#1: Google Adsense
When I started my blog, I faced a lot of restrictions as a financial advisor. As a result, one of the only ways I could monetize at the time was by using Google Adsense. With this income-earning strategy, you simply sign up and Google gives you a code to copy and paste onto your website. From there, Google does the rest and you get paid any time someone clicks on your ads and/or makes a purchase.
When I finally added Google Adsense to my website, I was able to earn my first $100 payout within around three months. This is pretty cool, but a lot of people have asked me how I earned so much with Adsense at first.
You have to keep in mind that, as a financial advisor, most of the ads on my website are for financial products that pay out rather well. If your blog is in a different niche like food or fashion, it may take you longer for your ads to pay off with your first $100 check.
#2: Text Links
The second way I made $100 at first was via text links. If you’re wondering what text links are, check out any article on the web and you’ll see highlighted words you can click out to take you to another web page.
While I didn’t realize it for quite a while, there are a ton of companies who are willing to pay $100, $200, and even $1,000 or more for you to link from your website to theirs. But I was pretty stoked when a few companies would pay me $100 or more just for inserting a link into one of my blog posts.
Unfortunately, I eventually learned that selling text links is against Google’s terms and conditions. If you are doing this on a consistent basis, your website is going to tank over the long-term.
For that reason, selling text links isn’t a good long-term monetization strategy. You can do it every once in a while without any negative impact, but you’ll live to regret it if you get greedy and overdo it.
#3: Sponsored Posts
With a sponsored post, a company pays you to talk about their product or service on their website. While I initially made $100 to $200 for each sponsored post I did on Good Financial Cents, I kept jacking up my rates over time.
How much can you earn? Blogger Alexis Schroeder of FITnancials says she frequently earns $3,000 per month with sponsored posts. However, some blogs with more traffic can easily earn $20,000 per sponsored post or more.
If you plan to do sponsored posts, I definitely recommend only working with companies you believe in and feel good promoting. If you promote anything and everything without making sure it aligns with your values, you probably won’t gain a lot of trust from your readers. Over time, this could hurt your efforts to grow your website more than the income from sponsored posts helps.
#4: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to make money online. When I was able to add affiliate links to my website, I watched my income surge in a big way in a matter of weeks!
In the financial planning niche, affiliates include companies like online brokerages, online banks, and financial tools. These kinds of companies pay very good money if you’re willing to promote them.
While the type of affiliates you work with will vary depending on the niche you’re in, keep in mind that some companies will pay you up to $100 per conversion. It’s not too hard to start earning real money with that kind of return on your time.
If you don’t believe me, check out Making Sense of Cents. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the entrepreneur behind this blog, and she is also the founder of a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Through her website and course sales, Michelle consistently earns over $100,000 per month. No, that is not a typo.
#5: Display Ads
Display ads are very similar to Google Adsense except that the reader doesn’t have to click on the ad for you to make money. Think of display ads as billboards that are on your website instead of on the side of the highway.
With display ads, you get paid based on the number of times your ads are viewed no matter what. For that reason, these ads will work better for you as the traffic to your website grows over time.
#6: Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is another way to earn an online income if you don’t mind earning some of your money with active work. Another benefit of freelance writing is that you can gain exposure by writing for larger websites.
One of the first websites I wrote for paid me $150 per article. This wasn’t a lot of money, but I used the opportunity to improve my writing skills and get my name out there. I don’t write as much for other people anymore, but I do know plenty of freelance writers who are earning $250, $500, and even $1,000 or more per article.
Some freelance writers I know are even earning six figures or more writing from home each year. This includes blogger Holly Johnson, who earns over $200,000 per year writing articles for other websites. Johnson also offers a course you can check out if you want to become a freelance writer but need some help getting started.
#7: Getting New Clients for Your Business
When I started my blog, I envisioned my website as a marketing tool to get new clients for my financial practice planning. This strategy worked great since my online presence helped me build authority and reach people I may not have reached otherwise.
If you have a service-based business of any kind, I would absolutely suggest starting a blog or building an online presence you can use to get new clients. This can help you build your client base just like I did, and it’s a lot more fun than cold-calling or holding boring seminars.
If you have expertise in a specific field, you can also use the internet to build up a coaching business. This is something that happened on accident for me. As I built my blog and my brand, a ton of people started reaching out to me to learn how I did it and how they could apply the same ideas to their own business. While I initially gave out advice for free because I enjoyed it, I eventually started charging a consulting fee.
How much you earn depends on the type of niche you wind up in. According to recent statistics, executive coaches make around $325 per hour while business coaches make more like $235 per hour. Life coaches, on the other hand, are able to charge approximately $160 per hour.
If you’re an expert in your field and people are constantly asking to “pick your brain,” you should start charging people . Your time is valuable and so is your advice!
#9: Selling Leads
Once I was a few years into Good Financial Cents, I started a second website called Life Insurance by Jeff. While we initially started this website to build up our own leads, we got to the point where we had so many leads we couldn’t handle them ourselves.
Eventually, I found out that a handful of insurance companies were willing to pay for leads generated through my website. These companies would pay between $35 to $100 per lead, which is insane. This was a big eye-opener for me since I had no idea this was possible.
Also note that it’s not just life insurance companies willing to pay for leads. There are a ton of different avenues and lead generation strategies out there, so make sure to consider all the possibilities.
#10: Digital Products
There are all kinds of digital products out there, but there is always room for more. I even have a few of my own!
If you sign up for my free Make 1K Challenge where I show you how to start a blog and make your first $1,000, for example, I have a $7 upgrade that includes some PDFs and behind the scenes video. While $7 doesn’t sound like a lot of money, this one product still helps me earn an additional $1,500 to $2,000 per month passively!
Another example of digital products is the wide world of printables. Lots of online entrepreneurs create digital products their customers can print at home, and they often make bank doing it. While many bloggers have their own printable budget templates, meal plans, or checklists, you can also find examples on Etsy.com.