It’s fun to monetize a site, you just have to know how. Everyone want to profit from their blog, but only a few are successful. Why?
When it comes to blog monetization timing is always important, as the people who started 10 years ago know well. Niche is also essential, since you need to offer what readers want.
Beyond that, the most important factor in blog monetization is crazy, mad traffic. Monetization is a numbers game and more visitors mean more possible conversions to a sale.
The caveat to the numbers rule is the devotion exception. If your following is monumentally engaged, you have a better chance of converting them, so numbers are less important. So if you don’t get 10,000 – 50,000 hits per month, you’d better have lots of devoted followers to support you.
Once you’re ready to monetize your blog, here are some tools you’ll need.
Advertising requires an agreement with an advertiser who will preferably give you the graphics or code to place on your site. Here are some plugins to help manage ad placement.
AdRotate This plugin accomplishes all of the above, plus ad scheduling. In addition, you can set a new ad to appear on refresh of the page. Free
Simple Ads Manager This plugin offers an interface for uploading ads. Simple Ads Manager features Ad Place, either through a widget, a shortcode, or by adding PHP code. Ads can be weighted to be shown more often. Ad Zones allow you to specify what ad will be shown on what type of page or post. The auto-insert ad functionality lets you automatically insert ads into posts or pages before and after the content, as well as in the middle of content. Free.
The MidGame This online service helps you find sponsorship opportunities, manage client relationships and increase your online influence. Also called native advertising, this is where a brand pay “influencers” to post about them. Terms are all over the place, so caution should be used.
The best thing about affiliate marketing is having nothing to do but place code on your site.You can place pre-designed ads in sidebars or embed links in text, and when a reader clicks and buys, that company gives you a percentage or a flat rate. Most offer it’s a one-time payment, but some will pay a recurring fee based on subscriptions.
Amazon Associates Earn up to 8.5% by selling Amazon products, which is just about anything.
Individual Affiliates Some companies have their own affiliate programs and work directly with associates to offer high percentages on sales. For this site, I work with BlueHost, HostGator, as well as all the advertisers in my sidebar.
ClickBank, Commission Junction, Linkshare and Share a Sale are affiliate clearinghouses that hook you up with merchants and send your percentages of sales from links and ads on your site. They are strict about sales and will deactivate your account it sales fall short.
If you want to sell 3-dimensional products through your blog, things can get complicated with shipping, taxes, and credit card payment.
Shopify Create an online store, connected to your website or Facebook. Provides a secure payment gateway, shipping options, tax calculations and translations on a hosted platform. Packages from $29 – $179
Woo-Commerce Free plugin from Woothemes that allows you to set up an online store on your site. Built for WordPress, mobile friendly, open source. And, free.
Here’s a video to compare Shopify with Woo-Commerce.
Having a blog means the inevitable potential of creating eBook from your blog posts. To convert your blog posts to eBook format acceptable to the big distributors, here is my favorite option.
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Pressbooks This is freemium Software as a Service (SaaS) that offers a dashboard exactly like WordPress. Imported posts can be reordered by clicking and dragging, and edited, WordPress style, on their individual pages. Pick a theme and export as PDF (for printing) Epub ( for Nook, ibooks, Kobo) and Mobi (for Kindle). To get a 25% discount on Pressbooks exports, just go to the Pressbooks Upgrade page and enter the code: MARIKANE at checkout.
Once you create your eBook, the simplest, more profitable method of distribution is on your site itself. After that, there are innumerable options.
Free with Subscription Simply load your PDF eBook file to WordPress and use that link in your email opt-in confirmation email. (See Email Management.)
PayPal Sales Put the eBook’s link in the PayPal receipt the customer receives after payment.
Online Bookstores So many book sellers, so little time. Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Copia, Smashwords, Baker & Taylor will sell your book for a percentage of the cover price and manage sales and distribution.
Ebook Partnership will distribute to all of the above book sellers and more for a flat fee.
Building an email list is key to monetization. The subscribers you entice to opt into receiving your email alerts become your home team and your cheerleaders. You need to encourage readers to convert to subscribers but assertive means, like pop-ups. These are two good options.
OptinMonster A plugin that allows you to create and A/B test pop-up lead capture forms using a drag-and-drop builder within WordPress. Various packages let you grab exiting visitor, segment behaviors, measure results, location-specific in-line forms as well as effects. $49/yr – $199/yr
Sumo Me A freemium suite of plugins with simple-to-configure landing page welcome mats, heat maps, share bars, scroll boxes, contact forms, Google Analytics, image sharer, content highlighter, etc.
All those emails collected from your site’s pop-up form have to go somewhere and it should not be the Users file in WordPress. Cultivate subscribers by using a third-party email marketing service to manage addresses, send pretty email alerts, and track results. Here are a few of the better services.
AWeber Sends unlimited emails to up to 500 subscribers for $19/mo – $149/mo for up to 25,000 subscribers, which includes automation, segmentation, analytics, support, stock photos 700 templates and more. 30 day free trial.
Constant Contact Get analytics, support, stock photos, list-building tools, sharing tools, apps, file storage for $20/mo for up to 500 subscribers – $90/mo for 10,000 subscribers, minus pre-payment discounts. Pay more for more tools and templates. 60 day free trial.
MailChimp Free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. $25-$35 for 2,001- 2,600 subscribers includes automation, integrations and tracking. Free but no support for free members.
If art, graphics, coding, or promotion are you weakness, sometimes it’s best to delegate those tasks. Here are two place you can get pros to help.
Fiverr A marketplace for creative and professional services. $5 is the base, but you can spend $10-$20 more for a logo, eBook cover, banner ads, or get SEO, WordPress development, or video production. I once had a guy digitally record a song I wrote – for $20!
Upwork This (formerly E-lance) marketplace offers similar services, but for more normal prices. There are 3 different options: super-cheap, Pro and Enterprise that charge according the amount services you contact.
Landing Page Builders
Professional-looking landing pages aren’t built with WordPress alone. You need special plugins or services to create and/or manage those kinds of pages.
LeadPages A similar SaaS as Unbounce, LeadPages allows you to sort pages by their conversion rate and offers more templates for sale. Plans start at #25/mo – $199/mo. 30 day money back guarantee
Thrive Themes A suite of tools to upload directly to your WordPress site. Thrive Themes are conversion focused themes. ThriveLeads is a list building plugin. Thrive Content Builder is a front-end editor to create landing pages. Thrive LandingPages are conversion optimized landing page templates. Rates start at single license individual plugins at $67 or or Thrive Membership for $19/mo
Unbounce A local SaaS that provides a platform to build, publish and A/B test landing or splash pages using provided templates and integrate them with email services, CRMs, Google Analytics, social media, marketing automation and WordPress. Starts at $49/mo – $199/mo. 30 day free trial with branding.
There’s money in membership, especially if your group has what people want. Here are some tools to manage your site’s members.
Optimize Press Lets you create landing and sales pages, training and course pages, webinar registration, membership portals, and product launch funnels. Starts at one time fee of $97 for up to 3 sites. Example: BlogMasteryAcademy.com
s2Member A powerful freemium membership plugin for WordPress that protects members-only content with roles/capabilities. You can sell recurring (or non-recurring) subscriptions, “Buy Now” access, sell specific Posts/Pages, or access to file downloads. Free, but Pro version, which integrates with other payment options, starts at $89/single site – $189/ unlimited sites.
WishList Membership A powerful, membership plugin that can turn any WordPress site into a full-blown membership site. Sell membership levels, offer sequential content delivery, control viewed content, shopping cart integration, subscription control and more. $197 for 1 site – $297 for unlimited sites.
Digital products are the easiest things to sell since they requires absolutely no shipping. Often, they are low priced, like eBooks, so use of PayPal is preferable. But if you sell courses, you need more power.
E-junkie offers easy to use eCommerce tools to sell digital downloads (and tangible goods) online. They provide a lightweight, embeddable shopping cart to put anywhere, including your website, blog and social media. Starts at $5/mo for 10 products using 200 MB of storage – $100/mo for unlimited products using 50 GB of storage including remote file server support. 30-day money back guarantee.
Learn Dash A Learning Management System (LMS) plugin allowing for multi-tier courses, drip-fee content, certificates, quizzes, access expiration, assignment management, forums and more, so with a shopping cart. Starts at $129 for 1 site – $229 for unlimited sites.
Thinkific This is an all-in-one software that allows you to sell courses online. Full support for videos, html, PDF, quizzes, multimedia, and much more. Starts at $0 with 10% transaction fees -$79/mo with no transaction fees.
Udemy Utilize state-of-the-art, free-to-use course design tools to create your own online course. Reach millions of students worldwide, and deliver your course on any device, at any time on Udemy’s servers. Keep 100% of the revenue when you promote your course; 50% when Udemy promotes it. Free.
Password-Protected Page Post your materials on a WordPress page that requires a password. Send the link and password in the confirmation email after PayPal payment completes. Free.
Stripe A payments platform for Internet companies of all sizes. Using developer-freindly application program interfaces (API’s) you can accept payments, create recurring subscriptions, build marketplaces as it features simple, transparent, pay-as-you-go pricing, with no up-front costs, no monthly fees, no refund costs, no hidden fees. 2.9% + .30 per transaction.
As a trusted authority, you don’t want to just sell courses online, you want to conduct them in real time. For Webinars there are lots of options, but here are a few of the best.
Blab A lot like Google Hangouts but allows only 4 people to converse and it require at least one participant before going live. Blabs are viewed live only on the Blab website. Unlike Hangouts, Blab allows the conversation to be Off the Record which pauses the record button. Free
Google Hangouts A step up from Skype, this is a live streaming free plugin from Google that allows 10 people to participate, plus chat, screen sharing, and integration with Google +, Google Drive and YouTube. Requires Google+ account. Free.
Webinar Jam Cheaper than Go To Webinar but on steroids, it allows for unlimited attendees, targeted email followups, auto-store on YouTube, studio control center for chats, questions, polls, offers etc, on-demand video and attendee spotlight. $400-500 year (compared to $500/mo for Go To Webinar).
Go forth and monetize
Now that you have some great tools you can harness the buying power of your following and monetize your blog.
If there are any tools you like that I missed, please leave a comment below so that others can click on your affiliate links