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Start up school lesson#5: How to monetise your niche

Start up school lesson #4: How to discover your niche

This is the fifth lesson from our Start Up School Series – to teach you how you  can escape the rat race and start your own business.

Click the link to catch up with earlier Start Up School posts.

In this lesson we’re going to focus on how you can make money from your niche.

Not everything works for everyone

The first thing to remember is just because something does or doesn’t work for me or anyone else, it might or might not work for you.

Over the last couple of years I’ve come to realize that there is no ‘one fits all’ method of monetizing your blog. What works in one niche might not work in another and vice versa.

Most people in their quest to make an income from their blog start perhaps with Google Adsense. Google Adsense is a programme that you can participate in that let’s Google post adverts relevant to the content on your site. For every click or impression you get a small fee which over time mounts up, but equally it might not mount to very much.  Johnny B. Truant shared his experiences over on CopyBlogger, how after 1 year he made$111 using Adsense.

On the other hand, I have a friend who makes about $1000 from adsense alone each month, but he has a tonne of traffic (c20,000 a month). So unless you have a lot of highly targetted traffic, adsense alone probably won’t make you a fortune.

That’s not to say however, that Adsense won’t work for you, but it might not be appropriate for your niche – For Example I understand that Darren Rowse (from Problogger and Digital Photography School) uses Adsense on his Digital Photography School Site, but not on

How I monetize this site

My blog essentially supports my physical business, so I offer some services to my core business online, such as one hour consulting and brainstorming, but these involve me directly and therefore not passive income generators although I’m not physically present when the sale is made (so in a sense, they are passive income sources).

My main online sources of passive income are from the following areas:

  • Selling my own Products
  • Recommending products / services

Selling my Own Products

I have produced several digital products eBooks/eWorkbooks which I promote on my site with banner adverts. Visitors attracted by the ads click on them and are taken to a sales page where I tell them all about the product. At the Bottom of the sales page I have a button which will link to my digital shopping cart.

In my case I use the E-Junkie shopping cart system to manage my shopping cart.

I find E-Junkie very easy to use, but it’s also very cheap to run at $5 a month for 10 products/services.   If that doesn’t convince you, there’s a free 7 Day Trial and after that it’s $5 a month, which to be quite honest is a bargain. As E-Junkie host and distribute my digital files, integrate with my payment system (Paypal) sends out ‘thank you’ emails with a link to download it can be configured to integrate with my Email Newsletter provider Aweber.

It really is good and a product I strongly recommend you look at if you’re looking to sell you’re own stuff.

Selling other people’s products or services

One of the most successful affiliate schemes is Amazon. Although ,Amazon pays only a small percentage off of every item that is sold when you promote one of it’s products such as a DVD or Book via an affiliate link. For most bloggers, recommending books is quite a natural extension to monetising your blog and very low key. What’s more if you’re recommending something, then as long as you’re building trust with your readers, people are more than likely going to be interested if it’s relevant to thier niche – plus it’s not very in your face.

Let’s get one thing clear, I personally do not recommend anything that I have not either read, used or bought myself. Sometimes I get free stuff – but it’s on the basis that if I don’t like it I won’t recommend it. Mind you sometimes if something is particularly bad, then I’ll certainly tell you all about it!

It’s up to you whether you promote stuff you haven’t used, but I personally am not comfortable with it.

Another alternative for selecting products to promote is via a site called Clickbank. Clickbank is a great way to identify products or services you can promote, E-Junkie allows you to promote products in a similar way and you won’t need to have a subscription to sign up to promote affiliate products.

However, many website owners will allow you to join thier own affiliate programs, so you don’t have to go searching for products. If your favorite website has products you love but you don’t see a link an affiliate program, you can always email the site owner and ask them if they offer one. Some site owners don’t advertise their programs and others may ask you to apply. If you want to join mine, click here!

A word of warning though, you should NEVER have to pay to join an affiliate programme.

Monetizing my own blog is a recent journey for me, but everyday I learn a little bit more. You should certainly try stuff and if it works do more, if doesn’t cut it out.

Remember, your home page is your prime real estate and you want to make sure that every pixel counts.