If you’ve ever wondered how to make money blogging, then stick around because this post is for you!
Before we get into the meat of this post, I want to take a moment to manage your expectations.
It’s important to dispel any ideas that this is going to make you rich overnight. While it is possible to make more in a month than the average annual salary, it takes time and effort.
When I first started, I had no idea how to make money blogging, let alone how much some of the top blogs make. Fast forward through a few years, a lot of research, and a whole bunch of trial and error, and now I’m able to tell you exactly how to make money blogging.
Whether you’re new to blogging and unsure how to monetize it, or if you already have a blog and you’re exploring more ideas, I’m going to share with you the best ways to profit from your blog.
With all of this in mind, if you want to learn how to make money blogging, let’s dive in!
Still Need To Start Your Blog?
Check out my step-by-step guide on How To Start A Blog.
How To Make Money Blogging
1. Affiliate Marketing
One of the best ways to make money from your blog is through affiliate marketing.
If you’re unsure what affiliate marketing is, it’s the process of promoting a product you like, and earning a commission when someone buys that product. It can be physical or digital – in general, the commission rates are higher for digital products as there aren’t production fees incurred for each item.
The biggest advantages of affiliate marketing are that you don’t need to create a product, or provide any after-sales support.
Also, the barrier to entry is super low as the majority of affiliate programs are free to sign up, making it perfect for beginners. Bear in mind though that some will ask you to complete an application, which may take a few hours or days to approve. Don’t let this put you off though, as they tend to be more reputable.
It’s really important to be ethical in what you choose to promote, and how you decide to promote it. Your choices reflect on you, and will need to offer value to your audience.
If you choose unrelated or shoddy products and market them in spammy ways, you’ll make no money. Not only that, but you risk losing the trust of your readers. Lose-lose.
So, by now you might be wondering how affiliate marketing will help you to make money blogging.
Well, let’s say that you have a photography blog. You can review products and place affiliate links to them. Embedded in the link will be a tracking code which links any sales to you, and you profit from the commission.
One of the most popular affiliate programs is Amazon Associates. You can create an account for free and set up your affiliate links in just a few minutes.
Once someone clicks on your referral link, you’ll earn commissions for anything they buy within the cookie’s 24-hour duration! You read that right…anything they buy! Even if it’s not the item you were promoting! Pretty sweet, huh?
Amazon have recently dropped the commission rates on their affiliate program. Some products have fallen from 8% to 3%, and others have dropped to as little as 1%. So, here’s a list of five amazing alternatives:
Alternatively, you can look for direct affiliate programs by Googling the product name followed by “affiliate program”. You’ll be amazed at what you can promote!
2. Blog Advertisements
Another great way to make money blogging is by displaying adverts. It couldn’t be easier to get signed up and started, and it’s where most beginner bloggers embark on their money-making journey.
How does advertising work?
If you’re unsure how it works; you sell advertising space on your blog to an advertising network, who will then match you with their advertisers.
There are two ways that your blog can make money from display ads:
- Pay per click (PPC) ads will earn you money every time your readers click on the ads
- Pay per view (PPV) or impression ads generate income based on how many people see the ad.
Take the time to read the ad network’s site to understand how you will get paid.
How to get started with advertising
If you have a WordPress.com site, you don’t have the freedom that WordPress.org offers. However, you can still make money by displaying ads using WordAds. Note that you must have a premium plan or above to take advantage of this.
With WordAds, you get paid per impression as opposed to per click, so build up that audience and you’ll earn more.
WordAds are awesome for beginners as they will evaluate your traffic and automatically apply to their advertisers once it reaches their qualifying threshold.
If your site is self-hosted (for example, using WordPress.org and Bluehost) then you have complete freedom to cherry-pick the most appropriate ad network for your blog. Each will have its benefits and its own set of requirements.
Some ad networks will require that your blog has a minimum number of views or sessions per month before they accept your application. A session is different from views in that it is a set of interactions one user takes on your blog. You can always start with a network that accepts blogs with less traffic and then switch once you increase your audience.
Here are my top 5 tips on how to choose the right ad network for your blog:
- Check the quality of adverts, as well as the formats and placement requirements
- Check how much you will be paid, as well as the terms and method of payment
- Check whether they are a niche or generic ad network
- Check how much control you will have over what ads are displayed
- Check the reliability and credibility of the ad network
The 10 best advertising networks for bloggers
With all of this in mind, here are my ten favorite ad networks to help you make money blogging:
3. Sponsored Blog Content
Sponsored content is where a business pays you to create a blog post about their product. The most popular type of sponsored post is a product review, but you could also host giveaways, post an article that the sponsor has provided, or write an article with guidance from the sponsor.
As with affiliate marketing, make sure any sponsored content you feature is true to your audience. Honestly and integrity are super important.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” – Warren BuffettTweet
Sponsored posts are an incredible way to make money blogging, but you will need to build up your audience first. After all, businesses are looking for more exposure, so they will be open to working with blogs with high traffic and audience engagement.
How to get started with sponsored content
If you have already built up a huge audience, you might already have businesses contacting you with sponsorship opportunities. However, if you’re relatively new and have less traffic, you can either reach out and contact businesses directly, or join an influencer network.
Networks tend to pay a little less than when you deal directly with a business, but they are a great way to get started, and allow you an easy way to search for great opportunities.
Top influencer networks for bloggers
Each network will have its own set of application requirements. Some will only accept established blogs with a high number of page views, whereas others will accept smaller blogs.
Also, be sure to understand how you will be alerted of opportunities. Check whether they will email or if they will list them on a dashboard.
4. Online Courses
If you want to make serious money with your blog, creating and selling an online course is one of the best ways to go.
A lot of people will say that there is quite a large barrier to entry, but don’t let that put you off. You can use this to your advantage because the majority of your competition simply won’t want to put in the groundwork.
And the reality is that you could start by producing short, instructional videos. If you have a skill that you’re able to teach others, monetize that skill by creating an online course, and you’ll be off to a flying start at learning how to make money blogging.
A common concern amongst beginners is the fear of putting yourself out there and appearing on camera. And while my advice is to take a leap and do it, if you really don’t want to, you can still create amazing, super valuable content without appearing in the video.
When I have spare time, I study python development, and the instructors rarely appear in the video. It’s usually a screen capture with a voice-over.
Another misconception is that it costs mega-bucks to get started, which simply isn’t true.
Here are some tips if you want to get started creating your online course for free:
- Mobile phones are a great way to record high definition footage easily. If you don’t have a decent microphone, you can also use them to record the audio separately.
- OBS Studio is a free, open-source platform that allows you to live stream and record your computer screen.
- OpenShot is a powerful, easy-to-use, free, and open-source video editor admired by many professionals.
Decide the course topic
The first step is to decide upon a topic that you will teach, and verify that there is an audience that will be willing to pay for it.
To check whether there is a demand you can use Google Trends to see what courses people are searching for. Also be sure to check out the most popular courses on sites like Udemy, Udacity, or Skillshare.
You don’t want to start with too broad of a topic for your first course. If you try to cover too much, you could likely become overwhelmed and give up.
Your course should be concise – trust me, your students will appreciate it much more than a disconnected mass of videos.
Creating courses this way also offers more opportunities to develop further courses in the future for even more profit.
You don’t need to be an expert at your chosen subject, but you should have demonstrable knowledge. This will not only make it easier for you to create your course, but also establish trust with your students.
An often overlooked aspect of creating a course is that you can promote relevant products in the course and collect affiliate commissions. For example, let’s say you are creating a course on photo editing. You can sign up for the Adobe affiliate program, add the affiliate link in your course description, and earn extra profit when your students sign up using your link.
Plan the course content and structure
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to teach, it’s time to plan the content and put a structure in place.
It’s a good idea to start with an introduction, give an overview of your course, as well as what your students can expect and any prerequisites – this should include a suggested level of knowledge as well as any equipment, software, or hardware requirements.
If you are creating a more advanced course, this would be a great place to advertise one of your beginner courses for anyone who might not quite match the prerequisites.
Break down your topic into subtopics and divide them thematically, ordering them logically.
Don’t forget what the end goal is. You don’t want your students to come out feeling like that haven’t learned enough, or that there was a lot of superfluous material.
Create the course content
Once you know what you want to teach and you have the structure planned, it’s time to create the content.
Before starting, make sure you are prepared. Get any files, equipment, or slideshows ready, and use a script if you’re not a confident speaker.
If you haven’t got the budget to buy a camera and a microphone, it’s fine to start with your phone and the suggested free software I mentioned earlier.
It’s preferable to start small and buy better equipment as your audience grows.
Choose a learning platform and upload your course
Once you have your course finished, it’s time to think about which platform you will host it on.
Skillshare is a great choice for your first course as there are many short, single-video classes. Students sign up for a monthly membership, and you earn money based on the total number of minutes your videos are watched.
Udemy is one of the most popular platforms for online learning. Their creation suite is excellent in helping to put your course together, and their instructor dashboard will help to keep you on track.
They offer free courses showing you how to complete your course, and support is available 24/7, both in making your course and in marketing it.
Udemy is a really good choice if you’re looking to launch your online courses for free, but they will take 50% of your revenue.
Teachable offers you everything you need to create your course, which you can then integrate into your existing site. Alternatively you can build a separate site for your course from scratch with their drag and drop builder.
You have complete control over your site and the pricing of your courses, including offering bundles and coupons.
With Teachable you can create your own landing pages, which you can then advertise on Google, Facebook, etc. There are three price plans:
- Basic: $29/month
- Professional: $99/month
- Business: $249/month
Overall, Teachable is an amazing choice for the serious course creator.
5. Physical Products
Many bloggers create physical products to sell to their audience, and print on demand sites have made this easier than ever before.
Print on demand (POD) is huge right now, but if you haven’t come across this term yet, essentially it’s a business model that allows you to sell customized items without the hassle of holding a ton of inventory.
The barrier to entry is super low as there are no upfront costs, so this is ideal for the beginner blogger.
If you’re thinking that you’d like to try this but you’re not much of a designer, I’ve got you covered. Head over to Fiverr, where you can find designers for any product you have in mind.
Still Need To Start Your Blog?
Check out my step-by-step guide on How To Start A Blog.
How Will You Make Money Blogging This Year?
So there are my five favorite ways to make money blogging. There’s quite a bit of information here, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Analysis paralysis is a killer of entrepreneurship.
“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.”Tweet
My advice it to choose one method and get stuck in. Master it and then move on to the next. In no time you will have learned how to make money blogging.
Which method is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.