It’s not easy to make money on a blog. On the front end, it is a ton of work. Sometimes it is difficult to know exactly what is working and what is not. I’m not going to go into how to track a blog, that could be a whole series. With that said, a blog is a great way to build passive income and increase SEO.
First let me define a few things. “Passive income” is income that you generate that is not based on real time hours. They are things like products or affiliate links that generate an income even while you are sleeping.
Here are some examples of things that generate passive income:
- Automated services
- Articles that have affiliates or ads on them
As your wheels start turning, there are a number of ways to build passive income. But before you go launching or re-inventing your counseling private practice blog, let’s talk about a few concepts.
Tips for your website
Your counseling private practice website is for that…building your counseling private practice. If you start putting ads and affiliate links all over the place, people will not first and foremost see you as a counselor they can trust. It is for this reason I have decided to do the following on my counseling website www.MentalWellnessCounseling.com:
1. I only blog about things that are directly related to counseling subjects: family issues, parenting, couples issues, angry kids, things like that.
2. I only put a Google Ad on articles that get very high hit rates. Even those are only once in a while.
3. I have links to books I recommend through my Amazon Affiliate links. Anytime someone buys a book or anything else through the link I get 2-5% of the purchase, say they buy a book and then also do all their Christmas shopping, I get a percent. With that said, I am very transparent about being an affiliate and how I use those funds.
Remember, a counseling private practice website should always point to your counseling services and this should be the main objective.
Ways to make money on a blog
So say you want to launch a blog that is similar to your counseling subjects, but sort of a spin off. Maybe it talks specifically about kids with ADHD and how to help them or how to age into retirement. Maybe it is a niche website that supplements counseling in some way. Here are ways to monetize that work in a way that your counseling private practice blog or website could not.
Affiliate marketing is where you recommend a service or product and you get a percent for the referral.
Some guiding principles that I use are:
1. I have to have used the product and find it awesome!
2. It has to be something that I would recommend even if I were not getting a referral fee.
3. It has to help people achieve the goal of my website. So, on www.PracticeofthePractice.com, the goal is to make counselors in private practice more awesome. If I started recommending juicers and fitness equipment that have nothing to do with building a counseling private practice, well you’d probably stop coming to my website.
Types of affiliate marketing
- Services that support your mission. For example, starting a website takes hosting and a domain name. I personally use Blue Host and Name Cheap, so I have affiliate links for those. Please use them if you want to help me out and have found my content valuable.
- Books or other products that are on another website. For example, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so the books I recommend, I get a small percent back. I love the book Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your SmallBusiness.
If you have not already set up a Google account, you should. You can have Google Analytics, Google Adsense, and Adwords all connected. Depending on how many people visit your site and how big the ad is you can earn a few cents to a few dollars per click. Here is one below:
Products you create
This is the way that I have created more passive income. By launching my e-book on both my website and Amazon it has helped increase SEO and a small but steady income. Here are some other things that you could create:
- A member e-mail that serves your specific niche. For example, I just launched the 52-week e-newsletter for people that are launching a counseling private practice.
- Write an e-book to go more in-depth than your blog.
- Create some forms or handouts that make your reader’s lives easier.
- Membership sites that offer something not available in other places.
At the heart of an awesome blog is that you are creating amazing content that other people want to read. Making money off of it should never be the primary goal. Your audience can tell when you are selling them something. Even though I have a number of links within this post (that make me money) I am upfront and it is within the context of helping you go to a new place in your business!
Once you have an established base that is engaging with you on your website, it never hurts to test some consulting products. For example, in the last few months I launched a few pages to see which one would be most profitable:
See my post about how these things have been going in my Oct 2012 Earnings Report.
The thing about creating higher end packages, people have to trust that you are worth it and you have to be worth it! In some way, hiring you has to save them. If someone has clients lining up at their door, and they want a website, it makes sense for them to pay me to build it. But if they are brand new and have no income stream, why would they spend tons of money on me if they could take the time and learn how to do it themselves?
So ask yourself, why does my blog matter? How is it changing lives? Why are people better off because of it? In that, you will find your income stream.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is the owner and a therapist at Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City, MI. He launched Practice of the Practice to help counselors in private practice that wanted to build their business sense and marketing approaches.
Photo from Creative Commons, thank you to Maria Reyes-McDavis