One thing a lot of bloggers struggle with is how to make money with your blog.
I should know. I used to be the guy who had plenty of traffic on my various blogs, but no idea how to monetize it.
I’d putz around with Google Ads, and that’d make me maybe $100 every 6 months or so.
And yet I heard about all of these professional bloggers out there who were making 5 or 6 figures off their sites.
I used to think they must all have huge audiences. After all, Google Ads were all I knew. And if I was making $100 every 6 months, then they must have audiences many times my size.
It turns out nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead, as I’ve learned over the past 4 years, first at www.howtobreak80.com, and more recently as the Content Marketing and Conversion Manager at www.gothamclub.com, there’s one secret that separates professional bloggers who make a fortune in blogging from hobbyists who make a bit of money every so often:
Rich Bloggers Sell!
I know–it’s the dirty “s-word”!
But when you’re done reading this post, I hope to show you that selling on a blog isn’t so bad.
And more importantly, while it can take a little time and effort, you can definitely sell in an easy, “no pressure” way that’ll make you a bunch of money from your existing audience.
Why Ads Are a Losing Game
First, I need to show you why ads are a losing proposition.
After all, you might still have the same mindset I once had: that the easiest way to monetize a site is by attracting more people to your Google Ads.
So I’m going to show you quickly how tough that is.
Most of the time, you get paid for ads based on how many impressions you have for that ad on your site.
This is usually expressed as “CPM” or “cost per mil (meaning thousand)” views.
Average CPM is about $2.80 or so as of 2018, though that keeps falling if your ads aren’t super-targeted.
Let’s say you want to make $50,000 per year from blogging.
You can set up an equation like this:
CPM * # of thousands of views = total money
So in your case, you have:
$2.80 * X = $50,000
Doing the math quickly, solve for x, and you get 17,857
Which is great… until you remember that is in thousands of impressions!
So to make $50,000 per year off of display ads, you’d have to have nearly 18 million page views on your site per year!
Gotham Club gets really good traffic (over 350,000 page views a month), but do the math and that’s “only” 4.2 million page views per year.
And yet… sometimes we make close to $50,000 per MONTH!
So how do we do it?
My Dirty Little “Selling Secret”
When I say that we “sell,” what I really mean is that we send traffic to pages that already sell… in a way that makes the customer more likely to buy.
If you’ve ever tried to create a product before, you know that it’s a huge pain.
You need sales copy… a CRM… devs to code your sales pages… graphic-designed ads… you need to do a ton of outreach… and that’s just the bare minimum.
It’s a ton of work. And that’s why a lot of people who set out to make products give up, and never see them through.
So instead of going to all of that trouble yourself, why not let someone else do all of that hard work?
What you can do instead is become an affiliate of an existing product.
When you’re an affiliate, you send traffic to someone else’s product sales page.
If someone you send there buys the product, you get a cut of the sale.
It works out well because the product creator handles all of the hassles with writing copy, developers, merchant accounts, customer service, etc.
And you end up with cold, hard cash.
Sounds easy, right?
Where Most Affiliate Bloggers Go Wrong
Here’s the problem:
A lot of bloggers don’t know how to send traffic to affiliate offers to make a sale more likely.
If you just link a bunch of places to an affiliate offer, you’re “spraying and praying” traffic at it.
You might make a sale. You might make a few.
But in my experience, if you try this method, you’ll probably get frustrated and give up after a couple short weeks or months.
Instead, you need to do what few people out there really know how to do:
Make your audience more receptive to buying whatever affiliate offers you link to.
Now I’m not gonna lie: a lot of “gurus” out there make this sound really easy.
It definitely IS NOT!
You really need to do your homework. And even go so far as to write up some “presale pages” to warm your audience up to some of these offers.
But more on that in a minute.
Let’s go through this step-by-step:
Step 1: Choose an Affiliate Offer In Your Niche
You can find good affiliate offers all over the place.
Still, it’s better than nothing.
Another place to look is just by googling: “Best [NICHE] Affiliate Offers [YEAR]” or “Highest Converting [NICHE] Affiliate Offers [YEAR].”
You’ll get some good ones from doing this… but you might also get some turds.
Another method is you can see what other sites in your niche are trying to sell.
Odds are someone in your niche is making money selling something.
So if you can find what they sell, you can join that affiliate program too, and direct traffic to the same offer.
Finally, you can network with product creators in your niche.
Sometimes you can build long-lasting relationships with people in your field.
But this is probably the toughest one–if you go out cold-emailing people, expect to hear a lot of “No”s.
Step 2: Research Your Audience & The Offer
I’m always surprised how few bloggers really know their audiences.
Even if you don’t sell your audience anything, you should know the basics to help you craft better content.
One of the best things you can do is create what’s known as a “Customer Avatar.”
This is a short description of “the one person” who you’re really targeting on your site.
Let’s say you have a home improvement blog targeted at 40-somethings. Your avatar would look something like this:
Cindy Michaels lives with her husband, Jerry, in Rosalyn, Virginia. They have two children, Eric (8) and Annabelle (4). Cindy works as a corporate lawyer, and Jerry does academic research at a think tank. They got married and bought their condo out of grad school, and they’ve made it a hobby on the weekends ever since.
But time is getting a bit scarce, and now that the kids are getting older, and with the price of DC real-estate rising, they’re looking to transform their space into one that their whole family can enjoy. Their home office is going to be converted into a room for Annabelle, and they’re looking to make an “office nook” somewhere off of the kitchen, like in the laundry room. They shop at Lowe’s and occasionally splurge on upmarket furniture at a place like Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware.
While they make a good combined income ($250,000+), they want to have another child soon, and worry that their space isn’t going to be large enough. If they’re able to transform their current townhouse, it could save them hundreds of thousands of dollars in the coming years both in housing costs and private school tuition, as the Virginia suburb’s public schools are top-notch.
See how this tells a story about the whole family, their dreams, their fears, etc.?
There’s a lot of good information there that you can use in crafting content.
Not only that, but all of this info, while fictional, can be cobbled together from your already-existing Google Analytics info.
And even better, now when you write, you can write specifically to Cindy.
This will improve your connection with your audience unlike anything else, I promise.
Once you’ve researched your audience, you’ll want to research the new offer you’re selling.
Most product creators have an affiliate tools page where they have all sorts of great, useful stuff:
-Some even have angles you can use for sales copy
If you don’t know where this Affiliate Tools page is, you can email their support address and get it easily enough.
If the offer doesn’t have affiliate tools, it’s probably not one you want to start out with, since that’ll up the degree of difficulty considerably.
Step 3: Write a Presale Page (Optional)
Writing presale pages is truly an art form.
If you don’t know anything about sales copy, it’d be best to either study for a while (at least 3 months) before taking a stab at your first one.
Or alternatively, you can hire it out (I write presale pages too).
What a presale page does is get the reader ready to hit a sales page.
You’re putting them in a buying mood.
Done properly, you can seamlessly connect your site to the offer in a way that feels totally natural, like the sale is the “next natural step” in the process and the solution to all their problems.
A presale isn’t mandatory, but it can definitely boost conversions if it’s a good one.
You can absolutely connect your articles with the sales page directly. But this makes your CTAs on your posts much more important.
Step 4: Write Your CTAs
A CTA is a “Call to Action.”
Basically, you’re asking the reader to take some kind of action.
Most of the time, it’s to “click the link” or “click the button.”
But sometimes it can be to “enter their email address.”
Or “Join our community.”
While not as immediately profitable as the first two, these non-monetized CTAs can grow your income over time as you build an email list, a forum, or some other way of connecting with prospects.
There are a bunch of places you can put CTAs. These include:
-Banner ads (linking directly to the affiliate product with your Affiliate Link)
-Blue Links (Links in the middle of your article)
-And CTAs at the end of your articles.
At a bare minimum, you should try to find some way to connect every article of yours with some kind of affiliate product.
You can experiment with how you do this.
Some sites, like Financial Samurai, have largely “canned” CTAs at the end of each article.
You might question their effectiveness, but Sam makes over $500,000 a year on his site! So joke’s on you.
And even though these don’t change much (or at all) from post to post… he DOES target them based on categories best I can tell.
So a Real Estate-focused post will have a RealtyShares link at the end of it.
At Gotham Club, either I or our Editor, Monika, write a custom CTA at the end of every article we do directing readers to one of our info products.
This is one of our biggest drivers of revenue–probably 40-50% of the blog’s revenue comes through our CTAs at the end of articles.
3 Tips to Craft a High-Converting CTA
Again, this is not easy!
It took us several years of training with some top copywriters to get as effective as Monika and I have become.
I highly suggest studying copywriting for a while before attempting your own. And you can definitely outsource these too–email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to hire me to write some for you.
If you’re going to do it on your own, here are 3 tips to help boost your conversion rates.
1)Make the offer the “next logical step” for the reader
Basically, each post on your site should teach the reader something.
Your job is to make the offer seem like the logical next step from the article they just read.
For example, let’s say you have a site about losing weight.
Maybe you have an article about 7 Foods to Effortlessly Melt Fat.
You get to the end of the article, and you should have 7 foods that will help you melt away fat really easily.
And you want to connect them to something like a “Green Protein Powder” product you’re selling.
I would be like, “Now that you know these foods melt fat… here’s an easy way to get all of them in one time-saving spot. Plus a bunch of other really healthy green foods that will help you have more energy and lose fat even faster.”
I’d expand on it quite a bit more than that, but you get the idea.
2) Start with a logic chain that guides the reader toward the offer
In copywriting, you don’t want to waste any words.
You want your writing to be very clear, very simple, and very understandable.
The easiest way to do that is to come up with a logic chain.
In the example with the green protein powder above, here’s what that logic chain looks like:
Now you know that these 7 foods melt fat fast.
But to turbocharge this fat-burning process, you’re going to want to build muscle too.
That’s because muscle burns more calories than fat.
So if you boost your muscle mass while burning fat, it puts your metabolism into overdrive.
And the easiest way to boost muscle mass without going to the gym or working out is this green protein powder.
Take 2 scoops a day, and you’ll notice you burn fat a lot more quickly.
It has all 7 of the foods featured in this post, plus some other all-natural, healthy organic green foods that will give you more energy, help you feel more active, and build muscle fast.
If you wanna get yours, click the link below:
I mean, it’s not my best work, but odds are it would make sales.
From this logic chain, you can flesh things out a bit, add some more emotional words and phrases, and you should be good-to-go.
3) Actually Ask For Them to Take the Action
This is where a lot of people drop the ball.
Most experienced salespeople who don’t sell have a common problem:
They don’t ask for the sale!
I used to have this, big-time.
And it’s not too easy to overcome the fear of it.
After all, what if the person says no? Or even worse, what if they think you’re a “pushy sales-type”? How slimy!
But then I realized that you don’t have to ask for the sale in some sleazy, high-pressure way.
No, you can do it completely naturally, in a way that makes the reader want to take action.
Some good ways are:
“Click Here to Take Action”
“Click Here to Get Your Copy”
“Get The Free Secret Now”
Ask for them to take the next step, and your conversion rates will go up a LOT.
Most importantly, add CTAs to your top 10 SEO posts, at least.
It’ll make a massive difference in how much money you make.
Step 5: Optimize Your CTAs
Once you have CTAs on at least your top 10 SEO posts, if you’ve designed them properly and you’re getting SEO traffic, you should start to see some sales trickle in.
From there, it’s all about testing and optimizing.
Once you’re making some money, maybe hire a professional to write some CTAs for you to boost conversion rates.
Or invest in an email list or push notifications to create a “wall” around your community.
It takes a good amount of hard work… but this is how you go from maybe making a few hundred a month to thousands per month.
The Easiest Way I Know to Turn Your Blog Into a Completely Automatic Cash Machine
Of course, doing all of the above takes a lot of time, effort, study, and implementation.
I know that creating content probably takes a bunch of your time already.
And if you have a day job, or if you just don’t feel comfortable with the sales side of things, I don’t blame you one iota.
However… I do know how to do the sales and monetization side of blogging pretty darned well.
And for a limited time, I’m accepting blogs that want to monetize for nothing up-front.
That’s right–you don’t have to pay a dime.
How can I do that? Basically, we split everything I make for your site 50/50.
That way we both have some “skin in the game”… and you can focus on what you do best, and I can focus on making money for the both of us.
So if you’d like to sit back, relax, only worry about the content side of things… and let me take care of sending checks to your bank account every month…
Enter your info in the form below, and I’ll get back to you if I think we’d work well together.
But hurry–I’m only accepting 3 blogs this round. And if it works as well as I think it will, there’s a very good chance I won’t accept more blogs for a very long time.
Simply enter your info below and I’ll be in touch: