Issue 34 - Writing the Web - Jodi Picoult, Mignon Fogarty, Thursday Bram

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How To Monetize Your Website


Q:How do you monetize your website?
If you want to start earning income from your blog or website, you’ve come to the right place. We asked site owners around the country to share their best monetizing techniques, and they delivered with some great tips. From affiliate marketing to selling e-books, mastering search engine optimization and so much more, you’ll find a ton of ways to make money from your own site.

Take a look at the advice that follows, and choose the techniques that will work best for you. Financial success is on the way!

1.“I have two ways I have monetized my blog that have generated good income and are not annoyances for my readers.

The first is Juice Box Jungle which is a cute mom-centered widget placed on your blog. It only plays a video when clicked and you get paid per impression. Because my readers don't have to do anything except load my blog in order to get paid, it's a win for both of us!

The second is Amobee (formerly Kontera) which provides contextualized links. You add the code to your html and it crawls your site, linking to ads. The words linked are double underlined in blue and when a reader slides their mouse over the word it is obvious that if you click it is taking you to an ad. I haven't received any reader complaints since I implemented Kontera and it has generated good income.”

-Nicole Wiseberg

2.“I chose several means of monetizing my site, including affiliate ads that pay through ClickBank, and my own ads for my books and services. While this has garnered me some book review and editing work, the affiliate ads (and there are many of them) have not done so well.

Given that the website costs me $400 per year to operate, I decided to add the BW Bookstore, wherein authors can have their books listed cheap: $1 per month or $10 per year. So far, this has helped greatly.

Aside from additions to the website, I also actively take part in a couple of programs that send traffic to my site daily. This is important, as it keeps my site more visible for the search engines and draws more random visitors. These particular programs pay out a percentage of their revenue on a weekly basis, so I am also making money at the same time.”

-Martha Jette, Author/Editor

3.“I knew that if folks had taken the time to find, or accidentally stumbled upon, my website or blog, I wanted to make it really easy for them to buy my book. Really easy. For me, that meant promoting a local indie bookstore and including a link to my book on Amazon. I found an easy way to create the Amazon link at Amazon Associates. What I hadn’t counted on was that the percentage I received from every Amazon sale made through the link, even sales unrelated to my book, would add up so quickly! In one quarter I’d made a couple hundred extra bucks for doing…nothing! Being paid to ‘sell’ copies of my own book, from my website and from my blog, was fantastic! Caution: some states prohibit this kickback program, so learn more at Amazon.”

-Margot Starbuck, author

4.“I use affiliate marketing links that are pertinent to moms, including links to free stuff and the products that I am reviewing. I try to keep the number of banners to a minimum and instead use product images and text links for which I am then paid either a percentage of the purchase or a flat rate for sign ups. I also use GoldenCAN to auto-generate an entire coupon and discount section.”

-Tricia Meyer

5.“I'm new to the whole website/blog world, so my focus is on gaining enough traffic to make monetization feasible for my site. So right now I'm focusing on driving traffic to my site, through channels like HARO, comments/links in good strong forums, and publishing stories/articles for sites like

From the research I've done and the information I've filtered through, I think one of the best ways to monetize your site is to first focus on becoming an ‘expert’ and gaining credibility. Once you've done that, create a product such as an e-book or e-course that can sell itself again and again with little effort.”

-Chris Tomek

6.“From my experience the best way to monetize your blog is to create a product like an e-book. I have done it with my Twitter Marketing E-book and I recommend all bloggers to try and create their own products.

Your product will provide value even when you are not physically present and it will allow you to take a break from posting new content once in a while. It will basically let you stop trading your hours for dollars.”

-Marko Saric

7.“A great way to monetize your blog is by affiliate marketing, such as through and There are many affiliate marketing programs out there; by finding one in your niche you can create a nice income while exposing your readers to new products and offers.”

-Melissa Mack

8.“I monetize by partnering with other writers to sell their e-books for an affiliate commission. I make the most sales when I include a relevant quote from their information product within my personal development articles, along with a link to their product. I don't even have to try to sell the product, readers are curious and click through to read a book review or sales page.”

-Sid Savara

9.“Here's my best tip for monetizing: Never stop brainstorming revenue streams. Mine include advertising, syndication, freelance, donations, events, partnerships, affiliate advertising, content sharing, and speaking gigs. There are also grants, sponsorships, voluntary memberships, and paywalls. Notice how I listed paywalls last—they don't work the vast majority of the time!”

-Julia Scott

10.“I monetize my blogs through Mad Prop Its. This service allows people to "Prop" me when they like what I've produced. It's way better than advertising because I have to produce useful content to get Propped and the reader isn't inundated with someone else's information. It keeps the control squarely with me. This is a new service but I've already earned over $100, just for having the Give Props button on my site. I expect it to keep growing and by the end of the year, I anticipate over $1000 in micro-donations.”

-Mary Ji-Aitoshi Casey II

11.“I find a blended approach works best. You can ask for donations from people who believe in what you’re doing, sell merchandise with your website’s logo on it (we sell bumper stickers for example), get a company to sponsor a certain area of your website if you believe the company provides a service that might be valuable to your users, offer a premium membership, etc.”

-Julie Jacobs

12.“Sign up as an Amazon associate, write book reviews, and link to the books. While I don't write for to make money, I do earn some cash from my book recommendations. I only post about two reviews per month, but if I did more, it might be more than a marketing tool, but an actual profit maker.”

-Diane K. Danielson

13.“Choose advertisers that fit your audience. It sounds like a no-brainer, but newbies into the world of monetizing blogs can be easily swayed by advertisers who offer high monetary rewards. Your blog will earn more money in the long run if you make a high number of targeted sales to customers who are genuinely interested in a product. For example, don't advertise anti-aging skin care on a blog about baking. While, yes, some readers who like baking might be interested in anti-aging skin care, it decreases the credibility of your blog when the advertising is too far off from the content.

Learn search engine optimization. You can have the perfectly monetized blog in place, but it won't do any good if you don't have a thorough understanding of how to drive traffic to your site. Taking the time to learn how to optimize your content so readers find it will be of great benefit over time. The more readers and visitors to the site, right from the start, the faster your blog and website will earn money, grow in readership and boost your bank account.

Update regularly to keep readers coming back for more. Not only does regular updating help with developing a loyal readership who trusts your authority, it strengthens the reputation of the blog with the search engines, as well. Some advertisers and affiliate marketing programs, especially those who pay high premiums, will only participate at sites with a high-level of readership and traffic. Allowing for time and staying patient as your site grows naturally will lead these high-dollar advertisers and marketing programs to your blog's door.”

-Annalise Kaylor

14.“The quickest and most successful way for me to monetize my blog has been to get it in front of as many readers as possible. By creating clever, unique co-op posts with other successful bloggers, I've been able to quickly gain a solid base of readership, enticing readers from these loyally read blogs to mine.”

-Brooke McLay

15.“I run several blogs and find Google's AdSense is one of the easiest and best ways to make money. However, adding the AdSense code to the site isn't enough. To make money using any tactic whether it’s AdSense, affiliate programs (which I also use and love), selling reviews, or selling ad space, sites need to have traffic. So as well as having regularly updated content and strategically placed AdSense feeds and affiliate products, I also work to keep the site optimized for search engines by including sitemap updates, using plug-ins (on blogs) to send my new posts to my social networking sites, and interacting with other bloggers by reading and commenting on their sites. The key to successful monetization is partly about picking the right resources for the blog's topic, but also making sure people are visiting and finding useful content.”

-Leslie Truex

16.“The main way I’ve been able to monetize is keyword research. Whenever I get ready to write about something, I research the most popular keywords related to that subject with Google's Insights for Search tool and make good use of them. A lot of times, the terms aren’t what I would choose on my own, but I believe the research and using popular synonyms has really paid off (literally). The book Search Engine Optimization is a great resource for beginners, too.

Potential customers find me through these keywords and contact me via a contact form to see if I can help them on specific tasks for an upcoming party. For example, I haven’t really considered myself a party planner until last month when two customers asked me to serve this role for them based on the types of articles I write.”

-Betsy Pruitt

17.“One of the ways we make money via our blog is writing for other publications. This month the three of us from collaborated on a Hybrid Mom magazine feature and we write regularly for other blogs such as In addition to receiving a pay check, we also get our site's name mentioned in the publication or a link to our website.”

-Beth Blair

18.“As the publisher/writer of two distinctively different blogs, monetizing them is something that we struggle with. We've kept things quite simple at this point. We use AdSense as I've found that they generally offer ads that coincide with what we may be writing about (although I've had times when they were TOTALLY off base). We offer individual advertising on our sidebar and every now and again we'll add an affiliate ad if it's something that we'll be writing about or highlighting.

Overall, I've found that AdSense brings us the most money. It's not ‘pretty’ (which is one of the things that bothers me most), but it works.”

-Zippy S

19.“My site is a directory of resources for entrepreneurs that I launched back in 2004 as a way to build my ‘platform’ and impress publishers. Not only has this helped me land several book deals, but also I monetize the site by selling information products: special reports, workbooks, and audio courses. I have Google ads throughout the site and sell ads directly to advertisers. The site is a great passive income source for me, not to mention a fantastic promotion tool for my books.”

-Stephanie Chandler

20.“I make money by not writing to make money. If you are genuine and remember to have fun, people will want to work with you, and partnerships will become a natural fit.”

-Jennifer E. Milano

Now you have the tools to start earning cash from your blog or website, too. We hope you’re inspired by all the useful tips. Here’s to your money-making success!


MARCIA PETERSON is a columnist for WOW! Women on Writing and manager of WOW!’s blog, The Muffin. Her writing awards include first prize in the South West Writers International Monthly Writing Competition and first prize in ByLinemagazine's short article contest. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children.


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