With so much information about how to monetize your blog out there, it’s time someone simplified things. And so, lets. We need to start by asking some hard questions about the objectives around the business:

  • How much does your brand matter to you?
  • What are your costs?
  • What are your revenue objectives?

These questions form the cornerstone of your quest on how to monetize your blog and make money.

Should I monetize my blog?

Let’s start with that question. Most of us go into blogging to express ourselves on topics of interest. Some do it for money, and for them it’s a very simple answer. No dilemma, rather it is the objective and then should just skip ahead to the next two points. The objective of monetization really relates to how you perceive your blog. Is this about self expression, about community building, about having a discussion or serving as a personal soapbox? Either way, in all cases there is a layer of how one perceives themselves and what the interaction and association with various monetization techniques does to their nascent brand.

If your brand does not matter at all to you, you will wind up looking like one of those click-bait, bikini filled, supplement touting and sensationalist social news destination websites (great fun, but no brand) – think “you won’t believe what she did next” type of web publication. However, if you are trying to strike a logical balance, you will try and find some solutions that align logically with your brand. A great example of that is RewardStyle (invitation only), they monetize your blog without adsense for example, but rather through their own platform for fashion bloggers.

What is the cost of a blog post?

Yes, having a creative outlet is a fantastic way to reduce stress and communicate with the world (hopefully). But there are hidden costs, those include at times hosting, the time to produce content, market it (social or paid) and the opportunity cost of engaging in other activities. Considering everyone’s time has a value to it (financial actually), you should determine a minimal revenue goal for your blog.

Also, by doing that you will be forced into a discipline of finding ways to expand your audience through content creation and social interaction to reach your goal. There is a lot information about how to grow your daily readership, we will not cover this here. However, working with the assumption you are seeing traction there you should aim to define a quarterly revenue goal and work to reach it.

How do I make money blogging?

In a nutshell, after you define a goal for revenue – and your tolerance for monetization it’s time to get to work. Pick a monetization provider that ideally adds value to your users (hint, a fungal toe cream ad next to an elegant night gown means you’re headed in the wrong direction). Options include:

  • Display ads
  • Paywalls
  • Content locking
  • Selling user data
  • Donations
  • Affiliate links to affiliate programs
  • Make your own product and sell it
  • Let others advertise on your website (sponsored content, listings, etc.)

In summation, as the age old saying goes – “if you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there”. Figure out the points above and drill down into the specifics – like enrolling getting your own native widgets for your blog.