Most people start a blog as a hobby. Somewhere to jot down their thoughts and share their ideas and wisdom with the world. But if a blog gains steam and is bringing in a lot of visitors, be it from SEO or social media, then it makes sense to look at monetizing it.
A popular choice for bloggers to bring in a few dollars is to sign up for a service like AdSense which gives advertisers the ability to bid on advertising space on your site, resulting in you getting a small commission anytime someone clicks on an ad through your site.
While AdSense can be a steady and reliable income stream when combined with a consistent content roll out, it’s more likely to be a trickle than a stream unless you are getting millions of monthly users.
Many realise that a better way to make money online from their audience is to find or create relevant products and pitch them on the site to your visitors. The trick is to keep it relevant so that you know that there is actually a decent chance that visitors will buy.
So how can you turn your WordPress blog into a worthwhile web store?
WooCommerce for WordPress eCommerce is the clear winner when it comes to the best eCommerce solution for WordPress. The plugin is simple to use yet extremely powerful with an absolute force of a community behind it for when you need support.
Installation is simple and so is the setup. The best thing about it is that it will not affect your blog at all. Remember, WordPress was started to be a blogging platform so it is easy to maintain the image of primarily being a blog site that also happens to sell products as well.
There are lots of guides out there on how to get started with WooCommerce so I won’t flog that dead horse. So once it’s installed, how do we get to the money making part?
If you are having problems then you can always look at having a WooCommerce web design professional getting your system setup and looking luscious for you.
It’s all fair and good having the system in place to facilitate and fulfill orders but you need to make sure you have the right products before you will get any inbox action regarding sales.
The most important thing to consider when picking products to compliment your blog is what the blog is about in the first place. If you have a blog all about your passion for leather kites then it doesn’t make sense to promote multi-purpose remote controls for home entertainment systems to your audience does it?
You have to make sure what you are selling is relevant to your reader base. Stuff they might want to buy. With this in mind, product selection is definitely more about quality than quantity. Many blogs actually get away with selling only a few, highly relevant products as opposed to having an extensive catalog.
Let’s get back to the leather kites example, a favourite of mine. You could obviously sell things like leather kite repair kits, a range of leather kites, books about leather kits, spare parts and so on. Testing products is key to finding out what works, so expect to fail your way to success when it comes to product picking. With this in mind, look at keeping initial orders low so you don’t end up with 1,000 of something you don’t need and buy in more bulk when you are confident you can ship it. You can look at dropshipping to get you started if you feel comfortable with the business model, though it probably isn’t advisable.
Another good idea is to ask your audience what they would like. You can do this on social media in the form of a question, a poll or other means. Audience feedback doesn’t necessarily mean success and will still require testing, but you are more likely to get off to a good start by asking your readers what they want first.
A popular option with bloggers. If people like what you do and say and would like to support you then there is a good chance that they will happily buy some merchandise.
Get some design made up, whether by yourself or by a designer, and see how well they do on a variety of items like t-shirts, hoodies, cups and so on. This is another aspect that should be slowly tested to see what works to avoid yourself owning a large wardrobe of duplicate items.
I recommend looking at what others have done and what is working for them so that you can get an idea of what people generally like and what might work for you.
Creating urgency and scarcity with your merchandise by doing limited edition runs can help your online selling efforts by giving your readers a fear of missing out. This will help you sell out entire batches easier and reduce residual stock building up.
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