by Hallie Janssen
How many of you wish you had thought of the Million Dollar Home Page concept before the 21-year-old college student came up with the idea to help raise money for his college education? For those of you who don’t remember the story from 2005, an enterprising student sold pixels on his home page for a dollar per pixel (1000 x 1000 pixel grid, equaling one million pixels and one million dollars). The final pixel was auctioned on eBay and sold for $38,100. You would have made $1,037,100. Don’t rack your brain trying to come up with the next big idea when there are so many different ways to monetize your blog. Let’s explore a few of the best.
The holy grail of blog monetization is to develop a site sponsorship program. By selling sponsorships direct to advertisers you can cut out the middle man and take all the profits for yourself. Of course you only make money when you sell a sponsorship, so this tactic really only works if you have a good amount of traffic and the time to sell. Of course the more traffic you have, the higher your rates will be.
Ad Serving Programs
Ad serving programs like Google’s AdSense have been around for several years and have evolved from simple text link ads to image and video ads, search and referral ads. The basic premise is that Google serves the ad to your blog based on the content. Google also has more recently launched AdSense for search, which allows blog owners to place Google ads on their search results pages; and has also launched AdSense for referrals, in which blog owners place AdSense and AdWords’ buttons on the blog to encourage visitors to click and become AdSense and AdWords advertisers themselves. If you’re not sure which keywords will bring you the highest commissions, you can pay a service like TopPayingKeywords, to find out for you.
Aside from the other programs like Yahoo’s Publisher Network, there are several other top ad serving platforms, like AzoolgeAds, AdBrite, ContextWeb, ValueClick, and AdOn network. These programs allow you to serve traditional text ads, creative banner ads, or even interstitials. In addition to these types of programs, there are networks dedicated to serving blogs, such as BlogAds and CrispAds. These programs focus on blogs and RSS feeds specifically.
RSS Feed Advertising
Speaking of RSS feeds, you can also serve ads in your RSS feeds. Programs such as Yahoo! Publisher Network and FeedBurner can help you with this. Relevant ads placed in your feeds are highly targeted and can definitely make you some extra money.
Text Link Ads
There are two kinds of text link ads: text links in your posts and text links in the navigation. Text Link Ads (TLA) is one of the oldest and most trusted link brokers and offers up both options. Other such brokers include LinkAdage, Link Worth, and TextLinkBrokers, WP Text Ads, and IntelliTXT. Placing text links in your navigation is pretty easy, but placing them in your posts takes a bit more creativity and planning.
Bloggers for Hire
There are a few programs that broker companies, sites, or products that are willing to pay you to blog about them. Programs include ReviewMe, PayPerPost, and BlogAboutMe. And other programs will connect you to blogs that want you to blog for them like BlogSitter and Scoopt Words. You can also find other blogging gigs at ProBlogger’s Job Board.
For those looking to generate revenue based on commissions, there are the tried and true are affiliate programs such as Amazon, eBay stores, and Commission Junction. But many new affiliate programs have sprung on the scene: AuctionAds, LinkShare, ClickBank. These programs can be used when referencing a product in one of your posts.
Services for Your Readers
Yes, you can also make money off services and tools that you provide to your readers. If you’d like to post jobs on your blog, you can use JobThread’s forum and job database and make money if your reader accepts the job. Aside from affiliate links, you can also make money off your product posts by using Chitika eMiniMalls which provides a mini-mall and comparison shopping experience right on your blog. Finally, if you have a cool logo why not merchandise and use CafePress so that readers can wear gear with your logo on it.
I hope I’ve provided a few ideas on how you can make money off your blog and have given you some time to think about the next big idea that will make you a millionaire. I think the pixel idea has already been done, though.