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How to Make Money Blogging: Start Monetizing Your Blog

Last updated: June 27, 2019
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You’ve chosen your blog topic, set up your WordPress account, bought your domain name, and started pumping out high-quality content on a regular basis. The hard work has finally started to pay off, and your number of monthly visitors has slowly risen into the thousands. The next step is figuring out how you can monetize your blog to create a revenue-generating content machine.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the best ways you can make money from your blog. Think of this as your beginner’s guide to making money online. By the time we’re finished, you’ll have everything you need to know about how to make money blogging through multiple income streams.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing may be the best way to make money with your blog. Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other companies’ products and receiving commissions for every referral sale you make.

This type of marketing is a great place to start because it’s cheap and has low entry barriers. If you’re promoting other products, you won’t have the overhead costs of creating your own product or sitting on a stockpile of inventory. You’re simply redirecting people to products you think they’ll love and find useful.

The trick is not coming off as a spammy blogger who’s peddling junk. You should only endorse affiliate products that you can honestly recommend based on your experience with them or products that your audience will find useful.

You should also be upfront and transparent with your readers about how you make money from affiliate links. If they think you’re genuinely trying to help them, they’ll appreciate and trust you more.

You’ll receive a percentage of every sale you refer to another company. Therefore, smaller sales will yield you a few bucks here and there, but higher ticket items can bring in much more money. The goal is to build a relationship with your audience so that they trust you enough to take your recommendation and purchase more expensive products linked from your site.

When getting started, however, you should focus on less expensive products that your audience is more likely to buy. Since they have a lower cost, these products don’t require as much thought from potential buyers and can lead to your first affiliate sales. Once you’ve grown your audience and developed a steady stream of income from these cheaper products, you can start focusing on higher ticket items.

At this point, your audience will begin seeing you as a thought leader and will trust your recommendations. Then you can start pushing more expensive products. These will yield you higher returns and will help your income grow. One example of an affiliate program you can look into is ShareASale. You can also head to our guide on the highest paying affiliate networks.

Display Ads

Running display advertising on your website is another way you can monetize your blog. According to many income reports of successful bloggers across the web, much of their monthly income is attributed to affiliate marketing. Display ads won’t make you nearly as much money as affiliate marketing, but they’re still something you should look into when figuring out how to make money blogging.

To make money off display ads, you must first develop a substantial amount of traffic, as is the case with every other monetization opportunity on this list. You won’t see a lot of money roll in without several thousand monthly visitors who are on your site and interacting with display ads.

Display ads function on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) attribution model. Every time someone clicks on an ad on your site, you’ll be paid a small fee. One click will only be worth a few pennies to a dollar, but if you’re able to garner thousands of clicks per month, you can start developing a secondary source of income.

The problem with display ads is that they make for a very poor user experience. We’ve all been there. You’re browsing your favorite blog only to be interrupted by a pop-up ad mid-sentence. You either get frustrated by the interruption, or you’ve been conditioned to scroll past it with your ad blinders on.

Ads also take people off your site, and you want to keep users on your site as long as possible. After clicking on an ad, users will head over to another website and potentially spend money elsewhere.

Although there are some drawbacks, display ads are still an effective way to increase your monthly revenue. As long as you can incorporate ads in a non-intrusive manner, they can benefit your bottom line in the long run. If you’re interested in display ads, one online ad network you can look into is Google AdSense.

Sponsored Posts and Partnerships

How to make money blogging: Two women sit in front of a laptop

Once you’ve established a reputable blog with some influence and authority, brands may want to pay you to create sponsored posts and collaborate on content creation.

If you’re unfamiliar with sponsored posts, think about when you see a social influencer on Instagram posting about a product they use. At the bottom of the post, you’ll see a “#sponsored” tag that signifies they were paid for the post. This works the same way with blogs.

For example, if you have a digital marketing blog, you could write an article about SEO and insert how you used a company’s SEO marketing tool during your optimization process. If you genuinely endorse the product, your audience won’t find it too sales-y. You’d also make it clear at the top of your post that it’s a sponsored post.

Another way to collaborate with a company is through partnership posts. This could be an article that was made in cooperation with another brand. For example, if you have a health blog, you could partner with CVS Health to create an article about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At the top of the article, you’d typically see a signifier like “Brought to you by CVS Health” or “Made in collaboration with CVS Health.” More often than not, you’ll have to reach out to brands to establish these partnerships. But once your blog is up and running with a substantial amount of traffic, don’t be surprised if brands start reaching out to you.

Reviews and Giveaways

Similar to sponsored posts and partnerships, writing product reviews and offering product giveaways is another way to collaborate with other brands and make money.

In some cases, brands will pay to you write a review about their product. This is a tricky spot because if a company pays you to write a review, you may have an unconscious bias to write positive things about that company. At least, it may look this way to your audience.

Instead of paying to write a review, it’s very common for brands to give you free products and services in exchange for an authentic review. Though you’re not being paid in cash, you’re still benefiting through the free products and services.

Both of these tactics can be paired with a product giveaway. Engagement will increase on your post if your audience knows there’s a chance to receive a free product by subscribing to your newsletter or leaving comments in the comment section.

Products

Selling products is one of the more profitable ways to monetize your blog. The products you decide to sell could range from digital products to physical goods depending on what you’re qualified to offer.

Digital products are quite popular, as they’re a cheap way to make money over time. Much of the money and work that goes into developing a digital product is spent upfront. Once you create the digital product, you can sell it for months or years for little extra cost. They quickly become a steady source of passive income.

Examples of digital products could be self-publishing an e-book or creating an online course. This will require a lot of work, but if you think you’re an expert in a certain area and could help others learn your skills, these might be good options.

You could also decide to sell a physical product through an e-commerce store. This will require you to buy inventory or have access to inventory. If you don’t want to risk shipping products on your own, you can decide to get into drop shipping, which is the process of selling products but having another company handle all of your fulfillment and delivery.

Services

Another great monetization opportunity is to offer a specialty service to your audience. This will allow you to capitalize on your specialty with much lower overhead than selling a physical product. For example, if you’re a social media guru, you can offer social media consultation to your audience for set fees.

You could also take what you learned from creating your own blog and sell your services. For example, you could help someone else set up their blog or even complete freelance writing jobs since you know how to write posts that bring in plenty of traffic. Whatever your specialty may be, there’s likely an opportunity to make money from it.

Relationship Building

Another way to monetize your blog is by building and maintaining healthy relationships with your audience. This channel isn’t unique but instead combines all of the monetization channels we mentioned above.

One of the best ways to maintain relationships and increase your overall sales is by building a strong email list. With a strong email list, you have an additional point of contact with your customers and can nurture the relationship throughout the entire purchase cycle. Email marketing will help you get people back onto your site, which will increase the chances of them making a purchase or clicking on an ad.

Another way to build relationships is including places for community ⁠— say, a forum on your website or Facebook groups related to your blog. This will contribute two positive things to your blog. First, by having user-generated content on your website, you can rank for long-tail keywords, which are many descriptive search terms that collectively drive heavy traffic and strengthen your SEO performance. Second, it will bring people back to your site and increase overall engagement.

The last opportunity you have to monetize your blog is creating an exclusive community that requires a monthly or yearly membership fee. You can establish one more stream of revenue if you’re able to offer your audience premium content and access that’s worth their money.

How to Make Money Blogging

As you continue to develop your blog and turn it into a full-time income, it’s important to stay focused on what makes your blog valuable to your audience. At its root, a successful blog is built from great content that readers find useful and valuable. If you always keep this in mind, you can grow your blog for years to come and find additional ways to monetize it and bring in extra money every month.

For more information on growing your business, don’t miss our complete guide to growth hacking.

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