4 Days to Creating a Successful Blog
Welcome to the last day of “4 Days to Creating a Successful Blog.” So far, we’ve covered: Platform Building, Content Creation, & Building Community.
In this, our last day, we’ll go over Income Strategies. If content is the engine of your blogging machine, income is the gasoline.
This post contains affiliate links. Read more in our disclosures here.
DAY 1: Platform Building / DAY 2: Content Creation
DAY 3: Building Community / DAY 4: Income Strategies
There are, generally speaking, four types of income generated from a blog:
- Ads: Google & Affiliates/Affiliate Networks
- Ad Space
- Sponsored Posts
Product sales consist of either products you’ve created or purchased for resale, or someone else’s product they’ve created.
Product sales have the potential to be your most lucrative source of revenue. There are primarily three product categories: retail, wholesale, and service. Bloggers may be involved in the sales of all three.
When you create and sell a digital product you’re selling it retail; when, as an affiliate, another blogger advertises your product on their site and you pay them a percentage of any resulting sales, you’re selling at wholesale. If you provide consulting or subscription services, you’re providing a service.
I think of video tutorials, online classes, and premium-site subscriptions as a hybrid between digital products & services. No matter.
Of course, products can be either physical or digital. Digital products may cost as much or more to produce than physical products, if only due to the amount of time they take to produce. However, the savings realized in materials, storage of inventory, and shipping costs of digital products often far outweigh the initial investment of production time.
Following are some ideas for digital product creation:
– ebooks – art – coloring books – greeting cards – ecourses
– photographs – calendars – vinyl wall & coffee-mug quotes
-patterns: sewing, embroidery, furniture construction
Of the three types of income strategies, product sales offer the greatest potential for income, and at the same time the most control of that income. It’s up to you to grow your community, and you control the quantity and quality of products you produce. Where with placement-ads or affiliate products, your community’s interest and the quality of the product is out of your control.
As you get to know your community, you should learn about their interests, so you can provide them information about those topics, and, if you’re both lucky, entertain them in the delivery. Get to know them by asking them to interact with your site, ask them to leave comments to posts, and ask about their interests during the email optin process.
If you have knowledge of, or passion for a subject, ebooks have great potential to be lucrative.
Traditionally, a business pays an advertising agency or employee to run their advertising campaigns, which compel customers to purchase their products or services from the business. With online advertising, an advertising-placement service (or network) offers online businesses (i.e. bloggers, sometimes referred to as “publishers”) targeted ad placement on their website, and the business whose product is advertised when the ad is displayed pays the advertising placement service.
Online advertising-placement services charge advertisers (businesses who paid for their product to be advertised) and in turn pay publishers (website owners whose site displays the ad) for advertising.
Google’s Adsense advertisement-placement service is a great place to begin. Their interface is easy to use and Adsense is integrated with Google Analytics, which you can use to track advertising campaigns as well as traffic and it’s sources. When an online ad is displayed on a website, the advertising-placement service pays the website owner either for displaying the ad to a visitor (PPI) or when a visitor to the site clicks on an ad (PPC).
Affiliate marketing is where a manufacturer or producer/provider of a product pays an affiliate (blogger, in this case) for each referral which results in a sale. An example of affiliate advertising would be if you advertised a product on your site, say an ebook I wrote, and I paid you a percentage of each sale as a result of someone clicking the link on your site and purchasing the ebook.
Amazon has an excellent affiliate program, which pays anywhere from 4% – 8.5% depending on the number of products sold per month. Bluehost is another merchant who offers a generous affiliate program. Many bloggers also offer affiliate programs for products they’ve created.
If you’d like to offer a blogger’s product on your site but don’t see a link or tab on their site, drop them an email inquiring about whether they offer an affiliate program, or not.
Affiliate networks act as an intermediary between marketers/publishers (bloggers) who offer links to products and services and the merchants who create those products and services. Amazon’s affiliate program is an example of an affiliate network.
Clickbank: focus is on digital information products
Rakuten: ranked among the top three ecommerce companies in the world
CJ Affiliate by Conversant: reaches millions of consumers shopping online
ShareSale: known for speed, efficiency, and accuracy; reputable in the industry
eBay: yes, eBay has an affiliate network!
Avangate: focus on digital commerce, subscription billing, and payments for SaaS
Flexoffers: portfolio of 5,000+ advertisers
Avantlink: industry-leading technology platform for affiliate referrals
RevenueWire: global ecommerce focused on digital products
3) Ad Space
As the traffic on your blog increases, so does the value of its real estate, which means you can rent ad space to other businesses, including other bloggers. While most bloggers include in their income strategy a combination of ads from advertising-placement services and affiliate advertising, some bloggers prefer to focus their advertising solely on trusted affiliate products, rather than using ad-placement services where the ads change continuously and, therefore, their community are offered products in which they have no control over.
The value of your blog space is determined by several factors including: size of advertising space, site page views per month, number of unique visitors per month, social media followers, and number of email list subscribers, all of which numbers you’ll want to make available to potential advertisers.
Consider traditional *direct-mail marketing cost around $26 per thousand (CPM), social media banner advertising: $1 – $4, magazine advertising: $8 – $20, billboards: $3 – $5, and keywords (links to advertiser’s sites during internet search engines): $4 – $20; a range of $1 – $4 CPM, is both a reasonable and lucrative rate for publishers (bloggers) to charge advertisers.
Start with a higher CPM rate for your largest ad-size, cut that rate in half for half the ad size, and so on. Then, adjust your rates as need be to see what range gives you the best results.
4) Sponsored Posts
You might not know it, although you should, as bloggers should identify such posts as sponsored, but some posts that discuss or evaluate products have actually been sponsored by a brand who has paid the blogger to post about their product.
Dawn of bydawnnicole.com mentions on her site that the going rate for a sponsored post is $10 per 10,000 page views. So say, for example, your site averages 250K page views per month, a sponsored post would sell for $250.
Where do you find brands to sponsor your posts?
There are several online “Influence Networks.” Influence networking connects brands (sponsors) and consumers through influencers (bloggers). The brand and influencer both belong to the network. Both brands and influencers join by submitting their information and website stats, which each can then peruse. When a brand or influencer finds someone they’re interested in working with, they make them an offer, which can then either be accepted or rejected based on the scope, pay, and time parameters of the project.
Tapinfluence.com is an example of an Influence Network. You can find more by googling: influence networks.
Some network’s business model offers one-sided selection, rather than offering reciprocal selection between brands and influencers, where influencers set up a profile which brands peruse and can then contact the influencer with an offer.
Most sponsors require monthly page views of at least 20K/mo.
Maker sure you comply with the FTC Disclosure Policy for both sponsored and affiliate advertising.
With that, this guide comes to a close.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, there are a lot of moving parts that, if done optimally, consume a considerable amount of time. Understand, though, that no one person has the time to do all the things that need done, optimally, all the time. We do the best we can; sometimes spending more time on content, other times spending more time on growing our community, or on income strategies.
As you grow, you can either hire some of these tasks out, or, like many bloggers, take on a partner. Regardless, don’t get caught on the hamster-wheel of blogging that can turn to burn-out.
I’m the worst at drawing work boundaries, often working 10-16 hour days. Don’t do that. Be kind and gentle with yourself by taking care of your basic needs: food & exercise, create reasonable goals, and do only what you can each day within a reasonable amount of time.
And don’t forget to treat yourself to other’s company. 😉
I’ve really enjoyed bringing this information to you. Thanks, again, so much, for subscribing!
As a reminder, I’d love to see your site! Send me a link, when you’re finished.
I hope you have a fantastic day.
This post contains affiliate links. Read more in our disclosures here.