For some blogs and online publications, there comes a point where you transition from a hobby to a source of income. On the surface, monetization is easy. There are methods that are simple to implement and to maintain. However, making money from your content can also mean making pennies per day, or making hundreds of dollars per day. To do the latter, refraining from the most common mistakes in this process is key. Here are three pitfalls to avoid when thinking about monetizing your content and putting those ideas into motion:
Only Using One Method of Monetization
When blog owners and website owners make this transition, one of the biggest mistakes in monetization is only focusing on only one way to make money from your content. Most often, the focus ends up strictly on advertising or strictly on affiliate marketing. For example, an emphasis on affiliate marketing means a need to create content that reviews/features products that offer the commission, and not creating content doesn't review or feature products. The problem with this focus is that it can force blogs and online publications to make advertising or affiliate marketing work, sometimes to the detriment of the brand, the content, or even the owner. Having only one method of making money puts so much pressure on having that method succeed. Even though you want it to succeed, having a variety of monetization methods also ensures that you can pick and choose the ones that work best for your brand, and also ensures you're not out of sources in case on fails.
If you need ideas to vary your sources of revenue (and varying your sources of revenue is a good thing), then below are few monetization methods to consider:
- Affiliate Links
- Adsense Ads
- Other Paid Advertisements, such as Display Advertising or Video Advertising
- Paid Text Links
- Direct Product Sales (whether your own or someone else’s)
Going Overboard with Any One Method
Yes, banner ads can be a very lucrative way to monetize your blog, but you don't want to have too many banner ads on any one page. People are overloaded as it is on digital advertising, and you certainly don't want to look like this website, which has an average of 21 ad impressions on any one page, and this number doesn't include video ads and contextual text ads. Even if a website like that one has multiple methods of generating revenue, the inundation of banner ads is enough to scare readers away and to make it difficult for your other methods to make any money.
However, this holds true with any of the methods mentioned above. With affiliate links, you don't want to promote every single product in existence. Too many paid links make the text unreadable, while stressing product sales gives the impression that you care more about sales than about your readers. Without readers, your blog or online publication doesn't really exist, and going overboard with any one method will frighten the very thing that you need to have to make money in the first place.
Starting Too Early
If you love blogging, then it's tempting to start monetizing it right away so that it can be your blog can be your full time job, as working from home every day to write sounds fantastic. It is fantastic, but it's also hard work. Therefore, do the hard work first, and then think about monetizing. You need great content, lots of readers, and a community before you can even think about monetization. Without those three things, you don't have much to monetize and you don't have much to offer advertisers, affiliate marketers, or even the audience for direct product sales. A community and great content take time to develop, and when you put revenue into the mix, the blog is no longer fun and it becomes much more than you bargained for when you wanted to stay home and write everyday. Write first. Prove you have something worth selling and monetizing, and then monetize your content.
Monetizing your content can make or break your blog or online publication. Do it wrong, and you risk losing all the work you've done up to this point because priorities changed and maybe changed for the wrong reasons. Do it right, and the hard work can pay off, literally. Avoiding these three pitfalls will ensure that the decision to start making money is a calculated one and is a decision that isn't going to jeopardize the digital brand you've built.