Are you looking for ways to make money blogging? Do you feel like blogging could be your ticket to quitting your 9-5 job and starting your own amazing business?
Well, I’m here to help. Today I’ll be going over the different ways you can monetize your blog and start generating cash. Use this advice to turn your blogging hobby into a profitable business.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links I may make a small commission (at no added cost to you). I only post affiliate links for products that I have personally used and recommend.
How do people make money blogging?
How do they do it?
Well, bloggers make money through a variety of avenues:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sponsored Posts
- Create Your Own Products
- Membership Sites
- Speaking Engagements
- Selling Websites
If you’re just getting started with blogging, you should know that most successful bloggers make money by establishing multiple revenue streams over time. My recommendation is to start with one, and then add to it after seeing how well it does with your audience. It’s always smart to diversify your revenue streams because you just never know when one will suddenly cease due to circumstances beyond your control.
So, let’s go over each of these strategies one by one.
Ads are probably the easiest way to start monetizing a blog right away. There are two main types of ads that you can place on your blog:
- Ads supplied by ad networks
- Ads managed by you, the enterprising blogger
Ad networks are services that provide ads to website owners. What’s nice about ad networks is that the ads are virtually “set it and forget it.” All you have to do is apply to the ad network, and once you’re accepted, simply copy and paste some code into the area on your website where the ad should appear. The service will figure out which specific ads to display on your site.
If you’d like more control over the ads on your site (as in, you’d like to choose who gets to display ads on your site), then I suggest that you manage the ads yourself. It’s a little bit more work, but you’ll get to choose who you work with and possibly grow relationships with your advertisers.
Adproval is currently the leading service that connects advertisers with website owners. If you are selling ads directly, you can display them on your WordPress site using a plugin such as Ad Inserter or AdRotate.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement in which you, a website owner, would earn a commission from sales referrals or website traffic. For example, if I’m an affiliate for Leadpages. If you purchase a Leadpages subscription by clicking on a link on my website, I will earn a small commission. It’s a completely transparent process to you, the buyer, and it does not cost buyers anything extra, it’s just a way for Leadpages to get their name out to the public that benefits both Leadpages and their affiliates. Plus, it lets consumers know that the product is being used and supported by actual people.
Now, there are a few unwritten guidelines that go hand-in-hand with affiliate marketing:
- Don’t recommend products and services that you haven’t actually tried out and tested.
- Don’t spam your audience with affiliate links just for the sake of earning commissions.
- In addition to affiliate links, you should also be linking to products and services that you aren’t an affiliate for.
The general rule is: Insert affiliate links only when it feels natural to do so.
To get started with affiliate marketing, you have a few options:
- Amazon Associates is a great way to get started if your blog features a lot of physical products. Their commissions range from 1% to 10%, and what’s especially nice is that it doesn’t matter if the buyer actually buys the product that you recommend. After they click on your link, you earn a commission on all eligible items that a consumer buys within a 24-hour period.
- Affiliate networks such as Clickbank, CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), and Shareasale are a good way to hunt for products or brands that have affiliate programs. Note that after you sign up for the network, you may have to apply to be an affiliate for the brand.
- Apply with the brand itself. This is primarily for services that are offered online. If a company has an affiliate program, they will often mention it somewhere in the footer of their website. Visit their affiliate page to learn how to apply to their program.
3. Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are posts that are written by bloggers in exchange for payment. Brands sometimes contact bloggers who have large followings and offer them money or goods to post a well-written (and positive) article featuring their product.
The most common question I see regarding sponsored posts is: A brand contacted me and wants to pay me (insert your price here) for an article. Is this a good rate? Should I accept it?
Well, the truth of the matter is that it’s completely up to you. If you have a small blog with only a few visitors, then it makes sense to accept a lower amount. If you have an established blog with several hundred thousand views per month, then you can (and probably should) be charging top dollar. You can choose to accept goods in lieu of money, or not. It’s absolutely your choice.
If a brand approaches you for a sponsored post, here are a few tips:
- Make sure that you sign a contract. Some of the more unknown brands have been known to take your article and then suddenly disappear without payment.
- Before you start writing the post, make sure that you have established expectations with your contact. Are you expected to take any photos or videos? How long should the article be? How many links are they expecting?
- Familiarize yourself with the brand before agreeing to take on the work. Look at their social media accounts, investigate complaints, and make sure that this is a brand that you feel comfortable promoting.
E-books are a great way to generate passive income that doesn’t require any maintenance. In fact, a lot of bloggers end up writing e-books not just as a way to make money, but also to establish themselves as an authority in their niche, which can lead to even income opportunities later on such as speaking engagements.
Now, you might be thinking, “But I’m a blogger, not an author!”
Au contraire! Every blogger is an author. If you can write a 1,000-word blog post, you can write an e-book. Sit down once a day and write 1,000 words for only a few weeks, and you’ve got it made. Or, bundle together some of your top-performing blog posts. I would highly recommend hiring a professional for editing and formatting, but a determined individual with the right skillset could DIY it with a bit of labor.
To learn more about how to earn a full-time income with self-publishing Click Here.
E-courses are a natural fit for bloggers who teach skills, or solve problems. The big benefit to e-courses is that they can be almost completely passive and they are hugely scalable. The success of your course will grow with your following, your email list, and your marketing skills.
To get started creating e-courses, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide on a topic. Then, create your course material and upload it to the platform of your choice. Finally, you’ll have to drive traffic to your sales funnel (protip: blog posts and email opt-ins are a great way to do that!).
As for the tech behind creating e-courses, you mainly have two choices: a hosted platform or a self-hosted course site. If you find the technology intimidating, then I highly suggest that you start with a hosted platform such as Teachable or Thinkific. Both offer free plans so that you can try it out and make sure that e-courses are a good fit for your blog or business.
Hosting your course yourself is a bit more involved, but very much worth it once you start generating sales. This way, you’ll keep a greater percentage of your profits versus going with Teachable or Thinkific. In addition to creating your course content, you’ll need a membership plugin, a place to host your course videos, and a courseware plugin.
6. Create Your Own Products
For bloggers who like to create, selling products might be a natural way to monetize your blog. For example, Gavin Aung Than of Zenpencils.com has a cartoon blog. He sells t-shirts, posters, and mugs printed with his art. Other ideas: Software programmers can sell apps, knitting experts can sell hand-knit wares, graphic designers can sell designs, etc.
It’s difficult to recommend selling platforms because of the large variety of products that one can sell online, but here are a few just to get you started:
For some bloggers, the most natural and immediately profitable monetization strategy is providing a service. While this isn’t quite as hands-off as the some of the other strategies mentioned here, it’s still a great way to generate income while building up your authority. You might even be able to get some testimonials for your work that you can use to help sell other products such as e-books, e-courses, and membership sites.
Some of the more popular services that I’ve seen are things like life coaching, business coaching, book editing, and graphic design.
8. Membership Sites
Membership sites are a fantastic way to generate recurring revenue for bloggers. What are they? Well, they’re essentially online “clubs” that promise to provide exclusive content available only to paying members. Think: gym membership.
The bit benefit to creating a membership site is recurring revenue. However, a big disadvantage is that you’re pretty much stuck creating new content month after month. For a lot of bloggers, simply sitting down and blogging every week is a chore. Add to that the responsibility of creating high value content for paying customers? It adds a lot of pressure.
Starting a membership site is actually very simple. Because it’s so simple, I can understand why some people choose membership sites over the more maintenance-free strategies, such as e-courses. To get started, you really only need a few things beyond a regular blog or website:
- A sales page (I use Leadpages)
- A membership plugin (I recommend MemberPress)
- A payment gateway (Stripe or Paypal)
- Valuable content
9. Speaking Engagements
For those with established websites or blogs, speaking engagements are a great way to earn extra money while enjoying the perks of traveling for work. It’s particularly beneficial if you also have a product to sell, such as an e-book, an e-course, or a membership site. You’re essentially getting paid to promote your brand and your product.
If you’re like to start booking speaking engagements, here are a few tips:
- Familiarize yourself with the event. It’s best if you have attended the event in prior years so that you know what kind of material to present.
- Know your numbers. When you apply, be ready to recite your web traffic numbers, how many social media followers you have, how many people have purchased your products, and what kind of revenue you’ve been bringing in.
- Practice. Not only does practicing enhance your speaking skills, but it also gives event coordinators an example of your public speaking style, and expanding beyond your written blog also expands your following. Try creating a podcast, creating a Youtube channel, or doing Facebook live sessions.
10. Selling Websites
Finally (last one!), you can make money blogging by creating (or buying) and selling blogs and websites. Now, it doesn’t do any good to simply buy a domain name, install WordPress, and then try to sell the site. What you really need to do is build up the site, build up a following, and build up a monetization strategy. That gives value to the site, and then you can try to sell it for a profit.
Which monetization strategy should you use?
For most bloggers, picking a strategy for generating income comes somewhat naturally. But in case you need a little guidance, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if you’re headed in the right direction.
Does your niche involve a lot of physical products?
Some niches involve a lot of physical products. For example, niches such as pet care, cosmetics, tools, and electronics all revolve around products that you can buy at a store. For these types of niches, affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start making money. In particular, Amazon Associates is a great place to start. Ads and sponsored posts are also a good strategy for bloggers who have lots of traffic.
Does your blog teach people how to accomplish something or acquire a new skill?
For bloggers who teach new skills, information products such as e-books and e-courses are a fantastic way to start monetizing. Although they are time-intensive to create, you can sell the same product over and over, generating passive income for several years. I would also advise doing a little bit of affiliate marketing for related products if possible. Protip: if you sell e-books on Amazon, you can use affiliate links on your website to link to your book.
Would your audience find professional services useful?
If you’re okay with the idea of trading hours for dollars, you can offer professional services that cater to your blog’s audience. Some ideas: life coaching, business coaching, design, editing, writing, photography, etc.
Do you enjoy producing physical products?
Artists and creatives can monetize their blogs by selling art printed on t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, greeting cards, posters, and more. Look into vendors such as Printful, Society6, Redbubble, and Threadless.
Ready to get serious about blogging?
So, now that you know the different ways you can make money blogging, it’s time to get started! To make sure that you’re making the most out of every blog post, I recommend downloading my free Perfect Blog Post Checklist. This is the exact process I use to make sure that every single one of my blog posts is driving traffic, optimized for search engines, and helpful to my readers. Download it now!