The idea of blogging has metamorphosed over the past years
From the era of “mummy blogs” and make up reviews to highly technical content, political overviews, personal experiences sprinkled with hidden affiliate links, paid reviews, and advisory content. Every topic under the sun has been covered by bloggers from different niches, and WordPress has helped launch their career.
According to W3Techs, 62.6% of all websites with known CMS use WordPress; that is 35% of all websites. It is no longer a platform just meant for bloggers; big corporations like Sony, BBC, TED, Thought Catalogue, CBS Local, Spotify, and The New Yorker use WordPress. (Source) 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments are made by users every month. (Source) So, that establishes the legitimacy of WordPress, but, to profit from WordPress, is another story altogether.
Buying a domain name, web hosting, and finally installing WordPress on it is just the beginning. The primary goal is to ensure that there is at least a positive ROI. This will help pay for domain name renewals and web hosting. Consider this to be the inception of a small business venture, which will require effective marketing to produce any profit.
Personalities like Neil Patel, Peter Rojas, and Michael Arrington are at the forefront of effective blog production and monetisation of skills through these platforms. There are no ‘get rich in 20 days’ gimmicks that can help monetise a blog; but, there are several tried and tested ways to ensure positive returns.
1. Try Google AdSense
Considered to be the earliest blog monetisation tool in the market, Google AdSense is the most popular platform to run ads. There are primarily two mechanisms used to convert ads into money, CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per thousand impressions).
With CPC, Google will display advertisements on your blog. The placement can be at the top, the bottom, the sidebar, or in between. Whenever a visitor clicks on a displayed ad on your blog, Google will pay you. The advertisements are highly specific to the blog itself and the kind of traffic it generates. Therefore, the chances of the missed audience are low. For example, if it is a digital marketing blog that you run, Google will fill it up with advertisements related to digital marketing courses, relative books, etc.
CPM, on the other hand, refers to the income model in which advertisers pay a fixed amount per thousand impressions on their ad. Again, the choice of ads is highly specific to the blog.
The amount of money earned through Google AdSense is highly dependent on the volume of traffic generated by your blog.
2. Affiliate Marketing is the next big thing
A growth strategy that works can make blogging your day job and affiliate marketing can help with that. It helps make money and generate leads. Affiliate marketing is based on CPA (Cost per Action) and good affiliate networks make the transaction easier. But, what is affiliate marketing?
The blogger recommends a product or service to the audience through specific tracking links provided by affiliate networks. A click from the visitors is not enough to make you any money. The visitor has to click on your affiliate link and purchase the product or service offered through that for you to make any commission. It is considered to be more effective and preferred by a fair share of bloggers because affiliate commissions are higher than CPC and CPM combined.
A good way to use affiliate marketing is to present a problem in your content and serve up a solution in the form of a product or service with an affiliate link.
Some trustworthy affiliate networks include Amazon Associates, Flex offers, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, Awin, Rakuten Marketing, etc.
3. Produce and sell your own product
Bloggers can create their own brand and eventually produce their own merchandise or service with the help of WordPress. After that, selling the same through the built-in eCommerce section of WordPress, WooCommerce, won’t be difficult. WooCommerce is created by Automattic and is the number one eCommerce plugin on WordPress.
However, if WooCommerce is not working smoothly enough for you, you can always choose Shopify as your eCommerce solution. Have your blog as the primary domain and through it, direct your page traffic to your Shopify store. In that case, Shopify will be your subdomain.
Dropshipping is a third party retail arrangement method. In it, the blogger acts as a store that sells a product to a consumer but does not have said product in stock. Instead, the product is bought by the shop (the blogger) from a third party (mostly based in China) and shipped directly to the buyer. No inventory or product handling is carried out by the seller (blogger). Communication is key in this kind of arrangement.
5. Create, manage and sell online courses
It is often slotted as a sub-category of products and services. According to strategyr.com, e-learning is expected to become a market of US$ 406 billion by 2024 and that is why this can be your golden goose. (Source) If you have extensive knowledge about a subject or a skill, you can create a customised course for your audience.
An effective way to understand the required course is by sending out surveys for your audience to fill about their interests. If WordPress is too difficult a platform to create and maintain a course, there are other easier platforms. They can be your primary domain while WordPress becomes the subdomain.
6. Create and utilise an email list
Create an email list of your core audience through your blog or subscription and send them your landing page or offers or affiliate links. Attractive offers always do the trick. Remember, buying an email list is not a good option because the audience is not connected to you or your brand and that is why the conversion rate will be very low.
7. Welcome sponsored content
Do not run away from sponsored content. When your blog has started to attract a certain volume of traffic, brands will start approaching you to promote their products, give reviews to their services, and apply white hat backlinks to enhance SEO. All of this will be helpful for the brand and will generate enough monetary benefits for you.
Marking the culmination
Everything is marketable today with the right strategy and the right tools. Blogging can be a lucrative career for someone who understands that monetising blogs even through something as etched out as WordPress is a process. Active participation, constant learning, and continued upgrades can help you become a sought after, top blogger.