18 Pro Tips On Monetizing WordPress

Brian Gardnerbriangardner.com / @bgardner

Brian Gardner

Brian is the founder of StudioPress, the company that created Genesis – one my favorite WP themes ever. Besides designing stunning themes, he writes about reducing clutter from our lives and about living purposefully.

There are a number of ways to make money through WordPress, and the good thing is that it encompasses a lot of skill sets. If you are a designer, you can sell premium WordPress themes and design assets such as custom logos, icons and product mockups. If you are a developer, you can work alongside a designer to sell WordPress themes, but you can also create premium plugins such as Ninja Forms or Backup Buddy. If you’re not into selling products, you can market your expertise and be hired as a WordPress consultant. This could be a code audit/review, brand strategy or services such as search engine optimization.

'There are many ways to monetize #WP & it encompasses a lot of skill sets.' - @bgardner Click To Tweet

Jessica Cromwellsearchenginejournal.com / @jrdoog

Jessica Cromwell

Jessica is the Director of Sales & Events at Search Engine Journal. When she isn’t working for one of the world’s biggest platforms in online marketing, she enjoys motorcycle rides and spending time with her family.

Having more than one stream of income is key to making good money from your blog. Here are a few ways we monetize our efforts at SEJ, in no particular order.

Webinars

SEJ just started doing webinars this past year. They’re awesome. Although, I will say, they are a lot of work to get running and require lots of organization, but once you get your process down they are a great source of income.

Webinars can be monetized in a couple ways: 1) By collecting a sponsorship fee for presenting useful, engaging content to your audience while supporting lead generation for your advertiser, or 2) you can treat it like a virtual event and charge a fee for people to sit in. At SEJ, we take the former approach. Either way, webinars can be very profitable when they’re done well.

Dedicated emails

Email is definitely one of the most successful ways to make money from your blog. It’s accessible anywhere/anytime, and everybody has an account. When managed right, your email list can have huge profit potential.

Keep it cleaned up by letting go of inactive accounts, this will ensure your results are as authentic as possible. Be consistent with your mailings to keep top of mind with your subscribers, and don’t bombard them with too many ads. At SEJ, we send three to four emails each week, one is sponsored. The offer is always relevant to our readers, and we’re always transparent with them. Let them know up front when the message was paid for.

Advertorials

Advertorials, or native advertising, can also contribute to a lucrative revenue stream. Basically, an advertorial is an advertisement plus an editorial, designed to look like a regular piece of content on your blog. Always have your readers’ best interests in mind. First and foremost, the advertorial should be an admirable piece of work that is useful to the reader. The content should fit nicely in your niche. Second, it should have a fitting call to action that guides the reader to take the next step, and of course, always include a disclosure up front that the ad has been paid for.

SEJ’s DIY approach to native advertising adds another value: time. The advertiser submits a draft with images and their nofollow tracking links, while adhering to our editorial guidelines, then we give it a sanity check and implement. Compared to sponsored reviews that take hours and hours, the advertorial process can be much faster, allowing you more time with more revenue streams, or more advertisers.

'Having more than one stream of income is key to making good money from your #blog.' - @jrdoog Click To Tweet

Chris Brogan – chrisbrogan.com / @chrisbrogan

Chris BroganChris is a best-selling author, sought after speaker, and CEO of the Owner Media Group. He teaches entrepreneurs how to build thriving businesses and lately heavily engages in fitness and physical health.  

I monetize my blog in three ways. The most direct way is that I have affiliate links for products and services that I use and highly recommend. The second is that I accept sponsored posts (when they match the community I have the pleasure to serve). And finally (and most lucrative) is that I promote my own products and services via my blog. These three streams have built a rather solid business for me with very little overhead. 🙂

'These streams have built a solid business for me with very little overhead. :)' - @chrisbrogan Click To Tweet

Neil Patel – neilpatel.com / @neilpatel

Neil Patel

Neil has founded 4 multi-million dollar businesses and teaches others to build profitable businesses. He uses his blog to share success-proven marketing strategies and is one of the most renowned online marketers on our beautiful planet.

3 simple yet effective ways to monetize your blog are:

  1. Affiliate programs/ads – you can earn income for every ad impression, click or purchase that you generate. It doesn’t pay the best, but it’s easy to setup.
  2. Digital products – by creating digital products related to the problems your audience is facing you can also generate sales. You can charge a few bucks all the way to 1000 dollars for a digital product. .25% to 3% of your email list will typically buy your product depending on the price point.
  3. Lead generation – if your blog is related to a service industry, you can generate leads and sell those leads. Or if you want, service those customers yourself.
'3 ways to monetize your #blog are: affiliate ads, digital products & lead gen.' - @neilpatel Click To Tweet

Rachel McCollin – rachelmccollin.co.uk / @rachelmccollin:

Rachel McCollinRachel is a UK-based web designer and has written multiple books about WordPress. She also hosts WordCamps and has joined my WP Summit as a speaker. Did I mention that she’s regularly contributing to some of the biggest blogs in the WP space?

Making money from a blog isn’t easy: people expect so much for free these days and can be very reluctant to pay for content. But there are businesses out there making plenty of money from blogs, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t too. Here are my top three recommendations:

1. Advertising. If you regularly publish high-quality content and build up a following, then you can generate significant advertising revenues from your site. Google AdSense will automatically serve up adverts that are relevant to your content and your audience.

2. Subscriptions. There’s nothing to say you can’t make some of your content available for free and some only to subscribers. Save your best, most in-depth content for people who’ve taken out a subscription to your site and mail it to them when you publish it. The challenge here is judging the point at which people will switch from a casual reader to a paying subscriber, but sites like Post Status show that it can be done successfully.

3. Products or Software. One of the most effective uses of a blog is to support a business that sells products or software. The blog will attract visitors to your site, who will then go on to buy your products if you use effective internal links and calls to action. Sites like WPMU DEV have built up a solid reputation for their blogs and have thousands of members paying for software.

Whichever method you choose, the crucial thing is to publish high-quality content to your blog that’s relevant to your target audience.

Rachel McCollin has written several books on WordPress, writes for prominent WP blogs, and hosts WordCamps in the UK.

'It's crucial to publish high-quality content to your blog that's relevant to your target audience.' - @rachelmccollin Click To Tweet

Akshat Choudhary – blogvault.net / @akshatc:

Akshat ChoudharyAkshat runs one of the best and most successful WordPress backup services I know, BlogVault. He’s a genius in protecting WordPress users from data loss and also has a rock-solid understanding of online marketing.

From what we’ve seen in our experience, affiliate marketing seems to be highly lucrative for people who have thorough training or expertise in a particular field. So if you have a health and fitness blog, all you’ll need to do is include a few product links (say for treadmills and static cycles) in your posts that your readers will be interested in, and that’s all. You could try Amazon Associates, one of the most popular affiliate link programs amongst bloggers today, for starters.

Also, of late, a lot of companies and individuals are on the lookout to get their products and services reviewed by established blogs, as a means to reach out to a niche audience. So if you have a niche-specific blog with a decent amount of traffic, you should consider doing sponsored reviews and articles for such companies/individuals on your blog for a fair remuneration. For instance, if you’re a tech junkie who blogs about gadgets and other consumer goods, you could do sponsored reviews of a consumer product that’ll strike a chord with your audience.

Akshat is the founder of Blogvault, a hands-off WordPress backup service.

'You could try Amazon Associates, a popular affiliate program for starting bloggers.' - @akshatc Click To Tweet

Natalie Sisson suitcaseentrepreneur.com / @nataliesisson:

Natalie SissonNatalie runs an extremely popular blog and podcast, traveling the world to inspire and coach people all over the world to build online businesses. She loves the freedom running an online business brings and is just awesome.

The number 1 way I monetize using my blog is through using it as a platform to position me as an expert in freedom and building an online business you love that supports your ideal lifestyle. Repeatedly putting out great weekly content through my podcast, emails and blog posts help to lead new and returning visitors to my site who then enter into my sales funnel and go on a journey to choose which offerings suit their needs.

The number 2 way I monetize is through having a sponsor for my podcasts that has come about through the platform I’ve built on my blog to share great tools and services through my episodes and to my community.

The number 3 way has been to repurpose blog post series that have been popular and turn them into more in-depth eBooks or mini courses and programs people can buy through my blog.

Natalie is a lifestyle entrepreneur and helps freedom fighters build businesses to support their dream lifestyle. She runs the Suitcase Entrepreneur podcast

'Repeatedly putting out great content helps to lead new and returning visitors' - @nataliesisson Click To Tweet

Mark Asquithexcellence-expected.com / @MrAsquith:

Mark AsquithMark runs an award-winning design agency in the UK called HackSaw. He excels at building stunning websites, and is an expert for online marketing. On his podcast, he invites exciting guests to talk about small business success.

As a content creator, you’re positioning yourself as an expert in your niche by-proxy of creating value for people.

It is this positioning from which you can grow your revenue, by creating exclusive value that people will happily pay you for.

I feel the easiest and most scalable way for you to monetize your WordPress blog is via a membership plugin such as S2member, so that you have a solid base of recurring income that will allow you to grow your revenue without causing too many capacity issues for you as a publisher. This one-to-many concept allows you to set your own terms for engagement and can be set up relatively easily. However, don’t underestimate the quality of content that you MUST provide.

Another fantastic option for monetizing your WordPress blog is by creating upgraded content that people make micro payments to access.

Using something like the Rapidiology plugin will allow you to wall off certain content, for example, an extra two “tips” at the end of a post, in return for a micro payment that is priced just such that it represents a fair trade.

Finally, if ongoing membership commitments don’t suit, or if micro-payments aren’t quite enough, creating an evergreen course that your audience can purchase without any time constraints or any dated content can allow you to “set it and forget it” to a degree.

Using a plugin such as Zippy Courses makes this process so very simple that anyone can generate income from a quality course.

Happy blogging!

'You're positioning yourself as an expert in your niche by creating value for people.' - @MrAsquith Click To Tweet

Jean Galea – jeangalea.com / @jeangalea:

Jean Galea

Jean runs WP Mayor, one of the most important WP-related blogs I followed from the beginning of my journey. He also developed the RSS Aggregator plugin, which got several 10,000 downloads from the official WP repository. He believes in breaking conventions and doing what you love. 

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways of monetizing blogs. The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it is probably the best way to generate a passive income stream. This means that once you have generated content that converts, you can take a step back and enjoy life. Timeless content will keep on attracting new visitors, and they will continue purchasing that product/service that you are promoting, whether you put in 8 hours of work, 3 hours or even none.

Perhaps the greatest requirement is that your site has a healthy traffic base. If you want to make any decent money through affiliate marketing, you should have a site which gets 20,000+ unique visitors per month. That is not a hard and fast rule however, and if you have a very loyal audience who will respond frequently to your product suggestions, you can make it work with much less traffic. You can also make good use of email lists to promote affiliate products.

Services

Services tie in very well with your affiliate marketing efforts. Since I am very involved in the WordPress industry, my main services revolve around WordPress and the various themes and plugins that you can use with it. If I am promoting a plugin or theme, I can easily offer add-on services. Some examples are theme customization, plugin setup and hosting migrations.

Many customers might have specific needs that are not catered for by the plugin or theme they downloaded, and they don’t have the necessary skills to do the customizations themselves. Having read about the product on one of my reviews, they usually contact me to ask if I can help them set things up.

Another popular service we have on WP Mayor is the product analysis, where we dig deep and dissect the client’s product, be it a theme, plugin or service. This gives the client a lot of valuable feedback as well exposure, as we usually publish these reports on the blog.

Services remain a big way of making money online, however, they come with the downside that you will always be trading hours for money, so it’s not passive income as in the case of affiliate marketing.

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is probably one of the more time-intensive ways of making money online. In this case, you are really trading your hours for money, as you have to create original content all the time.

Although most of my writing goes on my own blogs, every now and then I do contribute to other blogs and I see this as having many benefits. First of all, it’s a great way to put yourself in front of another blog’s audience, which may not necessarily overlap with that of your own blog. Secondly, it’s a very good way of supplementing your own blog’s income, especially in the early days. Thirdly, working with other bloggers is usually very enjoyable and I end up learning a thing or two from them too.

'Perhaps the greatest requirement is that your site has a healthy traffic base.' - @jeangalea Click To Tweet

Jean runs WPMayor.com, one of my favorite resources about WordPress.

Kate Erickson – entrepreneuronfire.com / @kateerickson:

Kate EricksonKate runs her own podcast called Kate’s Take. Together with John Lee Dumas she also runs the crazily popular Entrepreneur On Fire podcast, where John published over 1,200 interviews and steadily earns more money per month than most people earn in a full year.

There are endless ways to monetize online once you’ve taken the time to get to know your avatar and provide them with free, valuable content that can help them solve their biggest pain points and struggles. Each of the top 3 ways I’m going to list here can be accomplished by setting a SMART goal, and then sticking to your plan!

1. Publish an eBook

Based on the most positive feedback you’ve gotten from your readers on a specific topic or resource you’ve published on your blog, bring together that content and repurpose it as an eBook to publish on Amazon through the Kindle Direct Publishing Platform. Repurposing content from your blog will not only help you save time and leverage your existing content, but it will also prove there is an interest out there for this information based on what your readers have told you.

2. Become an Amazon Affiliate

Becoming an Amazon Affiliate is another great way to monetize your WordPress blog. Depending on the content and value you offer your audience, there will be related products you know your audience is interested in and that you can recommend to them with your Amazon Affiliate link (of course letting them know ahead of time that’s what you’re doing). You might create an entire Resource page with your recommendations, have a sidebar where you can feature certain recommendations, or have these recommendations listed right within the content of your blog posts when it makes sense.

If you’re not able to become a part of the Amazon Affiliate program specifically, then what other products or services are out there that you know would benefit your readers? Once you’ve made a list, start reaching out to those companies or creators and ask if they have an affiliate program you can join.

3. Offer coaching

Once you know what your readers biggest pain points are, you can offer them solutions by way of coaching. There are several online programs you can take in order to get a coaching certificate; plus, there’s nothing more valuable than your time, so once you have a few coaching clients under your belt and experience with knowing how you can best serve them, coaching is something you can charge a premium for.

Kate and John Lee Dumas run the famous Entrepreneur On Fire podcast, and help countless podcasters up their game. She also has her own audio blog, called Kate’s Take.

'You could create a Resource page with your recommendations or put them in a sidebar' - @kateerickson Click To Tweet

Navid Moazzez – navidmoazzez.com / @navidmoazzez:

Navid MoazzezNavid is a 6-figure virtual summit strategist and one of my closest friends in the online world. Though we never met in person (which hopefully changes soon!), he witnessed my journey from day 1 and we continue to help each other grow our businesses. Since he focused on virtual summits, his business has grown to a totally new level.

My blog is just a platform for me to market my business and brand. If I didn’t get people to sign up to my email list to build a deeper relationship with them, then I probably wouldn’t have a multi 6-figure online business today, from only my WordPress blog itself because I don’t get 1,000’s of visitors per day.

That said, here are the top 3 ways I use to monetize my WordPress blog after people sign up to my email list:

1) I create and sell online courses, like my flagship program Virtual Summit Mastery which has brought in over 6-figures in sales so far.

2) I generated over 6-figures from ethical affiliate marketing in 2015 alone by promoting products like Ramit Sethi’s Zero to Launch, and other online courses I really believe in. The key here is to be selective with who you promote, and make sure you have some experience and results with what you’re sharing with your audience. I’ve been the most successful when I treat an affiliate promotion like my own launch, and go all in because I believe in the product so much.

3) From time to time, I also do coaching and consulting to help top performing entrepreneurs create, promote and profit from their virtual summits so they can skyrocket their business and brand to multiple 6 and 7-figures, which brings in a very nice stream of income. Here’s one example of how one of my clients got massive ROI after working with me. Oh yea… that’s a case study on my WordPress blog, which builds more trust with people when they first find out about me, and then later on they are more likely to become students in my program or high-end clients.

And a bonus: hosting a virtual summit in your niche is actually also a fantastic way to not only grow your email list rapidly and build authentic, powerful relationships with influencers in your industry, but also to create a product fast (the summit all access pass is your product) which can be a great way to monetize what you’re doing with your blog. That took my entire business and brand to the next level in late 2014 and enabled me to quit my job, move abroad and achieve my ideal lifestyle I’ve always dreamed of.

'My blog is just a platform for me to market my business and brand.' - @navidmoazzez Click To Tweet

Hani Mourrasimplelivepress.com / @hanimourra

Hani MourraHani has developed several amazing WordPress plugins, used by some of the most popular podcasters and bloggers. With SimpleLivePress he’s following the latest trend on using Blab and makes it extremely easy for bloggers to integrate that platform to their marketing strategy.

Content marketing (blogging, video, podcasting, live broadcasting, etc) is one of the most effective strategies for building trust with your audience, which is an essential step in generating more sales for your business.

WordPress is my favorite platform for hosting your all your content because it is free, simple to setup (most hosting companies include a one-click install of WordPress), and super easy to add content to.

The number one objective for your blog should be to generate epic content to keep your audience coming back for more. Once you’ve established this, you can start thinking about generating an income from it.

Here are 3 strategies you can use today to monetize your WordPress blog:
(Hint: focus your energy on number 3 as it will yield you the most reward in the long run)

Monetizing Strategy 1: 3rd Party Adverts – Running adverts inside of your blog post (or in the side bar) is the fastest way to start generating a small income on your blog. The free Google AdSense plugin will automatically recommend the best location to place these adverts based on the layout of your site.

Monetizing Strategy 2: Affiliate Marketing – Do you know of any products or services that your audience would find valuable? Create some content on your blog showcasing their benefits and include an affiliate link to their site throughout your blog post (you can even include a banner in your sidebar as well).

This blog post can be in a form of a YouTube video or audio podcast where you interview the creator or it can be as simple as a screencast of you highlighting your favorite features and how they can help your audience.

Monetizing Strategy 3: Create Your Own Products or Services – To me this is the most rewarding of the three strategies.

Start by adding an opt-in form in the middle of all of your posts to help you building your email list faster (a great free plugin for this is Rapidology by LeadPages).

Once they sign up and are redirected to the “Thank You For Subscribing” page, include a short survey (2 questions max) asking them what their biggest frustrations are (you could use the free Google Forms tool for this).

By doing this you are essential reading your audience’s minds and creating a product or service you know they want.

'Building trust is an essential step in generating more sales for your business.' - @hanimourra Click To Tweet

Dave Schneiderninjaoutreach.com / @selfmadebm:

Dave SchneiderDave is one of the best content creators I’ve ever seen. His posts always are very well researched and highly actionable. There aren’t many online marketers who put this much effort into their content. He’s also part of the NinjaOutreach team, a powerful tool with a database of 4 million influencers.

1. Sell a product – I don’t believe there are many things better than creating your product and selling it. Typically these are information products like a course or ebook. In short, if you are building up your audience, and you would like to monetize that audience, you must have something to sell to them.

2. Affiliate sales – Short of having your product, I believe that selling someone else’s products as an affiliate is nearly as good. There are thousands of products with affiliate programs that you can review and recommend. Many top bloggers do this AND sell their products.

3. Display Advertising – In niches where you can attract a lot of followers, display advertising is very simple to get started with and earn money. The rates are usually around $5 per every thousand impressions.

Dave is the founder of NinjaOutreach, a powerful marketing tool for connecting with influencers.

'I don't think there are many things better than creating a product & selling it.' - @selfmadebm Click To Tweet

Lee Jacksonleejacksondev.com / @leejacksondev:

Lee JacksonLee runs the WP Innovator Podcast and a web design agency. We recently connected when he invited me to his podcast to speak about my WP Summit and becoming more than average.

Here goes on a short one:

If you have a good following and are producing great valuable content then you could look to upsell access on your WordPress website to:

  • Premium Pay Per Articles
  • Membership area with premium content/videos
  • Affiliate links through review articles and advertisements

This more extensive article goes more into depth on this topic 🙂

'Only monetize your #blog if you have an audience & create valuable content.' - @leejacksondev Click To Tweet

Devesh Sharmawpkube.com / @devesh:

Devesh SharmaDevesh is the founder of WPKube, one of my favorite blogs about WordPress. They publish tutorials, reviews, and get some amazing deals for WordPress users. Their site is one of the most beautiful blogs as well (at least in my opinion).

Selling Products, Affiliate Marketing, and Services.

I had a great success with affiliate marketing and recently started experimenting with selling my products.I think affiliate marketing is the quickest way to start because you only have to focus on selling products (& not have to care about the technical side of things).

I think affiliate marketing is the quickest way to start because you only have to focus on selling products (& not have to care about the technical side of things).

If you can find a quality product to promote and get targeted traffic to sell the product page, you can quickly make a comfortable living.

Another way is to sell your products; it is the most efficient way to monetize your blog in long run. I recently started doing this and ended up making some nice money. Though, it does require a lot of initial work such as writing content, getting the product developed, preparing for the launch, etc. But in the end, it’s worth it.

'Selling your products is the most efficient way to monetize your blog in long run.' - @devesh Click To Tweet

Adam Connell – bloggingwizard.com / @adamjayc :

Adam Connell

Adam runs BloggingWizard and helps bloggers build bigger platforms and make more profits online. His content ranges from infographics to plugin & theme recommendations, from tutorials to case studies. Exciting stuff!

  1. Turn what you know into a service – If you run your own blog, you will have learned specific skills that you can offer to other bloggers/brands. Freelance is the easiest way to make money from a blog when you get started.
  2. Promote other products/services as an affiliate – Affiliate marketing takes time to scale but it means you don’t have to create your own product
  3. Create your own product – This is the one I’ve been dragging me heals with for some reason, but it’s the most effective. Create something that solves a problem for your audience, and charge money for it. It may be a course, ebook or a tool/app.

Adam hosts BloggingWizard.com, a brilliant review site for everything related to WordPress.

'Freelance is the easiest way to make money from a blog when you get started.' - @adamjayc Click To Tweet

Karan Choprajustwp.org / @karanchopra007:

Karan Chopra

Karan writes for some amazing platforms that I regularly read. With JustWP he has built a powerful resource site that WordPress users can’t afford to miss.

Sponsored Posts – If writing is meant for you, then the sponsored post opportunity is the first major way you consider to monetize your WordPress blog. The sponsored post service totally depends on what topic your blog is having while the fee you charge per such post totally depends on how much traffic your blog gets.

Affiliate Marketing – While the process of earning money via being an affiliate is not new but with time, thanks to the digital world, it totally takes a huge sweep away. As now with affiliate marketing, you can add different product link in your blog and when any of your readers buys that product (via your affiliate link), you will earn a commission from it.

Product Creation – This totally goes directly proportionate with your blog traffic and influence. Say if you got a bulk of visitors round the clock who loves your writing, then creating a product to sell them is a right option, where the product could be anything ranging from an ebook, a theme or a plugin, a graphic or even a consultancy service. The product creation will lead you toward a smart passive income, where you have to work once and earn on a regular monthly basis.

Karan writes for JustWP, WPLove, CodeAndMe, and other well-known publications in the WordPress world.

'If writing is for you, then write sponsored posts to monetize your #WP blog' - @karanchopra007 Click To Tweet

Marie DodsonTorqueMag / @mdodson12:

Marie DodsonMarie is the editor at Torque Mag, a publication by the world’s biggest web host for WordPress – WP Engine. She enjoys reading good books, drinking good wine, and traveling to fun places.

Three of the most popular monetization strategies are affiliate links, sponsored posts, and selling ad space. Affiliate marketing is the process of linking to products or services from your site. When a visitor clicks the link and makes a purchase you get commission on the sale.

Another strategy is sponsored posts. In its most simple form, this is when an advertiser pays you to publish their desired content. The amount is often contingent on factors like your blog’s traffic or page rank.

Another effective strategy is selling ad space on your site. This is effective, predictable, and relatively hands off.

Marie writes for TorqueMag, the WordPress publication of WP Engine.

'Selling ad space on your site is effective, predictable, & relatively hands off.' - @mdodson12 Click To Tweet
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