There are any number of side hustles that you can explore in order to generate a little extra income each month, but very few offer the earning potential of blogging. Therefore, if the idea of making money online piques your interest, you should seriously consider starting a blog. But how do blogs make money? Or, more accurately, how do bloggers make money?
That’s a great question.
For the rest of this post, I am going to cover the ten most popular (and proven) monetization strategies for bloggers. If you are interested in starting a blog, I hope you keep reading, because this is really important stuff.
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1. Paid Ads
When you first start a blog, one of the easiest ways to make a few bucks, is to set up advertising on your site. Though, a few bucks is about all you should expect to make. Early on — before you have a ton of traffic — this monetization strategy will probably only make you a few dollars (or cents) per month.
I know, that doesn’t sound very exciting.
The point is, you shouldn’t get your hopes up for making hundreds, or thousands of dollars right off the bat with paid ads. In reality, it will probably take you a few years, and a couple hundred posts before paid ads really have the potential to generate much income.
That said, if you ever get your blog to the point where it is generating thousands, or tens-of-thousands of daily pageviews, paid ads could become a powerful (and passive) monetization strategy.
2. Affiliate Marketing
If you’ve ever heard stories of bloggers making tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, I can pretty much guarantee you that affiliate marketing is a big part of their monetization strategy.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of affiliate marketing, let me explain.
Affiliate marketing is essentially a digital sales commission. Here’s how it works.
Let’s say your blog is up and running, and starting to get a decent amount of traffic. Now, let’s say you want to review a product or service you really like, and in the review, you include a link to the website on which your users can buy the product. Here’s where it gets interesting. If you are registered as an affiliate for that product, (or website), and send your users through your own special link that tags you as the referring website, and the user buys the product, you will receive a commission for the sale.
Now, in many cases, you will only receive a 1% – 5% commission for each sale. However, some affiliate programs offer as much as a 50% commission. Also, some companies will pay a flat rate affiliate commission for each customer you send their way, and some of them can be pretty large dollar amounts.
The best part is that as your blog gets more and more monthly visitors, your earning potential through affiliate marketing gets bigger. Consider this, if you get 1,000 users to your blog each month, and 1% of them convert into affiliate commissions, that’s 10 people. Now, if you average $10 per commission, you will make $100 per month.
That’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but it’s nothing to write home about.
However, if you keep blogging until you get 100,000 monthly users, at the same conversion rate you would be making $10,000 per month. (Now that’s what I’m talking about!)
Affiliate marketing is one of the best monetization strategies on the planet, and if you are a new blogger, you should definitely take advantage of it.
3. Sponsored Posts
One of the other great ways that bloggers make money is through sponsored posts. Though, your blog will need to have a decent amount of traction before you can make a significant amount of income this way.
Like the name suggests, a sponsored post is a blog post that a company or an individual has paid you to write. For that reason, sponsored posts come in the form of product or service reviews.
Now, the key to this form of monetization is having a dedicated following. In other words, the more loyal your blog users are to your content, the more money you can make. The good news about sponsored posts, is that you don’t need a huge audience to implement this strategy.
Rather, if you can prove through your web analytics that your blog users are highly engaged with your content, you can land sponsored posts with just a few thousand monthly visitors.
4. Online Courses
Online courses and info products are a gold mine when it comes to making money through your blog. In fact, for many high-income bloggers, selling an online course is their biggest source of revenue.
But like the previously discussed methods for blog monetization, it helps to have a pretty large following.
Think about it like this, if you get 10,000 monthly users to your blog, and 0.5% of them purchase your online course for $200, your blog would make $10,000 per month. Use that same equation for a blog that gets 100,000 users per month and you’ll discover how some bloggers make over six-figures per month.
If you have a ton of knowledge within the niche you’ve chosen to blog about, you can offer coaching or consulting as a way to generate income. Many bloggers do this very successfully, and sometimes turn it into their full-time gig.
The benefit of consulting is that you don’t need to have a huge audience to make an income. Rather, you just need a few people willing to pay for your knowledge and guidance. For this reason, consulting is often one of the first monetization strategies new bloggers will implement.
Another benefit to consulting, is that the things you teach can become curriculum for an online course that you can create and start selling. So, pay attention to any common questions you get from consulting clients. Answering these questions can bring a ton of value to future students if you decide to go that route.
6. Downloadable Info Products
If the idea of generating passive income sounds good to you, then info products are a great way to monetize your blog. For example, if you have a cooking blog, you could create an e-book with your 100 favorite recipes and sell it to your website visitors as a download for a few bucks.
The great thing about this form of monetization is that downloadable products are typically non-refundable, so you don’t have to deal with the headache of refunds and returns. Your users just pay $5-$10 for your product, download it, and go on their way.
7. Selling Merchandise
Depending on your niche, selling branded merchandise could be a great way for you to make money blogging.
This is one of the less passive forms of monetization, but many bloggers make a solid living this way.
If your blog has a cool logo, important message, or you have just developed a passionate community, you might want to look into selling t-shirts, hats, mugs, or anything else that might fit your niche.
8. Subscriber Contributions
If you’re the king of blogger that doesn’t want to place ads on your site, sell merchandise, get paid for sponsored posts, or anything of the sort, you might want to consider asking your blog users to support the blog with contributions.
This is how a ton of YouTubers make their money, and it is a perfectly legitimate way to earn a living. Though, just like a number of the other monetization methods I have talked about in this post, you will need to have a pretty large, dedicated audience to make a full-time living like this.
9. Lead Sales
If your blog centers around a niche where people will pay for leads, then you should consider working this into your monetization strategy.
Selling leads to companies that serve a niche your readers are interested in can be extremely lucrative. For example, if you have a blog about home decorating, you might want to put a form on your website that users can fill out to get connected to interior decorators in their area. Then, you can develop a network of decorators that are willing to pay you money for those leads.
This can be a great strategy for any number of niches, and it might just be your ticket to a full-time income through your blog.
This is definitely the longest-term play of all the strategies in this post, but it is definitely something worth pursuing. If you blog consistently for a long period of time, and build a large enough audience, your blog could become an acquisition target for a company much bigger than yours.
Think about it like this, if you were to build an email subscriber list of 15,000 people, there are probably a number of different companies that would consider purchasing your blog.
There are a number of different ways the blogs can make money. All you have to do is figure out which one will work best for you, and stick to it. Whether you want to focus on affiliate marketing, paid ads, selling an online course, selling an info product, or just building your blog to a point at which it becomes an acquisition target, there are so many money-making opportunities for bloggers.