How to make money on your blog…with products and services
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There are tons of different ways to make money on your blog. One popular way of making money blogging is by selling products and services. But how exactly do you make money from products and services? What are the pros and cons of selling products and services on your blog, and how exactly do you make good money with products and services? Read on to discover how to make money on your blog with products and services.
I recently shared a post in response to a question I get asked A LOT: “How do blogs make money?”. In that post I explain how there are lots of ways to make money, but basically, they boil down to 5 main categories: traditional advertising, affiliate links, sponsored posts, products and services.
That post is great overview of the main ways blogs make money, but I wanted to go a bit deeper into the nitty gritty of exactly HOW to make money on your blog via these 5 ways: the pros and cons, the steps you need to take, and what you need to do to make serious money.
I’ve already shared How to make money on your blog with advertising, How to make money on your blog with affiliate links and How to make money with sponsored posts, so today I am turning my attention to the fourth and fifth categories: how to make money on your blog with products and services.
What exactly are products and services?
A product is a ‘thing’ that you create in advance and send out to the purchaser, this could be an actual physical product, but usually bloggers sell digital products, such as printables, ebooks and courses.
A service, on the other hand, is something that you ‘do’. Bloggers offer all sorts of services, but typical ones include virtual assistant services or social media management, writing freelance articles for websites and magazines, and coaching and consulting services. Some bloggers offer more niche specific services, such as nutrition advice, personal training, legal services or tax advice. (Obviously you should only offer services in these areas if you have the appropriate qualifications and experience!).
Pros and cons
There are a couple of big advantages to selling your own products, firstly you get to keep all the money. Whereas with affiliate links you only get a small percentage, with your own product you get to keep it all (minus any costs you incur, obviously). Another advantage of creating a product is that once you’ve created the product, you can keep on making money month in month out. And that money builds and builds as you create more products and reach more and more people. This is unlike, say, sponsored posts where, if you want to make more money, you have to write another sponsored post.
The other lovely thing about selling products on your website is that you are in charge and you call the shots. You are not working to anyone else’s brief. You can create the perfect product for your audience and you don’t have to answer to anyone (well apart from your customers!).
The downside is of course that creating a product is a big undertaking that is going to take some serious time and effort. You also need to be good at marketing your product and be careful to pick a price point that is actually going to earn you enough money (without being off-putting to your potential audience) AND there is always the risk that you won’t sell any! (Though by doing serious research before you create your product and ensuring it’s actually something your readers want, you can mitigate this risk.)
Offering services has many of the advantages of selling products on your website. You can keep all the money (not just a percentage, as with affiliate sales) and you can call the shots, decide what services you will offer, how much you will charge, when you will work and how many clients you will take on.
Unlike with products, you don’t have the disadvantage of having to spend hours and hours creating your product. Depending on what services you are offering and your experience and expertise in the area, it may be as simple as creating an advert on your site and social media, and waiting for the clients to start contacting you.
The main disadvantage is that you only have so much time. So your income is limited to how many hours a week you can offer your service, remembering that you also have to juggle the demands of maintaining your blog, social media and the rest of life. (That said, if you find your services become super popular and you can’t keep up with demand, you can always increase your prices!)
You also have the problem of holidays… Unlike with products, affiliate links or advertising, with services you don’t make money if you don’t work. So your prices will have to be high enough to cover time off too.
With both products and services, you also have to deal with the tech side of actually delivering the product/service to your customers and keeping track of the money side of things too, including taxes, refunds, complaints and so on.
So how do you go about it?
First you need to research thoroughly what your audience wants. Ideally your product or service should solve a BIG problem for your readers. Something they would find irresistible. You need to do some research, find out what they want – ask them either via email, in a blog post, or on social media. You could also ask real life friends who fit the target market of your blog.
Then, if you are going down the product route, you need to create the actual product – either write a book or write/film the course and research how you are going to deliver it. If you are creating a course, then I really recommend Teachable* as a great platform for delivering online courses. If you want to create an ebook, then ConvertKit Commerce* is a great way of delivering an ebook without having to get involved in lots of tech on your website.
Alternatively, you could look into an ecommerce platform for your blog, such as Shopify or WooCommerce to deliver your product.
READ MORE >>> Ebook vs Online Course: Which should you create?
READ MORE >>> 20 reasons why you should create an online course
READ MORE >>> How to create your first online course – 10 step plan!
With services, it really depends on the type of service you want to offer, it may simply be a case of creating an advert for the service you want to offer, sharing it on social media and waiting for the clients to roll in!
Alternatively, you may have some initial tech set up to allow clients to book and pay for services and book a slot in your diary. You may also need to figure out how you are going to deliver your service… Via email? Traditional phone call? Skype or Zoom? In person? Again, all this will depend on the kind of service you are offering. Teachable* is also a great platform for offering services, via its ‘coaching’ feature. Here you can easily create a very attractive sales page for your services, manage bookings, process payments and offer upsells.
With both products and services, make sure to have terms and conditions, which your purchasers have to agree to, to cover your back. For example, what’s your refund policy? Do clients have a specific window in which they have to book their one-to-one calls with you? How long do your customers get access to the course for? It’s really important to get these things in place BEFORE you start selling your product/service, so everyone knows where they stand when a situation arises.
How to earn lots of money with products and services
It is possible to earn serious money with products and services, but there are two things you need to get right. First you need to build up a loyal fan base who will be delighted to get their hands on your latest product/service and secondly you need to ensure your product/service is something your loyal fanbase actually wants. You need to do some serious research first to establish if there is enough demand for the thing you are thinking of offering.
Building your email list is also vital if you are to do well at selling your product or service. Most bloggers who sell products or services via their website say that the vast majority of their sales come from people on their email list. There is even a saying in the blogging world that every person you have on your mailing list is worth $1 a month. So, for every 1,000 people on your mailing list, you could be earning $1,000 per month through products and services – an interesting thought!
The third thing is, of course, to create something of real value and to price it appropriately. You want your customers to be delighted with the product or service they have bought from you and feel they have got real value for money. Ideally you want them to love it so much, they rave about it to all their friends and family, who in turn come to your website and buy your thing!
Find out more…
Find out more about making money with products and services:
- Ebook vs Online Course: Which should you create?
- How to create your first online course: a 10 step plan for success!
- Essential equipment for creating an online course (for all budgets)
- How to go from blog to book deal
- How to get freelance blogging work
Find out more about the other ways of making money with your blog:
- How to make money on your blog with advertising
- How to make money on your blog with affiliate links
- How to make money on your blog with sponsored posts
And for a good overview on the subject of making money with a blog, check out this post: How do blogs make money?
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*This blog post contains affiliate links, this means if you click on a link and go on to buy the product I recommend, I will get a small commission, but you will not be charged a penny more – thanks in advance!