There are thousands articles out there, teaching you how to monetize your blog. Register with AdSense, offer affiliate products through CPA networks like Commission Junction, place Amazon ads, sell links through TextLinkAds or similar service, etc. There are all acceptable and they do work. But why not get a little bit more creative. Here are five unconventional ways to monetize your blog.
1. Reader Ads
If your blog has a sizable audience, start offering reader ads. Reader ads, as the name implies, are a one line advertisement below a post that say something like ‘Reader Mike is looking to sell his site www.example.com for $YYY’. Or ‘Reader Joe is a professional SEO copywriter who charges $x per 1000 symbols’. Or ‘Reader Jane would like to notify everyone that she just started a new blog’. Or ‘Reader Mike is looking to sell his iBook for …’. The key to the success of reader ads and sizable audience and low price. Don’t ask for more than $10 per ad. And do offer two types of deals, $10 for a single reader ad vs $25 for a reader ad that will appear at the end of each post for a week. Do not accept SEO links as reader ads.
PickyDomains.com is a risk free naming and branding service. When people can’t think of domain, name or slogan on their own, they place an order with PickyDomains. If PickyDomains contributors come up with a cool name, the client is charged $50. If clients like nothing, they pay nothing. Hence, risk free naming. Where is monetization here? PickyDomains.com offers bloggers up to $30 for a single review, if it meets their criteria (your blog must have PageRank and at least 100 daily readers).
3. oDesk/eLance/Anything Freelance Site
oDesk is a big online marketplace where freelance writers, designers and coders compete for orders. eLance is the same thing and there are many sites like that. Where’s money in that? If your blog is tech related, create a freelance section. Or ‘freelancer of the month’ – anything of that nature. Offer freelancers to get exposure to your audience for a reasonable fee. Only approach freelancers with perfect rating, you don’t want to advertise anyone who might do crappy work.
4. Sell Links/PR Directly
There is no shortage of SEO specialists and they are easy to find. Contact them directly (once again, freelance sites are good for finding them), telling them how much you charge for a link or an article, what you PageRank is, etc. All text link services mark up prices at least 100% (meaning that if you get $10 per link per month they are charging $20 for it), so this is a win-win situation for everybody. Same thing for PR specialists – tell them how much it would cost to publish a press-release on your website and what content you are looking for. PR companies are always looking for sites where they can get publicity inexpensively.
5. Proactive Advertiser Search
You probably have ‘Advertise Here’ section, but no one’s looking, right? Start looking yourself. Let’s say, you blog about startups. Go to KillerStartups.Com or any other site, where new startups are added daily. Find ones that you find interesting and contact them directly with a simple offer – you’d like to review their startup and it’ll cost them $X. Make sure you include all relevant information – what your PageRank is, how much readers you have, how much traffic they can expect, etc. Same approach works with software and mobile phone application developers – they always look for sites that will review their products and if your offer is reasonable, you are likely to get a ‘yes’.