Monetizing WordPress blogs has become increasingly difficult over the last few years. If you want to blog for a living, throwing up a few Google AdWords units next to your content is unlikely to cut it unless you have a huge audience — and even if you do, ad-blockers will take a bite.
There are, of course, plenty of alternatives. Native advertising — of which sponsored posts are a popular example for bloggers — has the potential to earn decent revenue. Membership sites with subscriptions are another option. Some of my favorite bloggers have taken this route and are doing well with it. And then there are the less savory techniques like paid reviews.
Micropayments are another option bloggers have to monetize content. Users pay a small amount, typically less than a dollar, to access premium content. There are no recurring fees, which is both good and bad. It’s good for users who don’t want to increase the number of site memberships they’re paying for. But for bloggers, it may not be so great: recurring revenue is hugely important to anyone who makes a living blogging — it helps create at least a little consistency and security.
Micropayments don’t work for every blogger. If you’re a blogger who publishes frequent, short articles, it’s unlikely users will be willing to pay by the article. But, if you publish longer, in-depth articles, or articles that are particularly valuable within your niche, micropayments may be a viable option.
Drizzle is a micropayments platform that aims to make it easy for bloggers to set up micropayment paywalls on their site. Drizzle provides a plugin for WordPress users, and once it’s installed and you have created a Drizzle account, implementing micropayments is as simple as setting a few options and wrapping content in a shortcode. It works for any content you publish on your WordPress blog, including text, podcasts, and video.
Drizzle is a third-party service, which means users have to sign up for a Drizzle account to access paywalled content. The sign-up process is simple, but it might be off-putting to users who just want to support your blog.
A quirk of using Drizzle is that you don’t get to set your own price for access to content. The price charged by Drizzle is determined by the popularity of your content within the Drizzle platform. All articles start at $0.20, and, if they prove popular, the price is hiked to $0.40, or $0.80 for the most popular content. Drizzle doesn’t take a cut of that, but it does add a fee on top which is charged to the user.
Drizzle also allows users to pay a regular subscription if they’d like to access all paywalled content.
If you think micropayments are a viable option for your site and you don’t want to deal with the technicalities of managing them, Drizzle is worth looking at. If you’d prefer to retain full control of the process, and don’t like the idea of asking your users to sign-up to a third-party service, check out Pay Per View from WPMU Dev.