In the last few episodes we have created our blog from scratch, and even published some very engaging content on our blog. Before we can drive traffic to our blog, we need to set it up for monetization first and that’s exactly what I’ll be covering in this episode.
- The Different Methods To Monetize Your Blog
- What You Need To Build A-List
- The Number 1 Recommended Autoresponder
- The Best Plugin To Build Your Optin Forms
- Other Monetization Strategies
The Different Methods To Monetize Your Blog
First, let me just say that there are many different ways you can go about monetizing your blog. While there is no single correct way of doing this, the most important one by far is building your list.
List building involves capturing your readers’ emails so that you can communicate with them, build strong rapport, which ultimately will turn readers into customers and hence generates return traffic back to your blog.
When a reader opts into your email list, it means they trust you and you have their implied consent to email them in the future. So for example, when you publish new content on your blog, you can send them an email to notify them of this.
Having that said, we don’t want to spam them with promotions and affiliate offers and that’s where strong rapport is really important. Once they trust you and like what you do on your blog, it’s simply a matter of ‘recommending’ (i.e. giving value) rather than ‘selling’ an offer to them.
As your list of subscribers grows over time, it becomes a very powerful asset and hence the common saying, ‘The Money Is In The List. I’m sure you’ve heard that one before!
What You Need To Build A-List
Now let’s talk about the different elements you need to set up on your blog to be able to build a list.
First, you’ll need an autoresponder, which is a tool that allows you to capture emails and gives you the ability to preload emails and send them to your entire list.
Secondly, you need an opt-in form, which is where your reader can enter their name and email address so that your autoresponder can capture it.
Thirdly, you’ll need a lead magnet. This is an ‘ethical bribe’ that you offer to your reader in exchange for their email and it gives them more incentive to do so. Your lead magnet needs to be congruent to your blog and it needs to be high quality and give real value to the reader.
Examples of different lead magnets you can use our free reports, free eBooks, free training videos, free trials, and so on. The lead magnet will be offered on your opt-in form with a strong call to action. So make sure you come up with a strong, irresistible hook to increase the chances of the reader opting in.
Follow Up Emails
Fourthly, you need to write follow-up emails and load them into your autoresponder.
Once you’ve set up and integrated everything I have just mentioned correctly, the opt-in form needs to be readily visible and easily accessible to gain maximum exposure on your blog.
One of the key strategic positions to have your opt-in form is above the fold, which means that the reader can fully see your opt-in form without having to scroll down the page.
You can also have the opt-in form at the bottom or within the content of your post. In other words, the more opportunity you provide for the reader to opt-in, the more chances of them becoming a loyal reader.
The Number 1 Recommended Autoresponder
While there are many different autoresponder companies out there, the autoresponder of my choice is GetResponse, because it’s easy to use and very reliable in my experience.
It’s budget-friendly and you can have a go at it for FREE with the 30-Day trial offer. The customer service is excellent and if you have any questions at all, simply email support and they’ll be able to help you out within 24 hours.
When it comes to choosing, which plan to go for, I recommend you start off with the cheapest, which is for up to 1,000 subscribers for only $7.50/month. Once your list exceeds 1,000 subscribers, GetResponse will upgrade your plan automatically without any extra transfer costs.
The Best WordPress Plugin To Build Your Opt-In Forms
The plugin we use to create these opt-in forms is Thrive Leads. What I love about this plugin is that it gives you so many different options and types of opt-in forms that you can use.
Once you install Thrive Leads on your blog, click on ‘Thrive Leads’ in the left navigation column inside WordPress. In the screenshot below, you can see the different kinds of opt-in forms that Thrive Leads offers.
The ribbon is a narrow opt-in form that is static and you can choose to have it appear on the top or bottom of your page, so it doesn’t matter if you scroll up or down the position of the ribbon doesn’t change.
The lightbox is a popover opt-in form that appears based on the user’s action that you specify. For example, you can have it appear on exit intent, which is very powerful.
Another example is using the time-based lightbox, which means it will appear after a specified amount of time the user spends on your blog. You can also set it to appear based on scroll percentage and so on.
The widget opt-in form is for your sidebar. This is pretty much the standard and most commonly used opt-in form.
The next few opt-in forms are pretty self-explanatory:
- The post-footer opt-in form is positioned at the bottom of your post.
- The in-content opt-in form appears in the middle of your text. You have the option to specify after how many paragraphs you want it to appear.
- The slide-in option does exactly what its name suggests. It’s a pop-up that slides in depending on the direction, time-lapse, or percentage scrolling that you specify.
To create a new opt-in form simply click on ‘Add New Form’ and choose from the selection of templates available, when you click on the pencil icon on the right.
All the forms come with done-for-you templates that are proven to convert, but of course, you can always customize it and change things like color, font, size, and so on, if you wish.
The reason, why Thrive Leads is so simple to use, is because it has an in-built, extensive drag-and-drop feature on the right-hand column. What you see is literally what you get!
To add your web form, click on the Email box and then click on ‘Autoresponder Code’. This will then pull up the box for you to insert your code.
Another great feature within Thrive Leads is the ability to split test (A/B testing) your opt-in forms. Split testing means you compare the performance of opt-in form A against opt-in form B.
Thrive Leads will compile all the data for you so that it’s easy for you to decide, which form you want to keep and which you want to delete.
On top of all that, with Thrive Leads you to have a lot of control over what triggers your opt-in form to appear and also how often they appear in front of the user. For example, you could set your ribbon to appear once every 2 days and set for it to show after a certain time.
With Lead Shortcodes you can add an opt-in form anywhere on your blog. Simply copy the code and paste it, wherever you want on your blog!
Next, I want to talk about is the 2-Step Lightboxes. You can set these to appear after the reader performs a certain action. Again, this is just a simple shortcode that you can paste anywhere within your content.
To see how your opt-in forms are performing, Thrive Leads has a Reporting feature that allows you to see different data such as conversion, conversion rate, lead tracking, and so on.
If you are more of a visual person, there is also a graphical representation of your data to give you a better overview of how your opt-in forms are performing.
So if you are looking for an all-in-one plugin to build a massive list from your blog or website, I highly recommend you check out Thrive Leads.
Keep in mind, however, that just having Thrive Leads on your page doesn’t necessarily increase your opt-ins, because this depends on how you market your content.
Other factors that will also play an important role are whether your lead magnet is of high quality and relevant to the reader, whether you are targeting the right audience, whether your call to action effective, and so on. I hope you get the point.
Other Monetization Strategies
Next, let’s talk about other monetization strategies that you can implement on your blog. Keep in mind though that not all methods may be appropriate for your chosen niche.
A popular monetization strategy is affiliate promotions. You can write tutorials, walk-throughs, or how-to guides on a particular topic and then recommend a tool or service that is relevant.
Alternatively, you can write a complete review on different products or include banners promoting different offers on your blog. A great idea is to include a ‘Resources’ tab on your blog if your niche involves many different products or tools that you can recommend to your reader.
If you have your product like an eBook, a video training series, or other services you can promote that on your blog as well.
Once you have consistent traffic coming to your blog, you can sell banner space. This means that an advertiser will pay you money to have their advertising shown on your blog.
I highly recommend you have a look at other blogs in your niche and see how they are monetizing their blog.