You’ve started your blog. You’re writing about what you love. Visitors are starting to show up. But still you’re not making the kind of money that allows you to retire to a tropical island and post to Instagram about your “early retirement”. You’re now screaming in the shower, “How Do I Make Money By Blogging!?” But the shower doesn’t answer… The shower doesn’t care.
So, is it even possible? You see people every day making a living off their blog but yours just doesn’t seem to be driving revenue. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to make money. You just have to adjust a few things and pretty soon you can start making money from your blog as well.
The trick to monetizing your blog is to ensure that you have as many revenue streams as possible coming in from your work. Each stream won’t be enough to retire off of (or maybe it will) but when added all together it can provide you with a great income and a lifestyle that you just can’t beat.
To help you get to where you want to be when it comes to making money from your blog, I’ve created a MASSIVE list of ways you can make money from blogging. Here are the top and best ways of doing it.
Before we get started, let me first explain that you need to have an active blog in order to make money off of it. If you haven’t written for your blog in a while, it’s going to be tough to start making cash from it. If you’re worried that you can’t keep up with the demands of writing for your blog, then supplement your efforts with ghost writers. Or use an awesome service like Blog Hands. They write and deliver content for your blog and it’s pretty damn good. But with that out of the way, let’s talk about how to make money blogging.
Additionally, if you haven’t even started your blog yet, then you need to get that done. A lot of people will read and read and read but never take action because the “time isn’t right”. Which is bullplop. The best time to do anything you’re dreaming of is RIGHT NOW. So take a quick minute to register your website at any of these providers and get started:
WP Engine – WordPress’ hosting arm. Great place to host a blog.
Weebly – all-in-one website builder with drag and drop. If you have no design experience, this is a great way to go.
1&1 – A great hosting and website builder with some awesome templates.
Hosting24.com – An affordable place to purchase your URL and host your website
Domain.com – Get 25% off your hosting and website name
FastDomain – Great hosting company with good uptime and unlimited storage
HostGator – One of my favorite hosting companies. I have a few of my websites hosted here.
Also, if you haven’t done the other housekeeping items like logo design, then get one of those from 99designs. They’re the fastest and best way of getting a logo.
Look, don’t think you’re a sell out because you start putting ads up on your website. Yes, some people go to the extreme and clog up their screen with dozens of ads. But when done correctly it’s a great way to make some money while getting focus on what makes you awesome. And that’s probably the best thing about display ads. They run while you do your thing. You just set it and forget it.
Now, a lot of people ask me how much can you make from display ads. And the answer is: it depends.
Lots of factors go into calculating your CPM (cost per impression), or how much you get paid for every 1,000 views of an ad. Some ad networks that are extremely easy to join and are owned by the biggest internet company in the world *cough* Google *cough*, are actually some of the worst for payouts to publishers. I prefer to use UberCPM. Their approval process is quick and easy and you end up getting significantly higher CPM’s than Google’s AdSense. You can expect to see CPM’s pay out anywhere from $0.25 to $2.00 depending on your audience and how much they click.
And set up is crazy simple. Just put a line of code on your site and the networks takes care of the rest.
Affiliate marketing gets a really bad rap when it comes to monetization on the internet. Most people think that affiliate marketers are all blackhat and spammers. Which can be true, but you’ll find folks like that in any sector of the internet. Fact of the matter is you can do affiliate sales without being obtuse or interruptive for your readers.
For instance, if you’re talking about a product you like for your cycling blog. And that product happens to be sold on Amazon, then you can simply link to that product in the text of your blog. It drives people to go see it, you can earn up to 12% and you don’t have to feel like a sell out. After all, you’re helping out that reader find the product you love.
For instance, I live and die by Amazon Audible. I was a member of them before they were purchased by Amazon. When they were purchased, it got even better. But I burn through 3 to 4 audio books per month while driving in my car. It makes me smarter and better at business. If you don’t have a license, I recommend you get one ASAP. In fact, I’d recommend using the link below: 😉
See, not a sell out. I genuinely love the service and endorse it wholeheartedly.
If you’re not sold on being an Amazon affiliate, you can always go with a group like ShareaSale.
So change the way you think about affiliate sales and embrace the idea. And don’t limit yourself just to Amazon, you can also try groups like Commission Junction.
We’ve already discussed display ads. Well, native ads are their younger, a little more sophisticated cousin. You know the one, the cousin that went to boarding school and took riding lessons. The one you hate because they’re too smart and too perfect… Kind of like that.
You see, native ads are stories that are inserted into your posts by one of the advertisers. You put their widget on your site and instead of ads about shoes or products, you instead see stories that similar to the ones that are on your site. It’s like a content curation tool.
Your visitors click on the stories and you make money. However, because it does take them to another website, I would recommend putting the widget at the bottom of your article so you don’t prematurely end the session with your visitor. ESPN and others do it this way.
I know, I know. If you’re site isn’t making money already, then you must be a nobody. And who would want to purchase a sponsorship from a nobody. Well, you’d be surprised. Just because the HuffPo can charge north of $50,000 for their sponsored posts doesn’t mean you can’t charge something for yours. After all, if you’ve been following my blogging tips and growing your audience, then you should have a pretty decent following. Notice I didn’t say a huge following.
Even if you’re following is small, it’s still probably worth something to someone. So start small. Reach out to your readers and let them know that you’ll be taking on sponsors for some of your posts. The odds are that advertisers that care about your readers are probably some of your readers themselves.
For instance, back to our cycling example. If you’re writing about cycling and you have a lot of cycling enthusiasts that read your blog, you probably have a bike shop owner in your audience. And if you offer to let him sponsor one of your posts for $500 that you’ll give him a shout out and share a special with your readers, then that would probably be worth it. After all, they’d really only need to sell one bike to make it a positive ROI for them.
If you’re smaller than even that, then start at $25 on your first post and move your way up the ladder. Eventually you’ll be able to charge fees upwards of $2,000 (lots of bloggers charge much more than that).
One of the biggest success stories in blogging is what The Six Sisters were able to do. They started off as a lifestyle blog and were able to pivot their following and their brand into an entire line of products. They now sell their own products on their store on their blog.
But even if you don’t have the clout of the Six Sisters, you can start small and grow from there. Start a line of handmade products, start mentioning them in your blog, and see where it goes. Maybe someday you’ll be making more money from your eCommerce side of your website then from the blog.
The easiest way to do this is to start a Shopify site that links to a subdomain on your blog. For example shop.mysuperblog.com.
So, maybe you’re not crafty or you don’t have the skills to create your own product line. That doesn’t mean you still can’t feature products. There are hundreds of companies waiting for folks like you, with an audience like yours, who would be willing to sell their products.
And what’s great about drop-shipping is that all you have to do is sell the product and the company takes care of the shipping and everything else. You keep your bounty — usually much nicer than just affiliate sales — and they handle all the customer work. Again, one of my favorites for this is Shopify. They have an awesome drop-shipping program.
Perhaps you blog about creative topics. If you’re a designer or an artist of some sort, consider making your work downloadable and charge a fee per download. There are lots of photo bloggers who do this as well as web design bloggers. It’s a quick and easy way to monetize your intellectual property.
eBooks are an amazing way for you to drive cash flow from your blog. I specifically know of one blogger in the health and wellness vertical that successfully monetized an eBook to the tune of over $1,000,000 in sales every year.
And it was simple. They wrote an eBook that gave their best recipes and workouts, then promoted it on their site for a low cost (I believe it was under $5). And if it’s a cheap deal, but it makes your reader’s lives easier, why wouldn’t they do it.
One of the easiest ways to create an eBook without any design experience is through Remarq. It’s quick, affordable, and makes some amazing looking eBooks.
You can sell your books directly through your site by using a service like Stripe. Or you can bite the bullet and sign up for the Amazon Kindle program and list your book there as well.
You’ve managed to grow your website following, but why not monetize your social following as well. Most companies will pay you to sponsor an article but far more will pay you to mention their products or do “influencer marketing” on social media. Kim Kardashian is the queen of influencer marketing and can command hundreds of thousands for her social endorsements. But certain mommy bloggers have great deals where they can earn thousands for a series of posts.
If you’ve managed to build up your website following but have somehow ignored your social following, it’s time to turn the switch on for your social media and get it ramped up quickly. I love the software Jooicer to do this. It helps you add actual real followers that are in your interest stream and does it quickly and for a great price.
You can also pay to promote your social profiles to get signups. It’s not extremely cheap, but it gets great results and it snowballs. However, if you don’t have the cash to initially do promotion, consider grabbing a loan to start your blogging initiatives. You try groups like Blue Trust Loans.
This one is similar to affiliate marketing, but with a twist. Instead of throwing a bunch of products up against a wall and hoping something sticks, partner selling allows you to endorse certain companies and then earn money if someone signs up. For instance, you saw how I endorsed Jooicer just then. It’s because I love the product. Now, if someone were to sign up from that link, I might make a little cheddar.
The best platform to get started on partner selling is GrowSumo. It streamlines hundreds of companies into one dashboard and you can just start getting links and selling in almost no time. This is by far one of the most effective ways of monetizing your blog.
Did you know that once you’ve built a following and have established your expertise in a vertical, that you can start charging people to get access to your expertise? Well, it’s true. There are lots of influencers out there that have a paid newsletter. But you can’t make this just your run of the mill newsletter. This thing will have to inspire and educate your audience. The internet gives WAY too much information away for free. So, you have to up your game.
Bring something new and insightful to the table and see if people will be willing to pay for it. But don’t get too crazy on pricing right off the bat. While some newsletters out there are charging north of $100 per month to be a member, you should probably start low ($2 to $5). If you only get 20 to 30 people to take part, that’s already a great step in the right direction.
You’d be shocked at how much the visuals of your blog can affect the engagement level of your readers and audience. If your blog is outdated or you slapped it together yourself, then you need to think about getting it redesigned.
But don’t think that website design has to be a long and expensive process. Groups like Compass can make amazing websites for you at a fraction of the cost and in much shorter time periods. And this is coming from a guy that owns an agency that does web design work!
If you don’t feel like you have enough klout on social media or with your blog, then borrow some from another influencer. Influencer marketing, which you’re hoping to build yourself towards some day, is a great way to get started with your content and audience building. Finding someone in your field and doing a guest post on their blog (which might cost some money) is a great way to build your own following.
Or you can have them share your content and blog on their own social media feed. This is the typical, “it takes money to make money” strategy. You’ll put in some money up front to build your blog and social following and then have it pay out in the long run.
In order to get hooked up with influencers, you can reach out to them manually, which can be hit or miss. Or you can go directly to them on the Publicfast network. It’s a platform that connects you directly to influencers in any industry. Then, once you’re a big shot, you get yourself listed on there and start charging folks to do the same thing!
You’ve spent all of this time creating great content for your site, but then you’re overtaken in the search results by someone with content that isn’t as good as yours and doesn’t have the same history. It’s probably because they’re better at SEO than you.
While social media is going to be a big driver of traffic, as is email, showing up in Google search results is going to be critical for your blog’s success. You’ll absolutely need to ensure that you have your site as optimized as possible when it comes to SEO.
And don’t throw your hands up and think that you have to pay someone or take a course in SEO. Although there are some great courses on Lynda and other sites. A few minutes a day and using SEO software to guide you is all you really need. My favorite software is SEMRUSH. They have the easiest to follow advice, their audits are top notch, and their index is far superior to others like Moz or Rank Ranger. I used to be a Moz fan, but that tool has fallen off drastically in the past few years.
Learning how to make money from a blog can take a while. But if you’re struggling for cash right now, a great new idea came about recently by the folks over at Patreon. They developed a platform that allows artists and creators to be supported by their fans. Basically you set up a program that gives rewards to your fans in exchange for them paying a monthly fee to be a part of the program.
Thus, you could say that if someone pays you $5 per month to continue blogging, then they would get a monthly Skype call with you. If they paid $50 per month then they could get a free consultation. And so on and so on. It’s a great way for people to not have to take the typical forms of monetization and stay 100% true to their cause or art.
Lots of bloggers have moved their online presence into the real world. They do this by hosting local meetups. Whether you do these only in your immediate location or you take it on the road and host them wherever you might be in the country is up to you. But meet and greets are great ways for growing your following, creating a relationship with your readers, and ultimately driving more revenue for your blog.
We’ve talked about display and native advertising, but once you get big enough and your following is significant enough to matter, you can start charging companies directly to advertise on your blog.
You’ll do this by creating custom banner ads, or they’ll provide you with those, and then you place those ads manually on your site. This would replace your previous display ads.
The cool thing about this is that once you reach this level, your CPM can be 20 to 100 times higher than what you’re getting on the display networks. You get to call the shots and there’s no middle man or ad network to step in and take a portion of the proceeds.
Similar to post sponsorship and direct ads on the site, you can also start to sell sponsorships for your newsletter. These sponsorships would allow a company to have their sales pitch on the newsletter, be featured, or have banner ad in the newsletter. If you’ve been growing your newsletter list with pops and calls to action on your blog, then this is one of the most consistent ways to make money by blogging.
Look through some of the most recent newsletters you’ve received and you’ll probably notice that a lot of them had a sponsor. This is a very common practice and it can be very lucrative. Smaller newsletters can charge anywhere from $250 to $1,000 per sponsor, while larger ones can charge north of $200,000.
If you’re putting in the time to write content for your site, then you’ll also want to start pod casting on the same topic. It’s just a different medium for the same or similar content. Many people don’t have the time to keep up on all of the blogs they like to read. For these folks, a podcast is a great way for them to still soak up your knowledge while they’re in the car or stuck in traffic.
Plus, once you start getting a following on your podcast, this will give you an additional vehicle for sponsorship. Podcast sponsors can pay anywhere from $250 to $50,000 per episode depending on your following.
I’d recommend giving this article by Tim Ferris a read. In it he talks about how he grew his podcast to over 60 Million downloads all from his blog.
If you’re blogging on a certain topic and you’ve been able to establish some credibility as a thought leader and an expert in your field, then take those expertise and create a video course. This is similar to the idea of creating an eBook for your audience to download, except just in another format.
Again, you can leverage networks that will help spread your content to their audiences, like Lynda.com. Or you can sell it directly on your site through direct download. The latter step will give you a better margin and more bang for your buck, but the former will give you more exposure and potentially make the content much bigger than it could be on its own.
When you first start off it will seem like nobody cares about what you have to say. Then some people will start to follow you, then that audience will keep growing, and pretty soon you’ll be relevant enough to warrant speaking in front of groups of people.
Most trade shows, conferences, and conventions are always on the lookout for subject matter experts. The trick is to get into as many speaking engagements as you can. At first you won’t get paid anything to do these. In fact, you’ll be out of pocket for travel costs. But as your reputation grows, you’ll start getting offers to speak at events and they’ll begin to pay you for these engagements.
Some of the top speakers in the world got their start on a blog and now command speaking fees north of $50,000.
Similar to the idea of starting a podcast to provide a different medium for your audience to access your content, the video blog or Vlog is a great way to reach a younger audience or a mobile audience.
Most mobile users prefer video over any other form of content. And younger generations are turning to video more and more. So, if you want to connect with everyone, make sure you’re giving them as many ways to access you as possible.
And your Vlog entries don’t have to be a high production affair. All you need is a camera and a face. The quality of the entries will probably increase as you become more popular and get access to better equipment and technology, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Just because we’re focusing on how to make money blogging, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on other mediums. After all, now that you’re creating video content for your blog, you’ll want to host that content on the biggest video platform in the world, YouTube. As your subscribers grow and your video views start to take off, you’ll be able to monetize them by tapping into the YouTube ads platform.
While it doesn’t pay a lot, it’s still another stream of income. Plus, once your videos gain popularity, you’ll be able to start selling sponsorships on the videos similar to your newsletter and blog posts. Again, just another medium for content and sponsorships.
Like I just said, start making videos then start sponsoring those videos or putting them on the YouTube Ad platform to earn off of views.
Also, Facebook is also experimenting with their own video platform and the monetization of videos for creators and brands on there. The video platform isn’t new, but getting paid is. While the program still isn’t there, you should get started now on building up your credibility so when that does hit, you’re primed and ready to go.
If you’re going to make money blogging, then this is one of my favorite ways. This goes hand in hand with building your expertise and your klout in the industry. Once you’ve gotten to a certain level of respectability, people will want your mind. They’ll want you to come to their offices and help their team.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, you can probably think of a few ways you can help companies in your vertical become better. Whether this is through insights, coaching, services, or consulting, the end result will be you spending hours with companies and being paid for that time.
It’s wise to start off on an hourly rate for your services and then eventually move to a retainer model when you have the ability to command those types of engagements.
This is different from sponsorships and selling ad space. Instead, what you’ll be doing here is vetting products or services and then giving your honest review to your readers. First, you should set up the criteria that there is no guarantee the review will be positive. But if it’s not positive, you won’t publish a negative review. This protects you from having to promote products you don’t believe in, and allows companies to try your services without getting burned.
Lots of companies will not only pay for these reviews but they’ll also provide you with free goods and services for the chance or the hope of being reviewed.
I know of a lot of bloggers who haven’t paid for a hotel room or a vacation in years because they’re constantly being comped by companies in order to get a review out of them.
So, while this one can be a way of getting cash in the door, it’s also a way to earn rewards that aren’t money but certainly are worth a lot of it. Just remember to report any gifts or considerations on your taxes. Just because this isn’t cash, doesn’t mean the government won’t hold that against you.
And finally, when you’ve managed to create a massive blog following and have page views in the millions, you can take your blog to a business broker or a website broker and have them sell it for a pretty penny.
After all, Arianna Huffington started off as a blogger and eventually sold the Huffington Post for $315 Million. And she pocketed about $21 Million from the sale and got to stay on board for a really nice salary.