Blog Tip – Monetizing your Fire/EMS Blog Part II

Making Money on your Blog

Part II of Monetizing your Blog/web site will go over the numerous ways of making money on your blog. If you missed part I please review it here.

There are many ways of making money on your blog. I have detailed several below. You should note that there are plenty of other sources of making money on your blog other than listed here. These are the ones that I have found to be worth the time. Feel free to let me know in the comments of ways you make money and share with everyone! These are in no particular order.

  1. Donations
  2. Selling Ads
  3. Selling Text links
  4. Selling Merchandise
  5. Ad Networks
  6. Affiliate Marketing
  7. Product Reviews
  8. Sponsorship for events/podcasts/contests

1. Donations

This is not a very popular way of making money without actually offering a service, but it can work. I have never actually placed a donation link on any of my sites. In my experience, most of the donations that work are on sites which offer a service but don’t require payment or sites which offer a free product.

The hangup most people have with asking for donations is some people feel it is like begging.

The easiest way to set up for donations is to get a paypal account. Paypal offers buttons to put directly on your site for accepting donations.

Chronicles of EMS is a perfect example of making donations work!

I sell numerous advertising spots on

I sell numerous advertising spots on Some rotating spots and others which show up on every impression. Click on the image to see how I do it on

2. Selling Ads

You don’t have to be a marketing genius to sell ads on your site. You do need to be somewhat of an effective salesperson! I have sold ads on for several years.

Here are some lessons I have learned for selling ads:

  • Stick with the accepted size ads [468×60, 160×600 or 120×600, 728×90, 300×250, 125×125]
  • Stick with rotating ads. You can share the wealth of a decent spot to more than one advertiser.
  • Use decent real estate. Don’t put your ads at the bottom of the page. You WANT people see the ads and click on them!
  • Start out cheap to get them on board.
  • Offer a free month or half price advertising.
  • Offer a discount if they pay for longer terms. Give a % discount if they pay a year in advance.
  • I recommend pre-payment for advertising.
  • Find out what your competitors or comparable sites are charging for advertising.
  • Prepare a media packet on the pricing and placement of ads.
  • Offer a phone number they can call. I use my cell phone number.
  • You can also use impression based sales. I have not gone to this. I have always stuck with a monthly rate.

3. Selling Text Links

Have you ever gotten an email about exchanging links? If you run a blog or web site then the answer is probably yes. Here is the deal. The company who contacted you sees a value in having a link to their site from yours. For whatever reason they want that link. Make them pay for a long period up front, otherwise they will forget or you will forget and they will get that link for free.

Text link advertisers like Text Link Ads (click on banner below) offer easy to use code that turn your keywords into links.

Click on the image to view the Fire Critic's Cafepress store

Click on the image to view the Fire Critic's Cafepress store

4. Selling Merchandise

The Fire Critic offers merchandise for sale. I admit that this is more of a marketing ploy than a money making venture. Cafepress or Zazzle offer decently priced merchandise for sale. Especially for people only ordering one item. The cost IS a little higher per item than ordering 200 shirts from the local screen printer.

FireGeezer has done a great job with the FireGeezer Mugs. However, I am not sure this was a money making venture. More of a marketing ploy I believe. He kept it simple and his readers love it!

If you were to create a Cafepress or Zazzle “store” I recommend the following:

  • Take the time to make high quality images for use on the merchandise
  • Take the time to customize the store
  • Order some of the merchandise before you publicize it to ensure quality assurance!
  • Don’t set the prices too high.

Sites like Lulu offer the ability to make books, calendars, ebooks, etc. as well.

View the Fire Critic’s Cafepress store here

5. Ad Networks (Contextual Advertising)

The use of ad networks like Google Adsense can be seen on almost every blog/web site you stumble upon. Originally (years ago), I had reservations of using this code because of the look of the link units. Once I came around I found ways of incorporating the code in a way that I was ok with. At its height I have made hundreds of dollars a month with ad networks. Google Adsense is probably the widest known ad network. PSClicks specializes in Public Safety websites.

psclicks as seen on I also run this on

psclicks as seen on I also run this on

Networks I would try:

Here are some tips:

  • Make sure you are following the rules. I think google limits you to 3 ad units per page.
  • Try different ad placements.
  • Review the performance on various placements and stick with what works.
  • The better the real estate the better the return on clicks.
  • Don’t forget to put these on your rss feeds too.


CPC – cost per click is when you get paid per each click through. Google Adsense is an example of CPC.

CPM – cost per mille is when you get paid per thousand impressions. Burst Media is an example of CPM.

amazon6. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is is an Internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts [source]. You might be rewarded by cash or other merchandise. Examples of this that work well in the Fire/EMS niche is Amazon affiliates or Chief Supply. Most affiliate programs pay out once you reach a certain amount of credit. Since I wrote a book, I use the amazon affiliate program to sell the book (I get paid royalties for the book plus a commission of selling it if they click through my amazon affiliate link). If The Fire Store ever decided to do affiliate marketing I would be the first to use it. I should make money just off that tip alone….hint hint.

7. Product Reviews

Bloggers can actually make money on product reviews. I am not referring to getting free products as that is a bonus to doing reviews. Actually, businesses will pay bloggers for reviews. Before you jump up and down, I don’t know of any right off that I have seen done in the fire/EMS field…but I am sure it happens. And no, the Fire Critic does not get paid for reviews at the time of this writing (view my terms here).

You can also use sites like or to get leads on reviews.

@Firemom at Stop, Drop, and Blog offers product reviews. You can view her terms here.

8. Sponsorship of Events/Podcasts/Contests

Fire/EMS related companies are beginning to understand the effectiveness of advertising and marketing through blogs like this one. Bloggers/webmasters of sites like EMS Garage, EMSEducast, and The Bravest Online are capitalizing on this by having companies sponsor their podcasts and other events. Get on the wagon!

There will be plenty more written about making money on your blog. Look for the next installment soon.

How do you make money on your blog?

What have you used? What works and what doesn’t?

If you see something you want more information on let me know. If you don’t see something that should be here please let me know. I will be happy to include it in future blog tips!