4 Nov 2014
Google AdSense, Amazon Affiliates, ClickBank, LinkShare… whether your aim is to make a million so you can retire to the South of France or simply free yourself from debt, these days it seems there are almost unlimited opportunities to cash in on your blog using affiliate marketing schemes and sponsored links, enabling you to make a living or some additional income online.
And wherever you look, we are surrounded by advertising.
- BUY NOW!
- YOUR LIFE IS INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THIS!
- RECEIVE A FREE SHINY THING IF YOU BUY TWO!
Raking It In
The savvy bloggers – those who have cracked the code – must surely be raking in the cash. And certainly if you believe the claims of some of the affiliate marketers who profess to be making tens of thousands of dollars every month from their online activities, then you would have to conclude that you can print your own money online.
But if it were that easy, bloggers worldwide would all be rolling in dough and driving Ferraris.
Making Money From Affiliate Schemes
So what’s the secret? How do you turn your blog into a money-making machine?
In the personal finance community, a number of people publish regular monthly updates to their income and expenditure and some even break it down by category to show exactly where the money has come from and where they have spent or invested it.
The interesting thing is that most seem to be making very little (if anything) from their advertising and affiliate activities, and their online income appears to come from (dare I say it…) real work: from freelance content writing and from managing other people’s websites & social media.
However, there are some notable exceptions, bloggers like Michelle at Sense of Cents (who made almost $8,000 last month from advertising, partnerships and affiliate links on her websites… remarkable!) and Christine at Wealthy Way Online who makes a six-figure income from her online activities.
Other bloggers I have spoken to accept sponsored content (the equivalent of advertorials in a magazine or a newspaper) and offer up their blog space to the highest bidder.
The Numbers Game
However, for any of this to work, you need traffic. Lots and lots and lots of traffic. Because advertising is a sales funnel, so for every 10,000 times an advertisement is viewed, it might only be clicked 50 times, and from those 50 clicks, you may only receive one sale.
Traffic, footfall, eyeballs… call it what you will, but advertising is a numbers game, and without significant numbers of people coming to your blog, it simply won’t generate revenue.
November WorldVision Experiment
This blog has only been running for two months and as a result it doesn’t generate a ton of traffic: I get a couple of hundred hits a day but I don’t have legions of screaming blog subscribers or zillions of Twitter followers who flock here each day to pore over my verbal musings.
That said, I am very interested in what works and what doesn’t in terms of monetizing a blog, and as a result I have set up an experiment to find out: I have added some sponsored links in the bar on the right (Google, Amazon and ClickBank) and I will monitor their activity during November to evaluate which is the most effective in terms of generating passive income.
Please note that the proceeds of the experiment will go to charity (which, in the season of being thankful, is as good a reason as any to get involved): I favour WorldVision and I think it would be amazing if we were able to use the money generated by the experiment to buy some WorldVision goats & chickens, don’t you?
However, as you’re not allowed to encourage people to click on Google ads (you can understand why, can’t you?) and as Amazon and ClickBank rely on actual sales, I am not expecting to be able to single-handedly finance their next disaster fund using the ad revenue.
Having said that, I got my first GoogleAd click yesterday and apparently it was worth 60 cents (how cool is that?!), so just 3-4 clicks each day would buy a goat. And five a day would buy a goat and a couple of chickens. I think that’s pretty amazing.
How do you monetize your blog? What works for you? And what are the pitfalls to avoid?