For years, I worked for multimillion dollar businesses who all utilized a blog for money. And it got me thinking how to make money with a blog in my own.
So I asked the question for myself: how does someone like me blog for money?
After doing a lot of research, I found that people make money with their blogs in a variety of ways.
The basic process is to drive traffic, build an email list, and earn an income through products, ads, affiliates, sponsorships, courses and more.
Below, I’m not just going to go into detail about each of these things, but also give you ideas on how you can implement them on your own.
How To Make Money With A Blog
If you want to blog for money, the first thing I need to do is define and describe the potential opportunities.
Ah yes, affiliate marketing. The #1 thing people talk about in the official Clickfunnels group. lol
But seriously, affiliate marketing always appeals to online entrepreneurs because it enables sales without building an asset.
For those who are new, affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission selling others’ products. The average payout is around 15%, but there is no standard and I’ve seen payouts go all the way to 100%.
Benefits of affiliate marketing for bloggers:
- Have something to sell without creating your own products, courses or services
- Earn passive income by selling affiliate products through recommendations in blog posts or in your email campaigns
- Have many products to sell on many types of posts
- If you don’t know your market well, you can waste a lot of time and energy trying to sell things your audience doesn’t want
- Payouts are usually low unless you find higher priced products that convert well
- Some affiliates have minimum thresholds before they pay your first payout
- You have to apply to promote, and might get rejected
- You might water down your list by selling others’ products before your own
Having ads on your blog is another well-known and popular way to make money blogging.
Before I monetized a site of my own, I knew blogs could be monetized with ads. I even created an Adsense account.
But the tech piece of how to implement the ads overwhelmed me, and it was 5 years or so before I finally got it up and running.
Ad income is still lucrative for bloggers with significant traffic.
However, even before you have decent traffic to your site, being able to see a few passive pennies or dollars accumulate can feel like a huge win.
Adsense is the most popular ad provider, but many others exist as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay much. But once your blog reaches 25,000 sessions, you’re able to apply for a higher paying ad provider like Mediavine.
The difference in income per ad provider will vary widely between each big and niche.
However, to give you some perspective: I 4x’d my ad income once I was approved by Mediavine.
Benefits of ad income for bloggers:
- Truly passive income
- Early on when a site is growing, can help a blog break even in costs
- Grows as your blog grows
- Adsense doesn’t payout until a creator reaches $100, which can take months for new blogs
- If you sell your own products, sometimes ads distract someone from buying your things or subscribing to your email list
Blog sponsorships are when a company or individual pays you to promote their content, product or service.
The delivery and requirements of sponsorships vary widely. For example:
- Sponsored blog post 1: someone pays you to write a post on your blog about their content, product or service
- Sponsored blog post 2: someone pays you to write a guest post on your site about their product or service
- Sponsored social post: someone pays you to create a social media post on one or several of your platforms abut their product or service
- Ad placement: someone pays you to have an ad about their product or service on your blog somewhere (in the sidebar, header, footer, or inline)
The list goes on but those are some common examples.
Benefits for sponsored posts for bloggers:
- Payouts range depending on the sponsor and the size of your audience, but sponsored posts have much higher payouts than affiliates
- Sponsored posts allow you to earn income without creating your own product
- Sponsored posts usually lead to more sponsored posts from both the same sponsor and new partners who find the sponsorship
- I’ve done a few sponsored posts and found them to be a pain because of high sponsor expectations and requirements
- Be careful about accepting products and agreeing to do reviews. I’ve gotten stuck twice needing to review things I didn’t like
- Sponsorships are never passive, so make sure you charge enough to have it worth your time
I love joint ventures! Joint ventures are similar to affiliates in that you are promoting someone else’s product, but it’s different in that you play a more active role in the sales funnel and promotion.
While affiliate commissions are usually only around 15%, joint ventures have a much higher payout of around 50%.
But. There’s also more work to do besides simply sending a few emails to your list (more often than not).
For example, joint venture partners may let you promote their product, but you may have to do things like recreate the sales funnel for it.
That said, I think JV’s have much more potential because of 1) the relationship between partners and 2) the higher payout.
Benefits of joint ventures for bloggers
- Higher payouts
- More sales
- Higher quality products
- Important to thoroughly vet a partner before promotion
- Important to vet the partner’s funnel. You do NOT want to promote a funnel that isn’t optimized
- Can be hard to find good partners and products
Create a Product
Creating and selling products is a great way to make money with a blog.
Many times when I use the word “product” I refer to anything you sell on your blog. A course, a physical thing, an Ebook, etc.
In this context and for this specific section, I mean a PHYSICAL product. Like apparel you produce, mugs, printed planners or subscription boxes.
I’ll be honest, unless I’m using a service like Printable, this is the thing I know the least about as far as scaling it goes.
Benefits of physical products
- Are really unique
- Great for branding since people can see, touch and feel
- Making items yourself isn’t easy to scale. Meaning, there could be a high cost for you ur time to produce
- Scaling your product by way of outsourcing reduces returns significantly
Create a Course
Courses are another one of my favorite ways to blog for money.
As bloggers, most of us already spend a lot of time and content dedication to educating our audiences.
What better way to provide additional value than with a course! Courses can range in size, delivery and price point. So, over time, I love helping bloggers develop entire product suites.
The other great thing about courses and “digital products” is that 1) they are easy to scale, 2) once you hone in on your audience, you’ll have higher conversions than affiliates and 3) you’re building assets for your business.
Affiliates and JV’s can change their commission or payout structure at any time. Additionally, you have no idea what their customer service is like.
You outsource your business in a way by selling things you have no control over.
But courses, you control entirely.
Wondering how much you should charge for your courses or services? Go here and find out.
Benefits of courses when blogging for money:
- Keep 100% of earnings (minus small merchant fees)
- Sell subscribers exactly what they want
- Connect with your audience at a deeper level
- Control your customers’ experience entirely
- Earn money passively after offers are proven
- Unlimited opportunity
- You have to build the course
- The right messaging and sales language requires perfecting
Provide a Service
As I’m writing this and coming to the last way to blog for money on my outline, I am already thinking of other things I need to add to this list.
So keep coming back!
For now, the last way to monetize your blog is by providing service.
Several of my clients do this and it’s quite profitable.
One has a minimalist mom blog, but caught the attention of other entrepreneurs and added over $2,000 of recurring revenue to her income in virtual assistant services.
Another has a DIY decorating blog. But gains service clients every month where she will help people plan and design their own home interior spaces (and she earns around $500 per sale).
You can sell copywriting, marketing, accounting, coaching and more through your blog.
I love services as a way to monetize because it’s an easy sell for someone. They very clearly get something taken off their plate and get a very tangible result.
I also love selling services because unlike courses, your delivery doesn’t have to be built. The client guides what you provide.
Benefits of selling services to monetize a blog:
- Keep 100% of what you earn
- An easy sell for clients
- Doesn’t require building anything to sell
- Can be challenging to sell your service from your blog in a cohesive way
- Important to hone in on your unique value proposition
How To Decide How To Blog For Money
Now that you know the different ways available to monetize your blog, the next question is: which is right for you?
The bottom line is that while you might eventually use all of the methods above, when you start a blog, it’s easier to monetize if you focus and optimize one method.
So, how do you choose which way to make money for your blog?
It comes down to a few things:
- Your niche
- Passion & Preference
- Market Demand
How Blogs Make Money – Different Niches
Different blog niches are easier to monetize in different ways.
For example, a friend of mine has a generic blog that focuses on a few tutorials and product reviews.
Most of his income came from affiliates, which was an obvious choice since he focused on writing reviews.
This is a smart way to monetize, especially if you can write reviews in a niche that’s not crowded. Writing product reviews on a blog in a niche that’s NOT crowded is great because you’re more likely to have your review rank in search engines, increasing affiliate sales.
Travel is another niche that makes sense with affiliates.
But some niches are much harder to monetize with affiliates.
For example, one successful client I have has a blog where she educates people who have converted to the catholic faith. Catholicism has a lot of sophistication in its practices, and it can be confusing for new people.
Her blog gets great traffic and her courses sell like hot cakes.
But do some searching for affiliates in that niche that are a perfect fit? You’ll be hard pressed.
I found this to be true for my self care niche too. Besides selling online counseling (which I myself had used and tried) I had a hard time finding affiliates that were a perfect fit.
It usually just felt like I was selling something for the sake of selling something (because I was…)
The best way to know how to monetize your blog is to research competitors, and to do some searching on affiliate programs to see what’s available.
Passion & Preference
At the end of the day, what matters most in regards to making money with a blog is 1) your own passion for the subject matter and 2) your own preference for what to sell and how to sell it.
Just because your niche is great for coaches doesn’t mean you have to be a coach, for example.
Just because your niche is great for affiliates doesn’t mean you ever have to sell any.
When you’re writing content and creating free offer optins, always have an idea in mind for what to sell and be strategic.
Having a printable download of motivational quotes isn’t going to help you sell your VA services, for example.
Lastly, even if your product idea is amazing: if no one needs it, and no one is searching for it, your sales will be low.
Bloggers love to make and sell planners…
But it better be pretty heckin’ unique if you want to sell it!
Reason being, there are TONS of planners available out there. So yours needs to solve a sophisticated problem if you expect to sell it to make money blogging.