You can make money writing content on your site once you have a few basics in place: you’ve chosen an online business or niche. You’ve started a website or blog (or are getting ready to start one.) And you’re in it for the long haul. Rather than write-it-and-leave-it, you’re adding content to your site regularly. You understand that a website or blog takes time to build and because of that, it is a valuable piece of intellectual property.
So when you hear and read about writers who make money writing content from their own websites or blogs, you wonder, How do they do that?
There are three “big picture” ways you can make money writing content on your own site. Work at them a little bit at a time and consistently over time, and you’ll be able to make money writing content from your own hub.
If you’re a service provider, your website or blog is more than an online calling card. It’s your online hub and a key element in your marketing strategy. Social media posts drive consumers to your website. Direct mail, email marketing, cold calling – they all drive consumers to your website. Whether your site is about writing, kids’ birthday parties, life insurance … or options trading, traveling in Bangladesh, or tattoo careers - regardless of your niche, quality content opens the door for you to sell your services.
Think about it from the consumer’s point of view. Let’s say you have a knee injury from playing golf. You need to visit a physical therapist. You get recommendations for three physical therapy practices in your area. All of them accept your insurance.
You go online to check them out and discover that just one has a resource section and it includes information about recovering from golf injuries. There you find posts and tips and information that you can study even before you visit the physical therapist. Which physical therapist are you most likely to check out first? Yep, me too – the one with dozens or hundreds of pages on the site, rather than the one that just has information about the practice. You make money writing content simply because great information attracts customers.
If you operate virtually – you’re a content writer, copywriter, speaker, graphic designer, virtual assistant, webmaster, trainer, online instructor, or other creative service professional – then your site can reach far beyond your own community to consumers all across the globe.
That’s why one of the best strategies for making money through your site is to provide outstanding information to your specific audience. A reader sees your content and is more inclined to seek out your services than others because you are a reliable resource. (More tips on selling your services here.)
The self-publishing revolution means you can create your own books, eBooks, printables, tip sheets, white papers, and online courses – no matter the niche – and sell them on your site. The advantage of selling your own products is that you get to keep all of your profits. Sales rack up while you sleep, make dinner, or help your kids with their homework. And you can sell them to anyone anywhere in the world.
As an online publisher – you have a site that gets eyeballs, remember? – you have some nice cyber real estate. You are building a following with readers in your niche. That means other merchants would like to piggyback on your traffic. That can be very good for both you and for the other merchant. Your site acts as a middleman between your specific group of readers and merchants who want to sell products to those particular readers. As such, you can become an affiliate marketer.
As an affiliate marketer, you establish an affiliate arrangement with merchants and then promote their products on your site. Promotion can be as simple as a contextual link – that is, text that’s part of your informational content and hyperlinked to the affiliate merchant – or advertisements, reviews, or banners. When a reader clicks through from your link to the merchant’s and makes a purchase, you receive a commission.
You can become an affiliate marketer quickly and easily when you enroll with an affiliate network. The most familiar networks are Amazon Affiliates and Google AdSense. There are dozens of other affiliate networks. Plenty of merchants seek out publishers (like you!) through affiliate networks registered with Rakuten (formerly Linkshare), ShareASale, and Commission Junction.
You can also sell advertising on your site directly to a merchant, rather than working through an affiliate network. If you have a niche audience, this can be a pretty worthwhile option. For instance, let’s say you operate a niche site for crochet teachers. Your pages are packed with easy, one-hour-to-finish patterns and tips for helping beginners learn to crochet. You fill a very unique and specific niche among crafters. Naturally, a BMX motorcycle manufacturer wouldn’t be interested in buying advertising on your site. But crochet-related companies know how appealing your site is to enthusiasts and your traffic statistics make you attractive to yarn dealers. They will pay you to advertise on your popular crocheting site. Ads that are appropriate to your niche help to sell products to your readers and in turn, earn you fees while you continue to add valuable pages to your site.
You may also choose to sell sponsored content on your site. These pages are created by and paid for by a merchant and intended to promote his product. The merchant has become familiar with your content and wants to write his own to post on your site in order to leverage your readers for his business.
A few tips for selling other people’s products on your site: first, build your site to at least 25-30 pages before you apply to become part of an affiliate network, seek out advertisers, or accept sponsored posts. Otherwise, search engines may reject your application as a “only-in-it-for-the-money” site.
Second, be consistent about posting new content regularly. Build an email list. As you continue to add content to your site, you’ll extend your reach to more and more readers. They’ll click on your links and ultimately click through to your affiliate partners, advertisers, and sponsors. And most importantly, screen potential affiliates, advertisers, and sponsors rather than accept any of them willy-nilly. You’re a publisher, right? Make sure you’re comfortable with your advertisers’ products before you promote them on your site.
Making money from your website or blog is just a series of steps. Take one step, then another, and another. You may not get rich quick. But remember, you’re in it for the long haul, right? So make a plan to take one step.
Respect your site as the intellectual property that it is, then over time you will be able to leverage it as a resource for others. Soon you’ll look beyond your goal to “make money writing content.” Instead, pour yourself into making sure your content is high quality and that it gets into the hands of readers who need it.
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