I’ve been blogging for almost two decades. When I created my first blog, blogs were called “web logs” and “online journals”, and selling from your blog was a no-no.
Then in 2004, after Google bought Blogger in 2003, blogging became a commercial activity. Looking back, I still get a giggle from the memory of those puritanical “no commerce!” bloggers who eventually switched to making sales from their blogs along with everyone else.
Here’s the hard reality: your blog must work for you. Otherwise, it’s an expensive hobby. Luckily, it’s easy to make sales from your blog.
Blogging to sell — be confident
Unfortunately, many writers are still shy about selling on their blogs. Others want to make sales, but aren’t sure how to sell.
It’s easy, I promise. These tips will help.
1. Your blog’s visitors will buy from you, if you give them a chance
A writer contacts me to say that his blog “doesn’t work”. He’s had the blog for months, and has yet to make a sale.
Usually, I see various problems on the blog, such as:
- Nothing for sale on the blog, at all. To sell, you need to display whatever it is you’re selling — make it easy for visitors to buy;
- No hyperlinks. An author has images of his book covers, but there aren’t any links. Be sure that you click your own links, to make sure that your covers’ links take your blog’s visitors to a sales site. (Consider selling directly from your blog, too);
- Third-party advertising on the blog. Some authors and writers go to the other extreme. Not only is the author selling his own books, he’s also running AdSense ads, as well as ads from other networks. Generally speaking, third-party advertising is a bad idea, because it leaves visitors confused.
2. Build trust, by offering entertaining or informative content on your blog
Many authors offer little to no content on their blog — everything’s promotional. They’re all about their latest book launch, and sales. That’s fine for authors who already have a big audience. Bestselling authors don’t need to do much beyond offering links to their latest hot seller.
However, most authors need to build trust and name recognition (a platform), so give your blog’s readers a reason for visiting.
3. Blog whenever you can: use a schedule
If possible, try to blog regularly. Once a week, once a month — whatever works for you. However, if you have a day job, and a family, and are trying to write books too, regular blogging may be impossible. If it is, do what you can.
Post short posts with cover images of the book you’re working on. Create links to your books on Amazon in your blog’s sidebar.
Vital: there are no “rules” for blogging. Do what works for you.
4. Use your sidebar for promotions
We mentioned your blog’s sidebar. This is where you’ll present your offerings. Click the links to ensure that a link leads where you expect it to lead.
5. Consider adding a paywall to your best content
Looking back, over the past two decades blogging has passed through three eras:
- The “no commerce” era, which lasted until 2004.
- The “advertising” era, from 2004 to 2016 — bloggers monetized their blog’s visitors with advertising.
- The “paywall” era — 2016 to the present.
Today, it’s a real challenge to monetize a blog using AdSense or a similar advertising network if you don’t have products of your own to promote.
There’s just too much content online; you’ll be lucky to buy a cup of coffee a month from your AdSense income.
If you have lots of traffic, and an audience which a company wants to reach, you can create sponsored posts. (I’ll do an article on sponsored posts soon.)
Sponsored posts can be profitable — depending on your traffic, you can charge $1000 and more, per post.
So, over the past couple of years, bloggers have started closing off their most useful content behind a paywall. A blogger’s paywall may be as simple as using Patreon or Podia.
Blogging: why use a paywall?
Using a paywall is just another way to make sales from your blog. Many bloggers use Patreon as a tip jar, and that’s fine — even a small income from tips contributes to a blog’s many expenses.
The primary reason for putting content behind a paywall however is simple economics. Blogging takes time, and energy. Over the past several years, I’ve seen many bloggers close down their blogs, because the blog was a financial drain.
If you’re not yet making sales from your blog, I hope these tips inspire you with ideas which work for you. Have fun. 🙂
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