That’s great advice for any blogger who is passionate about their topic and wants to build a community of like-minded people. It’s time consuming, and you may be writing simply because you love your topic. But at the end of the day, you still have to make a living.
There are many ways to monetize your blog, including selling ad space or affiliate marketing (promoting other people’s products). Depending on your blog’s goals and audience, creating your own product may be the easiest and most profitable choice.
This may sound difficult, but there are some easy options. If you’ve never used eCommerce before, you may be intimidated by the technical side of selling online. However, you can easily add an eCommerce option to your existing blog in minutes, if you choose the right platform.
You work hard to grow your audience, and connect with your tribe. Readers come back to a blog because they are interested in the topic and the person who is writing it. So regardless of your blog’s niche, loyal readers are the perfect target market for unique and specialty products. It’s just up to you to decide what’s right for your audience.
Start with understanding what your market wants. For example, if you write about pets, create a product that sells a solution to a common pet problem. If you write entertaining pieces about your life, you’re growing a more personal brand. Your audience would most likely buy something with your brand’s name on it. You know your audience best, so create an engaging product that will turn readers into buyers.
If you absolutely have no idea what that product might be, then there are a couple of easy options you could choose:
Whatever method you use, getting direct feedback from your audience means you will sell them something they actually want.
Video tutorials, eBooks, artwork and how-to guides are all great digital products to sell on your blog. They are easy to create, and can be instantly downloaded. Plus, it’s a great way to grow your overall brand and authority in your niche.
Selz is a great option for selling digital products or physical products from your blog. If you are selling a digital product, Selz will host it for you. And they handle the transaction, streaming and downloading process for each sale. They do charges a small per transaction fee, but it is extremely easy to set up.
If you want something more like an actual store, you could use the new Store Pro app from Selz. You can make a professional looking eCommerce store in minutes. You can link it to your existing website or have it as a mini online store website.
Ann Reardon, from How to Cook That, sells recipes directly from her blog. She sells single recipes, plus she bundles them into categories. As a popular food blogger, this the perfect way to sell directly to an audience that is already interested in her work.
Selling physical products can be more complex than selling digital products. They need to be manufactured and then you need manage your inventory. However, there are a few easy ways to get started without the stress of buying actual inventory. Zazzle lets you design a wide variety of products, including shirts, hats, key chains, mugs, binders, watches and clocks.
It’s free to create products using Zazzle, and you can set your own royalty rate (Zazzle will just increase the price of your product). You can create your own store, or sell a single product, and their platform is extremely easy to use. Zazzle processes each sales transaction, manufactures the product, and handles the shipping.
Although the products may seem pricey, you can create one-of-a-kind products for your specific blog audience. The Bloggess is a great example of leveraging a blog to sell unique products. Her store, Eight Pounds of Uncut Cocaine: So that your credit card statements will be more exciting, sells products based on her unique sense of humor. She links her store directly from her website, which also allows her to write posts promoting any new product.
ECommerce doesn’t have to be complex or intimidating. By using existing eCommerce platforms you can easily sell products directly from your blog. The key is to create the right type of product and find an option that’s affordable and easy to use. The great news is that any blogger can sell from their blog without having to learn new technical skills.
Although marketing is never easy, everyone has a unique marketing position. You can build buzz about an upcoming eBook launch. You can easily direct readers to a sales page, or add buying options anywhere on your blog. If you keep adding value to your audience (through education or entertainment) your readers will keep coming back for more.
Your blog readers are a loyal group and are the perfect audience for your products. By choosing one of these easy eCommerce option, you can easily monetize your blog and still have time to focus on growing your tribe.
Have you tried selling something on your blog? What platform did you try? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo Courtesy of: Sharon Drummond on Flickr
Liesha Petrovich is the creator of Micro Business Essentials, a blog dedicated to helping the smallest businesses make more money. In her free time, she’s working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship. You can join her free Plus Ten plan to learn how to make an extra $10K next year.