You’re thinking of starting a blog and are wondering how you can monetize it, or perhaps you already have a blog, and you want to get paid for your hard work.
Maybe you’re wondering if it even is possible to make money blogging. And yes, there are a lot of bloggers who make full-time incomes from their blogs.
But then there are also a lot of bloggers who make no money from their blogs whatsoever.
I will show you ten different ways you can make money blogging, what to do before you monetize your blog, and I’ll also answer some frequently asked questions.
Can you make money from blogging?
Yes, you absolutely can make money blogging. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not easy.
Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Bloggers do make money, but it’s a lot of hard work, dedication, patience, and most importantly learning.
But yes, if you don’t give up and stick with it, you can make money blogging. It can eventually become a full-time job.
The most successful bloggers don’t give up after a few months.
They keep improving their content and strategies to provide the best user experience and value in everything they do. That should be your priority as well.
How much money can you make from blogging?
It depends. Some bloggers make no money from their blogs, and some bloggers generate six-figure incomes.
How much you can make depends on:
- your niche (some niches are more profitable than others)
- the quality of your content (your content needs to be the best quality it can be)
- the amount of traffic your blog is getting (if you have no to very little traffic, you can’t expect to make a lot of money, if any)
- the relationship you have with your audience (if your audience doesn’t trust you, they won’t buy anything from you)
- the ways you use to monetize your blog (I will go through these later on in this guide; some will generate you more revenue than others)
You can make zero money from blogging, and you can make a good amount of money as well.
As I said, some bloggers generate six or even seven-figure incomes, and some bloggers make no money at all. The reality is that how much you make from blogging depends on you.
How long does it take to make money from blogging?
Once again, it depends.
I hate to say it, but it’s true. It depends on your marketing strategy, how active you are, and how much time are you dedicating to your blog.
This is a brand-new website, but I will be recording my progress and will keep you updated each month, so you have a better idea.
If you have the time to treat your blog like a full-time job from day one, you could start generating a good income quite early on.
But then, it also depends on what you consider a full-time income.
I’ve read stories of bloggers who started generating full-time income from their blogs within the first six months. On the other hand, there are blogs that take years to make money.
But it also depends on your strategy and how much you know about blogging. If you are a beginner, it will most likely take some time for you to make money from your blog.
How do beginner bloggers make money?
Usually, beginner bloggers start making money with display ads and affiliate marketing. They are both fairly easy to start with and can bring you passive income for the long-term.
I will explain both of them later in this article.
When should you start monetizing your blog?
Every blogger wants to monetize their blog. But how early is it appropriate?
There is no definitive answer. It comes down to the particular monetization method.
When it comes to display ads and affiliate marketing, you can start quite early on. Even as soon as you launch your blog.
With other methods, such as selling products or offering coaching or consulting services, I would wait until you know for sure that those products are working and provide real value to your customers.
You also need to know whether the products you have in mind are exactly what your audience wants.
BEFORE YOU MONETIZE YOUR BLOG
There are a few steps you need to take before you try to monetize your blog:
#1 PICK A PROFITABLE NICHE
Your niche is a foundation of everything.
I believe you can make money in any niche, but you definitely should do some research before you start.
And yes, I strongly believe that you should pick only one niche. If you want to make money blogging, you have to treat your blog like a business from the beginning.
Did you know that Amazon started as an online book marketplace?
Yes, they started very niche-down and expanded from there.
Pick a narrow niche and expand later.
How do you know if your niche is profitable?
Whether your niche is profitable depends on your target audience. If your target audience is broke college students, you can’t expect to make a lot of money.
If that’s the case, pick an aspect of that niche to focus on. Start with this one aspect and expand later.
I don’t think you have to be super passionate about your niche. You just have to be interested in it. Blogging is for the long run and you’ll have to be able to stick with it for years to come.
IMPORTANT: Don’t pick a niche you know nothing about. I’m not saying you have to be an expert, but you need to have some knowledge about it. You might have heard that the insurance niche is a very profitable one. The problem? You know close to nothing about insurance. If that’s the case, don’t start a blog about insurance.
So, the bottom line is that it’s a combination of both. Interest and profitability are the best foundation for a successful blog.
#2 CREATE GREAT CONTENT
Have you heard the saying “content is king”?
You need to create the best quality content to your ability.
Key point? Create the best content you can to your current ability.
I’m not saying you have to be the best from the beginning. All I’m saying is that you should learn how to create great content for your blog and keep improving over time.
Before I continue, I feel like it needs to be said that the phrase “create great content” is being thrown around a lot in blogging guides. But not many people actually tell you what ‘great content’ looks like.
I have a whole page dedicated to this topic. I will show you step-by-step how to write great blog posts.
But, in a nutshell, look up the topics you want to write about. Look at the articles that rank on the first page of Google and write something better. Write something more in-depth, more comprehensive, and add more related information.
Add infographics, images, videos, and anything that might help your audience understand the topic better.
Pick a different angle. Don’t copy what’s already out there.
#3 PROMOTE YOUR BLOG AND GROW YOUR AUDIENCE
The audience won’t just come to your blog. You have to go out of your way and find them.
Learn about SEO. Learning how to do keyword research and how to optimize your content for SEO is a great way to start, and in complete honesty, it’s the very first thing you should focus on when starting a blog.
Start building your email list from day one. If you already have a blog and are not building your email list, start doing it now. Sign up to an email marketing provider. They are usually paid, but it will be worth it. There are so many email marketing providers out there. I can recommend ConvertKit.
Pick a social media channel and promote your blog there.
Don’t forget to network with other bloggers and people in your niche. Blogging is more than sitting behind your computer and writing blog posts. You have to network.
If you want to read about promoting your blog in greater depth, I have an article dedicated to this topic, where I go through the best ways you can use to drive traffic to your blog.
#4 BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Let me break it to you: blogging is selling.
If you want to make money blogging, you have to be selling something.
The thing is that if your audience doesn’t trust you, they won’t buy anything from you. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a product or a service of your own, or if it’s a third-party product you recommend.
But how do you build a relationship with your audience?
You need to first identify who your audience is and create all your content with your audience in mind.
You have to engage with your readers. Show them that you care about them. Reply to all their comments and emails they send you.
You have to reply to their messages, take their feedback, and address their questions and suggestions.
Show the real you. I’m not saying that your domain has to be your name and that you have to become a public figure. It’s even perfectly acceptable to start an anonymous blog.
Just show your personality through your writing.
WAYS TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING
There are plenty of ways to make money from your blog. You can implement some of them at the beginning, and some of them will be applicable later on in your blogging career.
You’ll notice that most of these ways are not a direct way to make money from your blog.
Your blog will act as a medium where you share your content and knowledge. It will act as a content marketing tool to promote your products and services.
I included a list of ten both direct and indirect ways to monetize your blog. They are a mixture of active and passive income revenues.
The majority of them require no or very little initial investment. The investment will be mainly your time.
You can monetize your blog placing display ads on your blog.
I use them here on Blogology. Just scroll up and you’re going to see one.
I understand that they are not the prettiest addition to your blog, so you might want to skip them.
So why do I use them?
Well, I want to keep a record of how much money you can make from them. I will keep you updated each month.
What kinds of ads are there and how do they work?
There are CPC (cost per click) ads and CPM (cost per one thousand impressions).
The type of ads that are displayed on your blog is chosen based on your niche.
With CPC ads, you get paid when someone clicks on the ad.
For the CPM ads, you get paid after every time the ad gets seen one thousand times.
What display advertisement networks are there?
The ads on Blogology are run by Google Adsense. There are also other networks such as:
Google Adsense is the best option when you’re just starting out as some of the networks listed above require you to have a set amount of monthly page views in order to be accepted. Google Adsense doesn’t require you to have a set amount of traffic.
That being said, the downside of Google Adsense is that you don’t have much control over the placement and content of the ads.
#2 SELL PRIVATE AD SPACE
Selling private advertisement space is different from displaying PPC or CPM ads. No network or middleman stands between you and the advertiser.
Meaning, you have to go out and contact the potential advertiser yourself.
Or, they might contact you.
If you want potential advertisers to contact you, you’ll have to place an “advertise with us” banner on your website.
What are the benefits of selling private ad space?
- You have control over what’s being displayed on your blog.
- You’ll personally select the advertiser.
- You can also choose the placement of the ad on your website.
- You have better control over how much you make. You set the fee yourself.
#3 AFFILIATE MARKETING
How does affiliate marketing work?
- You select a product or service you want to promote. The product has to be related to your niche and it has to be something you use and would genuinely recommend.
- You check whether the product has an affiliate program. If it does, you apply for it.
- Once approved, you receive a tracked link which you can include in a related article where you are talking about the product.
- Every time someone clicks on the link and purchases the product, you earn a commission.
Regarding the commission, some affiliate programs will pay you a one-time commission when someone purchases the product.
Some affiliates will pay you every time someone just clicks on the link, no matter whether it resulted in a purchase or not.
Other affiliates, mainly where the product is a subscription of some sort, will pay you repeatedly as long as the person is still subscribed.
NOTE: Some products or services don’t have affiliate programs of their own but are a part of an affiliate marketing network.
What affiliate networks are there?
One of the most well-known affiliate networks is Amazon Associates. Yes, you can earn commission on anything that’s being sold on Amazon.
Other popular affiliate marketing networks are:
Before you go and sign up for every affiliate network there is, go through the products and gear you use to run your blog and see if they have an affiliate program. Even the online courses you’ve taken in the past might have affiliate programs.
But remember, they have to be related to your niche.
IMPORTANT: You have to include a disclosure in every single blog post where you’re using affiliate links.
When should you start applying for affiliate programs?
Some programs accept newbie bloggers, but most of the time, they will require you to have some content published on your blog.
Publish at least a few good quality blog posts, and then start applying for affiliate programs.
Where to include affiliate links?
You can’t just throw all your affiliate links wherever you like.
There are a lot of places on your website to put affiliate links to. For starters, place your affiliate links to all relevant blog posts and pages.
Great blog posts to include affiliate links are reviews, product tutorials, your tools, and resources page (if you have one), and wherever you’re mentioning the product as long as it makes sense to mention it.
Let’s say you are a photographer. You write a blog about photography and have your portfolio on the website as well.
- You can write reviews on your gear.
- You can create a page with a list of the gear you’re using.
- Perhaps you can mention the camera and lenses you’re using at the end of your portfolio.
Those are all great places to include your affiliate links.
#4 SELL PRODUCTS
You can eventually start selling your own products.
I feel like digital products are the most popular among bloggers. And rightly so. They are fairly inexpensive to create. Often the only investment you have to put in is your time.
You skip the whole storing and shipping process you have to do with physical products.
Digital products you can sell on your blog include:
- Online courses
- WordPress themes
Those are just examples of some of the most popular digital products bloggers like to sell.
That being said, you don’t have to sell only digital products. You can sell physical ones as well.
Obviously, the investment here is higher than with the digital products and you’ll go through the producing, storing, and shipping process. But if it makes sense for your niche to be selling physical products, it definitely is a viable option.
The most popular physical products bloggers sell are books.
But really, what you decide to sell comes down to your niche. If you are a photographer, you can sell Lightroom presets. If you are in the self-help niche and your specialty is an organization, you can start selling planners.
When deciding what you want to sell, first and foremost think about your audience. What do they want? What product would help solve their problem?
Your blog can act as a powerful content marketing tool to promote your digital and physical products.
Before you decide to sell your own products, research what your competition is selling and try to come up with something different. Of course, as long as there’s a demand for it. You can get inspiration from bloggers in other niches.
#5 SELL MEMBERSHIPS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
Selling memberships and subscriptions is another way to monetize your blog.
The main benefit? You get paid regularly and the revenue keeps growing over time as new members are joining.
That being said, selling memberships is about the offer. You have to offer something valuable if you expect the members to pay you repeatedly.
What are your subscribers going to get each month? Access to exclusive information or access to expert tips and secrets? Is it a magazine your members are paying for? Or software?
That’s something to consider as you want to give your subscribers real value with your products and services.
This is not exclusive to selling memberships. You need to give your audience value in everything you do.
#6 HOST A PAID WEBINAR
Hosting a paid webinar is inexpensive. Especially considering the effort you’re putting into it compared to courses and other products.
What’s a webinar?
A webinar is like a conference, but it’s done online. You as the host are connecting to your viewers from anywhere around the world.
What’s the difference between a free and a paid webinar?
A free webinar’s role is to spread awareness about your brand and your services. If you’ve ever participated in a free webinar, you probably noticed that there’s a part, usually at the end, where the host is pitching you their paid products or services.
A free webinar is there to generate leads (potential customers).
A paid webinar is there to teach a skill or provide high-value in-depth information. It’s usually longer and there’s more space for questions and in general, paid webinars provide more high-quality information than its free counterpart.
I suggest that before you consider hosting a paid webinar, you host quite a few free ones.
Well, you want to know how you’re doing as a webinar host. Hosting a webinar can be intimidating. You need experience in hosting webinars if you want to charge for them.
Notice when people start to leave the webinar. Is there something you fail to explain clearly?
Make sure to be prepared before hosting a paid webinar. One failed webinar can impact your impression in the eyes of your audience.
#7 SPONSORED BLOG POSTS
You can collaborate with brands on sponsored blog posts.
Usually, you review their product. But you might also get paid for a mention of the product in a related blog post.
How much you can charge for a sponsored post depends on your traffic. Keep in mind that if your audience is small, or if the company is small, you might not get paid at all. You’ll just receive their product.
But don’t let that discourage you. Starting a collaboration on a gifting basis can develop into a long-term partnership. But then, of course, some brands that misuse this for their benefit.
How do you find brands for sponsored blog posts?
Think about the brands whose products or services you’re using that are related to your niche. Drop them an email telling them who you are and what you do.
Include information about your audience, such as the demographics and pitch them the idea for the blog post, and what they would be getting from a collaboration with you.
The point of your email shouldn’t be “what can I get from you”. Instead, it should be “what you can get from me”. Give before you expect to receive.
#8 COACHING AND CONSULTING SERVICES
If you are an expert in your field, you can sell coaching or consulting services.
Some of your customers will be happy with your e-books, courses or webinars. But some will require more bespoke services.
For those, coaching or consulting services will be better options.
What’s the difference between coaching and consulting?
A coach doesn’t necessarily provide the answers to their client’s problems. He or she encourages them to find the answers themselves. A coach is not an expert in the field.
A consultant is an expert in the field and provides the answers to their client’s problems. He or she walks their client through the strategy and helps them overcome what they struggle with.
Being a coach or consultant can be very lucrative. If being a consultant is your goal, a blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert.
#9 FREELANCE SERVICES
A lot of bloggers offer freelance services on the side. A lot of them write content for other companies and publications.
But freelancing doesn’t necessarily have to be writing. If we go back to the photography niche, you’ll probably offer your freelance services as a photographer.
Or, perhaps, you’re a graphic designer. In that case, you’ll be offering graphic design services.
There are so many skills you can learn from blogging. Skills you can offer as a freelancer.
Working as a freelancer or contractor isn’t a direct way to monetize your blog. But your blog can help you establish yourself.
I’m including this one because I want to show you that starting a blog can be a great move for your career progression.
#10 SELL YOUR BLOG
If you’re just starting out, selling your blog is most likely not on your mind. But it is an option.
Once for whatever reason you decide to leave your blog, you can sell it. Yes, you can actually sell your blog. It’s like selling a company.
How much you can sell your blog for, and if you can sell it, will depend on:
- Domain name (if the domain is your blog, you’re less likely to find a buyer)
- Monetization methods (the more streams of income, the better)
As you can see, this is not your usual way to make money blogging, but I wanted to include anyway. You can start a bunch of blogs, drive traffic to them, monetize them, and eventually sell them.
You’d be surprised how many people do it.
So, in conclusion, can blogging make you money? Absolutely! But how much you can make depends on you and your effort.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to monetize your blog. Some of them are more advanced and require you to already have some audience. But ads and affiliate marketing are a great start.
One thing you have to accept is that blogging is selling. To make money from blogging, you have to be selling something.
But remember, it’s about your audience. They have to trust you before they buy anything from you.
Anything you recommend or sell needs to provide real value to your audience. It has to solve their problem(s).
And don’t forget: give before you expect to receive.
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