Whether you've been blogging for years, or are just dipping your big toe into the blogging world, you might be wondering, "How can I earn money on my website or blog? Is it possible to turn my love for writing from a part time hobby into a full-blown business?"
I'm sure you've seen the sparkly pin's on Pintrest which link to articles with lofty promises such as, "How to earn a six-figure income from blogging!" Or, "How I retired for my regular JOB and blog full time!"
While these success stories are real, possible, and completely within reach, they are not the norm.
The truth is, it takes a lot of hard work, effort, and determination to be one of the big time multi-figure bloggers.
Is it possible? of course it is! But you have to sacrifice a lot of time and energy in order to get there.
When you look at the big picture, and learn that it's actually POSSIBLE to build your blog from the ground up, and earn additional income through something you LOVE - that's pretty exciting to me!
Even though Crown of Beauty Magazine has been going for four years, I know that this is only the beginning of what can and will happen through Crown of Beauty, and I hope that my story will help encourage you to keep building your blog! (Or, Start a Brand New Blog!)
Turning your blog or website into an avenue to earn an extra income for yourself, your ministry, or a cause you are passionate about, is called "monetizing" your site. Even though the art of monetizing your blog can happen in a variety of ways, at the end of the day, there are 7 basic, fundamental ways you can earn money on your blog.
So, let's break them down!
1. Hosting Advertisements on Your Site
Hosting advertisements on your website or blog used to be the golden ticket to earn a speedy income online. But as things are quickly changing in the web world, Pay Per Click ads from services like Google Adsense, are not as profitable as they once were. There are several reasons why, but one is that many computers have ad blockers built in, and Google doesn't pay as much for hosting their ads on your site as they once did.
As you can see on our website, we have a few Google Ad's scattered here and there, but we don't want to be obnoxious with them. For us, getting our first $100 check in the mail from Google Ad's was really exciting! But we knew we weren't earning as much as we could be. Why?
Because from the very beginning, our main priority has always been to bless our readers, and we would never want to turn them away with the discouraging experience of being bombarded with ads. Isn't that like the most annoying thing ever?! On our site, we try to keep things classy, relevant, and if we place Google ads anywhere we always try to keep our readers best interest in mind before anything else. An important rule of thumb when thinking about ways to monetize your website is to ALWAYS place your readers first.
If placing Pay Per Click ads on your website doesn't fit with your brand, and wouldn't make sense to your readers - then don't do it! In the web world, content is king. Giving your readers what they want to read is so much more important than making a few extra dollars. Trust us, making the choice to keep your integrity and relationship with your readers your highest priority will pay off in the long run!
So, if Pay Per Click ads aren't quite your style, there is another option. You can sell your own advertising slots to hand-chosen, individual business partners who you know and trust! This gives you so much more control. Charging $10 or $100 for a banner ad (depending on your monthly reader stats) is a great way to build relationships with people who provide products that your readers would actually be interested in, as well as building connections with indie artists, authors, brands, and companies whom you feel confident endorsing! (BTW - are you interested in advertising with us? Send us a message!)
2. Market Products as an Affiliate
One of my favorite monitazation options is called the Amazon Affiliate Program. As you know, Amazon.com boasts millions of products. It's a popular, well trusted website that nearly everyone shops from! They sell books, movies, CD's, toys, and even adorable little clothes for your puppy dog. Basically, they have something for everyone. They also have something for every website. Whether your unique niche is focused on raising the perfect puppy, Bible journaling, or Christian-music-reviews, you can find a way to earn some extra income with Amazon!
Becoming an Amazon Affiliate is simple. (Unless you live in Arizona, Rode Island, or one of the other states that have a tax legislation law which won't allow you to be part of this program.) After you have a strong, thriving website going, you can submit your website for membership into the program. If Amazon chooses to accept you, you can then post product links such as the one below, into your website.
When a reader clicks on the product and decides to purchase it - you get paid! Of course, you only get paid a few cents. But don't let the idea of "three cents" here and "twenty five cents" there discourage you. All of those penny's and dollars an add up quickly! Next thing you know, you'll be getting deposits of $25 and $50 into your bank. Exciting stuff! Especially when this passive income simply comes from something you already built. The great thing about Amazon Affiliate links, is they work even when you're not working. That's the beauty of residual income. If you write a great post with wonderful product recommendations in it, several years from now, that post will still be live, and you'll still be earning some extra change from it!
Another fun bonus to the Amazon Affiliate program, is that if you decide to self-publish a book with Amazon's Create Space, you'll be earning a few extra cents with each sale through your Amazon Affiliate link. In a way, it's kind of like double dipping! Not only are you earning a payment from Create Space each time your book is sold, but Amazon is also paying you an extra commission for each time someone uses your affiliate link from your website to buy your book!
3. Create and Sell Print on Demand Products
Once you build a following online, if you offer your readers tons and TONS of amazing free content, chances are pretty good that they'll be excited about the idea of purchasing something from you! Creating your own "print on demand" products are a great way to earn some extra money from your blog.
What is a "print on demand" product? Basically, that means it is a product that you don't have to invest hundreds of dollars in developing, or buy a huge bulk load of items and store them in your garage.
There are many "print on demand" companies, such as Amazon's Create Space for self-publishing books, a print on demand T-shirt company, or a company like Zazzle which allows you to create and sell pretty much anything.
The best part about "print on demand" products? You don't have to deal with shipping! So you can be selling hundreds of items without ever having to go to the post office. Nice!
4. Write E-Books
Not only is writing an e-book a great way to earn additional income on your website or blog, it's also a fantastic way to grow your traffic! One thing that all bloggers should offer is a free e-book, guide, or PDF download with something of value and give it to your readers as a gift, in exchange for their email address. Why should you do that? Some people think, "I worked really hard on that book! I don't want to give it away for free!"
But think about it from a business perspective. If someone trusts you enough to share their email address with you, it's much easier to maintain a working relationship with that reader for years to come. Offering a free e-book to your readers tells you worked really hard to create quality content with information that they need, and your heart is generous enough to give it to them for free!
A free e-book also allows strangers who stumble onto your site an opportunity to check out what you're truly all about. (BTW have you checked out our newest free e-book? Dream to Destiny is all about inspiring you to make clear action steps in order to bring your wildest midnight dreams, into daytime reality!)
Signing up for your email updates will give them a free download, and if they read through your book and decide they don't like it, and want to unsubscribe, that's totally okay too! No harm, no foul, no big deal! They got a free book out of the deal, and you got the opportunity to learn that not everyone is in world is going to be crazy about you and your website. And that is totally okay.
As you grow your email subscriber list, it will give you an opportunity to stay connected with your readers, and it's possible that they may purchase more materials from you in the future.
Not only should every website offer a free e-book, but you should also offer a .99 cent e-book. Pricing a book at .99 cents gives your reader an opportunity to make a small investment into your blog, and decide whether they'd like to make larger purchases in the future. Your .99 cent e-book should be like a delicious appetizer of all the other amazing, fun, encouraging content that you have to offer. It should wet their appetite and get them hungry for more of your content! (The .99 cent deal that we're offering is "When Life Feels Like a Taylor Swift Song" which tackles tough issues for young ladies concerning important topics like boys, relationships, and dating! As you can see, a book with that theme fits well with our "Teen magazine niche.")
5. Create Online Courses
Once you grow a large online audience that trusts and adores what you have to say, you will be seen with more credibility, and possibly even as an "expert" in your field or unique niche. Once you reach this "expert" status, so to speak, you can begin creating and marketing an online course for your tribe. There are really no rules to how you set up your online course! Just as long as you:
-Provide lots of information and valuable material about the topic or area of expertise you're providing training for. (Such as "How to Study Your Bible", "An Intro to Bible Journaling", or a "Take Your Blog to the Next Level" course, etc.)
-Provide several types of interactive media. Your readers are already used to reading your blog posts, so if you're going to charge a fee for this experience, why not make it extra special for them? Create an interactive video series, with printable worksheets and official "homework" papers they can fill out and take notes in! Give them exclusive access into a supportive community where they can make friends and connect with other like minded people. Perhaps you could even offer a never-before-seen sneak peek at your upcoming e-book, as well as a personal Skype session with you! Brainstorm and write down as many ideas as you can to make the experience far more valuable than whatever price you're planning to put on it.
-Make sure your course is reasonably priced. If you've never hosted an online course, and your readers aren't used to this idea, don't go charging a crazy amount of money, slapping a several hundred dollar price tag on something your readers have never even heard you talk about before. If you do that, it's very likely that they'll grow uncomfortable and possibly even unsubscribe from your email list, thinking that you're just trying to get them to spend money. Don't scare your peeps away! If you're a first time Online Course Teacher, start small, by simply charging $10 or $25. Or perhaps you could even offer your first class for free! Once your tribe gets an idea of what these classes will be like, the more valuable advice they hear coming from your mouth, and the more you help them, the more they will trust you! Eventually, over time, some of your readers might be ready to spend several hundred dollars on gleaning from your expertise. But it's better to build slow and patiently earn their trust.
6. Sell Your Services
What is it that you're really, really good it? Designing web pages? Editing or offering feedback on the writing of others? Encouraging friends to go deeper in their relationship with God? Creating recipes with yummy organic foods? Helping your family get organized? Painting? Interior design? Crafting? Writing songs?
Truth is, it's very likely that you're super good at something which others struggle with. What comes naturally to you? What do you enjoy doing that feels very simple, and others drop their jaws and say, "Woah, I wish I could do that!"
Your special, unique giftings are needed by the people who read your blog! The more you can zero in on ways you can offer helpful, unique, valuable services to your readers, the closer you are to earning some more income!
For example, I love web design. So I offer a special, super discounted, package deal for our readers who wish to create beautiful websites or blogs. (Peek at it here!)
Spend some time brainstorming. Ask your friends, "What am I really good at?" Ask your readers, "How can I help you guys? What would you love to see from me?" And listen to their responses! Their answers may help you develop a great way to earn some extra income from your blog.
7. Use Your Influence
There are several other potential income streams which you can use your influence in the blogging world to connect with practical money making ideas. Such as...
-Selling your own home-made crafts or products. (Forget the $1 listing fee on Etsy. You can post them directly on your site!)
-Promote your Network Marketing or Direct Sales company. Whether you're selling essential oils, all-natural-makeup, or adorable bags, you can use your blog to throw out shameless plugins and shout-outs about your products! Anyone who is into Network Marking knows that it's all about growing your network of friends, and blogging is a great way to do that.
-Connecting with Sponsored Post programs is a path many bloggers take. Although I haven't tried it personally, some popular sites for venturing down this path are Izea, Pollinate, Tap Influence and Cleaver Girls Collective.
-Consider connecting with more affiliate programs. Even though Amazon is a fantastic place to start, there are many ways to branch out into the Affiliate Marketing world. Other affiliates that some bloggers have had success with are Commission Junction (which connects you to many other brands such as Target and ModCloth), eJunkie, and affiliate programs hosted by other bloggers. Again, the best way to increase your blogging income is by connecting with your fellow bloggers! Oftentimes when a blogger releases a new book, they'll launch an Affiliate Program for it. Meaning, that if you post about their book, and someone purchases it through your link, you earn a small commission.
We hope these ideas have added a little fuel to your fire and inspired you to keep moving forward! Whether you've been working on your blog for years, or just started yesterday, the biggest secret of success is:
Don't give up! No matter what.
Whether you'd like to be earning a little bit of extra income from your hobby, or are dreaming about going into blogging full time, there are definite action steps above that you can take to make those things happen! So choose a task, make a goal, and get to it girly!
Again, if you don't have a website but have been dreaming about starting one, feel free to Contact Me about it! I'd be happy to chat with you about some of your options, and share more about what has worked or not worked for me. If you're wondering which web-building program I used to create this site, check out the link below.
SBI (Solo Build It) has been SUCH a huge blessing in my life. This amazing program lays out everything step by step, in a strategic, yet super easy to follow way. They cover all the bases. From teaching you how to create pages that will rank high in search engines, to choosing your domain, finding your unique niche, designing each web page, building a following and earning an income...SBI seriously covers everything. Following the simple, daily, step by step road map, has helped me accomplish and continue moving toward my goals! Check 'em out here!
Check out our Podcast:
Dream to Destiny!
Unlocking Your God-Given Dreams