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You read somewhere that people can make money blogging, and it’s true, but how do bloggers actually make money?
Before starting a blog you want to understand if you can really profit from it, and what you really have to do to make money.
I’m going to give you the answers to the question “how do bloggers make money?”.
But first, let me clarify that if you want to make money blogging, you really need to start your own blog the right way.
Yes, the way you create your blog can make a big difference. Actually, to be able to create your business and fully own your blog, you need to go self-hosted. You don’t need to spend too much, you can start with an affordable host such as SiteGround or Bluehost.
You can check out this infographic to see the difference that going self-hosted can make for your blog.
Take Lucrezia’s free 5 days email course “Blogging for New Bloggers Fast Track” to get a step-by-step guide on how to create your blog the right way to make money.
If you intend to monetise your blog, it is also important to consider the legal aspects of your blog.
Your blog has to be professional and have all the legal stuff in order in order to be able to work with brands and be accepted in affiliate programs or ad networks.
For example, if your blog is not GDPR compliant most brands might not want to work with you.
Check out all our legal resources here.
If you are all set, we can start talking about the different ways to monetise your blog.
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WHEN SHOULD YOU START MONETISING YOUR BLOG?
Before diving into the topic, let me clarify one thing: making money blogging isn’t easy.
It’s not something that happens overnight, and, especially at the beginning, you need to be really committed in order to be able to generate any kind of income.
A big advantage of blogging is the opportunity for passive income, but in the beginning, you have to lay the foundations.
You probably read from other bloggers that you should wait before monetising. You should wait for more page views and grow an engaged mail list.
But my advice is to actually start planning for monetisation since the beginning. Probably you won’t earn anything in your first month but your blog will be set for success.
Implementing monetisation strategies from the beginning will let you grow an audience receptive to buying something from you, will let you find out what resonates better with your readers, and, if you actually make some money at the start, not only your motivation will be higher but you can re-invest that money into your blog growth!PIN IT FOR LATER
HOW BLOGGERS MAKE MONEY
So, how do bloggers actually make money? These are the 5 most common ways:
You sell another person/brand’s product and you get a commission on your sale
You place ads on your blog
A brand pays you to write a post about one of their products
You sell your own services
You create and sell a digital product (e.g. an e-course, an e-book, a planner, etc.) or of course, a physical one.
If you aren’t using any of these ways of monetization, you’re leaving money on the table.Click To Tweet
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is a process where you earn a commission by promoting other people’s or companies’ products and services if the sale is generated through your link or promotional efforts.
In other words:
- You apply to become an affiliate of a company or an affiliate network.
- They will give you a unique link that you will include in your blog posts, use on your social media, send to your email list (if allowed by the relevant affiliate program policy), and promote any other way you like (if allowed).
- Every time a sale is generated through your affiliate link, you earn a predetermined percentage of the amount as your commission.
Actually, affiliate marketing is kind of what you do in real life when you recommend something that you use and like to your family and friends. Only in this case, you make money if they decide to purchase something.
If you want to become an affiliate for a specific brand go on their website and look for their affiliate program in their menu or footer, or google “brand name + affiliate program”.
It is possible that an affiliate program requires a minimum of page views or followers to let you in.
Each affiliate program has its own rules, so you would need to read them and follow them. For example, some affiliate programs don’t allow the use of their affiliate links on some social media (eg. Amazon affiliate with Pinterest) or in your newsletter.
Most new bloggers start their affiliate experience using Amazon affiliate. It has some pros: it has lots of products, everyone knows and uses Amazon, you will get paid for the cart (this means that you will get a commission on everything the person that reached Amazon through your link will buy, even if is not what you recommended). But it also has some cons: your commission is not great and their cookie lasts only 24h.
So, my advice is to explore other affiliate programs as well.
As a new blogger, instead of applying for different individual affiliate programs, and having, as a result, several accounts to keep track of, many logins to remember and money sitting in different accounts waiting to reach payout thresholds, you could start with some affiliate networks such as ShareaSale or Awin.
By joining ShareaSale you will have access to promote thousands of different products and companies. In all sort of categories. For example for the blogging part of our blog, we use ShareaSale for Tailwind, StudioPress, Namecheap and much more. But we also use it for our lifestyle blog!
You can apply for Shareasale here.
Awin with over 6,000 merchants covering every niche, is another great affiliate program to join. The only catch is that they require a $5 admission fee but you will get it back with your first payout.
Awin is the only one accepted by Etsy. So, if you plan to promote anything on Etsy you would need to join this program.
You can also apply to one of my favourite affiliate program: Ultimate Bundle!
Ultimate Bundles are collections of online resources sold at the whopping discount of 90-98% OFF the original price. Some bundles are open for sale for a limited amount of time (usually 5 days) while others are evergreen and are available all year around. You can find bundles on productivity, healthy leaving, money mindset, blogging and so much more.
You can apply for the Ultimate Bundle affiliate program here.
Most bloggers that sell their own products have an affiliate marketing program in place.
We offer one of the highest-paying affiliate programs. We offer a generous 40% commission and outstanding 365-day cookies. The beauty of our affiliate program is that it will track your affiliate code even when you promote our FREE courses and products. If your referrals end up converting into a purchase of any of our paid courses, products or templates within a year, you will be awarded a 40% commission on purchase price!
You can apply to join our affiliate program here.
Even if your blog is not about blogging, you can still earn money by recommending our products to other fellow bloggers that you think could benefit from them. You are allowed to promote our products with your own affiliate link in our Facebook Group Blogging for New Bloggers (22K+ members).
It is really important that you disclose the fact that you would earn money if someone makes a purchase from your affiliate link.
It is mandatory that you have a disclosure clause in every place you are using affiliate links.
You can get a template of the affiliate disclosure clause here.
Affiliate marketing is one of my favourite ways to monetise a blog post because it provides a source of passive income. You don’t have to do anything after creating the post and it has the potential of earning money for years.
When used strategically, affiliate marketing can generate a great income for you (this couple makes over 20k a month from affiliate marketing only)
Affiliate marketing is probably the easiest and most profitable way to make money so don’t miss out on this opportunity. For extra tips on affiliate marketing check out Lucrezia’s post on affiliate marketing.
Spoiler: affiliate marketing works really well with your list, so I would recommend reading our tips on growing your email list fast too.
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I suggest enrolling in Scriv’s FREE affiliate Marketing Bootcamp.
However, if you’re more experienced, I would invest in a premium course such as Carly’s Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers. This is a very affordable course where Carly discusses and shares her winning affiliate strategy.
Another popular alternative is Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
PIN IT FOR LATER
This is definitely the most used monetisation strategy.
If you’ve visited a blog, there is a high possibility that you’ve seen ads displayed. Why is this the first step that bloggers take when they want to earn an income from their blog? Because it’s the easiest strategy and it provides true passive income. Just set and forget.
Getting ads on your blog is pretty easy – the only thing that you have to do is copy and paste an HTML code in your blog and then every time someone visits your blog, you are earning money.
To be precise, usually, the ad network will pay bloggers for a certain number of impressions (CPM) or for each click that the ad receives (PPC).
However, making money with ads is not so simple.
Firstly, to be able to display ads on your blog you need to be approved and often the requirements are pretty strict. Lots of ad networks require a minimum of page views per month.
To earn a decent amount of money displaying ads, you need a fairly high number of page views so I would advise you to focus on boosting your traffic and learn how to use Pinterest. You can read some new ways to get traffic to your blog here.
The most used ad network for new bloggers is Google AdSense.
However, it’s useful to know that even if you are a new blogger, there are other ads networks for which you can apply.
If you are looking for the best AdSense alternative as a new blogger, I recommend looking into Media.net.
If you sign up using our referral link, you will get a bonus 10% revenue for the first 3 months.
As you may know, AdSense is Google’s ad network while Media.net is Bing’s ad network.
You can use both networks on your blog at the same time. So, I suggest applying for both and then track which one works better for your blog.
And, as soon as your page views are good enough I suggest you apply for ads networks that pay better. Such as:
Monumetric once you reach 10k/month page views. You may need to pay a $100 application fee if you only have 10K page views a month but it will be deducted from your first payout.
Mediavine which requires a minimum of 25k/month sessions.
AdThrive for which you’ll need 100k monthly page views.
You can also sell space on your website directly to specific companies. While this is a good option since you will be able to negotiate rates, I think it will require too much work and minimises the “passive” part of monetization through ads.
A sponsored post is when a blogger gets paid by a company to write about one of their products.
I think this is one of the best ways to make money blogging as you always want to create new content and what’s better than getting paid straight away for it?
If you’re not sure how much to charge for sponsored posts or other forms of collaborations with brands, Social Bluebook offers platform valuations and suggests you a price based on your metrics (e.g. traffic, followers, subscribers) which you can then use as a starting point.
However, sometimes instead of money, brands offer to give you their own product for free as a way of payment.
In this case, before accepting the sponsored post you should consider how much you value your time. I would probably accept this kind of agreement only if the product is something that I actually was going to buy and if its value is not too low (for example a professional camera, a PC, a travel tour and so on).
My advice is to write sponsored posts only about products related to your blog’s topic and that you have tried yourself.
The number of networks that connect bloggers with companies is huge; you can find some of them on this big list.
You can also contact the brand with which you want to collaborate directly.
If you are ready to start collaborating with brands, what you need is a media kit.
This kind of monetisation works really well if you also have an affiliate link for the product you’re writing about.
Sponsored posts work really well if you also have an affiliate link for the product.Click To Tweet
However, sometimes brands don’t let you use your own affiliate links in the sponsored post. If this is the case, in my view, sponsored posts are not the best way of monetisation as there is no passive income coming from them.
What I mean is that you are trading your time for money, and if you really want to do that I believe you should do it for your own business instead of promoting someone else’s product.
I suggest that you create a “Work with me page” on your blog so that brands know beforehand what you expect from a collaboration. This way you will save time (no back and forth emails) if they aren’t a good match.
What’s easier to sell that your expertise? Many bloggers use their blog as a way to sell their own services.
If you blog about a specific topic, high are the chances that you’re an expert in that field, so why not help others by selling your services?
The downside is that it’s not passive at all, and there isn’t much opportunity to scale it; you basically get paid for the hours that you work.
If you already create your own physical products, selling it through your blog will be really easy.
But even if you don’t have any physical products, you can still create a digital one and sell it to your audience.
Just like with services, if you have a blog on a topic, you can probably teach people what you know. You can create an e-Course or an e-Book about that topic; a tool that will help people in a certain field; an app; some done-for-you templates and so on.
This is one of the best ways bloggers make money.
You have to work hard to create your product, but once it’s ready, it becomes completely passive income and its earning potential is not directly related to the time that you spent creating the product.
Usually, new bloggers start by creating e-Books. e-Books are usually the first step because they don’t require the level of completeness that a course requires.
e-Books are sometimes used by bloggers to check out if a topic could resonate with their audience. This is a smart move if you have time to do so and if you’re not sure what your readers really want.
eBooks are usually on the lower-end prices as generally speaking, they aren’t meant to be exhaustive.
One of the most popular platforms to sell your eBooks is SendOwl.
It has an easy integration with many online payment systems including Paypal and Stripe.
SendOwl will track everything for you and if you want to start your own affiliate program, it will track the sales and commissions of your affiliates too.
The best part is they don’t charge a commission on your earnings but they offer a very affordable flat monthly fee.
You can start with SendOwl here.
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In my view, if you really are an expert in something, the best way to help people and profit from it is to create a course.
For example, Lucrezia is a lawyer specialised in EU law (LLB, LLM, PhD) and she created a course about the GDPR specifically designed for bloggers.
Honestly, if you want to make money blogging my advice is to create your own course! You can read here why I’m a big advocate of online courses!
I would choose to create a course instead of an eBook as it would be more well-rounded, you could use more resources on it like, for example, integrate your lessons with videos. You can keep track of your students’ progress, and most importantly, you can update your course every time it’s needed and all your students can check out the news. While with an eBook once someone downloads their copy you can’t modify it anymore.
For these reasons, courses can have a premium price and consequently, make your passive income easier.
Teachable is the platform where we host our courses and, in my view, it’s absolutely the best.
Most of its functionality is intuitive, it is very easy to make a good looking course and the upload of videos, photos etc is really easy. Creating sale pages or integrate discount coupons is a smooth process. It takes care of the payment aspect and any possible refund. If you have an affiliate program it tracks everything and sends the right amount to your affiliate. It has lots of resources to help you create and sell your course. And you can even create a school with all your products!
A bonus point is that Teachable has lots of resources to help you create and market your course. For example, they’re currently hosting a FREE on-demand Masterclass that I really recommend you attend if you are planning to create your online course now or later on. This Masterclass will definitely put you on the right track to create your course.
And if you are ready to create your own course, this is the best time to do it as Teachable is running a Creator Challenge!
So, how do bloggers make money? There are lots of ways and this list isn’t exhaustive, but these five strategies are definitely the most used. What about you? How do you make money with your blog?
Ryan Biddulph says
Nice breakdown Marina! Gotta love all the income streams through which we prosper. Focus on creating helpful content and building strong bonds, and you will profit.
Nice article very useful.for new bloggers and established bloggers .
I will be putting some in to practice for sure.Thank you for sharing .
Jaco Wessels says
Love the post, I share almost the exact same article over at my blog but one thing I have noticed in your article about ad networks is that direct advertising is not passive and that is a big thing one should remember. Glad I picked it up.
Thank you for this post! I just joined the FB group because I finally could answer the question “Who is Tiny?”.
I have finally understood the 5 monetization strategies, and I use a acroymn AASPS to explain in my blog post.
Product – ebook, courses