Q&A on Twitter #digiblogchat – How to Monetize Your Blog

I had the honor of being invited to be a guest at the weekly #digiblogchat to talk about monetizing a blog. One of, if not my favorite topic in the online marketing niche.

Carol Stephen, from Your Social Media Works hosts the weekly Twitter chat. The topics always are centered around blogging, social media, online marketing, and other similar interests.

If you want to join the next chat, put it on your calendar and follow the hashtag: #digiblogchat on Twitter. The chat takes place every Tuesday at 1:00 PM PST. If the idea of a Twitter chat seems confusing, don't worry, it is.

As a side note, here are a couple of resources about Twitter chats to help you get up to speed if you want:

#DigiBlogChat Recap - Tips for monetizing a blog

Before the chat started, I created a new blog post where I mentioned three essential tips about making money with a blog and I also talked about my previous posts covering nine programs to help you monetize your blog, part 1 and part 2. Don't forget to check those out if you want some ways to make money with your blog.

Also, before I joined the chat, I wrote down all the questions and came up with my own answers. You'll find them below along with some of the most interesting responses by other participants.

Q1 - Can I monetize a blog on any niche?

My answer: Almost every niche can be monetized. There are various ways to monetize blogs. Affiliate marketing, contextual advertising, banner advertising, products, lead generation, and private paid memberships just to name a few.

Q2 - What are the main elements I need to make money with my blog?

My answer: You must have a working blog that you can customize and configure without restrictions. Avoid Blogspot, Medium, and even WordPress.com. Although you can monetize blogs using the platforms mentioned above, it takes a little more expertise to do so, and I wouldn't recommend you try it if you're a beginner. Instead, start a blog with a web hosting company, so you have 100% control over the blog. You can read more about web-hosting here.

You will also need, an email autoresponder also known as an email list. I recommend any of these three: Aweber, Getresponse or Mailchimp.

The type of content you will need is evergreen content, and you'll need to add new content regularly. Additionally, you must have methods to promote the content and the blog so more people visit it. Once those things are in place, you need a program or system that will bring you revenue; see question 3.

Other considerations to make money with the blog are trust and consistency.

Q3 - What are some ways to make money with my blog?

My answer: The most common way by far is selling advertising spots or promoted content space. My favorite way is by helping people find solutions and monetizing the solutions with affiliate relationships. There are thousands of products and brands with affiliate programs as I mentioned in this post. Also check out the posts I referred to at the beginning of this post for 18 ways to monetize your blog.

You can also use a website like Zazzle to sell branded products that your audience will love. Teespring will help you create custom t-shirts.

Another highly profitable way to make money with a blog is by providing private access to structured content that teaches a skill or course; this is also known as a membership site.

Q4 - Aren’t blogs dead? All of my audience is in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social network. How do I monetize that?

My answer: I started blogging on 2002. I started making money with my blog in 2008, and every six months or so I hear someone saying that blogging is dead. Yet we are still here.

No, blogging is not dead. Monetizing social media is a little bit harder but it is doable. The most common way to monetize a social media audience is to guide the community you've built to visit the blog or website where you can close the sale. This has been the most common way and recommended, but increasingly social networks are adding ways to sell directly on their platforms.

Sometimes you can sell a product in the same social space where your audience is already hanging out. Don't force your audience to click on a link to your blog if you can close the sale on the spot.

Q5 - What kind of skills do I need to start a money-making blog?

My answer: The skills you need are basic. If you can write a letter using MS Word, you can write a blog post. If you know how to post a photo on Facebook or Instagram, you'll be able to post photos to your blog posts, and if you know how to share a link from a Youtube video to your friends, then you can run a blog.

The main skill that you need to start is patience, then you need passion, and then persistence. You will acquire more advanced skills as you go and the more you write, the faster you'll learn things like back-linking, categorizing, tagging, guest blogging, basic and intermediate CSS and HTML.

You will also learn how to research keywords, and you will improve your marketing skills and storytelling ability. But you MUST start, if you don't start blogging, you will never be able to improve.

You don't even need to be a good writer! See question 6.

Q6 - Can I monetize content if I don’t like to write?

My Answer: You most certainly can. If you don't like to write, if you don't like to physically sit down and type a story or an article, you could make videos and write just a short description to introduce the video and then let the video do most of the work.

You could also have a photo-centric blog and monetize that, but if you want to share blog posts that are written without having to sit down and type, you can use a voice recorder app to record a post and have a virtual assistant transcribe it for you. You can find lots of people on Fiverr that will do transcriptions for you.

Both Android and iPhones have really advanced voice-to-text technology that you can use as well. Just start up a document or note and use the microphone icon to dictate your blog post. Once it's done, just edit it for accuracy and voila!

Q7 - What are three must-haves for a blog to make money?

My answer: I'm making the assumption of course, that the blog exists and there are a few people visiting the blog already. These are the three must-haves:

  1. An email list
  2. Good content
  3. A good product or service.

With these three elements, you should be able to fulfill the notion that Traffic + Conversions = revenue. An email list and good content will bring traffic, a product will give you a chance to make money. When you put both of them together you can figure out your conversions and adjust what is needed to make money or make more money.

I'm always surprised how people say they're not making any money, but when I ask them what product they're promoting, their answer is "none" -- For most people, ads will not make any significant amount of money. Check out the next question, and for a more in-depth look at monetizing your blog, Check out this video:

 

Q8 - Should I put ads like Adsense on my blog?

My answer: I recommend you don't use AdSense on your blog when you first start. Ad networks like AdSense are fine once you have built a certain amount of traffic and loyal following. But my opinion is that you should have an effective lead capture system before you risk losing your readers to some attractive advertising units.

Tosca asked, "what other choices do we have?"

Use something like Optinmonster to create a lead capture device. I would also use a plugin like OIO Publisher to run my own ads based on affiliate revenue or paid placements. That way you control the price, the advertisement units, and can forecast your revenue more accurately and your risk of losing a new visitors is minimized.

I tend to agree mostly with Chris on this one:

I would change "it may not be" to "it probably will not be."

Q9 How much should I expect to make with my blog?

My answer: This will vary from niche to niche and from blogger to blogger. What you should do is start and set a goal for revenue. Then run the blog for 30 - 90 days with several revenue channels. After that, review your analytics and your conversions. Start adjusting the various factors to hep you reach your goal.

A good goal is to make a full-time income with part-time effort. Use the salary of an entry level job that people in your area use to live on, and try to make that your goal by month 12 - 18. Then break down that goal to a weekly and daily basis. For example, $40,000/year would mean $770/week or $110/day.

It is much easier to think about your blog revenue goals when you break them down like that. You can then focus on blogging for 2 to 4 hours each night and focus on making your 4 hours of work generate $110 per day.

Bridget has it right, set up your goals! It doesn't matter if you're a for-profit, or non-profit, you have to setup goals, so you can then plan your strategy and tactics to reach said goals.

Q10 - How do I get paid when I make money with my blog?

My answer: Each program you join has their own way of paying you. Some will send you a physical check. Other programs require that you sign up for an electronic payment system, like Paypal. Another method that is gaining popularity now is direct bank transfers. When you join the program, you'll find what you need to do to get paid. I wrote a blog post talking about various methods you can expect to see.

Some other answers were more about what you can sell to get paid:

Or what actually makes you money, like Adsense paying you per click instead of per sale:

I had another question that didn't get asked because we ran out of time but it would probably help a lot of people:

Bonus Q11. What are some programs I can use to monetize my blog?

My answer: Instead of Adsense and advertising, I would say that the best way to monetize your blog is to focus on products and services that convert and promote them as an affiliate. Sometimes when you're starting out you may not know where or how to find them so I've been putting together some of the programs that you could use right away.

So far I put two blog posts together with actual examples of new programs you can try out. These are new, but they're in established niches so you have proven markets with a new product which should increase your chances of making money faster.

See the posts here:

9 Programs To Help You Make Money With Your Blog

and 9 MORE Programs to Help you Make Money With Your Blog

I know, how original right?

The Wrap Up

I hope you found these useful. I know there's a lot to digest and if you're new to making money online, or the whole idea of monetizing your blog then it may seem overwhelming. My advice is to start with an email list, produce great focused content and let your email list know about it, partner with great affiliate programs and get to work. All the other stuff will be easier and more manageable once you see some money coming in.

If you'd like to learn more about affiliate marketing, there is a conference coming up you may want to attend, It's called Affiliate Summit. The next one is coming up this summer in New York, then in January it comes to Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit West, you can learn more about the conference here.

7 Comments

  1. Hey Oscar Gonzales,

    Appreciate your effort in answering the questions, it was quite a long article but has answered some of my questions.
    Would be glad if you come up with an article on content marketing

  2. […] if you’re new to the whole idea of making money with your blog. It’s a collection of Q&A related to monetizing a blog. There’s also a video where I give you some tips I’ve picked up along the […]

  3. I always seem to miss the Twitter chats, having a recap all in one place like this is great ~ Thanks for gathering it all up and sharing it like this. So much info packed into one session, this post could be an ebook for sale with all these little blog content monetization strategy nuggets 😉

  4. Hi Oscar,

    I love how you used tweets interspersed with your own expertise to create this blog post! And thank you for the links, too! I appreciate that.

    Have a great week!

    Carol Stephen

    • Thanks YOU for hosting this. The tweets are cool and make it a little easier to share, I really should do this with all my posts. You have a great week too!

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