Fancy cars, private jets, massive mansions, it all seems possible thanks to the internet right? Just by scrolling through your feed, it looks as though anyone can make money online.
So is it possible? Well, I’m going to go through the 11 ways you can build your business and show you how to make money with a blog.
Firstly, there’s a lot of the same ideas out there. Start a blog, write endless amounts of content, wait for the traffic to come in, turn on Google Adwords, sign up to affiliate programs, sell online courses you’ve never used, and then in a few years live the laptop lifestyle.
The truth? It doesn’t need to take you years there’s just a lot of
crap misinformation out there.
I have followed numerous successful people in the blogging community and they have all got one thing in common when it came to make money online.
They treat their blog like a business. As such you also need to think like a business owner and make business-type decisions.
I have read god only knows how many different blogs out there and most of them sell you on the idea that you can make a full-time passive income while sitting on a beach. Or make money blogging while you sleep and just watch how much money rolls into your account.
The problem is, most bloggers aren’t living proof of it.
This is one of the reasons I’ve started this blog, to track my progress as a brand new blogger from thinking differently. Is it possible?
You’re not just a beginner blogger anymore, you’re now a small business owner. And as a business owner or CEO, the idea is to make money. The reason most people fail that I have seen is that they simply aren’t profitable.
With that all said. Let’s fly!
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links which may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you (it will buy me a cup of coffee though). However, these are the best tools to help you make money blogging this year. You can read more about the affiliate disclosure in my affiliate policy.
Table of Contents
First things first though, you will need a blog, funny that. Fortunately, I’ve created a post on how to create a blogging business as a step-by-step guide.
Including on how to get you live with your own domain name and web host.
My recommendation though is to go with a blog that is built with WordPress.
Of course, these ideas are for those of you who have already got a blog and are looking to take it to the next level by monetizing it.
Before we even begin to look at how to make money blogging, we need to understand a few important key principles that I believe will help you on your journey to live the life you dream of.
Choosing Your Blog's Niche and Laying Down the Foundations
How many other blogs have you read that tell you to blog about your passion? Or that you need to write often and write for the search engines?
I don’t know about you but I’m passionate about so many things like, aviation (I’m an airline pilot by profession), personal development, pizza, martial arts, traveling in first class, calisthenics, etc.
If I was to start a new blog with endless pieces of content and never make any money from it, then I guarantee you I would burn out and give up on it every single time.
The problem lies where people don’t know how to transition from someone who is blogging as a hobby, to blogging as a business owner.
So if you were to start out writing about your “passion” and then figure out how to monetize your blog later, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to get blog traffic coming in from the search engines.
In fact, something I’ve found to be crucial in my career is networking. I believe that networking allows you to access opportunities that you may not have been able to get on your own…more on this later.
At the end of the day you’re creating blog content (high-quality too I hope), and that content will impact someone’s life and hopefully for the better. So why shouldn’t you get paid for that?
Don’t feel bad about getting paid for selling digital products or from a service you are providing, that’s what business is about.
Linking your target audience to a product or service that will benefit them in some way is how you build a profitable blog.
The important thing now is to have this business mindset going forward. Keep to your own blog in your profitable niche, your expertise, and be sure to keep your readers in mind when you’re creating content on certain blog topics.
With that, your new blog is now ready for take-off.
1. Advertising on Your Blog
If you’ve got any extra white space around your blog, this is by far the easiest way to make money from your blog.
That said, just because you’ve got space in your header, footer, sidebar, even within your blog posts that you should stuff it with ads. This is one of the most annoying things I have noticed when it comes to blog monetization strategy.
Their blog now becomes a billboard and more often than not I can’t even find the blog post I came to that website for. We’ve all seen these right?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with advertising. It’s actually a great little money earner especially when you don’t even have to do anything. But where marketers go wrong is that just because it’s easy means they need more ads placed everywhere.
Well, in actual fact, I can guarantee you that it’ll be the least amount of money you can make from a successful blog.
A reason why is because it’s so easy for anyone to turn on ads from day one. We’re also spending so much time on the internet (now even more so during COVID). Companies are willing to pay these ad agencies to get their name out there and make sales from it.
Some of these agencies though will only show ads to your readers that aren’t even related to your niche. For example, if you’ve got a travel blog and there’s an ad for gutter cleaning in your area right in the middle of your content.
So it’s something to keep in mind that you may not have a whole lot of control over what ads are being displayed around your website.
The 5 Best Display Ad Networks For Your Blog
I’ve gone ahead and researched my top picks for your advertising needs (in no particular order). I’ve also included for you the requirements to join each program so you can grow your ad network as your blog grows and make even more passive income.
I haven’t put how much you can earn in each of these programs because it differs depending on your niche and/or monthly page views.
This would have to be the most common advertising network. While there is no minimum traffic threshold to start advertising, you need to consider how long it’ll take to get paid out (minimum $100) if you’re only getting 1-2 visitors/day.
Click here to get started.
More sophisticated than Google Adsense. It has requirements of at least 100,000 page views per month.
Click here to get started.
Is still part of the Google Adsense network. Allows for additional optimization. The minimum traffic requirement is 10,000 visits per month.
Click here to get started.
I have heard a lot of good things from Mediavine. Definitely a favorite among bloggers. The minimum requirement to join is 50,000 monthly page views. They are also a Google Adsense Partner similar to Ezoic.
Click here to get started.
This network would have to be one of the best for brand new bloggers. There’s no minimum monthly visitor requirement, and the minimum payout is $5 to a range of different payment options.
Click here to get started.
2. Sell Your Own Online Courses
If you’ve got an area of expertise in a particular field that could benefit your readers a lot, then developing an online course for them could be a great way to bring in extra revenue to your blog.
Because these courses usually go more in-depth than an ebook you can generally also charge more for them. Having said that, they don’t need to be Hollywood productions, with the course going for 30 days.
Just be sure to validate with your readers by surveying them if this is something they would actually buy before you go make a course. It’ll be a waste when you put in all that effort, only to have no one want it in the end.
The sky is the limit (pun intended) with creating online courses.
Eventually, this is an avenue I will definitely be exploring as I love to teach (assuming that, if you’re reading this, you will actually want my course).
In the meantime, this article from Medium about how to sell your own online course, without being held hostage is good if you’re keen to learn more.
3. Add a Paid Membership
If you haven’t been phased by the advertising or developing your own course idea, then maybe this one is for you as another way of monetization.
Some people may not want to pay $3,000 for a course upfront but are more willing to get coached directly from you for $99 per month. Offering options to your readers is a good thing because not everyone is in the same situation.
If you have real loyal readers, then you could create a section of your website to restricted members-only content. This is essentially like paying for your time with more in-depth content, ebooks, videos, audio, or even a forum!
Membership sites can be a great way to earn an income because it can be a recurring monthly payment or, you can get paid up-front with a yearly option.
A great WordPress plugin to get you started is Memberpress.
4. Sell a Physical Product
I know you’re probably thinking, what the hell does selling a physical product have to do with making money blogging? And I understand that, but hear me out on this one.
Having your own products to sell that can relieve some of the pain points of your readers can be a great way to make money.
While at this point in time I no longer sell my own physical product, there are services out there that have made it easier for you to do it these days.
You no longer need to keep your inventory stacked up in your parent’s garage thanks to the likes of dropshipping and Amazon FBA (fulfilled by Amazon). The fact that it is now a fully remote way of doing business online means it’s a lucrative way to make money blogging.
What is Amazon FBA?
This is how I started my online career. It leverages the traffic (I didn’t have a blog at the time) of Amazon and you can sell any product you like.
The way it works is that once you make a sale on the Amazon platform, Amazon will then pick and ship your product to your customer. It works really well!
I was based in Australia and had my product shipped to the United States and sold over there…all without ever seeing the product!
To make money from your blog means you don’t even need to create the product yourself. By going onto an online marketplace such as Alibaba you can find any product you want on there! They will then private label (put your own logo on it) the product for you and then you can start selling it yourself.
Here is one case study from Pat Flynn who created the Switchpod for vloggers.
Of course, that is not to say that you can’t sell it straight off of your own blog, and ship the products yourself, but it just goes to show that you don’t need to be limited by where you are in the world.
And if you’ve got die-hard fans, why not start off with private labeling your own t-shirts, mugs, jumpers, hats, or pajamas.
Choosing to sell physical products is a personal choice, but it needs to align with both your brand and your readers for it to be successful.
5. Sell Digital Products
If selling a physical product didn’t make sense to you or it’s just something you’re not interested in, then this might be a winner for you.
It goes without saying that we are in the digital world and online business space, so it would make sense to have some form of digital product to sell.
Having a digital product is a great earner in my opinion in that it is a very low-maintenance way of making money from your blog. There are no inventory costs, seller fees, it’s a much cheaper way to produce products than physical ones.
This means you get to keep the maximum amount of profit!
Writing an eBook
Let’s start with eBooks as they are an obvious choice here. They are simple, easy to create and your readers can get access to these instantly. If you want to check out my e-book for FREE on the 5 SEO Tactics You Should Be Doing, then head over here to claim yours (shameless plug I know).
Of course, if you really wanted to keep down the Amazon route, you could publish it yourself as well on Kindle.
Create Your Own Software
This idea has big potential. Think about how much we use software in our everyday lives. Your smartphone OS, all the apps you use, WordPress themes, email marketing service providers.
If there is a pain point you have (or your reader’s) in your life that can be fixed or even can make life easier, then this is a great way to make money online.
A good way to look at this is all the keyword research tools out there like Ahrefs and SEMrush. If you were to develop something like that, then you could charge a monthly or yearly subscription for it.
The best part? Develop it once and then keep reaping the rewards for years to come.
6. Consulting Services
This is probably the easiest place to start. If you’ve got a skill, you can sell it as a service. This can start making you money the earliest, as all you need is a “hire me” page somewhere on your website and then start looking for your first client.
But what about the “selling courses” I spoke about earlier? Isn’t that the same thing?
Not necessarily. The main difference is, by selling a course, you’re working with a wide range of people. Whereas when you’re consulting it’s more of a one-on-one or in a small group of people.
Let’s say you’re in the digital marketing niche (a very hot topic right now) and you have a course for $97. If you have a big enough following, that’s a great little earner for you.
But what if you’ve then got people who want to pay you to go deeper into the course with them. Or even a “done for you” service, where you manage all of their social media accounts for a price of $2,999 per month?
You can quickly start to see the value of this but don’t just go out there and sign up 10 clients straight away. This is the downside to consulting and selling services. Scaling is hard.
Ultimately, it’s just a numbers game and how much value you place on your expertise.
By the way, I’m free for content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) consulting, simply email me and I’ll get back to you.
7. Sponsored Posts
This can be a clear winner for you to make money from your blog. Having sponsored posts is a little bit different from affiliate marketing (more on that later).
Essentially a sponsored post is when a company comes to you and will pay you a fee to write a post about them or a review about one of their products.
Of course, it needs to appeal to your audience first because the idea is that your readers will then go to their website to learn more about the product on offer.
It’s similar to asking an influencer on Instagram to post a picture of them holding your product. It’s meant to benefit both you as the blogger and the advertiser.
They get to tap into your audience and you get a nice (hopefully) fee for it.
Remember your audience has already built up their trust with you, so they trust that whatever you decide to post on will benefit them in some way.
Don’t ruin that trust by posting about something completely irrelevant just because the fee seemed like a good idea. Stay true and disclose it to them.
So how do you get sponsored? Unless these companies know your website traffic numbers and come to you first, you might need to make the initial contact with them. Advise them of your followers (audience) and that their product would be perfect.
Most companies that are open to sponsorship deals will usually have a link somewhere around the website for you to click on. Otherwise, you’ll have to cold email them and essentially “pitch” to them the idea of why they should hand over cash to you.
Just remember when you’re emailing that you’re talking to a real person and not a robot so keep it personal.
8. Guest Posting
This strategy is a little more creative and something that I personally don’t see a lot happening in the blogging community. This is why I am going to be experimenting with guest blogging.
So what is guest posting? It is where you write an article or post on another blog in a niche similar to yours.
How can this even make money? The answer is, that if the blog you are posting to has let’s say 100,000 readers per month. Then you will be linking back to your website from within the post and bringing in traffic (new readers) to your website.
The thing I love about guest posting is that you are building real relationships with other bloggers in a similar niche to yours.
Join other blogging platforms, communities, forums, Facebook groups and even turning to LinkedIn can really pay off.
To make money blogging, your post needs to be relevant to their audience. Create some curiosity so that they want to click on your links and visit your website.
These posts also get you relevant, high domain authority (DA) backlinks (a link back to your website), which is great for your SEO. So this is an excellent way to climb up the search engine rankings.
This can be time-consuming but remember you’re building a business here. Businesses have relationships. You need to be providing real value to the other blog. Ideally, by creating a post that doesn’t exist on their website yet.
A good way to check this is by typing “site:blogdomain.com topic” into a Google search to see if the content already exists.
Something to bear in mind, is that some bloggers will require a fee for you to post. Depending on their DA ranking I wouldn’t be paying more than $150 – $200 for a post.
Having said that, some bloggers may also pay you to guest post for them. So it works both ways. But ultimately it’s your call.
Have fun with it and build those relationships.
9. Host a Webinar
This ties in with having an online course or a digital product. The difference here is that you’re giving the audience a live course with the ability for Q&A right after.
The structure for a webinar starts off with an introduction. Then moves on to the course material itself. The sales pitch is next, and this is where you offer them a great price with so much included value.
Finally, a chance for some Q&A.
A lot of people I’ve spoken to who host webinars, have all said that it’s a great way to make money from their blog.
The product being pitched though is usually an online course. So if you’ve got that and don’t know how to sell it or you’re seeing very slow sales, this could be a tactic for you.
Be sure to include a sense of urgency somewhere along the way too. This will help create scarcity that this offer won’t last long, or that it’s only available to the first 50 people, etc.
You can even use your WordPress blog to host the webinar through a plugin, or even just to advertise your webinar on and then use external software like WebinarJam.
10. Email Marketing
Think email is dead? Think again. Bloggers and business owners are making a lot of money from their email lists.
In fact it doesn’t matter what niche you’re in, or even if you are an e-commerce website, having an email list is crucial. But again the trick is to providing value.
If someone has given you their email address, that’s like someone giving you their phone number these days. So treat it as a real asset.
Having an email can benefit you in many ways:
- If there’s something wrong with your social media accounts or your website, you can immediately let your email list know.
- If you’ve got 100,000 followers on TikTok for example, and all of a sudden the app disappears, then you’ve got no way of getting those names back.
- You own your list. No one can take that away from you.
- Get your audience excited with new products. You can even offer them a special discount just for being a subscriber to the email list.
- It’s a great way to engage with your audience.
Email is not overrated in my opinion. If you’re not leveraging the effects of email marketing then you could be leaving money on the table.
11. Affiliate Marketing
I’ve left this one until last because it is the most hyped form of marketing at the moment. Everyone is trying to leverage affiliate marketing. Even if you don’t know what it means, I can guarantee you that you’ve been subjected to it before and not even realised it.
So what is affiliate marketing? It’s when you promote someone else’s products through a link on your blog and if that person then buys through that link, you receive a commission for it.
It is arguably the most profitable way to make money online. There’s no courses to make, no ebooks to write, it is just you recommending a product to your audience through a blog post. This is why practically everyone online is using it.
What are the best affiliate programs to join?
The best way to make money from your blogging business with affiliate marketing will for the most part, depend on the niche you’re in. Some of the most common programs and affiliate networks to join are:
- Amazon Associates (This is the Amazon affiliate program. Just be wary of their new commission rates for your niche)
- Commission Junction
One thing I would definitely recommend with affiliate marketing is not to be a sell out to the company that just pays the highest commission.
To start with, you want to promote affiliate products you have used yourself in the past, or are currently using. This shows your knowledge of the product and if you’re using the product then perhaps someone else could also benefit from it.
Keep your audience in mind at all times and make sure it is great content that provides value to them. This can be a very quick way to lose readers to your site if you’re just promoting the highest paying products but in actual fact, they’re just crap.
So how much money can you actually make?
Unlimited is the answer. However, to give you an indication of what is actually possible, here is a list of some of the highest-paid
bloggers legends in the blogging community:
- Ryan Robinson ($45k/month)
- Adam Enfroy ($100k/month)
- Yaro Starak ($80k/month)
- Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus ($120k/month)
- Pat Flynn ($150k/month)
I haven’t included names like Huffington Post, for the simple reason that although they’re technically bloggers, they’re part of a much larger organisation.
I wanted to include people just like you and me who have made it through hard work and time. No one in the list above is an overnight success.
So don’t get the idea that you’ll be earning this kind of money in one month or even in 3 months. It takes a lot of time and work that has been put through great articles.
Last thing I’ll say about this is that, be sure to fully disclose to people you are receiving a commission for a certain product. Similar to the disclaimer I put at the top of every blog post.
If people are true fans of yours they will likely support you by clicking on your affiliate link. And who knows it might even save them some money too.
But be careful not to over do it. By this I mean don’t add affiliate links in to every single word on your article to try and make as much money as possible.
Remember, being an affiliate may even mean that your readers get a discount just because you’ve recommended a certain product, win/win! Just like the Bluehost deal for your web hosting.
These are all legitimate ways of making money blogging. Although it can look overwhelming for the first time, don’t try all of these at once. Choose the model which will work for your niche and your blogging business.
Don’t also think that you will make money straight away. It will take time. But if you deliver true value to your audience they will want to support you.
This will give you the drive to keep going and delivering quality content to them as you go through your blogging journey.
You’re not going to appeal to everyone 100% of the time and that’s ok. Once you start building a community of like minded people your rewards will pay off.
Successful bloggers play the long game.
Stay true to your people and hustle like a startup.
Remember this is a business, not just a hobby. The idea is to make decisions as if you were the CEO of a company. This is your company to run and manage. You don’t even have to be a problogger making the most money.
You just have to be the one who is the most profitable.
If you haven’t got a blog and you’re ready to take that first step, then a look at the how to start a blog tutorial.
So which revenue stream will you create today that will make you more money than last year? Let me know in the comments below!
It’s time to be the pilot of your life and not just the passenger.
Chris Bournelis is a blogger, search engine optimization, and content marketing specialist. He has been working in the online business since 2015. Join him here at ChrisBournelis.com for the best SaaS reviews and tips to get the most out of your online business.