How to make money blogging? You might already have a blog that you want to monetise, or perhaps you are looking at getting into. Whatever the case, read on to learn everything you need to know!
I think blogging is the perfect side hustle because you can do it in your own time, you can do it from anywhere, and you can build it into your lifestyle. Yes, I am actually working on a blog post on a sand dune in Oregon in this picture!
How Much Do Bloggers Make Though?
It’s pretty easy to make an extra $500 – $2,000 per month blogging in your first year. And then in year 2, 3, 4, and 5, you can significantly increase your monthly blog revenue. Glassdoor reports that the average blogger salary is over $32,800 per year, based on several anonymously submitted salaries.
Many of the full-time bloggers that I know are able to make over $200,000 per year and work about 10-30 hours per week. While it’s a smaller group, I also know bloggers who make millions every year and work less than 10 hours a week (wouldn’t that be nice!). That’s an absolutely insane ROI for your time.
More and more people are also reading blogs, so it’s really just the beginning.
How To Make Money Blogging?
How much money you can make depends on how much traffic you are getting and how large your email list is.
You can realistically make $25,000-$50,000 your first year blogging, $100,000+ your second year, $250,000+ your third year of blogging, and $500,000+ in your fourth year.
Seriously, if you keep at it and keep building, your traffic and revenue will continue to grow. I’m able to write all of the posts on my laptop wherever I am. No matter what, keep at it! While it takes time to build momentum, blogging = freedom.
Some of the bloggers that make the most money actually have pretty small audiences – they just know their audiences well and have maximized their earning per page view and email subscriber. Most professional bloggers are measuring both earnings per page view and earning per email subscriber monthly. Since I’m so busy I do it quarterly and it works for me.
More Traffic = More Revenue
It’s not unrealistic to make between $0.01 – $0.25 per page view in many blogging niches through display and affiliate ads.
So if you get 1,000 pageviews a month (very very easy), you can make between $10-$25 per month, which will cover the cost of running the blog.
But if you can get to 100,000 pageviews a month, that turns into $1,000 – $25,000 each month. In rare cases I’ve seen a blogger make $0.20 per page view in a very profitable niche like insurance, but somewhere in the $0.02 – $0.05 is realistic.
So the more people your blog reaches, the more money you can obviously make.
The more time you put into sharing quality content, the bigger your traffic and email list will grow (read: the more money you can make!).
This is why I love SEO (search engine optimization) so much – it really is the compound interest of blog growth. SEO is what is going to make you the money over the long run so you want to have a solid grasp of the different parts of each strategy. Organic traffic from Google is by far the most sustainable traffic strategy.
Email Lists are Your Most Important Asset
If you have ever wondered how to make money blogging, hopefully you would have realised that the most important asset you have as a blogger is your email list. This is your crew, your audience, your tribe. They are the ones who will come back and keep reading your content and who you will build enough trust with so they will buy from you (either products you create or promote) or click on the affiliate links for the products you recommend.
While you can, and will, definitely make money running display and affiliate ads on your blog, your biggest money making opportunity is going to be with your email list. The million dollar bloggers out there are able to make between $1-$5 in revenue per email subscriber each month!! If you have a list of 10,000 subscribers you can make up to $50,000 in revenue off that list per month! It’s crazy.
Keep in mind that’s a really extreme example and not typical. Somewhere in the $1-$3 per month per email subscriber is actually realistic.
Start building your email list as soon as you start your blog. Your email list is your most important asset.
13 WAYS TO EARN MONEY WITH YOUR BLOG
In the past 3 years I have made money through blogging in the following ways:
- Google Adsense
- Advertising/Publisher Networks
- Affiliate Ads
- Sponsored Content
- Direct Display Ads
- Social Media Promotion
- Paid Content Promotion
- Brand Partnerships
- Podcast Sponsorships
- Book Deals
- Freelance Writing Opportunities
1. Google Adsense
Potential blog revenue: $0.1 – $0.5 per page view
Google Adsense allows you to run ads from the Google Display network on your website. If you are brand new blogger Google Adsense is the easiest way to monetize your blog, but you won’t make that much money off of them. Even if you are getting a thousand visitors a month you might make $50 at most of Google Ads. But that’s a start! I used Google Adsense for the first year that I was blogging and then switched over to an ad network to get a higher CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and CPC (cost per click).
2. Advertising/Publisher Networks
Potential monthly blog revenue: $20,000+
Once you’ve reached at least 25,000 page views per month you can (and should) ditch Google Adsense and start working directly with an advertising network (they are also called publisher networks), who will directly manage the display ads on your website to ensure you are making the most money off of your ads. Typically these networks take between 20%-40% of the display ad revenue from your website.
Even with this commission, you can make a lot more money working with an advertiser/publishing network than working directly with Google. Some bloggers absolutely crush it, making $20,000+ a month on display ads alone. There are often ad/publisher networks that specialize in your niche, so just do a simple Google search for [your niche] ad networks and you are likely to find a few that you can reach out to. Some of them are very selective about who they work with, so you might want to reach out to a few others.
3. Affiliate Ads
Potential blog revenue: $5 – $500 per click
Affiliate marketing is legit and you can make a lot of money by placing affiliate ads on your website. In almost any niche you can make money recommending products or services and getting paid every time someone signs up through your link. These are affiliate ads and are a win/win for both bloggers and advertisers because the advertiser gets a confirmed sign up and you, the blogger, will likely get paid more money for a confirmed sign up than a click. Where you might get $1-$3 per click, with affiliate commissions, depending on the product you are promoting, you can make between $5 – $500 (or more!) when someone signs up through your link.
So how do you make this kind of money? Only recommend products or services that you believe in and/or use. One of the fastest ways to lose the rest of your readers is to recommend a crappy or spammy product just because you will get paid if they click and sign up. It’s not worth it.
Focus on finding affiliate relationships for products that you really believe in and/or use. Not all companies have affiliate programs or they keep them hidden for a smaller group of bloggers. Just reach out to the makers of your favorite products and/or services to see if they have an affiliate program. If they do they might have minimum traffic requirements, and if so, just make a note to contact them when your traffic gets bigger.
Amazon Affiliate Ads
One of the most popular affiliates is Amazon and you can get paid whenever you link to a product listing on Amazon if one of your readers buy the product. While the payouts (what you get paid for sale) aren’t as much on Amazon as going directly to a product or service, they have really easy to use affiliate platform and you can pretty much promote any of the gazillion products on Amazon. The more expensive the product you promote is, the higher the commission you get if someone buys it through your link.
This is one of the reasons people who blog about electronics and cameras and expensive items can absolutely crush it through affiliate ads – every time someone buys a TV through their link they are pocketing up to $200 per transaction. You can earn up to 10% with some transactions. Those numbers add up quickly.
4. Sponsored Content
Potential blog revenue: $50 – $1000 per post
The bigger your blog gets the more people will reach out and offer to pay to put their content on your blog. You are going to get hit up A LOT. About 100 people a week reach out to meet asking for me to put their post on my blogs. Typically they will offer between $50 – $1,000 to publish one of their posts on your blog.
You might be thinking, whoah that’s a ton of money just to publish a post someone else has written, but you need to be careful. Google doesn’t like this practice and if they think you are publishing a lot of paid content they could blacklist your blog (which is absolutely terrible and will take you forever to recover from).
You also want to be careful about how often you post sponsored content because the posts are often really crappy or have crappy links included in them. If you are linking from a crappy blog post to a crappy link Google is going to notice and so will your audience. So be very very careful about accepting sponsored content posts, or ask for a much higher fee and write them yourself.
5. Direct Display Ad Buys
Potential monthly blog revenue: $200 – $2,500 per display
Some brands or companies will reach out to you to put a banner display ad on your website to promote their product. Or you can reach out to companies that align with your target readership and blog niche. Sell the fact that a display ad will be on every page of your blog and get the maximum amount of visibility.
Typically you can get between $200 – $2,500 a month per display depending on the niche you are blogging about. You can sell a 728×90 banner ad for the most money since it’s the most visible when you put it in your blog header. But be careful to not put too many ads your blog – typically you can only sell limited direct display ad buys at a time.
But if you really want you can push this and put smaller ads in your blog sidebar (have you seen those tiny little square ads on websites?) – some bloggers make a ton of money on 100 pixel / 100 pixel ads that are really really targeted.
6. Social Media Promotion
Potential blog revenue: $500 – $3000 per promotion
It absolutely blew my mind the first time a brand paid me to tweet. Seriously, I just couldn’t fathom that someone would pay me $500 just to tweet for 30 minutes in a Twitter chat. It was awesome. Since then I’ve been paid between $500 – $3,000 to do simple social media promotions of other people’s content. If you are an influencer or expert in your niche you can likely make money promoting products or services on social media. The bigger your following the more money you can get paid.
Paid promotions are one are where growing a large social audience can really pay off. For example, some bloggers I know with massive Instagram followings make at least $5,000 per month promoting products in their niche (fashion and travel specifically). Sure they have a blog, but they make more money on their social following as they grow their blog.
7. Paid Social Media Content Promotion
Potential blog revenue: $30,000+
This is how many of the largest, most profitable bloggers, make their money. Depending on the niche you write in and the affiliates you work with, you can crush it running Facebook or Google ads to your monetized content. This is an effective and popular blog monetization strategy many bloggers are using.
Basically, the way it works is you buy Facebook traffic to your blog for say 3 cents to $2 dollars per click, but then a certain percentage of that traffic then signs up or buys something through one of your affiliate links.
Then you manage how much you spend on ad clicks to generate affiliate revenue. While this definitely requires some Facebook and/or Google ad testing, over time when you find the winning combination (example for every $1 you spend on ads you make $5 in affiliate revenue) you can scale it quickly. I know some bloggers who spend $20,000 or more on ad traffic to their website, but they make over $30,000 in profit on that ad spend! Some bloggers I know make over $1 million A MONTH by buying and monetizing paid traffic.
Potential blog revenue: $???
While it will likely be difficult for you to launch a course shortly after launching your blog, building a course is a great way to make money on your blog. It’s never been easier to sell your expertise and make money teaching others. You can either host your course on your own WordPress blog using plugins like WordPress LMS or through a third party website like Teachable.
Many of the bloggers who are friends of mine have launched multiple 6 figure courses and a few have made 7 figures with their courses (yes you read that right – they have made over $1 million from just launching courses through their blogs). If you are thinking about launching a course check to see what else is out there in the market and who you will be competing with because I’ve also seen many bloggers launch course that they spent a lot of time building that didn’t do very well.
If you are planning to develop a course that someone is already offering think hard about what would make your course different and why someone would buy it from you instead of someone else. Would your audience buy it? It’s often best to launch a course after you’ve been writing on your blog for a while and you know more about your audience and what they are willing to buy.
9. Consulting with Companies
Potential blog revenue: $500 – $15,000 per consultation
Over the past few years a number of companies, both big and small, have paid me fees as a consultant to do many things, like providing feedback on a mobile app, feedback on a new financial website, to flying in and working with their design and marketing teams, or to speak with their financial advisors about Millennials.
While I’ve been offered quite a few consulting gigs, I only take the ones where I am really interested in learning about the product or interest in forming a longer-term relationship with a company. If you become an expert in your niche or have a unique viewpoint, companies might be willing to pay you for your expertise.
If you want to get consulting gigs the best way to do it is actually through LinkedIn – probably 80% of my consulting opportunities have come through LinkedIn messages, not my actual blog platform. But in 100% of the cases the companies are only asking me to consult with them because of my background in blogging. A simple way to set yourself up for consulting opportunities is to connect with other bloggers and people who work at companies in your niche on LinkedIn.
Then start using LinkedIn to distribute some of your content. Also, the next time that a company reaches out to you to review their product, ask if they would be interested in having you come in to test and discuss it in person (you might get paid and a free flight to somewhere cool!). I am able to charge companies anywhere from $500 for a quick call to $15,000 for a one-day visit and workshop with their team.
10. Brand Partnerships
Potential monthly blog revenue: Up to $25,000
Once you start getting noticed in your niche then brands might start reaching out to you to discuss ways that you can “work together”. Be ready when this happens and have ideas and packages for how you can help their brand reach your audience AND vice versa. If you partner with the right brands it will benefit you as well, since they will share your content and email their followers about you as well.
I’ve been able to generate a ton of blog followers through a few partnerships with big brands. Another benefit of big brands is that they likely have big budgets, which means they have more money to spend to work with you.
My largest brand partnership was a $50,000 deal for 2 months that required very little of my time and was a win-win for both my brand partner and my audience. One piece of advice – most brands will want to start small with you but don’t undersell yourself. If a brand is reaching out to you they want to work with you, so be willing to negotiate.
A few of the early brand deals I did I really undersold myself and they ended up being a ton of work. Over time you should look to create longer-term brand partnerships that are mutually beneficial and can become consistent forms of revenue for your platform.
11. Podcast Sponsorships
Potential blog revenue: $100 – $500 per episode
Podcasting is the wild west right now and while it’s hard to make big money unless you have a big audience, it’s relatively easy when working with a podcast host like Podbean to monetize your podcast. This is because Podbean has a feature that you can sign up for free that lets them place small ads before and after your podcast.
You don’t have to do anything – just keep podcasting and then make money. Another way you can sell ads is direct to a brand or company that reaches out to you.
12. Book Deal
Potential blog revenue: $???
If you become an expert in your niche, are good at writing about your topic, and you’ve built an audience, then you might be a good candidate for a book deal. Book agents and publishers are always for talented writers with expertise. While it might sound crazy to think about writing a book right now, this could be a real possibility as you grow your blog.
13. Freelance Writing Opportunities
Potential blog revenue: $300 – $1,000 per post
Last but not least, blogging is writing, so the more you blog the better writer you are going to become and the more likely you will then be able to sell that expertise through freelance writing opportunities. Soooooo many companies and publications are looking for niche experts to write for them and will pay you to write. Many new bloggers use freelance writing opportunities to supplement their blogging income while they are getting their blogs off the ground and building an audience.
Another benefit to making money freelance writing is that you can get more exposure as an expert in your niche and build your portfolio. Typically freelance writers can get between $300 – $1,000 per freelance writing blog post and more money for longer pieces like white papers or reports.
…..and there are many other additional ways to make money off your blog, like selling products, monetizing your YouTube or on-blog videos, selling access to a member area and many other ways. Always remember you are building a platform and the more creative you can be the more money you will make.