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Monetizing Your Blog: Four Ideas to Consider

From ads to tip jars, we’ve got you covered.

Blogging consistently and building an audience can be hard, time-consuming work, so it’s no surprise that many people would like to see a return on their efforts. While monetizing your site is almost never easy, it doesn’t have to be a mystery, either.

Here are four ways to earn money from your site that have worked well on WordPress.com blogs and websites.

WordAds

Impressions is the measurement of how often an ad has displayed for a visitor on your site.

If you’ve been interested in running ads on your site, you may have heard about programs like AdSense, Chitika, or Infolinks. These can be useful to sites with a general focus, but they rely on millions of impressions to be profitable. They can be difficult to configure, and the software that powers them often slows your site down.

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Since WordPress.com users still wanted an effective, easy-to-implement ad program, we built WordAds. WordAds lets you focus on creating your content, instead of spending your time troubleshooting Javascript. Any site can apply to use WordAds; all you need is a custom domain name.

If you chose the WordPress.com Premium or Business Plan for your site, there’s even better news in store: you can turn on WordAds immediately! Visit your WordAds settings and change the visibility to either of the Run Ads selections.

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Be sure to also fill in the Site Owner and Tax Reporting Information fields; this will prevent delays on payouts of any earnings your site brings in, and is necessary if you’re a US-based blogger.

If you are a self-hosted WordPress.org site owner, WordAds is available to you as well! Check out the AdControl plugin that you’ll need to take part in the WordAds program. You’ll also find information on how to get started with WordAds for your self-hosted site.

Affiliates

If your blog focuses on a certain topic or niche, affiliate programs can be an effective way to earn income from your writing. Affiliate programs allow you to link to specific products or services on other sites, and if a visitor to your site clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you’ll be rewarded with a percentage of that sale (and of future sales, in some cases).

Affiliate programs work best when you refer to specific items that are closely tied to the topic of your posts. For example, if you have a cooking blog, an Amazon affiliate link to the fancy new mixer you bought could be a smart move. Nearly anything that can be purchased online is a good target for affiliate linking. There are many affiliate networks and sites to choose from, though selecting the one with the highest payout isn’t always the wisest decision. You’ll want to make sure you’re promoting products or services from a reputable site that your loyal audience can trust.

For most bloggers, prominent sites like Amazon and eBay provide excellent opportunities to link to products you’re mentioning in articles. They’re also trusted eCommerce sites, so your visitors won’t have reservations about ordering that nifty gadget you’ve mentioned. However, if there’s a widely trusted retail site in your specific area of interest, it might provide a greater affiliate commission, with expert-level knowledge in your subject matter. It’s perfectly acceptable to use more than one affiliate program, so feel free to mix and match to promote the best deals to your readers.

Sponsored Posts

If you’ve built up a substantial audience on your site, you may have companies contacting you to write a sponsored post. These can be a great way to get early access to products, receive free or heavily discounted items, or just earn a per-post fee. If they offer an affiliate program, there’s even more chance for profit.

If you receive payment, free products, or significant discounts for a blog post, there is a bit more due diligence to think about. In the US, the FTC issues guidelines on how to appropriately disclose reviews that originate from company sponsorships. While the FTC doesn’t typically monitor individual bloggers, these regulations are in place, no matter how small your audience.

Selling Products & Services

A common way to make money on the web is by selling a product or service. If you’ve got a knack for creating things people want to purchase, you’re already on the path to selling online. Handicrafts, shippable food items, or vintage clothing are all great examples of things people successfully sell online.

Not sure if you need to move to a self-hosted site? Check out this article to learn if it’s right for you.

On WordPress.com, we make selling things easy — just use a Paypal button. If you have a product that’s a bit more complex, or if you need a full eCommerce solution, it’s possible the best route for you is moving to a self-hosted WordPress.org site with a WooCommerce online store.

Donations, Gifts, & Tips

Finally, the most straightforward way to earn money from your blogging is to simply ask for it! If you’re a writer that posts stories online, it can be a great way to generate a bit of income, and it’s certainly less time-consuming than assembling and publishing an entire book.

For most site owners who want to accept donations, a Paypal button is a great solution. Depending on your particular niche, sites like Kickstarter, IndieGogo, Patreon, and GoFundMe may fit your needs as well.

Accepting money in this manner doesn’t need to be just donations, either! Many soon-to-be-married couples make a donation/gift button available for offsetting honeymoon costs in lieu of traditional wedding gifts. Bands sometimes accept early donations in exchange for priority access to music. You’ve probably even seen companies accept deposits or contributions towards in-development, cutting-edge products.

Finally…

Making extra income from your blog or site is great, but always remember that the quality of what you publish is what’s most important. Without great posts, your visitor numbers will dwindle, and the income you make will soon follow.

If you’d like to learn more about creative and effective blogging, be sure to check out our Blogging U. courses, and subscribe to the Daily Post.

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  1. This is a very interesting article, but I am very confused! I have a WordPress.com blog and I thought that we were not allowed to use affiliate links on WordPress.com blogs. I do not yet have a custom domain, in case that makes a difference here. Please clarify this for me. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      You can now use affiliate links (just don’t overdo it!). Some companies may want you to embed a Javascript widget for affiliate programs, but you would need to get a plain HTML affiliate link from them instead.

      Also, you don’t need a custom domain to use affiliate programs! 😀

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you! And this is all officially WordPress.com approved? I don’t want to do it only to come back to find my blog has been deleted. I have no intention of overdoing affiliate links, just a few here and there when/where they seem appropriate. Thanks!

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      1. Hi Chris, membership sites were discussed in the forums some time ago and we came to the conclusion that this really requires 2 sites to work well on WPcom. The first site would be a public site with teasers and a PayPal button and the second site would be the private site that the author/owner can invite paid subscribers to after they receive payment. Hope that helps someone. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people