Having thought through whether you should blog for money it is now worth taking a look at some of the different models for doing so.
I tend to break the different models that bloggers are using to make money from blogging into two areas – Direct and Indirect methods.
I described some direct methods in the previous post. If you have not read that post please first read it then read this post for some other direct methods to make money. Methods 1 and 2 are listed in the previous post and the other methods are :
3. Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs are where you take a commission for referring a reader who purchases a product or service to a company. Probably the most common of these for bloggers is Amazon which has tens of thousands of products that you can link to (I reviewed it here). Other affiliate program that represent many different companies and products include Link share, Commission Junction and Click bank.
Affiliate programs take some work if you want to get the most out of them (perhaps more work than advertising) but can be lucrative if you match the right program with the right blog/topic. If you want to explore affiliate programs more you might like to read 10 tips for using affiliate programs on you blog.
4. Selling/Flipping Blogs
he idea of selling (or flipping) your blog is one that many bloggers have in the back of their minds for ‘one day’ but in reality it is not something that is overly common… yet (I think this is changing). Probably the largest sale is that of Weblogs Inc (a network of blogs) which sold to AOL for a reported $25 million. Of course this is the stuff that most of us can only dream of – but there are examples of smaller blogs being sold, either privately or via auctions on sites like eBay and SitePoint. One such auction was that of the Blog Herald which took place here.
Starting a blog with the main goal of selling it down the track is one that I’ve heard of a number of bloggers doing but few have been successful . Rather than starting with this intention I think if you start with the intention of building a quality site that has a large readership and it’s own good income stream you are more likely to find buyers down the track.
5. Donations and Tip Jars
A very small number of blogs have a history of making good money with these (Jason Kette being one of them). To be successful with asking for money from readers you’ll want to have a large and loyal readership (and a rich one might help too). Most bloggers just don’t have the critical mass or the cult following to make it work.
Another method that some blogs use with reasonable effect is to sell T-Shirts, Mugs, Stickers etc with the blog’s name, logo and/or taglines on it. This is another idea that will probably only work if you either have a brilliantly designed merchandise range and/or you have a cult-like status as a blogger with some fanatical readers who are a little obsessive about your blog. Some blog topics lend themselves to this more than others.
7. Selling Subscriptions
The idea of charging readers for content is one that surfaces from time to time. While there are numerous websites around the web that do this successfully (community membership sites) I’m yet to see many (any) blogs do it well. The problem that most bloggers who have tried it have run into is that most topics that you could think to start a blog about already have free sites available. To make it succeed you would need to have some sort of premium/exclusive content and/or real expertise on a topic.
8. Blog Networks
Another emerging income source for bloggers are blog networks. There are two ways to make money here. Firstly you can start a network and contract bloggers to write for you or secondly you might like to join a blog network as a writer. There are many networks out there and all have their own strengths and weaknesses. I’ll attempt to write a post on what to think about when you’re looking at whether to join a network later in this series.