How to Make Money from Your Blog

How to Make Money from Your Blog

People start blogs for many different reasons: to promote an existing company, to gain exposure for their writing, to become professionally independent, or simply for their own enjoyment. Whatever the reason, most people would be interested in making some money from their blogs if possible. In this guide, we’ll give you an overview of some of the different ways you can monetize your blog.


What are Your Goals?

Before you get started with a plan for monetizing your blog, it’s a good idea to have some goals in mind. What are you trying to achieve financially? Having some concrete numbers in mind would be helpful, but you should at least have a general sense of how much money you’d like to make blogging. Is it just going to be a side income stream, or are you hoping to make a living as a full-time blogger?

Obviously the more money you hope to make, the more focus and effort you will want to put into the various monetizing strategies.

While planning your goals you should also be aware that there have been very few cases of “overnight success” in blogging. If you want your blog to make an extra $1,000, $10,000, or even $50,000 per month, it’s going to take you some time to build to that point.

Do You Need an LLC?

If you are planning on making money with your blog, even if it is only a small amount, we recommend setting up an LLC (or other appropriate business structure) if you don’t already have one. Once you start making income, you are effectively running a small business. Therefore, it is important to have a business structure that will protect you and your personal assets from any potential liabilities that arise from your blog.

The good news is that starting an LLC is a very simple and affordable process. The steps and costs vary a bit from state to state, but we’ve created state-specific guides for forming an LLC that can help you navigate the process.

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Recommended: Learn more about how to form an LLC in your state.

Laying the Groundwork

Before we get into the specific strategies for monetizing your blog, it’s important to go over some of the more general tips for having a successful blog. Following these will greatly increase the chances of those strategies being effective.

Find a Profitable Niche

If you’re looking to make money with your blog, one of the first things you will want to do is find a profitable niche, which admittedly can be a challenge. Popular topics have a lot of competition for readers, which could make it difficult for your blog to stand out and get attention, and topics with less competition naturally have a smaller base of interested readers.

Some of the most successful blogs take a popular topic and then narrow their focus to a more specific aspect of that topic, or they approach the topic from a relatively unique angle or with a different and interesting perspective.

Of course, this may be easier said than done, but it is a good strategy to keep in mind. That said, it is impossible to definitively know ahead of time what will and won’t become popular with readers. So, if you are intent on blogging about a broad topic like “technology” or a very specific one like “water insects of the American Southeast,” don’t let commonly held opinions about what types of blogs will and won’t be profitable stop you! Recognize that the odds might be against you, but remember that a lot of good ideas were laughed at initially.

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Choosing a topic is the first step to creating a blog. If you haven’t created your blog yet, check out our free blogging course and get started today!

Create Valuable Content!

You can follow all the tips in this guide, but if you aren’t writing blog posts that people find useful and interesting, you are unlikely to ultimately make the kind of money you want. Sure, maybe you can attract an impressive number of readers for a while, but if you don’t offer them something of value in exchange for their attention, they’re unlikely to keep coming back.

So, make sure the amount of effort you put into various monetizing strategies is equaled by the effort you put into crafting high-quality content for your blog.

Check out our article on How To Write A Great Blog Post.

Start an Email List

Some blogging experts say that one of the most accurate ways to predict a blog’s potential for profitability is to look at the size of its email list. It’s important to start building an email list as soon as possible, even if you don’t have an immediate plan to send your readers emails.

While it may be easy to ignore this suggestion and just work on writing great content, you should really find the time during the creation of your first few posts to create an email signup page and link it to your email marketing provider. This may be some of the most valuable time that you spend in forming your blog. Sending an email to someone who has already shown interest in your subject is extremely valuable in the growth of your website.

Increase traffic

While producing quality content is crucial, if no one is reading it, your blog isn’t going to make any money. And while valuable content increases your chances to attract and retain readers, it isn’t guaranteed to be enough on its own. There are a number of other ways to help increase traffic to your blog. Some of these include:

  • Make it easier to find - Spend some time getting your blog properly set up for search engine optimization (SEO). This can help increase traffic generated from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
  • Post regularly -  Posting on the same day or days of the week, and even at the same time on those days, increases your chance of hooking readers and increasing page views. Creating a posting schedule for yourself is a great way to make sure you stick with your content creation as well.
  • Utilize social media - Advertising your new posts on social media platforms will keep your current readers informed about new content, and features like sharing and hashtags can attract brand new visitors to your blog.
  • Internal linking - Linking back to relevant posts that you previously published is a good way to get more hits on posts that may have gotten buried in your blog under a pile of newer content.
  • Backlinking - Getting other websites to link back to yours is one of the most effective ways to increase traffic
  • Alert readers about new posts - Whether you use social media, email alerts, or some other method, keeping your readers informed about new content is critical. 

Monetization Strategies

Once you’ve gone through these general guidelines for getting more readers to your blog, it’s time to focus on some of the specific ways that you can start earning income.

Advertisements

One of the most common ways of monetizing blogs is to include advertisements. The effectiveness can vary considerably depending on the amount of traffic your blog gets, but it can be a useful tactic for some. The low barrier of entry is one of the main benefits of running ads, and also the main reason that most blogs start out making money with ad revenue.

CPC and CPM Ad Networks

Signing up for an ad network like Google AdSense is one of the more popular ways that blogs incorporate ads. You’re probably familiar with these since they are the type of banner ads that you see on many websites. These are generally broken down into two categories: cost-per-click (CPC) ads, which pay you a certain amount each time someone on your page clicks on the ad, and cost-per-mille (mille = 1,000 views) (CPM) ads, which pay based on how many people view your ad.

With each of these, you don’t deal with the advertisers directly, and the rate of pay is predetermined. The integration with your site comes from small code snippets that you will embed in your posts that allow Google to serve an ad in that spot. You don’t have to pick the add that will be served, but you do have some basic control over what types of ads will and will not be displayed.

Using Google Adsense is very simple, even for someone with no technology background, and can be implemented within minutes upon approval. If you have no monetization yet but have some traffic, Adsense is a great place to start.

Private Ads

Selling private ad space to companies is a potentially lucrative option, especially if your blog is attracting a lot of readers. With these, you negotiate directly with a company about how much they will pay you and how exactly you will advertise them. This could include banner ads, sponsored blog posts, and more.

While this strategy is a bit more complicated and time-consuming than ad networks, the payout can be exponentially higher. If you know a company in your niche that sells a product to the same people that visit your blog, you have a real opportunity to make a deal. 

Getting in contact with someone from the company and selling them on your pitch may be a challenge, but as long as you can set up a win/win scenario, you should have a good chance to make something happen.

Affiliate Marketing

Another common way for blogs to make money is affiliate marketing. With this, you mention or recommend products or services and get a commission for sales that you bring in through links from your blog.

There are a couple of ways to do this. One is through joining an affiliate network like Amazon Associates. With Amazon, you post links to particular products and then receive a commission if someone follows that link and makes a purchase. 

One of the benefits of this network method is that you can start utilizing it at any time – you don’t have to wait until your blog has a lot of visitors. Of course, your earning potential increases along with the amount of traffic your blog gets, but you can at least start monetizing in some small way right off the bat. This is another very popular way to get started making money from your blog.

Another way to do affiliate marketing is to partner with companies directly. This is a bit more complicated, as you’ll be arranging these deals yourself. This can be extremely lucrative, but it requires you to first establish your blog as a popular destination for potential consumers of a particular product or service. Once you do this, it is quite possible that companies will reach out to you and inquire about making some sort of affiliate marketing deal. You can also be more proactive and reach out to companies first and make a pitch.

The difference between private CPC/CPM ads and private affiliate marketing is generally the way the deals are designed. You are still two companies entering into an agreement for advertising purposes, but the difference comes in the way the payouts are structured.

Selling Products/Services

Using your blog as a platform to sell your own products or services can be extremely profitable. Depending on the type of blog you have, there are various options for what you can sell. Here are some of the most common:

  • eBooks - Taking your knowledge and expertise about the subject you’re blogging about and turning it into an ebook could be a very profitable income stream. If you have the time and writing skills, you could write the book yourself, or you could hire a ghostwriter. 
     
    • There are various options for how to sell an ebook. Selling it directly on your blog allows you to keep all of the profits, but it may limit your book’s exposure, whereas selling it through Amazon’s Kindle marketplace will cost you a portion of each sale price but also potentially reach many more readers.

  • Online Courses - If you are an expert at doing a particular thing, there is a good chance that there are people out there that would be willing to pay you to teach them how to do it better. Online courses and workshops are becoming increasingly popular, and if you can spinoff one from your blog content, it could be a great moneymaker.

    • Your course could be one session or spread out over several. It all depends on the topic and how in-depth you plan to go in your lesson. You’ll want to teach a course that people are interested in taking. One way of gauging interest is to pre-sell spots in your course. Not only does this give you an idea of whether or not you’ll be able to attract customers, but it can also give you a stream of income before you even create your course! If it turns out there isn’t enough interest to justify moving forward, you can refund anyone who already paid.

    • Courses can be set up as a series of videos, workbooks, group webinars, one-on-one calls, or many other mediums. Depending on what you are teaching and who is receiving the instruction, you should be sure that your efforts and skills are being transferred in the most effective way possible.

  • Consulting Services - If you’ve established yourself as an expert in whatever you’re blogging about, there could be a market for personalized consulting or coaching. If you can impress people with your blog content, some may be interested in getting some one-on-one insight about their own personal situation. This can be a potential source of income for bloggers across a wide variety of topics.

  • Premium Memberships - If you can produce content that is especially valuable and unique, you may be able to get people to sign up for a premium membership that gives them access to this part of your blog. This is also called putting your content behind a “paywall”.

    • It’s not easy to do, but if you can hook some dedicated readers with free, high-quality content, they may be willing to pay to access more of it.

  • Physical Products - If you’re blogging to promote a company that already sells products, this is a no brainer. But, even if you’re not, there may be an opportunity to make some money doing this. The products could be anything from blog-branded or inspired apparel to a line of items related to the topic you blog about (e.g., a line of dietary supplements for a wellness blog or prints for a photography blog).

Donations

With sites like Patreon becoming more popular, donations are becoming a truly viable solution for many content creators to make a living from their blogs.

While it may not seem feasible to be entirely supported by the good graces of your readers, people are becoming more aware that the content they consume online is not easy to curate, and are willing to contribute a small amount so that you, the creator, can continue to produce the content that they love.

This isn’t a strategy for people who create shallow content that only provides a one-time value. The type of content that generally fairs best when partnered with donations is generally a creation of deep and thought-provoking experience, presented without ads or other marketing tactics.

If you are creating the types of experiences that can elicit people to donate to your cause, then the donation strategy is an excellent model that many people can live by.

Conclusion

Whether you’re blogging to enjoy a hobby or promote a business, and whether your goal is to make your blog be your primary source of income or just earn some money on the side, there is likely a money-making strategy that’s a good fit for you. It will probably take a lot of time and effort to see positive results, but if you go into the process with some knowledge and a well-thought-out plan, the dividends could make that investment worth it.