Let’s make your first monetization goal incredibly practical. Let’s figure how to just pay the direct costs for running a website, even if you have nothing for sale, etc..
This article is part inspiration, part practical. The heart of it is that we found a noticeable shift with Minimalist Baker when we realized we could make money from our blog. It was this little spark of encouragement that pressed us to keep showing up, keep improving.
I want to do two things here: 1) Encourage you to find a way to monetize your blog, and 2) Walk through the practical steps of meeting your first monetization goal: Make Enough Money To Cover Your Costs.
Why You Need to Make Money Today
Making money today sparks long-term vision for growth. It’s the little fire that not only shows you it’s possible to blog as a career, but inspires you to push through and keep going when it’s tough.
Another motivation of making money? You can actually use it to sustain yourself. One of the best parts of creating an online business is that your overhead is low. You don’t need thousands of dollars of capital to start or sustain a website.
Benefits of Making Money
Making money has obvious benefits, but I think there are three powerful motivators:
- Excitement: There’s something exciting seeing your work/efforts make money.
- Sustainability: You make your business more sustainable. If you can cover your basic costs, your only investment thereafter will be the cost of your time. You’ll be able to focus on building content, not on paying for your business.
- Empowering: Making money from your blog empowers you. It’s like a little (very tangible) reminder to say “Hey! You did this! Keep it up. Show up again tomorrow. And the day after that. And next month. ‘Cause, I mean, you’re making money!”
Figure the Costs of Running a Website
Technically, you could go setup a blog on a free host (something like Blogger or Tumblr) and not pay a thing for your website. However, when we are talking about making money, it’s not always possible to install ads or run the scripts necessary to generate revenue on those platforms.
Plus, I strongly recommend running your blog on WordPress. It’s the industry standard and it’s both reliable and powerful as you grow and expand.
To self-host WordPress on Bluehost, your Monthly Cost will Be $2.95-$4.95 (depending on how far you pay in advance). Let’s say assume you end up paying something around $3.95/month.
This is really the only essential cost of running your website.
Now we need to figure out how to make $3.95/month.
The Easiest Way to Make Money From your Blog
There are plenty of ways to make money with your website, but nothing will be quite as easy as using your website to generate Ad Revenue.
As you grow, figuring out how to monetize with an advertising strategy will change and evolve. However, all you want to do right now is find the most simple and efficient way to monetize your site and cover its basic costs.
The fastest way to create ads for your website will be using Google Adsense.
After you sign up, you’ll be able to create ads based on your preferences.
My Adsense Suggestions:
- Use either a 300 x 250px ad or a 160 x 600px ad for your sidebar. If you want to use a header or footer ad, find the size that best fits your theme.
- Choose color styles that most closely reflect the color of your site theme.
- Load the ads Asynchronously (we don’t need to get into the details, but it makes your website load faster for your users).
Your Adsense revenue will vary depending on location. Adsense ads usually pay per click, which varies greatly depending on placement and the type of website traffic you receive. However, you can translate those figures based on impressions (how many times your ad is viewed), which will correlate with how you get the ads to make money (getting traffic).
For food blogs, I’ve found the following figures to be decent indicators of your earning potential:
If your ad is hidden on a hard to find place within your sidebar, you can make about $0.20 per 1,000 impressions per ad unit.
However, if you place your ad above the fold in your sidebar (top 768 pixels of your website), you’re more likely to earn around $0.80 per 1,000 impressions per ad unit.
So, place at least 1 ad above the fold in your sidebar. Adsense allows three ads within your website, so I’d also suggest adding two more ads. Since ads vary on location and clicks, they won’t all make the exact same amount of revenue.
However, you can estimate on average that you can make about $0.50 per 1,000 impressions on your ad. However, if you’ve placed all 3 ads, that means you only need to get 334 impressions (1,000 impression divided by 3) to your website to earn $0.50.
To earn $3.95, you will need to get 2,639 impressions to your site this month. That means we need an average of 88 impressions per day.
The Easiest Ways to Get Traffic
So, the only goal you have now is to get 154 ad impressions per day. What’s really great about this number of impressions is that many of your visitors are likely to visit more than one page on your site. If a visitor checks out three pages on your website, that will count as 3 impressions.
Therefore, I’d suggest setting up an about page. This is something many people will want to check out and can land you another impression. This might mean you now only need 70-90 visitors to your site per day.
More manageable, right?
I know this may seem a bit daunting at first, but I think if you keep at it, you can score this fairly quickly. If you share something on your website on facebook, you’ll probably land at least 50-100 ad impressions. However, sharing the same thing multiple days in a row (although a fine strategy), won’t get you the same amount of traffic each day.
Next, if possible, submit your food to relevant foodie sites (like foodgawker).
Comment on other foodie websites.
Make sure you install a recipe schema plugin, so you are searchable in Google.
Keep regularly posting. Keep showing up, and you’ll start to land the 88 hits per day.
You Can Do This
There’s something really cool about making a little bit of money on your website. Something thrilling in landing the first sale.
Start making money as quickly as possible to build that momentum to keep you going. It’s terribly powerful and terribly possible. It doesn’t mean things will change overnight, but it will help you realize your little dream has great potential.
Monetize, my friends.