Top 10 Monetization Strategies, Ranked in Order

The whole point to blogging and building Websites is usually monetization. Desiring it and accomplishing it are two different things. David Risley, a highly successful blogger, offers ten suggestions and adds another for good measure. To his 11, I add three more of my own at the end, and in my opinion, they are the most important.

Take it away, David:

So, you want to monetize your blog. But, how? Which method is the best one?

In this article, I outline what I believe are the top 10 ways to monetize a blog site. And I’m also going to do my best to rank them in order of workability.

1. Membership Programs

The “freemium” model is a huge and growing trend in online monetization right now. You provide a lot of quality content for free to your audience, and you provide a premium-level program to those willing to pay for it. You charge a monthly membership and that provides continuity and a steady income stream.Any blog can be turned into a “freemium” monetization model, and I outline it in more detail in my report, The Future of Blogging Income. Download it for more details.

2. Information Products (Your Own)

The selling of knowledge is HUGE. If you build up your position in your market, you can then sell quality information to that market. This can take the form of e-books, audio, videos, or all of the above. You can package them up or just sell them digitally. If you author the product yourself (recommended), then you keep 100% of the profit.

3. Services/Consulting/Coaching

Another great way to monetize with a blog is an indirect one. Use the blog to build reputation. Build a brand and build an audience. Then, you make your money by directing that attention into offline services, consulting and/or coaching. This can be quite lucrative. The drawback is that you are, again, trading time for money. So, it is only scalable up to a point.

4. Speaking Gigs

If you become well-known as an expert in your niche, you can turn that into speaking gigs which you get paid for. Chris Brogan does this with his blog. Whether he makes money directly with his blog or not (I honestly don’t know), I know he gets paid to speak at various events.

5. Product Sales

If you have a physical product line to offer, you can use the blog as the monetization point for your online store. Sell whatever you want. For example, if you are an artist, you can use an online store to sell art pieces and a blog to build up audience and a following.

6. Affiliate Programs

Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your site. You offer the products of others to your audience and get paid when they buy it. In fact, any time you recommend a relevant product or service to your audience, check to see if they have an affiliate program. If so, sign up and use your affiliate link. After all, if you’d recommend it to your readers anyway, you might as well make a little cut if they happen to buy.

7. Direct Ad Sales

Banner ads and in-text ads are another popular way to make money. In fact, it is usually the first method you think of. However, if you’re going to go this route, selling the ads directly will result in more cash in your pocket. As I mentioned in my video evaluation of Jim On Light, make a media kit for your blog. As for pricing, I would recommend you shoot for twice your eCPM from Google Adsense. Why twice? Because that’s what Google is charging (they take half).

8. Banner Advertising

OK, if you don’t want to sell your own ads for monetization, you can obviously still run network advertising from a variety of different sources. Personally, I am using Adsense, Kontera, IDG and a little bit of Tribal Fusion.

You can also direct sell ads and use network ads as filler for unused inventory. It is done all the time.

9. Paid Posts

Yes, you can get paid to review products and sites on your blog. Sites like PayPerPost and ReviewMe are popular options. I’ve seen some blogs sell this option directly. When doing this, it is important to disclose the fact that it is a paid review. It is also important that you maintain your integrity and never give a positive review unless you’re really feeling it.

10. Job Boards

Some sites (like ProBlogger) have job boards. It does work for some sites, however it probably won’t work for a majority of blogs out there.

11. Build It & Sell It

OK, I’ve thrown in an eleventh monetization method as a bonus. You can build up a blog, build an audience, then turn around and sell the thing. In fact, some people actually buy blogs which are dead or are vastly underutliized by their owners. They’ll then put their marketing skills to work, build the SEO backlinks, build the readership. Then, they turn around and sell it at a profit. It can work. I’ve never done it myself personally, but I’ve read of others who have.

There you have David's 11 excellent monetization strategies, to which I shall add my three cents.

12. Joint Ventures

There really is no other monetization strategy as powerful and as quick as participating in a joint venture. If you have no list of your own, this is the ideal strategy to launch your product. Of course you will need some kind of sales point, which is usually a blog or a Website. So, don't overlook JVs as a supercharged monetization method. Remember, I am open to your proposals.

13. List Building

By now, you are no doubt familiar with the aphorism, "the money's in the list". Accordingly, you should use every effort to focus on using your blog or Website for the purpose of building your list at every opportunity.

Just think. When your list gets large enough, you too can participate in JVs, and that's when you will really start raking in the money.

14. Your own Affiliate Program

David mentioned affiliate programs in the context of selling other people's products. But if you have your own products, you should certainly consider having your own affiliate program and recruiting your own sales force. There are many software packages you can enlist for this purpose for a reasonable price. On the other hand, if your goal is automation, why not use an existing service such as clickbank to do it all for you so your site can coast on autopilot?

If I had to reorder David's list, I would leave it just the way he presented it, but I would insert my three additions at the top. I think they are that important.

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