Creative Ways to Make Money Online
So you want to make money from your blog? Well, some things have changed in 2021. Some strategies that went gangbusters for bloggers only a few years ago, now barely make a profit. I cover the most creative ways to make money in this guide.
1. The Monetization Strategies
Your monetization strategy is a vital part of making money from your blog. Having strategies that align with your blog’s strengths is important. If you choose the wrong strategy, or you choose a strategy that does not align with your and your blog’s strengths you will get poor results.
Making money from a blog is harder than it uses to be, most niches have a ton of competition, and getting authority and the required traffic will be a struggle for a lot of bloggers.
Therefore it’s even more important to make sure you have the best monetization strategy for your blog to maximize your chances of success.
The first step is defining what you want out of your blog. Once you do that, assess your strengths and weaknesses. Then find a monetization strategy that plays to your strengths, and is a good fit for you and for your audience.
If like most bloggers, you’re struggling to get a lot of traffic. Then monetization strategies based around a high flow of relevant traffic – such as advertising, and affiliate marketing probably won’t work that well for you.
So unless you can increase the relevancy and volume of your traffic choosing strategies like that would not be effective in the beginning.
Although having a small but close community without much traffic, could be a positive for strategies like consulting or membership sites. Keep this in mind when planning your monetization strategies.
This is what I mean by playing to your strengths – don’t blindly copy others and expect their methods to work for you. You have to take into your account your own blog and situation.
2. The Traffic
Targeted traffic is the most important aspect of making money online, it doesn’t matter how you create it, just that you have it.
There are hundreds of ways to create streams of traffic to your site or blog – you may have great success with getting traffic from Facebook, Tumblr, or other social media, while others might have more luck through SEO, guest blogging, word of mouth, forums, online groups or communities.
The ways to get traffic are endless – but there’s only one thing you need to remember, if you expect to make regular money online, you must have a regular traffic source.
Your best starting place for finding an effective traffic source begins by understanding who your audience is, how they think and where they are likely to hang out.
Your blog positioning should also determine your ideal reader – and once you know who your ideal reader is, it’s easier to pick the right monetization strategy.
Maybe you merely want a blog or niche site that will bring in some passive income on the side. If that is the case, your traffic strategy will be completely different from someone trying to grow and monetize a “regular” blog.
For example, some blogs do brilliantly with advertising, making tens of thousands of dollars a day – viral social media meme sites or comedy bloggers on Youtube make a killing with advertising, while other more conventional blogs, with less traffic, would only make only cents perusing the same model.
If you were running an industry-specific blog – you would never get the sort of traffic numbers a viral social media blog gets, but you wouldn’t need to. Just having a small amount of relevant traffic would be enough to acquire customers.
3. The Sales Funnel
You can have a great product, and decent traffic but still not get the sort of sales results you’d like. If this sounds like you, think about your sales funnel, and if you don’t have one – make one! Even the most basic sales funnel is drastically better than nothing.
A sales funnel is a name for the process of a visitor becoming a paying customer.
It’s named this way as the process resembles a funnel – it starts wide and broad at the top with random traffic that hits your blog, and gets more targeted at the bottom as you turn that traffic into subscribers and then send them down a sales path via email.
Each product leads to the next via up-sells and more targeted email marketing. Just make sure to offer a ton of free value along the way. This is one of the creative way to make money
Sales Funnel Tips:
- Make sure you allow for 4-5 value-building emails and posts before you pitch your first product to your readers. This builds trust and demonstrates the value you bring to any potential customer.
- Create multiple email lists for paying customers where you can “warm” them up for other purchases before you offer them new products. This enables you to send last-minute emails to remind them when your offers are about to expire to get the last few people to take action.
- Once a reader buys one of your products, it’s a great time to attempt at one or even more up-sales – this is when having closely linked products works in your favor.
This works because your up-sale is actually an opportunity to add even more value to your customer – if the products are not closely related then you risk coming off as pushy or as trying to squeeze every dollar out of your customers.
The idea is to have great offers that sweeten the deal for already paying customers – which create scarcity in the form of “one time only” sales, or special offers before they hit the checkout, but without pushing all your products in their face at once.
4. The 10 Best Monetization Strategies (Creative money earning tips)
The following strategies are some creative ways to make money in 2021, and with some tweaking, they can work in almost any style of blog.
Aim to use 3-4 different strategies for your blogging monetization plan, this way you have a diverse range of products and services, at different price points.
• Affiliate links in posts
Affiliate links are an ideal way to earn passive income – simply “set and forget”. Put links for relevant products in your articles, and put in the groundwork to turn your posts into resources your readers will appreciate.
The better the article, the greater your chance of making a significant impact and attracting referral traffic – this traffic will be very targeted because people will only share it with other people that are interested in the same topic.
This attracts even more people – and a small percentage of the total readers will earn you commissions.
Tip: make sure to create posts that are”evergreen” for your niche, that way they’ll always be relevant and therefore give long-term value to your readers, which maximizes the “lifetime” earnings from your links.
Consulting or coaching is a practical way to make money for almost any blogger. As an expert in your field, you’re experienced, full of know-how and knowledge that will be useful to your clients. Once you get regular clients, you’ll get regular income – and as a bonus, you build a truly deep understanding of the problems and obstacles that your audience typically faces.
This information is invaluable in writing better content, driving more relevant traffic, and creating better products.
Tip: Take notes or record all your sessions, this way you can refer back to interesting discussions, or valuable questions and use them to create fantastic content, case studies, or research for any of your future products.
• Membership Sites
Membership sites are a very intelligent way to make a regular, and rewarding income. You get the benefit of having multiple customers, up to multiple hundreds all paying a relatively small reoccurring monthly fee.
This could be your ideal way to make money if you’re happy creating high-quality content, for your members regularly – without letting your quality slip.
Tip: Use your most popular posts, webinars, or giveaways as a basis for updated, larger, and more detailed versions for your membership sites.
• Product Reviews and Sponsorships
As a blogger, you have authority, and the trust of your readers – the perfect mix for product reviews or sponsorship opportunities. There are two ways you can make reviews work – paid reviews and reviews for free products for yourself and your audience.
Sponsorship work a bit differently from becoming a brand ambassador. In simple terms sponsorship are when a brand uses your platform to gain exposure in a targeted market, a brand ambassadors are when you become an evangelist for a particular brand. Both can work well.
Tip: make sure your audience is comfortable with any sponsorship or ambassador scenario – losing the trust of your audience is one of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make.
Do not partner up purely from a financial perspective, you need to make sure the company or brand you’re working with is a great fit for your style and your audiences. If you don’t have that authenticity it erodes the trust you’ve built with your audience and harms your reputation and by making your presentation creative, you can make good money.
• Social Media Affiliates
Affiliates work the same way in any medium – you promote a product and depending on the set-up, any views or sales coming from your link earn you a commission.
Social media has made this model even more convenient – as social media encourages shares, comments, and human interaction. This makes it the perfect environment for affiliates where exposure and social proof are the names of the game.
Social media affiliate programs like Etsy or RewardStyle are examples of social media affiliates for bloggers in the fashion, and design niches – which are growing rapidly.
Tip: If you are a blogger in the design, fashion, or other visual industries or social industries like health, then social media affiliate programs would be a great idea for you due to the greater reach your content gets across platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Or use your social traffic created on your social platforms to drive people to more conventional pages with affiliate links.
• Group Coaching
Group coaching is standard coaching but with a larger audience. This takes a little more organization, but your earnings multiply. The dynamic of a group allows free-flowing ideas and the energy of a group can act as rocket fuel for enhanced teaching and learning.
Group Coaching is done in person – where you hire or meet at a venue, or online – using a free platform like google hangouts, Skype, or paid one like Clarity.fm
Tip: If you are currently running coaching sessions, see if any of your clients would be interested in being involved in a small group session – use discounts as incentives when you’re first beginning.
Try to find like-minded people that have things in common, or would benefit from learning together. Group coaching is also great for business-to-business blogging where a customer is usually a group of people, or in other industries if you get a bit more creative.
• Training or Meet Up Events
Similar to group coaching. Attendees pay a fee to join, and they are fantastic for building authority and a strong connection with your audience. There are logistical issues with holding events offline but are well worth overcoming them if you can make it work.
Training events are usually much more technical, it’s necessary to plan lessons, and modules to go through. Meet-ups are much more social, they’re half support and networking and half learning.
Tip: Meet-up events work best if you’re trying to grow a community from your readership. If you have never run a meet-up or training session before – it’s best to try to team up with a more experienced blogger or industry figure and for the best chances of success, and to build your name.
• Private Interview Series
A private interview series is one of the best ways you can build a value-filled product as a relatively new blogger – as well as build relationships with the key players in your niche.
They need a lot of leg work and networking but build invaluable connections with key influencers. A well-made interview series holds the sum of knowledge of the best minds in your field and gives exceptional value to your customers.
Tip: Being to build connections with key influencers from day one, this is not something you can rush through. Once you record the interview series, make sure you give a solid structure, extra materials, and tools for getting the most out of the lessons from the interviews to add even more value to your customers.
• Selling Merchandise or Niche Related Products
In 2021 having a good old fashion blog store is still a great way to make money. You can create a blog store in almost any niche, but the ones that work best either have branded merchandise directly or loosely related to your blog or are in the fashion or sports apparel or equipment industries.
Other niches that tend to have a lot of products based around them also work very well. Although with some work, you can make a blog store work for any niche provided you got an audience and something to sell.
Tip: If you want to sell branded merchandise or clothing you will need a decently sized community and be in a niche that is social, or fashion-oriented. If you just want to sell products related to your niche then industries with a lot of products work best – something like the tech sector, social media, marketing, or self-improvement.
When you have a lot of potential items to sell you have the best chance of attracting customers.
• Self Paced Courses
Self-paced courses are probably the best way a blogger can make a truly sustainable business. Most self-paced courses give elements of one-on-one, and group coaching, complex training, and networking.
A well-designed course is the next best thing to having access to a valuable mentor – that works to your schedule. Self-paced courses allow you to take in dozens, or hundreds of students at once and provide incredible value to them.
Tip: Courses like these take a lot of time and effort to create. Be ready to pay some upfront for costs associated with development, design, or acquiring a platform.
It’s important to know what your customers are likely to want to learn about – this is when lessons from coaching become invaluable. I recommend buying one or two of your competitor’s flagship courses to get an idea and feel for how they structure and deliver the lessons, so you can improve your own offerings.