The question I hear over and over again is, “How do you make money blogging?” Whether you are blogging for a hobby or trying to replace your income, there are many ways that you can monetize your blog.
You’ve probably seen the income reports from other bloggers sharing their income of $25,000, $50,000, and even $100,000 a month! That sounds amazing, right!? But how are they doing it, and is it something that you can do?
HOW MUCH MONEY CAN YOU MAKE BLOGGING?
There is not a black and white answer here. The truth is that bloggers make as little as a few hundred dollars a year into six or even seven figures.
Many factors go into the income a blog generates. These include things such as traffic, social media influence, social engagement, product offers, and many times — luck. Sure, bloggers work hard, but it is just good old luck if you ask many of them.
That should not discourage you. If anything, it should be encouraging. The idea that you can turn your blog into a business is exciting! Scary – yes. But so exciting!
The even better news is that you do not tons of traffic coming to your site before you start making money. Anyone can implement a money-making strategy. You need to know where to start.
HOW DO YOU MONETIZE A BLOG?
There are many avenues to making an income for your blog. Just like each of us is different, so are these income options. Some of them will jump right out at you as an option, and others will be those in which you have no interest in pursuing. The great thing is – that’s OK!
Just find the ones that speak to you and do research to get started with this type of income stream. As you get more comfortable blogging, you may find you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try that new revenue stream. After all, you just never know what will work!
Let’s break this down in a simple “make money blogging for dummies” type of way.
You can place ads on your website through a network or private advertisers. The type you use is based upon what you feel most comfortable promoting.
Display ads are the banners and images you see in headers, footers, sidebars, and even within the posts themselves. You can find these through an ad network. These are a simple way to make money, as there is no additional work needed. You add the code to your site one time, and the ads show over and over again.
Display ads create passive income. Passive income is the income you generate on your site without creating content or in any other way.
Before you sign up, you must understand the terminology. You will often hear the phrase RPM. That means the rate per 1,000 impressions. So, if they say the RPM is $4.25, you will be paid $4.25 for every 1,000 page views on your site. You need to understand this because you want to work with someone who offers a higher RPM.
Some advertisers work with bloggers, no matter your traffic. There are many different ad networks available. Some of them have eligibility requirements, so make sure you satisfy them before you apply. Here are some you can look into:
No page view requirements*
10,000+ page views
50,000+ sessions per month (not page views)
100,000+ page views per month
*Note that I would never recommend using ads if you have less than 10,000 pageviews as these sites have code that slows down your site, and they do not pay you much of anything at all. They are not worth it.
These work in the same manner as with display ads. The difference is that you do not have a network for placement. These are ads where you work directly with the company or PR firm for placement.
You will be responsible for ensuring the ads work properly. Also, there will need to be a contract between you and the advertiser. When it comes to what to charge, that can be tricky as you do not want to over or undersell your site.
You can do research online to find rates to charge, but keep in mind that you should be able to charge from 2 – 3 times what some advertising networks pay you. So, if your network pays you around $5 CPM, you can charge as much as $10 – $15 CPM.
To figure out your rate, you first must determine your average traffic. Then, you can determine how much to charge for the placement. This example walks you through how to do just that.
1. DETERMINE YOUR CPM RATE
$5 advertising network CPM
$5 * 2 = $10 CPM$5 * 3 = $15 CPM
2. DETERMINE YOUR AVERAGE PAGE VIEWS
Don’t just look at the past 30 days. It is better to look at three months’ worth of traffic to determine an average. Review your Google Analytics to find your total traffic for three months. Divide that amount by 3 to reach an average monthly traffic number.
3 months traffic = 127,440
127,440/3 = 42,480 monthly page views (average)
3. CALCULATE YOUR RPM NUMBER
The RPM is the rate advertisers use to pay you. The amount is a set value based upon every 1,000 impressions. You will use this same figure to calculate your rate.
Now that you know your monthly traffic, divide the total by 1,000 to reach your CPM number.
42,480 / 1,000 – 42.48
4. DETERMINE THE RATE TO CHARGE
You now have all of the numbers needed to calculate ad placement. It is good to figure both a high and low rate. Then, pitch your high number and negotiate as needed. Just don’t charge less than your low number.
42.48 * $10 = $424.80 (low end)
42.48 * $15 = $637.20 (high end)
You have the amount you will charge for ad placement for one month.
You now have your high and low amounts to charge for private ad placement. Find other sites in your niche with the same traffic and see who they are working with. You will get inspiration for the types of companies to contact.
Giveaways / Reviews
Another type of advertising is a giveaway or a review. A company may contact you to complete a post and giveaway. They may also ask you to review their product.
In most giveaways, there is a review component. They want you to review their product or store and share your feedback. The idea is to increase awareness around them. Many times, they will even provide you with the same product or another item to giveaway.
Many times, however, companies would like to provide you with a free product for your review or giveaway. You must consider the value as you will have to claim it for tax purposes, and honestly, free products are not the same as cash. If a company only wants a review or giveaway in exchange for a gift card, for example, you may want to think twice about it.
Sponsored posts are paid post advertisements on your blog. Advertisers work with you to write a post, create a recipe, etc., in conjunction with their brand. They do this to gain more exposure through your audience.
Some firms help you find these paid placements, or you can reach out to brands yourself by contacting the PR firms or even via Twitter. There are sites, such as IZEA or TapInfluence, that connect you with potential sponsors. Sign up is free, and this is a simple way to
Sponsored posts allow you to be creative and share information that your readers would otherwise expect, but you get paid to talk about it. They can be a simple way to generate income for your site.
One of the questions most people have is, “how much do I charge?” I wish that it were black and white for everyone — but it isn’t.
If you are interested in sponsored posts, read more about How Much to Charge for Sponsored Posts. It walks you through the ins and outs of sponsored posts, as well as how to determine a fair price to ask for your post.
If you want to kick start your knowledge, sign up for Sponsored Success Incubator! It is a free course that helps you learn all about sponsored posts!
IMPLEMENTING AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing is a fun way to make money! Affiliate links allow you to talk about the books, products, and/or services you love, with a chance to be paid!
The way it works is simple in theory. You prepare your post as usual. You then link some of the products or services to the site where they can buy the item. However, instead of just linking to them outright, you use an affiliate link provided to you.
That link tracks the user. If someone purchases through your link, you end up getting paid a small commission or fee. Readers tend to trust you, so when you can promote products you would talk about for free – but get paid for it – why not?
Like I said above, it is simple in theory. However, legally and how you do, it is a bit more in-depth. Not difficult, but just that there is more to it than just placing a link.
A simple and FREE way to learn about Affiliate Marketing is to sign up for the free Affiliate Marketing Masterclass. You’ll get in-depth tips so you can learn — all right in your inbox!
Alternatively, if you want to dig your heels in and learn everything about making money on your blog, jump into the Affiliate Blogging Roadmap. I pull back the curtain and share what I’ve learned after more than ELEVEN YEARS of using affiliate marketing on my site.
SELLING DIGITAL PRODUCTS
There are all types of products you can market to make money. The great thing about this is that you get all of the profits. You are not sharing a cut of it with anyone else.
Courses are becoming more and more popular ways to monetize your site. If you are an expert on a topic, you can create a class to sell to other bloggers or your readers. People will purchase the course to learn more about what you have to teach them.
You don’t have to be the top expert in your field to complete a course. You merely need to have excellent knowledge and understanding to teach it to someone and answer questions that might come up.
I have seen courses priced from $25 up into the hundreds (and even thousands). When creating a course, make sure you research to ensure that there is a need for your readership and also to find the right price point. The platform I recommend for course content creation is Teachable, as it is easy to use for both the creator and your students.
Remember, if you don’t create a course, there is a good chance that someone else will.
Books (including eBooks)
If a course is not your cup of tea, but you have the knowledge to share, a book is a great idea as well. eBooks are very popular. They are PDFs that are downloaded directly onto the buyer’s computer. He or she can read it as often as they desire.
There are options for selling your eBooks. You can use KDP, which is the Kindle Direct Publisher program. However, if you do, you cannot market your books in any other way (they are pretty strict about exclusivity).
If you want to sell them yourself, check out Gumroad, where you can host your download. They take a small percentage from each sale for hosting it for you. However, that can be simpler than hosting it yourself.
You can create a printable or other product to sell to your readers. They can be a planner you design, a graphic to download, or something more tangible such as a scarf or soap.
While you can sell your products on your site, you might want to find a third-party seller to help you. To get some interest going, you may want to start by selling on a site such as Etsy. It is easy to use, and while they take a small cut of the proceeds, you don’t have to maintain a shop on your site and deal with payment collection.
If you want to learn about making products, get my five quick steps to help you determine the product your readers want! Best of all – it is entirely free for you to use!
Consulting / Coaching
If you are an expert in your field, you may want to provide coaching or consulting services. Doing so allows you to work one-on-one with individual clients and fulfilling a need they may have.
The knowledge you have can be shared to help people set and achieve whatever goals they may have. Your consulting may be one time, or it could provide an ongoing service.
For instance, I offer many services to help new and established bloggers work on their site and marketing strategies. Together we can help increase your traffic and, in turn, your income.
Some sites have such great information and resources that they charge a monthly fee for people to access them. These are paid membership sites. Your knowledge will come at a price to the people who want it.
While not as popular, it might be an option. If you are considering going this route, make sure you include some proprietary information or other details that are not available elsewhere. For example, if you have been successful in online marketing, you may start a paid site and teach people the secrets of getting and retaining online clients around the globe.
When you are an expert in your field, your blog can show that. As a result, you may be asked to speak at conferences and other events.
If you are asked to speak at one of these events, find out if they want you to be very niche-specific or if they would rather you keep the discussion broad. You will have to prepare your talk to ensure you can fill the allotted time and keep the audience engaged and interested. After all, there is nothing worse than a conference speaker who puts the audience to sleep!
You should always charge a fee to speak at these events. It should be large enough to cover your costs to attend the conference. Some may even include your conference attendance fees, leaving you with transportation and hotel costs.
Not all of these ideas will work for everyone. To start, find one or two that you feel you can work on and focus your efforts there. Don’t try to do everything, or you will give up (it will be overwhelming – trust me).
Making money from a blog is a lot of fun. It is exciting when you see the money roll in, and you can even replace your full-time salary or be able to make money as a stay-at-home parent. The sky indeed is the limit when it comes to making money from your blog.