I remembered when I started the financial literacy blog I Like to Dabble a little over 5 years ago.
I had no idea what I was doing. I was throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what would stick. It even took me about a year to hone down on a niche.
However, I was able to monetize in some interesting ways starting out. I got ads put up in the first year and signed up with a couple of affiliates. I didn’t have the type of traffic to start seeing the big bucks from either one of these routes which is why I started offering writing services.
The more creative I got with monetizing my blog, it opened a whole world of monetization for me. Ads and affiliates are not the only options for monetizing a new blog, but they are great places to start.
Let’s talk about other options available, including the few mentioned, and how to set them up.
Set up your site to accept donations.
There are a couple of different ways that you can set up your site to start accepting donations.
The best way to go about setting up donation functionality is by using a third-party payment platform like PayPal or Stripe. Both have donation capabilities that you can embed onto your site.
With PayPal, you can easily set up a donation button in the tools section. For Stripe, you can set up a donation flow by creating a new payment link and selecting the option where it allows customers to choose how much they want to pay. Ko-Fi is another popular tool that can be used to accept donations, and they take 0% of your donations.
Pair the donation button with a simple disclaimer about why you’re accepting donations. An example of what your disclaimer might look like is “Even though this website’s content is free to you, it costs us money to maintain. By donating, you’re helping us maintain the site and continue to bring free content to our readers.”
Or if you are strongly against displaying ads on your site, be clear about that in your donation disclaimer like “Help us to keep this website and its content ad-free by donating”.
Look into paid newsletters.
Paid newsletters are nothing new but more bloggers are adding them to their income streams every day.
Why? Because bloggers want to create as many income streams that are long-lasting. When a newsletter is paid, it’s more sustainable for them. They get to fairly compensate themselves for creating and maintaining that newsletter.
Newsletters are a great lead magnet to get readers to sign up for your email list, but they can burn you out quickly if you don’t find a way to pay yourself for your work.
A great alternative is to use a tool like Substack to host your newsletters. You can create a few free posts in a content hub to entice readers to sign up for your paid posts and newsletters.
A great example of a brand that does this successfully is HealthyRich.
Create premium content that readers can purchase.
Similar to creating paid newsletters, you can put premium content behind paywalls within community tools like Patreon. Offer different tiers of perks that your community members can unlock at different pay levels.
Then link to your Patreon from your blog as a way for your readers to support you and connect with others in the community.
A great example of a blog that does this well is Bitches Get Riches.
Monetize with ads even when you don’t have a ton of site traffic.
One of the very first ways I monetized my blog was by signing up for Google Adsense. I went with Google Adsense because it doesn’t have any specific traffic requirements to be accepted and start earning ad money.
These days it’s a little harder to get accepted but there’s no way to get around it. If you wanted to go with another ad program, you’d still have to get approved for Google Ad Manager to be able to run Google ads on your site.
So, if you want to use something like Ezoic or Monumetric, which are a few others that have low traffic requirements – they still make you go through the Google Ad Manager step to be able to start displaying ads on your site. Both also have fees that Google Adsense does not.
I suggest still going with Google Adsense and making sure you read their requirements fully so you can get accepted with less of a headache.
Brainstorm affiliates to partner with and promote your content.
Another great way to add some income in the early days of your blog is partnering with affiliates that make sense for your brand and niche.
For example, a money-saving blog deciding to partner with an app like Personal Capital is a great match. You can often recommend Personal Capital as an app that helps you to see all of your accounts and money in one place. Then work your affiliate links into posts that would fit Personal Capital well.
Don’t just stop there. Also promote your affiliate links in your emails to your email list, in social media posts, and within any freebies that you offer for download.
Write articles for other publications in your niche.
Writing articles outside of your blog is a great way to supplement blog income.
This is different from guest posting, which are articles that you write on other blogs without payment. Instead, the guest post includes backlinks to your site that help build your blog authority, and that is the “transactional exchange”. The blog owner gets a free blog post while you get a boost in online authority. This is also a great way to build off-site SEO and build your ranking in Google slowly over time.
But guest posting isn’t the only way to build your online authority. There are ways to do this while getting paid.
Start by putting together a simple portfolio page on your blog that includes some of the best work from your blog. You can include guest posts on other blogs you’ve written in this portfolio as well. Here is an example of my portfolio.
Then jot down 1 to 5 of your favorite blogs and publications in the same niche as your blog to pitch for freelance articles. Browse their site to see what topics they’re missing and put together a few strong pitches for articles. Then look to see if they have a submission guidelines page anywhere on their site. If you can’t locate one, slide into their DM’s on social media to simply ask for an email to send freelance article pitches to.
There’s also no shame in asking others that you’ve seen write for that publication if they have a contact they’d be willing to share.
I also love using sites like Twitter, Facebook Groups, Content Writing Jobs, and The Writer’s Job Newsletter to find open calls for pitches to submit to.
Now, Go Make Some Moolah
Newbie bloggers are not completely out of luck when it comes to monetizing. There are tons of ways you can experiment with different monetization methods without having thousands of blog visitors yet.
Start with one to test, measure your results, and go from there.