You’ve started your blog. You’re writing about what you love. Visitors are starting to show up. But the money isn’t.
You see people every day making a living off their blog, but yours just doesn’t seem to be driving revenue. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible to make money, it just mean you have to adjust a few things and think more revenue minded. 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 by itself (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. Just like how you want to diversify your portfolio in investing, in business you don’t want to all your eggs in one basket either.
That’s why I’ve created this MASSIVE list of ways you can make money from blogging. The more eggs you can add to your basket, the higher your potential for making money. Here are the best ways to monetize your blog:
25 Best Ways to Make Money From Your Blog
Before we get started let’s talk about the most important thing. Before you can monetize your blog, you need to have an established blog and create content consistently. Generally, a new blog won’t start to be accepted by the search engines for six months to a year. During this time, you should be writing as much content as you can to prepare your blog for the next steps. If you create a good backlog of content, that will allow you time to implement all of these monetization steps without having a big lull in publishing.
It can be depressing to have to put all of this time into a blog before you can start making money, and that’s why many people don’t succeed in blogging. They don’t have the patience it takes to grow a blog from the ground up. Once you have a fairly established blog and are starting to see the traffic come, then it’s usually time to start ramping up your monetization efforts.
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 ghostwriters. There are many different site out there who have amazing ghost writers.
Okay, enough housekeeping. Let’s get into it.
1. Place display ads on your blog.
Don’t think you’re a sell out because you start putting ads up on your website. I’ve seen many people delay putting ads on their site because they hate the ads they seen on other site and don’t want theirs to look spammy. 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 without any additional work from you. That’s probably the best thing about display ads: they run while you do your thing. You just set it and forget it.
It’s also important to not that not all display ad providers are the same. Some of the more spammy companies pay more, but are also the ones clogging up your screen and making people hate your site. Some of the bigger ad companies, like Google Adsense, are very non-invasive, but they don’t pay as well. I usually recommend them for those just starting with display ads, but once you kind of know what you’re doing you might want to play around with some of the companies in-between Google and the super spammy ones.
How much money can you make with display ads?
A lot of people ask me how much can you make from display ads. 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. In general, you can expect to see CPM’s pay out anywhere from around $0.25 to $2.00 depending on your audience and how much they click. I’ve even seen a couple sites get up to around $10.00, but that is rare.
This might not seem like a lot of money, but remember, you don’t have to do anything else once they’re set up. And set up is crazy simple. Just put a line of code on your site and the networks takes care of the rest.
2. Affiliate Sales
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. Sometimes they are, 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. If it drives people to check out the product, you can earn up to 12% when they purchase it. See, you don’t have to feel like a sell out. You’re just helping readers find the products that you love.
Amazon isn’t the only affiliate out there these days either. Most big stores and brands have some sort of affiliate program. Amazon, while the biggest, is also not always the best for income. Yes, you’ll almost always be able to find products you love for your blog because they are so huge, but they have a very limited window on when sales will count for you and don’t pay out as well as they used too.
Some companies, especially smaller companies, will keep your cookie active for a month or more. This means that if a user that visits their site through your affiliate link comes back 29 days later and decides to buy, you still get credit for the sale.
So change the way you think about affiliate sales and embrace the idea.
3. Embrace Native Advertising
Native ads are like display ads younger, more sophisticated cousins.
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 disruptive display ads about shoes or products, you instead see stories from these other advertiser that are similar to the content that’s already found on your site. It’s similar to 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.
4. Start Sponsoring Your Posts
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.
For instance, back to our cycling example. If you’re writing about cycling and you have a lot of cycling enthusiasts who read your blog, then you probably have a bike shop owner in your audience. And if you offer to let him sponsor one of your posts for say $500 that you’ll give him a shoutout and share a special with your readers, then that would probably be worth it. Afterall, 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 this).
5. Start Selling Products
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 klout of the Six Sisters, you can start small and grow from there. Start a line of handmade products, mention 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 blogging side.
6. Until You Can Make Your Own Product, Dropship Instead
So, maybe you’re not crafty or you don’t have the skills to create your own product line. Maybe you just can’t think of a single thing you want to sell. 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, looking for help to sell their products.
And what’s great about dropshipping 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.
7. Create Templates and Sell Them For Download
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.
Planning tools and workout guides are also pretty popular downloads.
8. Create an eBook
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). If it’s a cheap deal, but it makes your reader’s lives easier, why wouldn’t they buy it?
Ebook promotion sites, like Book Cave, can also help your ebook reach more followers. You pay a reasonable fee, and they’ll send your ebook out to their list of over 100,000 subscribers. You’ll have to discount your book by at least half, but having a huge boost in sales can help your ebook climb the Amazon rankings so that you can sell more books at full price afterwards.
9. Grow Your Social Following
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, then it’s time to turn the switch on for your social media and get it ramped up quickly.
10. Embrace Partner Sales
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.
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.
11. Monetize A Newsletter
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.
12. Borrow Someone Else’s Audience
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.
13. Host a Group Giveaway
Speaking of working with bloggers and influencers similar to you, you’ve probably noticed lately that giveaways are all the rage. These giveaways are usually sponsored by a group of similar blogs or influencers who cross-promote a giveaway to gain new followers.
Typically, each member of the giveaway pays a certain portion of the prize value or sometimes one person hosts the giveaway and the others pay them to be a part of it.
Then, to enter the giveaway, individuals must follow social media pages or subscribe to each participates blog. Sometimes they also are asked to take engagement actions—like liking a certain number of posts, sharing your giveaway, or referring friends—to enter or for more entries,
It’s a great way to boost your followers and subscribers, but also your engagement, especially on your social media accounts. And I’ve already mentioned how blogging and social media go hand-in-hand.
14. Get Savvy with SEO
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. SEO isn’t really that hard when you get into it. A lot of it is just research, planning, and repetitive work to make sure the search engines think your content is as great as you do. If you’re a blogger, odds are you’re probably already a researcher and planner too, so all you need to learn is how to channel your creative passion into the right format to be successful with SEO. A few minutes a day and using SEO software to guide you is all you really need.
15. Have Your Readers Support You
Patreon 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 group monthly Skype call with you. If they paid $50 per month then they could get a free consultation. And so on and so forth.
This is a great option for people who don’t love the more traditional models of monetization and have very engaged followers who are willing to pay just so you can keep creating.
16. Host Local Events
Lots of bloggers have moved their online presence into the real world. They do this by free hosting local meetups or paid classed where they teach their skills, like DIY or pottery making. Whether you do these only in your immediate location or you take it on the road and host them wherever you desire is up to you, but meet and greets are great ways to grow your following, create lasting relationships with your readers, and ultimately drive more revenue.
17. Private Ads
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. You’ll often have to sacrifice some of the more prominent display ad spots for these ads, but that’s okay because the ROI from private ads is usually much higher.
I’m talking like 20 to 100 times higher that what the display networks were paying out. Plus, you get to control exactly what ads are showing on your site. It’s a win-win!
18. Sell Private Ads in Your Emails and Newsletters as Well
Just like displaying private ads on your site, you can also open up a spot in your emails or a feature section that you can sell to advertisers as well.
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.
Just remember to not make your emails too salesy or sponsor heavy, as then your readers may stop reading them and your sponsors may not feel like your emails are worth the price anymore. The key here is to find a good balance or sponsors that fit right in.
19. Start a Podcast
If you’re putting in the time to write content for your site, then you’ll also want to start podcasting 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.
20. Create an Online Course
If you’re blogging on a certain topic and you’ve establish some credibility as a thought leader 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.
21. Do Speaking Engagements
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.
Plus, traveling and speaking can be tons of fun.
22. Create a Vlog or Video Blog
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. Just think of how quickly TikTok became popular! 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 you videos will probably increase as you learn more, become more popular, and get access to better equipment and technology, but everyone has to start somewhere.
23. Start a YouTube Channel
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.
24. Perform Product or Service Reviews on Your Blog
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.
25. Sell Your Blog
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.
Even smaller blogs can sell for a pretty penny. In fact, some bloggers have decided that they like setting up blogs more than they like dealing with all the business aspects once they get big. They specialize in finding good niches, starting up blogs, earning ad revenue for a couple years, then selling them to someone who is more passionate about the subject long-term.
There you have it, 25 ways you can make money from your blogs.
Do you have any ways of earning blog revenue that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments below.
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