One of the goals people have when starting a blog is to start making money from it and potentially for it to replace their full-time job as their main source of income.
I can 100% relate to this as this was one of the reasons why I started blogging but how can you actually make money from your blog?
Good question and one that I’m going to answer in this post by listing out the many different ways you can start to monetize your blog.
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1. Display Ads
One of the most popular monetization methods for blogs is display ads and they are one of the most passive forms of income you can have for your blog as you sign up to an ad network, place ads on your site and earn money from the traffic your site gets.
Ok, that is a very simplified version but that is basically how it works and the more traffic your site gets, the more money it should make.
When it comes to ad networks, there are quite a few different options, including:
- Google AdSense
- Mediavine (requires 50,000 monthly page views)
- AdThrive (requires 100,000 monthly page views)
When it comes to making the most money from ads, it does depend a lot on the niche you are in and also the number and placement of ads on your site but many of the ad networks now offer tools to help you maximize this on your site.
Don’t put too many ads on your site! While ads can make you money, too many ads can have a negative impact on user experience, which is something you don’t want happening on your site.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Another popular option and my personal favorite when it comes to monetization is affiliate marketing.
If you aren’t sure what affiliate marketing is, a simple explanation is:
- You sign up for a company’s affiliate program, either directly with the company or through an affiliate network such as Impact or ShareASale
- They provide you with a unique link that you place in your article
- When one of your visitors clicks this link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission
This is a great monetization method for blogs where you talk about products and/or services on your blog as you don’t have to worry about logistics or after-sales, you simply refer the customer and get a thank you.
You can also earn two different types of commission:
- One-off Commissions – this is where you earn a single commission once the sale has been made
- Recurring Commissions – this is only available for products or services where the customer signs up for a subscription but every time they pay their monthly subscription, you get a small cut of this
There are pros and cons to both types and it does depend on the types of products and/or services that you are writing about as to the options that will be available.
What percentage commission do affiliates make?
It depends on the product and/or service, physical products tend to have lower commissions with typical rates ranging from 1%-15%, whereas digital products can have much higher commissions and can on average range from 10%-50%.
Always disclose that you are using affiliate links in your posts. To avoid any issues with government bodies or affiliate networks, make sure you have something near the top of your post stating that there are affiliate links in the post and ideally link to your site’s affiliate policy.
3. Digital Products
A monetization method that is becoming more and more popular for blogs is to start selling digital products and it can be easy to see why as they offer a few advantages over their physical counterparts, such as:
- Unlimited inventory
- No shipping (it can be a headache, trust me!)
- Higher profit margins
This makes digital products a very attractive and potentially profitable option for bloggers and pretty much every niche will have some kind of digital product that they can offer their readers, with some ideas being:
One of the original digital products but one that is still going strong today is the Ebook and there are many different types of Ebook that you can create, such as:
Now, these do sound like blog post ideas but with an Ebooks you will go into much more detail so that it provides the reader with value for money (as they are buying the book).
This one can be very profitable as they are often at a relatively low price point and there are many different things that can fall under this category, such as:
- Document templates
- Coloring books
Honestly, the list is huge and pretty much every niche will have some sort of printable or downloadable that they can create.
Apps or Plugins
Creating apps or plugins for existing software, such as:
- Rhino (CAD software)
Can be great digital products to sell via your site, especially if you have noticed a gap in the market or the existing options just aren’t that good.
Themes or Templates
There are quite a few different pieces of software that allow you to change the theme or template but some of the most popular and often profitable ones are for website builders, such as:
This is because website owners want a good-looking theme/template, that is easy to us and also performs well and if you can provide this, then you might be on to a winner.
Your Own Software
When you are blogging about a specific niche, you soon start to see gaps in the market and this can be a great opportunity to launch your own standalone piece of software, especially if you are getting feedback from your audience about a need for a certain or better product.
While it may seem like you need to know how to code etc to create all of the software-based digital products, this isn’t the case as you can hire a developer to help bring your idea to reality.
And when it comes to making money from digital products, there are two main ways you can do this:
- One-time payments – this is where the customer makes a single payment to purchase the product
- Recurring payments – you can also create a subscription model, where customers pay either monthly or annually to use the product
Most SaaS (software as a service) businesses operate on the recurring payments model as it can generate a steadier stream of income.
4. Selling Physical Products
A monetization option that is becoming more popular is to add an online store to your blog and start selling your own products.
When it comes to physical products, there are a couple of different ways you can choose to do this:
- Stock it yourself, this is where you buy, store and ship it yourself
- Dropshipping, this is where you partner with a supplier and they deal with the logistics of storing and shipping the products
- Print on Demand, similar to dropshipping but you add your own designs to products such as t-shirts, hats, phone cases and mugs to name a few, you can also offer customizable products
As with everything, there are pros and cons to all three methods and choosing which one is going to work best for you will depend on:
- How much work you want to do
- The type of products that you are going to be selling
- How much money you have to invest in your store
- How much profit you want to make on your products
And this will vary from niche to niche and business to business but it is something worth considering, especially if you notice a gap in the market and know that there is demand for the product as adding an online store to a WordPress blog is pretty easy to do.
5. Create an Online Course
If you have an educational-type website, with lots of tutorials and how-to guides around your niche, then there might be an opportunity to combine this information and a little bit more into an online course or courses.
This can be a great way to monetize your blog as:
- You are driving targeted traffic to your site via your posts
- They are obviously looking to learn about your niche/subject
- You have built a level of trust by providing value through your free content
This can make it much easier to get people to sign up to your course and this has become a popular monetization method over the last couple of years, partially thanks to the pandemic and additional monetization opportunities such as affiliate marketing and selling physical or digital products may be possible via your course.
Not the most popular monetization option but one that can work well for some blogs, especially if it manages to build a community is to create a membership program that offers perks such as:
- Exclusive content
- Special discounts on products or services
- A members-only area such as a forum
This can be a great way to generate recurring income as members will usually pay monthly or yearly and if they feel they are getting value from the membership, then they are likely to stick around for longer.
While this isn’t going to work for every niche, it could be an option for business, career or hobby-based blogs where people are looking to not only learn but be part of a community of like-minded people with the same interests.
One of the simplest ways you can monetize your blog is to simply offer a way for your readers to donate to your site.
There are a few ways you can set up donations on your site but a personal favorite of mine is Buy Me A Coffee as this looks like more of a thank you than a donation and I used this on one of my blogs and I was sent over £100 (around $130) in the first year that the blog was live.
I feel this is an often overlooked monetization method for blogs as a lot of people like to help out creators who have created content that has been helpful to them, especially blogs that are more personal.
I really should add it to this site!
8. Sponsored Posts
With companies looking to get more exposure to their business and product, you could offer the option for sponsored posts on your site and this can work well, especially if you have a highly targeted audience.
There are quite a few different ways a company could sponsor a post on your site by providing their products or services for:
- A review (I’m personally not a fan of paid reviews as they aren’t going to be unbiased!)
- Help you do a guide or tutorial, for example, power tools to help you build a shed
- A brand-focused piece, such as how to do X with company
They may also offer you a pre-written piece that you can publish on your site but check to make sure that it fits with your sit and audience before publishing, also make sure that it is a unique and original piece and not something they send to everyone.
If you write the piece yourself, sponsors will more than likely want to review it before you publish it and may request some changes but to maintain integrity for your blog, insist from the start that you will publish your honest views otherwise they are basically glorified PR pieces.
Disclose it! To comply with advertising laws from the likes of the FTC, you must always disclose if you have been paid to publish a piece of content and mark all links as no-follow and sponsored.
As you can see, there are a few ways in which you can monetize your blog and one of the best things is that you don’t need to choose just one of these, you can use multiple different monetization methods on your blog to help you generate multiple streams of income.
This can mean that you make more money from your blog and also have a more stable income as just being reliant on one income stream is risky.