Top 10 Ways to Monetize Your [SEO-Optimized] Blog
It's awesome to optimize your blog or website to rank well in search engines. But search engine optimization (SEO) is not the end game; it's a means to an end. In other words, you're doing SEO because there's something you are aiming for — earning money with your blog.
Traffic and monetization go hand-in-hand. Blog monetization is nothing without traffic and traffic becomes useless without effective monetization. So while you're doing SEO to drive traffic to your site, it's important to pay some attention to monetization, too.
But how can you do that?
In this post, we look at some of the best and most effective ways to monetize your [possibly SEO-optimized] blog or website, so that it starts bringing in the regular income you deserve. Ready to convert your traffic to raw cash? Let's do it:
1. Place Ads
Monetizing your blog with ads involves allocating some spaces on prominent areas within your site to display third-party ads. It's such a classic way to monetize almost any type of website. To make a lot of money through ad placement, your blog should be receiving a good amount of traffic, as how much you make directly depends on how many people click on the ads. You may decide to get the ads through a major advertising platform like Google AdSense or work directly with advertisers where they pay you without having to go through a middle channel.
Ads have a kind of mixed reputation. Some users find them to be frowsy, especially on blogs. Yet some blogs are making a killing off of them. In fact, big news sites such as the Huffington Post and Forbes are saturated with ads with which they are making a lot of money. Whether or not this is the general perception, ads are worth giving a try. After all, you'll be helping your audience find products and services they might be interested in, while you are getting paid to do that.
And usually, you get to choose the ads that are featured on your site. You can choose the ones that are contextual to your blog and provide value to your audience.
Here are some types of ads that you can place on your blog:
Pay per click (PPC) ads
Text link ads
Cost per mile (CPM)
Paid reviews or sponsored posts
Generally, blog ad placement is a huge topic. So we'll try to talk exclusively about this in a future post.
2. Create an Email List
One of the biggest mistakes some online entrepreneurs make is neglecting the importance of building an email list. And email lists are just so important.
Why? Because if you build a sizable email list, that’s traffic you can tap into whenever you want. It’s also totally under your control.
You can sell them whatever you want, whenever you feel like.
In fact, almost every successful bloggers online say that building an email list is the single wisest and most helpful thing they've done in their business. They've also attested to making the larger percentage of their income through their email lists.
We cannot emphasize the significance of actively building a functional email list enough. All we can say is like Nike, “just do it.” And you'll thank us later! And once your list is large enough, find the best possible ways to monetize it. (Hint: the blog monetization ideas covered in this post works great for email lists, too).
3. Promote Affiliate Products
Chances are that there are several companies online who sell products and/or services that are related or relevant to your blog niche. Most of these companies run affiliate programs with which you can bring in a decent amount of recurring income.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Here's a simple explanation:
Affiliate marketing involves promoting the product or service of a relevant company using a special link that's created just for you. It's a type of performance-based marketing in which each successful sale or sign-up initiated through your custom link brings you an agreed commission. Some affiliates can pay as much as 70 percent of the purchase amount, but it usually starts around 30 percent or higher.
If you’ve been creating content for a while now, there's a good chance that you've been discussing and recommending products and services to your audience. Why not make some $$$$ from the people you refer?
You just need to sign up and start adding links to your content naturally, and you might be smiling to the bank next month.
4. Sell Information
There are two major ways you can sell information on your website.
Creating and selling an eCourse
Creating and selling an eBook
Both are cash cows and can turn you into a money-spinner overnight, especially if your site attracts a good amount of traffic.
Typically, the content you sell should commensurate with your blog niche.
It'll help you in sales because your blog already attracts a certain type of audience based on the topic you create content on. Plus, if you base your information product on your blog topic, all you need to create an excellent work is the knowledge you already have. No need to try learning something new, which takes time.
And the people who will be buying from you already trust and know you as an authority in your niche, who knows what he is talking about.
It's not super difficult to pull off information sales. All you have to do is come up with a stellar product idea, create (or pay someone to create) a truly awesome content around it, package it in the form of an ebook or ecourse, and sell it.
You can promote it on your blog, email list, social media, or even on online marketplaces like Amazon (for ebooks) and Udemy (for ecourses).
5. Start a Membership Site
“Hand-holding” is extremely rare to come by. That's why most people will be happy to join a truly helpful membership site where they'll have access to pure attention, useful directions, and guidance from experts. You could be the one people in your niche turn to for help, if you create a membership area in your site.
What's a membership site?
MemberPress defines a membership site as thus:
“A membership site is a gated part of your online business where only members who subscribe can access the content you've placed behind the gates…” It's like a gym membership, in which you pay a monthly fee to use the gym's resources.
If you want some extra passive income, go ahead and lock premium content behind a membership gate and you’re set. Then choose whether to have people pay a one-time fee or a monthly recurring fee.
6. Offer a Freelance Service
Amongst your blog audience or website visitors are people who can potentially pay you top dollars to help them using your expertise by freelancing. According to recent statistics, 36% of the US workforce (57.3 million) are freelancers who work from home. They collectively contribute $1.4 trillion to the economy every year. That's a 30% increase since 2016.
Those stats show that freelancing is getting embraced by more and more people. Reason? It's a great business model. The kind of freelance service you offer will have to be on what you are good at, not necessarily what your blog is about.
Some services you can offer as a freelancer include:
Proofreading and editing
Online video production
The thing with freelancing is that you can work with as many clients as your time allows, and make as much money as you want since you have the freedom to set your rates.
Define your goals
Find a profitable niche
Identify your target clients
Set strategic prices for your services
Build a high-quality portfolio
Start marketing directly on your blog or on your social media pages. For example, on your blog you can create a “Hire Me” page to let prospective clients know that you're available to help them.
Freelancing becomes even more interesting when you realize that Trello, Automattic, Toggl, Buffer, Zapier, Edgar, Groove, Ghost, InVision, Hubstaff, Doist, Toptal, and Basecamp are among the companies that equip 100% remote teams.
7. Start an Online Coaching or Consulting Service
If you have a flair for teaching and helping people one-on-one, then this might just be the perfect monetization strategy for you.
Online coaching and consulting have some similarities, but are different. However, they basically involve working directly with motivated clients to either give them advice based on your expertise or help them actually do something.
For instance, if you specialize in SEO, there are people who will consult with you to advise them on how to get their SEO to work. On the other hand, you may also be actually helping them optimize their websites. This is just a simple example as both online coaching and consulting involve a lot more than this.
The bottom line is this:
You can be making a really good amount of money off of your blog traffic simply by offering to advice or help them through coaching or consulting, or both. Simply mention it on your blog or create a dedicated page for it. Set your rates, and grab the phone or some video chat software to start helping people.
And you can be doing this working from home. Which sort of keeps you safe from the troubles faced by the world's 3.2 billion workers.
Some other benefits of online coaching/consulting business model?
You get to create an intimate bond and relationship with your students. This can last a lifetime and consistently attracts new business for you.
You begin to understand your audience’s deepest and most profound needs and frustrations. This information is marketing gold for other products you create and sell.
You get to build a reputation as an authority.
8. Sell Software
By now, you already know what Small SEO Tools is about — we create premium-standard SEO tools. Although all of our software are free to use, you can create your own tool and attach pricing to it.
This can be:
And so on.
And your pricing could be on a monthly subscription or one-off basis.
Developing a piece of software takes a significant upfront capital and/or technical know-how, but once your tool is ready for the market, the rest is all about consistently making good money on autopilot for as long as you want. Your software should pair naturally with your blog topic, so that it helps your readers.
Want to see examples of blogs that have developed and sold paid software products? They are everywhere! Think of Hubspot with their arrays of software products like Hubspot CRM and Service Hub. Think of Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income who has created the Smart Podcast Player.
9. Sell Physical Products
Making money from your blog is not limited to selling a digital product or service only. Physical product is a another viable option you can try.
As far as making money online is concerned, selling physical goods are as profitable as their digital counterparts. The only attachment is that selling physical goods may be a bit more effortful and could require more upfront financial commitment than digital goods do.
However, there are a variety of tangible products you can sell online.
Some of those are:
Hardware (modern technology)
T-shirt (possibly custom-branded. If you've got a group of die-hard followers, they'll be excited to buy out)
Your own invention — assuming you’re a food blogger who has invented a new kitchen item that makes extracting juice from fruits way simpler, you can use your food blog to launch your new product.
Online retail is on the rise, so you won't go wrong with this as long as the product you're offering is something that your market wants and can use.
The idea is to use your existing audience to jump start sales of physical products, to prove that there is demand for the product, and finally get it in stores. But be sure to focus on solving problems and making life easier for customers with your products.
10. Offer Speaking Engagements
As your influence, reach, and authority increases, you're likely going to be approached to speak at apposite events.
These events can be in your local area, in your nation, or internationally driven.
To get people to pay you to address their audience and share your knowledge live, ensure that you make them know you’re open for speaking engagements.
Simply create a page on your blog that details exactly how potential organizers can contact you, along with other relevant details.
The beauty of doing online business is that you can make a living anywhere in the world while helping people achieve their dreams. The monetization ideas discussed above aren't necessarily all that there are, but they are some of the most effective ones.
If you have yet to monetize your blog, we recommend you start today. If you're currently using only one strategy, why not try something new? You could just be pulling in an extra income, you know. What's more, you're at liberty to try more than one of these ideas simultaneously. That'll help you diversify your revenue, which is important to do.
For more tips and ideas on making money online but with focus on SEO, check out the SST blog. If you found this post helpful, please go ahead and share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Go to our tools page for brilliant SEO tools you can use to grow your blog for free.