Let me introduce myself first before I start sharing what I learned about making money from blogging. My name is Pardeep Goyal. I started my blog on personal finance CashOverFlow.in in May, 2015 because I am passionate about credit cards, saving money on travel & shopping and love to read about optimising taxes to save maximum tax legally.
I can keep on telling you stories of how I saved money when I lived in Goa for 30 days in the cost of 3-4 days of vacation. And how travelled with family for 50 days in Thailand by spending less than 2 lakh rupees.
That’s half of my story. One part of my passion is saving money and other part is making money online. I am able to travel for long vacations because my entire business runs online and most of my income is passive.
When I started 2 years back, I was clueless about monetisation from the blog. I started CashOverflow as my hobby but now I am running my blog as a business. I applied the same business fundamentals on my blog that I learned from the initial failures of my startup.
You can learn end to end digital marketing from Deepak and I can share how I am making money from my blogging business.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is relatively easier and lesser challenging method to monetize your blog especially when you are starting out and don’t have any product of your own to sell.
Even Flipkart and Amazon don’t sell their own products on their websites but they make a commission when a sale happens through them. They are biggest affiliate marketers.
In this method, you promote others products by placing their links on your website and whenever any of your visitors purchase the product you make a commission on it. You have the choice to choose the products that you want to promote.
For instance, I curated a list of my favorite books and linked to Amazon so that interested people can buy these books. Below is a snapshot showing how I earned small affiliate commissions when some of my readers bought these books from Amazon by clicking on my links.
There are many affiliate networks out in the market that cover a whole range of niches and products. Some of the leading affiliate networks ( including specifically catering to India ) that you could join are
- CJ(Commission Junction)
You will find thousands of companies listed under a single network. You can filter as per category, country, and currency to see companies in a specific niche. Some companies pay fixed commission per sale while others pay percentage of sale. You will find cost per lead and cost per impression offers as well.
Now that you have an understanding of how affiliate marketing works, let me share some tips that have helped me generate $3000 affiliate income every month.
- Don’t get overwhelmed by applying to every other affiliate network on the planet. Apply to a few popular ones that you understand.
- Only promote those products on your blog that are relevant to your niche.
- Only recommend those products to your audience that you have used and that you understand well.
- Include a disclosure that you receive an affiliate commission whenever your audience buys the product recommended by you.
- Paid traffic from Google, Facebook works only when you are confident of making $2 affiliate income for every $1 spending on Ads. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense.
2. Advertisements (Google Adsense and Display Ads)
Adsense is the easiest but the lesser profitable way to monetize your blog. It’s largely suitable for news, media, and entertainment type of websites and blogs. If you have thousands of traffic on your website but don’t know enough about your audience then Adsense is good for you.
To get thousands and millions of visitors every month, you have to follow best seo practices to dominate google ranking. Google worked for me in last 2 years and I grew my traffic from 0 to 200,000 monthly visitors.
Still I don’t prefer to put Ads on my website because I don’t want to spoil the user experience. I hate Ads and my audience also hate Ads. (I use Ads only when I have to test & compare the Ad results with other money channels)
But media and entertainment companies don’t have much choices to make money other than Advertisements.
Google Adsense is one of the most popular ad networks through which you can monetize your blog by displaying such ads if you are a media blog.
You can decide which types of ads fit your blog best and where these ads appear.
Tips that have helped me to generate Ads revenue
- Strategic placement of ads is very important for you to maximize views and clicks and in turn the ad revenue. So, place your ads strategically in between the content, at the end of the content, and above your post.
- Avoid displaying the Ads on the side bar as they rarely get good click rates.
- Focus on increasing the quantity as well as quality of your traffic for higher visit to click ratio. As your traffic increases, your income from Ads will increase exponentially.
- Although tempting, never click on your own ads as Google would suspend your Adsense account.
3. Sell ebooks
Selling your own informational products is the best way to make money from your blog. You make some info product which is just a one time effort of few hours and then keep you keep selling copies without any production cost.
Ebook is one such informational product that can be easily written and created.
Whatever the niche that you are in, you can create an ebook that is aligned with the content of your blog. For example, one of CashOverflow’s main goal is to help people generate passive income by starting an online business.
Based on this idea, I created an ebook called Start Your Online Business in 7 Days.
I am no longer selling this E-book, but do you know how much income I generated by selling this ebook?
More than 30,000 rupees by selling 144 copies at different price points in the range of Rs. 200 to Rs. 999
If you have been blogging for while now, you can collect some of your long form articles and convert them into contents of an ebook that you could sell to your audience.
You don’t have to spend any money to promote your ebooks. You already have your blog and audience to help you make it work. The more quality books you can create, the more money you will make.
If your blog’s content is good and your audience finds you trustworthy, you would be surprised to see people actually willing to buy e-books.
4. Sell Online Courses
Like ebooks, selling your own online course is a great way to make money from your blog. You can create an online course on any topic that your audience would need help with.
It doesn’t have to be complex and can be as simple as “How to start a Youtube channel“.
In the initial days, make a powerful outreach strategy to expand your audience base. You should understand what exactly they need and then create a course to solve their problems.
Because online courses are more engaging vis-a-vis written content, you can charge a premium price for it.
Last year I created an online course on content marketing.
And the earnings below speak for itself of the income potential.
Rs. 50,000 from just 14 sales.
I did not enjoy creating and selling online courses so I stopped selling courses in Nov last year. However, I am still adding content to this course to provide value to people who already bought.
Some things you can keep in mind when creating an online course:
- Use good quality equipment to record your video and audio.
- Make the course conversational as if you are discussing with a person.
- Divide the course into multiple modules and keep each module short for better reception.
- Keep taking feedback and keep improving it to create more value.
Similarly Deepak has sold his signature course on 100 day blogging to more than 3000 people at price of Rs. 2000.
You can do your math – the actual figures would be more than Rs. 60,00,000 from just a single course.
5. Offer Consulting Services to Companies
Before starting CashOverflow, I was the co-founder of two startups. I can say that that there are lot of areas in which founders and their respective companies need help.
This is another opportunity for you to make side income till your blog starts making money.
Let’ say you are an expert in sales, social media, or content marketing. You can offer a consulting service to clients to help them grow faster.
There are multiple ways in which you can monetize
- You can charge for a 2 hour session where you can discuss your client’s problems and provide an overall strategy.
- You can charge on a monthly basis or a fixed lump sum for a much deeper involvement in solving client’s problems and helping achieve their goals.
I worked as a consultant with a couple of startups for improving their content marketing and helped them fix their social media strategy. Last startup was paying me Rs 1.25 lakhs on a monthly basis for the duration I was involved. For other clients I charge between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2 lakhs per month based on the work.
Our own Deepak offers his digital marketing consulting to clients through his blog.
6. Build an Email List
When you launch your ebook, online course, create a new post, start offering a new service, your blog subscribers will be the first ones to know and the first ones to be your customers.
And that is how building an email list of subscribers through your blog will help you monetize it. You can choose from any simple to use wordpress plugin to collect email addresses on your website and start building your email list.
The real money is inside the email list. I made more money through my email marketing than what I made through just blogging last year.
Whenever I launch a new product, my email list subscribers are the first ones to be interested who go on to convert into paid customers.
For instance, last year I launched a paid weekly newsletter called as VIP newsletters in which I share my insights on starting, growing, and monetizing an online business.
Below is the graph of all the members who have joined the newsletter till date and the income I generated from it.
So, be sure to build an email list to gain access to a pool of potential customers.
I stopped enrolling new members into VIP Newsletters in Dec, 2017 but I opened the subscriptions for 24 hours in the first week of March, 2018. I made Rs. 50,000 by enrolling 25 new members into VIP Newsletters in just 24 hours.
That’s the power of email marketing.
7. Build Exclusive Partnerships with Companies and Individuals
If you have regular traffic on your blog, one great way to monetize it is to build exclusive partnerships with companies or individuals in your niche.
Depending upon your blog’s popularity you might be approached by a partner or you could make the first move of discussing a partnership. You can get big partnerships only when you build a big brand (read Deepak’s guide on building a personal brand).
I have written an in-depth guide on investment in share market in India and closed a partnership deal with EquityMaster. For your information, equitymaster is one of the biggest and oldest player in stock market advisory.
The purpose of partnership should always be to provide more value to your readers. I look for partners with whom I can work entire life time without worrying about how much I can make in the short term.
Remember this formula when considering partnerships
Your Reader + Partner + Your Business.
You have to become remarkable at your work. You have to become memorable for your customers to build a great money making blog.
All these stakeholders should get benefit out of the partnership. Once you take care of this aspect your readers will get satisfied, your partner will get more business, and you will make good money.
As of now, I have striked deals with four such partners in my niche who share a portion of the their revenue with me. You can find the offers on CashOverflow Resources page.
- CharteredClub, a taxation expert.
- JagoInvestor, a financial planner.
- ClearTax, taxation service firm.
- EquityMaster, a stock advisory firm.
You can also replicate such type of partnerships in your niches.
8. Offer a Personal Coaching Service (Content Writing)
Writing high quality content is the crux of blogging but many bloggers often struggle with it.
If you are good at writing, why not make full use of this skill to generate income?
It doesn’t matter when you started your blog or how much experience you have in it, if you know that your readers are loving your content than you can offer a personalized content writing coaching service to bloggers out there.
You can start with offering one to one coaching sessions and then expand to a small group of 10 people.
Since training is very intimate form of learning and can produce dramatic results, people will be willing to pay a premium for the same.
Recently, I started a personalized coaching program for my blog readers who were interested in improve their writing skills. It’s a free program but I selected a few candidates after a screening process.
No matter which niche you belong to, you can offer a personal coaching service that can help your readers reach their goals and make you money. It need not only be writing.
9. Offer Content Editing and Reviewing Service
This is one of the lesser known but equally great way that has worked for me to generate income through my blog.
Like I discussed earlier, writing high quality content is the crux of blogging but equally important is to see that your content is crisp and the messaging which you intended is coming across.
Not all bloggers or startup founders may be interested in enrolling for a personalized coaching service on writing. Instead, they would just need help with editing and reviewing their content so that they can publish it on their respective platforms.
This is where you can help them by editing and reviewing their articles and charge a fee for the same. For example, one of my subscribers reached out to me asking if I can review his article. He was willing to pay for our time & expertise.
We agreed at Rs. 5000 for in-depth review of the article. Here is conversation snapshot after completing the work.
We are planning to scale up content review model with some startups who want to get our feedback before hitting publish button on their articles. I will share more details with you in a couple of months.
10. Become a Freelance Blogger
If you are a blogger, you already have the skills and credibility to do freelancing- for other blogs or companies. This comes in handy when you are just about getting traffic and making some or no money from your blog.
I did freelancing in the initial months when my blog was still not making money.
There are many companies and media platforms that are looking for freelance bloggers who could write for them. For instance, I wrote many articles for media platforms, for startups and for bloggers – where I charged them Rs 2000 to Rs 10,000 per post.
There are many such bloggers who are making at least Rs 50,000 per month from freelancing.
Depending upon your skillset and whom you are writing for, you could be writing articles, product related content, blogs, sales copies, newsletters, landing pages, and so on.
Initially, you can guest post for free for top blogs in your industry and big media platforms. Although you are writing for free, you are getting an intangible return in the form of building your own brand value.
Later, your published work on branded websites along with your own blog will help you win you lot of clients with ease.
Before We Say GoodBye
I have just shown you the tip of the iceberg. There is so much to explore in internet marketing. I am also learning new skills and see a bright future of digital marketing in India.
You have to take a little action everyday to become successful. Read blogs, books and go through a couple of courses on marketing. Practice whatever you learn even if you fail in the initial days.
Success comes to those who are not afraid of falling down multiple times.