You’ve started blogging to make money online.
But when do you actually monetizing your blog and how?
Should you start monetization from day 1 or should you wait till you have a certain number of daily visitors or email subscribers?
Those are very common but important questions you need to answer in order to successfully make money with blogging.
I’ve been building and growing blogs for nearly a decade now, and I’ve tried just about every monetization method out there.
I’ve also experimented with delayed and immediate monetization of my blogs to find out what works the best.
Based on my learning, I’ll tell you exactly when you should monetize your blog and what methods should you follow.
Monetization For Blogging – When Should You Start?
To answer this question effectively, we need to determine how exactly you’re going to monetize your blog.
There are several ways to monetize a blog but according to a survey of more than 1000 high traffic bloggers, here are the most popular blog monetization methods.
Based on my experience of monetizing dozens of blogs in different niches, here are the most practical ways for bloggers to make money.
- Advertising with Google Adsense and other popular ad networks
- Making money as an affiliate marketer with Amazon Associates or promoting digital products as an affiliate from CJ, ClickBank, JVZoo, Shareasale, etc.
- Selling your own digital products like eBooks, courses, video tutorials, membership sites, etc.
- Offering services as a consultant or freelancer
- Publishing sponsored content on your site
- Selling your blog for a profit on website flipping platforms or through a website broker
The monetization method you choose will determine how soon you should start. Each method has different traffic and time requirements.
Let’s go through them one by one.
How are you monetizing?
Or are you going to be selling your own products, or perhaps you want to sell services instead?
What you choose will determine what is the best time to start monetizing.
Let’s go through them one by one.
1. Monetizing A Blog With AdvertisingAdvertising
In this monetization method, you allocate ad space (banners and text links) on your blog for different advertising networks.
The networks display relevant ads to your website visitors that are based on their interests and browsing patterns.
You earn money when your visitors click on the ads.
Google Adsense is the world’s largest and most popular advertising network that powers more than 11 million websites around the world.
Some of the world’s biggest sites are monetized with Adsense through which they show relevant banner and text ads to their audience and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars every month
However, to make a decent amount of money with Google ads, or any other ad network, you need a lot of traffic.
If you’re monetizing with ads, ideally you shouldn’t put any ads on your site until you hit at least 100 visitors per day.
Because you won’t make money anyways if you’re getting no traffic. Even at 100 visitors per day, you’re not going to be making much so there’s really no point in putting ads on your site.
Secondly, Adsense payouts are different for every niche based on what the advertisers are willing to pay Google.
The industries with high-ticket products and services usually have the highest Adsense payouts as well. In simpler words, you’re likely to earn more per click with Adsense if you’re in the following niches.
For example, here’s what advertisers from different industries in the US are paying Google per click for displaying their ads.
As you can see, the advertisers in the insurance industry are willing to pay as much as $17.55 per click to Google.
Google uses its Adsense network to publish these ads on websites owned by publishers like you.
In line with Google’s revenue-sharing policy, you receive 68% of the per-click cost that the advertiser pays Google.
This means if an advertiser pays $10 per click to Google, you’ll get $6.8 per click for every ad click that’s generated from your site.
In short, what you earn with Adsense depends on your traffic and your niche.
But 100-200 visitors/day is the minimum you need to make anything substantial from Adsense in any niche.
How soon can you get to that number depends of your traffic generation strategies.
If search engines are your only traffic source (which should never be the case) it can take you 2-3 months to reach this traffic volume.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to do that, that’s fine. Once you’re approved for Adsense, you can paste in your code to whichever site you want. You don’t have to register each one separately.
2. Monetizing A Blog With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is among the most popular blog monetization methods in the world.
The survey I shared earlier in the article also found affiliate marketing to be the most popular way to make money with blogging especially for blogs making more than $50K/year.
What is affiliate marketing?
It’s a blog monetization method in which you make money by earning a commission for every sale you refer to a third-party product.
You don’t own the product, there’s no investment required, no strings attached.
You just have to drive sales to earn money.
Here’s how the business model works
For example, if you blog about sleeping disorders or tips for better sleep, you could register as an affiliate for a mattress company, promote their mattresses in your content, and make a commission on every sale.
Amazon Associates is the world’s most popular affiliate program for physical products.
For digital products, there are sites like CJ, ClickBank, Shareasale, Offervault, etc. with thousands of online courses, eBooks, video tutorials, and software you can promote to your audience.
There’s literally no entry barrier in affiliate marketing.
You just need to have a blog where you publish content and you can register as an affiliate for most companies.
If that’s the route you want to take, I’d suggest monetizing your blog from the first day.
Becuase you don’t need a thousand visitors per day to make sales. Every sale you make will earn you a commission.
So even if your site gets 50 visitors per day, add your affiliate links so that you earn money in case a visitor purchases the products you’re promoting.
If you’re promoting a web hosting service or any other SaaS product, you can get commissions anywhere between $70-$500 per sale.
So even one sale counts.
With affiliate products, you need your content to be targeted around that product. For example, if your article reviews the 10 best hair dryers, then you’ll add in affiliate links for people to purchase them.
There’s no point in waiting until you get traffic before putting in those affiliate links.
Yes, you won’t get much traffic if your blog is brand new. But you want anyone who reads that post to potentially convert into a commission.
Don’t plaster your site with banner ads to affiliate products. This is the mistake that most people make. They sign up to an affiliate program, then start advertising products all over their site. You’ll see links in the sidebar, the header, and even in irrelevant articles.
That’s the wrong way to go about affiliate marketing. You want to selectively place your affiliate links only on the pages where you’re talking about that product.
3. Selling Digital Products On Your Blog
This is the monetization method that I prefer, since it has the potential to generate the most revenue with the least amount of traffic.
With ads and affiliate marketing, it’s tough to generate a large income on low traffic blogs. However, if you’re monetizing with high-ticket products, then even just a few sales a month can add up to thousands of dollars.
Of course, this method takes a lot more work, and a lot longer time to implement.
What are digital products and how do you make money selling them?
Digital products are online courses, videos, eBooks, membership sites, etc. that your customers can access online by paying a one time or monthly fee (depending on the model you follow).
It is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world that’s projected to reach $300+ billion by 2025.
You can create them once and keep selling them for years by making the necessary updates whenever needed.
The pricing of your course is completely under your control. People are selling courses in different niches from anywhere between $7 to $2999 (even more) depending on the value on offer.
And the best part?
You can create an online course in almost any niche.
Thre are courses about MS Excel and MS Word that are bringing in thousands of dollars for people every month (like this one)
I’ve seen grandmas selling knitting courses and making a killing from them. There are courses about relationships, confidence, personality development, yoga, weight loss, gardening, raising children, training pets and so many other topics.
And of course, there are online courses about the more traditional topics like SEO, blogging, making money online, starting an online course, starting an eCommerce business, etc.
It works differently than advertising and affiliate products.
For anybody to purchase something directly from you, they need to trust you and your brand, and believe in your products.
Obviously, that takes more time than someone just landing on your blog and clicking an ad.
So when should you start selling products and services?
For this option, it’s not a matter of when, but how many email subscribers you have.
If you have a new blog, the best time to launch a product (or service) of your own is when you have 1000 subscribers.
This can take anywhere between 1 and 6 months.
But if you can invest money in Facebook advertising, you can start selling courses without any existing email subscriber base.
- Create your main course that you’ll sell for a premium price.
- Create a free version of your course (a free class or any other free giveaway) to use as a lead magnet for attracting subscribers.
- Create an autoresponder series in your email marketing tool to pitch and sell your premium course to those who sign up to your email list by downloading your lead magnet.
- Place your lead magnet on a landing page with an opt-in form where visitors can enter their email address to download the free lead magnet.
- Promote your lead magnet using Facebook Ads (preferably video ads).
That’s just a high-level view of the whole product selling process. Once you turn on the Facebook ads, the leads will start coming into your email list via your landing page and will be converted into customers of your paid course as a result of your autoresponder series.
The success of your course depends on the quality of your lead magnet and your main course. The bigger the problem you’re solving, the higher you can charge.
With this strategy, you can start selling courses as soon as you have a website that brands you as an expert on the topic your product is about.
If you follow the organic route, you’ll have to wait longer.
Either way, the revenue you’ll generate from a successful digital product is a lot higher than affiliate marketing or ads even if you don’t have a lot of organic traffic.
4. Selling Services On Your Blog
Selling services on your blog is quite similar to selling products.
You don’t need a lot of traffic and you start offering services from day 1.
What kind of services can you offer on your blog?
You can offer services as a freelancer in any niche for example web development, blogging, content writing, graphic designing, virtual assistant services, administrative services, accounting services, voice over services, video editing, WordPress site management, eCommerce service, etc.
The advantage of selling freelance services on your blog instead of a freelance portal is that you get to brand yourself as an expert and charge much higher rates.
Here’s an example of a freelance content writer and marketer who has built a stellar personal brand image and worked for multi-million dollar clients like Shopify and Hubspot.
The other approach to selling services is to brand yourself as a consultant in whatever niche you’re interested in.
For example, you can become a blogging consultant, a content marketing consultant for B2B SaaS companies, an online product consultant, an eCommerce consultant, etc.
You can even become a consultant to help people quit alcohol or pornography addiction.
Consultancy services can pay a lot more than generic freelance services because consultants solve bigger problems as compared to freelancers who’re more involved in operational tasks.
Either way, selling services is an easy way to start making money with your blog even if you have just a few hundred visitors
You just need to publish a few high-ranking articles on your blog that target long-tail keywords in your target niche, spread the word about your services on forums and social media, and publish a few guest posts on relevant industry blogs to find customers.
Even 2-3 customers will be enough o fill your schedule and bank for the month.
However, if you want faster results, you can invest in Facebook advertising and follow the same lead generation strategy I shared for digital products.
5. Flipping Your Blog For A Profit
Website flipping is another popular way to make money from your blog.
What is website flipping?
It’s a monetization method in which you start a blog from scratch or buy an existing blog from someone else, grow it to a certain level in terms of traffic and revenue, and then sell it off on AlphaInvestors, Investors Club, or sites like Flippa or EmpireFlippers.
How much can you sell your blog for?
The industry standard is anywhere between 12-24 months of your average monthly profit. For example, if your blog makes $500/month in profit, you can sell it from somewhere between $8K-$15 depending on your niche and a few other factors like
- Monthly traffic
- Traffic diversification (number of traffic sources)
- Income diversification (number of income sources)
- The age of your blog
- The quality of your backlink profile
- The size of your email list
- The quality of content on your site
Unlike the other monetization methods I’ve discussed, website flipping is a more long-term strategy.
You need to work on a blog for at least 1 year and take it to some level of stability before you can sell it.
How RankXL is monetized
Before starting RankXL, I used to monetize all my blogs with Adsense. And it was great! It made me a lot of money, and I loved how passive it was.
Each new blog I started, I would just paste in my Adsense code from day 1 even if I was getting zero traffic. There’s no penalty for doing that or anything like that.
RankXL was the first blog I started monetizing with selling my own products. It’s done so well, that it’s now my preferred monetization method.
With RankXL, I launched my first product about 6 months after I started the blog. And it went on to generate close to $10,000 in sales in the first month.
Yes, I could have tried launching it sooner, but it wouldn’t have really made sense since my email list was so small. 6 months is when I had enough subscribers that selling a product would produce some meaningful income.
So at what point should you start monetizing?
If you’re using Adsense, and are already approved to the program, then you can start placing ads on your site from day 1. If you’re not approved, then wait until you have at least 100 visitors per day.
If you’re promoting affiliate products, then start monetizing right away.
If you’re selling your own products or services, wait until you have at least 1000 email subscribers. This can take up to 6 months, but will generate the most income.