You want to monetise your blog, who doesn’t? Don’t be afraid to say you aren’t doing this purely for the love of blogging. It’s OK to want to generate income from doing something you love.
But of course, without the money (which isn’t much considering the amount of time I put in), I probably would still be blogging.
I love that I have an online diary of my life, the connections I’ve made with my readers, somewhere to share my learnings. The feeling I get when someone emails me to tell me that my blog has inspired them to pursue their dreams feels much better than a payout from an affiliate marketing network. Unless it’s a big one, just kidding. Maybe.
So don’t take this post too seriously. Remember that when you do something you enjoy, the value will find itself with patience and dedication. And if it doesn’t, what have you lost?
For something more serious and a step by step monetisation guide, please refer to;
Disclaimer: These stages are not to make fun of other bloggers. All of them are genuine feels and experiences I’ve been through myself.
STAGE 1: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING
You’ve just started your new blog, you’ve written two poorly structured blog posts, signed up for a few affiliate marketing programs and you’re waiting for the money to roll in.
Your audience consists of yourself, your Mum, your grandparents, a few other newbie bloggers and some random people asking for travel advice.
Why doesn’t anyone care, what is a sitemap and how many YouTube videos do you need to watch before you understand how to install WordPress?
Provide value, before you ask for some in return.
STAGE 2: I MIGHT KNOW WHAT I'M DOING
A few months later and you realise that in order to make money with your blog, you’ve got to start taking it seriously.
Just keep writing.
STAGE 3: I QUIT
“OK, I’m done.”
6 months of hard work and you’re pretty sure that the 300 monthly visitors to your site are you lurking on your own website from various locations.
You’ve managed to scrape through one affiliate sale and you’ve even been offered a sponsored post on Instagram but it’s just not enough!
Most bloggers quit. Never give up on your dreams and you will succeed.
STAGE 4: EXCITEMENT
A medium-sized publication shouted you out today and you got your first thank you email from a new reader. Are you famous yet? Probably not but the signs are promising.
You even stayed at a hotel for free this month and they were the ones contacting you! It was a lot of work but it made you feel special for a few days.
A few of your travel blog posts have reached the first page of Google and you’ve restructured them to highlight tailor-made affiliate marketing adverts.
Your social media platforms have really picked up and your readers are showing a keen interest in your personal brand.
Monitor your personal brand and connect with your audience as much as possible.
STAGE 5: RELIABLE INCOME
Five random people email you every day with sponsored post and advertising requests. Most of them aren’t offering enough money to risk damaging your brand with questionable content. But hey, it’s nice that they’re interested and every now and then a good opportunity pops up.
Things are looking up and from the looks of Google Analytics, you’re almost guaranteed success. Your traffic is increasing month by month and you don’t have to do as much maintenance as you did before. Your evergreen blog posts are providing a steady but small income from affiliate sales and you think to yourself “if I can make this much from 20 blog posts on the first page of Google for their chosen keywords, imagine what I can do with 100 high-performing blog posts?”.
Pay close attention to Google Analytics and affiliate sales. Tune your strategy but remember, less is often more! Don’t drown out your message with overbearing promotions.