Easy Ways to Monetize Your Blog or Website

how to monetize your blog
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Note: This is a guest post by Lynn Truong. Additional comments by online business expert Brian T. Edmondson is in italics.

You've started an online business, picked a profitable niche market, and have a website or blog that is getting a decent amount of website traffic.

Now it's time to start thinking about how you are going to start making money with your online presence.

The list below provides ways to monetize that won't take up a lot of your time, so you can focus on building your site with good content and growing your traffic. These are the most basic (and arguably the least profitable) methods, but they are effective interim monetizing strategies.

In the long run, you'll probably want to incorporate other ways to make money with your blog or website including things like affiliate marketing and possibly selling your own information products. You may even decide to start offering one-on-one coaching, doing live events, and more. But right now let's talk about the fastest and easiest ways to make money online that are more passive and take less time.

As with most strategies regarding money, diversification is key. Try a combination of these methods to maximize earning potential (without making your site too ad heavy). Play around with your layout, if it's flexible, to give different ads more or less exposure (don't let them overshadow your content). Test a variety of networks. Make sure you are being paid accurately and in a timely manner. Monitor your performance and if you are not happy with the service or results, try another company.

With that said let's take a look at seven of my favorite ways to make money with your website.

As Lynn mentioned, these are certainly not going to be the most profitable ways to monetize your blog or website, but they are quick, easy, and passive ways to do it. In many cases you'll only have to work once to set it up, then let it run on complete autopilot. As Lynn suggests, I highly recommend you look into other ways to monetize your website including affiliate marketing, selling products and services.

1. PPC Ads (Pay Per Click)

Google Adsense is the most popular and widely used option. Google serves contextual ads (image or text) based on your content and pays you when someone clicks on the ad. Contextual ads mean that Google will try to show ads that are directly related to the content of your blog; so if you have a gardening blog the visitor will see ads related to gardening, not dog training.

How much you make on Adsense depends on several things. First, advertisers bid on keywords, so if you happen to write about a topic that has high paying keywords, then each click will be worth a lot more than another topic with low valued keywords (keywords that have really low bids). Also, people who came to your site from search engines are more likely to click on these ads than people who are repeat visitors. It makes sense then to spread out your Adsense ads to provide easy access to search visitors.

Google has several different ad formats and layouts you can choose from. Everything is subject to testing but you'll generally find that bigger ads at the top of your website will get the most amount of clicks and generate the most amount of revenue.

Another ad network you may want to look into is Medavine. They will require your website to get a significant amount of traffic before accepting you into their network, whereas you can get started with Google Adsense immediately. Once your website grows and gets enough traffic you may be able to earn more money on the Medavine network.

2. CPM Ads (Cost Per Thousand)

Unlike CPC ads, CPM ads pay per impression. Viewers don't need to do anything for you to be paid. You just need to show the ads on your website and you'll get paid for every visitor that sees them.

 The downside is that you're paid almost nothing for each impression, meaning you have to get A LOT of traffic to make serious money; we're talking about tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of visitors a month.

Rates can go as low as $0.10 per thousand impressions. But it's still a good option to use in conjunction with CPC ads. CPM ads can be placed in less prominent spaces (below the fold) whereas CPC ads should have a better position. Most ad networks that offer CPM ads have CPC ads thrown in as well. You can set your own prices and remove unappealing ads. Although they don't pay a lot, it's still 100 percent passive income which you can't complain too much about.

3. CPA / Affiliate Ads (Cost Per Action)

CPA ads pay per action. Viewers don't just need to click on them, but they actually have to do something after they've clicked on the ad. This could be as simple as giving their zip code, entering their email address, or making a purchase.

Not surprisingly, they are the highest paying ads. However, how likely your visitors will click on the ad and perform the desired action will depend very much on how relevant the ad is to your content. For example, a site about digital photography may do very well showing digital camera CPA ads. Some sites are much better suited for CPA ads. Consider whether any CPA ads would add value to your visitors.

You can find CPA ad networks related to your market simply by doing a Google search for "your niche" + CPA networks. Popular CPA ad networks include Conversant (formerly Commission Junction), Adfish, and Amazon Associates. Again, though it's less likely your visitors will take an action; when they do you'll get paid a lot more money than with the types of ads discussed above.

As Lynn mentioned, though there is a little more work required on the end of your visitor (they can't just see or click an ad, they have to take some type of action) in many cases these actions will be very low resistance (ie only having to give an email address or submit a zip code vs making a purchase). These types of actions will pay much more than a regular CPC or CPM ad so I highly recommend implementing into your ad monetization strategy.

4. Text Links

Text links work the same way as the other ads described above. You set aside a space on your page and text links will start showing up when they are purchased. You need to submit specific pages you want to display text link ads on your site, so be sure to enter your most popular pages (usually your homepage, category pages, and most popular blog post or article pages).

Rates are based on how much traffic your website gets; the more traffic the higher the fees you will get. If you get a lot of traffic to your website and are considered an authority website then text links may be profitable for your site.

It's possible that text links can have an adverse effect on your SEO and I would avoid using these types of links on your site right now.

5. In-text Advertising

In-text ads don't require any additional real estate, which is attractive to many site owners. Ads are attached to text in your content, showing up as underlined or double underlined words that are clickable. Some will pop up a little advertisement when the word is moused over.

Many viewers, however, find these ads distracting and may get confused thinking that the underlined text should be linking to another page on your website. I don't tend to use or recommend these types of ads for your website.

As mentioned at the start of this article, there are much better ways to make money online.

I agree with Lynn here and would not recommend these types of ads for the same reasons she cited. These types of ads don't add to the user experience in a positive way.

6. RSS Feed Ads

Offering a feed of your content is essential. More and more readers are using feeds to catch up with their favorite sites, and not offering one will alienate a lot of readers who would be interested in your content. There is yet to be a lot of advertising options within feeds, but for now, you can still monetize the traffic to your feed.

While becoming less common these days, it can't hurt to add this type of monetization to your website.

7. Sponsored Content

Finally, sponsored content is another way you can monetize the content on your website. If you've developed a large audience and following then companies may pay you to write articles or include mentions of their brand in your content.

Be sure with sponsored content (or any of these types of ads) that you are disclosing the fact that you are getting paid for your recommendations.

Though not as passive as the other methods mentioned above, this can be the most profitable method of monetizing your blog or website content.

No matter how you decide to monetize your website, one of the most powerful things you can do is capture the information of the people visiting your website so you can bring them back to your website and ideally get them to take multiple actions on your website - utilizing the power of email marketing.

Article updated by Online Business/Hosting Expert Brian T. Edmondson