You’ve been writing posts like crazy on your blog for some time now and you’re starting to see how everything is working flawlessly. In other words, we can say that you’ve already become an expert blogger, with traffic that exceeds 1,000 daily visits (more than 30,000 per month) thanks to your skills as an author and your work promoting and positioning SEO. Good job!
At this point, it is time to consider how to make all the hours, days and months of work invested in your blog profitable. One option is to monetize it with advertising. So, without further ado, let me discuss the various options available and allow me to share my humble opinions on each one.
#1 AdSense and WordAds
When you think about advertising, the first image that comes to mind is to insert ads in your blog. And the most popular way is through Google’s platform: AdSense. If you choose this option, you’ll get a code from Google—insert it into your content and Google will show the ads it considers appropriate (the type of advertisements shown are contextual, so in theory, they are supposed to be of the reader’s interest). Then, for every click your readers make on that ad, you’ll receive a small monetary amount. Easy peasy!
The average amount you can receive for AdSense is quite variable. For example, María Jesús Bruzelo in a post published last summer commented that she had obtained €7.24 for every 1,000 visits. Another example: The Big Sky Fishing article talks about $5 per 1,000 visits. And Sarah Petterson talks about $0.5 for every 1,000 visits. Based on these examples, to get an income of €1,000 per month with AdSense, you should have at least 135,000 to 2M visits per month. Another opinion: According to Frank Scipion, to get the €1,000-2,000 you would need 200,000 or 250,000 visits a month. 😱 So, if you’re a blogger and your dream’s to get rich with AdSense, you’ve really got it pretty complicated.
WordAds is another option close to AdSense, ideal for WordPress blogs. I recommend Pradeep Singh’s article “WordAds – Automattic Ads Network to Make Money with WordPress Blogs“ for more details on how it works.
Leaving the revenue issue aside for a moment, this type of advertising has some problems that you should consider. On the one hand, embedded ads might break the aesthetics of your post and therefore take away some of the attention of your readers. Moreover, if the reader clicks on the ad, they’ll leave your website, so they may not subscribe to your newsletter, for example.
On the other hand, it’s possible that the ads included in a post are not completely related to its content. When a reader sees that, they might think the blogger is only interested in making money. It can also give the impression that you are very amateur. A good professional or company can earn money in many other ways, so this kind of “unrelated” advertising can undermine your reputation.
If you’re a newspaper like NYTimes with almost 400 million hits a day, there’s probably no problem in using ads— all know and accept that the advertising is the main source of income the websites have. But what other alternatives do you have as a blogger?
#2 In-text Ads
An additional form of automated income generation is sponsored links within the article. They are programs, compatible with AdSense, that put a link marked with a double underscore in some keywords and show the ad when clicked. In these cases, the blog owner usually charges per click (CPC), but may also charge per print (CPM) or per purchase or conversion (CPA).
The best-known in-text Ads platforms are Infolinks, Kontera, Affinity, Clicksor, or Builtin Text. This type of advertising may be less aggressive than AdSense, but I think that many of the image inconveniences I’ve mentioned with AdSense also happen with this alternative. If you fill a website with these types of links, the reader can’t help but think that you’re only concerned about advertising.
#3 Direct Advertising
Another advertising alternative in your blog is to have a reserved space in your blog to have ads. Once you have established that space, it can be as simple as to reach an agreement with a company and get paid by it to display an ad for a specified amount of time.
There are also platforms with a database full of advertisers looking for sites to advertise and publishers of all kinds of topics that want to have an advertising space to increase their revenues. These platforms can help you find advertisers related to your topic and set prices depending on your metrics. The two best-known direct mail platforms are BuySellAds and BlogAds.
The biggest advantage of direct advertising is that as a blogger you have complete control over what you want to advertise and under what conditions. That is, if you write about, for example, travel, it may make good sense to include advertising for travel offers. Or if you have a techie blog, you can promote your hosting company in exchange of free hosting.
When we had the WPrincipiante blog, a website devoted to the Spanish-speaking WordPress community, we included advertising from a hosting company that contacted us directly. As it was publicity related to our blog and the fact that we were able to decide how, when, and where it was shown allowed us to feel comfortable with it and helped cover the costs of maintaining the blog.
#4 Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs are programs that allow you to create links and earn commissions for any sales generated through them.
For example, in a travel blog it may make sense to sign up for booking.com or logitravel.com affiliate programs—for every user you send to their platforms that ends up booking something, you’ll get acommission.
The most popular affiliate networks are LinkShare, Comission Junction, ShareASale, Amazon, Google Affiliate Network, eBay, ClickBank, or Max Bounty, among others. In fact, some of these platforms even have a specific WordPress plugin so you can promote their products on your blog easily. In case you’re interested, we offer an affiliate program for Nelio A/B Testing and Nelio Content. If you decide to sign up for them, you can take 20% of any subscription recommended by you. Cool, huh?
Another type of advertising you can add to your blog is pop-up ads. As you may have noticed, we use this technique on some pages in our site, appearing under different events, such as scrolling with the mouse or before leaving a page.
#6 Paid Reviews
If you have a blog with a large audience, one type of advertising that you can use to make a lot of money is a paid review. That is, a blog post in which you do an exhaustive review of a product in exchange of a fee. There are blogs that, thanks to the niche market and their audience, charge important figures for a review of a product—it’s actually one of the biggest source of income for some bloggers!
Of course, you can only charge for product reviews once you have a sufficiently large number of visits to make it attractive. And here my recommendation if you don’t want to lose your reputation is that you are as transparent and sincere as possible. For example, we asked WPMayor to review Nelio Content, and they were very clear in informing their readers about how reviews are conducted:
This is an analysis that was written to provide a valuable outside perspective to the creators of this product. They paid for a 100% honest, no-holds-barred break-down of all they are doing, both good and bad, because they want their product to be as good possible. In the interests of sharing that knowledge with the larger WordPress community, we also give them the option of publishing it here on WPMayor.com … but with the vital condition that the content cannot be altered or spun in any way: our readers expect and deserve the same 100% honesty.
Advertising is an alternative to having additional income on a blog. But be careful! Too much annoying advertising on your blog can damage your image. We all prefer to read without advertising or distractions. Therefore, if you decide to include advertising in your blog, analyze well which target audience you have, how they’ll tolerate the advertising that you add to your posts, and if the annoyance it may cause will be compensated with the income it provides.