Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next three months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.
If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!
Did you know that you can earn a decent stream of income through blogging? If you have a blog, you should definitely be capitalizing upon the opportunity. Plus, if you’re going to put time and effort into it, you might as well make something for your work, right?
Yes, it usually takes at least a few thousand followers to have a chance at earning a part-time income from blogging. But even if you only have a few hundred visitors each week, there are lots of creative ways that you can earn at least a small side income through your blog.
Here are four proven ways to earn money through blogging, taken from my How to Make Money Blogging series:
1. Become an Affiliate
For those who may have never heard the term of affiliate marketing before, it’s basically when you are paid to promote another person’s product, coupon, deal, or website. It’s typically CPA advertising — which means that you only get paid per action. In other words, a reader must take some form of action (purchase something, click through your link and sign up for something, download a coupon or ebook, etc.)
You sign up for an affiliate program (I’ll share some of my favorites in a little bit), you promote your unique affiliate link that the company gives you, and then you are paid if your readers buy the item or sign up for the item.
For instance, I sometimes promote Amy’s Tell Your Time ebook. She has an affiliate program that offers 50% of the sales to the affiliate. Since the ebook is priced at $4.99, I earn $2.50 for every person who clicks through my affiliate link and makes a purchase. So, if 10 people buy the ebook each month, I’ll make $25 in affiliate earnings.
In many cases, people have to make a purchase in order for you to earn money as an affiliate. However, there are also hundreds of other options that require no purchase.
I’m affiliate for Coupons.com, RedPlum, SmartSource, SavingStar, Cellfire, and Coupon Network. If I post a great coupon that is on any of these sites, I earn anywhere from $0.02 to around $0.42 per coupon printed (I have different agreements with each network and some pay per coupon printed, others pay a flat fee per print session per user per day).
As you can imagine, since one of the key focuses of MoneySavingMom.com happens to be using coupons, the affiliate money earned from coupons printed is one of the highest revenue earners. However, it is a win-win situation, because I’m sharing a great deal with you, it’s hopefully helping you save money and get a great deal, and then we both benefit from it.
My Current Top-Earning Affiliates:
- Logical Media
- Living Social
- Commission Junction
- Connect Commerce
- Panthera Network
- Coupon-printing (Coupons.com, RedPlum, SmartSource, SavingStar, Cellfire, and Coupon Network)
- Amazon (This would be higher up on the list, but Amazon bumped my affiliate earnings to a flat-rate of 0.8% on all sales, no matter how many items affiliate sales I have in a month. Their reasoning was that I am sending too many low-profit sales to them so they had to change the terms of my affiliate agreement.)
- There are also many other miscellaneous programs I am an affiliate for that occasionally will have a really great deal or offer bumping them up to higher on the list.
Amy has a great list of many different affiliate programs here, if you’re interested. Read more of my thoughts on how to be successful at affiliate marketing here.
2. Sell Sidebar Ads
While selling sidebar ads yourself does require more work and effort, it can really pay off in the long run. Plus, it’s a great option for blogs in every genre.
If you don’t want to use an advertising network because you don’t have as much control over the ads they run (read more about advertising networks here), selling sidebar ads yourself allows you to have complete control over what is running on your blog at all times.
How Much Should You Charge?
How you price your advertising will depend upon many factors — your blog’s traffic, your blogging niche, where the ad will be placed, how many ad spots you are selling, and the demand. I always encourage people to start out with lowball prices and gradually move up from there.
Advertising is usually priced per thousand pageviews (CPM), so I suggest starting with $0.50 – $1 per thousand pageviews and working up from there. This means that if your blog currently gets 10,000 pageviews per month, you could start out charging something like $10 per month for a small 250×250 sidebar ad that is located near the middle of your sidebar or higher. As your traffic increases and the demand for sidebar advertising increases, you can slowly raise this price.
I’d suggest selling no more than six to eight sidebar ads maximum. If you have too many ads running, their value decreases. It’s easier for you and better for the advertiser if you have a few higher-paying, larger ads on the sidebar than a bunch of small ads all over the place.
3) Teach an Online Class
I taught my first online course back in 2006–way back when I was just learning about online marketing and blogging and really didn’t have much of a clue what I was doing. That first class was successful, so I taught another and another and another. Not only did I learn so much through teaching (and hopefully imparted some helpful information to my students!), but it was a great source of side income to supplement our family during a lean season.
With just a few simple tools, you can teach video or audio courses online. Or, you can put together a package with video and/or audio plus a course handbook like Carrie’s Grocery University.
Consider what are your areas of expertise and what questions you are asked most as a blogger and then see if there’s a way you can turn these ideas into a marketable online class. Offer the class very inexpensively the first time around as you learn the ropes, ask other bloggers to promote the class for you (you could write a guest post for a few blogs on a relevant topic and then link to your class in your bio), and make sure to include testimonials from those who have gone through the class on your sales page.
4) Write an Ebook
Writing and selling ebooks is one market that is untapped by many, many bloggers–and there’s tremendous potential to earn a few hundred (or even a few thousand dollars!) each year by selling ebooks.
There are a few things you must know about successfully selling ebooks, though:
::You need to write on a relevant, practical topic. The best-selling ebooks are those that tell you how to make money, save money, lose weight, cook better, get organized, or somehow practically improve your life. Unfortunately, an ebook comprised of poems is probably not going to sell well.
::Your cover and salespage are everything. You can write a killer ebook, but if your cover is cheesy and your salespage is pathetic, it probably won’t sell. Hire a designer to do your cover (it’s worth the expense, I promise!), and make sure that your salespage has a clear-cut call to action, includes specific details on why someone should buy your book, and has testimonies to back up your claims.
::You must exhaust every marketing possibility. People need to see things again and again and again in order to consider buying. Write guest posts, get every blogger possible to review your ebook, run ebook giveaways on dozens of blogs, and find every other creative free way to get your ebook out there.
If you are planning to write an ebook, I heartily recommend Sarah Mae’s ebook, How to Market and Sell Your Ebook. It’s packed with helpful information and advice and is worth every penny. Also, be sure to read her article on how to sell $20,000 worth of your next ebook.
Have you earned money through your blog? If so, tell us what has been successful for you — and add your ideas to mine here! I’d love to hear!