There are a million and one business ideas that any aspiring founder can pursue. However, I believe blogging is one of the best options due to the ease of getting started, low startup cost, and ability to scale.
When I started my blog, all it took was getting my domain and hosting set up and then choosing a CMS provider so that I could begin creating content. Running my blog over the past two years has been an exciting journey. I've learned a lot about the digital marketing space and what drives traffic to a website. One important lesson I learned is that no one will visit your website for the first few months of its existence. If you're experiencing something similar, don't falter. Create a consistent production schedule, see if you can get some writers to help out for free, and try to guest post on other blogs to boost your credibility.
I also learned that when you start, make sure you're not starting too broad. For example, if you want to start a blog around plants, start with, say, a blog around dandelions. The more specific you get, the easier it is to rank for the terms you want and the less pressure you will feel to cover multiple topics.
Beyond these beginners' lessons, here's what I've learned about how you can monetize a blog. You can use display advertising, affiliate sales, or sell a product or service.
1. Display Advertising
Display advertising, which can be set up through Google Ad Sense, is the quickest and easiest way to start monetizing your blog. The issue with this approach is that it is also the least profitable approach. Your revenue per thousand visitors will be anywhere between $0.30 to $2.
As your blog grows, you can start partnering with more exclusive advertising networks like Mediavine, which requires monthly traffic of at least 50,000 people, or Ad Thrive, which requires monthly traffic of at least 100,000 people. Depending on your niche, these networks will pay you anywhere from $10 to $40 per 1,000 visitors.
2. Affiliate Sales
The second method, affiliate sales, is when you get a commission every time you sell another company's product. This is the approach recommended to most people getting into blogging, as you don't need to go through the hurdles of creating a product yourself. Also, you don't need nearly as much traffic as you would need from display advertising to make a living.
The downfall of this approach is that you don't control the product or service that you're offering. At any point, the company you are promoting could discontinue its product or cut its commissions.
3. Sell a Product or Service
The final way you could monetize your blog is by selling a product or service. This is the most lucrative approach but comes with the most risk. When starting your blog, you're not going to have any traffic. So not only do you have to go through the time and monetary commitment of building a product or service, you also need to do all the necessary steps to grow your traffic.
The most common approach you'll see is starting with affiliate marketing. Then, once you have consistent cash coming in, build your product or service in the same space and direct your visitors to your offer rather than to your affiliate offer.