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monetize a blog
12 Oct
By Jarrod | 12 Oct | how to monetize a blog, make money blogging |

How to Monetize a Blog

There are tons of affiliate programs, advertising campaigns, and other marketing programs out there seeking to place their ads on your site; especially if you have a decent level of traffic and can direct your customers to them. Your readers are your customers, and to advertisers they are a potential sale. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when searching for an advertising program that will fit with your blog, and the level of effort you're willing to put in to place those ads on your webpages. Some questions you'll want to ask yourself are:

1. Do you want static ads, native ads, responsive ads, or ads for a specific product or service,

- Static Ads: Advertisements that don't change. For example, if your site is about red umbrella's you could place an ad that is always the same red umbrella; the ad image doesn't change.

- Native Ads: These ads change based on the content of your page. The benefit to these is you can place an ad script on your sidebar, for example, and the ads that are displayed will change based on what page the user is on. The downside is you can't control the ads and it's not a perfect technology, so sometimes you may see irrelevant products being advertised.

- Responsive Ads: These change size pending what medium the user is viewing your site on (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone). The benefit is trusting that the ad provider "knows best" about what size/shape ad will work best within the content. The downside if you go this route is you may want a square 250x250 ad on your sidebar, and a responsive ad may change size periodically.

2. Do you want ads that redirect traffic to an internal page on your site, or will it be an outbound link to an affiliate product page?

3. Are you going to find a product and build your blog around that product, or alternatively, are you going to write your content then try to find products or services that are compatible with your content?

4. Do you want to put in the effort to create data-feed advertising that promotes specific products that you pick out, that caters to the content of your page?

Native Ads


As I've mentioned in previous articles, I've owned ~20 websites for the past 7 years and I've tried many of the programs out there in an effort to monetize my sites. For me, a majority of my sites rely on Google adSense, and I have been experimenting with ads through the Amazon affiliate program. Almost all of my advertising is responsive, native ads.

This leads me to another important distinction with advertising; Pay-per-Click and Pay-per-Sale. Google pays publishers (the people displaying Google ads on their blog or website) based on a Pay-per-Click agreement. This means if a website visitor clicks on one of their ads, you get paid. The amount of money you make depends on how competitive the topic (or keyword) is and how much money businesses are willing to bid to have their ads in a higher position, compared with other businesses. For example, if business's A, B, and C are competing to show ads for the keyword "Blog" and A bids $1, B bids $2, and C bids $3, then business C will receive a majority of the ad impressions for the keyword "Blog" and they will be at the top of the list, where B would be below C. Based on business C's bid for $3 you will get a percentage of it if a user clicks on that particular ad.

With Amazon's affiliate program, they have a Pay-per-Sale agreement, which means you are not paid until a visitor clicks an ad on your blog, which takes them to Amazon's product page, and the visitor must buy something; then you get a percentage of the sale.

I've been testing earnings with Google vs. Amazon on one of my websites for about a month now; keep in mind it's still an experiment in progress. I haven't switched the position of the ads and this is only on one website so this may not be representative of what a full-scope analysis would reveal. But I have earned about $4 with Google adSense for every 30 cents Amazon has made. So far, it seems Google is a better choice, at least for this particular website... there are ton's of factors that play into this and this could just be a reflection of the type of content and users I have for the site I'm testing. I'm placing an emphasis on this being an a experiment because a different site, with a different type of content may experience very different results in their monetizing efforts.

Affiliate Marketing Programs


I have tried a few affiliate marketing programs, but one of the best I have found is ShareASale. Another really popular affiliate marketing company is CommissionJunction. Think of these as a catalog of companies offering affiliate partnership opportunities. With these type of marketing companies, you join their site, and they act as a centralized location where you can work directly with major brands and retailers. They have hundreds of companies in their catalog and you request to become a member of their specific affiliate program. Once approved they offer banner ads, data feeds, and text ads.

This type of advertising is great when you have a specific product that is compatible with your blog. For example, if you have a blog about fashion you could become an affiliate member of a women's fashion botique, and create data-feeds with dress's, pants, shoes, etc. that you specifically pick out. Then you could blog about how much you love these items and place them within your blog. This not only assists you with adding visual content to your site, but now you are offering a product that is consistent with your topic, and it increases the likelihood of driving a sale. There are affiliate programs out there for just about any product/service you can think of.

In additiona to affiliate marketing programs, many companies offer direct affiliate partnerships. In this case you work directly with the company offering a service or product. If you come across a website that offers a product or serivce, if they are a fairly large company, they will have an "affiliate" link somewhere at the bottom of the page. Sometimes it is to work with them directly, and in some cases they direct you to an Affiliate Marketing Program. The benefit of working directly with a company is you can cut out the "middle-man" and may receive a better return per sale (a better commission).

This is just part one of a series of blogs to come related to monetizing a blog; finding out how to monetize a blog is only part of the challenge. Next I'll discuss ad designing and placement strategy, as where you place the ad is just as important as what the advertisement is.