After almost a year since losing my job and deciding to completely quit my career in engineering, I think that pretty much everyone I know and care about knows what I do nowadays. Some of them are more internet-savvy and understand that websites can become successful businesses, while others need a little education.
The most common question I get is this:
“How do blogs make money?”
I understand. A blog is basically a glorified journal where people write their ideas for the world to see, right? Why would anyone pay money for that?
This is a little embarrassing, but I used to think like that as well… I just didn’t know that a website – let alone a blog – could make money.
Thankfully, I learned that blogs not only make incredible sums of money, but they can be that basis of larger businesses that sell all kinds of products to their target audiences.
Let me show you what I know.
How Blogs Make Money – The 6 Main Ways
There are 6 main ways that a blog can make money – at least these are the most common.
Bloggers can choose one or several of these methods of monetization for their blogs – basically, they can have multiple income streams. I’ve found that this is difficult to grasp for someone who’s used to having one income stream: their job.
So, if you’re a blogger, you should memorise these 6 monetization techniques so that next time someone tells you that bloggers don’t make any money you can have a strong argument to retort.
1 – Affiliate Marketing
This consists of recommending products or services to your readers. When they buy through your blog, you earn a commission. The customer pays the same – or may even get a discount – either way, so it’s a win-win situation.
For example, when I was starting out blogging I bought an ebook called Blog Yourself Rich. It’s an amazing starting point for new bloggers, but I keep going back to it to learn more advanced things.
If you’re a new or intermediate blogger, I highly recommend you buy it.
See what I did there?
I recommended an ebook that has helped me to learn about blogging, and I’ve provided the link to the sales page. That is an affiliate link, which gives me credit for referring every sale that comes through it. For me, that means a sexy 50% commission – nice! 🙂
This is often how bloggers make money when they’ve managed to get a decent amount of readers. It’s very handy because you don’t have to create a product yourself to make serious money – you just need to build trust with your audience. Not that it’s an easy task!
It’s also pretty passive income because once you set up your blog and include the relevant affiliate links, you should generate income without doing any further work.
If you’re unconvinced about affiliate marketing, take a look at these bloggers who make insane amounts of money just from recommending products. These are the numbers they made just from affiliate marketing in the last month alone:
- Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income: $64,717.60.
- Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents – $86,255.36.
- Rosemarie from The Busy Budgeter – $19,300.83.
- Ricard Torres from Escaping to Freedom – $30.49. Gotta start somewhere, right?! 😉
2- Sponsored Content
Blogs are amazing at reaching very specific niches, and companies know that.
Let’s say you run a blog that teaches your readers how to produce their own pink Himalayan salt – weirder niches exist. Companies that manufactured salt containers or sold recipes relying on pink Himalayan salt would do well if they featured their content on your blog.
They would be marketing their products to a hyper-focussed audience, so you bet they’d be willing to pay a handsome amount of money for the privilege!
In my latest income report, I explained how I earned $150 from one sponsored post – that I didn’t even write. This is still a pretty small blog, but the more it grows the more I’ll charge for sponsored content.
Another way to earn money from companies is to negotiate a sponsorship deal. If you make Youtube videos or podcasts as part of your business, some companies are happy to pay you a set amount in exchange for you promoting their stuff for a few seconds.
3 – Advertising
If you ask anyone to guess how blogs make money, they’d probably say advertising. This makes sense, as most websites out there are littered with adverts, popups and banners – to the point that people have developed banner blindness.
As soon as you start a blog you could slap on some Google ads on your site, which would pay you for every click they received. However, unless your traffic is large – over 100,000 pageviews a month – you probably wouldn’t earn anything too significant. Sorry.
It is also at around that level of pageviews that you can apply to ad networks that are much more efficient and can earn you some serious money – that’s what I’ve heard from bigger bloggers than me.
Personally, my goal is to join AdThrive or The Blogger Network when this site grows enough – it’ll be a nice additional income stream, as long as the ads don’t interrupt the user experience too much!
4 – Selling Digital Products
This is something that any generation before millennials will probably struggle to understand – my parents and their friend definitely do!
Creating a digital product such as a course or an ebook is one of the best ways to escalate a blog’s income. This can really be priced as high as you like, provided it’s damn good stuff and that your customers would be willing to pay for it!
My favourite part about digital products is that it’s fairly passive income.
Create the work once and keep selling it for months or years to come – with minor attention to promotion and generally making sure everything works fine.
Let’s go with the previous example about the pink Himalayan salt blog.
Let’s say you worked hard on a video course that taught people how to build and set up a little salt lab in their basements. I’m pretty sure you’d dominate this market so you could probably sell your course for $197 or something.
If you managed to sell 15 courses a month you’d be earning a cool $2,955. Not bad for a video course that only took you a few weeks to create!
5 – Consulting & Services
Making money from blogging is slow – at least that’s been my experience. To make up for that, most professional bloggers offer their services to make money quickly.
I’m talking about good old active income – exchanging time for money.
This could include expert consultation, online coaching, or providing services to clients for a set amount of money.
This is what I’ve started doing recently. The skillset used in blogging – article writing, SEO, content promotion, social media management etc. – is highly regarded, as pretty much every business out there could use blogging to increase their leads and sales.
Blatant self-promotion time:
If you like what you see on this site and would like to work with me, make sure to contact me here.
6 – Membership Sites
The final main way that bloggers make money is by having a special area of their websites locked away. Sort of like how some clubs have a VIP area that only lets rich and/or attractive people in!
These exclusive areas may have the absolute best content from the blog, as well as forums, daily emails, personalised help or anything that adds a lot of value to paying customers. Most membership sites that I’ve seen – and even joined – cost around $100 per month, but I’m sure prices range wildly.
If you’re wondering how blogs make money on a more consistent basis, this is it. By having a recurring, reliable source of income it’s easier to have a sustainable and stable income.
Just like in a normal 9-5 job, but better! 😉
How to Start a Blog and Make Money
If you’re reading this and don’t have a blog yet, now is the perfect time to start.
I think that blogging is at a great point now, where it’s as simple as it’s ever been to start and enough people are doing it that it’s easy to find support.
If you wait, blogging may become oversaturated and won’t be as effective as it is nowadays – there’s only a certain number of blogs that can succeed.
If you’re one of those people who procrastinate and keep waiting for the perfect time, don’t wait any longer! Take action!
Sound good? Excellent!
Here’s a guide that I spent ages putting together that will walk you, from start to finish, through the process of creating a blog. It’ll only take you 30 minutes – seriously.
30 minutes to do something that could literally change your life and bring you some extra sources of income? Can you afford not to do it?!
If you know someone who you think would make a great blogger – or just anyone wondering how blogs make money – please share this article with them!
Thanks for reading!
Troy @ Market History says
I think the ad blockers are hurting bloggers who rely on Google Adsense. Some studies were saying that ad impressions for Adsense dropped 20-30% depending on the niche.