How to Monetize Your Blog: 5 Critical Steps to Take First
Wondering how to monetize your blog in 2019? You’re in the right place!
You’ve seen the amazing income reports on Pinterest, with bloggers posting about how profitable their year has been.
And now, you’re ready to become a success story yourself.
But exactly how do you make money with your blog, for real?
There are plenty of posts out there that answer this question by simply listing blog monetization avenues, like affiliate marketing, freelancing, or selling digital products.
What these posts don’t often tell you, though, is how to make those strategies work for you, if you’re a newer blogger.
You see, it’s all well and good to talk about how much a blog can make on ads or name-drop well-known bloggers who sell thousands of dollars worth of courses a week.
But how does the average blogger even get started?
And that’s what I want to focus on today.
In this blog post, I’ll be looking at the essential ingredients you’ll need to have in place BEFORE you monetize your blog.
I’ll show you how to set up a strong foundation for a successful money-making blog in just a couple of steps.
How to Monetize Your Blog, Essential Steps:
Establish Yourself as an Expert:
Let’s start with the most important monetization step of all — establishing yourself as an expert.
I want to begin here because it’s the foundation for all other blog monetization tips.
Whatever you’re blogging about, chances are, you know your stuff.
But if you’re a newer blogger, your audience may not know that you do.
So one of the most important steps you can take towards making money from your blog is to establish yourself as an expert.
Whether you want to monetize your blog through affiliate links, creating courses or books, or even using it to land lucrative freelance gigs, you need one thing for success:
This essential ingredient can take you from struggling blogger to successful money-making pro.
Your audience has to believe in you before they’ll ever take your recommendations, buy your products, or consider hiring you.
So before you start adding affiliate links or creating that amazing new course, start by establishing yourself as an expert.
By showing your readers, potential customers, and clients why they should trust you with their time and money.
I’ll show you five powerful ways you can build trust with your readers and start creating a more profitable blog today!
How to Monetize Your Blog, Essential Step #1: Share Your Story
What’s better than straight out telling people that you’re a pro in your field? Showing them how you got to be that way.
Your personal brand story is a super powerful way to connect with and convince your audience.
People love a good story.
So let them know why you started doing what you do, what problems you faced, and how you managed to get to where you are today.
For example, if you run a health and fitness blog, share your own health journey with your readers.
Talk about both your successes AND your challenges.
This lets people know that you’re not just another wannabe.
You’re a real pro, with a real backstory, and valuable experiences they can learn from.
You don’t necessarily have to get too personal, if you’re not comfortable with that.
Sharing your personal brand story could be as simple as telling people that you started your marketing biz because you were frustrated by unrealistic and ineffective advice from so-called “experts”.
The 3 places I’d recommend sharing your personal brand story are:
-On your blog’s “about” page
-Within your blog posts, as real-life examples to illustrate your points
-In your social media posts, to connect with your audience on a more human level
How to Monetize your Blog, Essential Step #2: Showcase Testimonials for Social Proof
Most of us base our buying decisions on social proof.
Whether it’s watching a YouTube review or checking out customer ratings, we like to find out how others feel about a product or service before we make a purchase.
Why would your potential customers be any different?
Before they click on that affiliate link or sign up for your new course, they want to see some social proof!
So place testimonials on your blog to reassure them that they’re making a smart choice.
But what if you’re a complete newbie with no testimonials to share yet?
Don’t worry, you can easily start collecting genuine testimonials in no time.
Try your hand at some volunteer work in your specific niche, or help out a friend or local business with your services.
If you’re a marketer, this could look like helping a local biz establish a social media marketing plan.
Ask them to write an honest and thorough review of your services, and place it prominently on your blog.
You don’t need a ton of testimonials to stand out.
Even a couple of genuine, detailed comments from satisfied clients/customers are enough to help you start making money from your blog.
The important thing is that the testimonials you do have contain enough convincing info.
People are drawn to real stats and results when deciding whether to trust a business.
So make sure your testimonials are backed with actual figures on how your services helped.
For example, a testimonial that states your services helped ”boost new website visits by 25% over two months” is way more convincing than just “boosted website traffic.”
If possible, ask your past clients for a couple of specific results that you helped them achieve.
You can also gather some great testimonials from your blog comments.
Have a particularly encouraging comment from a reader you helped with a problem?
Reach out and thank them for their thoughtful message. Then ask if they’d be alright with having their comment featured in your blog testimonials section. (Make sure you give them the option of using only their first name and an initial, if they would prefer.)
Genuine testimonials are one of the fastest ways to prove to your visitors that your advice and information is worth listening to(and paying for!)
Include a few on your blog to set you apart and create the trust you need to effectively monetize your blog.
How to Monetize Your Blog, Essential Step #3: Show Off a Little:
You know those “as seen on” logos on pro bloggers’ websites? Yep, people LOVE them.
Seeing that you’ve been featured elsewhere reassures your readers that they’ve come to the right source.
Haven’t been featured on any big-name sites yet?
While being featured on Inc. or Entrepreneur is great, readers just want to know that you’re trusted in your niche.
Mentions from other bloggers or businesses (even less well-known ones) are enough to indicate to them that you know what you’re blogging about.
Looking for a sure-fire way to get mentions and shoutouts from fellow bloggers?
You’ll need to build relationships first.
Find bloggers you respect and follow them.
Leave thoughtful, genuine comments on their posts.
(This is a huge one. If you’ve ever been inundated with blog comments that are just thinly disguised attempts at self-promotion, you know how much a genuine comment stands out.)
Mention them as examples in your own blog posts and send them a quick message letting them know about it.
You could even go a step further and be useful to them in some way. So if they’ve written an in-depth blog post and you’ve got decent graphic design skills, you could whip up a helpful infographic based on their post.
Send this over to them with a quick message letting them know you really enjoyed their post.
You’ll be surprised by how quickly you start building valuable relationships and getting mentioned with these tactics.
And the blogosphere is just like the real world. The more you reach out in a real and helpful way, the more opportunities you can expect to receive.
…which leads to the next point:
How to Monetize Your Blog, Essential Step # 4: Collaborate With Other Bloggers
Now that you’ve built all of those valuable relationships, it’s time to put them to good use!
One super easy way to build your blog’s authority is to do expert roundup posts.
An expert roundup is a type of post that allows you to provide great content to your audience, while making use of all the important relationships you’ve built.
In this type of post, you choose a targeted topic/question and gather opinions on it from expert bloggers in your niche.
Not only does this seriously help out your readers, it’s also pretty impressive to them, too.
After all, if you’ve managed to get a piece of advice from Neil Patel or another big-name blogger, you must be pretty big yourself, right?
All of a sudden you’re not just another blogger with a course you want me to buy.
You’re a pro, and I’m going to be a lot more interested in whatever it is you’re selling.
An expert roundup is the perfect way for newer bloggers to benefit from the new relationships they’ve created.
Ready to try it out for yourself?
Great! Check out this post where I show you step-by-step, how to successfully create an expert roundup post. Plus, grab your free printable with a done-for-you outreach email template you can use to get experts to say yes!
As a newer blogger, you’ll also want to guest post as much as is reasonably possible.
Not only does this help build your blog’s link profile and domain authority, it also puts your name out there and establishes you as an expert in your niche.
Think about it:
If a blog reader checks out an awesome guest post you wrote on one of their favorite blogs, odds are they’ll click over to your site.
And if you’ve got more helpful relevant content there, guess what? You’re probably getting bookmarked.
Your content will likely be shared and you may end up earning yourself a new subscriber and potential customer.
Now, a lot of this will be because the guest post you wrote was insanely useful.
But it will also partly be because your connection to a blogger they trust helped them to see you as an expert too.
How to Monetize Your Blog, Essential Step #5: Create Content That Solves Problems:
Fluffy, vague content is easy to write. It’s also just as easy to ignore. But blogs with lots of filler content written just for the sake of it aren’t making money.
Before you can monetize your blog, you’ll need to create targeted content that solves real problems.
To get your blog ready for endless monetization opportunities, focus on writing content that your audience actually wants.
This builds trust and helps your readers see you as an authority they can count on. So when they’re ready to invest in a course or purchase products, they’ll buy your digital products or use your affiliate links.
To achieve this, before you ever sit down to write a post, think about what your audience is really looking for.
You can simply go into your Google Analytics dashboard and discover what content topics and types are bringing you the most traffic and engagement.
Head over to your blog’s Google Analytics account.(Haven’t set up Google Analytics yet? This Google Analytics for WordPress guide will help you do so in minutes!)
Log in and on the left-hand side of your Analytics dashboard, head to “Behavior”.
Select “Site Content” and “All Pages”
This will take you to a new page.
Go to the date range selector arrow at the top right-hand of the page.
Click the arrow and a drop down calendar will appear. Here, select a date range to analyze.
You’ll want to do at least 30 days for this, but 60 days or more is an ideal range.
You’ll now see all of your pageviews for that time period in descending order, from highest to lowest.
First, look for the content that brought you the most traffic. And then look for engagement signals like longest time on page. The content with the highest number of pageviews and longest time on page is your most popular content.
List out the topics covered in these pieces and the content type (are they Q&As, roundups, normal blog posts, infographics?)
In order to capitalize on the success of this content and establish yourself as an expert, you’ll want to cover these specific topics and use these content types more.
This is the combo that will not only bring more traffic to your blog, but also help you turn that traffic into leads and sales.
But you don’t have to rely on analytics alone. You can also get a feel for your audience’s favorite topics and content types through comments and shares.
Are certain posts getting more comments and social shares? This is also a pretty good indication of what your audience wants to see from you.
And finally, don’t be afraid to ask. Reach out to your readers in your blog comments and find out what they’d like you to cover.
Once you’ve got a good library of this type of popular content, you can then use it to monetize your blog.
If you use affiliate links, make sure to choose highly relevant ones and place them throughout your most popular content.
This helps your links get seen and also convinces your readers to click.
If you’ve got a course, ebook, or other product, make sure you’re mentioning them within these popular posts. And go a step further. Advertise them in the middle of your posts, at the end, or on the sidebar.
The fact that people love these posts will also translate into success for the products/services you’re using them to advertise.
How to Monetize Your Blog the Right Way: The Wrap Up
When considering how to monetize your blog, it’s extremely important to lay the right groundwork.
Affiliate links, ads, freelancing, and creating and selling your own courses and digital products are all surefire ways to make money blogging.
And it’s easy to get caught up in trying to implement all of these strategies at once.
But none of them can work without first building the trust you need to actually make sales.
Every single profitable blogger has had to invest time and effort into establishing themselves as experts in their niche and creating trust with their audience.
So when you’re first starting out with blog monetization, focus on the essentials.
If you share your personal brand story with your audience, create more of the content they care about, showcase your achievements and testimonials, and network with other bloggers in your niche, you’ll be setting up your blog for money-making success the right way.
Grab all of these steps in a quick and easy 5-step blog monetization prep printable checklist. Just click the link below to download, no email opt-in needed!
Now over to you: What are your favorite “how to monetize your blog” tips? Share with us in the comments below!