The first question people often ask when they discover the world of blogging is how do bloggers actually make money? It’s a fair question & instead of spending so much time explaining it individually, I thought I’d share 8 ways bloggers make money & then just send them here. 😉
Making money with your blog doesn’t require all that many additions. Some bloggers even make a living purely on the bare essentials of a blog… One thing that all bloggers need to earn an income is, well, a blog. 😉
If you haven’t got a blog yet, I use & recommend Bluehost & WordPress, for affordable hosting & easy-as-pie WordPress integration, visit Bluehost here.
For more information on starting a successful blog, have a look at my step-by-step guide to getting your blog up and running the right way.
So, you’ve got a blog & you’re wondering, how do bloggers actually make money? In short, bloggers make money in many ways with their blogs & you’re only really limited to the extents of your imagination.
All it takes is an idea & determination… but you’re probably looking for some more concrete answers, aren’t you?
In that case, let’s dive into the 8 different ways that bloggers earn an income & drive revenue with their blogs.
CPM or CPC Ads
CPM is the abbreviation for Cost Per Thousand Impressions (or Mille), meaning the amount of $ you earn per 1000 views, whilst CPC is the abbreviation for Cost Per Click, meaning the amount of $ you earn whenever an ad is clicked on your blog.
These are display advertisements displayed on your blog, like Google’s AdSense. They’re the easiest way to earn an income with your blog as you generally don’t need to do anything further once the ads positions are placed.
AdSense is a very popular ad provider from Google. You can very easily get started once you have a decent amount of good quality content on your site. The number of visitors doesn’t really matter… when it comes to getting approved that is.
I generally don’t recommend AdSense if you’re starting out. The CPM/CPC is just so low you that you need hundreds of thousands of visitors to earn a decent income.
There are other premium ad networks that provide a much higher CPM/CPC, but they generally need you to have traffic going to your blog/website already. AdThrive requires a minimum of 100 000 pageviews a month, but MediaVine has its entry limit at a more moderate 25 000 pageviews a month.
To put these premium ad networks into perspective, with regular AdSense a CPM of $3 is very good, whereas, with a premium network, I’ve seen some that can bring that CPM up to $15-20!
I recommend building up your traffic until you can join one of these premium networks or focus on some of the other monetization methods below.
P.s. you may also run into the abbreviation CPA, this means Cost Per Action & basically means that someone will have to click through & perform an action in order for you to be paid. That could be purchasing a product (I.e. most affiliate links), signing up to an email list, subscribe to a channel, etc.
Selling Ad Space
This is the DIY version of advertising on your site.
If your blog is getting a decent amount of traffic or you have a very niche blog that is held in high regard within your community, you could be approached by businesses looking to pay for advertising on your site. Or you can approach businesses yourself.
The benefits of selling your own ad space are that you decide the terms & you don’t have to share any of the fees with advertising networks.
Some examples of selling ad space could be placing a banner at the top of your blog posts or in the sidebar with a link to whichever page you’ve agreed to send the traffic too.
When looking to sell ad space, it’s good to have a standard rates page with your traffic details so that potential partners can shortlist you for their advertising. Don’t forget to add your business email so that companies can reach out to you easily. Why make yourself difficult to reach?How do bloggers make money? Here's how!
One of the most common ways to monetize a blog is through affiliate marketing.
In fact, 99% of people start out this way.
Affiliate Marketing is simply the process of recommending products or services to your reader base through the use of a special link & in return the company will pay you a commission for each purchase or click-through.
This is at no cost extra cost to your readers, in fact, many companies actually allow affiliates that perform well a special discount to offer their readers.
Another benefit for affiliates that generate more sales is that they may receive a higher affiliate commission. I.e. If you manage more than 20 sales a month, the commission increases from 15% to 25%, which can be a massive difference come payday. 😉
Affiliate Marketing commission can vary generally from 3% all the way up to 50%. (or more)
An important factor when it comes to affiliate marketing is to only recommend products you stand behind &, to be honest with your reviews & opinions. If you found some faults, don’t be afraid to mention them. These may be things your audience are willing to overlook & they’ll have more realistic expectations for the product or service, which can increase your credibility & gain subscribers.
Sponsored Posts/Brand Partnerships
Quite common amongst video creators & Instagram influencers are sponsored posts & brand sponsorships. This method of monetization has become associated with Influencers in recent times, but long before Instagram came about, bloggers were also using this method to earn an income on their blogs.
A sponsored post is different from affiliate marketing as the blogger is being paid in some way or another for reviewing or writing about a specific product, service or company.
Generally, this payment is made by providing free products or a once-off fee & this is largely dependent on how far along you are in your blogging journey or previous expertise.
Brand Partnerships or Brand Ambassadorships are pretty much a longer version of this. 😉
These can entail multiple articles, social media posts and can venture into real long-term arrangements.
Where a sponsored post generally covers an individual product or service, brand ambassadorships are longer lasting partnerships with companies & businesses that you as an influencer & blogger endorse.
You’ll find brand ambassadors in most industries, but they’re commonplace in make-up, jewelry, photography, etc. as these are sectors that have companies all creating similar products and by partnering with influencers, they can reach a niche audience quite easily.
Whilst your social networks & other platforms may not be of much relevance for the majority of the other ways in which bloggers make money mentioned here, it can be a huge benefit when it comes to sponsored posts. If you have a large following on a particular network, you can use it to your advantage to leverage higher fees or to simply secure more partnerships.
If you don’t have a massive social following, don’t worry, traffic to your blog & your email list can and will be the most important factor to business owners… as well as the suitability of course. 😉
Offering services on your blog is another popular way for bloggers to make money.
These services are generally related to what the blog is about and this generally performs well as your ideal audience is already reading your blog & browsing your website. For example, a personal growth blog that offers individual coaching sessions is a good match.
Services don’t stop there though, you could use your blog as a form of portfolio for freelance work. For example, wedding photography or writing.
If you’ve learned something completely off topic that your audience has shown interest in, you can offer that on your blog too. For example, if you’ve grown a massive following on a social network, you can offer personal social media coaching & use your own accounts as a form of proof.
You could even offer your services as a Virtual Assistant. If you have a well-run blog and social platforms, other online business owners will have confidence that you can take care of their babies. (figuratively speaking, although, you may also be able to open a… hmmm, I may be going off topic here… 😉)
Some of the benefits of offering services are the ability to set your own prices, the workload & you can decline to work with some clients if you do not feel comfortable with the arrangement.
The major drawback to this method of monetization is that you’re trading time equity. This isn’t a passive income or even part passive like some of the other options I’ve presented. You’re trading your time for money like you would with a regular job. The only difference is that you set the hourly rate, your working hours and you’re responsible for bringing clients in.
If you still want to share your knowledge but trading time equity doesn’t sound like something for you, then maybe the next option will be a little bit more up your alley.
Probably the most effective way to make money as a blogger is to create your own courses.
This is similar to offering your services, but it involves a lot less trading of time equity as large portions of the value that you are providing has already been saved to video or turned into words on a screen.
You’ll, of course, have to create that valuable content first, but once it has been created multiple people will be able to benefit from it instead of having to dedicate time to each individual client.
The different types of courses that you can make are too many to count.
You could create a course closely related to your blog content (recommended).
For example, if you have a blog about graphic design, you can offer a photoshop course to your readers. They’ll have a higher probability of joining your course, as opposed to others, as you’ve already established a connection & relationship with them through your content.
Like services, you can offer a course teaching the things you’ve learned on your journey. For example, if you’re a travel blogger and you take some pretty awesome photos, you can offer a photography course on your site.
Gardening can offer landscaping or sustainable living courses. Pet training can offer, well, pet training courses. Food or cooking blogs, you can offer courses related to cooking, baking, presentation, etc.
You see, the options are pretty vast and are only really limited by your imagination.
The amount of time you invest once the course is done is all down to you. I know of some bloggers that answer a few questions once or twice a week & others that offer full-on personal consultations within the standard price of their courses. This oftentimes comes down to the niche though & as a form of bonus content.
You could also set up a memberships area on your blog.
These aren’t quite the same as a course, as people that want to access your member’s area will need to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee, but you can provide content easily into one place & you can predict your income easier than some of the other methods I’ve mentioned.
Memberships require regular new, updated content & generally have some form of interaction between the creator &/or the members.
When it comes down to products, there are two ways to go; digital & physical goods.
Digital or virtual goods are products that are traded online & there isn’t any form of physical shipping involved. Some common forms are eBooks, videos, and other forms of digital downloads.
When it comes to creating digital goods, a majority of the work is done up front and there is no additional work that follows up like you may have if you’re selling a course. I.e. No consultations, coaching, etc. This is a very passive form of income as once you’ve created the product, all you need to do is drive traffic to the sales page.
Physical goods are products that are shipped to customers & can involve a lot more time-equity compared to virtual products.
An example of physical goods that can take up a lot of time-equity would be hand-made crafts or products sold on your blog or via a platform like Etsy. These need to be created, uploaded to the site & then shipped to the customer. This process then repeats itself for each transaction & can be quite time-consuming.
You could sell already made products of course. This will just involve loading them up onto your site &/or other platforms & then shipping them when a sale is made. This can, however, involve high start-up costs to purchase the products & you may have to sit on stock for a long time, so this is NOT something I would recommend for bloggers.
Dropshipping is another option and one that has gotten quite a bad reputation thanks to some online marketplaces & dubious sellers. All it comes down to though is selling a product from a warehouse. The warehouse then takes care of the shipping for you so the product goes directly to the customer.
I wouldn’t consider this as a way to monetize your blog, however. Rather a side hustle to earn an extra income as it will involve a lot of work that wouldn’t ordinarily have anything to do with your blog.
When it comes to making money with your blog through products, I recommend making your own. Regardless of whether they’re physical or virtual goods, these are tied closely to your blog & you’ll be selling more than just the product, you’ll be making that extra connection with a reader.
Driving traffic to your business
Lastly, if you have established another business (new or old) you can use your blog to drive traffic, and potential customers, to it.
You’ll find that a lot of large companies do something similar by creating blogs. Sometimes they don’t label them as blogs though, like Nike, who have labeled theirs as News.
Now Nike is a clothing company, so what would they blog about?
Well, they have a lot of people associated with their brand, their sports apparel is used in a wide variety of sports & they’re considered a rather fashionable brand. Now that’s a lot of different things that they can blog about & a large audience they can target.
How does this help Nike? It boosts their rankings in search results, it adds a human element to the brand, they create shareable content that markets itself, and so on.
Now you don’t have to be Nike to use your blog to drive traffic to your business.
Building on a previous example, if you have a wedding photography company, you can have a blog that talks about weddings & photography. Better yet, add some local posts.
If you’re a San Francisco based wedding photographer, a post about amazing places to get married in San Francisco is going to bring in a lot more clients than a post that covers the whole of the United States.
This is because you’re writing for your target audience. Someone that is reading about amazing places in San Francisco to tie the knot is probably planning on getting married in San Francisco & they probably need a photographer… Hey, that could be you! 😉
Another example would be in real estate. If you write about preparing your home for sale, you’ll reach a lot of potential clients looking to sell their homes. By providing good quality content, they may either use your advice & sell their home (giving you a positive review of sorts) or they will contact your business as you’ve left them with a good impression & confidence.
There are many ways bloggers make money, it really all comes down to how much hard work you’re willing to put in & delivering high-value content.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to get started & display ads can provide the easiest source of income when you’re driving a good amount of traffic to your blog.
Services, courses, sponsorships & products can provide the most bang for your buck when you’ve established a loyal following, even if it is only a small one.
When it comes to making money with your blog, it’s good to diversify your income streams. Don’t rely too much on one form of monetization as something may go wrong and then you’ll be left out to dry.
The most important factor when it comes to earning an income with your blog is to put your readers & your content first. Provide value that your ideal reader is looking for and then you can consider ways to monetize it.
Do you already have a blog that’s earning you an income? How are you monetizing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. & if you have any questions, feel free to drop them below.
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