Getting a significant number of qualified blog readers is one challenge, but once you’ve mastered the art and science of driving consistent traffic to your website, there’s still the hurdle of converting those readers into paying customers for your business.
As nice as it would be to quickly insert a few affiliate links or throw together an online course you can sell to your audience, learning to monetize your website visitors isn’t so simple.
Learning how to start a blog and attract the right readers is one thing, but if you hope to build a long-term, sustainable business that successfully converts blog readers into raving customers, you’ll need to work hand-in-hand with them to develop products and services that solve their challenges (and leave them wanting more).
Accomplishing that is no easy feat. And while it’s taken several years to figure out how to reliably convert readers into customers with my blog-based business, it’s now relatively easy to grow after investing so much time into laying the right foundation.
So far just four months into this year, my blog has reached nearly 1.4 million readers, while more than 100,000 entrepreneurs are now on my email list.
I’ve shared a lot about the different ways I’ve worked to build that traffic, and this post will focus on how to monetize your readers once you’ve got a steady stream of traffic flowing in.
Over the last few years, I’ve been able to go from learning how to make money blogging to now generating more than $50,000 per month from various different channels on my website.
I don’t share these numbers to brag, but instead to show that a highly engaged readership is the prerequisite that creates opportunities to convert people into paying customers.
The more readers you have, the more opportunities you’ll have to positively monetize that readership in different ways.
So keep in mind that any way you choose to monetize your website visitors is predicated upon the assumption that it’s in the form of a mutually beneficial value trade—they’re getting something meaningful in return for what you’re selling them.
Now, let’s dig into the top ways to begin converting your blog readers into paying customers.
1. Selling Your Services to Blog Readers
Selling your time, skills, and expertise as a service is one of the best ways to begin converting your blog readers into paying customers.
Whether it’s working one-on-one at an hourly rate to teach your most engaged readers how to achieve the types of results you write about on your blog, or offering small group coaching sessions on a monthly retainer, you’re leveraging your skills into a more advanced educational opportunity for your readers. You can even start selling your services as a freelancer and work with companies that can use your expertise.
And the best part? With this monetization route, you don’t even need to create a product, like writing a book or making a film, to convert readers into customers. That makes it one of the best, lowest friction ways to get started.
Services you can sell include things like:
- Consulting with companies on an hourly basis
- Designing logos on sites like 99 Designs or Dribbble
- Coaching individuals on a monthly retainer
- Writing copy or blog content for brands
- Editing podcasts and using your audio engineering skills
- Doing search engine optimization projects for online brands
- Building websites or software tools for established companies
- If you’ve got a skill, it can be offered as a service
If you’re not sure where to start with creating a service package for your readers, consider partnering up with an established franchise business that can help get your offering off the ground quicker and with more support.
2. Monetizing with Affiliate Programs
Joining (and promoting) a well-established, reputable affiliate program is arguably easier than selling your services if you have the right type of blog content and readership.
Companies that have affiliate programs already built in are ready and willing to pay you referral fees in exchange for directing your blog readers their way—which means you don’t need to spend time perfecting your sales emails to pitch new clients, or invest time into creating your own products before converting readers into customers.
The best part about affiliate programs is that many companies offer them.
From the Amazon Affiliate Program to Target and eBay, all the way down to your little budding ecommerce companies looking to jump on the sponsor train, there are tons of options for joining profitable affiliate programs.
3. Creating Online Courses
Do you have a skill you can teach others? Do your readers look to you for your expertise in a particular area? Convert your existing readers into customers by creating an online course, and you’ll be on the fast track to building a repeatable business around your blog.
Putting together an online course can be as easy as filming a series of short instructional videos that teach your blog readers how to do something meaningful based on your own skills, experiences, and successes. Plus, by doing a little blogger outreach once your course is ready, you can amplify sales even further by offering referral fees & tapping into the audiences of other bloggers with like-minded readers.
If you’ve excelled at something like writing engaging fiction stories, creating hand-lettered illustrations, trading stocks, building websites, or tapping into your inner creativity, there are people out there who would gladly pay to benefit from your expertise and accelerate their learning curves.
Gather inspiration by surfing the major online course platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and CreativeLive. They all feature a wide variety of courses that range in length from 30 minutes up to 30 hours or more—with the longer courses naturally commanding higher prices because they’re often significantly more in-depth.
4. Writing an eBook
Writing and selling eBooks—your own digital product—is another great way to convert readers into customers, largely because of how scaleable your income can be without the need to put in any additional expenses after the book is written.
With each new sale you generate, the vast majority (if not all) of the profit comes straight to you, when selling an eBook directly from your blog and collecting payments via Stripe or PayPal. No middlemen. No publishers. No distributors. No retail stores.
That means you’ll keep the maximum possible profit margin on your eBook sales.
Over the past few years, eBooks have been one of my dependable sources of passive income, and their lower price points make them accessible to large numbers of readers. That also makes them extremely useful in helping me gather valuable feedback that’s led to additional products, services and even online course upsells.
5. Dropshipping Physical Products
A lot has changed over the past few years. You no longer need to stock your own inventory or build your own products —you can dropship products without ever having to print a shipping label or stock up on cardboard boxes yourself.
Dropshipping is a business model you can use to run an online store without ever holding any inventory yourself. This relatively hands-off approach makes selling products (even white-labeled ones) a pretty attractive way to convert your readers into customers.
Once you’ve made a sale from your blog, your supplier (a warehouse that packs and ships orders for sellers) will ship your products straight to your customer’s doorstep—for a fee, of course. But, you’ll never have to worry about storing, packaging, or shipping your products.
Let’s take this a step further. You don’t even need to actually create your own products anymore. You can find an existing product category on the market today (with proven demand and paying customers), and then find a supplier on a site like Alibaba that will create a private label version of that product, so you can start selling it yourself.
Examples of just a few private-label products you could sell:
- Vitamins, protein powder, and nutrition supplements
- Yoga pants and women’s activewear
- Backpacks, speakers, chargers, and other travel accessories
- Makeup and cosmetic products
- Check out even more ideas right here
6. Launching a Virtual Summit
A virtual summit is a live or pre-recorded event covering a specific subject matter with multiple relevant guest speakers in tow. Think of a conference, but completely online.
If you have a group of like-minded readers on your blog or email list, each with their own communities that align with your messaging, then you’ve got the audience for a virtual summit just waiting to be invited.
With a virtual summit, you’re teaching, you’re coaching, and you’re selling. Think about your audience and what drives them, and there will be a few relatively simple ways to monetize your summit.
The most straightforward way (and easiest to execute on your first go-round) is selling tickets for admission. Anywhere from $20 to $200 is common depending upon your industry. You can also discount pricing for early birds, and ask all of your speakers to promote the event to their audiences as well.
Another way to monetize your summit is by making admission to watch “live” free and then selling an all-access pass to anyone who wants the ability to watch the speakers they missed (or watch again). With both approaches, you can further monetize your summit audience by selling them another product after the event wraps up—maybe an online course, eBook, or coaching package that expands upon the concepts covered during the live summit.
While these certainly aren’t the only ways to successfully convert your blog readers into paying customers for your business, you’ll have to start somewhere.
As you develop closer relationships with your readers and continue to learn how you can best serve their needs, you’ll discover even more opportunities for gainfully monetizing your traffic.
Ryan Robinson is a blogger, podcaster and side project aficionado that teaches more than 400,000 monthly readers how to start and grow a profitable side business on his blog, ryrob.com.