My Top 7 Blog Monetization Methods

Published by 66 Comments

In response to Chad Randall’s post detailing his 7 Levels of Revenue for your Blog I’ve compiled my own ranking list of what I consider the best methods to make money from a blog.

This list reviews my preference starting from the best to the least effective monetization methods I have implemented on my blogs. Note the list is entirely representative of my experience and I believe what monetization methods work depends heavily on the topic you blog about and consequently the type of reader you attract. This is why, as you will see, my list differs from Chad’s, although I do agree with him that AdSense is at the bottom of the heap.

The important thing is to test and find out what works best for you. Don’t assume because something is best for someone else’s blog that is the case for all blogs.

1. Recursive Affiliate Income

If you are on my early notification list for Blog Mastermind you already know why I love recursive affiliate income. Affiliate marketing is great because you sell something and you don’t have to deliver any product or provide customer service. With commissions as high as 75% you can run an online business that never produces anything, all on the back of affiliate marketing.

Recursive programs are the best type of affiliate program. When you sell a continuity product – something people pay for on a regular basis to maintain their membership – you are also paid an affiliate commission on a regular basis. If you build up enough recursive affiliate sales you can secure a stable income source.

As an example, I don’t just recommend programs like StomperNet because they are great products backed by real experts (which StomperNet is), but also because they have recursive affiliate programs. When a person signs up under my affiliate ID I make a commission every time they are charged to maintain their membership.

In your case you might have to look around to find relevant continuity products with affiliate programs to promote on your blog, but it’s well worth it.

2. Direct Ad Sales

Chad called this fixed monthly sponsors, which is exactly what I do as well and I agree with him, it’s a fantastic way to monetize a blog. There are no middlemen to take some of your profits and you can maximize the return on investment of your advertising inventory.

I’ve been selling banners off of my websites for eight years and it’s always been a consistent earner. Lately text links have become more popular, but it really doesn’t matter what the format is, it’s all about providing value to sponsors. In my experience I’ve usually had a small handful of sponsors who remain regulars and buy my ad inventory on a repeat basis. They see the value in this advertising medium and I appreciate the regular source of income.

If you don’t have one already, the first step for attracting sponsors is to set up an advertise page. Take a look at my advertise page as a good simple example to follow.

If an advertise page doesn’t translate into sponsors, and this might be the case if your blog is small or new, you will need to be proactive and look for sponsors yourself. I did this many years ago on a hobby site about the card game Magic: The Gathering. To locate sponsors I found all the most prominent online retailers that sold the game and emailed them to see if they would be interested in sponsoring my site. The end result was one advertiser coming on board and sponsoring the site for four straight years and others coming on for many months at a time.

I have always sold ads on a per month basis, but you can do per impression (CPM) or per click or even per lead. I once tried per-click for banners but unless you charge something ridiculous like $1 a click you don’t make much. Banners are simply not good for direct traffic in my experience and are better used as combination branding/exposure tool to associate your company in the minds of the people in a certain industry. That way, when they do come to decide they need something that your company provides, thanks to seeing your banners everywhere, they remember you as a provider of that product/service (in other words – effective branding). But I digress…

3. Text-Link-Ads.com Brokering Service

Text-Link-Ads is a very well known text link broker that connects advertisers with publishers who are paid to place text links on their site. The Text-Link-Ads service acts as the middleman company, taking a cut of the revenue in exchange for sourcing the sponsors for you.

From a blogger’s perspective this is a very low-maintenance monetization method. You install the plug-in, assuming you are a WordPress blogger, add a line of code to your theme template for where you want the text links to appear and then sit back and let Text-Link-Ads do the work. It’s been a proven income source for me now for many months, and while it’s not a massive return, a consistent $500-$700 a month is nice to have.

For smaller bloggers Text-Link-Ads is still an option, just don’t expect to earn a significant return or sell all your ad inventory until you increase your traffic and pagerank.

4. One Time Affiliate Income

Affiliate income takes position number four on my list too but the difference to recursive affiliate income is that this time I’m talking about products that pay out once, each time you make a sale. In this case the money isn’t quite as dependable as recursive programs since you need to keep selling in order to generate revenue, however some products have large payouts and just one sale can make it worth while.

I find there are two types of products that have sold well for me as an affiliate. The once-a-year big events like conferences and workshops, which pay out commissions ranging from $100 – $1000 depending on the cost of a ticket. I don’t usually sell many of these, but with such a high commission just one or two ticket sales can be enough. About two years ago I promoted Perry Marshall’s conference which cost $2000 to get into and he paid a $750 affiliate commission. I only sold two tickets, but that $1500 was more than I had generated in the previous year of blogging.

The other good seller is staple products, things people in my industry eventually buy. Most industries have a seminal book or a service you can’t do without (for example web hosting) and if you review these products and mention them now and then you usually can sell a few on a regular basis. Perry Marshall again makes a good example again, with his $49 Definitive Guide to Google AdWords ebook, a solid repeat seller since if you intend to do AdWords campaigns you must have this book.

No doubt in your industry there are must-have products or services that you can review and recommend as an affiliate, just make sure the margins make it worthwhile. Try the Clickbank catalog if you are stuck for affiliate products to promote or just think back over the last few purchases you made online related to your blog topic and see if there is an affiliate program for them.

5. Paid Reviews

I’ve almost stopped doing paid reviews recently, but I still think the ReviewMe service is a great way to start earning from blogging. In previous months it has been a consistent $300+ income source, but frankly I’m moving away from income sources that require output from me directly to generate. Since you have to write the review to get paid it’s far from the kind of passive or near-passive income sources I prefer, even if it does pay out $125 per review in my case.

6. Google AdSense

Google AdSense has never been a favorite monetization strategy for me. It forces you to focus on increasing pageviews and thus AdSense displays in order to earn more, which is a labor-for-income relationship, which I try and avoid. The payments are very low and unless you blog in certain product categories even high traffic sites earn peanuts.

That being said, AdSense is fantastic on sites that have user-generated content and thus traffic, because you can set it up and let Google handle the optimization. There’s almost always a higher-paying method to monetize, but sometimes the simplicity of AdSense is appealing.

7. Miscellaneous Programs

There are many other options, including ad brokering services like Chitika, BlogAds, AdBrite, AdVolcano and Blogkits. Some of these I briefly tested but did not like their system or my current monetization methods pay more.

Again, these options might be fantastic for your blog but you won’t know until you try. However in almost all cases, if you sell ads directly to sponsors you make more, it just might be harder to manage and initially procure the sponsors, especially for small and new blogs.

As I’ve said many times before, I suggest you not think about monetization for the first few months of blogging, or until you get to at least 100 visitors a day, preferably 500. Once you hit that first milestone, slowly roll out some monetization tests, perhaps starting with an affiliate promotion to your readers in the form of a product review and then work your way through the list above to see what works best in your case.

If you want coaching with the blog monetization process please consider joining my mentoring program, Blog Mastermind.

Yaro Starak
Blog Monetizer

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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66 Comments

  • Thanks for posting this. It answers a lot of questions I’ve had lately…like when I could consider my blog ‘successful.’ You didn’t use that word, but the goal of 100 or more daily visitors gives me a benchmark to aim toward.

    I think I’ll go remove some of my many ads. They’re just taking up space, and I obsess over them, but my blog is so new (and they’re getting no clicks anyway).

    Thanks! Now…on to start looking for recursive affiliate programs and some private sponsors. And I’ll stop expecting instantaneous results. :)

    • I get over a thousand U.V.’s to my blog everyday but the income levels are still miniscule! Content and patience are the keys are feel!

      Regards,
      Dave. :-)

  • i think that you are in a good position with the reviewme ads. its a nice little earner but when more and more % of your income comes from other sources you can afford to do less sponsored reviews and concentrate on other issues :)

  • Glad to know you are not another Adsense enthusiast!

    My number 1 is definitely direct ad sales, but I guess affiliate sales are a good alternative, in the near future I will try to diversity with some of those programs.

  • [...] Starak also pointed out his My Top 7 Blog Monetization Methods which [...]

  • Yaro,

    You make an important distinction between “recursive affiliate income” and “one-time affiliate income.” This is one area I definitely need to begin tapping in my affiliate marketing efforts.

    Great list here!

    -Jason

  • Great post, Yaro, and typically generous of you to share what works for you and what doesn’t work so well. I like also that you emphasise that one system does not fit all.

  • Great rundown, Yaro. As you say you do not differ w whole lot from Chad’s viewpoint, but boy is this an example of how you can say essentially the same thing in a different manner and come out looking a lot more expert and believable.

    There’s something about the way Chad talks about AdSense that makes aperson forgte he has any expertise at all … which he does, of course. I suffer the same problem often in my writing … perhaps someday I’ll learn to remove a few of the wire brush bristles and still get to the point.

  • Yaro – great feedback on how you monetize your blog. I am interested if your small business branding site uses similar advert options.

    I tried blog ads, not that great, and some inline banners but nothing too significant. I joined a few different ad networks like Burst Media and AdBrite as well as tried with advertising.com but no cigar there…

    Thanks for keeping us up with your latest and greatest.

  • as always, thanks for the writeup. Its great to at least know which ones are still working fine for probloggers like you.

  • Thanks for the comments everyone.

    I was thinking that for monetizing http://www.smallbusinessbranding.com it doesn’t work exactly the same.

    So far affiliate marketing, well the limited affiliate marketing I have done at SBB, doesn’t work as well as it does here on EJ, probably because this blog is more tightly in line with my credibility and the audience is different too.

    Text links work best at SBB and even though the traffic is less than half of what EJ has here, text links sell for the same amount because I give sponsors very prominent placement in the hotspot – top left corner of the site.

  • Steve Okelo

    I am new to this and would like to have my blog and website any advice and point me to the right direction.

    Steve

  • Interesting list Yaro – have you tried advertising affiliate products (either recurring or one-time) mixed in with your other ads, or do you mostly do it through blog posts?

    I’m just wondering if you need the pre-sell or if it would also be effective as a regular advertisement.

    - Rodger

  • Honest reviews of affiliate products related to your blog is one of the best. The problem is finding those great products to write about. There are so many products that come out on a weekly basis it is hard to seperate the hype from the reality
    Honest reviews also build blog loyalty which in turn results in revenue

  • I am finding myself looking away from Adsense more and more. In some cases, its versatility is hard to match, but I agree that there are most often better ways. I admit that was not always the way I thought.

  • [...] Yaro at Entrepreneur’s Journey responded to Chad’s post, setting out his own ranking, based on his experience, in the post My Top 7 Blog Monetization Methods. [...]

  • [...] My Top 7 Blog Monetization Methods – One of my fave bloggers Yaro Starak tells everyone the top 7 ways way he makes money from his blog. [...]

  • [...] the owner of Entrepreneur’s Journey, posted his top seven blog monetization methods. Let me first list the monetization methods and [...]

  • It makes sense how you have positioned the programs and how someone should begin. I am impressed with the way you have broken each down as there is more information out there on the web to be boggled down with which ones to choose. When you look at it in an approach format you can see clearly your next steps.

    Much appreciated.

    “May The Blog Be With You” – Stephen Welton

  • Don

    This is rock solid information. I just downloaded your blog profits blueprint, then of course I just had to stop by and see what information you had on your site. Great Job, I’ll keep coming back!

    Don

    http://incomeblizzard.blogspot.com/

  • What a great resource – thanks so much, Yaro!

  • [...] “My top 7 blog monetization methods” [...]

  • Great concise information on building your presence on the web. The other key thing is not to go over board on the text ads and paid placements such as banners as this can be a distraction to your readers. You may loos some of your customers if that they feel you are too commercialized.
    Regards,
    Jeff

  • Mackenzie

    Thanks for the article. I have recently been pondering how I could make extra income off of a blog and your post helps to breakdown the options I would have to do so. How would you go about incorporating one time affiliate income into your site? it seems like a preety good strategy but I am not sure how I could incorporate something that into a blog that I would start. Im heading out to this gree conference in vegas the devotes an entire day explaining how to moetize a blog successfully. Its called o Postiecon, i think it will really help me out and it might be something you would be interested in checking out as well. Thanks for your guidance!

  • There is nothing wrong with paid reviews. If you are getting paid to write content, look at it as an incentive to write quality content. Quality content will lead to more link bait, more readership, and thus more income. More income not just in more paid reviews, but also in other types of advertising on your site.

  • Good read. I learned of a few new methods via your post that I can use to suppliment Google Adsense. Thanks for the tips.

  • Excelent article, I just started 2 blogs and I didn’t know what to use to monetize them…I was trying with Adsense…but the results weren’t that good

  • I really love this blog.
    Always there something new information I get when visited.
    Thanks Yaro, You are Rock!

  • Great tips man. I had this adbrite ads I think of removing them.

  • I think recursive affiliate programs are the most rewarding programs. Although PPC Advertising is the most popular option, but in my opinion affiliate marketing is much more fruitful especially if your blog is targeting some product or service.

  • Excellent post, I came here because I read your free e-book, Blog Profits Blueprint, also a good read! Thanks!

  • Interesting article Yaro. I’ve been moving away from Adsense for the same reasons you mention here and I’ve been using some of the alternatives you’ve listed, as well as considering a couple of the other options on your list. It’s really nice having your post as reference to drive testing on my own blog.

    BTW, your link to ReviewMe is broken – typo in the URL I think :)

  • Hi Yaro,
    Thanks a lot for the great tips!
    Also I noticed that under number 5 the Review Me link does not work. I think the address it links to should be http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/yaro-recommends/review-me/ instead of http://www.entrepeneurs-journey.com/yaro-recommends/reviewme/.

  • [...] Here are other resources about “blog monetization”: My Top 7 Blog Monetization Methods @ Entrepreneurs-Journey.com [...]

  • Great article Yaro! Recursive Affiliate Income would be my #1 choice too! Hadn’t ever thought about paid reviews!? (#5).
    Google Adsense can be incredibly fickle! If Your keyword is something like ‘Yahoo domains’, then ‘Hello, payday!’. :-)
    Am not sure about Chitika, BlogAds, AdBrite, AdVolcano, and Blogkits!

    I have had some success with clixGalore.com, Linkshare.com, Commision Junction.com and of course Clickback.net! Clickbank has been my #1 income provider so far!

    Thanks again Yaro! You are a veritable Legend in the Blogosphere!

    Kind Regards,
    David I. Braybrooke. ‘Fatherspirit’.

  • I really want to use this medium to express my heart gratitude to Yaro Starak for putting the “Blog Profit Mastermind” together. from my own perspective it is a masterpiece. It is very comprehensive and a must-read and must-have for all baby bloggers and pro bloggers who want to improve their bottomline. I will be reviewing this Report very soon on my blog. However, starak you did not dwell on any possible risks or security challenges that blogs may face- baby bloggers and pro bloggers alike. I would to hear anything related to this aspect of blogging. And if this point I have just raised is beyond the scope of this report do let me know, too.
    Once again, I must say that you have touched my life in a very wonderful way!
    - Denzy (http://7nobles.blogspot.com

  • I read your blog-profit-blueprint and everything just makes sense to me! I have been blogging for 8 mths now, got the best photo blog award from the press (in Singapore), wanted to monetize my blogs and yet still trying ways to do that. You are a great motivator. I will continue to strive harder. =D

  • I finally gave in to actually reading your blog posts and signing up for the blueprint to become a successful blogger. My experience has led me to build and monitize websites with adsense, affiliate products and have tried recursive (residual) incomes with some of them but now find them limiting as to how much I can update when something new comes a long. I`ll follow your blueprint with a new blog I`m about to set up and will call back in from time to time to let you and your readers know how I`m doing. Thanks for the new lease of life I`m experiencing at the prospect of making some (hopefully) money.
    P.S. I`ll be using your own aff. program and another I have found as the recursive programs. Thanks again.

  • Yaro you are the bomb. I started this blog for one reason only; encourage young college students to start their businesses in school. i never had the sense but now i sure no better. And with the growing unemployment rate the earlier you understand that you can go you own, alone (or at least be the big boss), and make it, the better.

    However it would be nice to get the blog to pay its own fees. Your tips on how to create traffic and get people to read will surely be a guide in getting there.

    Thank you
    Seun Dawodu

  • I read your blog-profit-blueprint and everything just makes sense to me! I have been blogging for 6 mths now, got the pagerank and wanted to monetize my blogs and yet still trying ways to do that. You are a great motivator. I will continue to strive harder.

  • [...] your best bet is to read this article from Entrepreneurs-Journey.com This will take you straight to the article. It explains various ways of monetizing your blog. Glad [...]

  • Great information. Thank you.
    Here are my 2 cents.

    Cost Per Deal online advertising model that has been launched this year, is in my opinion MUST-have blog and info sites monetization tactics. The payout is way higher than any affiliate network can ever offer (min. $1,000, max so far $15,000 per single sale, or deal, but can be higher).

    The provider for these campaigns is IdeaMama Ad Network. The performance tracking is different than in affiliate program tracking (no pixel is fired on exit -Thank you page), because deals are usually closed off-line… nevertheless publishers / bloggers still have access to very detailed reports about the status of each B2B / B2C sale lead that they have generated to the advertiser.

    The benefit of monetizing blogs with CPD vs CPM / CPC / CPL / CPA is that traffic can be low, but targeted – to sell the campaigns. If one has some basic understanding of the SEO, new blogs can be created for each group of selected campaigns, As soon as a blog can drive to advertisers at least 500 targeted clicks per month, they can convert to at least 10-50 qualified leads. In this scenario $10K+ monthly check is practically guaranteed as qualified leads usually close ta the rate 10%-30% by any company with any decent inside sales reps.

  • I have been making money on my site using lots of affiliate marketing, I find recurring and non recurring products both effective at making money.

    Hoping to maybe start with PPC

  • Mc

    Thanks for the list, I am new so I still looking for my best monetize method..

  • You wanna say that this blog makes 10000$ a month? that would be awsome but hard to believe. as well the fact that reviewme offers as much as 300$ montly. i doubt somehow.
    greetings.

  • Thank you for sharing this!
    As you say, the best thing to do is Blogging for the pleasure od doing that..That’s the FUEL that brings your Blog alive.
    Then, When you reach at least 500/1000 visitor a day,it makes sense thinking about monetization.

    Francesco

  • thank’s very much….i hope all people in the world especially new generation use the new world( internet) to make better life for everybody…thank’s

  • learning much more about monetize blog from your posts…thank you so much

  • a very informative post. you opened a lot of options for me actually i made this site just to make money and by the looks of it i’m way way far behind in reaching that goal again thanks for the info

  • Thanks yaro… it’s very useful for newbie like me :)

  • Hi Yaro,

    I have been blogging for just under two months now. I know what I have to do but for reasons that are unclear to me I have not been able to put a solid plan of action into motion. I keep switching from one idea to the next and as a result have not generated much in the way of traffic or interest.

    I was lucky enough to come across your blogprofits blueprint pdf. and while there was nothing in the pdf that I did not already know you conveyed your message in such a pure and inspiring manner that I actually felt that it was all new.

    I had come across your name a few years ago but at the time I was not looking to earn money from my online activities. I now wish that I had remembered and looked you up sooner. The motivation that I have received since reading your pdf and this post cannot be expressed in words. The fact that there are several years worth of posts to check out is exciting to say the least. (There really is gold in them thar hills.)

    All I can say is thank your for taking the time to be so frank and upfront about your activities. It really has been a help to me.

  • Thanks for the info. I just put up a new blog because I’m very concerned about our personal and public security. The blog address may not work right away. I do want to monetize this blog so your information was very helpful.

  • Thanks for the great advice. I have now been blogging for about a week. If you have any other tips please contact me, also if you could give me feedback on my site! It would be greatly appreciated!

  • I need to learn A LOT from this!!!
    thanks for the shares, Yaro..
    You are the man.
    : )

  • There is a widget http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/make-money-via-social-deal-map which display Groupon and other social deals on a local map (GEO IP location detected so that the map is always centered at the reader’s location). You can configure it with your own affiliation id and start to make money from it. These deals are usually quite attractive with huge discount and they are local. Blogger /website owner should be able to generate good revenue from it.

  • FYI learnt about this post from the Blueprint pdf, BUT the link in that pdf was broken and I had to find this post from Google. Good read though. Thanks!

  • Another excellent article from you. I cannot agree more that you should not worry too much about monetising until you have built significant traffic. It is important to realise that blogging is by no means a get rich quick scheme and you need a lot of patience. I have been blogging for 2 years now and I think it will take another two years more before I can even start to think about making over 1K per month.

  • If I have an increasing Adsense revenue, does it make it more appealing for advertizers to place their banners on my site?

  • I came on this page from the Blog Profit Blueprint. Even though this article was written four years ago, I really find it very helpful. And looking on other new articles and “How to”, I like it, they’re useful, I have read some of them already but I found a lot of things that are new to me. I’m gonna read a lot on this site from now on. Thanks Yaro.

  • Affiliate marketing is indeed a great source of income, but I find it really difficult. On the other hand paid reviews are easier, but they generate much less income. I really don’t know where I should focus at the moment

  • Krai

    Isn’t it dangerous to sell links? Google may penalise your site.

    Futhermore how can anyone make 500$ a month selling links when they are paid 20$ per link per month. Are you adding 30 links on your home page?

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