Each day, millions of people are searching for ways of making money online. We can conclude this is an important subject for many site owners. But it might seem like a complicated process with overwhelming options.
Should you start an e-commerce, an online business, or write a blog?
That’s why today we’ll focus on answering one specific question from this field of interest: How To Make Money With A WordPress Blog?
There are several ways you can monetize a blog, even if you don’t have your own product or service yet. So today, we’ll focus on giving you the top strategies for getting results, the tools to apply them, along with some legal guidelines.
How to Make Money with A WordPress Blog?
A great question that has numerous answers. We all know the Internet offers vast options, and this applies even to monetizing a blog.
In this article, I will focus on giving you enough details on each strategy for you to start applying it. To make it easier for you to follow the tactics that are most relevant to you, here is the list of options I will present today:
- Affiliate Programs
- Sponsored Posts
- Ad Spots
- Membership sites
- Selling your blog
If there any other options worth mentioning, let us know in the comments section, at the bottom of the article. We’d love to research and write about them in future articles for you.
I know you’re eager to start learning about how your own blog can become a money-generating asset. So let’s see what is the first opportunity you could seize.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular answers to the question: “How to make money online?”. It’s also an easy option.
The core of the strategy is adding the affiliate links (or referral links) in your text or to your images. These will redirect the audience to a third-party site, where the visitor can make a purchase.
The link contains a specific tracking code that connects the readers of your blog that click on the company link, to their purchase. For a visitor that buys after following that link, you receive a commission.
There are affiliate programs that take into account the first bought product after following the link. Others that remember the visitor, through cookies, and take into consideration their purchases in 14-30 days.
In this case, how to make money online is connected to how to find affiliate opportunities.
Most companies will have their own affiliate programs. You will usually find a link to their program on their website, either in the footer or on their contact page. Make sure to read the terms of that program before sign-up.
Other companies rely on affiliate networks. These platforms make it easy for both parties involved. They typically narrow down the application process to just clicking a button. And in some cases, the approval might be automated.
Here are some popular platforms you can try:
Once you have an account set up, you’ll have access to your affiliate links. Think ahead of the anchor text you’ll add the link to. You want to ensure that the audience’s expectations are met.
If you add a link to ‘best WordPress hosting options’, the reader will expect to find a list of hosting packages they can buy, not a product page for a financial software.
Craft some Calls-to-Action (CTA) as well. It’s just another sure way to point out to the reader they can take action immediately.
Experimenting with anchor text without measuring is foolish. How will you know which are converting and which aren’t? If your affiliate platform doesn’t offer the option of tracking your links, make sure to use a tool to clean up and monitor them. For WordPress, there is the plugin: Pretty Links.
There is one important legal aspect of this strategy: you need to disclose the fact that you are using affiliate links. It’s a mandatory requirement of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) but one that is easy to comply with. Make sure you write up a disclosure and add it to each page that includes an affiliate link.
If you plan on adding a link to each article you can create an element in the footer or the sidebar with the disclosure. That way, you’ll never forget to add it.
If not, a paragraph and a link to a disclosure page, at the start or end of the articles included in your affiliate campaign, should be enough.
I recommend that you check the FTC disclosure guide and any specific rules for your industry before publishing the first post.
One other way of making money online is by writing honest reviews. The tricky part here is to find businesses to sponsor it. Companies might approach you, or you can submit a proposal for them to review their product if they give it to you for free. You can also ask for a fee for writing and publishing the article on your blog.
You do have to keep in mind two things here:
- Be honest! Even if a company paid you, your audience matters more. They want to hear your genuine opinion of the product before they purchased it, rather than a beautifully wrapped lie.
- Disclose the sponsored post. Just like in the case of affiliate links you need to communicate the fact that you have been sponsored for the review. It’s a way to be transparent with your audience.
Keep in might that the company has paid you to try the product, use it in your everyday life and write about it. They aren’t allowed and will never pay you to say something the product is not.
Make sure to check the terms of the sponsored review. Some companies might still let you use your affiliate link even if they paid for the review.
If that’s the case and your review is positive, it’s a win-win situation. You get the product for free, and you’ll be able to generate revenue in the future by redirecting your audience to purchase it.
In some cases, companies might offer you two products of the same type for review. One for you and one for your audience. That’s how we’ll get to our next option on how to make money online.
It might sound counter-intuitive at first. And you might be asking yourself:If I'm giving something away, how am I making money? Click To Tweet
The real advantages of giveaways are the traffic spikes your blog gets. It’s pretty typical as most giveaway sign-ups include one or more of these options:
- Following Social Media Profiles
- Subscribe to an RSS feed
- Share article or campaign page
- Refer friends to campaign
- Subscribe to Email Lists
- Comment on article or Social Media Post
- Daily entry method, where you have to do a task each day.
An enticing giveaway translates into repeat visits, a lot of awareness around your blog and of course new visitors and subscribers.
To have a well-organized giveaway, you need to keep track of all the entries and choose a winner randomly and transparently.
It’s a great option because it lets you build up several steps your audience needs to take before they enter the sweepstake, and it also collects the email details from your participants. We used: subscribe to the channel, sharing on Facebook and Twitter, and watching a certain video from our channel, as steps within the sign-up.
If you are in the USA, before you start organizing a giveaway there are a few legal issues you need to make sure are solved:
- Legally, a giveaway is called a sweepstake. This term will be useful when you search for state-specific laws.
- The entry option cannot require your readers to make a purchase. If that were the case, you’d have a lottery, not a giveaway – and that is illegal.
- Have clear terms and conditions for the campaign. If you’ve chosen Gleam.io for your campaign, they will generate a Terms and Conditions page and add the link at the bottom of the sign-up widget. If not, make sure you write some explicit requirements yourself.
- Specify a campaign calendar and do not change it. Regardless of the number of entries and responses, you will still be obliged to offer the reward at the date specified on the site and in the Terms and Conditions of the competition.
- Prizes should be under $600. This aspect is just to make it easy for you and your audience, so there is no need to submit any additional paperwork. Where the prize money exceeds $600.00, the organization awarding the prize must file a 1099-Misc to report the award to the IRS.
- Specify the age limit. In the USA, you need to make sure that the contestants are 13 years or older. They will also need parental consent if they are under 18. Make sure to add this to your Terms and Conditions. You can even have a check button in the sign-up form for the audience to confirm they are over the age limit.
- You must deliver the prize. Regardless what happens behind the scenes, you’ll have to offer the rewards you promised at the end of the giveaway. This requirement applies even if your sponsor backs out, you overspend on the campaign or any other case. If you can not offer the initial prize, you need to provide an equivalent one.
- Check state regulation as well. Even if these rules apply to the whole USA, there might be some state-specific requirement you should consider. Make sure to check them before you start your campaign.
It might sound daunting once you’ve read all these legal requirements, but most of them can be quickly taken care of with a well-written Terms and Conditions page. It’s just a matter of checking them before you start your own campaign.
One of the best-known ways of making money online has to be adding ad spots on your blog. Your site will showcase other products and services on the web, in these designated areas. Here you have three options:
- Create Visual Ads in your site with Affiliate links.
- Contact companies to sell your Ad Spots for a monthly fee.
- Join a network and create an advertiser profile.
Creating your own ads gives you more control over how the elements look like and how they fit with the design of the blog. You will also have the option to choose your links and get some commission for each completed purchase. And there are several WordPress Plugins to help you with this task.
From a legal point of view, if you have an affiliate link in the ads you should disclose this on all the pages they come up.
The advantage to selling your Ad Spots for a monthly fee is that you’ll have a flat rate, regardless of the clicks on the ads. But to get companies to pay recurrently, they’ll have to see that there are clicks and maybe even conversions coming from the ad.
You’ll also have to find the companies yourself, contact them and get them to agree to the offer. This way you’ll have an income you can count on regardless of the fluctuations in traffic or any small problems your site might face.
Make sure your audience still knows it’s an ad. Any little disclaimer in the Ad spot should be enough.
The third option is to join an ad network and let them do the heavy lifting. The most common options are :
Adsense and Amazon CPM don’t offer you as much control over the ad content that will be posted on your site, but they have excellent systems to choose ads relevant to your content or your readers. That means the only case where there will be an ad for steampunk outfits on your cooking blog, is if the visitor searched in the past for that topic on Google or Amazon.
Adsense typically operates on pay-per-click (PPC) and Amazon, although it has lower pay rates, works on Cost per Impression (CPM). That means that when a visitor sees an ad from Amazon on your site, you get some money, even if they haven’t clicked it.
BuySellAds is a better option if you want to pick and choose your ads. You get to approve the visuals before they go up on your site.
There is also the bonus that you can get to sell monthly or choose CPM adverts. Which means you can have a fixed price per month for your Ad spot space on your site. The other option is choosing companies that pay for readers who see the ads, not just the ones that click on them.
In the case of these platforms, you don’t need to worry about the disclaimers anymore. Anywhere you’ll add them there will be a small link to explain that to the audience.
This is a gold mine when it comes online money-making. It’s basically an audience that listens to you. When you have an email list with good open rate and a decent click-through rate, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Newsletters content is, most of the time, a reflection of the blog. Most people send out their recent articles there, just to make sure that their entire audience has seen them. It’s also a great channel to recommend other brands.
Just like on your blog, here you have the option to add an Ad Spot in your emails.
There are two ways of doing this:
- Contact companies on your own and add them to your newsletters as sponsored content or products.
- Do it via a network that offers newsletter ads options.
Contacting companies for newsletter promotion should be easier than convincing them to pay a monthly fee Ad Spot on your blog. You’ll still have to offer an impressive pitch and provide information about your mailing list. The most common information that they will care about is:
- Topics presented and whether they fit with their company’s field or not
- Emails list size
- Demographic and interest information about your email audience
- Click and Open Rates for the last month.
Platform-wise, there are a few options you can consider. BuySellAds offers this type of services in their portfolio as well. You still have LiveIntent, NewsletterDirectory.co and HeyAmigo as alternatives.
Before starting a newsletter campaign, check with your email service provider whether adding ads to your emails is fine. There are also affiliate programs that specifically exclude this option. Make sure to check all these requirements before starting your campaigns – just to be on the safe side.
Wait! Why is this option here? We’re talking about how to make money with a WordPress Blog; I don’t have a service or a product to offer membership for.
Well, it’s not entirely accurate. If you have an excellent blog, then you have one thing you can provide. And that’s exclusive content.
For a monthly subscription, your audience will get access to premium content, that can be in the form of:
- In-depth one-of-a-kind articles
- Research and studies based on your findings (through surveys or digital experiments)
- Tested actionable plans for implementing strategies
- Plugins, software and digital goods
- Exclusive discounts for a larger group of products
- Earlybird access and invitations to various events
- Weekly or monthly downloadable content
- Online courses you create.
The most popular sites that have a membership fee for premium content are news sites and magazine sites. Just look at The Economist. There are numerous articles you can read on the site, but the best ones are reserved for the print edition.
If you want digital access to them, then you need a subscription. Many in-depth research pieces are only available to members only.
Another example is the course platform CREATIVELIVE. There you get free access to all the courses live streams. But if you want access to a particular course on demand on the site, you have to pay. This strategy shows once again that premium content requires a membership.
Now if you want to turn your WordPress blog into a membership site, here are a few plugins that can help you:
These are great options to make your subscription integration seamless, and there are many more options out there.
But the real work of a membership site will fall into your hands. You’ll have to continuously create and publish quality content that you’ll post exclusively for your site’s members.
The only legal issues you must take into account will be following local data collection and e-commerce laws. Any online payment comes with some type of personal information about the customer. This private information needs to be kept safe so you will have to apply the privacy and security law. If you are based in the USA, you can check the U.S. Small Business Administration for helping materials for online business.
Next, you’ll have to consider sales taxes. Blog membership is regarded as an intangible digital good, so some states in the USA won’t require for you to pay taxes.
Selling Your Blog
Of course, your last option on how to make money online is to sell the blog. Numerous people buy a domain, build a blog to gather traffic, run a few monetizing campaigns so that they can ultimately sell it.
But you can also sell your blog after years of profit. Either because you feel you can’t keep up with the work or you just want to start over with something new.
Traditionally, a blog is usually valued at two years of its last month’s income. So let’s say your blog makes around $600/month now, its price should be around $14,400. But this is just a general idea of how much you can charge for your site.
It all boils down to whether someone is going to pay the price. If someone approaches you to buy the site, take time to consider:
- What do I want to do with the site?
- What are my goals, if I keep the blog?
- Is the price right?
- Are others interested in my WordPress blog?
Before listing your site, make sure you have your Google Analytics data, visitor reports, monthly revenue information, and any other aspect that proves the profitability of the website. The clearer the information is, the easier it will be to get the price you want for your site.
So as we’ve seen, there are numerous ways to answer the question of How to make money with a WordPress blog. Because your options are varied, you need to always check the legal aspects before you start working on an actionable plan.
The main takeaways from this article are:
- You don’t need a complicated site to make money online; it’s enough to have quality blog content.
- There are various monetization options, ranging from affiliate programs to selling your site.
- For each monetization option, there is a direct sales approach or you can join a network.
- Legal aspects are not complicated, but it’s important to check them for your state each time.
- There is no ‘best way’ of monetizing a WordPress blog; it’s all about the best solution for you.
Which website monetization option do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.