Not everyone starts their internet marketing career from scratch. Often people such as yourself have an existing blog about their favorite topic, whether it’s a hobby or more technical.
How then can someone with an existing blog monetize it to help give them a head start with online marketing?
Here are my top 8 tips to get started with.
One of the simplest ways to monetize a blog is to stick some adverts on it.
The most commonly used advertising network is Google’s Adsense: it’s pretty easy to use and you don’t need to do much with it.
The same goes for other advertising networks, you add in some code, the network serves an advert.
Mostly, these adverts will go in your website sidebar, though personally I recommend missing it up and adding content into your posts (most decent themes and some WordPress plugins can assist with this).
The main issue with adverts is that the CTR (Click through Rate) is low and the earnings from clicks is also low.
Sure you can sometimes find great click values, but mostly you won’t and the traffic needed to generate reasonable income is crazy (a minimum of 10,000 visits a month).’
Adverts are also not always the right type for your site. Sure the networks algorithms are not bad and they try to serve things your visitors might be interested in, but it’s far from perfect.
Add ad-blockers into the mix and suddenly generic adverts don’t seem that profitable.
Still, if the site has some traffic and isn’t one of your main sites, it might be worth sticking adverts on it: some money is better than none!
Adverts like these are also very easy to implement on a site with existing content: stick the code in the appropriate widget areas in WordPress and you’re done.
2. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a popular option for monetizing a blog. It revolves around promoting a product or service that offers commissions for leads that purchase said product or service.
For example, if you promote products related to your niche that are sold on Amazon, you can add a special affiliate link in your article to send people to Amazon to buy that product.
Turning an old blog into an affiliate marketing blog takes some work. Initially you would most likely just focus on the new articles your add, making those into potential money makers and look to update older articles slowly over time.
This is because of two reasons:
- There’s no push button solution for affiliate marketing links
- The articles might need to be re-worded/updated to “warm up” the reader so they click the links
3. Selling your own product
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with creating your own product and selling it on your blog.
For example, if your blog is about your experiences with craft brewing, you could create a “Beginners Guide to Brewing” e-book and promote that on your site.
This way of monetizing your blog has pros and cons:
- You keep all the money not just a commission
- You can create a product that is missing from the existing market
- You can use it to upsell other products (yours or not)
- It takes a lot more work to make it
- It takes more work to promote it (as unlike affiliate marketing you’re not just “warming up” leads, but instead trying to close a sale
- There’s no guarantee it will sell
4. Updating old articles
As mentioned above, unless you are only adding adverts whatever method you use to monetize your blog you will likely run into the problem of how to handle your old blog posts.
The best advice here is to do a review of your existing content. You need to find out firstly which articles get the most views/shares/comments.
You can do this by viewing your analytics statistics. If you haven’t been using analytics, sign up to Google Analytics and get it set up on your site.
You will need to then wait a while (a month at least) to see where the traffic is heading on your site, but it will give you a much clearer indication of which articles are popular.
Once you know which articles get the most traffic then you can start by targeting those articles as they are obviously the ones that will potentially generate more income solely based on them having more eyeballs on them.
Other less visited articles can be ignored and left as is, or you can do one of the following:
- See if the article can be updated to be more relevant and useful to your audience
- See if the article can be linked to other more popular (and possibly more profitable articles) on your site
The second option really is to just try to add more internal “link juice” to your more popular articles and perhaps lead the occasional stray visitor to where the action is.
5. Changing direction
One of the main problems with utilizing an existing blog is that it most likely won’t be focused for marketing.
Sometimes they are, unintentionally, sometimes it’s a mixed bag and sometimes they really aren’t.
The key here is to review the current articles and see where they stand.
Do they help solve a problem?
Do they unintentionally promote a product that can be monetized?
Do they suggest a type of product that could be turned into a more specific recommendation? (e.g. if it recommends using a special beer thermometer, change it so it suggests to use a particular one, with affiliate link).
If the articles in general are an unfocused mixed bag, you may need to change the direction of the blog.
This doesn’t necessarily mean to change the focus of the blog (no need to go from craft brewing to children’s toys!) but instead it’s more about changing your mind-set
6. Keywords and SEO
While updating existing articles and while creating new ones, you should spend some time learning about and focusing on keywords and SEO.
What are keywords?
Simply put, keywords are what people type into a search engine to find content. By adding keywords to your content, a search engine can note that your article is related to a certain topic and this can potentially lead to your article being shown when someone does a search.
Discussing keywords in depth is too much for this article but in essence you should be using a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner to find specific phrases (yeah, a keyWORD is a misnomer, it’s usually several words or a phrase), which can then be added into your content.
This should be done in a natural way and not forced in every other sentence. Generally having a keyword in the first paragraph and with a subtitle is an effective method and doesn’t look spammy.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Keywords are a part of this, but things like the article URL, “meta” tags, image title/ALT/filename and so on, are also part of it.
You can go a long way by simply installing an SEO plugin like All in One SEO or WordPress SEO (Yoast), but learning the basics of SEO from a place like Wealthy Affiliate will increase the effectiveness of what you do.
7. Problem Solving
Most un-monetized blogs are fairly haphazard things, and because they never had a monetary focus, the articles are not geared up for generating money.
Articles based around problem solving are your solution.
I wrote about problem solving here, but in short your articles need to talk about a specific issue, for example you could talk about how the beer you brewed was constantly sour. Then you absolutely must provide a solution to the problem.
This solution should hopefully be monetized, maybe you read about a great way to stop sour beer via a book, or maybe you changed some of your equipment and that helped.
Of course, not every solution can be monetized and that’s fine, but you most definitely should always have this in mind:
- What’s the problem?
- What’s the solution?
- Can the solution be monetized?
3 out 3 is excellent, just the first two is fine, anything other than that is pointless.
New articles should be based on this whenever possible and rewording older articles will also reap benefits: you make the article more useful and monetize it as well.
8. Promoting Your Site
Older blogs might already have a steady traffic stream and/or community, but you may need to promote your blog to increase traffic, especially if you are just relying on adverts.
There are many ways you can go about this:
- Advertise via Google
- Advertise via Facebook
- Use other social networks like Pinterest and Twitter
- Write guest blogs for other sites
- Create a YouTube channel and create useful videos
- Optimize your SEO and keywords to improve your rankings in search engines
- Join in online communities in your niche and be active and helpful
The Bottom Line
Turning an existing blog into a monetized blog has many advantages, including but not limited to: a ready-made source of content, an aged domain, and an existing traffic base/community.
There are numerous ways to earn an income from your blog, some are easier but might not make much cash, others take more time and effort but the subsequent rewards are better.
Whichever route you take there’s no excuse not to monetize a blog and get recompense for all your hard work!