There are a lot of ways you can earn money from your blog. However, most monetization methods aren’t what we’d call direct. You’re usually getting paid by someone else to promote products, websites, or services. It works, but it’s not an ideal arrangement.
If you’re talented enough to create a successful blog, though, then chances are you can market your knowledge in other ways. For example, you can use your blog to promote e-books you write, and that’s just one possibility.
In this article, we’ll talk about why it makes sense to promote your own products and services through your blog. Then I’ll guide you through the basics of selling products through WordPress, so you can get started right away. Let’s get to it!
Why Use Your Blog to Sell Products and Services
There are a lot of ways you can monetize a blog. The most common methods are:
- Affiliate marketing. With this approach, you promote third-party products and services.
- Display ads. You can use this type of ad to lead users to other websites or to promote products directly.
In both cases, you leverage your traffic to gain an income from a third party. It’s an approach that works if you have an audience. Out of the two, affiliate marketing tends to pay a lot better.
Here’s the problem, though – in most affiliate arrangements, you only get a tiny fraction of the money your users spend on those third-party sites. After all, they’re providing the products and closing the sales. What you’re doing is basically collecting leads.
The smart move – if at all possible in your case – is to promote your own products and services instead. If you run a blog about web development, for example, you can sell online courses directly, including premium content free visitors don’t get access to.
In most cases, this approach only works if you’re selling digital products or services. For physical products, you face a whole different set of challenges, from managing inventory to shipping, processing returns, and much more.
Ideally, you want to set up multiple income streams for your blog. If you’re relying on affiliate marketing now, you can still do that, while at the same time promoting your own products.
How to Sell Products and Services Through Your WordPress Blog
Setting up a WordPress blog is easy, but the platform doesn’t include e-commerce functionality out of the box. If you want to process sales, you’ll need the help of plugins.
Step 1: Set Up an E-Commerce Plugin
E-commerce plugins work for both physical and digital products, depending on which tool you choose. The option for most users is called WooCommerce:
With WooCommerce, you can add all the features you need to make sales through your blog. The plugin enables you to manage pricing, payment processing, manage hundreds of products, and more. Keep in mind, though – most of its features are designed to work with physical items.
If you want to use a plugin that’s built for digital sales from the ground up, I recommend you check out Easy Digital Downloads:
This plugin is perfect if you plan on selling e-books and online courses. It works with PayPal out of the box, which is perfect, depending on where your audience is from.
Once you settle on what tool you want to use, it’s time to put up your own products for sale.
Step 2: Publish the Products or Services You Want to Sell
Unless you’re setting up a full-featured online shop, you probably want to focus on one or two core products. Those could be online courses, e-books, or whichever service you’re offering.
Both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Donwloads make it easy to publish and price new items thanks to built-in editors:
Once the products you want to sell are ready, you want to make sure they’re easy to find. In most cases, I’d recommend linking to your core products or services directly from your navigation menu or through your sidebar (like we do with our Paid to Blog course):
The idea is to make sure that visitors know the product exists and what it can do for them. Once you plant that seed, it’s time to start re-focusing some of your efforts away from marketing third-party services and towards your own.
Step 3: Use Your Blog’s Content, Social Media, and Email List to Drive Sales
Regardless of what type of blog you run, there are three main ways you can promote products or services to your audience and those are:
- Your blog’s content. Whenever relevant, you can mention your own products or services, highlighting their benefits.
- Social media. If you have a social media presence, you should use it to routinely promote sales, special offers, and more.
- Email marketing. One of the primary benefits of an email list is you get a direct line to your readers’ inboxes, which you can use to (occasionally) promote yourself.
Self-promotion requires a delicate balance. Just as you wouldn’t want to oversell third-party items, you want to keep things above board when talking about your own offers.
Ideally, you’ll only mention your products if they’re relevant for specific blog posts. With social media and email marketing, you want to avoid spamming your subscribers, so they don’t leave your list.
As a rule of thumb, most of your blog’s content and outreach should remain informative. You want to provide plenty of value for free to build trust. With time, that should lead to more sales.
The only exception to that rule is if you’re launching a new product. In that case, feel free to toot your own horn a little bit, so your audience is aware of the launch before it happens.
The whole point of starting a blog is to build something that’s uniquely yours. It’s the kind of project that can grow into a sustainable income if you’re persistent and you understand how to monetize content. One of the many ways you can do that is by selling your own products and services and then using your blog to drive sales.
By ‘driving sales’ I don’t mean talking readers into buying things they don’t need. If you have an audience that’s interested in what you write, then chances are you can also offer products that can help them.
Do you have any questions about how to sell products and services through your blog? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.
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