2016 is already half over (gasp!) but it’s not too late to make money blogging in 2016. Here are 6 proven tactics to increase your blog’s revenue by the year’s end.
1. Join an affiliate program
Affiliate marketing is a great way to tap into passive income, a.k.a. money you make while you sleep. But despite the high potential of affiliate marketing, many publishers aren’t sure to where to start.
The most popular affiliate marketing option for bloggers is Amazon Associates. Through this program, bloggers use links to various Amazon products in their articles; whenever one of the those links is clicked and leads to a Amazon sale, the blogger receives a commission.
Many affiliate programs offer even higher commission rates than Amazon. Shareasale, Affiliate Window, and Commission Junction are all great options. Niche-specific affiliate marketing is particularly effective. Have a travel blog? Become an affiliate for a travel insurance company.
2. Try out influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is when brands commission bloggers to promote their products through articles, social media posts or videos. Influencer marketing is a great way to make money blogging, and works really well for certain types of bloggers, especially:
+) Beauty and Fashion
+) Home and Garden
There are some prerequisites for getting into influencer marketing:
1./ Traffic – Many popular influencer marketing networks like TapInfluence have traffic minimums that bloggers must meet to be eligible for their programs.
2./ Engagement – Traffic alone isn’t enough; your blog must also have signs of life! Are your readers commenting, sharing or exhibiting deep-engagement patterns?
3./ Multi-channel Audience – Sites with a strong blog following in addition to followings on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter give brands more touchpoints with your audience.
4./ Topic Alignment – Brands want to work with influencers who are writing in their wheelhouse. If you aren’t already, start writing product reviews, gift lifts, packing lists or other product-specific content to showcase your chops
3. Package and sell your content
Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom from PinchofYum run a popular food blog. They started the blog as a side hustle and a few years later Lindsay quit her teaching job to run the blog full time. While a big chunk of their blog revenue comes from advertising, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing, they have been very successful with their new food photography classes and selling compilations of their recipes as cook books.
An income report for PinchofYum in July 2016
This doesn’t just apply to food blogs either. Here are a few other bloggers that have gotten into e-commerce to make money blogging:
+) The Sartorialist – Sells lovely books of photos from his blog
+) Gear Patrol – Readers can buy prints, product collaborations or subscribe to the Gear Patrol Magazine
+) Laughing Squid – Awesome stickers, t-shirts, ebooks, gadgets and more
+) Blogilates – Printable workout calendars and subscription-only merchandise
Ideas for merchandising on your blog:
+) Branded merchandise – tshirts, stickers, hats, etc.
4. Try out display advertising, or start using an ad server to onboard more advertisers
If you are brand new to display advertising, the best place to start is with Sovrn or Google AdSense. Sovrn has no pageview minimums to qualify for advertising. Once you are up and running, it’s time to start building out your “ad stack” or your “waterfall” – that is, your portfolio of advertising partners who compete to put ads on your inventory.
An ad server allows you to better manage advertising partners so you can begin to work with more advertising providers. If you’re using three or more ad partners currently, or are ready to add more partners like Sovrn, it may be time to start using an ad server. The ad server Sovrn publishers most often use is Google’s DoubleClick For Publishers (DFP) Small Business.
There are three main benefits of using DFP. One, you can segment international and domestic traffic, which is especially important if the majority of your traffic is non-US. Two, it helps organize ad space that you sell directly to brands. Finally, it improves latency. If your site is lagging from using multiple ad networks, DFP is your best bet.
5. Sell your services
Bloggers are generally experts in their chosen field, which translates beautifully to services like consulting, training and freelancing. WordPress Girl from askwpgirl.com writes blogs about all the intricacies of running a WordPress website, from plugins to development, design and beyond. She has built a successful online business by taking a service-based approach to blog monetization. She now offers online and offline classes, speaks at events and even builds websites for her readers for a fee.
Ideas for service-related blog revenue:
+) Online courses
+) Offline courses
6. Test a “freemium” content model
For publishers who prefer to go the ad-free route, or want to make additional revenue on top of their advertising dollars, “freemium” subscriptions are a popular approach. ElephantJournal.com, a popular yoga, sustainability, politics and lifestyle blog, allows readers to access a certain number of posts each month for free before they must subscribe for a small fee. Other larger publications like the Wall Street Journal are using a similar method.
This approach works best for blogs with a very loyal readership, or readers who return consistently for new content. If most of your website traffic comes from new users on organic search, “freemium” is not a great fit for your site. If your return readership is a large chunk of your traffic, or your readers have high session depth (number of pages viewed per session), “freemium” could be a lucrative way to make money blogging.