Contrary to popular belief, ads are not the only way to make money on your blog.
Blogging has grown from being a personal journal to becoming an extension of a business to becoming the prestigious industry in its own right. There are dozens and dozens of blogs out there, all different. You have your lifestyle bloggers, mommy bloggers, news bloggers, tech bloggers, writing bloggers — you get the picture.
And yet, if you boil them all down, there are really just two types of bloggers: those who purposefully monetize, and those who don't.
The people who purposefully monetize have effective, targeted ways of making money off their blogs. They've carefully planned and designed their blog to keep you there and bring you back.
The others have maybe placed some monetization on their blog, and may even be making some money — but there is no purpose behind their monetization. There's no plan.
Regardless of which side of the purposeful fence these bloggers sit on, almost every blog out there has at least some monetization aspect to it.
The easiest and fastest way to start earning money is to place ads on your site (usually done through an account with Google Adsense). But what if you want to make money on your blog without placing those ads? Is that possible?
The answer is yes — there are several ways you can make money on your blog and never have to touch those ads.
Is placing ads on your site bad?
Let's start with the first question — are ads placed on your site a bad thing? The answer is no. It's not a bad idea to place ads on your site.
In fact, there are a lot of advantages to placing ads on your site (not the least of which is a relatively steady, passive income as long as you have a steady flow of traffic over to your site).
Google Adsense is super easy to sign up for — it takes seconds. There is no cost to you whatsoever to run the ads, and it is really easy to get everything set up on your site and working smoothly. The code does not interfere with any other codes on your site, and most of the time does not even interfere with your SEO.
So what are the disadvantages?
First, the pay is really low per visitor. Exact rates are unknown, since they may vary slightly. But the average range quoted around the internet is about $1 per 1,000 unique impressions (times when the ad has appeared on someone's screen). So if you can drive 1,000 or more people to your website a day and have that ad placed in an area where it will be seen, then each ad you place should pay you roughly $30 per month. Which really boils down to not much money unless you already have a lot of traffic.
Additionally, these aren't just any ads — these are Google ads. That means these ads are targeting your readers with things they think your readers want. While that's a good thing (showing travel ads to someone who isn't remotely interested in traveling is a waste of everyone's time), it also means higher chances that your readers will click away from your website.
Make Money on Your Blog Without Placing a Single Ad
Whether or not you choose to place ads on your site is up to you; there is no good or bad. I would just recommend making sure your site isn't taken over by ads. Allow the ads to take over, and there's no reason for me to be at your site anymore.
One of the easiest ways to monetize your blog is simply to start selling your own products. Popular choices include ebooks you've written, memberships to an exclusive area of your site, webinars, stock photographs, and courses. You could even do what I've done and create and sell some ManyChat templates for writers.
Most of the time, these products require a lot of work up front to create, but once they are done, they can be used over and over again — generating income without much added effort from you.
Sell Some Swag
Thanks to sites like Zazzle, Printful, and Cafepress, you can design and create swag to go along with your blog. These sites have everything from hats and tee shirts to branded envelopes and coffee mugs. Just log in, create your designs, and advertise them on your site.
Now, I know what you're thinking, “But isn't affiliate marketing just like ads?“
Yes and no.
Yes, affiliate marketing works by placing links on your site that your readers will want to click on. One major difference, however, is that you have control over where they're going. And unlike ads, which are based on categories and search histories, with affiliate marketing you can provide value to your readers.
For example, I am an affiliate for a few different companies whom I love and use virtually every day (or at least, every day I'm at the computer). I use Tailwind to help me manage my Pinterest account, I use PicMonkey to create most of the graphics I have on this site, and I use GetResponse to manage my newsletters and email courses.
I could just throw up a bunch of links and hope you click on them, but I don't. I show you how I use them, and why I love them. Then I go so far as to show you how you can use them, too.
You can learn more about getting started in affiliate marketing as a freelance writer here.
Link Your Blog to Your Available Services
I love writing this blog. But it's not my career. When I first set up this blog, I worked as a freelance ghostwriter and book editor. And while I did house the two on the same site, I treated both areas of the site very differently. Here, I got to have a little more fun and I got to talk to you about just about anything. And every once in a while, I would go ahead and throw in a reminder of the services I offered.
Leverage Your Expertise
Are you an expert in the field you're blogging about? Establishing yourself as an expert can really open some more ways to make money on your blog. For example, you can offer consultation services for a fee; you can charge fees for writing up guests posts on others' blogs; you can even schedule public speaking events.
Monetizing your blog doesn't have to be a strenuous experience, sucking up all your time and energy. Nor does it mean having to bury your content under dozens of ads. With just a little work and a solid plan, you can put together a blog with amazing earning potential.