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Make Money Blogging: Premium Content, Auxiliary Sites, Donations, and More

[This is a part of the Make Money Blogging Series.]

Opportunities abound... if you can unlock them!

Many of the following examples require a decent bit of traffic and community to be taken advantage of fully but I had to include these opportunities because they do in fact work and are just as legitimate (and powerful) as the other opportunities that I’ve written about already.

The following are just a few categories that you might explore as your blog grows and definitely a few things that you’ll want to consider in the long-term for even greater success!

Here’s what I’ve listed out in this post, just in case you’re a “scanner” and need to know right away before jumping in:

  • Premium Content
  • Events, Conferences
  • Job Boards, Market Places
  • Forums
  • Live Events, Broadcasting
  • Donations, Tip Jars
  • Selling Your Blog
  • Business Partnerships
  • And More…

Ready to check them out? Here you go…

Premium Content:

Premium content can be a touchy subject with some bloggers as more than a few believe that you should give everything away for free. I don’t necessarily agree with that because I believe some bloggers have created a culture and a community in which respects and can understand premium content.

But this strategy has been around for a long time; the most classic examples are newspapers, online media and magazines, and other such opt-in opportunities.

But in terms of blogs, one of the best examples of this is how the Envato Networks’ blogs have premium content for each blog (and a global access too):

They start at $9 per month and go from there!

Remember, the industry that the blogger serves and what they blog about might be culturally ok with it. Not a bad idea, if you ask me!

Essentially, premium content is exclusive content (blog posts, videos, audio) that you have to pay to view and consume. You might have a forward facing level of content but also a set of posts and content that only paying customers can read. Pricing can range from a few pennies to hundreds of dollars.

It’s something to consider, but do so wisely!

Events, Conferences:

A number of bloggers have become large enough to put on physical conferences with their community, making a lot of money via sponsorships and ticket sales as people come from around the globe to join in a large community event.

One of the most well-known examples of this is TechCrunch’s Distrupt Conference (formally known as TechCrunch40, then TC50) which was spawned after the blog blew up to monsterous proportions:

They have since continued to grow and it’s now one of the best events for startups in the world.

Inviting significant speakers within their industry, they gather an even larger following with content from the event as well. This typically requires the right mix of traffic, size of community, and brand awareness to pull off well.

If you can do it though you can check off the box that says “Made it as a Professional Blogger!”

Job Boards, Market Places:

A number of bloggers have a large enough community around a particular niche and target market where a job board and/or marketplace of sort becomes very viable. Charging for advertising and posting of jobs can be a lucrative business model, and the buying/selling of goods via their properties between members is a significant value-add for the community at large.

There are more than enough examples out there that you’ve already seen but one of my favorites is 37signal’s job board:

Getting a job board to be done well is definitely a challenge and I’ve had more fail than actually succeed, so tread lightly and carefully! You just might end up spending a lot more time, energy, and money on this than you’re honestly willing to invest.

Trust me, I know this from experience!

Forums:

One of the best examples of this being used as a revenue-generating machine is Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.net and his ProBlogger.com community forums. The cost to access those forums are $5.95 per month, but is well worth it if you’re going to be an active community member.

I’m a member of the ProBlogger forums and it’s been great. And, if you do the very quick math, you’ll realize that Darren is making over $100,000 per month through this forum!

Great money maker? Yup. Most definitely!

Live Online Broadcasts:

Live online broadcasts are becoming increasingly more used and I’ve already begun taking advantage of it here on TentBlogger (see the TentBlogger Live here, powered by Live Theme WordPress Theme). The power to not only provide opportunities for sponsorships and advertising but also premium paid-only broadcasts are obvious takes.

But I think there are even more creative ways to make a few dollars off of live broadcasts such as product reviews, affiliates, and more.

I think we’re going to see even more creativity as it relates to live broadcasting as more and more bloggers jump into the water.

Donations and ‘Tip Jars’:

You’ve probably seen these around on blogger’s sidebars and in PayPal widgets every so often but I know more than a handful of bloggers that make some serious cash this way and the community around it totally digs it.

And a ‘Tip Jar’ is always pretty sweet. But taking donations isn’t for everyone and done poorly can be a real negative factor for a blog and can look very bad if your community doesn’t like it.

Typically, to pull this off well you need a large community, lots of traffic, and no other advertising to show that this is the only way that you get compensated. It’s tricky to pull off but some people have done it with wild success. Kottke is one of the best examples:

He successfully made the venture and even reported on how his donation drive went! He almost got the full goal and then continued on to be a success.

Generally, I would use these with caution, but if you decide this is the way to go then go for it!

Selling Your Blog:

There was a time where “flipping” a blog was a very normal thing to do. This was more than a few years ago and you don’t hear about it all to often anymore.

But it might be something you’re interested in doing eventually with your property because it could be fairly lucrative (TechCrunch sold their property to AOL recently for the tune of $25 million!).

Sell your blog? No... ... ... ...

Although you will most likely never get to this point (in terms of valuation) you may be able to sell it for a little farther south of that figure and be just as happy.

I’ve included it in this list just because it’s a definite possibility but I honestly think there is more money to be made by keeping the property for the long haul than selling it right out.

Partnerships:

Business partnerships are awesome!

Finally, there’s always the chance that you’ll be able to partner with larger organizations at a significant dollar amount without actually having to sell the blog away. These partnerships can be as surface-level in their dealings (sharing links, ad space, etc) as well as being exceptionally deep in the level of integration, strategy, and execution.

I have managed a few of these types of arrangements and let me tell you that they are personally very lucrative and account for much of what I make as a professional blogger. There is a lot of business development required and the sale cycle can be a long process but the end result is well-worth it.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to “grease the wheel” so to speak so that my personal sales cycle do not require the amount of time typically required because the value propositions are obvious, but for others it could take a bit of time.

Getting help, advice, and counsel from experienced businessmen/women in blogging is crucial to make these things a success.

So, have you experienced and/or use any of the above strategies for making money through your blog? Which ones could you begin to execute on today?

Let me know in the comments!

[This is a part of the Make Money Blogging Series.]