Hey, you. Intrepid blogger.
You started your blog for a reason. Even if it wasn’t clear as spring raindrops at the time.
So, flicking back through your archives, what’s the big WHY behind all the WordPress wear ‘n tear?
What is your blog-baby blossoming into?
A portal for self-expression? A community platform? A springboard for product sales? A mysterious virtual atelier? A diamond in the rough & tumble Internet void?
A place to change minds, open hearts, inform, educate, inspire awe & delight — and make some cash, while you’re at it?
I certainly hope so.
Behold — 19 potent ways to turn your blog into pure currency (like, immediately). Please sip with a realism-chaser, and the knowledge that most (nay, all) “pro-bloggers” carve out multiple revenue streams (both online and off) to fill their coffers.
But you’ve got to begin somewhere. And to paraphrase the legendary Sioux leader Crazy Horse,
“today is a good day to monetize.” (Pretty sure that’s what he said, anyway.)
1 :: GET PAID FOR YOUR PRECIOUS ‘PINIONS :: If you write on a niche topic — say, beauty, vegan baking, bein’ a mama, BD/SM safety, all of the above — and you have a decent readership, you can easily persuade companies to send you freebie products, or even pay you to spotlight their wares. Of course, there’s a fine line between transparent promotion and tricky manipulation. My advice? Put a statement somewhere on your blog, letting your readers know that you only promote products you genuinely ADORE, whether you paid for them — or they paid for you.
2 :: OFFER A ‘QUICKIE’ :: The Tarot Lady offer a 15-minute reading (via email) for $15. Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind invites her readers to “Ask A Question” for $50 to $75. What could YOU offer (and put a pricetag on) for 15 minutes of your brain-time? An instant résumé review? A knee-jerk website appraisal? Insta-filtered relationship advice? Sometimes, brilliance doesn’t need to simmer for long.
3 :: FEATURE (CAREFULLY CURATED) ADS :: As a blogger, you can completely dictate the structure & pricing & thematic slant of your advertisers — and prices can go uppity-up, as your audience increases. Create a Google Analytics account to track your traffic, so you can feed prospective advertisers your stats. Then create a tab on your site with all the juicy sponsor details. Want some inspiration? Roots of She and Kind Over Matter have this down pat. Need a gorgeous banner or badge? Talk to Kate Caprari at Ads with Intention for all your design needs.
4 :: OPEN THE DOOR FOR DAILY SPONSORS :: A clever spin on traditional ‘advertising’ — let sponsors get a mega-watt spotlight on your site, for a single day. As in, “Today’s programming is brought to you by……” Need an example? The boys at Unicorn Booty have got this down to a T.
5 :: HOOK SPONSORS FOR ‘SPECIAL EVENTS’ :: Planning a virtual summit, teleseminar, or educational event? Rock it like an offline convention, and hook sponsors into the mix. Goddess Leonie’s World’s Biggest Summit is a gorgeous example of rallying support around a super-special event.
6 :: RALLY MOMENTUM AROUND YOUR MEGA-LAUNCH :: If you’re gearing up for a massive launch — your new book, your new website, your new line of exotic flower essences — crowdsource funding from the masses, with a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign. Parachute Promise is doing a campaign to raise funds for a major website overhaul, and Jessica Swift recently did one to release a line of techni-color patterned rainboots. It’s like online fundraising, market testing, and ideal customer crystalization, all rolled into one.
7 :: BIND TOGETHER A ‘BEST OF’ PRODUCT :: Pluck out your top 25 articles on [ candle-making / SEO optimization / puppy training / angel whispering ] and arrange them in a stylized PDF, with a few bonus worksheets and a hot resource guide. Hello, insta-product!
8 :: CRANK OUT A ‘Q&A’ product :: Ask your readers to submit their gotta-know questions on [ candle-making / SEO optimization / puppy training / angel whispering ], arrange their Q’s (and your A’s) in a stylized PDF, with a few bonus worksheets and a hot resource guide. Howdy, insta-product number two!
9 :: TURN OUT A ‘TUTORIAL’ PRODUCT :: Create a series of how-to tipsheets (or screen-capture tutorial videos) on [ candle-making / SEO optimization / puppy training / angel whispering ], arrange the mini-guides in a stylized PDF, with (you guessed it) a few bonus worksheets and a hot resource guide. Greetings, insta-product number three!
10 :: BUNDLE YOUR PRODUCTS INTO ONE ULTRA-LOAD :: You’ve got three (or more) faboosh products by now, yes yes? Bundle all of ‘em into a single package, at a price-point that triggers an immediate YES.
11 :: STRIKE UP AN AFFILIATE PARTNERSHIP :: As an affiliate, you’ll promote someone else’s program or product, using a coded hotlink (or snazzy banner or badge). Most affiliate partnerships include a commission of 30 – 50%, and get paid out through PayPal, once or twice a month. As with any paid endorsement, you should ONLY promote products that you completely believe in, either through direct exposure or a tender connection to the product’s creator. Empty-praise doesn’t sell (very well, for very long.)
My affie relationships, at the mo’ :: THE SPARK KIT by Danielle LaPorte (a modern classic), Hiro Boga’s Become Your Own Business Adviser course (transformative), Jen Louden & Michele Lisenbury Christensen’s Teach Now program (get over your timidity and just TEACH already!), and Erika Lyremark’s Morning Whip experience (wake up HOT for your business).
12 :: TAKE A TRIP THROUGH THE AMAZON :: Didja know you can create your own personal Amazon Associates aStore, spotlight all your favorite books, movies, incense holders, steel cufflinks, organic coconut butter and glitter lipgloss? And get click-through commissions for every product sale? Well, you can.
13 :: SLIP INTO A REFERRAL RELATIONSHIP :: Some service providers offer a modest stipend for successful client referrals. Which is a fancy way of saying, “I introduce Mary Jewel to Peter Bingo, and recommend that Mary hire Peter as her graphic designer. Peter gets the gig. Peter gives me $50, in grateful reciprocity.”
Personally, referral commissions make me feel squicky, and I don’t engage in them — as a referrer, or referee. I prefer to highlight my heart-plucked recommendations, without conditions. But some folks L-O-V-E referral relationships, and they can certainly incentivize your allies to mobilize on your behalf. My advice? Follow your gut.
14 :: ALMS, ALMS, ALMS FOR THE POOR :: Set up a donation widget in your sidebar, with a stylized PayPal button. A tip — give your readers a compelling (or charming) reason to donate (“Buy me a dirty-chai, and trigger my next epiphany!”), or risk looking quasi-desperate.
15 :: HOLD A VIRTUAL SIDEWALK SALE :: Globe-trotter Sarah Von Bargen did a digital garage sale to clear her apartment, before she embarked on her (most recent) round the world trek. She posted photos of featured items on her blog, Etsy-style, and sold ‘em through PayPal. Clean sweep. Ca-ching.
16 :: RE-PURPOSE DUSTY ARTICLES :: Got a boatload of content in your archives, collecting dustmites? Sell a few articles to an online magazine or article-factory, like Suite101. Note of caution :: you might have to remove them from your own site to do so — or revamp some of the language, for SEO purposes.
17 :: ESTABLISH UP A ‘VELVET ROPE’ SECTION :: It’s surprisingly simply to slap up a private membership section for your site, with platforms like Ning, Kajabi and iGr00ps sprouting up like mushrooms after a thunderstorm. What kind of exclusive content could you deliver, to your blog-VIPs?
18 :: POST NEKKID PICTURES :: Kidding, kidding. Though it seems to be working for Mr. Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle.
19 :: REFRAME YOUR DEFINITION OF ‘CURRENCY’ :: Many bloggers get invites to exclusive experiences, which can serve as a form of ‘social currency’. I recently got tix to a final dress rehearsal of Minnesota Opera’s Cosi Fan Tutte, with a pre-show intro from the (young, sexy, dirty-blonde, Eurochic) conductor himself. And some delicious sushi. On the haus. Quite literally, an experience that money can’t buy. Open your mind to alternate forms of affluence…and let the perks come a’calling.