When I asked over on the MMD facebook page what you all wanted to know about blogging, a lot of you asked me to talk about how to monetize your blog.
This blog does make a little–but not a lot–of money. When I started MMD, my first goal was to generate enough cash to cover the coffee, tea, and Diet Coke that fuels this blogging thing. (Yes, I’ve quit Diet Coke since then.) My next goal was to cover the grocery bill. I’ve handily met the first goal; I’m still working on the second.
I’ve learned a lot about how to monetize since I started blogging last year. The lightbulb came on for me after I wrote this post last year about 3 things I wish I’d learned sooner about shopping online. I didn’t write it with any kind of monetization strategy in mind, and was stunned when it generated enough cash to pay for all my Blissdom-related expenses. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
So, I’m no expert, but these are the ways I’m currently monetizing MMD:
My first source of income on MMD was the Amazon affiliate program. I still remember the happy dance I did on Tax Day 2011, when I logged into my affiliate account and discovered that some kind soul had bought vitamins through an Amazon link on my site, netting me a 33¢ commission.
Here are a few things you should know about the Amazon affiliate program:
1. You’re paid in pennies. A 4-8% commission on a book, movie rental or bottle of vitamins isn’t much money.
2. When readers click over to Amazon from a link on your site, the blogger receives a commission for anything they buy in that visit to Amazon. (Personally, I get a kick out of buying my diapers through links on my single friend’s blogs.)
3. Volume counts. I’m thrilled when I see someone has gone through one of my Amazon links to rent a movie that costs a dollar, or buy an ebook that costs 99¢. If you’re in Amazon’s tiered rate compensation structure, your commission rate increases with your volume. So maybe I’ll only get paid a few pennies commission for that movie rental, but that purchase will help increase my overall commission rate for the month.
Ebook Affiliate Programs
Many bloggers have affiliate programs for their ebooks and other products, and these typically pay out at 30-50% rates. This means that instead of getting paid a few pennies every time someone makes a purchase, you could get paid a few dollars. That’s a big difference!
I’ve shared a few ebooks with you all here on MMD: the ones you’ve liked the most have been Tell Your Time, How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too, One Bite at a Time, and Simple Blogging. The No Brainer Wardrobe didn’t have an affiliate program when I first wrote about it, but I joined when Hayley added it several months later. It’s been quite popular with MMD readers. (Affiliate relationships are always disclosed in the post.)
When I launch Work Shift next week, I’ll have an affiliate program with a 50% commission structure. I’ll give you directions on signing up.
Right now I have one Google Adsense spot on the blog in the right sidebar, and I do a little happy dance whenever I see it’s gotten a click. I’ve thought about dropping it because I don’t love the program and only have limited control over the ads. But as you can see, it’s there for the time being.
Private Ad Sales
I have a small number of private ad spots that run in the right sidebar. A simple ad button that’s 125×125 is $15/month, and a featured 250×250 spot is $25/month. Right now I’m using Passionfruit Ads to handle the sales end of those sponsor spots. (50% Would you like to sponsor MMD? Get 50% off any spot with the code FRIDAY.)
And Many More
There are all kinds of ways of making money blogging that I don’t do here on MMD, like ad networks and sponsored posts. For more information, check out ProBlogger’s great mindmap illustrating 13 ways bloggers make money.
My Advice to You About Monetizing Your Own Blog
If you want to monetize your blog, here’s what you need to do:
1. Focus first on creating good content. Otherwise, no one’s going to want to come visit your blog.
2. Develop your readership. I get too many emails from bloggers who are frustrated that they’re not making money blogging…but they only have 5 readers. You don’t need a massive following to generate a small income from your blog, but you do need some traffic.
3. Educate yourself. If you want to make money blogging, spend some time reading about how to do it. I’ve just shared the tip of the iceberg here. My favorite places to go for information are ProBlogger, Blogging With Amy, and Momcomm.
Does your blog generate a few nickels or more? If not, would you like to make money blogging?
This post contains my affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!