I have been researching and planning an advice blog for over a year. I have developed a modest following using a closed Facebook group page and am ready to choose a hosting service and get started. My advice is on relationships with questions ranging from a family conflict, step-parenting, out of control teens, and questions from the teen community on relationships, drug use etc. Could a blog like this be monetized? Where do I start?
Easy starting point.
Run Adsense on your site for a month.
After a month, find top 3 pages (most traffic + on page time).
For each page, visit the page + hit reload 10 times, recording the Ad Google runs on these pages.
Then once you have the most prevalent Ad for each page, trace the Ad back to the originating site. The replace Adsense on each page with the native Ad, which will pay you far more than Adsense.
Check your numbers for a month + if your numbers (income/Ad) begins to drop, this means the Ad has saturated. At this point, turn on Adsense again + let it run for 30 days, then repeat the process.
This is a dirt simple way to monetize your content at optimal levels.
Be sure not to click on the Ad on your site, as this breaks the Adsense TOS + will get you banned from Google's Ad networks.
There are MANY ways you can monetize a column blog. I've created a few in the past and was quite successful. The most basic is ads, but that's probably not what you want to do because it's the lowest monetization. I would reach out to sponsors, sell premium content, courses, books etc.
Great question! It's awesome that you already have some "customers" and validation on the type of content that will work well.
My advice is to form a Customer Advisory Board with a few of the members. Do some exploratory research with them to find out how they'd like to see the community evolve. Do they have unmet needs that you could be serving?
I put this in another question but "Find products for your customers, not customers for your product." (Seth Godin)
There are so many options available to you! You could keep the community as-is, on Facebook, and start recruiting new members for a monthly fee. You could also move to an email list & charge partners for sponsored-content. And, you can also build out the website and try to push traffic to the site, making money off of Ad-Words.
It really depends on what you feel comfortable doing AND what your customers want from you, how you can continue to build value for them.
My philosophy is that you can take the guesswork out of building a business by doing research & asking your customers.