How to Make Money With Your Blog
Blogging has matured and changed, with more businesses getting into the mix over the past several years. WordPress is a common platform for blogging, offering an excellent and easy to use comment management system that is robust, attractive and free. Like many bloggers, you may be looking for ways to monetize your site. We’ll take a look at some examples and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.
Sell Links — There was a time when you could sell links, embed these on your website and make good money. That all ended about five years ago when Google began to penalize websites that transacted links. By selling links, you passed on PageRank, effectively diluting this important page rating system. You can still sell links, but you must include the “no follow” attribute with each link or risk being penalized by Google. Better to ignore this once popular linking strategy completely to stay within the good graces of Google.
Sponsored Articles — Another popular way to raise money has also raised eyebrows in recent years. That practice was to write a review or a story and link back to another site. Linking out is, of course, permitted and very valuable. However, receiving cash for this practice has put many a blogger within the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission. You see, if you receive compensation for an article, you must disclose this information or risk being fined by the FTC for failing to share that information with your readers. The FTC’s final guides were publishing in Oct. 2009 — familiarize yourself with the rules and avoid the big fines that can destroy your business.
Targeted Advertisements — Google is definitely in the ad business and has the largest ad network on the Internet. If you join this network, AdSense, you stand to make money each time your visitors click on an ad. You aren’t allowed to tell people to click your ads, but you can place these ads where your readers can easily find them and click on them. AdSense is one of many ad platforms you can use. Others to consider include BuySellAds, Chitika, AdBrite, Kontera, ContextWeb and Bidvertiser, to name a few.
Promote Ad Blocks — Although link selling is out, you can still sell block or banner ads on your website and stay within Google’s guidelines. That empty 468×60 banner ad space at the top of your page is an ideal place to begin as are spaces in your sidebar or even at the bottom of the page. These ads should also have the “no follow” attribute, but your advertisers won’t care as they want to siphon some of your targeted customers to their own site.
Join an Affiliate Program — Perhaps serving up your own ads is too much of a hassle. Maybe you want to use a service that is different from the common pay per click schemes offered by Google, ContextWeb, AdBrite and the others. Another popular alternative is to accept affiliate advertising, those ads that match your site, but are handled by a third-party provider. These providers include Commission Junction, LinkShare and the Google Affiliate Network; you get paid whenever a visitor to your site clicks on an advertisement, goes over to the other site and makes a purchase.
Sell Your Blog — If you consistently blog, write excellent articles and attract a strong following, the value of your blog will increase accordingly. Putting a dollar figure on that amount is difficult to do, but if you make a consistent amount of money through advertising, then your blog may be worth a significant amount of money. Typically, if you were to sell your blog, buyers want to know how much income it has brought in. Come up with a monthly average, multiply it by 6 to 24, and your blog may be worth that much to a buyer. For example, if you make $400 per month, a buyer may pay $4,800 based on 12 months of income. You can sell your blog online by using sites such as Sedo or Flippa.
Your Day Job
Quitting your day job can certainly seem appealing once your blog takes off. Only do that if you are confident that your blog has room to grow and you have the time to devote making it an even better destination for your readers. Some bloggers do earn six-figure incomes, but those people are a rarity with most bloggers earning pin money or not much more.