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How to Monetize a Personal Blog

So many people are interested about earning money through the Internet. Most would equate that with working for an employer as a virtual assistant, Internet researcher, and all kinds of SEO work. Although it is now common knowledge that you can earn money from having a blog or a website, not everyone is convinced that you can actually make money out of blogging—especially if you’re merely maintaining a personal blog where you share personal thoughts and stories which you think will pique the interest of other people.

The truth is this: It is indeed possible to monetize a personal blog BUT it just happens that some blogs have more potential to generate money than others. It also depends on the blog’s subject matter. This is an important thing to bear in mind, and one that will be discussed later in this article.

Monetizing: What Does It Mean?

Monetizing a blog means putting in place several arrangements that will enable you to earn a commission or direct income from a product or service that you’re offering for a price.

Here are the most common ways to monetize a blog:

1. Signing up for Adsense.

This seems to be the very first thing that bloggers sign up the moment they decide to monetize their blogs, primarily because it is the easiest thing to do. All you have to do is sign up for a Google Adsense account and the service will walk you through on how to put up their ads on your blog.

The disadvantage with Adsense is the conversions are usually very slow. Your blog earns money by PPC or pay-per-click. This means each time a visitor clicks on the advertisement, that’s when your blog earns a commission. Advertisers are the ones who assign a PPC rate, not Google. Here’s another caveat to add to those deplorable facts: most of the time each click is only worth 5 cents or more. There are other PPC platforms as well that go by the same rates.

This is why you cannot depend on PPC advertisements alone if you want your blog to generate a larger income. You need to supplement PPC with other monetization deals.

2. Hosting paid advertisements on your site.

You can set aside a prime spot in your blog’s side bars or top, middle, and bottom banners for paid advertisements. The difference between this and the above is that you are in direct contact with the advertisers. There’s no Google Adsense to act as middle man. This means there’s a higher chance that you’ll earn a much higher commission for each PPC.

3. Joining an affiliate marketing program.

There are some advertisers though who require actual conversion first before they’ll guarantee a commission. This means customers who click on the ads on your blog and are redirected to the advertiser’s site must finalize a purchase first before you can get a commission. This is the principle in affiliate marketing.

The affiliate programs of Amazon and Barnes & Noble (Amazon Associates and B&N Affiliate Program) are two very popular choices for affiliate marketing. They give bloggers the opportunity to earn huge commissions in e-commerce and at the same time advertise their products. In order to earn commissions, bloggers will endeavor to write very good blog posts about various products so that their readers will be encouraged to make purchases.

4. Selling a service or product.

If the advertisers’ products become a hard sell, you can always sell your own products or services. The only danger here is if you go overboard with promotions and your readers get turned-off by the blatant advertising. If you keep your promotions in check, you can earn from selling the following:

  • eBooks

So many bloggers have already earned—and are currently earning—an income from making their own ebooks and selling them. Some of them even take it a step further and become a self-published author in Amazon and Barnes& Noble. Their sales may not have matched those of Stephen King, JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, James Patterson and the like, but many of them certainly enjoyed a respectable—not to mention continuous—flow of income from selling ebooks.

It is best to write an ebook about a topic that you know very well. For example, many bloggers capitalized on their knowledge in blogging and sold short ebooks on blogging and SEO tips, online marketing, and the like. Some even wrote ebooks on pet care, food recipes, and exercise routines.

  • Merchandise

If you have enough capital, you can start a cottage industry business selling actual merchandise and use your blog as a contact site for your customers. You’ll end up blogging more about the products you sell though, so explore the option of creating a separate blog for your product selling and use your personal blog for occasional promotions and guest posts from satisfied customers.

  • Writing paid reviews

You need to build your credibility and reputation as a fair, trustworthy, and knowledgeable reviewer for a various products before you can actually earn from writing reviews. Once you do get a foothold in this endeavor, you won’t only get paid writing non-biased reviews. There’s also a big chance you’ll receive freebies and be the first to own newly-released gadgets, games, and other products from the manufacturers themselves.

What to Talk About in Your Blog

Now we go to what topics should be featured in your blog. Actually, there’s no strict rule here because you can write about any topic you want in a personal blog. It’s just that if you want it to become easier to monetize later on, you may want to diversify your blog post topics and target subjects that you can easily tie-in with a commercial product for PPC opportunities.

By talking about different subjects, you open your blog to many advertising possibilities—and this means more opportunities for you to earn commissions from advertisers and sellers.

Write about things that people will want to read about. It pays to be constantly updated with current events and pop culture. There are some topics though that you’d be better off avoiding because it might only inspire debate, and maybe even hostility, in your blog:

  • politics
  • religion
  • sex
  • any racist/discriminative topics

It is important to be careful with what you say in your blog, not just to placate your readers but also to avoid discouraging potential advertisers. If in your posts you’ve expressed strong reactions against a particular sport, hobby, product, book, music genre, and anything else, you’re actually closing the opportunity to advertise for those products. Besides, it will also put your credibility in question if you suddenly have a change of heart (along with a blog post containing an advertisement).

As much as a personal blog is a freedom wall of sorts for self-expression, it is important to take a mostly neutral tone of voice or at least avoid being too critical of a niche if you want keep your doors open for many monetization options.

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