Making money from blogging seems like the dream job – you get to work from home, be completely in control of your own business, and create content on topics you really care about. It might also seem unattainable – that is, impossible to achieve! Yet more and more people are earning a living solely from blogging, so it’s perfectly possible.
In fact, over the last few years, blogging has become a profitable online profession. And, like any other profession, there are different types of bloggers who earn different incomes – like lawyers, doctors, and any other sector. As a blogger, you can expect to earn anywhere from $1000 to $2 million a year!
To be sure, blogging isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Don’t be fooled by professional bloggers who post photos of themselves sitting on the beach with a MacBook in hand, relaxing – blogging is a lot of hard work, and takes a while to get started. Most methods require an initial investment of time and/or money to get your blog going – if you’re willing to put in that effort, you’ll reap the rewards!
How much money you can make depends on a variety of factors. It depends on what niche you pick, how much time you are prepared to spend on learning about monetizing your blog and implementing strategies, and what marketing techniques you can implement to advertise your blog and drive traffic to your blog. It depends on how consistent you are, what your network is like, your own motivation and goals. A sound knowledge of digital marketing, or the motivation to learn, will help you go a long way with monetizing your blog and being a successful blogger. However, there are many different methods you can implement – it really just depends on your style and type of blog!
To give you some ideas, here is a comprehensive guide to the best ways to make money blogging!
When you first think about how to make money from your blog, advertising might be the first thing that comes to mind. There are many kinds of advertising you can try, from ad networks like Google AdSense to affiliate marketing techniques. You don’t have to stick with traditional advertising forms, either – you can get creative, and there are tons of different methods to try.
When using advertising to monetize your blog, keep in mind that crowding your blog with lots of ads, affiliate links and sponsored content may irritate your readers. Try to keep ads to a minimum, only use affiliate links to products you really like and think your readers will find useful and try to keep all adverts relevant to your site. For instance, if you are a blog about learning a language, your ads might be advertising language learning apps like Memrise or Duolingo, specific courses, or useful eBooks and other tools for language learners. You don’t want to be advertising ski wear (unless, that is, the language is only spoken in the French Alps or Himalayas!).
It’s a good idea to also add value for your advertiser. That means having a high volume of traffic to your site, and more than this, having loyal readers who will engage with your ads and affiliate links – advertisers will pay more for an active readership who will click through to their products, services or website.
In terms of how many ads you want to be displaying, remember that 1 high paying ad will always be better than 4 or 5 low paying ads. It will cause minimum disruption to your readers and make you money!
Google AdSense might be the easiest way to make money from your blog out there – you just add a script from Google to your blog, and ads will start to be displayed with very minimum effort from you. You’ll get paid every time a reader clicks on the ad, which means they use CPC (cost per click) advertising. The pay-out is set by the advertiser.
There are two Ad networks which are the most popular among high-earning bloggers and others who make money online: Google AdSense and Media.net. Let’s talk about Google AdSense first.
Google AdSense is a program by Google via which website publishers’ part of the Google Network of content sites can serve text, images, videos or other interactive media ads. These adverts are targeted to the site content and audience; for example, a blog about travelling will show advertisements to relevant travel products, flight deals, hotel rooms or insurance companies. A blog about technology and gadgets might show adverts to these products, or to related software and hardware. You get the picture!
These ads are decided on by Google, administered, sorted and maintained regularly. They generate revenue with two models, either per click (CPC, or how many people click on the advert) or per impressions (CPM, or how many people see the advert and a price based on the estimated viewership – CPM stands for cost per thousand impressions, where "M" is the roman numeral for 1,000.
Google makes an incredibly 22% of their total revenue through Google AdSense in 2014 – making AdSense one of their most important services!
AdSense is also great because it is part of the Ad Choices program, so viewers can choose if they want to see certain adverts or if the adverts, they see are useful. This often makes page viewers feel more involved in the advertising process and less irritated by unrelated or annoying ads that block content or interfere with what they are doing on the website.
There are around 1.1 million websites that use Google AdSense. Your blog will need to be approved to be part of this network – if your blog has more than 300 views per day, you can join Google AdSense, be approved and start earning money straight away. Google AdSense shows ads automatically based on your content, and also based on what your viewers are interested in. The ads shown are high quality and don’t affect user experience, so they’re a great option to quickly monetize your blog and have recurring income!
So, you should be aiming to be approved by Google AdSense or Media.net as soon as possible.
Media.net operates in a similar way to AdSense, running contextual adverts and prioritizing viewer happiness over irritating adverts. They’re one of the biggest growing ad networks and they operate mainly with websites through Bing and Yahoo, and like AdSense is free to join if you have enough views on your website (upwards of 300 per day). They have a great dashboard with full reporting and graphs to track the performance of your website or blog, great customer support and their Revenue Per Thousand Impressions (RPM) is currently the best in the ad industry. Whether you use Google AdSense or Media.net is entirely up to you – do your research and see which suits your blog more!
Finally, there are ad networks for those with less than 300-page views per day, like Revenue Hits or Infolinks – but it’s best to get your page views up first, as AdSense and Media.net are the best providers out there. Chitika, like RevenueHits and InfoLinks, has no traffic requirement and is a lot easier to be approved on than the big ad networks – they also work with AdSense, so might be a good option for bloggers just starting out!
Something to bear in mind when showing direct advertisements is that unless your blog has a lot of traffic and is very well established, it either won’t be worth your time or the readers you will lose due to cluttering your blog with ads. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to first build up your readership and following and earn their trust with high quality content. After establishing yourself (and a reliable source of traffic), it’s time to think about direct advertising.
Rather than displaying ads through a network like Google AdSense, direct advertising is selling your page to advertisers directly – as the name suggests! Depending on your blog, it can be a way to bring in a solid few thousand dollars a month.
There’s no exact rule but aiming for 50,000 page views before looking to sell ads is a good rule of thumb. These should be engaged readers – that is, viewers who will actually click through your ads and engage with your content.
If you’re a successful blogger, you might even have advertisers contacting you and looking to place ads on your site well before you reach 50,000-page views monthly – it really depends on how active and loyal your readers are! The same goes for your niche – advertisers may want to reach a certain type of audience, so will contact you to reach them. If your blog is very niche, say targeting professionals in a certain sector, then you will want to advertise relevant material that is interesting to them. This not only will make your adverts more useful to your readers but will increase your click through rate and earn you more money!
To find out what kind of ads you should be showing, you can try many things: a reader survey, use Google Analytics or browse your site comments. However, be aware, no amount of money is worth messing your blog up if you can earn revenue in other ways and keeping ads to a minimum will keep your readership happier, generally speaking. There are two low key ways to advertise – as a website sidebar, so banner ads, and ads in newsletters (if your blog has a newsletter!). You could also consider sponsored content, but this is a tricky one to navigate well and may lead to your readers losing trust in you. If you can do it in a respectable way, it can be a good extra income stream for your blog.
If ads really aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to earn money from your blog. Which brings us on to number 3…
Affiliate advertising, or affiliate marketing, is all the rage nowadays with people who earn money online. Its essentially the practice of promoting the products or services of another company, brand or person in exchange for a commission, which is either based on how many sales come from your website links, or how many impressions or clicks your affiliate links generate. It’s basically the oldest sale technique in the book, earning commission on a sale – just an online, modern interpretation of it!
You simply recommend a product or service to your audience, using a special tracking link, and earn a referral commission for every time someone buys using your link. It’s a great method for anyone with a blog recommending gear (like travel items or sports equipment) or particular products (like a beauty or makeup blog).
If this sounds complicated, it’s not – a real-life example would be if a friend helps you set up a bank account and then receives a gift card or bonus of some kind. Or if you bring a friend to a company you work at, and they give you a kind of bonus for finding them a great new employee – you’re essentially just bringing business for someone, and they pay you commission to say thanks!
Affiliate marketers can join affiliate programs, find reputable affiliate products to promote and then share them with their audiences. Some great affiliate programs to join include the Amazon Affiliate program, ShareASale, PartnerStack, ImpactRadius, Awin and Commission Junction. Each has their positives, negatives, advantages and drawbacks. Most networks and industries have affiliate programs available, too, so you just need to find the right one for your blogging niche.
Moreover, if you build your audience, and have a readership who trust you, affiliate advertising is a really great way to offer them products that will genuinely help your readership by offering them great products and services that you don’t have to make yourself. If you find a product or service that you really like, you can offer it to your readers and cash in on it!
For example, as a mountaineering blog, you might sell mountaineering gear or extreme sports insurance. As a fashion blogger, you can provide great deals on cool clothes and accessories – and so on.
Affiliate advertisements will make you more money than other forms of advertising, since a single sale will earn you more commission than a click on an ad that doesn’t necessarily convert into a sale. It is one of the most profitable avenues for bloggers today. Many bloggers are making millions of dollars every year from their blog this way – and it’s super easy to get started! All you need to do is share your unique affiliate link of the product you are recommending, and whenever someone makes a purchase you will end up earning commission.
You can use affiliate marketing on a range of blogging platforms, like Wix, WordPress, Medium, Squarespace and even LinkedIn. WordPress has a bunch of plugins available just for managing affiliate links – PrettyLinks is a great one! It allows you to quickly insert links into posts, create branded links, auto-replace keywords into links, and analyse your links to see how well they are performing on your blog.
So, to get started with affiliate advertising, either find products you love or join an affiliate network who will recommend you products to sell. You may even be sought out by brands independently if your blog is popular enough!
You then set yourself up as an affiliate, and the merchant will provide you an affiliate link. Then you simply promote your product or service on your blog and get paid. It’s as easy as that!
Native advertising is the practice of using adverts that blend in, or look ‘native’ with your blog or the media format they appear in. They match the look, feel and function of your site, so they often don’t look like adverts. Instead, they might appear in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page (such as your blog). So unlike display or banner ads, they look like part of the editorial flow of your blog and are non-disruptive - they expose the reader to advertising content without sticking out and looking obvious!
According to market research, native advertising really works – consumers look at native ads 53% more than display ads and create an 18% increase in purchase intent. Visual engagement with native ads is even slightly higher than original content!
This is because they don’t look like adverts – so your views don’t get ad fatigue or bored of looking at adverts. After a while, website users may simply stop looking at adverts and stop paying them any attention. Native ads are different – they cloak they advert in editorial content form, and so don’t tire out an audience. They might take the form of a suggested article to view that’s similar to the article they just read, or a suggested product after reading an article about it. As long as the content of the ad is relevant and interesting, it will engage the audience rather than drive them away.
In a way, audiences are never fooled – they know that native ads are a form of advertising, but they don’t really care! A recent survey found that consumers know fine well that native ads are really adverts, but they don’t mind them so much because they don’t disturb their surfing or browsing on social media.
Google AdSense use native ads, and there are other advertising solutions out there like Taboola, Outbrain, and Mgid.
If you’re not interested in displaying ads of any kind or affiliate links, you can still monetize your blog with sponsored content. When using ad networks, you do somewhat lose control of the content being shown on your site. Some ads might annoy or offend viewers, and more and more people are using ad blockers, which affect your earnings!
Sponsorship is therefore a good alternative. This is a bit like affiliate advertising, except rather than providing links and earning commission, you are sponsored by brands and companies to represent a product, talk about it and promote (or advertise it) to your readers.
It works just like sponsorship works in sports, TV shows, or other industries – a company pays you to represent their products, talk about them, and promote them to your readers. To get started with sponsorship, you should collect all the relevant details about your blog – traffic stats, social media following, audience demographics and anything else important. You can then use this data to approach advertisers, show how your blog is appealing, and negotiate a sponsorship deal.
Just make sure you know the laws in your state or country regarding disclosure – for instance, in the US, you must comply with FTC’s Endorsement Guides, so you must state whenever a post is sponsored.
A lot like sponsored blog posts, you can be paid to write reviews of certain products on your blog. Rather than using affiliate links and being paid commission, or writing about a sponsored product, you try out products for free and then get paid for writing a review about them.
Going about this is similar to finding sponsorship – you review products that are relevant to your blogging niche, and products that are genuinely useful to your readership. You can ask companies yourself to ask about paid reviews for them, and you can check out sites like PayPerPost, Revcontent, Tomoson and Famebit, too.
You can make $10 or more for a small review post – it really depends again on your audience and amount of website traffic.
If advertising and affiliate marketing really isn’t your thing and you want to keep your blog as transparent as possible, there are other ways to monetize your online empire – by sharing your expertise. The best way to do this is through selling digital products like eBooks, online courses, or hosting paid webinars. If you have a large following, selling your own products to your loyal audience shouldn’t be too difficult, particularly if you are an expert in a particular niche.
Blogging is a way to build credibility, and therefore lead to more money-making opportunities. If you start a blog in the finance industry, for example, and your blog becomes very popular, you will be recognized as an expert in this field. Once you are, people might approach you to co-author a book, to speak at conferences or run training days.
This isn’t exactly a direct or easy way to make money from blogging, but it does work for very popular blogs. To get there, you need to focus on creating quality content, work on your network, and experiment with different ways to share your knowledge (and make money from it!) as outlined below.
Selling your own digital products is a great business model that works for a lot of top bloggers. It’s as simple as picking a topic – preferably one to do with the content of your site – and writing it, and then putting it on sale on your website or on Amazon. Once you get used to compiling eBooks, you can make a decent bit of money selling your eBooks online – and having your own product to sell is the best form of passive income out there!
You can even use some of your most popular blog posts and turn them into chapters of a book. This is a great option for anyone blogging about specific skills and niches, as ‘how-to-do’s’ are increasingly popular nowadays.
You also get to say you’re an author – what’s not to love?
Platforms like kdp.Amazon.com make publishing and selling your eBook easier than ever. You can also use platforms like EDD WordPress and use freelancing sites like Upwork or Fiverr to find a graphic designer to help you with the book cover. You can also use tools like Canva to do it yourself.
Selling your eBook online is easy using platforms like Easy Digital Downloads. You can create your own online store and have a range of features available to help you get started.
As well as selling eBooks, you can sell online courses. They usually sell for much higher prices than eBooks, as you can charge a premium for your expertise – if you are an expert in something, that is!
Creating a course does take a bit of work – but once it’s done, it’s an easy passive income stream. You will have to create lessons for each block of your course, plus supporting materials like eBooks, downloads, PowerPoint slides, checklists, and templates.
You might also want to offer personalised support for your course – you can create a two-tier price plan, wherein premium users get email support, and basic users receive no support or limited support.
Learning management systems are the best way to deliver your course to your customers – plugins for WordPress include LearnDash and MemberPress.
Webinars are a great way to share your own expertise and grow your audience and business. They’re also a great source of income – like online courses, they can be made and then sold again and again.
The difference is that webinars are often live, and include a question and answer section, so that participants can ask in real time any questions they have about the material you are covering in your webinar.
You can use WordPress and other blogging platforms to host paid webinars – you can also use your blog to advertise your webinar and register participants.
If you are popular enough to host webinars, why not try to become an influencer in your own niche and get paid public speaking gigs?
If you’ve become recognized as an influencer, have a decent following and have been promoting your own ‘brand’ all the while, you can use this popularity to get public speaking jobs. Many bloggers now speak at conferences and make good money doing so. It’s also worth nothing that even if you’re not paid, you can promote your blog and brand at events like this, and this will eventually lead to paid gigs.
If you like public speaking (well, let’s be honest, nobody likes it – but if you’re decent at it) and good at networking, this one could be a money maker for you!
To make money as a public speaker, you should be an expert in your field and be consistently promoting your expertise on the topic or niche through blogging. You can then reach out to event organizers or announce on your site and social media that you are available for conferences.
If you are particularly talented in one area, online or offline, you can use your blog to advertise your services and grow your business. You can offer a variety of services – from content writing to graphic design to SEO marketing consulting!
Some bloggers can earn up to $2000 a month just from selling their services. Launching your own services is also pretty easy – you just create a webpage on your blog listing what you offer, the prices, and then let your audience contact you!
Here are a few ideas about services you can offer.
If you’ve grown your blog and now know how to build a following, you can flip websites for cash – this just involves building a blog and establishing it so that entrepreneurs can use it for their own businesses.
Knowing how to build a website on a platform like WordPress is a skill in itself and being able to garner traffic to the site is very valuable – you can then simply sell the site on and make money for your work!
There are sites like Flippa that serve as auction sites for selling domains. You should gain a solid knowledge of what kind of websites are in demand and how to best price and sell them on.
If you’re good at web design and development and more technically minded, then you can start creating your own WordPress themes to sell. Making a good-looking design takes a good eye and the coding skills necessary to make it work – it’s harder than you might imagine!
You can also sell graphics on your blog. These might be stock images or logos that you then sell on your site using an eCommerce plugin.
If you’ve been blogging for a while and are an expert in your area, you can start earning an income by offering your skills as a freelancer. This can include writing, editing, website design and more!
Freelancing is a cool way to make money blogging because it is an immediate earner – that is, you can start straight away and don’t need any upfront investment of time or money. You can just make a profile on a website like Upwork, PeoplePerHour or Fiverr, showcase your skill set and start finding clients. You can also cut out the middleman (the freelancing websites) and advertise yourself directly on your blog or social media accounts. If doing so, you’ll need some kind of platform to invoice and collect payments from your clients. FreshBooks is one such invoicing plugin for WordPress that will come in handy when it comes to getting paid!
You can also make money from your blog by consulting – that is, sharing your expertise with clients in any niche. Rather than offering your services like a freelance web designer or writer, you offer clients advise, know-how and strategies so that they can learn how to do things themselves.
There’s no start-up investment with consulting and you can offer services on any existing topic and your blog – you just create a page with a form so readers can request more information.
A little bit like being a ‘life advice’ consultant, becoming a coach involves offering other people advice, guidance and accountability for setting goals in their life. You can coach on lifestyle, fitness, writing, blogging – you name it, you can coach it!
You simply find your clients and then provide one-on-one help to them with coaching sessions. Again, you can advertise these coaching sessions on your blog with a handy appointment and booking form.
If you don’t want to turn to advertising for fear of ‘selling out’ your blog, you can always try turning your blog into a paid access only site. This means that your audience pay to access certain content from your site, certain areas, or all of your site. This is a popular method for those not wanting to compromise on the quality of their site by having a lot of adverts, affiliate links or sponsored posts, but still want to monetize their blog. There are a few ways to go about doing this.
One way to go about monetizing your blog by turning it into a paid membership site is by having certain content that’s only available to paying fans. This is a good option for anyone with a loyal readership who want to read extras and premium content – this members-only area could include more in-depth blog posts, downloads, videos, audio content and so on.
This does take a little bit of extra work as obviously you have to create premium content that is worth paying extra for. However, if you can do so and have enough subscribers, this is a recurring source of income every month that can make you a lot of money!
You can also create private forums that your website users have to pay to gain access to. This is a win-win scenario because forums are a great way for your audience to get one-on-one advice from you and interact with other members. It’s a way to build a community from your blog – members can interact with you and each other, help each other out and make new connections! Members of the community will be highly engaged, driven and motivated to stay using your site.
Moderating a forum can take a bit of work, but it’s an easy source of revenue from your blog and a great way to make a paid only area of your site that really adds value for your premium users.
Rather than turning parts of your blog into paid membership only, you can create a whole new site dedicated to directories and listings – you then charge visitors to advertise their listings on your site.
This isn’t as obsolete as you might think – although bots do now index everything automatically, local or niche directories can serve very well for a number of people. Bear in mind that generic web directories aren’t very useful nowadays.
Directories can be a bunch of reviews of local businesses, a directory of the best podcasts or videos on a certain topic, the best products of a certain niche, and so on.
Have you ever heard of Dave’s ESL café? This is a great example of a job board in a niche that is really useful to employees and teachers searching for jobs alike.
Companies who want to advertise open positions just pay you to submit a listing. If you create a successful job board, narrowed down to a specific niche, then you become the go-to site for anyone looking for a job in that industry.
Another good example of this is ProBlogger, which is now the job board for professional bloggers looking for new gigs.
The last way to monetize your site from paying members is by creating an event calendar. Here, like a job board, you charge people to advertise their events. If you have an established readership and are a popular blog, businesses will be happy to pay to reach your audience. Again, this works best if you are a blog on a local or industry-specific niche. You could advertise events in your own city, conferences in an industry, or webinars and live streaming events.
Rather than creating a job board, you can take it a step further and create a marketplace where businesses and individuals can connect with workers and freelancers. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are very popular examples of this category.
If you are blogging in a particular niche, you can promote your job marketplace as a micro-platform for people working in the same industry. Customers and professionals will be able to find very specific work or workers, as industry-specific marketplaces cut out irrelevant listings.
As for your part – you just a small fee for listing jobs or take a cut from earnings.
Ecommerce is another great way to monetize your blog. From starting your own store selling physical or digital products to starting your own marketplace, you can start earning as a blog from these ideas.
Ecommerce is a great way to earn money from a blog – it’s as simple as starting your own online store with a product you’ve made or sourced. This can take a lot of work – you’ll need to create or buy the products you want to sell, and then ship them out yourself. Yet sometimes this is a very profitable way to go, especially if you can make handicrafts or other sought-after items!
Another way to do this is to create your own t-shirt shop. If you can design t-shirts, get creative and start offering something unique to your audience. They can be thematic for your blogging niche, too! There are plenty services out there for uploading t-shirt designs and then printing them and shipping them for you. Check out Shopify stores which can connect you with t-shirt printing sites.
If you don’t want to handle your own products, you can try drop shipping. This essentially makes you and your site the ‘middleman’ in that you advertise and promote certain products, without having to ever touch the items physically. You make a store, manage the website and customer service, whilst a drop shipping service takes your orders and ships them out for you. WooCommerce even has a drop shipping addon now, to automate the entire process!
You can add a platform to your blog or e-commerce store and offer this as a paid service, too. If you run an online marketplace, you usually take a cut from each sale. This allows you to earn passive income from user activity on your website and is a great way to monetize a website! You can also charge a membership package for listings.
Plugins on WordPress like WC Vendors let you turn WooCommerce into a multi-vendor capable platform. Afterwards, vendors will be able to register on your site and start selling their own products.
You could also make an auctions website, allowing users to bid on products to purchase items – think eBay style. Sellers can maximize their profits, customers can find great deals, and you take a cut of the earnings by providing the platform!
These are typically the methods adopted by people to monetize their blogs. Your blog can be your income hub, and around your blog, you can set up other income streams and link them to your blog by either reviewing them or publishing information about those things. Use your imagination and think of inventive ways to talk about anything that can help showcase something you can get paid for.
All the best with your income venture!