This tutorial is for those of you who already have a blog, have been at it for a few months, and now want to make money blogging.
How to Make Money with a Blog should not be the first thing you search for after setting up your blog.
My Journey Making Money Blogging
I launched my first blog in April 2012 with the clear intention to use it as a platform for my self-published novels.
First month of blogging? I earned $1.05, and that was before taxes.
As a matter of fact, I did not make any “serious” money from my blog for almost six months, after which I decided to go the advertising route, using WordPress’ WordAds.
First month of hosting advertising on my blog? I earned $32.69.
Things changed. Slowly. After trying multiple revenue streams, some of which dried up during the almost seven years of blogging.
This is my take on how to make money blogging. What works, what doesn’t. It’s not just a list of the things you can do, but also a list of what you should do.
Because, yes, you can ask for donations, and there are quite a lot of bloggers who have done this (me included) or you could try to crowdfund your way into full-time blogging, but it’s not the best way to go about it.
Here are the best ways to earn money with a blog:
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is almost always at the top of any blogger’s list of ways to monetize, yet I was slow to take advantage of this opportunity.
Even thought affiliate marketing is a (somewhat) effortless way to make money by promoting certain products or services on your website for a percentage of commission from the sales, I have thought it to be also a way to cannibalize on your own products.
That being said, I do employ affiliate marketing when it comes to irevuo. There will be lots of clicks, not that many sells, so you should be aware of that.
There’s one thing I see lots of folks doing wrong with affiliate marketing. They try to sell stuff their readers couldn’t care less about.
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 posted, they won’t click it. Write a compelling review or interesting article about how a certain product or service helped you, and explain how it can benefit the readers too.
And as far as the best and worst blogging advice ever goes like, just be yourself.
Your readers will be far more inclined to purchase something you genuinely believe in.
Simply put, do not try to find readers to the products your trying to sell, but rather find the right products for your readers.
Currently, the most popular affiliate program(and the one I work with) is Amazon’s, which has a base commission of 4 percent.
2. Selling Your Own Products/Services
The only reason this isn’t the number one on this list is because there are a few niche blogs that can’t sell their own products… or it would be quite difficult to create products that cater to their readers.
But other than that, this is a fantastic way to monetize a blog. From e-courses, webinars, e-books, other digital downloads, signed paperbacks, prints, original artworks, t-shirts, other kind of merchandise, if you’re willing to to the work, you can sell almost anything through your blog.
Read my “How to Make Money with Free” blog post.
3. Advertising/Sponsored Content
Here’s the thing:
If you’re lazy or on WordPress.com use Wordads. Because ads are going to show up on your blog anyway, so you might as well capitalize on that.
If you pay for a premium plan on WordPress.com, which allows you to remove ads, then do not use them. Ever.
Because you get paid a lot less than the trouble they cause. Those ads compete with your own content, with your own products/services, and even your own affiliate links.
Now, the reader does not know what to click on.
And truth be told, even with hundreds of thousands of views a month, I couldn’t get much of an income anyway. The amount of traffic you’d have to generate would have to be ridiculous, by which time you could earn more by placing a donation button at the end of your posts anyway.
Actually, come think of it, every single one of these monetizing options outperforms advertising, so why isn’t it last?
Because you can sell space on your blog by yourself, directly to your readers. Sponsored posts, banner ads, paid reviews, all of them are fair game.
As a matter of fact, selling advertising has been my number one source of income since 2013.
It’s not the number one on the list, for the main reason that you can easily overdo it and lose readers in the process.
Advertising tends to alienate a lot of readers, since it’s seen as a clear way you’re trying to capitalize on them reading your blog (but selling an e-book or an e-course, however aggressively is not frowned upon).
Last but not least, just ask people for money.
If you’ve been blogging for some time and have a loyal following, some of your regular readers might want to support you by donating a small amount of money.
Of course, it should go without saying that people won’t donate if you don’t provide them with great content that they’ll want to support.
Hopefully this list has got you thinking about the many ways to monetize a blog. Give some of them a try, and see if you can transform your blog from a hobby into a business.
Of course, you can create a paid membership section of your blog, submit guest posts to popular blogs, and try your hand at creating a podcast and/or vlog, but all of these are tricky to do on WordPress.com and/or require a bit of investment on your part.
The truth of the matter is that you can earn money from blogging only if you are willing to do the following:
- provide great content to your readers (so they are more than happy to recommend you to other folks, but they also trust you enough to buy your products/services)
- be willing to work quite hard at offering them the products/services they want or need.
There are multiple ways to do business when it comes to blogging. The amount of knowledge you share for free(some folks earn quite a lot by offering 99% for free and only 1% for money), how much time and effort you put into any single product/service, your own ability to work with people, all of them need to be taken seriously into consideration before trying to monetize a blog.