HOW TO ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY BLOGGING
There are several ways that you can make money blogging, and legitimately make money online. In fact, you can earn a fulltime income working from home by blogging. It takes a bit of time and dedicated effort on your part to get started, but once you have built your profitable blog’s foundation, it becomes a passive revenue source where truly the sky’s the limit for how much you can earn. If you have the desire and drive to put in the work now, there’s no stopping you from making A LOT of money.
You may have seen the monthly income reports that bloggers are sharing on social media lately, some bringing in $1000, $5000, $20,000 or more per month and thought to yourself, “Just how on earth are they making that much money blogging? Where is it coming from?!”
- Kristen from Theendlessmeal.com, March 2017 – $2,219
- Hilary from Pullingcurls.com, March 2017 – $8,000
- Millenialmoney.com, February 2017 – $23,130
- Michelle from Makingsenseofcents.com, March 2017 – $130,000
Those numbers seem pretty crazy, right? It’s no surprise if you are wondering how the heck they do that. And the answer is actually fairly simple. It’s a combination of having any number or all of the following things on their blog:
AFFILIATE LINKS + SPONSORED POSTS + ADS + EBOOKS + COURSES + THEIR OWN SERVICES/PRODUCTS
A typical blogger will have some or all of these revenue sources included in their blog posts, which generate income. Each revenue source adds up to the blogger’s overall monthly profit. I discuss each of these revenue sources in detail below and explain how you can do it too.
YOU CAN MAKE MONEY BLOGGING TOO
If you have a blog already or are thinking of starting one, you could be making money too.
The first step in order to be able to make money blogging, is you need a blog, and you need to own your own domain/hosting. Free sites like Tumblr and Blogger don’t let you run ads, and unless you own your website, companies won’t partner with you as an affiliate. This is essential. You may think that you are saving money by using a free hosting site, but it isn’t really free at all if are losing out on the ability to make money on it! I have a step-by-step guide on how to set up a self-hosted blog here.
TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING, YOU NEED A BLOG SET UP THE RIGHT WAY
To set up your blog the right way for monetization, check out my Easy, No-Stress, No-BS Step-By-Step Guide. If your blog is already set up correctly, read on!
MONETIZING YOUR BLOG: PROVIDE VALUE, BUILD TRUST
The most important thing when it comes to blogging, especially if you are trying to make a living at it, is providing value to your readers by giving them quality and honest information.
As a rule, you want to provide awesome content to your readers, with information about products that will be relevant and helpful to them. You want to provide value. You should only recommend a product that you actually use, and that you actually like. If you are just posting about anything and everything and your blog is one big ad, visitors to your site will see through it, and probably won’t come back. Creating honest blog content with relevant and helpful product information will build trust with your audience. Building trust is crucial in any business, your blog is no different!
For example, I don’t know anything about cars, so you won’t find any articles on my blog talking about cars or linking to products for them. It would be dishonest of me if I were to create content with affiliate links to something I’m not actually familiar with. What I do know, is profitable blogging, marketing, and design so that is what I blog about here. (I also know about home decor, I blog about that on a different site, here.) I share with my readers the tools and products that I actually use and believe in. When I share a link to a product, my readers can be certain my recommendation is my honest opinion of it.
OK, LET’S MONETIZE!
Once you are ready to monetize your website, it’s time to start thinking about products that are relevant to your blog content, so that you can start earning money by referring the products you love to your readers. Look through all of your blog posts, did you mention any companies, products, or tools in any of your posts? Start by making a list of companies you already blog about, because you will want to apply to their affiliate programs first.
1. AFFILIATE LINKS: WHAT IS AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM?
Most companies will have an affiliate program where they pay a commission to someone for referring a new customer to them. If you blog about your favorite coffee brand, you should apply to that company to become an affiliate for their brand. Your blog posts about coffee are helping your readers with information they need, and you are referring business to that coffee company. When you are an affiliate, you will post links in your blog posts to the coffee brand’s website, and anytime one of your readers clicks your link and then buys the coffee, that coffee company will pay you a percentage of the sale.
Some affiliate programs will even pay you a recurring commission, CreativeLive is one that pays 30% recurring commission every month! Check out this list of other High Paying Affiliate Programs Bloggers Can Join!
HOW DO YOU APPLY TO BE AN AFFILIATE?
Once you have a list of companies in mind, usually it’s as easy as going to their website and looking for anything referring to ‘Affiliate’ in their website’s footer or contact page. In most cases, you can apply to become an affiliate right there on their website. If there is no mention of an affiliate program though, you can always do a google search of the Company Name + “Affiliate Program” and see if anything comes up.
Take a look at this list of some of my favorite high-paying affiliate programs, which you can join.
Another way to find affiliate programs is to join an affiliate referring network. These are websites that you become a member of (for free) and have access to several companies looking for affiliates. There are a lot of these affiliate referring websites online.
Becoming an affiliate is fairly easy, and you don’t need a ton of page views or followers to be approved by most companies. The amount of income you earn from your affiliate links once you’ve posted them depends on how well you’ve written your content to engage your readers, and how well you promote your posts to bring in more readers.
MY FAVORITE AFFILIATE NETWORKS:
Awin This is an awesome affiliate network. Sign up, get approved, work with brands, get paid. The commissions vary depending on which brands you work with – but I find it to be very lucrative. You can make quite a bit of money via their own $30 referral program too! There is a temporary $5 charge to join but you get it back once you are approved.
ShareASale -I love this one because it makes joining and keeping track of several affiliate programs super easy. You can earn cash pretty quick with this site if you are actively promoting your affiliate links.
FlexOffers – This is a big network with big brands. But you don’t have to be a big blogger yet to make money here! You can actually make money quite quickly with this platform. You will earn a commission from each sale made by any member you refer as well.
Ultimate Bundles – This is a program that offers bundles of resources (ebooks, courses, printables) on various subjects at different times of the year. Affiliates earn a commission for every bundle they sell.
2. SPONSORED POSTS – BEING AN INFLUENCER
The next step above being an affiliate is being an influencer, where you/your blog has a big enough following for brands to want to pay you a set rate in advance to post about them/their product. Think of all of those pretty girls on Instagram holding some tea product claiming to be a weight loss solution – those are all sponsored posts.
The tea company is paying the Instagrammer for posting that photo. Companies and brands will also pay bloggers to write posts just for their product.
This can be an excellent source of revenue for you, but in order to be considered for sponsorships, you will need to have a decent amount of followers on your social media accounts, and decent page views on your blog. But not only that, you will need engaged followers, meaning that your readers and followers regularly comment, like and share what you post.
Once you have a good amount of engaged followers you can start reaching out to companies to inquire about sponsorships. If you are influential enough, often companies will find and reach out to you too.
MY FAVORITE INFLUENCER AGENCIES
GET MY PROFITABLE BLOG CHEATSHEET IN THE FREE MEMBERS-ONLY TOOLKIT. DOWNLOAD ACCESS:
HOW MANY FOLLOWERS DO YOU NEED TO HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED AN INFLUENCER?
Well, there is some discrepancy over just how many followers you need before you can start reaching out to brands for sponsorships. Some say 5,000 is a good number to have, others say 1,000. Either way, the more followers you have, the more you can charge.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU CHARGE FOR A SPONSORED POST?
A typical rule for sponsorship pricing is: number of followers x 10% or $10 for every 1000 page views your blog gets in a month.
3. SPRINKLING ADS INTO YOUR BLOG
I use the word ‘sprinkling’ because less is more when it comes to ads. You don’t want to overdo it! Having a few (no more than 3) visually appealing advertisements that relate to your niche added into your blog post or sidebar is great, but having a ton of ads all over the place for anything and everything is not! Too many ads on your blog distract from your own content, looks tacky, and will likely be a turn off to your readers. See that Tailwind ad above this paragraph? That is an example of a classy ad, it doesn’t take up much space, and it is related to the content of my blog. Plus it’s advertising something that I personally use, Tailwind has helped my Pinterest traffic skyrocket like crazy!
You can usually get ads directly from the affiliate programs you are part of. Simply logging into your affiliate network ( Awin / ShareASale / FlexOffers ) and copy and pasting the code to your website is all that is needed.
Google Adsense is another good place to start for placing ads on your blog. You just sign up, create some ads, copy the links to your site and then earn a few cents anytime your readers click on the ad. You earn more depending on how many page views your website gets. When you have more than 25,000 sessions a month you can apply to better-paying ad programs such as MediaVine.
The ultimate guide to how to make money blogging! Read it here, pals! Click To Tweet
4. SELLING AN EBOOK
You are probably an expert at something, no matter how niche it may be, and if so, you could probably write a book about it. Creating an eBook and selling it on your website is a great way to earn passive income. You write it once, put it up for sale, and then (hopefully) it sells over and over again, without you having to do anything, your readers are able to pay for and download it directly from your site. I wrote an eBook about building a capsule wardrobe, I give it away for free as an opt-in for my mailing list. I also offer an ebook about the top hashtags for bloggers to use on Instagram.
You could easily create your ebook in Canva for free and then sell it on your own website, or use Blurb to sell it on Amazon, Apple, ect.
5. TEACHING AN ONLINE COURSE
Creating a course on a topic you are passionate about can be a very profitable source of passive income. You create lessons, usually in video segments and your students pay a fee to watch them. Usually, you will offer a worksheet with course material and notes too. I teach a few courses on profitable blogging and making money online, you can access my courses here. The platform I run my courses on is called Teachable.
Some of the courses I offer:
If you have ever thought about creating and selling your own online course, Teachable the platform you want to use. The professional plan has no fees, so you keep every cent from selling your course.
I would recommend watching this weekly webinar to learn more about how to create, launch and sell your own online course:
6. OFFERING YOUR OWN SERVICES & PRODUCTS
Are you a Photographer? Web Designer? Fortune Teller? Be sure to have a Work With Me page on your website that clearly describes your services and what they cost. You will be surprised how many people are looking to hire someone who does just what you do, you just need to direct them to find you.
Do you make something? Clothes? Postcards? Hats for squirrels? Perhaps you run a dropshipping business? Set up a shop on your website and sell directly to your readers. Shopify is an awesome place to run your online shop, it is so user-friendly! Shopify allows you to create a beautiful, responsive storefront, give you a ton of features and offers easy integration with several payment options. It is the go – to for many business owners big and small. You can learn more about starting an online store and get Shopify FREE here.
I offer a free online course that teaches how to start an eCommerce business and use Facebook ads like a pro to drive crazy amounts of traffic to it. Check out this quick video of me explaining the course below and then access it for free here.
BONUS: CREATE A MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM ON YOUR OWN SITE
You can create a membership program on your own WordPress site with a plugin called MemberPress. This allows you to generate income from members of your site who pay a subscription to you. You could offer a stock photo library subscription for example, that members would pay to have access to. This software is incredibly easy to install and use. You don’t need any developer skills, just add your products and start collecting the money.
PHEW! THAT’S A LOT OF INFO…WHAT ELSE??
As you can see there are many ways to monetize your website, in fact, there are even more ways to make money blogging, but these are the most common. How much you earn from blogging depends on you and how well you promote your content. You could have every affiliate link and sales funnel set up on your website, but if no one is seeing it, you won’t make a cent. You need to actively market your website every day to consistently attract people to visit it. That is why social media marketing is so important.
If you haven’t already, you will need to develop a social media marketing strategy. I can help you create one! Check out this post: Create A Social Media Game-Plan Strategy, and download my free social media marketing blog planner below to get started. This printable (and fillable!) guide will help you plan your ideal social media schedule, as it includes suggestions of daily and weekly blog and social media duties, as well as a yearly goals checklist.
Also, consider taking my professional blogger training course BlogBoss! Profitable Blog From The Start.
I teach everything you need to run a profitable blog, all in one place. This course covers blog creation, content creation, SEO, social media marketing, writing, design & branding, business plans, affiliate marketing, list building, sales and more! You will learn how to make an income blogging from the start, even if your following is small, or nil! You won’t find this much information and value all in one place for such an affordable price.
Enroll in class today. Seriously, you will be glad you did!
HerPaperRoute is a resource for bloggers to learn tips and tools to improve and monetize their blog and business. As such, I recommend products/brands that I personally use and trust in my business, this post may contain affiliate links where applicable. For more information, see my disclosures.