In this day and age, it has never been easier to create your own website. Choose your favourite blogging platform, click a few buttons and you’re good to go. Though it is easy to start a blog, it takes time and consistent effort to build an income from blogging. From consistently publishing to strategically attracting new readers, starting a blog is not a way to ‘get rich quick.’ Luckily for us, there are now more ways than ever to monetize your website.

When to start monetizing your blog

There is no fixed milestone to pinpoint exactly when is the right time to start monetizing your blog. Some recommend starting right away, whilst others recommend waiting until you build your traffic levels up. Likewise, some of the methods we discuss below will require you to build up an audience, whilst others you can start right away. It depends on which method(s) you intend to use.

Nonetheless, the key to monetizing a blog successfully is building a steady flow of traffic and growing your community.

5 Ways to Monetize a Blog or Website

1. User pays the publisher to access content

Websites with some kind of subscription model have become increasingly popular in recent years. Membership sites allow users to pay monthly or annually to receive exclusive benefits, such as unlimited access to a gated part of your website. Methods include:

  • Paywalls
  • Online memberships
  • Subscriptions

This monetization method is a more sustainable source of revenue than one-time purchases, such as selling merchandise. It is also beneficial for publishers to build a strong community with a shared interest.

This option will generally be best for content creators with a dedicated readership who would be willing to regularly fund your high-quality content. Many online businesses’ base their entire business model on user subscriptions, such as Netflix and Spotify. This has given rise to ‘subscription economy’ whereby businesses are required to focus on long-term relationships with users to ensure their continued custom.

Paid readership has proven to be a major success with sites like The Financial Times, who have acquired a paying readership of more than half a million online users.

2. Monetizing with display ads

The main source of revenue for most content sites is display advertising. Publishers can earn ad revenue by selling space on their website (inventory) to advertisers who then put an advert in front of the audience. Online ads are potentially the easiest way to monetize your site and they enable you to earn revenue from every visitor and every page. Ad revenue can be calculated in terms of either impressions or clicks.

The main benefit of monetizing through display advertising means that you do not require any kind of monetary payment from your audience and are able to monetize every visitor. However, your success is dependent on your traffic. The higher your traffic, the better you perform.

Advertising networks, such as AdSense, are a great way for smaller publishers to start monetizing their content. This is because ads are targeted to users which increases the likelihood of the ad being clicked. You can estimate your website’s revenue potential on AdSense using this calculator.

3. Publisher sells products or services

Selling your own product or service is another great way to monetize your blog. This can range to pretty much anything – from digital products, such as ebooks and courses, to physical products, such as t-shirts or cooking utensils. Since you’ve built your own audience, you are likely to know them better than any retailer ever could. One potential way to approach this is to try to address a problem that both you and your audience share.

With options such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, writers can self-publish their own book and retain as much as 70% of the royalties. If you want to sell physical products, you can turn your blog into an e-commerce store using this guide.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing programmes can account for up to 30% of all sales for advertisers. With these numbers, it’s no wonder that more and more advertisers are turning to bloggers to promote their products. An affiliate programme allows bloggers (affiliates) to earn a commission on sales which are a result of your endorsement for an advertiser’s product. Sales are tracked via affiliate links which record traffic sent to advertisers’ websites.

Amazon Associates and eBay Partner Network are both examples of affiliate programmes. Affiliate sales are a great way to earn an income by promoting products and services that you genuinely endorse. Ultimately, the amount of revenue that you can earn through affiliate marketing depends on the amount of traffic you receive and how responsive your audience is. Again, you could approach this by only becoming affiliated with products and companies that offer a solution to a problem that both you and your audience share.

5. Sponsored posts

Sponsored posts are a form of content marketing where advertisers pay online influencers, such as bloggers, to produce relevant content in the hopes that it will raise brand awareness. This can encompass a variety of formats, such as case studies, reviews and newsletters. The success of a sponsored post can be somewhat attributed to its native qualities. Promotional content that blends in with organic content tends to attract high engagement and yield more clicks.

An example of a sponsored post would be if a hairdressing blogger shared a (paid) review of a new hair product, which in turn persuaded readers to go and purchase the product. Usually, these deals are directly negotiated between blogger and advertiser for a fixed price. Sites that sell sponsored content should ensure that they are familiar with Google’s webmaster guidelines as it is easy to overstep the mark without realising and this can endanger both your monetization and your search traffic.

Ready, set, monetize!

To summarize, there are a number of ways for every blogger, and digital publisher in general, to monetize their website traffic. However, it takes patience, dedication and learning. The most successful publishers tend to diversify their income by using a combination of these monetization methods.