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So on June 15th, the ads network Mediavine, changed their application goalposts. The new Mediavine requirements mean that a blogger needs 50,000 sessions per month before they can apply to join Mediavine ad network.
Yep I said sessions, not even page views.
That’s a LOT of blog traffic. These new Mediavine requirements are really disappointing for many bloggers who were getting so close to being able to apply.
Those who were working hard to get their 2nd site approved are also feeling crushed.
If you’re new to blogging, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about? Surely there are other ad networks. Adsense will accept just about any blogger, right..?!
But Adsense will plaster your website in ads left, right and central and pay a pittance for the privilege.
For that reason, many bloggers choose to wait until they can join an ads network that pays well and displays ads in a subtle way which won’t have their potential readers running for the hills.
Until June 15th, Mediavine ads network was still a little tricky to get accepted into. You needed 25,000 monthly sessions (or 10,000 for a 2nd website) and plenty of US and UK based traffic.
But the slightly tougher entry requirements make the network the holy grail of ad networks. Something for bloggers to strive towards, something to celebrate when you hit that coveted 25k!
I remember hitting that 25K target and I celebrated for days. I had worked so so hard to achieve it and not only did it mean I would be earning more passive income but it also felt like I’d hit a real blogging milestone. It made me feel that I had legitimately ‘made it’ as a blogger. If this happened just before I applied, I know I would be crushed so I can imagine how you must be feeling.
I have loved being a part of Mediavines programme. It’s been lucrative, especially around sales periods like Black Friday.
BUT, it is not everything!!!
In fact, ads only contribute less than 1/7 of my total passive income. So I want you to keep this in context. There is, after all, more than one way to crack an egg.
So I wanted to write this article addressing the new Mediavine requirements to give you an action plan going forward.
We will be discussing how to reach 50K sessions and how to get a little bump in traffic when you’re close to applying. We’ll also look at Mediavine alternatives and the other ways you can make money blogging which are actually a lot more lucrative than ads ever will be…
What are the Mediavine requirements now?
- Mediavine requires 50K monthly sessions to apply. These can be over a 30 day period and does not have to correlate with a certain month. Even if you’re in mid August, you can apply based off the last 30 days stats.
- You also need 50K monthly sessions for 2nd websites. Previously it was just 10K.
- You need to have plenty of US traffic. UK, Canadian, Australian traffic is also acceptable. If your traffic is predominantly from Asia, you may get rejected. In which case focus on getting more US traffic for example promoting your website more often on Pinterest rather than relying on social media or Google.
- Your website must have quality, original content with no spam and no restricted topics.
How to reach 50K sessions to get into Mediavine ads network
Okay so the new Mediavine requirements haven’t put you off, you know you can still get there. Fab. So how can we make this happen?
Focus on SEO
The first thing I would do is urge you to focus on SEO.
It’s great when a post goes viral on social media but the results are usually short-lived.
If you want to see consistent growth, search engine optimisation needs to be part of your growth strategy.
When I started learning about SEO, my traffic shot up by 400% in a year and I hit those Mediavine requirements in a matter of months.
Using Keysearch made all the difference. I was able to find keywords with large search volumes but also know if they were difficult to rank for. By finding keywords with a high search volume and low difficulty score, my traffic started to skyrocket! After paid hosting, Keysearch (or a similar keyword tool) is the most important investment you can make in your blog.
To get a 20% discount off Keysearch, use this link and then the discount code KSDISC.
And if you haven’t started learning SEO, now is your chance!
I recommend you read my beginners guide to SEO and if you’re looking for something more in-depth, check out my new ebook – SEO for Affiliate marketing success. You’ll learn about regular SEO and Pinterest SEO but more importantly, how to use this to get affiliate sales.
Get a Pinterest strategy
Pinterest is my 2nd favourite source of traffic.
You can usually rank for keywords much faster on Pinterest than Google. Yep, I said rank for keywords. Pinterest is a search engine too!
So Pinterest SEO is just as important. You can read about how to optimise your profile, boards and pins for SEO here.
These days, Pinterest places a big emphasis on new fresh pins. They don’t want you pinning the same pin multiple times to different or the same boards. In fact the recommend pinning your pins to no more than 10 boards and ONLY if the pin is highly relevant for the board topic.
Ideally, you should be pinning 25-30 times throughout the day to see the most traction. This needs to be spread out evenly so that you are reaching pinners in different time zones.
I use Tailwind to automate my pinning so that I can pin whilst I’m sleeping, maximising my reach and presence on Pinterest.
Doing this helped me quickly grow my traffic to my blog which helped me get accepted to Mediavine.
The good news is that you can try Tailwind for 30 days (without handing over credit card details as I hate those ‘free trials’.) Just use this link and you will get 100 free pins. If you don’t see any traffic growth you can just stop using it after your trial!
I recommend getting Canva Pro to create your pins as you can create them super fast on mass with the pro version.
The pro version allows you to create folders where you can keep your templates and favourite images for easy access. It allows you to import your brand fonts and save your brand colours which makes designing your pins SO MUCH FASTER! You also get access to 60 million stock photos – super important for creating many unique pins for every article as you will soon run out of your own images!
The jury is out about whether Facebook threads to gain Pinterest engagement make much difference. I personally think they probably help if you use them sparingly. I think if the same people are interacting with your pins over and over that could make Pinterest a little suspicious!
I personally use them just for pins that I want to give an extra push to. The type of pins that have the potential to go viral.
The groups I tend to use for this are;
I choose pin threads where you can choose what you want to pin so you can make sure you only pin relevant content. I do NOT want to start pinning recipes when my blog is about affiliate marketing!
Set up a Facebook group
Facebook doesn’t suit every niche but if you are in a niche where your ideal reader hangs out on Facebook, then setting up a group can be a great way to both grow a community and grow your blog traffic.
In fact, Facebook drives the most traffic to this website.
Facebook groups have a much larger reach than Facebook pages. You’ll also see more engagement on your posts which helps to get more eyes on them.
But Facebook groups are more than a way to get traffic. It’s a way to build your authority in your niche, to build a community around your business and to network with your ideal readers.
From a financial point of view, Facebook groups are also the ideal place to promote your own products, services and affiliate links.
But there are good Facebook groups and bad ones either full of spam or where you hear crickets every time you post.
For a successful Facebook group I recommend the following;
- Make use of your 3 questions to screen new members. Make sure they are your ideal audience.
- Make your rules very clear and include them when people sign up.
- Schedule engaging posts in advance. For the 1st 2 months, I scheduled a post a day which was designed to encourage audience participation. Think questions, stories, polls or sharing really useful tips.
- Try to go live occasionally so that your group can get to know you. Being camera shy I resisted this for so long! But once I took the plunge, I started enjoying it as it felt like it created a stronger sense of community. I usually set up Facebook events for my lives to remind people they are happening. It also means they get a 1 hour to go warning! This way I have more live attendees to interact with – I LOVE getting questions during lives!
- I always post a response to anything topical or trending in my niche.
- Every time I post, I always add a question. Even if it’s just ‘did you know this?’
- Don’t make every post about your products or blog posts. 80% of what you post should be about your community.
What about when you’re getting really close?
When you are getting really close to the 50K pageview threshold, you may want to consider doing a few things to give your website traffic a little bump.
Here are a few ideas
- Post a controversial article which could go viral on social media
- Partner with someone else who’s close to applying too. Make sure you are sharing each other’s posts and scheduling each other’s pins.
- Write an inspirational listicle perfect for Pinterest. My US bucket list was perfect Pinterest viral content and publishing that article got me over the threshold.
- Ask your friends for help. I have a Whatsapp group with some fellow bloggers and we often help each other out, especially when one of us was getting close to a Mediavine application.
Mediavine Alternatives with lower requirements
In the meantime, how are you going to monetise your site?
Now whilst there are many ways to monetise a site without ads – we’ll discuss those in a moment, there are some ad network alternatives to consider.
- Monumetric – accepts anyone with 10K page views a month. The downside is that there is a $99 fee to join so your first commissions will go towards paying that fee!
- Ezoic – accepts those with 10K page views. There have been occasional reports of Ezoic slowing a site down but in general, many people are happy with Ezoic. RPM’s are not as high as for Mediavine or Ad Thrive but they are much better than Adsense. I’ve heard mixed things about their customer service
- Adsense – accepts brand new blogs but pays poorly and ads can look spammy
How to make money blogging without relying on ad networks
Now here is the really good news…
YOU DO NOT NEED ADS ON YOUR WEBSITE TO BE SUCCESSFUL!
Honestly, ads are not everything. In fact to make a full time income through ads alone, you’re going to have to have extremely high levels of traffic – way beyond Mediavine’s requirements anyway!
Let’s work on an average RPM of $20 which is achievable for many bloggers with Mediavine. (Yes, you can earn more in some niches especially during the holiday seasons.)
Let’s now say you’re on 30K monthly sessions, that means that you are earning an average of $600 through Mediavine ads.
It’s certainly not money you would turn your nose up at but realistically can you quit your 9-5 with an income of $600?
Now let’s compare this to my own earnings when I was on around 30K sessions (which was about 40K page views.) I earned $5300 that month. Enough for most people to happily quit their 9-5.
Ads were lucrative that month as it was during November so there was Black Friday RPM boosts, but the majority of my income did not come from ad revenue.
$4400 of that was from a combination of affiliate marketing and selling my own digital products.
Now doesn’t $4400 sound more appealing than $600?
Yes, both would be lovely but my point is that you can still be successful without a single paid ad on your website!
In fact, if you’re focusing less on reaching Mediavine traffic thresholds and instead focus on your monetisation strategy, you may make even more money than you would if you got accepted into Mediavine!
Read more : Income report $5300 with 40K page views
Okay so let’s take a look at alternative ways to monetise your site…
Number one is my personal favourite way to monetise a website – affiliate marketing.
I love affiliate marketing for many reasons including;
- I can make money promoting only products I absolutely love allowing me to stay fully authentic and building trust with my audience.
- I can work on my own terms. Say what I like. Publish when I want to. Post to social media when I want to. I am 100% my own boss working to my own schedule. When a friend asks if I want to take the day off to hang out, I can always say yes.
- It is seriously lucrative! I have some articles which earn upwards of $1000 a month. Yes, single articles! I have another article which only gets 75 page views a month (that’s about $1.50 in ad revenue) which earns $100 every month via affiliates.
If you are completely new to making money with affiliates, then I recommend reading my complete beginners guide to affiliate marketing. If you’re more advanced, check out my 10 Advanced Affiliate Tips.
If you are serious about making more money blogging then I run a free 5 day affiliate course via email. You’ll get a workbook and an email each day with a challenge as well as lots of tips to get more people to increase your affiliate conversions.
GET THIS FREE
AFFILIATE MARKETING COURSE
5 DAYS TO DEVELOP A MONETISATION STRATEGY THAT ACTUALLY WORKS IN 2020 (EVEN FOR SMALLER BLOGS!)
Selling your own digital products
Another great way to make passive income is to create some digital products appropriate for your niche. It might be a planner, an ebook or a template or something completely different entirely.
Once you’ve created the product, you can sell on autopilot by including links in relevant blog posts or set up pins which direct the pinner straight to your sales page.
You can also use paid products as a tripwire to grow your email list.
Let me explain what I mean.
To grow your email list, you need to offer a freebie lead magnet to get your readers to part with their email address. It needs to be something perfect for them that solves their problems.
When someone signs up for one of my freebies, they get redirected to a Thank you page. On this Thank you page, I offer a too-good-to-miss deal on one of my paid products.This is called a tripwire.
It is the lowest price that person will ever see it but the key is that it’s a time-sensitive deal. the sense of urgency will encourage people to make a purchase. I use a plugin called Evergreen countdown and after the time period, the reader is redirected to an offer expired page.
Not everyone will purchase this deal (though they should as its seriously GOOD!) But enough people purchase the product to cover my ad fees.
This means I can now run ads to my freebie whilst offsetting my costs with paid products. So essentially I can grow my email list quickly for free.
I can then use my email list to promote other products or my affiliate products. I can also use the list to drive more traffic to my blog as well as build up that sense of community and trust.
Want to see the digital products I sell? Check out my online shop.
Now the issue with creating digital products is that they can take a while to create and if you are not design minded, it may be difficult to make them look professional. And if you’re selling the product, it simple MUST look professional and polished.
Thats why I recommend using templates to create these products. Using templates, you could make your product in just a couple of hours and be making money straight away!
For example, if you wanted to make a planner for busy Moms, you could use my Planner template and just changed the brand colours, the headings and a few of the table contents and ta-da, you’re done! One polished looking digital product ready to sell to your audience of busy Moms and it probably took you 30 minutes.
Or if you’ve created an ebook as a word document and want to make it look professional enough to sell, just copy and paste it into my Ebook template, change the brand colours and add a few images and again, you’re done!
Selling a service
You also have the option to sell your services such as a consultation phone call via your blog. This income is not passive (and you know how much I love passive income) but it can be very lucrative, especially if you are well-respected in your niche.
If you want to sell your services, you will need to position yourself as an expert. The best way to do this is to write lots of content around the subject but also to work on your social media presence. start a Facebook group, go live on Instagram or Facebook, set up an email list and send valuable emails building a sense of trust and authority.
Selling a course
Just like selling digital products, selling a course can be another great way to make money by selling your expertise.
Courses are generally at a higher price point and so you have to sell less to make a good income. Most online courses sell for anywhere between $99 and $1000. It will depend on your level of expertise and the niche you are in.
Courses are not a completely passive source of income as you will need to keep them updated and you may want to offer bonuses like a VIP Facebook group.
You could also look at setting up your own affiliate programme so that your students can help you sell the courses too.
You will also need to decide if you want to have short enrolment periods once every 6-12 months which creates a sense of urgency and scarcity when you launch or whether you want to offer your course as an evergreen product to make it more accessible.
I have chosen to host my courses with Podia as I can use the same platform to also host webinars, memberships and digital products so the platform can work with me as my business grows. It’s also cheaper than alternatives like Teachable.
Then, of course, there are sponsored posts. Whilst a very popular way to make money blogging, it is actually my least favourite.
AS I’ve said, I prefer the other methods because I can work on my own terms, No brand breathing down my neck making sure they approve of my ‘opinions.’ Also when you are just getting started, it can be hard to find brands willing to pay you a fair price for your time and effort. Other brands wantyou to break the rules by making their link do-follow which can land you in Google jail.
It’s just not my thing! I only do sponsored work for a very few select brands who I already known and trust.
That said, I know some fellow bloggers who make an huge income from sponsorred articles, even with a smaller blog or a smaller following.
If you are looking to make money this way, check out Marta’s course about landing 5 figure sponsorships with a small following – Paid to Create.
So hopefully now you have come to the realisation that Mediavine is not the only solution for monetising blogs!
Yes, its a great ads network and I’m grateful that I am able to be part of their network on my travel blog. But in the grand scheme of things, having ads is just a tiny cog in the money making machine your blog has the potential to be.
So instead of focussing ONLY on reaching your Mediavine goal, focus on affiliates. Focus on growing your email list. Create your own products. Reach out to your favourite brands for sponsorships. Hone your expertise and start a course. Offer your services. Grow your community.
There is more than one way way to crack and egg and more than one way to monetise your website.
I hope reading this has perhaps helped you feel a little more positive. Maybe even inspired to go out there and try something new or challenge and develop your own strategies.
Tell us in the comments what your new strategy will be? What will you do differently?
Don’t forget to sign up for my FREE 5 day course to help you start making more money with your blog in less than a week!
GET THIS FREE
AFFILIATE MARKETING COURSE
5 DAYS TO DEVELOP A MONETISATION STRATEGY THAT ACTUALLY WORKS IN 2020 (EVEN FOR SMALLER BLOGS!)
- My beginners guide to affiliate marketing
- 10 Advanced affiliate marketing strategies
- How to make big money with a small blog
- My beginners guide to SEO
- My beginners guide to Pinterest SEO
- My income reports
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