Many people start a blog with one intention: making money. While this is not a good sole reason to start a blog, it is a nice added benefit that comes with building up your blog with quality content and maintaining a decent amount of traffic.
It’s not a mystery that you can make money from your blog, but many users often struggle with it and end up giving up altogether. You cannot expect to make a lot of money when first starting out. You have to create a name for yourself and prove that your blog can stand on its own. While these five methods to monetize your WordPress blog are sure to come in handy, you’ll also want to take note of the essential tips for building and maintaining a successful blog.
Pay Per Click
This is one of the most popular methods used to monetize a blog and one of the easiest to set up. With pay-per-click ads, also known as PPC, whenever a user clicks on one of your ads you’ll make money. Ads come in a variety of formats like banners, sidebar text links, in-text links , full-page ads, pop-ups and pop-unders. Price per click varies since some companies use a bidding system while others use a fixed price per click.
Success with PPC ads depends greatly on the genre of your blog and your audience. Many tech-savvy users use ad blocking browser extensions like Adblock and NoScript to hide ads on all websites. If this is the case, these users will not even see your ads to click on, so you’ll be losing out on money.
The most popular PPC ad companies are Google AdSense, Yahoo Publisher Network and Bidvertiser. A great WordPress plugin that will help you easily integrate PPC ads from a variety of provides is Easy Ads . With it you can display ads from AdSense, Chitika, Bidvertiser and Clicksor. You get total control over how your ads are positioned and displayed on your blog along with widgets that you can use for each provider.
Custom Search Engines
One of the best ways for users to find content on your blog is to search for it using an integrated search box. Well, did you know that you can create a custom search engine and then get paid whenever a user clicks on a sponsored ad shown within the results? While most blog themes do come with an integrated search box, in the long run it is better to use a custom search engine because you can have greater control over how it functions.
You’ll need to use a tool like Google AdSense for Search or Eurekster Swiki so that you can include sponsored ads within your blog’s search results. A couple of WordPress plugins that may come in handy are Gigya Toolbar  and Search Integrate . With Gigya, they have a feature coming soon that will allow you to make money when users search on your blog from the integrated search box on the toolbar. Search Integrate works like Google AdSense for search, by displaying sponsored results on a user’s search results.
If you really enjoy writing and are good at it, this is one of the best ways to monetize your blog. There are numerous sites online that pay you to blog. These sites are the middle man that bring advertisers and publishers together. Some allow advertisers to choose the publisher they want to work with, while others let the publisher choose the desired advertiser. Either way, you get paid a fixed fee for publishing a blog post related to the advertiser’s desired content.
While some sites allow you to negotiate a price, others force you to go with what the advertiser has set. Some will even set a price for you based on your blog’s traffic and pagerank. So again, it boils down to rankings, which is why it’s very important to build up your blog for a few months or even a year before trying to monetize it. Some of the top sites for writing sponsored posts are PayPerPost, SponsoredReviews, ReviewMe and Smorty.
Most people are familiar with affiliate links. You become an affiliate of a company and help them sell products. For every sale that results from someone clicking on your link, you’ll receive either a percentage of the sale or fixed amount set by the company. Many people have trouble with affiliate links because it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Getting sales from affiliate link clicks involves some knowledge of affiliate marketing. If you don’t know the proper way to promote your affiliate links you’ll end up frustrated from lack of sales and will probably end up pushing away many of your visitors.
Some of the top affiliate link programs are Amazon Associates, ClickBank and Commission Junction . Two great WordPress plugins for the Amazon Associates program are WordPress Amazon Associate  and Amazon Product In a Post . For ClickBank you may want to try WP ClickBank Ad Display  or ClickBank Widget . Each one of these lets you choose products that you want to link to on your blog. There are a large variety of products that you can choose based on your blog’s niche.
Lastly there’s good old-fashioned selling. If you have a lot of supporters, surely some of them will be willing to support you by buying products with your blog’s name or logo on them. CafePress is a great site that will let you create custom T-shirts, posters, mouse pads, mugs and more by just uploading a logo or image of your choice; they do the rest from creating the products to handling the shipping. You can then use the CafePress  WordPress plugin to display your products on your blog. Zazzle is another great site that works pretty much like CafePress, letting you create custom products using an image of choice. They also have a useful WordPress plugin  that works like CafePress.
Another popular item to sell is e-books. They’re a lot easier to write than actual books because they are shorter; they can be as short as 1-2 pages. In most cases, writing an e-book is like writing a more in-depth blog post that is 2-3 times as long. With WordPress you can use the Sell from Blog  or Bookshelf  plugins to sell e-books right from your blog. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to buy a useful e-book for a decent price.
Now that you have some ideas on how to monetize your blog, don’t jump into all of them at once. Too many ads, affiliate links and obvious selling tactics are sure to annoy your visitors. Try out a couple at a time and see what works best for you. Before you know it, you’ll be making a decent amount of money just by doing something that you love: blogging.