There are several ways that you can monetize your blog. Joining an ad or affiliate network has proven (for use) viable sources for income. It’s important to know that difference between the two types of networks so you can plan how best to use the network for your advantage. For starters, we’ll just take a quick look at the difference between the two.
CPC = Cost Per Click aka when someone clicks, you get paid.
CPM = Cost per Thousand aka you get X dollars for every 1000 people who see the ad.
CPA = Cost per Action aka when a person performs a specific action (ie register, provide email address, etc.) then you get paid a set amount.
An ad network – such as Google AdSense – typically allows you to display ads on a CPC or a CPM basis. To join an ad network, you typically sign-up to be a part of the network. Once approved, you can set-up an ad space (or widget), which would then supply you with code to install on your site. The script code would then control the ads that are shown and tracks the number of impressions or clicks the ad receives.
You have some, but very minimal, control over your ads. Specifically for AdSense you can block certain types of ads as well as specific advertisers. But it’s more reactive than pro-active. For example, Google decided to show an anti-religion ad based on the keywords of a post on Christianity. That ad wasn’t known about until a reader notified the blog owner, who could then manually block that specific advertiser.
Affiliate networks allow you to have a bit more control over the ad. You can join the network, such as Commission Junction or Share-A-Sale, then apply to join programs for specific stores. If accepted into the store’s affiliate program, they will provide you with text and/or banner images that you can use to run their campaigns. This is a great option for niche sites since it allows you to choose advertisements that are specific for your blog topic. Affiliate networks will typically pay you a commission, so you will get paid when someone makes a purchase at the store through your link.