How to Make Money Online With Your Blog
You’ve got a blog, an idea, a theme and all the time in the world. You’re ready to grab the bull by the horns and start putting your skills to use.
Your website layout is terrific, the content is chic and interesting, you’ve got all your friends and their moms linking to your blog on their social media pages — but you’re not making any money. Sound familiar?
Well, you’re not alone.
Millions of blogs are being written every year. People all around the world are taking to the internet to post about their lives, their interests, and their hobbies. People are also using social media more than ever before to promote themselves and share their lives with the world.
How can a beginner blogger make money and be unique if there are already millions of other people in the world doing the exact same thing? These fears are not unrealistic.
Most beginner bloggers don’t know where to start with their blogs and don’t even know all ways they can monetize their blogs. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how you can start making money from your blog, let’s look at some stats.
Current Blog Stats: Holy Moly!
Did you know that Tumblr’s cumulative total number of blogs from May 2011 to October 2017 is a whopping 373 million blog accounts? And that’s just Tumblr! There are countless other blogging websites on the internet that people from all across the globe are using.
So how do you set yourself apart from the millions of other bloggers out there and monetize your blog? It’s not easy…but with the right tools, skills, knowledge (and maybe even a little bit of luck), you can make decent money from your blog.
Just like any other business, blogging can earn you some good cash flow — if done the right way.
There are certain things you can (and should) do to make money off your blog. Some ways are easy, while others require effort, time and care. If you care about your blog and its success, these strategies and tools will guide you in the right direction and start earning you cash in no time. There are many simple, effective and downright easy ways to earn money off your blog.
It’s just about using the right tools and knowing what to do with these tools to be successful.
Part One: Money Making Methods
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is something you absolutely have to become familiar with if you want to monetize your blog. It is a way you can make money by promoting certain products or services on your website for a percentage of commission from the sales.
Affiliate marketing is one of the smartest strategies you can use to start earning money from your blog, and should not be overlooked.
Here are 4 tips you can use that will help you earn money from your blog through affiliate marketing:
Choose the right product or service
You start earning money through affiliate marketing when readers (a) click on hyperlinked text or a hyperlinked visual ad you have on your blog and then (b) purchase the promoted service or product. This is why the product or service you are endorsing needs to be relevant to the content on your blog.
Be genuine. Be yourself.
For example, if you have a blog dedicated to health and fitness, you might want to affiliate with a health food website that sells health products or even a website that promotes healthy workout guides.
Ask yourself: What’s relevant and valuable to my audience?
Make your content engaging
Don’t just throw in a random link to one of your affiliate websites. Most readers will see right through this.
If your readers don’t find value in clicking the link you post, they won’t click it. Write a compelling review or interesting anecdote about how a certain product or service helped you, and explain how it can help your readers.
Make sure you’re genuine and that you are being yourself. Your readers trust you. They will trust a product that you endorse if you are 100% open and honest about it.
Endorse the right product or service
Make sure that you thoroughly research who or what you will be endorsing before you do it.
Makes sure the product or service you’re promoting will help your reader.
Remember, your readers trust you. You don’t want to promote something which can be harmful to your readers and make them lose their trust in you. Do your research and make sure that the product or service you are promoting will serve to help your readers.
Make sure your content is user-friendly
The user experience plays a huge role in whether or not someone will come back to your blog, or how likely they are to remain loyal to yours.
What goals can visitors accomplish on your site? Is it easy for them to do so?
If you pepper links in everywhere and make your ad placement look messy, you will minimize the user experience and quite possibly lose readers. Make sure you place your links cleverly and have a good balance between your content and links that you are promoting. Remember: you’re helping your reader, not just selling to them.
If you’re interested in starting affiliate marketing on your blog, here are some resources we recommend:
- Beginner Guide to Affiliate Marketing (source: Blogging.com) – Includes a video intro to affiliate marketing
- Affiliate Marketing Infographic – (source: WhoIsHostingThis.com) – Visual guide to affiliate marketing
Where to Find Affiliate Programs & Products?
We recommend these well-established programs & networks as a good place for beginners to start:
- Amazon Associates – one of the web’s oldest and largest affiliate programs
- CJ.com – large selection of products for you to promote
- ShareASale – hosts 1000s of affiliate programs
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to reach out to your subscribers on a personal level. To start making money off of email marketing, you need to use it as a way to promote and sell your own services or products.
One of the great things about email marketing is that it is extremely cheap. Not only is it cheap, but if done the right way it is extremely effective. It allows you to reach your subscribers to provide them with information about your blog, and you can even choose how often you send an email. It is a great way to bring in customers and experience growth in revenue, whether it gets them to click through to your site, purchase a product or service or take interest in your blog.
You can even put affiliate links in the email, which can earn you extra cash.
Make sure that you don’t make your emails look like sales pitches. Personalize them and make them unique to you, your niche, and your voice.
One really great thing about email marketing is that it offers measurable metrics. These metrics let you measure the results of all your email campaigns. These metrics include:
- Click-through rate: the number of people who actually clicked on the links provided in the newsletter
- Open rate (those who have opened and read the email)
- Revenue made (those who actually made a purchase).
Some great (and free!) email marketing tools you can use include:
Some great email marketing tools you can use include:
Please see our in-depth guide to Email Marketing for Bloggers for more information & options
3. Google AdSense
If you want to make direct income from your blog through ads, Google AdSense is something you may want to consider. Google AdSense is a type of advertising program known as CPC (cost per click, also known as pay per click) in which publishers display relevant ads on their websites. It is one of the easiest ways you can make money as a beginner blogger.
After you apply for Google Adsense and place their code on your site, AdSense automatically displays ads on your blog. The ads are geared towards the type of content you have on your website.
Essentially, the ads you place on your blog are placed there by advertisers to earn profit and revenue from the traffic coming to your website. One of the best things about AdSense is that it is completely free. This is a great way to earn extra money as you start to gain more growth and traffic to your website. You can even include AdSense ads (as linked text) in your blog’s internal search engine.
Get started with Google AdSense and get on the path to earning money.
4. Adsense Alternatives (Contextual & PPC)
Contextual & PPC advertising networks and services like Clicksor, Media.net work in a similar fashion to Google AdSense, each with its own set of available advertisers.
There are dozens of alternatives to Adsense, here are the most promising:
- Media.net – like Adsense, but Bing and Yahoo Networks
5. Banners Ads & Selling Ad Space
Advertisers can rent space on your blog or website to place a banner with a link to their website. Like other advertisements, the sole purpose of a banner is to get people who are viewing your website to click on the banner, with an ultimate end goal of purchasing a product or service.
Banner ads work much like traditional ads in print (newspaper or magazine), but banner ads can actually physically bring users directly to the website that is being advertised. Banner ads can come in all shapes and sizes and can earn you a good deal of monthly income, all by simply adding a graphic to your blog.
Advertisers measure the success of banner ads a number of ways, including:
- Page views: this measures how many visitors are visiting your website and are being exposed to the ad
- Cost per sale: how much money is actually spent to make one sale.
- Click-throughs: how many people clicked on the advertisement
If you’re interested in putting banner ads on your blog, you can contact businesses yourself to sell space on your site — or join a banner ad network. Besides Google Adsense & alternatives above, many of which have banner advertising, you can also check out:
Pro tip: If you have a website that is very niche or very local, sometimes selling year-long contracts via banner advertising space can be lucrative.
For example, you have a website about tourism in your area — rather than looking to a big advertising network, you would be better off selling space to local related businesses like hotels or B&Bs.
Be sure to include a “Advertise on this site” link in your footer and contact page so the right advertisers can find you.
6. Digital Downloads
If you’re selling digital products or working with an affiliate who sells digital products, you might want to consider looking into digital downloads.
The right digital download service makes it extremely easy for you to sell digital products on your website. Selling products like e-books, videos courses, or software, directly from your website will increase your sales and make it extremely convenient for the customer.
Look into a digital download system that works for you, and do your research. Once you choose one, you can set up digital downloads to your website so that customers can easily purchase your products or services with the click of a button.
You may also consider buying the rights to an ebook, and repackage as your own. This is sometimes referred to as “whitelabel e-books”, and can be very lucrative.
7. Membership Sites
Membership sites are another great way to earn passive income. People join membership sites and pay a monthly fee to receive the services that you offer. These services can include:
- Software subscriptions
- Consulting services
- Business or Financial expertise
- Make-up consultations
- Online courses in your hobby or professional area of expertise
- Niche life experience advice
- DIY handyman tips. Related services sold by hour or seasonal blocks (everything from raking leaves, to shoveling snow, lawn maintenance, stacking firewood, carpentry fixes, etc.)
- Computer technical support services
- Graphic design services (story about a designer who made $20k in 5 days)
- Writing or marketing tips
- or any other type of service related to your niche that you can provide.
Membership sites can improve your traffic, growth and even the engagement of your readers. Remember: people who register as members also tend to be loyal . . . and loyal readers are the best readers. It means that they trust you. If you continue to provide great services and products for them, they will continue to pay for their monthly subscriptions.
Membership sites also increase your credibility and bring in a trusting community of members who are likely to refer or recommend your products and services to others.
Check out these helpful links for a run-down of how to start a membership site and start earning money:
8. Consulting Services
Consulting is a great way to make money on your blog. It also helps improve your blog’s traffic and growth. This is why it’s extremely important to have a very specific niche. That way, you attract readers who are interested in your niche and are looking to learn more about it.
For example, if your niche includes digital marketing and SEO, you may want to consider offering SEO consultation. If your blog is focused on graphic design, you can offer graphic design consulting services where you charge a fee for an hour of consultation. The consultation can be via Skype, phone or even in person.
Consulting is also a great way to show off your expertise and gain credibility as an expert in your field. Once you gain enough clients and earn their trust, they can write testimonials for you which you can post on your blog. This will gain more attention from prospective clients and will make you look like a trustworthy, credible expert.
Other consulting services people offer include:
- Life Coaching
- Web Development
- Project Management
- And many more!
Getting started selling your expertise & knowledge:
- How to sell your knowledge online – Free course from Udemy
- Experts Exchange – Is an online marketplace for tech experts, and offers multiple ways to earn. Worth checking out if your niche is related to app development or computers.
- Upwork.com – A marketplace for freelancers of all sorts, has a variety of consulting-related job boards, such as this one for startup consulting.
9. Influencer Marketing & Paid Reviews
As a blogger, you are an influencer. People rely on you for your expertise because you have credibility and trust with your readers. This is why your readers are more likely to purchase a product that you provide a review for.
Paid reviews are a great way to earn extra cash on your blog. Advertisers can reach out to you and ask you to write a review that includes links back to their product.
There are lots of different ways you can do paid reviews. Some advertisers reach out to bloggers directly from their websites. There are also lots of websites that allow you to create profiles and let advertisers purchase posts.
Some websites also let you reach out to advertisers directly and even bid on jobs.
Some sites that can guide you in the right direction:
Paid Review Marketplaces:
10. Guest Posts
Did you know that as a blogger, you can offer your services to other websites and blogs as a guest poster?
Guest blogging can be a great way for you to earn extra cash. This might be a little difficult at first, especially as you first start to post and gain traffic to your website. As you begin to grow your brand and make a name for yourself, people will begin to notice you. Once that happens, you can start offering your services as a guest blogger.
This can be as simple as setting up a “hire me” page on your website or even reaching out to blogs in your niche and offering your services.
Once you begin writing more guest blogs and begin to develop and grow your client base, opportunities to earn extra cash as a guest blogger will increase exponentially.
Have a look at blogger marketplaces for opportunities to get paid as a guest blogger:
11. Podcasts & Vlogs
You have a blog, you’re using Google AdSense and promoting various links. Why not do a podcast and make money through that as well?
Much like you can use affiliate marketing in your blog posts to earn extra cash, you can do the exact same thing with podcasts. So while you’re earning passive income with your blog, you can also earn the same income with your podcast.
You can also promote your podcast on your blog. You can use your podcast to promote your products and services and even network with other bloggers. It’s also a great way for your readers to hear your voice and get a feel for the type of person you are, which will grow their trust and make it more personable for them.
By getting to know your personality they will develop more trust and loyalty with you and are more likely to continue to stay loyal to you and recommend you to their friends and family.
Check out these helpful links on how to make money from your podcast or vlog (video blog):
Part Two: Strategies and Tips to Make Your Blog Stand Out in the Crowd
1. Find Your Passion
This seems like common sense, doesn’t it? You might be a little bit surprised.
Some bloggers think that they have to write about trending, viral news or pop culture. That’s not true! When you write about what you know and about what you are passionate about, it turns the content into a more personal, genuine read which attracts readers.
If you’re passionate about something, it will show in your content. Readers will be able to see your genuineness and will be attracted to that. This is probably the most important thing you will learn about blogging. You can try everything in the world and use every tool known to man to be successful, but if you’re not genuine, people will see right through it.
The content you write for your blog will give you credibility, especially if you are writing about something you are passionate about. So always remember to be true to yourself and true to the people who are reading your blog.
Invest your time in something you are truly passionate about and something you truly care about — it will reflect in your content.
Do you like sports? Books? Health? Nature? Figure out your passion and write about it. Make your content useful, interesting and engaging so that readers find value in your blog. And most importantly, do what comes naturally to you.
Make your blog stand out, and reap the rewards.
2. Choose a Niche
Once you figure out what your main focus will be, you can start to develop your market niche and who you will be directing your content to.
Niche blogging is blogging that targets a specific market audience, whether it is photography, art, fashion and more. To start earning money, you’ll need to target your content to a profitable niche. Think about what type of niche your blog may fall into. What do you like? What do you love? Is it photography, fitness, graphic design, art, poetry?
You know what you like . . . no one will choose it for you. So decide on what you want to write about and make sure that you’re 100% honest about it. You’ll soon realize that finding a niche makes writing your blog a lot easier. It narrows down your focus and brings in a very specific audience who you can promote your services to.
Write content on your blog that is helpful and informative to people who are reading your page. By focusing on one niche, you will be able to focus your content on just one particular market and draw in an audience that is interested and devoted to that niche. You will soon learn that targeting a specific niche has a whole load of benefits that can help you out.
3. Quality, Quality, Quality
The content on your blog needs to be interesting, intriguing and helpful to readers. The quality of your blog will determine who it attracts and how many people it attracts.
Quality content is content that people can engage with and find useful. Your content should help readers and bring them value. Your blog needs to have interesting, helpful content that people would be willing to recommend or share with their friends. The format, structure, layout (and, of course, the writing itself) will all determine the quality of your blog.
Remember: the better the quality, the more engagement and likelihood to recommend you will get from your readers.
4. Write Often
You’ll want to keep up to date with your audience’s interests, concerns, and questions. Posting often will bring a continuous stream of new and current readers and will grow as well as engage your audience.
If you are constantly churning out new material, your readers will continuously come to your page for new information.
The more you write, the more your audience will view your blog and engage with you. Posting often will also open up new opportunities to sponsorships, traffic growth and even product placement — which is a big part of blogging that we’ll touch upon further down this list.
5. Promote Yourself . . . In Every Way Possible
You’ll find it extremely difficult to grow an audience by just word of mouth. This is why you have to put in the work and promote your blog through every form of social media you can think of.
We are living in an age where social media and digital advertising are now being used more than print advertising and other forms of traditional advertising.
This means that there is a shift happening in how younger generations are reading their media. This is a huge number and reflects how advertising will change in the future. It also shows us how most people are now viewing their news and information: online and through social media.
The best social media platforms that typically send the most traffic to blogs are:
Create a group on Facebook, post to Facebook groups with like-minded interests and individuals, have friends and family members share your information and promote your page. If you have a cool product or story that you can link, do it in an Instagram post. This is a great way to create growth on your page.
Use clever hashtags, fun photos, and engaging captions. Take advantage of what social media can do for your blog!
Lastly, always make sure that you stay true to yourself. Build relationships with possible readers and engage with them. Look into the websites, blogs or forums your readers frequent. Leave comments, answer questions, be helpful, and start building value which will garner interest in your page.
6. Go Mobile
Experts predict that by 2020, 59% of Americans using Facebook will be accessing the platform through their mobile devices. Right now, 51% of people who use digital media are accessing it through mobile, while 42% are using a desktop.
More and more social media platforms are optimizing their websites for mobile, which means you will need to optimize your blog for the majority of the market that is using mobile. If your page is not mobile-friendly, your readers will instead go to your competitors who have mobile-friendly pages.
Do not overlook this! Trust us when we tell you that you’ll be thanking us later. Check out these other stats regarding mobile usage that should really set your sights on optimizing for mobile.
Don’t ignore these numbers. By making your blog user-friendly to mobile users, you will maintain your users who are browsing only through mobile and will drive in even more readers who are using mobile.
7. Build Engagement
Once you’ve got the content down, have narrowed down your market niche, have optimized your website for mobile users and have used every form of social media imaginable to promote your blog, it’s time to build engagement and value with your readers.
Bring your blog to life and see the traffic grow. Do everything you can to:
- Respond to comments,
- Offer contests or giveaways, and
- Include your readers in discussions.
Write good headlines that are catchy and will draw a reader in, and don’t forget to write about what is important or trending in your niche.
Implement a commenting system
Don’t forget to choose a comment system that works for you. Look into the comment systems other blogs have and what the more popular ones are using. Taking your time in researching and choosing a great comment system will create conversation in your posts, drive engagement, and allow you to talk directly with your readers.
Use plenty of good graphics and visuals
You should also be adding graphics and visuals to your blog. They enhance the appearance of your website and will make it look sleek, professional and engaging.
Use Social Media to Attract Visitors to Your Blog
Never underestimate social media engagement. Social media is a huge game player in the online market. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to drive engagement through social media.
Blog engagement is also a game player in SEO, which we’ll touch upon later.
Practical How-Tos for Building Blog Engagement
Here are some more helpful links on building engagement and its importance in the success of your blog:
- 5 Engagement-Driven Elements You Should Add to Every Blog Post (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
- The Simple Guide to Blogger Engagement (Source: Zazzle Media)
- 7 Tips to Increase Blog Engagement (Source: Yoast SEO blog)
8. Look at What Other Blogs Are Doing
See what successful blogs are doing. How are they driving engagement?
It doesn’t hurt to learn from the best. If you notice that your blog seems to be falling behind in a few things, do your research. Seeing what works for other blogs can help you learn from your mistakes and optimize your page for the best engagement possible.
9. Network With Other Bloggers
Building relationships with other bloggers in your niche is an important part of any blogger’s strategy. Networking with and reaching out to other bloggers helps you:
- Create more awareness about your blog
- Grow your readership and build your brand
- Make connections that will increase credibility
- Link to other blog posts (we’ll talk more about this later)
- Draw in readers and build an audience
10. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategy which focuses on delivering valuable, interesting and relevant content to a target audience to eventually lead them into performing some sort of profitable action.
Rather than selling your services or products, you use the content on your website to provide useful and relevant information to help people solve their issues, spurring them to make a purchase on your website with the helpful information they have been given.
What makes for “valuable” and “interesting” content is determined by your audience.
Content marketing helps:
- Create more loyal customers
- Save you costs on other paid marketing forms
- Increase sales
- Increase traffic
Some examples of major brands that have made worldwide success through content marketing include:
- American Express
Content marketing is often much cheaper than traditional advertising.
11. SEO, SEO, and More SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will help you bring organic traffic to your blog, resulting in more growth, engagement and, hopefully, money through that traffic. If you’re not sure what SEO is or how it works, here are a few helpful links to get you started:
What is SEO?
- SEO Basics: What is SEO? (Source: Yoast SEO for everyone)
- A Complete Guide to SEO (Source: Search Engine Journal)
- SEO is Not Hard — A step-by-step SEO Tutorial for beginners that will get you ranked every single time (Source: Medium and Lambda School)
Search Engine Optimization increases the amount of traffic that is going to your website through search engine results.
How you use SEO and how much you know about it will determine how you rank in Google searches. This will determine how many people are visiting your website.
SEO helps improve your website’s visibility in unpaid search engine rankings (also called organic results). If your website is placed higher in search engine results, you are more likely to receive increased traffic to your website. Knowledge of SEO will increase your traffic, thus bringing in readers and the potential to earn money through those readers.
Google receives over 2 trillion searches every year. This number is staggering and simply cannot be overlooked, especially if you are trying to make a name for yourself in the digital world.
Use SEO to your advantage and increase traffic to your website. Increased traffic will result in more people reading your content, helping you earn money. SEO is cost effective and will increase your brand awareness. Your competitors are using it, and you should be too.
Final Thoughts: Find Success with the Right Strategy
Now that you know what to do to start monetizing your blog, you have to put everything to action.
You need to use the right strategy to grow and increase traffic to your blog, and get to know the people who are reading it. Establish trust, credibility, and see what your competitors are doing. What works for them may not work for you, but you will learn that with time.
Every blogger has a different strategy. By getting to know the different tools you can use on your blog, you will start learning the best ways to make money through it.
Remember, always be upfront and honest with your readers. If you are writing a sponsored ad or promoting a service or product, be upfront about it. Your readers will appreciate it. Your readers don’t want to be sold to, they want you to help them. However you help them, it has to be genuine and real. That should be the first goal of your blog.
It’s just not worth it.
Take what you’ve learned and apply anything that works for you to your blog. You will soon learn that some methods may work, while others do not. You’ll grow as you learn, and soon enough you’ll be making money off your blog.
A few final words of encouragement:
- How much money you make depends on the traffic you are getting to your blog. The more traffic you get to your blog, the more potential money you can make.
- Never underestimate the power of passive income.
- If you have the will, motivation, and determination to start making money from your blog, you will be able to. You just have to devote the time and the energy to do so.
Set yourself apart from other bloggers out there who are just sitting and waiting for the money to flow in. Use these tools and resources to your advantage, and reap the rewards.