Maria asks, “I want to start a blog with the aim of monetizing it – what platform should I use?”
When you want to monetize an owned media property, you fundamentally have four different models to choose from:
- Display advertising, where you’re paid on traffic and clicks
- Affiliate programs, where you’re paid on traffic, clicks, and leads
- Sponsorship programs, where you’re paid to promote and build brands
- Digital sales of owned content, where you sell your own digital goods
When we consider what’s needed to make these different programs work, we need maximum flexibility and scalability of technology. We need the ability to switch out programs, products, and affiliates quickly, site-wide. We need the ability to start and end offers instantly. We need integrations with major eCommerce platforms. We need on-site advertising systems to manage house inventory and third parties.
The platform that lends itself best to this much flexibility is a Managed WordPress platform. Only WordPress provides this much flexibility, from being able to execute your own server-side code (a major limitation on platforms like Squarespace and Wix, for godd reason) to swapping pieces and plugins in and out. The Managed part is important. This is where another company, your hosting company, manages the software and security for you. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s essential if you want to build a solid business. I recommend WP Engine for this (affiliate link).
Once you’ve got the site, start assembling the pieces.
You’ll want and need an ad server system; I recommend OpenX for that, since it gives you a lot of flexibility about what ads you want to serve.
I recommend you join an affiliate program; for this, Shareasale tends to have the best payouts in the industry until you go direct with a company. If you crush it on referrals, it’s likely a company will reach out to you privately to negotiate a sponsorship.
Finally, for digital delivery of goods, I recommend Gumroad.
All these pieces combined will get you going for making money from your blog/podcast/owned properties.
FTC Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links for which my company, Trust Insights, financially benefits and by extension, I receive indirect financial benefit.
Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.
Listen to the audio here:
- Got a question for You Ask, I’ll Answer? Submit it here!
- Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for more useful marketing tips.
- Find older episodes of You Ask, I Answer on my YouTube channel.
- Need help with your company’s data and analytics? Let me know!
What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, Maria asks, I want to start a blog with the aim of monetizing what platform should I be using? Well that’s a big question because monetization of an owned media property yeah requires more than just a blogging platform when you want to monetize a property you fundamentally have four different business models to choose from and if you are a good begin to do this as your thing as your jam you’re probably going to want to actually try and use all four models you want those multiple streams of income the four models ours brings up here display advertising where you are being paid essentially on on traffic to your site and you can be CPM which means cost per thousand impressions or CPC cost per click and you’re making money on either the number of times you show an ad or the number of clicks the ads got you’re showing get. The second is affiliate programs where you’re being paid on
Essentially lead generation for companies you work with. So later on in this video we’re going to talk about a few of the programs that I participate in.
If I if you do business with that company, I get a commission essentially commission based sales. The third is sponsorship programs where you’re paid to promote and build a brand. This is what a lot of influencers go for these days where, you know, they they’re clocking deals to represent a specific brand. Typically you need a very, very large audience for that or you do such a great job with an affiliate program but a sponsorship programs the next logical step and finally is digital sales where you are selling your own stuff that you’ve made through an e commerce vendor online. Now, in terms of monetary potential, this really does in many ways go in order. So display advertising is the place where you get started, you’re not going to make much money on it, but it also requires the least amount of technology affiliate programs require you to
Engage with and set up in affiliates you would you participate in these programs you sign up for these programs and the money is a little bit better because some of the Commission’s can be as high as you know 1015, 20%
of sale depending on what it is you’re selling sponsorship programs can be very lucrative depending on your audience size. Obviously if you’re a Kardashian you’ll do very well on that front. And then digital sales is where you’ll make the most long term money because you’re getting you know, 9596, 97%
of the sales price. Basically you’re getting the sale minus whatever processing fees your vendor your e commerce platform is charging you. So you want to do all these and you probably wanted to start with them in that order. You want to have display advertising on the moment that your site launches so that you’re starting to monetize any traffic you send you want to have affiliate programs available so that if you’re writing about something you can you can make some money on it. Sponsorship programs will take longer, and then digital content takes as long as it takes for you to make the content and a lot of cases
is for a lot of businesses, particularly if you’re just getting started out, that’s a pretty heavy lift. So when you consider what’s needed to make these programs work, you need maximum flexibility and scalability of technology, the platform you choose, you’ve got to be able to swap in and out programs, you’ve got to swap in and out products, affiliates, links, content,
there are systems out there, they’ll let you hot link all the content that mentions a certain keyword. That’s something that would be very important as you add and remove affiliates you need to be able to offer things very, very quickly and remove offers justice quickly if a program comes to an end integration with e commerce payment gateways, onsite advertising systems.
The platform that in my opinion lends itself best to this much flexibility is a managed WordPress platform. Only the WordPress blogging system as far as I can tell, other than like a custom enterprise e commerce system.
CMS only WordPress provides this much flexibility, especially to someone just starting out from being able to execute your own server side code, which is super important for some of these things like digital sales and certain types of affiliates. That’s a major limitation for hosted platform, SAS platforms like Squarespace and wicks, which people are very, very love. And and those are good pieces of software for just running a blog. But if you want to monetize and you need the ability to execute code on the server, they’re not going to let you do that for security reasons this freely good reasons not to do that and the end and all the technology you need.
Again, the managed part is important because you’re going to be running a lot of code a lot of third party code and you want a vendor that is going to handle the security the patches and the updates for you and and so that’s really important. This is where
a managed WordPress hosting company is, it would be a benefit.
The one that I recommend is WP Engine.
There is an affiliate link
yes, I do what I say
there’s an affiliate link in the post that goes with this. But there I’ve had very good experiences with them. I host my website on them and very happy. Once you’ve got your WordPress blog setup and you got all the plugins, you got it all secured and stuff like that. Then you want to start adding pieces to each of these systems. So you’re going to need an ad server system. Probably one of the best known ones is open x. There are also a number of WordPress plugins that let you manage the you’re the ads you run on your site. You want the ability to to manage what’s called a third party and house third party ads or add programs you participate in from display advertising like Google AdWords, AdSense, for example.
And you want house ads when you which are ads you make to promote your own stuff, whether it’s your newsletter, your blog, your podcast, whatever it is that you want to be publishing,
you should join an affiliate program.
Graham for this I’ve worked with share sale now for over a decade
and they tend to have the best payouts in the industry until you go direct with a company again link in the show notes so affiliate program when you’re doing affiliate marketing if you crush it if you with a certain vendor like the WP Engine link that I just mentioned is through the share sale program in addition to share sale link
if you just crush it on on an affiliate program very often what will happen and some systems like share so have this built in where the vendor in this case WP Engine could reach out directly to you and say hey you do an amazing job do you want to go direct will give you higher payouts will give you more exclusive offers, things like that. And then that’s when you can start negotiating the sponsorships. It’s very hard to do sponsorship unless you have either a million people in your audience or you have
demonstrated strong results with
Within affiliate program and then finally for the delivery of digital goods, I recommend gum road. That’s what I use for a lot of my ebooks and trainings and webinars. Their pricing is fantastic it’s something like three and a half 4% of fees of whatever it is you sell and you keep the rest for people who are authors for example you absolutely should be on the Amazon Kindle program but you should also be on gum road as well if you want to sell you need to be an Amazon because gigantic network right to be stupid not to be there. But if you’re if you’re selling direct to somebody send them the gum road link. You can either offer them a lower price or you get much more of the purchase price because Amazon Katie P is anywhere from 35 to 70% of your books, sale price, but gum roads 95% you make more money on the exact same book. So
there is a lot to making money with your website. But these are some of the key technologies that are important that that you need to have in place in order to
Make take advantage of all of these multiple streams of internet income. And again, you want to use as many of them as possible. You want to monetize your audience as much as possible. Final thing, whatever programs you join, whatever things you sell, make sure that they’re good. Make sure that they that if someone buys through you, even if the commission is lower, if it’s a great product in the long term that benefits you best because you don’t want to get into the business of referring crap to people. They will stop trusting your recommendations refer the best stuff to people and they will go with it so and they will stick with you. So as always, please subscribe to the YouTube channel and to the newsletter and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care
if you want help with your company’s data and analytics. Visit Trust Insights calm today and let us know how we can help you.
You might also enjoy:
- You Ask, I Answer: The ROI of Data Quality?
- Six Types of Marketing Demand Generation
- B2B Email Marketers: Stop Blocking Personal Emails
- Why Your Content Marketing Isn't Working
- Transforming People, Process, and Technology
Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:
Get your copy of AI For Marketers