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How to Monetize Your Blog & Make Money

November 5, 2008 by  

I planned to write a series of articles based on a formula that in my humble opinion sums up the “secret” of success for any blog. The formula is

Blog Success = Truckloads of Traffic + Good Monetization Technique + Good User Experience

Now when it comes to blogging, I must say that I am not a full time blogger and admittedly, there are other full timers who might have put the formula into practice, whether intentionally or not, and make tons of money out of it.

JohnChow.com comes to mind when we talk about this, the guy who made USD34,350.93 from his blog in October alone.
Well, it goes to show the sky is the limit when it comes to making money from your blog.

In general, this formula works regardless of whether you are trying to make money from blogging, affiliate programs, AdSense, eBay or whatever.

Some of you may recall that a couple of month back I wrote the first article of the series titled “Traffic to your Blog – A Recipe For Success.” A follow up to the first article is long overdue and I think it’s about time for the next one in the series. The second factor that I’d like to talk about is “Good Monetization Technique”.

If you have been blogging for sometime, you may already know that there are many ways to monetize your blog. From AdSense to promoting affiliate programs, and from writing paid reviews to selling direct advertising on your blog, the choices are endless.

Rather than listing all the monetization options available under the sun, I’ll try to discuss how to best monetize your blog in general.
The first question you need to ask yourself is that do you really want to make money from your blog? Perhaps you just want to share you opinion and making money is just a secondary goal.
Or perhaps commercializing your blog will compromise your integrity as an independent blog writer and if that’s the case, then this article is not for you.

The reason I ask is that there has to be a compromise between the quality of your content and how far you are willing to sacrifice user’s experience by having advertising in your blog.

The best way to make money from your own blog would depend on your blog’s niche and the type of visitors it attracts. If I can make money from AdSense, it doesn’t mean that you too will make lots of money from AdSense, although the chances are, you probably will because it’s the most popular way to make money from blogging.

Similarly, if you can make money from paid reviews, I don’t think I can make as much from this blog because I doubt I can churn out paid reviews as fast to generate as much income as you. Not to mention the Google penalty I’m trying to avoid for writing paid reviews in my blog.

 

So What Works Best For You?

The trick is to test to see what works best for you in your situation. If you run a finance blog, an ad that offers tax software might appeal to your readers.
Similarly, if you blog about making money on the Internet, your readers might response to ads related to how to make money online.

Now let’s look into several monetizing options in more detail.

 

Contextual Advertising

Content sites are best monetized with contextual advertising programs such as Google AdSense which is easily the most popular ways for bloggers to monetize they blog.
The ads are targeted and easily integrated with your content.

That said; do not assume right away that AdSense is the best monetization option for you. If your blogs belong in a popular niche such as entertainment or technology it would work great but if you blog about some obscure topics such as Qubit Field Theory, you would probably end up getting lots of Public Service Ads which doesn’t pay you anything when clicked.

In addition, you may want to try other ad network such as Chitika, Yahoo Publisher Network and others.

Like everything else, you need the traffic in order to make money from contextual advertising. It won’t make you rich overnight but it’s a good option to start with.

 

CPM Advertising

CPM advertising is ad programs which pay you for the each ad displayed on your blog. This option is best for blogs or sites that aren’t attracting enough targeted advertisers or the readers are less likely to click on your ads.

CPM (cost per thousands impressions) may pay you around $2 for 1000 impressions for instance but typically the pay out is rather low these days.

The downside of this is advertising option is that you really need a lot of traffic to generate a reasonable amount of income. Once you past the minimum traffic threshold, everything should be rather straight forward.

 

Direct Ad Sales

Direct ad sales is a great way to monetize your blog since there’s no middleman to take some of your profits. You can set you own ad rates and have more control over the advertising and payment options as it increases the amount and type of ads you can sell and let you specify when and how you get paid.

The main disadvantage is that since it’s up to you to find advertisers, you could end up with many unsold inventory especially when you are just starting out.

In addition, you’ll also open yourself to potential disputes as some buyers might ask for a refund. It’s therefore important to make your terms clear to potential advertisers before they sign up so that any future dispute can be resolved amicably.

If you are planning to offer direct ad sales from your blog, I suggest you check out the advertising script from OIOpublisher that help you manage and control your own ad sales easily. I am currently using this script to manage the direct ad sales in this blog.

 

Promoting Affiliate Programs

Once you get to know your readers closer, you might want to move into promoting affiliate programs. Unlike, AdSense, promoting an affiliate program require more than just plastering banner ads in your blog.

You can potentially make more money from affiliate program but since it requires some action from the readers in addition to a simple click, the conversion rate could be a lower.

I’ve written several articles regarding affiliate program in this blog which you may want to check out

 

Conclusion

It takes time and some effort to make money from your blog. The most important thing is to never give up and continue to focus on the areas of your strength.

Do not put all your eggs in one basket, diversify your income stream as much as possible.
When one method fails to work, at least you have five other sources that are making you money.

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55 Comments »

Comment by ahmike
2008-11-05 20:09:33

I really like this post, well I am climbing slowly, I believe John Chow, 5xmom and sabahan tried lots or errors and succeed.

Comment by wealth attraction
2008-11-07 21:56:52

the first post in this series is good too. I learned a lot.

 
 
Comment by rohaizad
2008-11-05 21:33:42

Now that’s was a damn good opening Gaman. I will wait for your next thought on how to generate more traffic. That’s for sure.

Comment by Gaman
2008-11-05 23:08:00

This is the second article. The first one is about getting traffic to your blog http://www.sabahan.com/2008/06/16/traffic-to-your-blog-a-recipe-for-success/

My third article will be about good user experience

Comment by Steve Wong Subscribed to comments via email
2008-11-05 23:26:37

I’m quite curious that who are the top ten highest income Malaysian bloggers? :) Any idea, roughly by guessing? Then we can learn from them by visiting their blog.

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Comment by Kotoh
2008-11-10 06:23:00

@Steven

I’m afraid you can’t but it possible. Since some of Malaysian bloggers are making money online silently, plus the aren’t reveal their actual income. This is whether due to they are really busy making money, really have no time to share their knowledge, want to keep the knowledge to monetize it soon or they’re only give you the outdated making money online info. This is the bottom line. You really have to dig and find it by yourself and will finally find 2 things. And this is no secret at all as what we are being told by most of bloggers or internet marketer anyway.

 
Comment by Kotoh
2008-11-10 06:28:04

Sorry @Steve actually, not @Steven

 
Comment by steve wong
2008-11-11 01:37:59

@Kotoh: Perhaps worried to be taxed :P

 
 
 
 
Comment by Susan
2008-11-06 05:10:34

How Kontera seen it’s day? Or is it still somewhat popular?

Comment by steve wong
2008-11-11 01:36:59

Removed after 2 months of testing…hardly make a few cents :(

 
Comment by Gaman
2008-11-12 10:10:35

I don’t make much from Kontera. If you search this blog you will find some articles where I write about my “experiments’ with Kontera

 
 
Comment by Norhafidz
2008-11-07 01:12:55

Direct ad sales contributed a lot to me. It does take a long hard time to make money online. Kudos to you Gaman for the list

 
2008-11-10 09:03:40

Excellent post and has given me encouragement to keep on keeping on.

 
Comment by nurusha
2008-11-10 18:20:22

interesting post and i believe i also can earn more money next time.

 
Comment by Kay Kastum Subscribed to comments via email
2008-11-11 16:10:16

KL traffic is ridiculous….internet traffic is what we need!
Thanks for the new info. Gonna try some of the ones you mentioned here.

Comment by Kotoh
2008-11-12 06:58:37

Agreed. Malaysia traffic is slightly useless when comes to make money from it. You have to target countries which english language oriented such as US, UK, Canada and so on. Driving traffic from these, would be another story and possibly we may ask Gaman to write something on it. Is it possible Gaman? ;-)

P/s: social traffic is crap & SE traffic is awesome!! Just my 2 cents.

Comment by Gaman
2008-11-12 10:12:41

Good suggestion. I’ll see if I can come up with something along that topic ;)

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Comment by Kay Kastum Subscribed to comments via email
2008-11-12 10:21:56

Ya bah. Show us the light o Master Gaman…

 
 
 
 
Comment by Latest Phone
2008-11-11 17:01:28

I personally prefer Direct Ad Sales at my Mobile Phone News website. It’s easier, faster and you can charge a huge amount if your website have good page rank and lots of traffic. You can head on to forums.digitalpoint.com to sell your ads. However, do note that you should not have too many outgoing links from your website.

 
Comment by Haida
2008-11-11 17:01:57

Hai friend…!!

Got a lot info here…thumb up to Admin for a nice post !!!

 
Comment by poor blogger
2008-11-11 22:26:18

Yeah this tips is useful for me poor blogger who can’t earn much money by blogging..
I hope it will help me to find more money and make my living more happily

 
Comment by james Subscribed to comments via email
2008-11-12 08:27:48

I thought I’d add my own 2 cents to this. Firstly I find adsense these days is barely worth it compared to what we can do through direct ad sales. Google was until recently paying us about $2 CPM but now is 50 cents! We can get approximately 6 times as much without breaking a sweat if we sell it ourselves and the next step is for us to remove Adsense completely because it just undercuts us.

Affiliates work well too and generate plenty of money for us. Wayyyyy more than advertising does, we have a fully working recruitment section with an affiliate that pays us just to be the exclusive provider on it, an office broking section that returns contextual results within our database and so on.

A well designed website that has different sections all interlinked works well too, for example we stuck a stock photography archive related to our content into ours.

We make rather more than the blog you have mentioned but then we get rather more traffic too. One thing is right… if you have the traffic you can make a small fortune.

 
Comment by Ruby Subscribed to comments via email
2008-11-12 20:09:45

Alomost everyday there new affiliate schemes or seo tools to help make money from ones blog. Plus posts on several blogs on how to make money from your blog.

This is a very informative post, one I’ll bookmark and use for future reference.

 
Comment by afas
2008-11-13 15:14:28

i guess, nothing wrong if i give a try. I hope i also can earn money just like you did. :)

 
Comment by pcformula
2008-11-13 20:52:41

thanks for u info,i newbei using busines online.acpecly adsense.

 
Comment by Sire
2008-11-15 14:56:23

Apart from doing paid reviews most of the other methods are all dependent on the amount of traffic your blog generates as well as the keywords targeted. Take adsense for example, some clicks are worth a whole lot more than others depending on the ads displayed which may be keyword driven.

 
Comment by silentleo
2008-11-15 22:33:14

cool information. Seems not many people know about this way. I hope i can do that better next time.

 
Comment by Savings account
2008-11-16 06:56:48

Great piece, I would agree with you that a more focused blog will be better off in revenue than a poorly contextual one.Never put all your eggs in one basket and spread your tentacles when it comes to online.

 
Comment by Blog Tactic
2008-12-18 00:22:45

Very clear concept.

 
Comment by Golf Carts Subscribed to comments via email
2008-12-23 15:51:04

I once heard a blogcast with Meg Awtrey where she talked about how she would try to monetize a blog/website with up to 11 different income streams to get a more stable income. My personal experience is that if you only use Adsense you’ll probably see great fluctuations over time.

 
Comment by Tommy
2008-12-25 21:37:00

Since school holidays of this year I have been searching a way to earn money online. Finally I found what I’m looking for thanks to Yaro Starak one of the successful blogger in Australia. Been slowing making money. But I need to attract a lot of traffics.

Thanks for your post it’s very informative.

 
Comment by Golf Carts Subscribed to comments via email
2008-12-28 18:52:34

@Tommy, it is great to hear that you’re moving in the right direction and Yaro is definitely someone that you can learn a lot from. Once you get the hang on how to drive traffic that will be the easy part. Good luck!

 
2009-01-13 11:54:34

Yup, the first step is to drive those traffic to your site.

 
Comment by Busby The SEO Test
2009-01-28 02:04:41

yeah, those are good ways to monetize blog.
but the most important is spirit.
without spirit all of those are nothing.

 
Comment by MyBlog
2009-02-02 21:48:58

my blog has 300-400 traffic but only earn little $1-2/day in adsense

 
Comment by ihateher
2009-02-04 14:05:11

ehm..i hope i can earn more and more money with my blog soon.

 
Comment by PS3
2009-02-06 03:00:10

I find it very hard to make a decent amount of money with AdSense. In 1000 impressions i’ve made $2 through clicks. The money is in affiliate marketing i think.

 
Comment by data
2009-04-07 14:48:25

me want to get some extra income with blog too. need to learn more about marketing and get extra traffic with a truckload traffic…

 
Comment by Cocacolya
2009-04-18 21:42:01

in my opinion..there’s no any secret at all…just work more

 
Comment by InspiredMomx1 Subscribed to comments via email
2009-05-30 17:49:28

I find this blog really useful for a newcomer like me. Thanks for sharing.

 
Comment by abrablog
2009-06-10 13:26:49

agree with that. If we not learn how to monetize our blog, its hard for us to make money online.

 
Comment by epols
2009-07-12 21:59:38

really like your post…give me some inspiration for more success with my blog…thanks…

 
Comment by Chantel Ryan
2009-09-21 06:52:53

Very Nice article …this is excellent inspiration for new and intermediate alike..Nothing worth while is ever easy ..apply great relevant content,good keywords and quality back links and one will be well on there way.Thanks

 
Comment by Adsense Subscribed to comments via email
2009-10-02 10:06:56

i totally agree with the equation “Blog Success = Truckloads of Traffic + Good Monetization Technique + Good User Experience”

 
Comment by english Subscribed to comments via email
2009-10-19 03:17:45

Thanks for sharing the blog monetization techniques. I am under the impression that adsense image ads pay more than text ads. Is that true?

 
Comment by Make Tons of Money
2009-10-19 23:56:23

Monetizing your sites is a great opportunity to make tons of money. Always make sure prospects will be enticed to buy or click. Remember that your visitors do not pay attention to all banners placed on your site but rather to the information that they can get from your website.

 
Comment by Ezahaiza
2009-10-25 20:46:06

It’s so interesting article. I hope it can help a newbie like me to get more traffic in my blog. Maybe it’s about time and how smart I can manage it. thank you for the info.

 
Comment by Joshua
2010-02-27 11:55:53

Having perfect done and fresh content is the king to getting good results in SERP. More Traffic = More Money.

 
Comment by menj
2010-03-14 14:40:13

Two years later, this article is still very relevant in 2010. The issue for me has always been “traffic”, however.

 
Comment by vickylee
2010-05-13 12:00:35

I think it really a good idea!

 
Comment by vickylee
2010-05-13 12:03:28

I think making money from blog is a good idea. I see that many people have got much money from it such as purchasing or finding jobs.

 
Comment by Milky Subscribed to comments via email
2010-06-13 00:37:02

hie there!..
i new about this adsense programme.. i’m not sure how to promote my blog and how to gain more viewers on it. Please do visit my blog and leave your link there. and dont forget the advertiser on my blog k..
http://www.sayasayangkotabelud.blogspot.com

 
Comment by magic
2010-06-18 07:47:10

Great post, the formula is correct, but it is hard to achieve. I think the user experiense is most important. If I’m a blogger, I won’t recommend bad things to the readers.

 
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