Do you have less than 1,000 page views per month? If so, this article probably isn’t for you – just yet.
If you’re still reading, you need to understand that there are reasons why WordPress is both the best blogging platform in the world and also the most restrictive. WordPress is the best because it’s simple, intuitive, customizable and just works. The WordPress team has worked long and hard perfecting the art of blogging, and they provide the best blogging experience available. Period. However, WordPress is restrictive in terms of absolute freedom. To change CSS, fonts and certain colors, you have to pay for a $30 custom design upgrade. Also – many HTML scripts and other web code are blocked or restricted from use on your WordPress hosted website.
WordPress.com websites are very restricting as far as setting up monetization. WordPress does this for two reasons: (1) It wants to keep the focus on blogging and (2) it wants to make more revenue from your site than you do. WordPress doesn’t allow you to use Google AdSense code or a variety of other monetization tools like auto-generated in-text links. WordPress displays minimal ads on your website (mostly to non-WordPress users) for their own revenue. You can pay a yearly price to get those ads taken off. However, do you want a share of that ad revenue? Meet WordAds.
WordAds has been around for about a year now, and is WordPress’s own ad-revenue solution for WordPress.com bloggers. Established blogs (must have a non-WordPress primary domain) can apply for WordAds, and once approved, those bloggers will start getting seeing some revenue from ads.
In the United States, WordAds uses both an ‘impressions’ and ‘pay-per-click’ style – meaning that you’ll get paid whether or not someone clicks on the ads. Blogs are categorized differently, too, so some blogs show lots of ads and others show just one or two. Unfortunately for beginning bloggers, WordAds payout isn’t exceptionally worthwhile unless you’re gathering some significant website traffic (50,000+ page views/month). It is also worth noting that not every page view results in an ad impression. Also – for those of you outside the U.S. – payout is much lower.
So, lets assume that like most individuals, you are not satisfied with WordAds as your only source of income from your moderately-successful blog. Before you try and find ways to make money by other means, read carefully the following rules that WordPress lays out:
“In addition to AdSense-type ads, please do not use the following services on your blog: (1) Sponsored or paid posts, including PayPerPost, ReviewMe, and Smorty. (2) Affiliate or referral links to the following domains: usercash, clickbank, clickhop, cashrocks, payingcash. (3) Clicktrackers and any promotions of the “I made a million on the internet and so can you” type of advertising (i.e. MLM, network marketing, cash gifting, etc.). (3) Paid or sponsored post content is also prohibited.”
See the rest of WordPress’s advertising support page.
So where does that leave you, you ask? Well, consider the following alternatives (I really wish there were more):
- Host giveaways or other similar contests to gain attention
- Throw up a PayPal button for visitors to leave a small donation
- Sell something you’ve created yourself within the site (PayPal or Gumroad or a similar payment-processing company will have to facilitate the transaction)
- Resell something within the site (just be sure you’re legally allowed to)
- Continue writing valuable content that will get you noticed by visitors
The last suggestion is definitely the most reliable, proven method to make money. Having a popular, thoughtful, discussion-filled blog will attract an audience in a way that nothing else can. And, the more people that see your blog, the more chances someone who believes in you and your capabilities will notice you. Maybe that person is an advertiser for a major company. Maybe that person decides they want you to work for them. Maybe that person decides you should start writing for the New York Times. If your content is valuable to people, you’ll benefit the most in the long run.
The golden rule(s)? People don’t get rich quick overnight (forget the rare exceptions). People don’t become excellent, popular bloggers overnight either. Sit back, stay focused, and keep your eyes on creating something of value that others can benefit from.
If I forgot a good monetization method that’s allowed on WordPress, please let me know.