5 proven ad-free ways to make money from your blog!
.. And how my first ever sponsored post made an instant $2982,-
HOW DO BLOGGERS GET PAID?
If I had a martini for every time someone asked me that, I'd be due for a liver transplant right about now.
Earning money from blogging can seem like a mystery to those who have never been part of the blogosphere. How do you make money from writing blog posts? I can totally understand why people are curious enough to ask me that question.
Blogging is a new occupation, a new sort of business, and people aren't sure how to approach it. New bloggers feel the same way. They know there's money to be had, but the earning methods seem aloof, unclear even.
Great bloggers provide real value
It's funny how some people, a surprising amount really, think it's totally acceptable to ask me outright what I earn.
I'm used to it now, and I mostly answer with a smile; "Enough to afford the life I live." I then throw the question back to them -and how much do you earn? The question usually paints their faces with bafflement.
- Because you just don't ask that of a "normal" person; how much you earn as a nurse, a teacher, an engineer, a priest.. But, somehow, as bloggers, we're expected to validate our chosen career by putting a price tag on it to others. And sometimes we do respond with a figure, because our price tag falsely appears to determine our worth.
The reason for these "money conversations" could be in part the amazement and disbelief people feel at the idea that one can "sit at home and scribble things in one's virtual diary" and make a significant amount of money from it.
And, if that was indeed what we do, their disbelief could be justified. But we don't.
What they don't know is that professional blogging is a serious business like any other, that we work hard, and that we provide real value.
Once someone understands these elements of the work that we do, they can more easily accept that we do, in fact, make a living from blogging.
And some make far more than just "a living", too.
make money on your blog without ads
The first thing that comes to mind when anyone thinks about how to make money blogging, is usually ad sales, banners or Google AdSense.
But, how cool are those annoying, ugly banners with random content really, and what are they doing to the design and flow of your site?
Sure, some people are making decent money from banner ads, I won't deny it. But it's not for me. I have never placed a single adsense banner on any of my blogs, and I never will.
In fact, I believe that advertising banners are the silliest thing you can do to your blog, and I seriously think that AdSense sucks. I also believe that banner ads are a crappy way to monetise your blog. Sorry for not mincing my words; the truth hurts sometimes.
- The only time I would (and I have) place other people's banners on my blog, would be as a favour to a friend or an equal exchange that benefits both parties. Those are great occasional uses of banner space because they serve a greater purpose than money. But it stops there.
If you want to know why I think advertising banners are a great way to destroy your credibility and ruin your site, you can read the post: "8 Reasons Why Banner Ads Suck For Monetising Your Blog!"
Come back to this post once you've read it, and I'll show you how to monetise a blog without ads, because really, who needs'em!
how to make money on your blog without adsense
How do I monetise thee? Oh, let me count the ways..
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning was never put to better use, I'm sure ;)
Really, there are no actual limits for how you can monetise your blog (just stay away from banner ads). Only your creativity draws the line. I could go on and on (..to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach), but there are 5 main means of monetisation that absolutely need mentioning!
In my opinion, the best ways to monetise your website or blog are a combination of the following:
monetise your blog with Sponsored posts
It is a dirty myth and a sad misunderstanding that you need to have huge numbers to approach sponsors. That is simply not true!
From almost the very beginning, sponsored posts paid my bills.
Sponsored posts give you the opportunity to negotiate a price on your hard work, and to make sure you get paid for more than just a headcount or a number of eyes on a page.
The misconception that sponsors only care about numbers, ruin both your earning potential and a brand's opportunity to get in front of a dedicated audience. And, perhaps, because bloggers often struggle to value their own work, brands too labour under this misapprehension from being presented with mere numbers from bloggers themselves.
I've said it before and I'll say it a thousand times over: Numbers alone do not a great blogger make!
A serious and marketing savvy brand would care far more for 250 loyal, devoted, hard-core fans, than 25 000 randoms on Instagram. Why? Because they know that you have real, true influence with your core audience, whilst the mayfly Instagram-crowd might barely pop in for a mutual like, if anything at all, let alone hang off your every word and convert into buyers.
So, don't be afraid to ask. Know your brand and be confident in your capabilities. Perhaps you have skills that add a lot of extra value to your sponsors too. - What can you provide for them other than numbers?
how my first ever sponsored post paid me $2982
It's all about knowing your worth and being able to communicate it!
When I started out, my blog, The Gluten Free Lifesaver, obviously wasn't massive yet, but I came from a professional background of marketing and business which translated into better targeting and communication skills towards the market my sponsors wanted to reach. I also made sure they knew my strengths in other areas, like food photography, writing, and the depth of knowledge I had about my topics.
All this put together made me a stronger candidate for sponsorship than perhaps others within my niche who had higher numbers.
So, thats' where your focus should be; find your strength.
And, of course, you must learn how to present yourself and how to pitch. And you absolutely must have a kick-ass media kit that shows the level of your professionalism.
I've seen a million (very attractive) one-page media kit templates floating around on Pinterest and available as free opt-in downloads across the web, and although a lot of them are super pretty and definitely professional looking, I don't think it's the best option for a blog that wants to stand out and be noticed.
Why? Well, because a) It's pretty generic to present a media kit created from a template downloaded 2 million times by other bloggers, and b) It doesn't exactly scream "you".
Plus, in spite of what a lot of people may tell you, one page is rarely enough. It may be more than enough to display a few social media stats, but it's not enough to convince a sponsor that you're the very best choice for them.
- Remember what I said about numbers? Unless your numbers are so incredibly impressing that the sight of them alone scares sponsors into paying you, you might need a little more substance.
My first media kit verged on a booklet, with an executive summary at the end that sponsors were able to separate from the media kit and pass onwards up the chain of command if need be.
You obviously don't have to go that far. It all depends on your brand, niche, and target sponsors. But, did it work? Well, the proof, as always, is in the payments.
My first ever sponsored post paid me this:
- I didn't charge this rate because I had tens of thousands of readers, but because I had made myself valuable to this sponsor. I even managed to follow up with an additional sale after the post was completed:
don't work for free stuff!!!
Do you see what I did with bundles and packages and what not? You must help your sponsors decide what to pay!
Many, many bloggers sell themselves WAY too short from simply not having the confidence or the knowledge to price themselves right. Some bloggers even work for products!
>>> Let it be said that I have never, and I would never, work for products or discounts or the likes. If I did that, I would not only be letting myself down, but I would be letting all of you, my fellow bloggers, down by contributing to setting a standard in the industry that allows brands to take blatant advantage of bloggers who don't know their worth!
Mark my words, this is happening all around us and it is making it very difficult for hard-working bloggers to get decent pay for their services as they are up against others who will work for essentially nothing.
Companies who advertise have money to spend!
Don't fall for it guys and girls! You'll get free products anyways. Heck, you'll have to turn down free products eventually. Don't sell your creativity and efforts for a free lipstick. It will only be harder for you to make real money in the end.
If you want to learn exactly how make a great media kit, or you want an detailed and individual plan for monetising your own blog, then you can contact me by clicking the button and we'll have a chat :)
monetise your bLog with downloadables
Have you heard of residual income? It's the sort of income that lets you stop trading hours for money. The sort of income rockstars and famous authors get. And bloggers with downloadables.
If you put a good amount of effort into creating great quality electronic products, you will be able to sell these on your blog for essentially ever!
The keyword here is quality. Quality e-products get loved and shared, and they will keep generating revenue for you way after you launch them.
Really, it's a brilliant concept that benefits both you and your readers! You have knowledge that they want to get their hands on, and you can share that knowledge in a convenient and awesome downloadable! Perfection!
I do recommend putting genuine effort into your downloadables, though, as nothing says "I'll take my business elsewhere" like a half-ass e-book that you just parted with good money for.
Examples of downloadables are e-books, workbooks, art, lists, charts, planners, apps, templates.. You name it!
monetise your blog with Online Courses
Online courses are all the rage right now, and if done right, they can generate a significant amount of income which, as a bonus, can have a long-term residual effect.
Creating an online course isn't, and shouldn't be, a quick-fix solution. Courses need to be great to generate a following, just like a blog.
If you have a lot of material already, it can be easier for you to put together a course. In fact, if you have a long-standing blog with a lot of content + a well of knowledge in your field, you might be able to put together a smaller course on a mere weekend! But, according to Forbes.com, creating a quality online course can be compared to writing a book.
There are many platforms available for creating online courses, and some of them guide you through the process from start to finish. Ecommerce-platforms.com have made a list of their top 5 best platforms to publish and sell online courses, if you're interested in finding out which one might be right for you.
What you need to consider before you begin creating an online course, is that even when using a really good platform, you still need a few skills. Firstly, you need to create a course plan with progression and content, you might need to learn how to best communicate your material, you may need to create video, work books or downloadables, perhaps you'll need an e-mail sequence.
- And, you definitely need to market your course in order to get it off the ground!
That being said, once you've gone through the motions and your course is created, with the right marketing, you can be sitting on a gold mine!
There are awesome bloggers out there who have created fantastic resources that teach others how to make their own courses. Why not check out Femtrepreneur's "Launch Your Signature Course"!
Monetise your blog with webinars
Webinars are awesome for a ton of reasons. Not only do they give you a chance to meet your audience "face to face" and interact with them live, but it's a nothing-short-of-brilliant way to drive revenue for your blog!
Webinars usually require less content work than a course, but quite a bit of planning and execution in the promotional stages.
Webinars are often used as a promotional tool to sell other products, like for example courses or downloadables, but they can also make you money in other ways:
- Use webinars to promote sales of affiliate products
- Sell access to a valuable webinar course
- Sell subscription access to a series of webinars on a niche topic
- Use webinars as a sales funnel
One great thing about webinars, is that they don't require quite as much effort to make as a course, yet they can generate residuals just the same. If you record a webinar when it's running live, you can later edit it and sell it as a valuable tool to new audiences, or you can collect a series of webinars on related topics, and create a webinar course package.
monetise your blog with premium content
Premium blog content is a really good way to generate residuals on your blog, and it can be a great asset to your readers!
You can create premium content for just about any topic. If you're a food blogger, you might create a vault of recipes, cooking charts and instructional videos that your premium subscribers can access at their leisure. If you blog about design, you might give premium readers access to templates, fonts, or vector images. Maybe you'll offer podcasts, member-only blog posts, an exclusive Facebook group, chat sessions.. The possibilities are endless!
Premium content is also a fantastic way to generate recurring payments, as you could give access in exchange for a monthly subscription. To make the subscription worth while, you need to make sure that you regularly add new, exciting content which will ensure the continued interest of your subscribes over time.
If your premium content is of high quality and great value to your readers, you will have managed to create a viable long-term source of residual income!
start monetising your blog today!
As you can see, earning money from blogging doesn't have to have anything to do with banner advertising, and it allows for a huge span of adaptability and creativity!
These 5 proven ways to monetise your blog without ads are just a handful of examples on how you can make money from blogging. The possibilities really are endless, and if you know your niche and your readers well, I'm sure you can come up with at least 5 more monetising ideas that suit your specific audience!
After all that, I hope you've learnt that there are a well of alternatives to banner advertising when it comes to making money from blogging, and that banner ads are bad for your blog.
If you want to learn why advertising banners are a dumb, then you need to read my post "8 Reasons Why Banner Ads Suck For Monetising Your Blog!"
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to leave a comment or share this post if you appreciated the info :)
Have you started monetising your blog? What's been your biggest hurdle, and how did you overcome it?
Start a conversation in the comment field!
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HI, I'M KRISTINE!
I've been a full-time blogger for half a decade and a business and marketing professional a decade before that.
Now I help bloggers reach their goals, grow their income and increase their influence by giving them the tools they need to confidently pursue their passion.