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How to Monetize + Drive Free Traffic to Your Blog

This post may contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through the links, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support. 

Tina, can I really monetize MY blog? 

YES!

What’s the difference between blogging for fun and blogging for profit?

Monetizing! 

tips on blogging blog

Maybe you’re starting a blog to journal your daily or weekly ramblings. That’s fantastic! You may not need to be bothered with monetizing now, but you might want to expand or pivot later so leave that door open. Bookmark this post to come back to 🙂

If a hobby blog starts to pick up readers, it’s a good idea to have a potential monetization strategy ready to go. Today, we’re going to talk about six ways you can monetize your blog, then go over some traffic-building strategies. Without traffic, no one will see what you’re monetizing anyway, so it’s important. 

Let’s discuss: 

Affiliate Marketing

I purposely put this method first because it’s the easiest to get into and probably the most profitable for most people. To succeed with affiliate marketing, you post links on your blog that point to products that have helped you or that people in your network highly recommend. 

You’re pretty much a digital salesperson, so when a customer purchases through your link, you receive a commission. The vendor then fulfills the order, whether it’s a digital or physical product. You don’t even have to deal with customer issues. That’s on the vendor. 

Once you have the links in place, the only thing you have left to do is market your content. Use a plugin like Blog Link Magic to facilitate the process. It cloaks your link so it is received better  by search engines and once you set up your keywords, the plugin finds the keyword in your posts and automatically links them. It’s a fantastic resource and definitely on my list of must-haves.

Individual sites might have their own programs, but you could streamline the process by joining an affiliate network like:

…just to name a few! Each have plenty of brands/products for you to promote. 

Sell Your Own Products

Print on Demand sites like Zazzle offer a great opportunity to monetize your blog and make passive income. That link is for our Pug Store. Our best-selling product is a set of file folders and has brought in a couple bucks.

The possibilities and endless. It took about an hour on Canva and Creative Fabrica to come up with some cute Pug graphics to create the products I currently have in my own store.   

Note: your products need to be somehow aligned with some part of your business, so your audience will be interested in what you’re selling. 

Email Marketing

If you go this route, make sure your opt-in forms are visible, wherever you decide to put them. Sign up with an autoresponder to create them, like Flodesk. Your autoresponder will help you collect the emails and automate the process. Yes, autoresponder software usually comes with a fee, it’s a necessary thing to take your business to the next level.

You can also use Thrive Leads to help create multiple list-building options. 

Once you have subscribers, you can send them regular updates and build a relationship with them so you can sell your own products to them or promote other products you feel they will find useful. 

Ads

Ads are probably the most common way marketers use to monetize their blogs. They use niche-specific or sponsored ads. 

You’re going to need a fairly large audience and steady decently-sized traffic numbers for sponsors to consider working with you. Even marketing networks have certain number thresholds you have to keep up with in order to stay with them.

Try the three previously mentioned strategies before tackling this one. They are much more likely to be profitable than ads.. well, unless you know someone. 

Memberships

Simply put: sell a course/product for a monthly recurring charge.

Example: a newsletter that you charge $10/month for people to receive. Getting 500 subscribers means a monthly recurring income of $5k.

Sounds like something that would be worth both the time and effort to set up and then keep up with.

Don’t let the initial work worry you.

Setting up a membership is pretty easy with software like Amember, which is a favorite of LOTS of bloggers who sell printables. I’m considering setting Amember up myself in the near future. It’s not free, but definitely a worthwhile investment. 

Flip Your Site

Note: this has to be an unemotional decision. You can’t just Jay Leno your blog back (if you don’t get that reference, search for Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien).

So, how do you flip your site?

It takes a few steps:

  1. Start a niched-down blog.
  2. Get it ranking.
  3. Monetize it.
  4. Sell it on Flippa or Blogs For Sale. 

Flipping your site could potentially bring in enough for you to start on other projects, like a few new blogs to flip.

Marketers who flip sites need to be both logical and methodical in their approach. Make sure your blog isn’t branded to you personally. Think of them as money-making machines that are sold for profit. 

Now ya know.

Many bloggers make the big bucks just using one or two methods.

I can’t make an absolute guarantee your blog will be a “Monetize Machine”, but if you specialize and deep dive into any one method, you can start earning an income from your blog. 

All you need to do is get started 🙂 

Okay now let’s talk turkey.. aka traffic. 

All the monetization strategies in the world mean nothing if you don’t get eyeballs on your content, right? Also, since everyone loves a good freebie, we’re also going to go over a few ways to drive FREE traffic to your blog.

So what exactly does “free traffic” even mean anyway? Well, it means free as in you don’t have to pay for ads, but you do have to invest a bit of time.

Yes, I know: time is money.. so in essence, you are paying for it, but it won’t be money out of your pocket. If you’re on a strict budget, you still want to get the most bang for your buck (in this case, the buck is your time), so it would behoove you to pick one method, focus on it and spend your time on it.

Note: when trying out a traffic method, don’t use it once and then declare it doesn’t work. Take a course in it if you have to. Spreading yourself too thin will leave you with choppy results at best, so it might be best to wait until you have a VA on your team or you have streamlined your process to free up more time to add other methods to your strategy. 

Social Media

Social media platforms are a great avenue to leverage for traffic. 

How? 

  • YouTube allows links in the description section.  
  • Pinterest has links to individual posts or your landing page attached to your pins. 
  • Facebook Groups/Pages offer plenty of places to post links to posts and pages. 
  • Instagram gives you a clickable link in your bio. You can choose one page or get a Smart.Bio and add several important links. 

Get the idea? 

With each of these, you’ll have several links back to your blog. Mention it in captions and in Stories on Instagram. 

TIP: have a landing page to point the way to your freebies or to get on your email list.

Try and pick one social media platform at a time, unless your scheduler has a cross-posting option and it’s simply a one-click to post to more than one platform at once. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

This is a HUGE topic in the make money online niche, but pretty much all other niches as well.

Organically ranking for highly searched keywords is arguably the best way to get traffic. If your site doesn’t play by the SEO rules, search engines won’t send traffic your way. It’s as simple as that. 

Do your keyword research. Focus on the “lower hanging fruit” keywords that are more easily accessible. Once you have that down, move onto more difficult keywords and give ranking for those your best shot. 

Study SEO and apply it. It’s a great way to generate free traffic.

Elaine Rau’s course “Launch a Christian Blog” has great lessons in SEO. It’s definitely worth taking. I love her simple approach. It was useful for me and I hope it’s useful for you as well. 

Guest Posting

Create a unique post and pass it off to someone in a complementary niche with a request to add a backlink to your blog.

You can do this in two ways:

  • Approach the blog owner with your offer 
  • Add a collaboration offer to your contact page 

If you decide to approach path, pick a site that’s popular, but not overwhelmed with daily posts (1-2 posts per day max). You don’t want your post to get lost in the post abyss, which will happen if the site is known for posting multiple times daily.

You want a site that will allow readers time to check out the post, then (hopefully) click over to your blog. 

Email Marketing

Put a link to sign up for your email list everywhere.

Example: Here’s a link to join My List

Add it to your:

  • social media profile bios 
  • email signature 
  • blog’s sidebar 
  • blog footer/header 
  • business pages 

Basically, if anything mentions your business, link to your opt-in form. 

I personally use Flodesk to create opt-in forms. You’ll see one in my blog’s sidebar to the right of this post. 

There’s also the option of using a software like Thrive Leads to create sticky banners, scroll mats, pop ups, etc. to capture the email addresses. 

Exceptional Content

You’ve heard “content is king” a zillion times before. 

The truth? GOOD content is essential. 

What is good content? 

  • Informational 
  • Entertaining 
  • Memorable 

Use catchy titles and headlines.

Be direct and give a sneak peek into what the content is about. 

Use internal links (linking to other posts on your site) to keep people on your site longer, which will reduce your bounce rate. 

What’s bounce rate? Simply put: 

  • A high bounce rate means people took one look at your content, then bounced. 
  • A low bounce rate means people took a look at your content, then stuck around. 

Your goal? A lower rate. Low bounce rates mean search engines see your site as trustworthy and worthy of traffic. 

TIP: Post regularly.

Consistently posting ensures you always have fresh content for readers to find. Since there is always something to look forward to, repeat visits are always on the table. 

The bottom line: your blog’s reputation will be what ultimately drives traffic. If you don’t look like a serious player in the field, you won’t be able to establish yourself as an authority. 

So many business coaches you meet will tell you their tactic is the best and all other forms of marketing are dead. You’ll need to decide for yourself which one to use. Some swear by Pinterest, while others hammer “the money is in the list” into every piece of content they publish. 

Take a look at the options here. Cross-reference it with your skillset. Go with whatever traffic-generating tactic is best for you. 

For now, choose one method and work at it. When you have that part streamlined, move onto the next. 

That’s free traffic generation in a nutshell.

If you have any questions, drop us a line.

If you need help with mapping out your marketing strategy, check out the Marketing Planner below in the Resources section. 

GOOD LUCK! 

Stock Photos:

Ivory Mix 

resources

Business Marketing Planner

Business Marketing Planner product photo

Planners:

  • Weekly 
  • Social Media Calendar

Trackers:

  • All 6 major platforms 
  • Blog Posts
  • Affiliate Programs

Everything you need to get your business marketing strategy on paper!

My recommendations for all things blog-related: 

  • Domain Names
  • Blog Platforms 
  • Hosting
  • Themes
  • Legal Stuff
  • Plugins
  • Courses
  • Monetizing 
  • Stock Photos
  • Ideas: What to Post
  • Content Help 
  • Graphics 
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