How To Make Money Blogging: The Definitive Guide

How To Make Money Blogging: The Definitive Guide

(Last Updated On: October 31, 2019)

So, can you make money from blogging? How do bloggers make money?

It’s no secret that many blogs earn as much as 6 figures per month from blogging.

One you have your blog set up there are many ways you can monetize your blog.

This post will look at how to make money blogging in 4 simple steps from starting your blog up to monetizing it. To skip right to the list of ways you can make money blogging, click here.

Let’s begin.

How To Make Money Blogging

This process can be broken down into 4 steps. Let’s take a look:

  1. Start Your Blog
  2. Create Quality Content (5-10 posts to start)
  3. Build An Audience
  4. Monetize

1. Start Your Blog

The first step is to get your blog up and running.

To start off you need to decide what you are going to be blogging about. You should choose something that you are passionate and knowledgeable about. Try to find a profitable niche for your blog that is popular but not overcrowded with other blogs.

Choosing the best platform to run your blog is important. For full control over your blog, and to ensure you have no restrictions put on your blog regarding making money, self-hosting your blog is the best choice. Some free blogging sites don’t let you to run ads and can be restrictive in other ways.

Starting your blog is probably the easiest part. You can get a blog set up and running in as little as 20 minutes if done right. Use this step by step guide on how to start a blog to get your blog started.

2. Create Great Content

This is one of the most important steps for creating a successful blog.

Write good blog posts that are information-rich and helpful. Quality content gets more shares, more links, and more likes.

Not only should your content be helpful, but it should also be interesting. Having dull blog posts can lead to your readers getting bored and leaving. Make your blog engaging with images, videos and other types of content.

Here are 200+ blog post ideas that will help you get started.

3. Build An Audience

Once you have your blog up and running, you now want to drive traffic to it and develop a readership. There are many ways to promote your blog.

Make sure your site is well designed and attractive. One of the top reasons people leave a site is because of bad design. If you are using WordPress there are many themes that will make designing your site easier.

Use social media to drive traffic to your blog and establish your brand. Create social media profiles for your blog and make it easy for your readers to share your content with share buttons.

Take advantage of the potential organic traffic search engines offer. Make sure you are covering some basic SEO (search engine optimization). Here is an SEO checklist with some of the most important points. There are some great plugins out there for WordPress like Yoast will help take care of SEO for you.

Building an email list from the very start will help you build and grow your audience. To provide more incentive, you can offer something free like an eBook or download for signing up. An email list will help you drive more traffic and lessen your dependence on other forms of traffic.

Create relationships with other bloggers and influencers in your niche. If you mention them in one of your posts, let them know. They might link back or mention the post to their followers.

Here is a list of 150 ways to promote your blog for more inspiration.

4. Monetize Your Blog

The final part of this process is now monetizing your blog. There are many ways this can be done.

Depending on your business model, different streams may be better suited. For example, some bloggers may choose not to show ads on their site.

Some of these can use right away while some are more relevant for use down the road.

Here is a list of the ways bloggers can monetize their blog broken down into 6 sections. You can click on the following sections below to skip to the one you wish to read:

A) Advertising

You can display ads, sell links on your site, and do things like paid posts. Different methods of advertising will be better suited for different blogs and bloggers. A blogger who is just starting out may find it easy to use an ad network like Google Adsense because it is relatively easy to sign up and you can start making money right away depending on your traffic.

In contrast, a more established blog with a large following could sell private ads at as high a price as they want.

Take the time to understand and choose the right revenue stream for your blog.

In general, ads can be categorized into ad networks and private ads.

Ad Networks

Ad networks can be the easiest and quickest way to monetize a blog. In basic terms, ad networks work by showing ads on your site and paying you based on different factors.

Usually, the amount your are paid is based on how many visitors view or click an ad. This is either called CPC/PPC ads (cost per click/pay per click ads) or CPM (cost per mile) ads.

  • CPC/PPC (Cost Per Click/Pay Per Click) – With these types of ads you are paid based on how many times the ads are clicked.
  • CPM (Cost Per Mile/Cost Per 1000 Impressions) – With these ads you are paid an amount based on how many views your ads get.

One of the most common types of ads you will see are display ads or banner ads. These ads can include text ads, images, and videos.

Banner ads are some of the most common ads you will see on a site. They come in many different sizes, and you can choose which ones will fit your blog best. Here are some examples of different banner ads you can use:

Ad networks will have many thousands of businesses bidding on the ads that appear on your site. The higher the bid, the more you will get paid for the ads.

One of the most popular ad networks to get started with is Google Adsense. The program is relatively easy to sign up for and use. You simply place a piece of code given to you by Adsense on you website and they show ads and do the rest. When users click the ads shown on your site, you get paid. Money is collected from the advertisers and then given to you, usually at the end of the month.

Other that Adsense, there are also many other advertising networks you can consider. Some of these however have more strict requirements and are harder to get accepted into. Here are a list of some other networks:

Each ad network has different features, so compare them to see which suits your needs best.

If you are unsure about what network you want to start with, Google Adsense is a good place to start.

How Much Can You Make With Ad Networks?

How much you make with ad networks is dependent on two main things: the number of clicks or impressions your ads get, and how high the bid is for the ad. The second point is largely affected by your niche.

  • 1. Amount Of Visitors: The more visitors you have coming to your site the more clicks and impressions you will get.
  • 2. Your Blog Niche: Your niche, or the topic of your blog, also can factor into how much your ads will make. For topics that are more in demand for advertisers, the bid will be higher meaning you will get paid more. To get an idea, here is a list of some of the most expensive keywords.

Optimizing Ads

Optimizing your ads to appear in more frequently viewed places can also help to increase the interaction they get. However, be careful not to overdo it and fill your blog with too many ads. Doing this can make your site look spammy and cause visitors to leave.

Ads should be placed naturally on the page so that they look appealing. Google offers some tips on how to place your ads appropriately.

Your ads should not interfere with the content on your site. They should exist with it in an appealing, clear way.

Content Syndication Networks

These are also sometimes called sponsored content networks or content discovery networks. A form of native advertising, these networks work by recommending content to readers.

Advertisers pay to get their content recommended by these networks, and you get paid for showing the ads on your blog.

These networks can be harder to get into as they most often require a minimum amount of traffic. Examples of content syndication networks include:

Because of their sometimes high traffic requirements, content recommendation networks are better suited if you have an established site with a traffic base. If you are just starting out, ad networks like Google Adsense can be a better choice.

Private Ads

With private ads, you communicate directly with other businesses or individuals who want to advertise on your blog. Unlike ad networks, there is no company between the publisher (you) and advertiser to make decisions for you.

Is up to you to determine the pricing, length of time the ad will show (if applicable), and terms.

Look at other blogs to get a feel for the amount they are charging to run private ads.

It helps to have your blog up and running with a good following before doing private ads. Having an established audience will help you charge a good price for showing ads.

Here are some different types of private ads:

Private Display Ads

You can display the same ads you would from ad networks but instead do it privately. You can then get ads to put on your site such as banner ads, images, and video, directly from your advertiser.

In comparison to ad networks, the amount you make from private display ads is up to you as you set your price.

This can mean more or less possibility for your site to make money. If you are just starting out and have no exposure to offer your clients, you would probably be better off going with an ad network.

However, if you have thousands or millions of viewers each month, you may be able to charge a higher price for exposure on your site. Ultimately, it is up to you and depends on how established your site is.

To get an idea of a suitable price, look around at other blogs of the same size and see what they are charging. You also have to decide the amount of time that you will show the ad for and how that corresponds with your pricing.

Paid Posts

You can make money writing through paid posts by writing about some form of sponsored product.

For example, a company may reach out to a relevant blogger in their niche and ask them to do a post about one of their products.

Sponsorship is another way an advertiser can get mentioned in your post. If you do a special series or something similar, you could arrange with an advertiser to have them sponsor that particular part of your blog. In return, you would mention that the post was sponsored or brought to the customer by the advertiser.

Paid Links

Paid links are when a business or individual pays you to put a link on your site. This offers different benefits to the purchaser.

When placed in a visible spot on your blog, links can send traffic to the site who paid for the link.

Paid links should not be for SEO purposes, and should be no follow links.

The more established your site is, the more money you can charge for your links.To get a feel for pricing, take a look around to see if you can find out what other blogs offering paid links are charging. Some will have different models depending on how long the paid links will remain on the website. For example, you could charge one price for placing a link on your site for a half year, another for a full year, and a premium price for a lifetime link.

Newsletter Ads

Another perk of having an established email list is that you can charge advertisers to include ads in your newsletter. The bigger your subscriber base, the more attractive your newsletter ad will look to potential advertisers.

There are many options when it comes to newsletter ads. For example, you could offer either a small ad as part of your newsletter or a full feature.

Ultimately it is up to you to set the price and type of ad you want. You will most likely have to negotiate with your advertiser to satisfy both your needs and theirs.

B) Affiliate Products

With affiliate products, you recommend products or services and make money when you send a customer that makes a purchase.

This is often done with affiliate links which tell the company that the customer came from your site. When customers you refer make a purchase, you will get a percentage of that purchase.

There are many ways you can include affiliate products on your blog including writing reviews, comparisons, or guides.

You can choose to promote products through affiliate networks that have many products, or go through individual affiliate programs.

Let’s take a look at the two categories of affiliate programs.

Affiliate Networks

As mentioned, affiliate networks offer many products and services you can promote.

Often affiliate networks will have a collection of many individual programs who choose to go through them. You may find that if you want to promote a specific company, they do their affiliate program through a network.

One advantage of going through a network is that all your programs can be accessed from one place. This makes choosing programs and collecting your money more simple. Also, you can more confident that your affiliate is trustworthy if they are part of a network because they will usually have to meet requirements set by that network.

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There are many affiliate networks out there. Different networks offer different affiliate program models such as CPS (cost per sale), CPA (cost per action) and automated networks.

Affiliate Program Models

It is useful to know the difference between different affiliate program models. Certain affiliate programs pay for different actions such as sales, actions, clicks, or leads.

  • CPS: (Cost Per Sale) With this affiliate program you get a commission when a user you refer with a link from your site makes an actual purchase. Often there is a period where you have to wait before getting paid to check if the customer decides to make a return.
  • CPA: (Cost Per Action) With this type of affiliate program, you get paid when the user takes an action. This will be determined by the affiliate program. For example, you could be paid for actions including registration, getting a membership, getting something free, or buying a product.
  • CPL: (Cost Per Lead) This model focuses on getting leads. You are generally paid when a customer makes a sign up usually involving a credit card.
  • CPC: (Cost Per Click) This affiliate program is similar to the way ad networks work. With CPC, you get paid every time your link or ad gets clicked and sends a customer their way.

Here is a list of some of the best affiliate networks. Some may offer both CPS and CPA, but are grouped according to what they are best known for.

CPS – Cost Per Sale Affiliate Networks

Cost per sale affiliate programs are when you promote a product and get a product and get a commission for every purchase made. For example, if a user clicks on one of your links and then makes a sale, you get paid. Often there is a holding period before you get the money to allow for returns and refunds that the customer may make.

  • Rakuten Affiliate Network (formerly LinkShare) – Voted as the #1 affiliate network for five years in a row.
  • CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction or CJ) – Founded in 1998, CJ is one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks.
  • ShareASale – ShareASale has been around for 16 years and has over 4,000 affiliate programs.
  • Impact Radius– Founded in 2008 from the people who created Commission Junction.
  • Affiliate Window – Has over 2,100 advertisers and 75,000 publishers.

CPA – Cost Per Action Affiliate Networks

Cost per action programs pay you when a specific action is made. This can be something like filling out a form, signing up for something, or getting a membership.

  • MaxBounty – Named the #1 CPA affiliate network in the world according to Bluebook network rankings.
  • PeerFly – Over 2,000 offers, guaranteed top payouts.
  • Clickbooth – Clickbooth has been around for over 10 years and is named the #1 Performance Exchange in the world.

Automated Affiliate Networks

These types of programs save you time by automating much of the process for you. Instead of having to sign up for and select multiple affiliate programs, these networks do it for you.

Automated affiliate networks find keywords on your site and create links to relevant products. To set this up you often just have to add a code or a plugin to your blog/site.

One downside is that you don’t have as much control over where the links are placed.

Here are two automated affiliate networks you can look at:

  • Skimlinks Skimlink has over 1.5 million publishers and handles over 300+ million clicks a month. They have over 20,000 merchants that they work with.
  • Viglink Viglink has a publisher network of over 40,000 brands.

Individual Programs

The other option you have when it comes to affiliate links is joining individual programs yourself. Some companies have affiliate programs that are not part of any affiliate network. In that case signing up individually to the program is the only option.

There are many independent affiliate programs out there and who you choose to promote is ultimately up to you. You should pick the most relevant programs for your niche.

Some affiliate programs like the ones offered by Amazon and Ebay allow you to promote a huge range of products. Others may be for a single service offered by a company or a small selection of products.

Here is a list of some popular affiliate programs.

  • Amazon Affiliate Program – You most likely have heard of Amazon. With their affiliate program, you can promote their huge selection of products and earn commissions. The commission rate is determined based on category of product.
  • Ebay Partner Network – The popular online platform Ebay also has an affiliate program that allows you to promote products.
  • Clickbank – Clickbank is a popular affiliate marketplace with a library of over 6 million unique products.
  • iTunes Affiliate Program – Promote products from Apple including products from App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.
  • One Network Direct by Digital River Promote digital products and earn commissions from qualifying sales.

Which Affiliate Program?

There are many different affiliate programs out there that you can choose from, and the choice may seem overwhelming at first.

Instead of trying to choose an affiliate program, try asking yourself what products are most relevant to the readers on your site and your niche. With products that relate to your customers, you are more likely to capture their interest and potentially make a sale.

If you have a few companies you want to promote, check to see if they offer an affiliate program. You might find out they are part of an affiliate network and may even be part of the same one.

You might want to pick one affiliate network or a few individual affiliate programs to start off with. Once you get used to the way things work and have experience making sales, you will be more comfortable managing a larger number of programs and products.

Again the choice is ultimately up to you and what suits your site best. As with ads, try not to overthink affiliate products. Your primary aim should be offering great content to your readers and giving them useful information.

C) Selling Products Directly

This revenue stream is pretty self-explanatory. Another way to make money blogging is to directly sell products on your site.

Selling products on your site can take a number of forms, and there are many sales tools for blogs such as WooCommerce for WordPress out there to help you with eCommerce.

For example, you could choose to set up a store portion on your site with a selection of products. Alternatively, you could have a simple digital downloads button that enables users to purchase digital products.

The one thing with selling products directly is that you first have to have a product to sell. Creating a product can take time and money depending on the product. If you want, you can outsource part or all of creating the product.

There are many different types of products that you can offer that can be grouped into two main categories, digital and physical products.

Digital Products

Digital products are generally easier to create because they don’t need to be physically manufactured.

You can create digital products right from your computer or have them created by others. Digital products are also a good way to offer a premium extension of your blog such as a paid members area. Easy Digital Downloads is a simple way on WordPress to sell digital downloads.

Here are some digital products you could possible sell on your blog:

  • Ebooks: A popular option among online businesses, ebooks offer information in the form of a digital book.
  • Tutorials: You can offer premium tutorials at a price.
  • Courses: An extension of tutorials, you can offer a complete course on a subject.
  • Webinars: Webinars are presentations or seminars made over the internet. Some bloggers create free webinars as a form of free content, but you can also offer them at a price.
  • Designs: You could sell artwork, icons, WordPress themes, textures, etc. Useful if your blog is connected to design.
  • Recipes: If your blog has any relevance to food, you could offer recipes for sale or a collection of them. This could also be considered as an ebook.

Physical Products

In comparison to their digital counterparts, physical products can be harder to pull off. They must be first designed and manufactured which can take more time and a larger investment.

If you have an existing brand with physical products already made, this option is perfect.

Depending on your blog you may decide that physical products are something you want to or don’t want to have. As a beginner with a limited budget, starting with digital products may be easier.

Here are some examples of physical products you could promote:

  • Books: If you have a book, you can sell and promote it through your blog. Many popular bloggers have their own books for sale.
  • DVDs or CDs: You can sell DVD’s or CD’s if it is relevant to your niche.
  • Clothing: You could sell your own branded clothing.
  • Accesories: Sell accessories such as bags, hats, and buttons.
  • Other Merchandise: The choice is yours, there are many types of merchandise you could choose to sell online.

There are also some services out there that allow you do design a product on their site and sell it. They do the manufacturing work and shipping, and you get a commission.

Products are created on demand, so there isn’t as much overhead cost. This is a suitable way to create branded physical products on a limited budget. As with any program, read and understand all the terms and guidelines to ensure the best outcome for both you and the retailer.

  • Cafe Press: Create your design and choose from over 300 million products on varying subjects.
  • Zazzle: With a reach of over 30 million shoppers worldwide, Zazzle allows you to create and sell products. They do the manufacturing and shipping for you, and you get paid when you make sales.

Benefits Of Selling Products Directly

Offering quality products can be a great way to not only generate sales from your blog but engage your audience and give your brand exposure.

You may want to offer free digital products also in exchange for things like email sign-ups, and develop a sales funnel. With a funnel you can offer your other products down the road through lead nurturing.

Having relevant, quality products should be one of your main focuses when selling products on your site.

D) Subscription Programs

Subscription programs allow you to offer premium content to your viewers for a price.

In contrast to the normal content on your site, you can offer extra premium content that only paid members can access.

There are many membership plugins for WordPress that will do this free and paid. One example is MemberPress:

If you have a service that you offer, instead of selling it for a one time fee you can sell it as a subscription. There are many software and design companies following this model and offering their software as a service (SaaS).

You can also add tools, features, and support that premium members get access to. Here are some examples of subscription programs bloggers can use to make money.

  • Exclusive Content: This could include courses, tutorials, and forums only available if you are a paying member.
  • Subscription Services: You can offer digital or physical products with a subscription.
  • Coaching: You could offer a certain amount of coaching or training sessions per month for members.

Subscription services should present extra value for the customer. If your viewers feel like your membership will help or be useful to them, they will more likely to want to sign up.

E) Growing Your Business

If you already have a business, you can use your blog to promote it and grow your reputation.

According to one study, small business that blog get 126% more lead growth than those that don’t blog.

If you have a product you offer, blogging can be an effective way to attract visitors and promote it through content marketing.

Also, you can use your blog to add credibility to your brand. An established your blog can open up business opportunities for you and your brand.

A successful blog is a powerful advertisement and can boost your credibility.

Here are some examples of money making opportunities a blog can open up:

  • Freelancing: You can use your blog as a way advertise your freelance services.
  • Guest Posting: Posting on other blogs and sites is a great way to gain further exposure and traffic.
  • Speaking: You could be invited or apply to speak at events and conferences.
  • Consulting: Consulting is helping other businesses improve their performance. Many consultants charge top-dollar for their services.

F) Selling Blogs

If you have built up your blog and want to move on to another blog or pursuit, you can decide to sell it.

One marketplace where you can sell blogs is Flippa.

Blogs can be sold for very high prices. Some blogs have sold for many millions of dollars.

The more established your blog, the more value it will have. Things like the amount of visitors, amount of content, and the amount of email subscribers all go into increasing the value of your blog. Of course, you can choose what is included in the sale and what is not.

The more value that a blog offers, the higher the price could be.

Conclusion

Hopefully, by now you know how to make money blogging. A blog can be a great way to learn, share and generate a profit.

Can you make money blogging? Yes. But like most things, it takes effort and dedication. Once you know how to become a blogger and make money, the next step is actually implementing the different revenue methods.

Take note when you see these revenue streams on other sites. By seeing them in use it can help you get a feel for what will be best for your blog.

if you haven’t already, start by setting up your blog.

Once you have a good amount of content, start driving traffic and then think about monetizing your blog.

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