How to make money from blogging
Are you looking for more ways to make money from blogging? If you have a blog – or you are thinking about starting a blog – you’re probably always thinking of how to make money from it. After all, you put a lot of time and effort into creating great content – so how can you make a profit from it? In this blog post, I will share with you my top tips for how to make money from blogging.
Click on the section/money-making tip you want, to jump directly there (and make sure to head out to the end to see a list of useful tools and links):
Advertising is probably one of the most well-known forms of monetizing your blog. It’s been a highly-debated subject among bloggers over the years – here are some of the main pros and cons of using advertising on your blog:
Pros of advertising:
- A valuable monetizing technique
- Makes visitors believe you have a successful, high-traffic blog
Cons of advertising:
- Advertising may put off some of your visitors
- It can put your credibility as a blogger in danger, if it makes your visitors feel like your recommendations are no longer truthful because you’re using ads
- You’re directing traffic away from your website
When looking into including advertising on your blog, I think that it’s important to consider whether it’s worth it to send all that traffic away, to other links. Every time someone clicks on that ad, that might bring in some money, but, you might also lose a potential customer. Once they click on that ad, you need to consider that they might not come back to your website, so effectively, you might lose money, or at the very least, traffic.
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Before you decide on the types of ads you want to place on your website, you first need to consider your readers. Will the ad be something they would be interested in – would it be a product or service that they would buy? Is it a quality product or service that you can get behind and truly support? Will it fit in well with the design of my blog? These are important questions to ask yourself as you don’t want to lose the trust you’ve built over years, or to alienate any of your readers.
You also won’t make much money from advertising unless you have decent traffic – the more traffic, the more money you’ll make, just like with other forms of advertising.
There are several different advertising methods that you can use:
1. Ad Networks
Ad networks are basically the middlemen between advertisers and online publishers. There are very many different networks, but probably the most known one is Google Adsense (like most things Google does). There are some other big ad networks that are good, such as Chitika or Adblade (this one is more for premium blogs as they have mostly top advertisers like Yahoo! or ABC news).
Ad networks are probably the best place to start if you want to place ads on your blog.
There are different types of ads by payment:
- Cost per click/Pay per click ads – CPC or PPC ads are display/banner ads; every time one of your readers clicks on one, you get paid
- Cost per impression – with cost per impression ads (CPM) you get paid for every 1000 impressions/amount of people who see your ad.
Google Adsense is very easy to use. First, you start by choosing the ad type that you want, such as text or display ads, rich media ads (video, HTML, dynamic images) or responsive ads, and then you choose where you want the ad to appear on your website. Once all that is done, advertisers start bidding for your ad space in a real-time auction and as you start making money, Google bills the advertisers and networks and sends you the money once you make a minimum amount. You will be able to block any ads that you don’t like and make customizations so that the ad fits your blog.
2. Pay per post/Sponsored blog posts
Another option to make money from your blog is through Pay per Post. The way it works is you sign up with the Pay per Post service and then explore opportunities from brand/advertisers who want you to write a short review for them that helps them with getting good reviews and increasing their brand exposure, or for links. Pay per Post isn’t exactly a big money maker, more like a way to make a little extra money on the side. It’s also not a good idea to abuse this type of ads because it will put your readers off to see too many sponsored posts.
You can also use WooCommerce’s Pay Per Post plugin, which you can find here.
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3. Find your own ads for your blog
You also have the option to look for advertising from the companies and services you want. You can reach out by email to propose your ad opportunity and explain why they should be advertising on your blog. To make things more professional and make a better impression on potential advertisers, create a media kit where you highlight the reasons why they should use you, such as analytics information with numbers of readers, what they could achieve and what it would cost.
4. Connect with advertisers directly
An interesting way of monetizing your blog is to use a tool like Trafeze (although I don’t think there are any similar tools – at least I haven’t found any as of yet). The way it works is it connects two types of solopreneurs – those who have a popular website/blog with lots of traffic, a big email list and so on, and those who are looking to reach more people to sell their products. What’s great about this service is that you connect directly with the advertiser and you can find some that are part of your niche, which makes the ad more relevant to your visitors.
5. Podcast ads
Are you a podcaster? Ads are not viewed the same in podcasts as they would in blogs. Most podcasts have some sort of ad and usually it’s presented by the podcasters.
For a few years now, advertisers have caught on to the success of podcasts and are trying to capitalize on the close relationships formed between the podcaster and the audience.
When finding a product or service to advertise on your podcast, try to only use ads that you believe in and that your audience will appreciate.
In my cases, podcast advertisers will give you some guidelines to follow, but ideally, you should try to be your usual self when presenting the ad; in a way, podcasts create a closer relationship with their audience – after all, your voice is in their ears for an hour or so at a time!
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular forms of making money as a blogger and probably a better option in many cases than advertising.
With affiliate marketing, you basically set up to become an endorser and promoter for another company’s products or services. Every time one of your blog visitors becomes a customer, you get paid a commission. This can be a very lucrative technique, but again, you need a solid base of readers who trust you enough to try the products and services you recommend.
There are two ways that you can find affiliate opportunities: through affiliate marketing networks or individual programs.
Amazon Associates is probably the biggest affiliate network available and the best part about it is that aren’t any traffic requirements. When you set up to be an affiliate for Amazon Associates, you will have to display custom banner ads and links for millions of Amazon products from a very wide variety of categories; which is pretty great, because there is sure to be something that fits with any type of blog. Once you start generating sales for Amazon, you will earn up to 10% in advertising fees for every sale your ad generates.
You can also be a part of individual affiliate programmes. Check to see if some of the products or software you already use has an affiliate program; from there, simply follow their instructions. This is a great option as you get to advertise something that not only do you already use, but you also believe in and enjoy using. Of course, you can take it even further and look for more individual affiliate opportunities – for example, by doing a search on Google, such as “Become an affiliate for us” or “Join our affiliate programme”.
Once you find affiliate products that you like and support, you can maximise your success with affiliate marketing by writing reviews for the tools you use. Whenever you find a tool or app you love, check to see if it has an affiliate program and write a review about them. This way, you are recommending a tool you believe in to your readers, while also, hopefully, making some money.
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You can also create a “recommended tools” page where you list all of your favourite tools, along with their affiliate links. Share a short description of what they do and why you like them and make sure to let your readers know that you are using affiliate links, so that you don’t look like you’re trying to sell to them without their knowledge.
There are a lot of different options, it’s easy to set up and can yield some great results – I would argue that it’s a much better option than advertising, especially if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per month.
Even better than advertising and affiliate marketing is to sell something yourself on your blog. This is how you can truly make a living out of blogging, so long as you have enough readers and a good product to sell to them.
I need to stress here the importance of having a solid reader base who not only trusts your opinion, but look to you for advice, tips, guides and more.
The best way to go about this is to establish yourself as an expert in a particular niche. Your readers need to know that you are good at what you do and that they could learn a lot from you. Only then can you start selling them your own products and actually have them buy from you.
8. Online Courses
One of the routes you can take is to create an online course. This, of course, only works if you have something that you can teach your readers and that they would like to know about. There’s been a pretty big boost in online learning in recent years and it’s become a huge market, with lots of tools at your disposal that can help you create your own course, such as Coursecraft or Teachable – some of them, you can even start using for free.
As I mentioned, the online course industry is huge right now, having surpassed $100 billion and it only continues to grow.
To get you started, think of a subject that you not only know well, but something that would be of real interest to your target audience. Even better, think of a problem of theirs that you can solve. Once you’ve thought of a subject, think of how you can break it up into several different “chapters”. You won’t want to give everything away in a couple of hours; rather, try to go more in-depth by breaking down the main subject. Focus on giving tactical advice and use hand-outs and learning material, so that your course offers as much value as possible.
9. Create an eBook
Another option is to write your own eBook that you sell and advertise on your blog. This is something that many bloggers do once they get to a certain level. Just like with courses, it’s a lot of hard work, and it definitely takes a lot of time to get done right. But, if the end product is good you stand a chance to make some decent income.
It goes without saying that your ebook should have content of the same nature as your blog. In fact, you can even use your blog as a starting point. For example, you can create an ebook that contains your best, most educational blog posts, edited and brought up to date.
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10. Include premium content on your blog
One of the other common ways of monetizing your blog is through premium content. This would be content that provides lots of value to your audience, like a very extensive guide, or a useful template, that you can charge your visitors if they want to get it.
In order for this type of content to work though, you need to provide enough value through your regular blog as well. Otherwise, why should they get it from you? How would your visitors know that your premium content is worth it to them and would truly help them?
The more you blog and grow not only your audience, but also their trust in your capabilities and knowledge, the easier it will be to sell them this type of content.
Webinars are a good alternative to courses: they take less time to prepare and create, but they can still bring in some good results. You can use webinars as an opportunity for an in depth discussion on one of your most successful blog posts, for example; or maybe if your blog is about creating something, you can turn your webinar into a live demonstration.
Before your webinar, make sure you are thoroughly prepared. You don’t want to have long awkward pauses, or say anything stupid, so it’s best to have lots of extra talking points ready and to practice speaking alone in front of the camera until you get used to it and the material you’re talking about.
There are different ways people are making money from webinars. Most commonly, they will try to sell on the back of a webinar, but lately we’ve been seeing more and more people charging to attend the actual webinar.
There are various tools that you can use to help you host and record your webinar, such as Webinars on Air or Go To Webinar, or check out my blog post on the 10 best webinar tools to find more options.
12. Live events and workshops
It’s not just online courses and webinars that can help you monetize your knowledge and the influence you’ve built with the help of your blog, but also live events and workshops.
Just like with webinars and courses, you need to uncover a problem that your audience has, that you can teach them the answer to.
For example, if you have a blog on digital marketing, you can create a workshop where you coach people how to identify leads on social media. Or if you specialise in business coaching, you can hold an event on business leadership.
Live events and workshops offer lots of value to people, because it’s much easier to learn when you’re in a group setting, rather than online, where you can easily be distracted by social media, your phone or any emails coming in.
You can do this regularly, or you can offer it as a service that you advertise on your blog on a request basis.
13. Software and apps
This is a great option for those who are developers or who have a good idea for a new software platform or app. This is definitely a bigger investment, but a good tool or app can bring in massive profits.
Smartphone apps, in particular, are a great option. Everyone and their mother has a smartphone and are likely using apps to make their lives easier. To make money from apps, there are 3 main options: either charge for the app, add in-app purchases or use ads to make money from it.
As a blogger, you can create an app with useful resources, for example. Then, you can use ads or, include premium content that people would have to pay in-app to receive.
Digital products are not the only option for bloggers; you can also invest in creating a physical product if you believe there is a market for it.
One option is to write a book that is traditionally published. Just like with an ebook, it can be about anything so long as it relates to your blog and it brings value to your readers. For example, take a look at the guys at Simple Reminders.
They’ve created a hugely successful blog and they used their idea to write a book that became a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best seller. But you don’t need a massive blog to do it as well – so long as you have a decent base of readers and subscribers that read your blog regularly, you stand a good chance to make a profit on a good book.
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Another option is to create merchandise. This probably wouldn’t work for all types of blogs, but if you think you can create some cool merchandise that you think your audience would appreciate, go for it.
You can also sell your courses as DVDs – while creating the actual course is a lot of hard work, it’s not too complicated from there to also produce DVDs to sell on your website and other platforms.
Sometimes, in order to make money, you also need to spend some money.
One of the ways that you can create more of a buzz surrounding your services or products and to increase your sales and lead generation, is to create competitions or give-aways.
Create a competition or a give-away on your blog and then advertise it on social media, your email list, etc. in order to get people to participate.
This will help you advertise your products or services and get people excited by them, and it can also help you gather more emails for your subscriber list (in my next point, I’ll explain how this can help you make more sales).
If you don’t sell any products or services on your blog, you also have the option to create a partnership with another, relevant business to give away one of their products.
E-mail marketing is an incredibly powerful tool, one that can bring in lots of results for your business.
As you develop various products or services that you want to sell to your audiences, you can use your email list and your newsletter to advertise them in a softer, less invasive way.
Ideally, you should try to make these sales emails less…well, less sales-y. You don’t want to put off your subscribers, but rather give them a good reason why they need your product or service.
In order to maximise your results, you should try to segment your audience based on demographics, past purchases, interests and so on, so that you can send the right newsletter to the right person. For example, if I see that one of my subscribers is mostly interested in my updates that include social media marketing, I would send him or her emails regarding my social media consultancy services. Or, if they’re reading mostly about traffic and how to increase it and convert it, I would talk more about my website optimisation or influencer outreach services.
If you’re starting to get lots of traffic and social media shares, you could be starting to make some more money by blogging for others.
Content marketing has grown a lot over recent years and there are many businesses and companies that are struggling to create the content they need, either because of time (or lack of it, rather!) or because they’re simply not that good at it – which means they’ll have to look elsewhere for capable content writers.
While it can be time-consuming, writing for other blogs is a great way to expand your writing skills while also making some extra money on the side. You can start by looking for blogs that pay for articles, or advertise your services on websites like UpWork.
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18. Write product reviews
One of the most fun aspects of being a blogger, is that you start getting freebies to review. And, in some cases, you will also be paid to review certain products, services, software and so on. Of course, this is something that will mostly happen as you grow in popularity and influence; but, you also have the possibility to speed things along and give businesses a reason to employ you for a review.
To get you started, simply start reviewing cool products that would be of interest to your audience. Then, promote it heavily; the more shares it gets, the better, as you can then start pitching other businesses and show them how well your reviews can perform.
Offering a service is another good route that you can take and if you have a good idea for a service, it can bring in lots of profit. There are lots of types of services that you can try, such as:
20. Coaching and training
Is there anything you can do very well and that you can teach others to do as well? Coaching, training and consulting are great options for making money as a blogger, especially if you’re really good at what you do and it’s something that there is a market for.
21. Speaking at Events and Conferences
Speaking at events and conferences doesn’t just bring in money, but it’s also fun – well, if you’re like me and love public speaking!
The trick is, you need to be an influential blogger, with a solid following and readership, in order to be considered as a professional public speaker. Start by building a varied collection of testimonials that will give you the social proof you need. Then, look for speaking opportunities, even unpaid, at conferences and other similar events; in the beginning, it’s all about growing your influence as a speaker and getting on the radar of bigger conferences and other paid gigs. It can take some time to get to the point where you will actually get paid for speaking, so in the beginning it’s good to look for as many speaking opportunities as you can to build up your profile. And while you may not be making money in the beginning, it’s still a great opportunity to meet people, make new connections and strengthen your skills as a speaker.
Make sure to also include some copy about your speaker services on your blog so that any interested parties can find you easily.
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22. Freelancing as a blogger
As you make a name for yourself with the help of your blog and show your skills, it’s much easier to find good freelancing work. For example, if you have a digital marketing blog and a good presence on social media, you can work as a social media marketing freelancer with much better pay than regular freelancers as you have a solid blog and the social media presence to back it up.
23. Take a look at the competition
Studying your competition can be a good idea when you’re not sure what type of method would work for you. Take a look at your competitor’s blogs (well, the successful ones preferably) and find out how they are making their money. Are they selling ad space on their blog? Are they offering services – and if so, what types of services and could you do something similar? This doesn’t mean that you should be copying your competition, but rather use them as a source of inspiration.
What do you do when you’re getting the traffic you want, you have a great set of services or products that you’re selling on your website and yet you’re not making enough sales?
When this happens, it might be just a case of properly optimizing your website and your landing pages in order to increase your sales and conversions. In fact, in most cases where a website isn’t making enough money with a good product or service, it’s not the traffic that is the problem; it’s the website. If you want to increase your sales, then instead of focusing on traffic (that is, assuming you have a relatively steady stream of traffic already), focus on optimizing your website for conversions.
The best way to go about optimizing your website is to test different variations on your website and landing pages: design, wording, calls to action, images and anything else you can think of.
This way, you get to increase your conversion rates without having to double your efforts of getting traffic.
Think about it this way: let’s say you currently have a 1% conversion rate on your website. If you manage to increase it to just 2%, you are effectively doubling your revenue, with no need to hunt down more traffic, but just by making a few changes to your website’s design, wording, imagery and so on.
Sometimes, blogs with a strong readership can afford to ask for donations from their readers to keep them going – especially if you’re not monetizing through advertising banners, for example.
If you feel like your readers would be willing to help support you so that you can keep providing awesome content, add a donations button on your website.
If you want to use this monetization technique, offer something to your donors based on the amount they give you. It could be anything from digital products and services, such as an ebook, or a free webinar with you, to a physical product and any other rewards you can think of. Make sure though that the more someone gives you, the more you give them in return.
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Some bloggers can get creative when asking for donations from their readers, by asking them to get them a coffee or even lunch. Don’t think that bloggers are actually literally being fed by their readers though – but keeping things light and fun can help you get more donations.
While this can be a great way to keep your blog afloat, don’t expect to make a fortune from it. Not to mention, you can never really expect to know how much you’re going to get and you might not even make anything at all if you’ve overestimated your readers’ loyalty or interest. To set up a donation button, you can use something like PayPal or WordPress plugin, Give.
If your blog is focused on a certain niche and you’ve got yourself a good reader base, you should consider adding a local business directory to your blog.
Many people nowadays discover and research businesses online. By adding a local business directory on your blog, you get a great way of making more money passively, while also offering value to your readers (if your recommendations are good, of course!).
The WordPress Business Directory Plugin is a great tool for this; you can use it to create a directory in the Yellow Pages style, or a local business directory with reviews and even a church directory if you want to. You can also choose to have free listings or get paid for any listing with different fee plans, depending on the category in which a business is features.
27. Get paid to post on paid forums and private communities
You can also make money by posting on paid forums and private communities.
It’s not a huge pay day by any means, but it’s a quick way of making some extra money and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
28. Add a job board to your website
One of the monetization techniques that’s blown up a lot over recent years is to add a job board to your blog. This is a pretty good method of generating passive income, although don’t expect to make a fortune from it.
The thing about job boards is they’re useful – and highly sought after. There are always people looking for jobs, in any niche or field you could think of, so there’s always a need for boards.
There’s also a big SEO value as ‘job boards’ and other similar, related terms tend to get a big search volume.
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29. Sell membership sites
Membership sites can be very successful and bring in a lot of money. The key to a successful membership site is that it needs to provide lots of value through different services and content.
You can start by creating a free membership site and grow an audience and only then start charging – or, once it gets to a certain level, you can even sell it for a big profit.
If you already have a good base of potential interested people, you have the option of creating a paid membership site. These websites will usually charge a standard fee on a monthly or yearly basis, providing you with a steady stream of income. Once people pay for this membership, they will get access to a plethora of useful content, such as videos and courses, extensive guides and so on.
And, as you grow this membership site and attract a decent following, you can also sell it, just like you would a blog.
30. Sell your blog
This might seem a bit counterproductive but one of the ways you can make money out of blogging is to simply…sell your blog. This isn’t easy to do, of course; you need to have a really solid blog with lots or regular, engaged readers and you also need to show that your blog is profitable. But if you manage to do all of this and get your blog to this level, you can make a lot of money – even tens of thousands of pounds. Some even use this almost as a business: starting blogs and getting them as far as they can before they promptly sell them and move on to their next venture.
The problem is, you can never really know if your blog is going to get to the level you want it to, even if you’re doing everything right in theory.
Before you start thinking about how to start making money from your blog, you need to grow it to the point where it can. That means having a decent stream of constant traffic, a regularly updated blog that gets lots of engagement, strong promotional tactics and relationships with other bloggers, influencers and your readers.
That’s not to say that you need to get tens of thousands of visitors a day to your blog in order to start monetizing; rather, you need a constant stream of traffic that is highly targeted and therefore, converts. I think that this is a very important lesson that many bloggers, particularly when they are in the beginning, don’t understand.
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In order to be successful at blogging and start making money out of it, you first need to focus on creating awesome content that provides value and that your audience will love and engage with.
Another very important aspect is optimising your website so that the traffic you get, whether it be in small or large volumes, has a higher conversion rate.
It’s also necessary to build a strong email list of subscribers, preferably as soon as you get started. If you have lots of subscribers, you have a good base of people who are not only interested in your blog, but also trust you enough to let you fill their inbox and possibly, enough to buy something from you.
In order to get started with building your own list of subscribers, you are going to need a few things: an email marketing tool and an opt in form, as well as a good incentive that will give your visitors a reason to click on that subscribe button.
I’ve tried a lot of different email marketing tools over the years and I’ve discovered that a good tool can make a big difference with the results you get; personally, I’m currently using (and loving!) ConvertKit for my email marketing needs (it was built specifically with bloggers in mind) , and OptinMonster for generating leads and subscribers.
To sum this all up, the whole process of making money from your blog is pretty simple and straightforward when you narrow it down to its main steps:
- Start a blog and write awesome content that brings in lots of traffic
- Promote your blog in order to build a strong reader base that engages with you
- Make your audience trust you and turn them into email subscribers
- Start making money by selling the products and services your readers want/need.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But it takes a lot of time and hard work to get a blog to the point where it can be turned into a moneymaking machine and even more so if you want to turn it into your full-time job. That said, it can be done if you’re willing to put in the hard work and long hours. I’ve been doing it for around ten years now – and while it was very difficult for the first few years to get it up and going, I managed to do it and finally get it to the point where it was my main income source.
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If you only want to make some money and write a few blog posts a month, then it will most likely not work. As much as so many people don’t see blogging as real work, let me tell you, it is. It’s a lot of work, but thankfully, there are ways to at least cut down on the hours by investing in advertising to help you improve your traffic. And once you start getting that traffic, so long as you have great content and appealing incentives to help you build a strong list and get more return visitors, your job can get much easier.
Create your own online course
Create your own e-book
Create your own webinar
Create your own app
Email Marketing Tools
Add a donations button
- Give – WordPress plugin
Business directories and Job boards
Calculate your blog’s worth
Create your own membership website:
Making money from your blog can be hard work, particularly in the beginning. That said, with the help of advertising, you can start getting results much faster, by paying to get more traffic.
As I mentioned earlier, there are only a few crucial steps that you have to keep in mind at all time in order to be successful at blogging and start monetizing:
- Use promotional tactics to ensure you’re driving traffic to your blog
- Capturing the people who visit your website
- Converting your traffic as highly as possible
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In my opinion, the time and work you put into building a blog is completely worth the effort – I’m so happy that I took this chance a decade ago because it got me to the point I am now, where I don’t have to answer to anyone, I can work from home when I want to and I’m doing what I love to do.
The best way to make money from your blog is to employ different methods at the same time. In most cases, it’s not the actual blogging that brings in revenue – but rather the products and services that make sense considering your blog and niche. So, in order to make some real money from blogging, you need to find a few different monetization techniques that would work best for you and your blog, specifically. And remember that in order to make money from blogging, you need a good blog first and foremost: write great, valuable content, promote it in all the right places to grow an engaged audience, and you stand a chance of making money; there’s really no other way around it.
Are you making money from your blog? And if so, how? Let me know in your comments and please share if you enjoyed the post:)