ads.
- It gives them another opportunity to buy your ebook or an affiliate product.
- It increases your number of pageviews, which increases your revenue from CPM banner advertising.
- It gives them an opportunity to share your blog on Twitter, Facebook, or Stumbleupon, thereby increasing your traffic and revenue.
This ability to retain readers will help you generate more revenue from the same visitors, which can only be a good thing.
11. Promote products via email
Prior to my mission to make more money from my blog, I was simply sending updates to my subscribers directing them to new blog posts.
I realized that to increase my blog revenue, I needed to sell in my emails, too.
I sent a test promotion of a natural hair care product I’ve previously mentioned to an extremely targeted list of just 340 subscribers generated from the blog. I made four sales from one email resulting in $160 in commissions.
Before I monetized my email list, it would have taken me one and a half months to earn this kind of money from my blog.
12. Charge for email advertising
Many are happy to pay to get an ad, or an entire solo ad, in an email list. Consider offering email advertising packages to further increase the revenue generated from your email list. Create an Advertise With Us page on your blog and state your rates.
Seven days ago I wrote my first product review on my health blog. I don’t want to share what product it was, but after pressing Publish, I was instantly ranking in the top 10 for a number of keywords such as “[product name] review” and “buy [product name].”
This review, with no promotion, has generated $120 in commissions in the first seven days, and I expect it to continue like this for the foreseeable future.
14. Sponsored competitions
Something I see a lot of on popular health blogs are sponsored competitions. A company donates a few of their products to a blogger and the blogger runs a competition giving away these products.
These competitions are free to run, and can be immensely profitable. Firstly, they are capable of drawing huge traffic, and secondly you can promote the product using an affiliate link. Competition entrants who don’t win, or who don’t even enter, may end up buying the products via your affiliate link giving you a nice commission boost.
15. Sponsored posts
A few months ago I was approached by a plastic surgeon. They wanted to publish a post on my blog promoting their plastic surgery business. They offered $125 for a 500-word post which they would write.
I had to reject their offer because my blog focuses on natural alternatives, but it opened my mind up to the possibility—and profitability—of charging for sponsored posts.
I’ve yet to try it, but in the very near future I’ll be approaching natural health and beauty companies offering them an opportunity to publish a post promoting their business. I won’t be able to use this method too often or fear of annoying readers, but one or two sponsored posts a month is an extra $100-200 monthly. If you’re really cheeky, you may also be allowed to use your affiliate link to promote their products.
16. Bestseller lists
Darren gave me this idea with his post about creating a bestseller list. This involves creating a list of the most popular products your blog readers are buying as judged by your Amazon affiliate reports.
I immediately went away and created my bestseller list on a new page of my blog. This page is linked from my top navigation bar so it receives exposure on every single page of the blog.
17. “Gift ideas” posts
Prior to major holidays, such as Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s days, and so on, it’s a wise idea to create a “Top 10 Gifts For Health/Nature/Photography/Sports/ Enthusiasts” list. Simply create a gift ideas list for your blog’s market, and you’ll see an increase in affiliate commissions as you get traffic from keyphrases like “gift ideas for photographers.”
Another idea is to create Top 10 DVDs or Top 10 Books lists for your market. On my blog I have articles such as The Top 5 Natural Sunscreens, and The Top 5 Natural Shampoos. Pick a product in your market and write a list of the top five or ten brands.
18. Premium content
This is not something I’ve tried, but I know some bloggers have used it well. I’m not sure it would work too well in my market, but I’m sure there are many markets it would work in.
This idea simply involves creating a premium quality, longer-than-normal blog post. You publish the first part as a teaser and then require the reader to pay a small fee to read the rest of the post—perhaps $5 or so.
Like I mentioned earlier, if your readers love your free content, they’ll assume your paid content is even better.
19. Plug your high-value content
On my blog, I have certain content that I know generates more revenue than others. Therefore, to increase my revenue, it makes sense to push my readers towards this content.
Darren pushes his high-value content on the homepage by making certain posts “Featured.” You can also push people towards high-value content by interlinking within your posts, and linking to your high-value posts from the sidebar. You should also focus on building backlinks to your high-value content to push them up the search engines and attract more organic traffic to these posts.
20. Charge to review guest posts
This is a slightly out-of-left-field strategy I learned from Darya Pino of SummerTomato.com and it’s not actually a way to increase your own revenue, but instead to raise some money for charity.
Darya was disillusioned with the number and quality of guest posts she was receiving and so decided to require a $10 donation simply to review a guest post.
I’m getting between three and five guest post submissions per day. I reckon I could cut this number down significantly, increase the quality of guest posts, and raise some money for charity by charging to review guest post submissions.
What can you add?
Above I’ve presented 20 strategies you can use to make more money from your blog and your existing traffic.
What strategies are working best for you when it comes to monetizing your blog? Do you have any “out of the ordinary” strategies that are helping you to profit from your blog? Share them with us.
James Penn is a keen blogger and shares his internet marketing experiments, tips and secrets at AcceleratedNicheProfits.com. He is also a big fan of building niche email lists and has documented his top list building strategies in his step-by-step guide 100 Subscribers Per Day.