How To Monetize A Blog
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Your readership is growing, but your bank account isn’t.
It’s a problem that your fellow bloggers, video producers and publishers are also facing. We live in a fast-paced world where everyone wants gratification immediately. If they’re slowed down by payment and personal information inquiries, viewers simply click “X” and move on.
In this scenario, you don’t get paid. It is growing clearer every day that the most commonly used methods to monetize your blog are flawed or just aren’t working as effectively any more. You need to count on a combination of revenue options that work best for your readers.
The Five Most Common Ways to Monetize a Blog
There are currently five main methods that most websites utilize in order to put some cash in their pockets. You may have even tried one or two of these methods.
The first, and most traditional, method is advertising. Simply put, you open up your blog or website to ads. You can fill your page with sidebars, text links and popup advertisements, all thanks to Google’s ad platform.
Google AdSense has millions of advertisers who want to sell their wares on your website. You get to pick and choose which ads appear, how they look and where they’re placed. And these ads are mobile ready, or in other words, they’ll adapt to your readers’ screens, whether it’s on a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
With Google AdSense, there are two ways that you can make money: views and clicks. You can receive a set dollar amount when your page reaches a set number of views. Or, once a reader clicks on an ad, you will receive a set percentage of the revenue generated from that ad.
It’s an easy way to get paid and should be an important part of monetization. But overall, ad revenue for general bloggers is quite low, $0.30 to $3 per thousand visits and advertising can have a negative impact on user experience. Last, with ad-block usage on the rise in the US and elsewhere, ad revenue becomes increasingly difficult to count on.
2. Sponsored Posts
There are few ways that you can use sponsored posts to monetize your blog today. Let’s focus on the main method: Endorsing another company’s product or service through a post on your website.
Simply put, a company will partner with you (pay you!) to write a blog post focused on their products or services. The post will be written in your voice and with your opinions (though, it typically has to be approved by the sponsored company), so your loyal readers will still likely access the content.
Take the popular TechCrunch blog, for example. As you’re scrolling through all the recent posts, sponsored posts are clearly marked with a with a green header, “Sponsored Content,”. The topics are relevant to the overall blog and reader interest. One of the recent sponsored posts on TechCrunch was about an e-commerce conversion guide, so the post would resonate with TechCrunch’s audience.
If you can consistently find sponsored content to fit with your readers’ interests, then this is a great opportunity. However, if some inquiries just don’t resonate with your readers, it detracts from your blog’s value. Worst of all, your readers will be able to tell and potentially think you are selling them out to sponsors.
3. Affiliate Links
Affiliate Links is a pretty cut and dry method to monetize your blog. You include links to services and products from other companies. You get paid when one of your visitors clicks on one of these links and purchases the product or service. How much you get paid depends ultimately on the affiliate.
There are several big-name affiliate programs out there that you’ve most likely heard of: Amazon Associates and Ebates. Affiliate clearinghouse sites like ShareASale also can give you access to hundreds, if not thousands, of affiliate programs.
The key to making affiliate links a viable source of income is selecting affiliates that are relevant to your blog content. The more relevant the products and services, the more likely you’ll have readers click on the links and purchase a product or service.
The next method for blog monetization is commonly used by newspapers, like The New York Times. Paywalls are simply a barrier between readers and content. A “hard paywall” forces visitors to subscribe before they can access any articles or posts. A “metered paywall” allows visitors to read a set number of articles at no cost before hitting them with a subscription fee.
One of the problems with traditional paywalls is that the user is likely not willing to commit the time to register and enter credit card information. Readers land on your website for your content. But when they’re hit with a lengthy subscription process, over 99% bounce to another site. This model requires scale (like the New York Times) or very targeted, special content to work.
Contributions are a less invasive way to monetize your blog. You’re not hitting visitors with a paywall when they land on your site. Instead, you’re asking your loyal readers to support your quality content. This is often done with contribution or support links and buttons on your website. Many smaller publications, and larger ones too, like the Guardian, use this model.
While a contribution link enlightens your readers that funds are necessary to support quality content, it needs to be quick and easy for them to pay. If your contribution process requires registration, takes people to a different website or platform, or presents any barriers at all, readers will skip the contribution. The reality is that some people will never pay for content, no matter the quality.
The LaterPay Difference
Are you ready to start monetizing your content? Have you tried any of the aforementioned methods for blog monetization with limited success? If so, maybe it’s time to explore an improved content monetization option that’s focused on user experience, and ultimately, conversion.
LaterPay addresses many of the problems you may have faced with the more common methods for monetizing your site. There’s no lengthy subscription process. No personal info inquiries. And no constant bombardment of ads. In fact, LaterPay gives your readers a relatively uninterrupted experience, and gives you more choices, flexibility and control.
Here’s how it works: LaterPay is your E-ZPass on the content toll road. Your readers don’t have to pay an upfront fee to use the whole road. Instead, they give their consent to a small fee as they move down the road, and only pay once they’ve reached their destination.
In other words, your readers can read an article or post within the high standard of user experience they expect. There’s no upfront purchase. Just a simple button they click, agreeing to the purchase and the ability to make payment later (once a threshold of $5 is reached).
It’s simple. It doesn’t bog down your readers. And it works: 85% of users stand by their promise to “pay later,” and that’s adding nicely to LaterPay clients’ bank accounts.
What’s great is that the LaterPay lets you choose how you want to generate revenue and how you want to present it to your users. You choose from contributions, selling articles, time passes (e.g. 24 hours, 1 week, 1 year) or subscriptions. You can also offer all of them!
There's a variety of implementation options to match your site and technical level: a simple contributions button generator, Wordpress plugin, a few lines of JS (called Connector), or API integration.
Sign up for a free merchant account and get started today.