Everyone wants to understand the money side of blogging, right?
As of this moment, I run a blog that generates an easy 4-figures every single month with very little effort on my part. I calculate that I spend approximately 4-5 hours a week (sometimes much less) servicing the site, researching and writing new content. But – and this is a giant but – I have mastered my process. It took me seven years to learn the ropes and grow my blog to a place where I now just know what to write about and how to increase my traffic.
Basically, I went to the school of hard blogging knocks.
If I had had a mentor or a support system pulling me along all those years, I can guarantee you I’d be rolling in way more money than I am now.
I digress. My point is, there is a formula to generate passive income on your blog. It will be different for every blogger but the fundamental principles are the exact same. Once you nail that formula to creating growth and income passively, you can turn your attention to other forms of revenue that are much more lucrative, but require a bit more attention.
If you are just starting your blog, you are going to want to focus on growing one general metric – your traffic – and one conversion metric – your newsletter or Facebook Group subscribers.
If you want to learn some tricks for kickstarting your traffic growth, have a look at this post I wrote about ways to reach your first 1000 pageviews.
Once you have a steady source of traffic, you have a few options for monetizing your site:
This is where you sign up for a retailer program and use a tracking link provided by them when you link to a product or service on your site. If one of your readers clicks your link and makes a purchase within a set window of time, you will be credited with a commission for that purchase.
The most popular program for beginners is the Amazon Affiliate program. You will have to sign up based on which country you are in (for e.g. the Amazon.ca program or Amazon.com program) and the commission rates range from about 1.5% up to 6% in some cases.
But there are other affiliate programs that work really well for beginners too. When I first started blogging, I used SkimLinks ALL THE TIME. It also allows you to earn commissions from Amazon, but 100s of other retailers as well.
Basically, with SkimLinks, you install a banner on your Chrome browser and if you are shopping on one of their affiliate sites, it will pop up and tell you the commission rate and offer a button to grab your link. It’s so simple.
The other one you’ll want to check out is Shareasale. It has thousands of retailers as well and offers great competitive affiliate commissions.
When you’re first starting out, you won’t have a lot of traffic to sell to advertisers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started! The first place you’ll want to register is Google AdSense. Use a basic script inserter (or the plug-in called Ad Inserter) to put it on your site and the ads will appear.
Full warning: if you make $10 on Google ads, you’re doing great.
This is why it’s important to focus on growing your two metrics – traffic and subscribers. Don’t focus on the money to start because until you reach higher pageviews, it’s going to be SLOW and mind numbing.
Pageviews are the gateway to ad networks.
What are ad networks? They are digital companies set up specifically to help you monetize your traffic with targeted ads your audience wants to see. They will work with you to fill your ad slots (without you having to do anything) and you will receive payouts at regular intervals.
I recommend signing up for a reputable ad network as soon as possible.
Ezoic is a very popular network among new bloggers. It is more tailored than Google ads and offers a better ad-based experience for your readers. As such, it will give you higher payouts and better ad partners. And you don’t have to have massive page views to qualify for this network.
Monumetric (formerly The Blogger Network) is also a popular choice. I was with Monumetric for about a year when I was scaling my site. The Propel program is designed for bloggers with 10K-80K pageviews per month. The catch? They charge you $99 USD to set up your ad server at the beginning. So you really need to be confident with your pageviews and site growth before joining this network. When I joined, I made my investment back within the first month. Note: Monumetric can only monetize sites built on WordPress or Blogger (not Squarespace).
Mediavine is the grand-daddy ad network that a lot of bloggers aspire to be on. I can honestly say when I joined Mediavine my entire blogging world changed and my ad revenue increased double, if not triple fold in some cases. This ad network is small, bespoke and highly targeted.
They build relationships with their blog publishers and work tirelessly to ensure the ads they provide are the exact right ads. The catch? You need at least 25,000 SESSIONS per month for three months straight to qualify for this network. Note: Mediavine is designed to serve WordPress blogs. It works on other platforms such as Squarespace and Blogger, but the results aren’t always as good.
What is a Session? A session is one user journey on your site. So for eg. if I visit your blog and read a how-to article, click to your About page and then click to your project gallery, that’s three pageviews but only one session. I always tell my clients that once you reach 10K pageviews per month, your goal should be to increase sessions.
Being consistent and knowing your audience. If you aren’t creating content that resonates with your audience and feels good for them to consume, solves a problem and feels authentic, you are going to leave money on the table.
Whether you are writing about DIYs, business, crocheting or gardening, consistency is key.
And I know that ‘knowing what to write’ can be a challenge (I’ve written a post about the limiting beliefs that hold bloggers and creators back), so that’s why I’ve got an invitation for you that will help you get over this consistency issue!
If you want to deepen your understanding and unlock the PROCESS for creating content that works for your business and for your personal brand, jump into Stories for a Year.
I created this program to be accessible, affordable and super useful for anyone who feels stuck and in the starting blocks when it comes to content creating and story.
In Stories for a Year, you’ll get:
Stories for a Year is your incredible blogging and content creation resource to get you beyond that blinking cursor!