It only takes three things to get started writing a blog: a computer, an Internet connection and the ability to write. Although some might argue the ability to write is optional—there are a lot of bloggers who couldn’t even write a decent ransom note.

Starting a blog is easy; making money with your blog is a bit more difficult. And that’s what you really want to do, isn’t it? Not too long ago I saw a list of what was supposed to be the biggest money producing blogs in the business. This is a fairly fluid group, so the rankings often change. But, in this snap shot TechCrunch came out on top with an estimated $200,000 of monthly ad revenue. Not bad.

Second on the list was Mashable. Note that TechCrunch and Mashable are blogs with a long list of contributors. You have to get down to number three on the list, Timothy Sykes, to find a blog associated with one writer. And, while TechCrunch and Mashable make their dough primarily by selling banner ads, Timothy Skyes pulls in about $80,000 a month via affiliate marketing.

With those blogs as starting points, it brings us to our real subject: three ways to make money from your blog. The first way should be quite obvious by now:

3-ways-to-make-money-from-your-blog

1. Sell Ads
Contrary to what you might be led to believe if you watch “Ad Men,” you don’t have to be a great salesman to get started selling ads on your blog. That’s good since you probably got into blogging because you have something to say or you love to write—not because you want to go out and make cold calls peddling Internet ads.

Many blogging platforms allow you to easily incorporate “pay per click” ads on your pages.

Among these are:
Google Adsense
Clicksor
Yahoo! Publisher Network (YPN)
Chitika
BidVertiser

Signing up for these programs is fairly painless. If someone clicks on the ad that appears on your blog, you get paid. There are a large number of variations on this idea, including programs that pay for each 1,000 times visitors see the ad on your page. These are called “impressions” and this type of advertising is called CPM (cost per mille, which means 1,000). Here are some programs:

Right Media
Advertising.com
Tribal Fusion
Casale Media
Burst Media
Value Click

Now, if you do consider yourself something of an advertising salesperson, you might want to sell banner ads on your site. Of course you’ll need an established blog with a fairly high volume of traffic to make selling ads yourself worth your time.

2. Sign on as an Affiliate
If there are products or services that somehow relate to the topic of your blog, scour the Internet and find the e-commerce sites that offer affiliate marketing programs for those products or services.

Obviously some blog topics work better in the affiliate marketing arena than others. The Timothy Skyes blog mentioned earlier discusses penny stocks and there are plenty of natural tie-ins to that subject.

Some major e-commerce sites like Amazon.com and eBay have their own well established affiliate programs. Others work through third party affiliate networks. You should check these out to find programs that might dovetail with your blog:

Link Share
Commission Junction
Azoogle Ads
ClickBank

3. Sell Your Smarts
Since you’re a blogger, there’s a darn good chance you consider yourself an expert in something. Create products that feature your insights and sell them through your blog.

If you know a lot about scrap booking, post interesting and informative short blogs about your hobby, but develop a more in-depth e-book that readers of your blog will absolutely have to buy. You can take this even further of course. Videos, podcasts and audio books are also products you you can use to generate sales. Or, you could even market your services as a professional scrap book artist.

These three ways to make money with your blog are only the beginning. They are probably the easiest and most direct ways to quickly mine your blog for money. And, as you consider each of these, you’ll probably discover slight variations and different angles you can work, to make your blog work for you.

This is a guest post written by Lin Edwards, Chief writer for SmallBusiness-Domain.com. If you wish to write for us, please check our guidelines.

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Lin Edwards is the Chief writer for SmallBusiness-Domain.com, an online resource for web hosting, e-commerce and domain tips, editor reviews & ratings, news and more. Small Business Domain also offers promo codes and coupons, including Yahoo store promo codes. Follow Small Business Domain on Twitter: >http://twitter.com/#!/sbdomain>