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Let’s say you’ve already monetized your blog – at least to some degree.
But while you’re bringing in some revenue each month, it’s not as much as you’d like. Perhaps you want to be quit your day job, or take your business to the next level. So how can you start earning more?
Well, that’s what we’ll be covering in this blog post.
Even if you’re just starting out with monetizing your blog, give this post a read anyway. There’s a lot that you’ll hopefully be able to use in a few months’ time. (You might also want to check out our beginner-friendly page on making money blogging.)
The Power of a Deadline
In my first year of blogging I had no idea you could make money from a blog. But in my second year I started dabbling with Google AdSense and Amazon affiliate income. And soon I was earning a few dollars a day.
But even though I could see slow and steady growth, I knew I wanted to move faster. At the rate I was going it would be ten years before I’d be able to go full time with blogging.
So my wife Vanessa and I set a six-month deadline. To be at the point where I could make a full-time living from blogging I needed to quadruple my income. And if I couldn’t do it, I’d go and get a regular job.
You might not want to set such a strict deadline. But having a particular date in mind can really help you to stay focused and motivated.
The day I set that deadline was the day I started doing things I knew I should do but had never actually done. I worked really hard on those. And after just three or four months I reached that full-time level.
My blog took off because I was actually doing the things I knew I should do.
Maybe you have a bunch of those things yourself: things you plan to get round to “someday” but haven’t tackled yet.
In this post, I want to focus on five key areas that have helped me significantly grow my income over the past 15 years.
#1: Increasing the Blog’s Traffic
Looking at my past earnings, I can see a clear correlation between increased traffic and increased income. The traffic has paid off in different ways, depending on the source. For example, Google traffic tends to do well for AdSense earnings.
If you can increase your traffic, you’ll increase your income. When I was doing this I put a lot of effort into learning SEO and writing content that matched up with keywords people would be searching for. I wrote guest posts for other blogs and participated in forums. And today I put time into social media.
For help on how to grow your traffic, check out:
- Episodes 33–37 of the ProBlogger podcast. (You can listen to episode 33 here, and then use the “next podcast” button near the top of the page to work your way forward.)
- Warning: Are You Making These 8 Traffic-Killing Mistakes? (Ali Luke)
- 10 Simple Hacks That Will Increase Your Blog Traffic (Garrett Moon)
- How to Get 10x More Traffic Without Spending a Dime on Advertising (John Stevens)
#2: Adding a New Income Stream
There are so many ways you can monetize a blog, and I’ve seen my income increase dramatically when adding new income streams. Think about:
- Running ads on your blog (or more ads, as long as you don’t go overboard)
- Creating your own products such as ebooks or online courses
- Promoting affiliate products (e.g. other people’s ebooks or courses, or products on Amazon)
- Offering coaching or freelance services
- Launching a membership area on your site with a monthly subscription
- Creating a mastermind group
- Setting up a Patreon account (so people can donate money and get bonuses)
Take a look at what other bloggers in your niche are doing. How are they making money with their blog? You might also want to have a look at my money map that covers 40+ ways to make money from a blog.
#3: Increasing Your Conversion Rate
If you already have several income streams in place, are they performing as well as they could? Could you could tweak them to make even more money?
For instance, if you run ads on your site then take a look at things such as where they’re positioned, what size ad units you’re using, and so on. If you’re promoting affiliate products, don’t just have a widget in your sidebar. Mention them in posts and have calls to action like “Get the price on this product on Amazon”. I found that creating bestseller lists of products worked really well, too.
If you’re selling an ebook or product, you could create two versions of your sales page and split test them. There are plenty of tools around that will allow you to do that. (We use Thrive Architect.) You can test different headlines, images, colours, calls to action, and so on.
If your income is from sponsorship, look at ways you can offer more to your sponsors. For instance, you could mention them on social media, run a competition, or include their ad in your newsletter. They’ll often be willing to spend more if you can offer some extras.
If you have several products, you could try “upselling” – promoting one product at a discount just after readers have purchased another. This can be a great way to get money you wouldn’t otherwise have coming in.
#4: Running a Promotional Burst
Eight years ago on Digital Photography School we started doing our “12 Days of Christmas” campaigns. During the year we would have launched three or four products, and this was a chance to promote them again.
During the campaign, we sent 12 emails in 12 days about our products (and about some affiliate products too). It was pretty intensive, and I did worry that our audience would react badly. But they seemed to like it, and it led to a massive spike in income.
There are lots of good times to run a sale. Some bloggers do it for Valentine’s Day, others for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and so on. But you can also just pick a day (or a few days) to run a flash sale. These are all great ways to boost your income from products you’ve already created.
Another option is to use an email autoresponder to create an ongoing income stream by promoting your old posts, your products, and even affiliate or sponsor products.
Don’t forget to take a look at how easy (or hard) it is to find your products on your site. You may have a bunch of products no-one really knows about because they’re hard to find from the menu. You may need to create a “Shop” page, or a “Resources” page for affiliate links.
#5: Increasing Your Pricing
This might seem blindingly obvious, but raising your prices can lead to increased income. (Mind you, sometimes lowering your prices works better. So you might want to review the pricing of your products in general and maybe do some split testing.)
On Digital Photography School we used to sell our courses for $29. We realised a lot of our competitors were selling similar courses for $300.
While ours were packed with value, our underpricing meant some customers bought them from our competitors instead, thinking their courses were better simply because they had a higher price tag.
I’m not saying you should increase all your prices by a factor of ten. If your prices seem unreasonable, people won’t buy. (Or they’ll buy and then ask for a refund.) But many of us do undervalue what we’re offering.
You could also look at offering a premium level for your products or services. When we added a mastermind day to the ProBlogger Event, we found a significant segment of our audience was willing to pay more for greater access to myself, my team and the speakers.
These aren’t things you should do in isolation. If you want to double, triple or quadruple your income, you’ll probably need to do one or more of them. For instance, you may need to increase your traffic, add new income streams and use your existing income streams more efficiently.
Who knows where it could take you? Perhaps you’ll achieve your dream of being a full-time blogger like I did. Yes, you may need to do some intense work in the short term. But it could pay off for many years to come.