There are a number of ways to make money from blogging, but there are four ways that outperform them all.
#1 Promote a Service that You are an Expert In
Most people that blog have some type of expertise that led them to starting a blog. If you are an expert in a B2B field, then you will quickly find that people will pay you to leverage your knowledge.
For example, I have a marketing company that offers content marketing and social media services. In my main navigation at the top of every page of my blog, I have a link that reads, “Hire Me.” This link takes them to a landing page that converts visitors into a free marketing consultation.
The business owners that are part of my audience grow to trust me with every post they consume. When it comes time to replace their marketing firm, these business owners reach out to me for a free consultation. My assistant qualifies each prospect with an initial call, and she sets up a time for a 30 minute call.
Before I had a successful blog, I would spend a good amount advertising a similar landing page on Google Adwords. Today, I get a steady flow of prospects through my blog and have not spent a dime on Adwords for close to four years.
A single client that I obtain from my blog pays me as much as $100,000 a year in billable fees. Not everyone is going to be able to charge as much as I do, but anyone can easily charge $500 per month for basic consulting services. This is why I always advise bloggers to promote a service as part of their monetization strategy.
When you start a blog it can take a year before you begin to see significant traffic. During that time, the blog can still be used to frame yourself as an expert. You can apply my LinkedIn growth hack to send targeted prospects to your free consult page while your budding blog takes time to blossom.
This is the same strategy I used for the first 12 months with a client that wanted me to build their blog from scratch. The LinkedIn growth hack worked so well that the client asked me to stop because they were overloaded with new clients. The entire LinkedIn growth hack is covered across these three blog posts:
Here are a few things I have learned from promoting a service on my blog…
#1 Make Your Landing Page Simple
Focus on the benefits and statistics that show proven results. At the end of the day, people want to know how hiring you will change their business or life.
#2 Use a Short Form to Capture Leads
Your form should never have more than seven fields. Every extra field after that will reduce your conversion rate by an extra 20%.
#3 Send the Form Submissions to Your Cell Phone via Text Message
You need to call your lead within 5 minutes after the submission is made. There is a 1000% decrease in being able to make contact after the 5 minute mark. It is worth paying an extra $10 a month for a premium form, which will send every submission directly to your phone via text message.
The infographic below covers the five statistically proven best practices for lead response management.
#2 Create an Online Course to Sell to Your Audience
If you can get people to pay for your monthly services, then you should take them time to create an online course. I just want to be real clear here. It takes time to create a quality online course. On average, it will require at least 120 hours of your time. Depending upon how much time you have to dedicate to the course creation, this may take between one and six months to complete.
This is why most experts will test out the demand for a new course before they build it. An early bird special, that allows your audience to get a 50% discount, typically will get them to pay you before you complete the course. If there is not enough demand for your course, then you will refund all the purchases and go back to the drawing board. It is important that you use this tactic. The last thing you want is to dedicate six months to a course that no one will buy.
Whereas you only have so many hours in a week to work with clients, there are virtually no limits with an online course. Amy Porterfield has grown her yearly online course revenue to over 2 million dollars in just a matter of a few years.
Most of us are not be going to get to $2 million a year. However, it is not that hard to build your online course revenue to $100,000 a year. At that point, you might be making $100,000 from clients and another $100,000 from your course.
Here are three takeaways from two years of monetizing my blog with an online course.
#1 Dedicate Serious Time to Your Email Funnel
I send one email everyday for seven days when I do a course launch. From the subject line to your signature, every word needs to be strategically placed.
#2 Set Up a Private Facebook Group and Be Active Daily
I have found one glaring statistic that stands out above them all. If someone buys my course and makes a post in my Facebook group, then they do not request a refund. Refunds are part of life when you run a course. The vast majority of course refunds occur because the person never got around to starting the course and making a connection with the community.
#3 Master the Webinar
The webinar is where 90% of your sales conversions are going to come from. You will want to deliver actionable tactics for the first 40 to 60 minutes, and you will sell your course the final 20 minutes. If you spend more than 60 seconds on a single slide, then people will start leaving. A sixty minute webinar should have between 60 and 90 slides.
Here are ten really good tips for delivering an exceptional webinar.
#3 Place Hyper Targeted Affiliate Links at the End of Posts
As you build your blog’s traffic and email list, you may consider strategically marketing a few affiliate programs. The emphasis here is on strategic. The days of placing affiliate banner ads all over your blog are long behind us. Please do not do this. It has zero chance of making you money, and it looks awful.
The key to making money from affiliate programs is the targeted placement. For instance, I have a popular post that covers some of my most successful keyword research techniques. I use SEMRush exclusively for keyword research, and I am using examples from SEMRush for each of the techniques. By the time someone is finished reading this post, they are sold on using SEMRush for keyword research. I naturally transition into letting them know how to get two weeks free of the professional version of SEMRush, which has an affiliate link.
There are a load of ways to do this. It might be a list of WordPress plugins, a product comparison, or a review. The bottom line is that the affiliate link needs to be part of the natural flow of the article.
Here is what I have learned from earning more than 8 figures from affiliate marketing.
#1 Focus on Affiliate Programs that Offer Recurring Commissions
I prefer to promote affiliates that give you a percentage of the customer for life. These affiliates are hard to find, so expect to do some digging. I spent a year looking and testing affiliates that offered recurring commissions. After all of that, I narrowed it down to a small handful of affiliates. These affiliate programs have proven to make money and payout on a consistent basis. You can save yourself some time by going to my resources page to see the full list of proven affiliate programs that I use.
#2 Look for Ways to Deliver Value with Affiliate Links in Your Most Viewed Posts
I recommend that you go into your Google Analytics and download a spreadsheet of your most viewed urls. Identify a few affiliate programs to test on high traffic posts and track the results for the first month. If an affiliate link does not produce revenue after 30 days, then remove it. For the ones that do make money, try to find more posts to place links on.
#3 Limit the Number of Affiliate Links Per Post
Posts that are filled with affiliate links tend to be pushed down in the Google rankings. A good rule of thumb is to limit affiliate links to one per 1000 words. The only exclusion to this rule is your resources page.
Pat Flynn has made millions of dollars from affiliate links on his blog, and he breaks down how he does it in the video below.
#4 Place Adsense Ads in Key Locations for a True Residual Income
I have saved the best for last. You may be surprised to find out that it is Google Adsense. Although I have multiple streams of income, Adsense is the only true residual income. I handle the free consultation phone calls, and I am the point of contact for all my clients. If something happens to me, then this is going to disappear overnight. My course requires less time of me, but I still run a private Facebook group where I answer questions from my students on a daily basis. Affiliates with recurring commissions comes close to a residual income, but most affiliates are small businesses. The problem with small businesses is that many of them go under or get acquired by someone else.
Google Adsense runs 24 hours a day and deposits the money directly into my bank account every single month. They are a multi-billion dollar corporation, and the Adsense program is responsible for billions of Google’s yearly revenue. That means I do not have to worry about not getting paid. Whereas affiliate links have to be strategically placed on a handful of posts, Adsense runs on every post and page of my blog.
In a matter of minutes, you can sign up to Adsense and have your blog serving ads. It truly is the easiest and best way to make money with a blog.
Here are 3 key takeaways from over 100 million A/B tested Adsense ad impressions.
These tips are from my perspective after using Adsense on my blog for almost four years.
#1 The Ads at the Top Make the Most Money
You get a maximum of three ads per page, and you want to make them count. The best combination for maximum earnings for desktop traffic is the..
- 970×90 Leaderboard Right Beneath the Main Navigation
- 300×250 Square Below the Title of Your Post
- 300×600 Half Page Ad at the Top of the Sidebar
Keep in mind this is the best combination if you do not have any products or services of your own. I do not use the 300×600 sidebar ad because I use the sidebar to promote my course and podcast.
#2 Enable Every Adsense Ad to Show Text and Image Ads
When you enable both text and image ads you increase the number of advertisers that are bidding for these ad spots. This is going to increase your revenue per click by over 50%.
#3 Manually Optimize Ads for All Devices
The ad combination that works best on desktop does not work as well on mobile traffic. I use a WordPress plugin called Ad Inserter to optimize my ads across devices. For mobile traffic, you do not want to show ads in the sidebar. In mobile, the sidebar is pushed to the bottom and no one will see it. I have found that the best combination of ads in mobile is using three 250×250 ads within the post. The first is placed below the title and above the first paragraph. The second is placed after the fourth paragraph, and the third is placed at the end of the post.
Due to the amount of money I have generated using Adsense, I have become a Google Adsense brand ambassador. Most recently, they have asked me to write a series of five guest posts on the official Google blog, which is a huge honor.
You can sign up to Google Adsense here and start earning money right away.
To be completely clear… I do not get paid any money from Google Adsense for referring new sign ups. I just really believe in their product and am an avid user.
Here is my road map to breaking six figures in yearly earnings with Adsense.