Blogging presents a unique opportunity. You can get started with very little capital and risk, and potentially earn six figures (or more!). Whether you have an existing blog that you’d like to monetize or are starting from scratch in hopes of earning some money on the side, there’s a space for you.
Of course, it isn’t all about money. Blogging allows you to share just about any expertise or interest with the world. You can meet like-minded people, build a community, and help others. Plus, you can do it all from the comfort of your own home, in your PJs, and on your own schedule.
Still, blogging isn’t the easiest way to make money – there’s some trial and error involved. But with enough research, the right strategy, and enough planning, you can earn enough to replace your income and beyond. Here’s how to do it.
12 Ways to Make Money from Blogging
You’ve got the genius blog idea. Perhaps you even already have the blog started! Now it’s time to earn money. Check out the following ways to monetize your blog and turn that passion into cash.
1. Decide on a Niche
It may sound basic, but choosing a niche is your very first step to earning money as a blogger. Having a niche allows you to become known as an expert in your given area, which is what will drive more readers to your blog.
Consider this: would you trust someone who was writing about cars, dogs, tools, and piano? Probably not. Even if they had the exact dog training article you’re looking for, you’ll probably look for another blog that focuses solely on dogs.
It’s also worth noting that your niche can play a big role in how much you can earn. If people don’t spend a lot of money in your industry, there will likely be fewer chances to earn money. For example, tech review blogs tend to earn good money because consumers are always buying new tech.
A good niche is also one that’s low in competition. It will be hard for readers to find you in a Google search for niches that huge companies have already monopolized. Additionally, your niche should be something you’re interested in or skilled at. Readers can tell when your heart isn’t in it. They’ll be less likely to read or buy products you recommend if something feels off.
2. Build an Audience
You can only earn money if someone is reading your blog, so creating an audience is critical. Research has shown time and time again that email marketing earns the biggest ROI (return on investment) - and for good reason. Email is an easy way to keep up with your readers and you can post less frequently than other avenues, like social media.
Start creating an email list by adding a pop-up box to your website, asking the reader if they’d like to subscribe and opt-in to emails from you. Give them an incentive for signing up, like a short ebook, checklist, or list of resources packaged as a downloadable PDF.
Once you get people on the list, you build that relationship with them by sending consistent emails (monthly is great) and providing entertaining or informational content. This will keep them coming back to your blog, where you may sell them products or show them paid ads.
3. Sell Ad Space
Companies will pay for advertising space on your blog, which includes otherwise unused space on the sides of your page or sometimes in the middle of the content. There are two main ways to do this.
The first is via an ad network, like Google AdSense. Ad networks pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM) - on average, bloggers earn $1.25 per CPM. Most networks require that you meet a certain page-view minimum before you can join the network.
Alternatively, you can potentially earn more and have more niche-related ads by negotiating with companies individually. Although it takes time to find the right contact, reach out, and negotiate, you ensure that you actually show your readers products they’re interested in. In this case, you can negotiate for a flat fee or percentage.
If you choose to sell your ad space on your own, you’ll also need a way for the companies to pay you. You can easily do this by using Pay.com. Just send an email or text with a Pay Link to your contact at the company, and they can click it and pay the invoice in seconds.
4. Try Affiliate Marketing
You can use affiliate links to earn commission from product sales. Find a company that you love and whose products you’d like to recommend to your readers. Many companies have sections on their website specifically for affiliate marketing, so it’s an easy process to get started.
Once the company accepts you, they’ll give you a unique link. Whenever someone purchases a product using your link, the company sends you a percentage of the sale. You essentially become a salesperson for another business.
Affiliate marketing is great for bloggers since you already have an audience that wants your advice on your specific niche. It’s also easier than creating your own products since you don’t have to worry about manufacturing or logistics.
You likely already have experience with affiliate marketing. For example, perhaps you’ve gotten a friend to sign up for your favorite food delivery app because they offered you a $20 gift card to do so. It’s a no-brainer – you already love the app, so why not get money for telling someone about it? The same applies to affiliate marketing on your blog.
5. Sell Sponsored Blog Posts
With sponsored posts, a brand will pay you to talk about and promote its product to your reader. Sponsored posts are a popular alternative to ads. You lose some control over your content when you sign up to showcase ads on your site. On the other hand, sponsored posts allow you to control the narrative to a certain degree.
Each deal works differently. Some sponsors want to have a full blog post dedicated to their product, while others want a certain amount of words within a post.
Either way, you’ll need to beware of disclosure laws. In the US, you have to follow the FTC’s Endorsement guidelines whenever posting a sponsored post, which means you must disclose to your readers that the brand is paying you to post about it.
Legalities aside, you can get sponsors by negotiating directly with companies you’re interested in working with. You’ll want to create a media kit (typically just one page) with information about your audience demographics, blog traffic stats, and social media following. When a company responds with interest, you can negotiate a deal.
6. Offer a Service
Your blog may double as a place to advertise your services. For example, perhaps you have a blog on how to grow a web design business. When readers see your demonstrated knowledge on the blog, they might express interest in hiring you for web design services.
To sell a service, you’ll just need to create a form for interested people to fill out. Then, set up a system for communication. Will you have weekly video chats? Text support? Are you going to create a set schedule for your coaching to follow?
7. Sell Digital Products
As your following continues to grow, your audience will likely be itching for more content from you. You can capitalize on this by offering exclusive, paid content. For example, if you have a food blog you might share your best recipes in a $20 ebook. Or, if you’re an artist, you might sell a workbook teaching the user your techniques.
Digital products like ebooks, workbooks, checklists, and planners are easy to make. You can use a free tool like Canva to turn your ideas into a book, then turn it into a downloadable PDF.
Once the digital product is ready, it’s time to advertise it. Create a shopping page on your website. Advertise the downloadable in your emails and in blog posts, where relevant. Post about it on social media. No need to wait until you have a huge following, either – as long as the product is evergreen, you can earn passive income from it for years to come.
8. Write Paid Reviews
People are far more likely to buy a product that another user has tested and approved of. Brands know this, which is why they’re willing to pay good money to have bloggers like yourself post reviews.
If you’re already a fan of certain brands, reach out and ask if they’d like to sponsor a review on your blog. Since you already know and like the product, you’re getting paid for sharing your genuine opinion. You can do the same with products you haven’t yet tried, but would like to.
You’ll need to disclose that the brand is paying you to review the product and could earn money if readers purchase it. Still, as long as you’re sharing your honest opinion about the product and being transparent, most readers don’t care that the brand is compensating you.
9. Make a Members-Only Site
The beauty of having a niche is that you connect with other people with the same interests. Your blog will become a place where these folks come to hang out and chat in the comments. You can really foster that community by creating a members-only website with exclusive content that sits behind a paywall.
There are several types of membership communities. If you really want to focus on the social connection aspect, a private forum can be really valuable to your readers. For example, you might add a members-only section to your parenting blog so other moms and dads can talk and learn from each other.
On the other hand, if you’re the one providing all of the value, you might do better with premium content. For example, if people follow you because you blog about creating digital art, your followers will be more tempted to subscribe if they can access exclusive content, like Procreate brushes.
It’s also smart to have pricing tiers. For example, you might offer more benefits to subscribers who are willing to spend a bit more each month. Or, you can offer both a monthly or yearly membership - then, give a small discount for signing up yearly.
10. Create a Directory
If you specialize in a certain professional field, it might make sense for you to create a directory or job board. For example, if you’re an HR professional with years of experience, you might start a blog with tips for nailing interviews, negotiating salaries, and getting promoted. You might also discuss how to tell whether a company is worth working for.
From there, it could be a natural progression to create a job board with only the best jobs you’d recommend. You could charge a fee for your readers to access the job board (and other job search-related perks). Or, you could charge companies who want you to post their jobs because you have a qualified pool of applicants as your audience.
11. Get Public Speaking Engagements and Guest Posts
Once you have an established following, you become a sort of figurehead in your given area of expertise. You can leverage that notoriety to get paid for appearances.
The easiest way to do this is via guest blog posts. This is where another website will pay you to write a blog for them with your name on it. They may also ask you to promote the blog on your own site and socials, as well. The other website is essentially paying you to send your audience to their site, so be sure their mission aligns with your own.
Then there’s public speaking. People may start out asking you to do free public speaking engagements, which could be worth taking to promote your blog. Eventually, those opportunities can become paid.
If you want to get started with public speaking, you can reach out to influencers, companies, or event organizers that you think are a good fit. For example, you can offer to act as a guest on a podcast, speak at a local meetup, or join in a webinar.
12. Explore Other Forms of Media
Once you’ve built up a blog following, you can move into other forms of media fairly easily. Your followers already love and support the content you post - they likely want to learn more from you. This is why we see many influencers creating podcasts or YouTube channels.
Both YouTube and podcasting can take a bit of time to earn money. On YouTube, you have to meet certain metrics to join the YouTube Partner program. Once you’re in, YouTube pays you a portion of the ad revenue every time someone watches your videos. A Youtube channel can also boost SEO for your blog – plus, you can post sponsored content in videos and earn money from your sponsor.
Likewise, you’ll need to find sponsors for a podcast. You can follow the same steps we discussed for sponsors for your blog. It all starts by reaching out to brands you like and sharing how they’ll benefit if you show their products to your audience.
There are costs involved with both podcasting and video creation. You’ll need to buy equipment and software. You might also pay people to write scripts or edit the raw footage.
How to Get Paid as a Blogger
Whether you’re planning on earning money by selling ad space to your favorite companies or by selling digital downloads, you need to give your customers a way to pay you. Pay.com is a payment service provider that makes accepting a wide variety of payment methods quick, easy, and secure.
You can easily set up the infrastructure in just a few clicks – no coding experience required. You can choose to set up a payment page on your website that looks just like the rest of your site, so people have a seamless checkout experience. Or you can send Pay Links via email and text message. When users click these links, the system takes them to a checkout page where they can pay you.
You can even manually enter your customers’ card info. For example, if you have a brand that wants to sign on for a sponsored review while you’re on a conference call with them, just navigate to the Pay Virtual terminal from the Pay Dashboard, enter their details, and you’re all set.
How to Increase Your Blog Traffic
Although starting a blog and coming up with content ideas can be difficult, the challenges don’t stop there. A blog with no traffic equals no income, so your next task is to find ways to get people to your website. Although it might sound intimidating, there are easy ways to accomplish this. Here’s how to boost those site views and earn more money.
Improve Your SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of improving your website so that it ranks higher in search engines like Google. There’s a long list of things that Google looks for when it comes to SEO, and hitting each item can help your blog reach more readers.
One of the most important things you can do is find appropriate SEO keywords. These are the words or phrases that your readers are searching for. In each blog post title, as well as throughout the blog and headers, you want to target a couple of keywords pertaining to that topic. Use different keywords for each blog.
Google will also boost blogs that have:
- Photos with keywords in the alt image tag
- Internal and external links
- Clear, easy-to-read font
- A mobile user-friendly layout
- Speedy loading times
Promote Your Blog
It might go without saying, but promote your blog whenever and wherever you have the chance. Share a link on your social media or in relevant online community groups. You can also offer to write guest posts on other people’s blogs. With your name and blog listed as the author, you’ll see an influx of traffic.
Being a guest for other influencers can also give you a chance to promote your blog. Offer to act as a podcast guest for influencers within your niche. Some people also host Instagram and Facebook live interviews, which are easy ways to reach new people.
Post More Often
Like social media, blogging is (in part) a numbers game. The more you post, the more traffic, views, and interactions you get. This also helps you retain your audience. When someone comes to your blog, they want to see that you have a backlog of content that proves your expertise. They may also want to stay and click around for a while, so give them something to look at.
To help you stay on track, you can create an editorial calendar that will ensure that you’re posting regularly. It also allows you to schedule content, topics, and ideas so that you’re never searching for something to post last minute. Plus, you can center your topics around your SEO keyword research, making your entire marketing strategy easier.
Ideally, you’d start with at least two blogs per week. As you get the hang of researching, writing, and posting, you can work up to four times per week. This is especially important in your growth phase when you’re building out an audience. Once you’re more established, you can scale back more.
Write Better Headlines
When people search for your SEO keyword, they’re presented with your blog - along with thousands of other results. You have just moments to catch their eye with an intriguing title. Don’t waste this space with a bland headline.
So, what makes for a good title? Try these tips:
- Mention the benefits your article provides. Let the reader know that they’ll get a reward for reading the blog.
- Tease an answer to the reader’s question. Give the reader the idea that you understand their pain point and have the solution in the blog.
- Evoke emotion with your headline. How can you make the reader feel happy, curious, excited, fearful, or shocked?
- Include keywords. This is one way Google knows to rank you for a specific subject, and it tells the reader that your article talks about what they’re searching for.
To give you an idea of what these tips really look like in action, here are some examples:
- 10 Things Managers Do That Scare off Good Employees
- Why I Stopped Selling on Etsy and You Should, Too
- 20 Life Lessons I Learned from Video Games
You should include social sharing buttons at the top and bottom of your blog posts. These buttons allow the reader to easily share your blog on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other big social networks.
You should also include a call to action at the bottom of each blog. Ask the reader to comment and weigh in. By getting a conversation going, you encourage more engagement, which can equal more shares and more loyal readers.
The Biggest Challenges When Monetizing Your Blog
Although you can start a blog with little to no money, that’s not to say it isn’t hard work. You can expect to spend plenty of time and effort with any of the above monetization options. While you might start off with tons of energy and excitement, that can dwindle over time.
The biggest struggle you’ll likely face as you monetize your blog is consistency. But it’s that constant work that will eventually bring your success. To help you stick with it, be sure to create a schedule and strategy to follow. You can also automate some aspects of the process, like using software to post blogs and social media content for you.
With this in mind, I recommend monetizing your blog early. Don’t wait until you feel like you have a large enough following. Even earning a small amount each month can encourage you to keep going. Plus, some bloggers really do start earning money early on. It’s not about the size of your audience, but rather how deeply they relate to your content.
Time and consistency aside, you’ll also face some strong competition. The internet is a big place with millions of people sharing content and vying for readers’ attention. It’s important that you spend time each week refining your SEO and strategy to ensure you get the most views and clicks.
The Bottom Line: Should You Monetize Your Blog?
As demonstrated above, you can absolutely make money as a blogger. Although it requires time, planning, and hard work, it can be very worthwhile. And, like many side hustles, you get what you put into it. If you want to dedicate all of your time, you could earn six figures. Even if you treat it as a hobby, you could earn decent cash on the side.
So, should you monetize your blog? We say, why not? There’s very minimal risk, as long as you follow FTC guidelines. You’ll also want to ensure you have a payment system set up properly. Pay.com makes it incredibly easy to get set up and take payments. Plus, we work with companies of all sizes – there’s no business too small. Click here to sign up now!