Five Types of Product You Can Sell On Your Blog
February 8, 2018
What exactly do I mean by a “product”? It could be something virtual (like software or an ebook) or something physical (like a t-shirt or a paperback book).
A product might involve an element of ongoing commitment from you, but it isn’t only about the hours you put in. So I won’t be covering freelancing, virtual assistant roles, or other services here.
Five Types of Product You Could Sell from Your Blog … Which One is Right For You?
The seven types of product I’m going to run through in this post are:
- Ebooks: these might be positioned as “guides” or even self-study courses. Essentially, they’re written downloadables, probably in .pdf, .mobi and/or .epub format.
- Digital subscriptions: these are normally delivered by email, and are often relatively cheap compared with some other products (making them attractive to first-time buyers).
- Online courses: these could be text, audio and/or video, although video is increasingly becoming the “default” expectation.
- Membership of a private website or group: this might be a membership site you host yourself, or something as simple as a closed Facebook group.
- Physical products: these could be almost anything from books to t-shirts to one-off pieces of art. But unless you’ve already got a business selling them, they aren’t the best products to begin with.
Let’s take a look at each one in more detail. I’ll be giving examples for each one, so you can see how different bloggers are using these different types of product.
Many bloggers sell ebooks via their own platforms, charging premium prices for specialized information. But it may be a better fit for your audience if you sell your ebook through a well-established ebook retailer such as Amazon, especially if:
- your ebook has a (potentially) large audience
- they’re unlikely to pay more than $9.99 for it
- they’re a bit wary about buying online.
2: Digital Subscriptions
A digital subscription is information or a resource you send out to subscribers on a regular basis. Depending on what it is, they might be paying anything from a couple of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars each month.
Delivering the subscription could be as simple as adding paying members to an email list (which you can do by linking PayPal with your email provider). You won’t need to create all the content up front, although you’ll want to get ahead so you always provide your customers with their resources on time.
Depending on the type of subscription, you could either:
- provide all subscribers with all the same content in order (e.g. they start with week 1, then week 2, and so on)
- send out a weekly or monthly email to everyone at the same time, so they get the same content whether they’ve been with you for a day or a year.
3: Online Courses
An online course can take quite a bit of time to put together. And for some bloggers the technology can be daunting.
At its simplest, an online course might be essentially the same content as an ebook, only split into “lessons” or “modules” instead of chapters. But many courses include additional features such as:
- Video content: courses based around videos normally have transcripts (or at least summaries) to help students who prefer not to watch video or who want a recap to refer to.
- Audio interviews: if you don’t have the tools to create high-quality video, audio can be a good alternative (and some students prefer it to, as they can listen while commuting or exercising).
- Quizzes: depending on what you’re teaching, it may be helpful for students to test their knowledge at the end of each lesson or module.
- Interaction: you might choose to offer feedback to students, or you might have a closed Facebook group for students to join, where they can talk with one another and with you.
- Certification: this is more appropriate for some topics than others, but offering students some sort of certification at the end of the course can be helpful.
4: Membership of a Private Website or Group
For quite a few years now, “membership sites” have been popular. These are essentially closed websites where people have to pay and sign up (almost always for a monthly fee) to view the content.
The content might be text-based, or (more often) include audio or video. Sites might offer monthly “seminars” or “workshops”, or regular courses that members can take part in.
On a smaller scale, some bloggers offer Facebook sites with paid membership. This can be a quick and easy way to set up your product, though it’s worth remembering that if you’re banned from Facebook you’ll no longer have access to your group!
5: Physical Products
Finally, even though blogging life revolves around the online world, nothing stopping you creating a physical product. This could be almost anything you can imagine: bloggers have created board games, comic books, merchandise, artworks, and far more.
Physical products need to be created, stored and shipped (all of which takes time and money), so this probably won’t be the first product you’ll want to experiment with. You can sell directly from your own blog, or you can use an appropriate online marketplace: Etsy for handmade goods, for instance, or Amazon or eBay for almost any product.