Blog monetization has always been one of the favorite topics among new and experienced bloggers alike.
At some point, every blogger starts thinking about turning their hard work into some dollars and finally getting something back from all the long evenings and hours of meticulous writing and editing.
And rightfully so. Everyone deserves to see some return on their investment, even if what they're doing originally started as a passion project.
But here's the big question, should you try to monetize your blog from day one, or maybe it's better to wait a while until you've built an audience that cares about what you have to say?
Here are the answers you've been looking for, along with some pros and cons of blog monetization.
The big answer
So … should you monetize?
I won't keep you hanging. If you desire a simple, one-word answer then here goes. Yes, you should (at least attempt) to monetize your blog from day one.
Now let's explain exactly why this is the right decision to take.
Blogs that don't make money eventually fail
This is the unfortunate truth. Passion and willpower are finite resources (that's actually been proven). So no matter what project we're pursuing, eventually we're going to run out of our inner fuel.
For some people, this happens very quickly. For others, it can take even a couple of years, but at some point, everyone faces the “I can't do this anymore” thoughts.
Now, if you're actually making money, and especially if it adds up to a big part of your livelihood, then you have one more very good reason to overcome the obstacles, regain your motivation, and stay being a blogger for the long haul.
However, your monetization road will probably have a rough start, just like it did for most of us.
The downside – you probably won't make much at first
Let's face it, if you're launching a new blog today, with some monetization methods in place right from the get-go, you won't make much by tomorrow evening, or even by the end of the month for that matter.
So the downside is that you can get discouraged pretty easily, which can have an impact on your future actions. Seeing your AdSense stats for the first time can make you feel very unimpressed.
Therefore, let me just say that earning next to nothing on day one is just a mandatory part of the process. Over time, things add up. This is a game of patience.
Get your audience used to monetization
Bloggers who introduce monetization on their sites later down the road usually have to face some backlash. How big the backlash is depends on the kind of audience the blogger serves, the niche, and loads of other factors.
Nevertheless, some part of the audience will inevitably be very unhappy about seeing ads or other forms of monetization. It's just the nature of things.
With that in mind, if you have some monetization elements right from day one (for example, even simple AdSense ads) then your audience gets introduced to the concept of you attempting to make money from your site very early on.
This works in your favor because it reduces any future backlash you might experience when launching something bigger, like your own product for example.
You gain experience on a small scale
Blog monetization is a tough task to get it right. Making a noticeable income with a website is certainly much more difficult than some people try to convince us it is.
Finding the optimal solution really takes time, and unfortunately, there's no best monetization technique that works on all blogs. For some, it's AdSense. For others, it's affiliate marketing. But there's also selling products, consultations, and so on.
Now here's the kicker. You will never know which method has the potential to be the most effective for you until you gain some experience on a smaller scale and try a number of different approaches.
The knowledge you gain running your first ads, or promoting your first affiliate products will pay off big time later down the road.
So start early, find out what monetization method works for your site, and then increase the scale of your operations as you grow your audience. And speaking of audience…
You get better at building your audience
When running a personal blog as a hobby, you have very little incentive to grow it, or to get some more eyeballs on it in any other way. But once you start monetizing, building your audience suddenly becomes very important.
It's no secret that in the blogging niche, bigger audience equals bigger payday. So bloggers do everything they can to master new and trendy techniques of getting more email subscribers, more Twitter followers, more Facebook fans, and what nots.
All this promotes growth and forces us to constantly better ourselves on many aspects of the online publishing world.
And what about the people who are the audience? Aren't they being taken advantage of? Well, no, they win too because they get access to the type of content that they desire and can learn from.
You learn how to handle the dark side of blog monetization
At some point on your blog monetization path, you will stumble upon some dishonest advertisers, obvious SEO professionals, link buyers and sellers, people starting their emails with “To whom it may concern,” etc.
Separating the wheat from the chaff and finding quality business partners takes some practice. However, if you do understand the rules of blog monetization, dealing with the low-quality contacts becomes so much easier.
That's because you know what your time is worth, you know what your blog is worth, and you know what amount of money can be made with some Method X.
For instance, if you've never attempted to monetize your site through ads, then how would you know if the $50/month that someone is offering you for a banner is a good deal or not?
You start noticing new opportunities
When you're trying to monetize your blog, apart from the obvious paths of advertising or promoting someone else's products, you also start noticing various new opportunities coming your way.
This is all due to your business mindset and the fact that you're training yourself to always be on the lookout for new ways to grow your bottom line.
From my own experience, it's because I started monetizing my blog relatively early that I was able to shift towards freelancing and ultimately make a career out of it.
It was a good couple of years ago, but I still remember jotting down a monetization plan that included all sorts of passive income elements, when I realized that I can also focus on making money actively and use my blog as a portfolio.
But freelancing is only one of the possible paths. As a blogger with monetization on your mind, you will naturally shift towards various joint projects, partnerships, building your own products, and so on.
Besides, these days, going after these opportunities is relatively simple (do not mistake with easy), due to some awesome tools and resources available out there.
To start looking for some blogging jobs, you can hop over to the ProBlogger Job Board. It's been around for years, and it lists hundreds of positions at any given moment.
Looking for a way to reach out to prospective clients and send out proposals? Check out Bidsketch and their wide range of proposal resources. I've been working with those guys for a while, and they really know their craft when it comes to sealing client deals. Not to mention their great proposal tool.
Need a great CRM to handle your clients later on? How about Nutshell CRM? It's affordable and offers all the features you'd need (including email integration, client profiles, tasks, etc.).
So … are you in?
Okay, I hope I've managed to convince you that blog monetization is something you should be doing from day one. Even if you make next to nothing, the experience will still be worthwhile, and the knowledge you gain through testing different methods is invaluable.
Like they say, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best is now. So start monetizing your blog as soon as today.