10 Ways to Make Money Blogging
“I know you have a blog…but how do you make money?”
That’s a question I get asked A LOT and the answer is…
Lots of ways.
And none of them involve a webcam filming questionable things in my room, online gambling, or ransomware. (Although I think my mom may have been initially concerned when I started rakin’ in the money “playing around on that computer all day.”)
It’s essential to diversify your income regardless of your business model. If you have more of a sales website, a blog, or a brick and mortar business, you need to have multiple streams of income.
Money always relies on other people in some form or another, and that means rules can change, needs can shift, or something can disappear altogether. There’ll always be one type of monetization that works better than others, but don’t neglect the others.
I take the multiple streams theory seriously, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute.
Here are the ways I monetize my website.
- Affiliate programs
- Bundle sales
- Banner Ads
- Ad networks
- Physical products
- Subscription programs
- Sponsored content
Let me go into a little more detail about each one of these here, and soon, I’ll do an entire post on them if you want to go a little deeper. (Let me know in the comments the ones in which you are the most interested.)
Here they are, in no particular order of awesomeness.
#1) Affiliate Programs
Lots of people knock Amazon due to the lowly 4% commission, but I’ve made tons of money over the years from them.
Important note: I made a lot more before they changed their commission terms (which is why diversification is SO important – my income from them dropped by 45% overnight and there wasn’t one damn thing I could do about it.)
But the point is, don’t be snobby about small amounts of money because it all adds up.
If you’re recommending something, why not make a few dollars from it by linking to Amazon? This strategy is especially useful for the following types of posts:
- How-tos that require specific supplies
- Topics the reader may want to learn more about (because BOOKS)
But don’t limit yourself to Amazon. Support others in your niche by recommending their affiliate products, check out Clickbank, and look into other websites that offer services that your readers would enjoy.
#2) Bundle Sales
Some niches have “bundles” where a lot of different bloggers get together and create a product that they sell at an extremely reasonable price. Some bloggers put together their own bundles of products, too.
These aren’t a steady source of income but can be a nice boost here and there. Make sure the things you are recommending are good products. There’s no greater way to lose credibility than to suggest your readers buy garbage. (The same is true for affiliate products or any other products you recommend.)
#3) Banner Ads
When your traffic hits a certain level, people with products applicable to your niche may approach you to advertise on your site.
This is great, but set it up on automatic payments so that you don’t have to remember to chase them down each month for your money. Honestly, I found individual advertisers to be such a pain to deal with that I stopped a couple of years ago. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a shot – just streamline it and be willing to say no if the advertisers won’t abide by your terms.
#4) Advertising Networks
I absolutely love advertising networks. Literally, all I have to do to make money is produce content and get people to come and read it.
If you are with a reputable company, the ads will be of reasonable quality and you will make money based on your traffic. It is the lowest effort way to make money I can think of.
If you have lots of traffic, I suggest AdThrive (they pay well, they’re attentive, and they respond quickly). If you don’t have much traffic, even Google AdSense will give you a few dollars.
#5) Teaching classes
Once you have an audience, if you can teach things that they want to learn, classes can be a great way to monetize. Access to your expertise is a big selling point so I always emphasize the ability to ask me questions in a live environment. Look into different webinar platforms before launching your course.
If you’re just starting out, it may still be possible to still teach classes. But to do that as a blogging newb, you need to have some kind of skill that is unusual enough that they won’t be able to find out how to do it just anywhere.
#6) Writing Books
Writing books can be a fantastic way to boost your credibility and they can mean long-term income. I have self-published and published through a company. There are pros and cons to each, but the biggest pro is that I get 500-1000 in my bank account each month for work I did years ago.
Depending on your niche, you can do full-sized physical books or shorter ebooks. As opposed to publishing ebooks on Kindle, I’ve had some really good luck selling them in PDF format right from my website.
#7) Physical Products
Depending what your niche is, physical products may be a good seller.
I prefer drop-shipping because then I don’t have to hold inventory or go to the post office. Holding inventory is risky, especially when you’re just starting out. However, one thing I didn’t know when I got started with drop-shipping, is I needed to have a fair amount of money sitting there to cover the 5 days from the time the customer made the purchase until that money landed in my bank account. If it hadn’t been for my line of credit, I would have been out of business the second week.
Even something as simple as a mug with a silly saying that your audience will find relatable can make you good money. I have a Shopify store where I promote supplies that are of interest to my readers. It’s on a separate domain from my main site.
#8) Subscription Products
Some people offer subscription programs which are great for ongoing income. Things like paid ezines, boxes of physical products, physical newsletters, or personal coaching are examples of subscription programs.
I’ve recently started my own paid newsletter in the frugality niche. It costs readers only $5 per month, and it’s fun to write.
Once you have a number of subscribers, even a low-cost subscription can be a nice little addition to your bank account on an ongoing basis. The key here is to scrupulously provide excellent and useful content. If you don’t, your customers won’t think twice about canceling their subscriptions.
#9) Sponsored Content
Another way to make money is through sponsored content.
Be very careful with this because you can really damage your brand if you don’t choose wisely what to promote.
There are influencer websites where you can register your blog and they’ll contact you with opportunities to write a positive article for a product. There are some companies that will pay you to send emails to your list on their behalf.
It really depends on your audience how well this will go over.
I introduced this to my readers by pointing out to them how much it costs to run a website and newsletter. I reminded them that all my content is free, but that I still had overhead. They don’t seem mind so I do a couple of sponsored emails each month.
I very rarely write sponsored posts on my site, however – there are so few products offered that are of interest to my readers.
For example, one company wanted me to write about Depends. Since I write for preppers and survivalists, I had all sorts of hilarious ideas about that astronaut lady who wore adult diapers so she could stalk the astronaut boyfriend who had dumped her. Remember that? Anyway, I decided that wouldn’t really be appropriate so I had to pass.
Depending on your niche, you may be able to offer consultations of some sort. In the survival niche, this isn’t the easiest thing to do, but if your niche is personal development, business, health, or any of a variety of other topics, you can do really well with this.
Use something like Calendly (it’s free) to let folks schedule appointments with you. Supply the link to them after the payment of your fee. Set your fee according to how long you’ve been working in the industry, how well you’ve built your personal brand, and how much others are charging. Don’t dive in trying to charge $1000 per hour if no one knows who you are.
There are other options I haven’t mentioned here like membership programs and high-end masterminds, but this should get you started.
I hope this overview gives you some things to think about with regard to monetizing your blog. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I’ll be happy to help you out.