There are many different ways to make money blogging out there, and today I’m going to go over what the main ones are so you can make a decision about how you’d like to go about monetizing your new blog or business. Some ways to monetize your blog are passive income (meaning once you create it, it continues to make money without additional work), and some are active income that require ongoing time and effort.
5 Ways to Make Money Blogging | How Bloggers Get Paid
Although there are more ways than just what I have listed below for how to monetize a blog, these are the main categories that most things would fall under. I’ll also talk about what my personal favorites are and which ones have the biggest potential, and where I’ve personally seen the best results. Let’s get started! 🙂
If you’d like to start your own blog, check out our free guide on how to start a blog below:
1. One way bloggers make money: Selling your own products (physical or digital)
This one is definitely my favorite because not only do you get to leave a mini legacy behind in your book, course, or other product, it’s also owned by you and doesn’t depend on another person or company for your livelihood, like selling someone else’s product through affiliate marketing might. Most of my income comes from selling my own digital products.
2. Providing a service or freelancing
If you’re looking for the most efficient way to create (or replace) an income for yourself quickly, services are the way to go. Even if your service or offering is just a few hundred dollars, such as a monthly social media management or virtual assistant package for $300-500, it doesn’t take too many clients to create an income. And if you’re providing a done-for-you service like web design, building an app, etc, you can easily charge over a thousand dollars or more for a comprehensive service that takes care of all the details for your client. 😃 If you’re going to dive into the world of freelancing, I would recommend charging a fixed price for your offering (what you determine adequately covers your time, costs, and a profit) and not charging by the hour if you can help it. You may need to start at a lower price and raise it over time as you gain more experience. This is active income. Also, the course Idea to Empire by Anna Long-Stokes was very useful for learning how to build my own service-based business.
3. Advertising (a form of passive blogging income)
Some people think putting ads on your site, such as with Google Adsense or an ad management company like Mediavine, Ad Thrive, or The Blogger Network, takes away from the “look” of your site and distracts from the content, but this is truly passive income in that all you do is post the code for your ads or install a plugin and you’re good to go. From there, you just need more blog posts and more traffic to increase your ad earnings. Check out the ebooks Building a Framework and Traffic Transformation for ideas on how to grow your blog and thus increase your ad earnings. I would recommend starting with Google Adsense and then signing up for a company to manage your ads once you have more page views (to give you an idea, Mediavine currently requires at least 25,000 monthly “sessions” and Ad Thrive requires 100,000 monthly page views).
4. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is fun because you get paid to promote other people’s products, such as linking to products on Amazon. Some, like Amazon, charge a fairly small percentage, but because it’s Amazon and you get credit for anything someone buys within 24 hours of clicking your link, you might make a few random sales anyway from promoting something like books you recommend, kitchen utensils for a food blog, etc. I once sold like twenty marble races during Christmas haha. Some affiliate programs, especially for courses and ebooks, pay more in the range of 30-50% and can be very lucrative. Shareasale is another good affiliate program for selling products from online retailers like Tiny Prints, One Kings Lane, and more. I would HIGHLY recommend the book Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers by Tasha Agruso. This book helped me increase my own affiliate earnings.
5. Sponsored posts
Of all the methods on this post, sponsored posts are the one way to monetize a blog that I personally haven’t used. Some people swear by sponsored posts, but I personally don’t know of any companies that would make sense to sponsor a post on one of my blogs that I can’t just be an affiliate for their products for instead. 😃 Sponsored posts are active income in that you would need to hustle each month to get new companies to pay for posts you write about their product. Some sites to use for finding sponsored posts are IZEA, Clever Girls Collective, Massive Sway, and Pollinate.
Ultimately, I would recommend STARTING with one of the ideas above but eventually implementing at least a few of them. Don’t overwhelm yourself by doing everything at once – start by diving into one of the methods for monetization, implement it, create your product or install your ads or affiliate links, and then move onto the next one when you feel comfortable with it. Building a blog doesn’t happen overnight.
Eventually, diversifying your income over several different sources of income – and multiples different products, posts, or companies within that category – is the goal to keep your income more stable and reliable.
When Should You Monetize a New Blog?
If you’re a new blogger or are thinking of starting a blog, you might be wondering when you should try to monetize it. Here’s my take on the common question of, “When should you monetize a new blog?” The answer isn’t what you think!
I’ve seen different totally valid arguments for both answers to this question – that is, you should either wait to monetize until you have a sizeable audience because you’re going to be worried about pennies when you should be working on creating content and getting traffic in the beginning instead, or the perspective that you should monetize from the start so people see your blog as an actual business.
Personally, I’m in the camp that you should monetize from day 1 of starting your blog, even if that just means throwing up some Google Adsense ads. Yes, until you have more page views and traffic, they will probably only make pennies, but you need to starting training your audience AND yourself to view this as a real business and not just a hobby (that is, unless you aren’t trying to start a business, but that’s who I’m talking to here ;)).
When I was a lot younger I had a few websites over the years where I offered free graphics and Photoshop tutorials and such, but for many years they were not monetized at all. Eventually, I got a little more “serious” about it and finally consolidated it into one website that I continued to work on and grow. However, one day I put up a few ads for the first time ever because I wanted to start getting paid for all the work I was doing for free, and I actually made quite a few people mad about the new changes because they were used to my sites being totally ad-free and having nothing to sell, even though I did ultimately want to be an entrepreneur of some kind.
I learned the hard way that if people get used to something being free for a long enough time, they will NOT be happy if you randomly start selling them something or put ads up when they aren’t used to it. It’s totally legitimate to get paid for your creative work, but you need to train yourself AND your audience to see your blog (or social media accounts, for that matter) as an actual business from the start so they don’t think you’re “selling out” if you have free stuff for a long time and then suddenly try to sell them something.
If you’re planning on offering services, then you can put together a simple Work with Me page even if you don’t have a lot on your website or blog yet. And if you’re planning on monetizing through things like advertising, affiliate links, and products, then start that from day one no matter how small the scale.
If you want to take your blog seriously, you have to treat it like a business from day one. (And I don’t mean that you should spend hours split testing different ad placements when you’re only getting 3 page views a day, but just that you need to get the frameworks in place now).
There is a HUGE difference in the mindset of someone who is blogging just for fun or to keep kind of an online journal, versus someone who is blogging for business. In the first case, you might write mostly posts about your own life and adventures (which can sometimes be a viable business model, like being a social media influencer), whereas in the second case you are blogging to solve a problem for someone.
Then, the problems that you solve in your blog posts (or information you provide) can lead in to your paid products or services.
Also, if you intend to actually make this into a business, monetizing – in any small way – from day one makes you see yourself as a professional and a business owner and it can help you be more consistent and motivated with the work and invest into your education and business’s growth.
You might only be making pennies in the beginning, but it still means you can start to see yourself as someone who is actually getting paid as a real life blogger or business owner.
And that little shift in mindset is everything.