There are still some purists out there that still believe blogs shouldn’t be monetized, that taking money is akin to selling out. For the most part however, advertising and sponsored posts are the norm…
Some people will tell you that before monetizing you have to wait until you have a certain number of subscribers. Others will suggest that you may need a to maintain specific levels of stable traffic before you monetize.
While traffic is key in monetizing your blog, the decision of WHEN is entirely up to you. It’s WHEN you feel ready, whether you have 200,000 followers or two!
Here are a few things to consider before monetizing your blog:
- Is making money really your goal? It could be that you blog as an emotional outlet, to make friends or to become recognized as an authority. Make sure that the work involved with monetization is worth it to you, because it will take a significant amount of time.
- There is more than one way to monetize your blog (more on that later this week). Think beyond the banner and sidebar ad and consider spreading your income generation across several streams. Today, bloggers are making MORE money by offering subscription services, classes, patterns, video how-to’s and e-books. Take time to consider your talents and ensure that you select the method that is best for you.
- Monetization will only work if you understand your community and what they will respond to. Understand your community’s interests and needs will help you select the best monetization methods. What types of products are your readers likely to buy? Are they looking for deals, or do they have money to spend? Even simple demographic information can really help. Try offering a reader survey to learn more.
- Remember your brand. What is your blog really all about? If you’re writing about power tools and home decor, does it really make sense for you to promote Ragu? If you are a shop, consider the quality of shops that want to advertise WITH you. Running a sponsored post that pays $250 once, might seem like a good idea but, it could also devalue your overall ability to associate as a brand ambassador in your particular niche.
- If you monetize, some people will complain that you’re only in it for the money. Sure it’s personal and it hurts, but you’re working hard and you deserve to be compensated for it. Not only that, there’s nothing wrong with being in blogging for the money if that is your goal…Just ask the people over at the Huffington Post.
- Some sponsors may drive away readers. A few years ago when Nestle became a BlogHer sponsor, several bloggers declined to participate in the event. Know before you contract with a sponsor if you believe in them enough to risk loosing some of your readers – even if they don’t seem controversial.
- Monetization can affect your authenticity. There is a pretty good chance that your readers will (at least one time or another) question whether you are talking about a product because you were paid to or because you want to. It’s like you will get to the point that you will have to preface things with a disclosure.
- Speaking of disclosure. You will need to include a disclosure on your posts. Remember you are required to disclose your advertiser, affiliate and sponsor relationships.
- Know what you’re willing to “sell out” for. Everyone has a price. Determine early on what price you are willing to make a departure for your brand for. Know what you’re willing to sell for. A successful blog is bound to attract the attention of others. Know what you’d be willing to sell your entire site for and what relationship you would expect to maintain.
- Most people do not make a full-time income off their blog and the money will not be there overnight. Though you can begin monetizing your site as soon as you feel ready. It’s difficult to do before you have built some steady traffic.
These are but a few of the things that I have considered, there are many more things to think about. What have you encountered and how did you handle it?
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