How much money can you make from your blog? That’s the big question. The answer isn’t the same for every blog and every niche. But, there are some common ways that bloggers can earn an income no matter the niche.
By setting up your blog with some monetization techniques, you can potentially earn an income to replace your full time income.
With that said, making money from blogging isn’t something that happens overnight. You must treat your blog like a business and work hard to make good money.
Before we get into the different ways to monetize your blog, here is a glossary of common terms you will come across in your research (and through the payout terms of most programs).
Intro To Monetization
When you read “monetization” this merely means you are setting up your blog to earn money. That’s it.
There are quite a few different ways you can make money from your blog (most to be outlined later). Some of the opportunities are great for just your blog and others will actually require social media interaction (like Instagram).
That isn’t to say that you need tons of traffic to make money – what you need is the RIGHT traffic who are loyal followers or at least the perfect audience for your blog.
You want an audience that is invested (sometimes literally) in what you have to say and the products and services you offer or suggest to them.
There is no one right way to do this. Every niche is different. Every offer is different.
But, all you really need to do is write amazing content that your readers NEED and, hopefully, monetization will do the rest.
Tip: Readers are used to being sold to. When you write any copy highlighting a product or service, focus on the benefits to your reader NOT the hard sell on why they HAVE TO have it. That doesn’t mean you can’t push, merely to be aware of the pressure you place on your readers. Read your text out loud – does it sound like a sales pitch? If it does, try again and make it more conversational so you don’t lose your readers (with an eye roll).
The information in this section is in a stand-alone post for ease of reference here.
One of the first things that most bloggers do is find affiliate programs to join.
What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is an opportunity to highlight products or services for a different person or company and make a commission on any sales generated through your links.
Affiliate programs allow you to make money from the work of others, BUT also help them make money by increasing sales overall.
The affiliate agreement is mutually beneficial!
How does a website track that a user has clicked on your link?
When a reader clicks on your unique URL, a cookie is created on the company or individual’s site to track the potential sale.
Cookies are kind of like placing a bookmark in a book only it’s a digital bookmark (code) for a website.
Depending on the terms of the affiliate program, these cookies can stay in a user’s web browser for days, weeks or even months.
So, if the user who clicked your link goes back to the company to make a purchase (using the same browser they used to click on your link), the website will still know to give you the commission if it is still within the allotted “cookie window” per your agreement with them.
But, if a user is shopping around and is clicking links on multiple sites, the last link they click will log the cookie. This means, if a user clicks on a different link to the same website after yours, the other blogger will receive the commission.
When you include affiliate links on your blog, you will ALWAYS want to add “no follow” to the links for SEO purposes.
Here is how to do this using code in the Code Editor or through a plugin (when possible).
How you find the right affiliate links for your programs will depend on the company and software they use.
By law (and per all your affiliate agreements), you will need to disclose to the reader that your post or page contains affiliate links that earn your money if they click on them (and make a purchase).
You will need to look into the agreement between yourself and the affiliate program to see if special language is needed for a particular program.
As a rule of thumb, many bloggers choose to include an affiliate disclaimer at the top of every post and page that links to a Disclaimer or Disclosure page (where all of the affiliate programs are listed).
There are a few ways you can implement this without needing to copy and paste text every time:
- FMTC Affiliate Disclaimer (plugin – free): You fill out what you want the disclaimer to say and it will automatically post under your post title. However, make sure that you test that the text doesn’t get pulled in your pin description if you use Pinterest.
- Create an image that links to your legal page with your affiliate disclaimer text. Place the image at the top of every page before your content. You can do this easily by creating the image once and using a plugin like Shortcoder (free) to merely place a shortcode at the beginning of your posts. However, if you choose to do images, make sure you keep both desktop AND mobile in mind! You will need to design for mobile FIRST.
- Use a reusable block in WordPress Gutenberg to insert at the beginning of your post.
Whatever you choose, make sure to test your method, especially when it comes to what text is pulled for social media shares.
Remember, you must also disclose your affiliation if you also use links on social media (#affiliate or #ad). Look into the programs Terms Of Service (TOS) for rules.
When you look to join an affiliate program, you may find a list of requirements though many have few (if any).
Make sure to read through the agreement for any requirements (like legal pages, blog traffic, etc) before applying.
It’s more common to have traffic and social following requirements for Sponsored opportunities.
Also refer to the affiliate agreement on any restrictions on social media. For example, Amazon.com does not allow you to share affiliate links on Facebook.
Networks and Programs
While there are specific affiliate programs for some companies, many use networks to manage their affiliate sales.
Below is a list of some common affiliate program networks you can check out. Each will have a combination of all sorts of programs to join for almost any niche:
- Awin: requires a $5 deposit that will be refunded after your first sale.
- CJ Affiliate (previously Commission Junction): does have a minimum amount of time to make a sale before they shut down your account and charge a monthly fee!
- MagicLinks: This is a unique program where you create links from hundreds of different sites. You are paid per click and get a commission of sales. There is some overlap like you can create links to Target.com but you get a bigger commission if you go through their actual affiliate program. But, MagicLinks makes it easy to get links from popular sites without applying to each affiliate program (and some that don’t offer programs).
Here are some other company specific programs that are popular (and are great for the parenting niche):
If you take a course that you love (in any niche), don’t be shy about asking the creator if they have an affiliate program so you can highlight their course.
If you are looking for a great course to take for yourself about affiliate marketing, see the Resources page for recommendations.
You can get paid for highlighting products or services on your blog by companies looking to grow their business and exposure.
Unlike most affiliate programs, sponsored posts take a little more work to acquire.
There are a few different ways you can receive a sponsorship opportunity:
- Blog post: depends on site traffic
- Social media update: depends on your following for your social networks.
- Email: depends on the size of your email list.
When you are first starting out, this may not be your target monetization strategy since most sponsors are looking for bloggers who have a large following on their blog and/or social media following. They want to make sure that what they are paying you is worth the level of exposure you can provide.
That isn’t to say you can’t try.
But don’t be too disappointed if you don’t land the sponsor you are trying to land – just try again when you have better numbers and engagement.
If you are just starting out (or trying to grow your following), set goals for your following (blog and social media) before reaching out to sponsors. Do some review posts to show as examples on brands and products you currently use.
Just like affiliate programs, you must disclose to your reader that you received compensation (monetary or other).
You will need to clearly tell your reader that you are writing the post or social media update in exchange for pay.
As you make your way through Sponsorship opportunities, some brands will require you to send a media kit.
What is a media kit?
A media kit is merely a snapshot of your blog, brand and social media following to show companies what you have to offer.
Yes, you can get in contact with brands you love to see if they are interested in what you can offer them in order to pay you.
Once your blog has grown, you may also receive offers directly!
But there are also networks you can join to help find opportunities like the following:
- Linqia (has minimum requirements before joining)
- IZEA: If you see a reference to TapInfluencer, they were acquired by IZEA so just go straight to this network.
- Social Fabric
Each Network has a fairly broad range of brands and topics. Some will link directly with your social accounts and Google analytics, while others will require manual entry of your numbers (so make sure to keep them updated as you grow!).
Here is an article that may help you determine the best network for you based on your following.
Ads are a very common way that bloggers monitize their site.
Advertisements are images or text that display on your site through a company of your choosing that your readers can click on to navigate to the information presented to them.
You will be paid per impressions (the number of times your readers view ads) and per click (a higher payout than impressions for users that actually click/interact with the ads).
As a creator and owner of your blog (self hosted), it is your decision on whether or not you wish to display ads on your site.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Do you wish to display ads on your site?
- Will placing ads on your site detract from your site design (this is usually yes, but is it an acceptable amount?)?
- Do you have the traffic needed to actually make any money off of ads?
If you decide to proceed with ads (or at least to do more research), before you select an ad company make sure to look at their requirements for approval.
Some (like Mediavine) have rules about a minimum amount of traffic (readers) to your site in a month.
If you apply and are accepted into an ad service, you will likely need to add some HTML code into the <head> section of your blog to start displaying the ads on your site. See this page for a plugin you can use to make this easier for us less tech savvy types!
Here is a list of some common ad companies (though there are more):
- Google Adsense: This is usually the very first place to start for most bloggers. However, the payout rate is pretty low and if you are just starting out, you may not have the traffic to really make much money.
- InfoLinks: No minimum traffic requirements. They offer different types of ads that you can use on your site, some that try to match user intent. They say that the way they serve ads is better for SEO than general ads served by others (though this has not been verified).
- Mediavine: This ad company is considered one of the top tier ad servers with a high payout. However, you do need a minimum of 25,000 visitors a month (but the second your analytics show this number you can apply). They have quite a review process to vet their publishers, but if you can get in, you are likely to get a much higher payout than most ads.
There are plenty of other ad networks out there, these are just a few common ones you can look into.
Sell Digital Content
Blogging allows for an amazing advantage over many typical sources of income – it can be all digital!
By selling digital content, you are potentially allowing your blog to earn income and “make money while you sleep”.
By creating and selling your own content, you are able to control how much you charge (and how much you make) AND provide value to your readers that is targeted and encourages even further engagement.
For digital content, YOU are in the driver’s seat!
Whatever your digital creation, there is a way to sell it without needing outside help.
Digital content can be almost any form of downloadable content. Here are some examples:
- Photography and images
- Design files (like svg files for moms who use Cricuts)
- Printable wall art
Digital products are also things you can create as paid content upgrades on your blog for specific blog posts or pages.
Just keep in mind that free content upgrades are everywhere – if you offer a paid upgrade, make sure it is high enough quality to be worth the purchase!
Much like digital downloads, you can create ebooks to sell on any topic that fits your blog audience. Plus, you can sell the ebook on your site AND upload it to retail sites like Amazon.com for some additional income!
Courses are an amazing way to share your knowledge AND make money.
You will, of course, want to choose a topic that speaks to your readers and grows your brand.
Below are common tools you can use to create and sell your ecourses (paid services):
Learn about other online course creation platforms here.
With both platforms, you can also set up an affiliate program for others to promote your product! Sure, anyone that joins your affiliate program will get a commission, but you will also get paid AND get exposure.
Another option is to offer a course through email! You just set up your lessons directly in an email series or provide links to specific pages or posts on your blog for your course in your email series.
Some email specific courses include free downloadables to help their students.
One way you can reach a target audience for your products is to offer a free product, then try to upsell them to a paid product that is related.
A “freemium” is a word coined as a combination between free and premium where a person opts in for a free item and is then asked to upgrade to a paid product.
You may see these called “funnels” for sales.
Sell Physical Products
Getting into selling physical products can get tricky between comparing the cost to make, market and ship your product. You want to make a profit!
For most bloggers, the beauty in dealing only in digital products and services is the simplest and easiest way to earn money (without having to deal with physical products).
However, whether the products are made by you or by someone else, it is possible to make money by selling products right on your blog (or through online retailers like Amazon or Etsy).
Some bloggers also choose to join MLMs (multi-level marketing) and highlight the products on their site. The validity of MLMs is quite a controversy among Facebook groups.
Want to reference this information later? Don’t forget to pin it!