How to Monetize a WordPress Blog

Editorial Staff

WordPress is my favourite blogging platform. I’ve tried at least a dozen blogging platforms over the last 20 years, and none make it as easy as WordPress does (feel free to debate this in the discussion below!)

I’m often asked how to monetize a WordPress blog, and I feel I am in a good position to answer this question.

I’ve sold hundreds of millions of banner ad impressions to brands.

I’ve used programmatic banner ad platforms like Google Adsense extensively.

I’ve negotiated hundreds of sponsored sections, articles, and links.

I’ve joined and sold thousands of products through affiliate programs.

Not only that, but I’ve also been on the other side of negotiations too.

I’ve purchased many million banner impressions over the years, both programmatically and direct. I’ve also purchased hundreds of links, sponsored articles, and sponsored sections within websites.

So here are my top ten tips on how to monetize a WordPress blog, based on many years of experience.

Tip 1: Use Banner Ads, But Sell Them Directly First

Fun fact: This website was once called “FckDisplay”. I called it that because I am often frustrated by how heavily WordPress bloggers rely on banner ads (aka ‘display ads’) to generate their income.

They typically slap on Google Adsense, then slave away until they get 50,000 monthly impressions to make themselves a few hundred dollars per month if they are lucky.

Relying on low paying ads placed programmatically on your website will pay you peanuts, demotivate you, and ultimately lead to you abandoning a blog that could have been monetized more effectively in another manner.

So how do you monetize a WordPress blog more effectively?

You sell the same banner space, directly to advertisers.

Yes, you will get rejected often.

Yes, you’ll have to fine tune your sales pitch.

Yes, you’ll have to know what you can charge.

That’s why we teach this topic in-depth in our Monetization Method course.

The reason why we preach this so heavily is that you’ll easily double your blog’s income, if not triple it.

Selling banner ads directly removes the middle man, and lets you sell better advertising packages to the brands you work with.

Tip 2: Use Programmatic Banner Ads, But Only in Unsold Inventory

What I mean by this is focusing on selling as much banner space as you can directly to brands.

If 20% of your available inventory is unsold, then slot in low paying ad networks such as Adsense, Mediavine, or Ezoic into those spaces.

Google Adsense is where most people start. It has the least requirements, is nice and easy to implement, and is largely self-service.

Once you meet the minimum traffic requirements for other ad networks such as Mediavine, then you can switch away from Adsense to a ‘premium network’. They’ll typically pay 20% to 100% more than Adsense, but still not as much as you could get selling the ads direct.

Tip 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Test Different Layouts and The Number of Ads

There are a few fundamental tips to get every last dollar out of banner ads. These apply whether you use an ad network like Google Adsense, or are selling ads directly to advertisers.

Display multiple ads per page: This doesn’t mean shoving ads down your user’s throat, and it certainly doesn’t mean popups, popunders, or any of that nasty stuff.

What it means is that most pages require a bit of scrolling, and there is no harm in having 3 or 4 ads on a page which is of decent length and quality.

It’s not unusual to have a header ad (next to your logo), a sidebar ad or two, and another above the footer. 

Experiment: Try different placements and ad formats to test what works best for you. Some ad formats will give you a better click-through rate (CTR) than others, and therefore maximise your earnings. Likewise, some positions on your website will earn more than others.

Users come first: Ad revenue is important, but not pissing off your website visitors is (arguably) more important. You want your visitors to love your website and come back day after day, or month after month, for as long as you can keep them. This means your #1 goal is quality content, and #2 goal is milking this content for every last dollar you can.

Knowing how to monetize a WordPress blog effectively using banner ads simply boils down to nailing the tips above. But there are other (more profitable ways) that you can use to monetize a WordPress blog

Tip 4: Find What You Can ‘Build Once, Sell Twice”

build once sell twice

The image above created by Jack Butcher, Founder and CEO of Visualize Value, highlights the concept of ‘Build Once, Sell Twice’.

There are many digital products you can ‘Build Once, Sell Twice’.

An eBook is written once, and can be sold 1,000 times.

A WordPress Theme can be coded once, and sold 1,000 times.

An online course (like our Monetization Method), can be made once, and sold 10,000 times.

A CV Template can be designed once, and sold 1,000 times.

Some of these take just 1 hours to make, like the CV template. An online course can take months to make. It’s taken me over a decade to learn all the information I teach in the Monetization Method, and nearly a year to get it all written down for others to consume easily.

What’s common with all the digital products mentioned above is that the incremental cost of making an extra 1,000 sales is $0 (ignoring web hosting and payment processor fees). This is what I mean by finding a product you can make just once, then sell many times.

You’ll find they are digital products 99% of the time.

Find What You Can ‘Build Once, Sell Twice’.

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