How to Monetize a WordPress Blog
A lot of people get into blogging for personal reasons. However, running a blog can also be a great way to earn some additional income. Of course, you may be wondering what some of the best ways to monetize your blog might be.
There’s no denying that it takes work to earn money from blogging. The good news, however, is that there are plenty of beginner-friendly ways to monetize a WordPress blog. That means you can pick whichever approach works best for you, and keep at it until the money starts rolling in.
In this guide, we’ll discuss why you should consider monetizing your blog and how you can go about it. We’ll also introduce you to some WordPress plugins that can help with the process. Let’s get right to it!
Why Monetize Your Blog?
Running a website can often be a full-time job. Blogging in particular requires you to publish new content regularly, so you can keep your audience coming back. That means you need to handle research, writing, and editing (at a minimum). You might even have to coordinate with other writers and guest bloggers.
In return for all that work, it makes sense that you’d want your blog to earn you some money. For a lucky few, blogging is actually their main source of income. That’s not easy to accomplish, but at the very least monetizing your WordPress blog can help with the costs of maintaining the website itself.
The best part is that a lot of monetization methods don’t require much work on your end. That means you may be able to focus on growing your blog while earning a largely passive income, depending on which approach you take.
Top Ways to Monetize a Website
As long as you get decent traffic to your blog, you have a broad range of options that will enable you to earn money from it. Let’s go over some of the most popular (and feasible) options.
1. Affiliate Marketing
You’ve probably come across a lot of blogs that promote products via reviews, top-ten lists, and similar content. In many cases, those blogs are engaging in affiliate marketing. That is to say, they promote products from third-party companies. If a reader ends up buying an item after reading their content, the blog owner get a cut from that sale.
These days, there are a lot of affiliate programs that you can sign up for quite easily. Amazon, for example, enables you to promote its products on your website. If a visitor buys anything from Amazon after using one of your affiliate links, you get a percentage of that purchase.
However, you should only promote products or services that you can vouch for, and which your audience will benefit from. So be careful to look for affiliate programs with a sterling reputation. There are also a number of plugins you can explore that can be helpful in monetizing your website with an affiliate approach.
When engaging in affiliate marketing, you have to add links to the products you’re promoting throughout your content. That can be a lot of work, which is why this plugin enables you to choose keywords for your affiliate links and then adds them in automatically.
On top of that, ThirstyAffiliates provides you with in-depth reports, and can even promote different products depending on where your visitors are coming from. It’s not a free plugin, but the expense can be well worth it if you’re serious about affiliate marketing.
The AffiliateWP plugin offers a pretty basic approach, by giving you the option to set a global affiliate rate. You’ll have some options to set per-affiliate rates as well.
You can create an almost endless set of combinations and options for referrals, products, and affiliates using this tool. Plus, it’s also compatible with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.
The Affiliates Manager plugin is designed for anyone who is already running an eCommerce operation. It is fully compatible with all the major eCommerce solutions. You’ll be able to manage any number of affiliates, and drive more traffic to your online store.
You can also set any combination of affiliate commission rates and pay your affiliates easily through PayPal. In addition,you’ll have many reporting options, so you can keep track of what kind of contribution your affiliate program is making.
If you’re not using an adblocker, you know that the web is full of advertisements. Marketing via online ads is simple: You pay a website to showcase your ads in a specific location, and wait for the traffic to start coming in.
On the other hand, if you run a popular blog, then a lot of people may happily pay you to display ads for their sites on one or more of your pages. In most cases, those ads come in two types:
- Pay Per Click (PPC). With this approach, people pay you for each click their ads get on your website.
- Pay Per Impression (PPI). This type of advertisement tends to be cheaper, since you don’t guarantee clicks on any of the ads you run, just impressions (or views).
Be warned, however, that making decent money from running ads requires your website to get a lot of traffic. You also need to be careful about the number of ads you include and their placement, to avoid overwhelming or annoying readers.
To start advertising on your blog, you’ll want to sign up for a reputable ad network. Google Adsense is one of the most popular options, but there are plenty of other solutions as well. Additionally, WordPress has some helpful plugins you can check out.
Running ads on your blog may be a great way to make money, but it can get tricky. You need to figure out the perfect ad placement, keep track of clicks and impressions, rotate advertisements, and more.
Typically, you’ll use an advertisement platform that takes care of those tasks for you. For example, the AdRotate Banner Manager plugin enables you to manage all of your ads right from WordPress. With it, you’ll be able to customize ad placement, get access to analytics, and connect to several ad networks (including AdSense).
3. Sponsored Posts
Popular blogs can drive a lot of traffic to external websites. A lot of businesses know this, so they’ll often pay blogs in their niche to publish sponsored posts in order to get a slice of that traffic.
If you run a blog with a large audience, some companies will likely be willing to pay you good money for sponsored posts. Just as with affiliate marketing, however, you’ll need to be very picky about what you’re promoting. Your audience trusts you, so if you sponsor subpar products or companies, you might receive some negative feedback.
Warnings aside, sponsored posts offer a quicker way of monetizing your blog as compared to affiliate marketing or running ads. The best way to get started is to use a platform that puts you in touch with businesses that might be interested in publishing on your blog, such as PayPerPost and IZEA.
The Taboola network is another option. In fact, there’s even a plugin for it that you can integrate with your WordPress site.
Taboola is a platform that connects people who want to promote their content or products on successful websites (that’s where you come in!). The Taboola plugin connects to your account, and generates a widget on your site promoting content that’s relevant to your blog.
The plugin itself is free, but you’ll need to sign up as an advertiser on the Taboola network in order to use it. We recommend that you consider it if you’re looking for a mostly passive way of monetizing your WordPress blog.
4. Sell Content
There are other ways to generate an income online. One thing to consider is all the ways you can sell digital content. If your area of expertise is cooking, for example, you can offer premium recipes for download, or start a subscription service for meal plans.
Additionally, with the help of WordPress’ extensive eCommerce options, you can tap into the potential for selling ebooks or other digital content from your website. If you have a loyal blog following, offering extended versions of your content or collections are just two ways to expand your offerings. There are several plugins that can specifically assist in this area of content sales.
The WordPress Download Manager plugin is a very robust, free option for managing sales of digital downloads. You can set up user roles, passwords, file controls and more.
5. Sell Online Courses
One more potential money-maker for your WordPress blog is the sale of online courses. Is there something you are particularly knowledgeable about or good at? If so, creating the opportunity for others to benefit from your expertise can be a smart move.
Fortunately, WordPress has several Learning Management System (LMS) plugins that are specifically designed for creating educational options. Let’s take a look at one of the best tools.
LearnPress has everything you need to set up courses, complete with quizzes, tests, and other activities. There are also many free add-ons that give you the option to set up communication forums, manage students, export courses, and configure prerequisite course settings.
In terms of eCommerce, LearnPress is compatible with WooCommerce, PayPal, Stripe, and many other online shopping tools. While LearnPress is free, you may need to invest in some premium add-ons to achieve the checkout and payment experience you want.
Make Money with Your Site on WP Engine
If you rely on your blog’s income, then you’ll need to choose a web host that provides solid performance and an excellent support system. The more popular your blog becomes, the more resources it is likely to need.
Fortunately, all of our plans are capable of hosting websites with lots of traffic and plenty of content. Check them out today to learn more!