Think blogging is just a hobby? Think again. Blogging has made a lot of today’s enterprising content creators considerably richer. Here’s how bloggers make money in the new generation.
Before hopping into the blogging bandwagon, here’s the hard truth: making money from blogging requires real work. Managing your content is just half the battle – there are ads, sponsorship posts, and affiliate links to worry about.
While hobbyists can make a couple of tweaks to their blog to earn a few bucks every week, serious bloggers who want to convert their blogs into a money-making machine will encounter a couple of hurdles.
Table of Contents
Can you really earn money through blogging?
A serious blogger’s job can be difficult, but hard workers who see it through are handsomely paid.
20-year old Matthew is a game developer on track to earn $500,000 from his blog, True Valhalla.
Matt Marshall earns $100,000 a month rapping about technology, finance, and investment ideas in his blog, Venture Beat.
World-renowned blog Lifehacker is managed by CEO Gina Trapani, who earns around $110,000 a month.
I’ve made over $300,000 just from blogging a little over a year (much of that success is credited to the brilliance of Bluehost – one of the best web hosting providers).
Our ultimate guide will walk you through the steps needed to make money from a blog, from selecting a lucrative niche to finding out the best ways to monetize it.
Before we get into it, here is an illustration of the ways and steps that bloggers follow to make legitimate money from their sites.
There’s work to be done, so let’s get on it!
8 Ways to Make Money Blogging
1. Find a lucrative niche
While hobby writing about anything under the sun, especially topics that you are passionate about, is well and good, selecting a lucrative niche from the get-go is how bloggers make money.
Sticking to one profitable niche will set you up as an expert and in effect, helping you build a loyal group of engaged and interested followers.
Targeting the right audience is essential in making money through blogging.
When selecting a topic, ask yourself: what do most readers want to read that I love talking about? Finding a niche topic that you can capitalize on is how bloggers make money.
Be wary of being too general. Some of the most popular blog niches include health and fitness, fashion, technology, food, travel, entertainment, and personal finance. These are general niches, which means you’ll be dealing with massive competition in the field. You’ll want to narrow down your choice to a more focused topic, perhaps you’re interested in yoga, Arabian food, or traveling around Asia.
Don’t be overly specific either. Selecting a topic that’s too specific will eventually lead you towards running out of content. You’ll also be catering to a very small chunk of readers with an overly specific topic. Strike a balance between specificity and generality.
Choose an evolving niche. Make sure your choice is something that is not only relevant to present times, but also evergreen. People should still be interested in your topic for years to come. The best way to do this is to select a rapidly evolving field. Here are some untapped niche markets.
For example, there are new advancements in the industries of fitness and technology every year, so you wouldn’t have to worry about running out of things to talk about.
Need more help in selecting your niche? Read our List of 35 Blog Niches to Consider.
Blogging is easily one of the most lucrative side hustles – these are just some of the success stories borne out of love for blogging and the list goes on.
I can help you build an audience through my free email course. I’ll show you what it takes to go from start (ground zero) to making $1k/month.
2. Integrate Cost-Per-Click or Cost-Per-Mille Ads
One of the most popular ways on how bloggers make money is by integrating advertisements into their site. You’ll have to select between two types of ads to display on your site:
CPC/PPC Ads. Also called cost-per-click ads, CPC ads usually come in the form of banners that you prop into your website’s sidebar or content. CPC ads earn you money each time they are clicked by your readers.
CPM Ads. CPM ads are ads that pay you a fixed price for every 1,000 impressions (the number of times your ad was shown to people).
You’ll discover that the most popular platform for placing ads like these is Google AdSense. This program removes the need for you to contact advertisers directly – simply place the banner on your site the Google selects which ads are relevant to the type of content you have.
While AdSense is the most popular, there are other options such as Infolinks, Chitika, and Media.net.
These are some of the best ad networks for bloggers.
What are most advertisers looking for?
Most advertisers are looking for these basic requirements:
Good traffic. To be eligible for advertising, your blog needs to have been active for at least six months while generating good traffic. Google AdSense, for example, requires its publishers to have at least 250 unique visitors a day.
A majority of the website’s traffic must also come from Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and European countries. The platform also has the capability of detecting click activity, malicious malware, and fake impressions. You may get penalized for these kinds of dirty work.
Good content. Your blog content must be relevant, original, useful for visitors. Most advertisers like to promote sites with niche, theme-based content that focuses on specific topics such as lifestyle, traveling, cars, sports, and others. Your blog must offer rich content with a solid number of pages (around 20-30 pages).
Bloggers must be aware that websites that feature prohibited material, such as hate speech, weapons, pornography, ammunition, alcohol and tobacco, explicit violence, gambling, and such are not eligible.
Good design. Your blog must be attractive to visitors, easily navigable while providing a good user experience. Remember, filling out your site with ads will affect your latency and load time. You should also make sure that your website is compatible with both tablets and mobile.
Transparency. Your platform must provide information that is open and clear to the public. This means that visitors must be able to find your contact information and be able to reach you whenever they can.
See Related: 8 Important Pros and Cons of Blogging
3. Sell private ads
While signing up for advertising networks like Google AdSense is the easiest way to earn from advertising on your page, there are even more options. Once your blog generates enough traffic, advertisers may contact you to request a space on your site.
If you have enough time, you can contact these advertisers yourself, though this requires that you back your offer with numbers of your website traffic and engagement.
Private ads can come in many forms, such as buttons, banners, and links. Another option includes writing sponsored blog posts where you showcase a review about an advertiser’s service or product.
If you’re not into writing reviews, an impressive website performance may even encourage advertisers to allow an underwritten post or series.
This type of blog advertising allows you to write about any topic – the only requirement is that you mention the advertiser in the content with a ‘brought to you by’.
There are two ways you can charge for private ads. You can charge a one-time payment for a link within a blog post, or you can charge an advertiser monthly for hosting banner ads.
See Related: Best Blogging Platform to Earn Money
4. Promote affiliates
Affiliate marketing involves promoting a company’s products through an affiliate link. Every time someone purchases the company’s products from the link you displayed on your blog, you earn a commission.
This is one of the most popular ways on how bloggers make money.
Affiliates are typically a salesperson for the company – you help the company make a sale, and the company rewards you. Here’s how bloggers make money through affiliate programs.
Find an affiliate program. With affiliate marketing, a merchant provides you with a unique link that tracks the sales coming from your page. While you can source affiliate partners yourself, you can make your job easier by joining affiliate programs like FlexOffers or MaxBounty. Here are the 20 Best Affiliate Programs to Earn Extra Income.
Write great content. For affiliate blogs to succeed, they need to provide high-quality content that readers would actually want to read. Remember, consumers are more likely to purchase a product that’s promoted genuinely, instead of something that is promoted through hard-selling. This means that you have to integrate the affiliate link in your blog in a seamless and natural way.
Drive traffic to your site. Of course, without traffic, your affiliate links won’t gain you any income. You can drive traffic to your site by paying for PPC ads or through more organic means like SEO. Using web hosting providers with dedicated servers like Bluehost will also guarantee that your blog performs smoothly even on peak traffic.
Place links in the right places. When integrating affiliate links into your blog post, be conscious about where you place them. Affiliate links placed at the bottom of the page will be clicked less often than those that are placed near the introduction.
You can also use callouts like tables, buttons, and boxes to drive your reader’s attention to your links while making your blog more skimmable.
5. Sell digital products
Bloggers who prefer to keep their websites ad-free may opt to sell digital products instead – one of the easiest ways on how bloggers make money. Digital products can be absolutely anything that people would want to download – this includes ebooks, apps, themes, plugins, online courses and workshops, video, images, or music.
Don’t forget to do your market research about what people are looking for. A lot of amateur bloggers make the mistake of selling digital products that they feel would click among consumers, only to be met by disinterest.
Listen to your readers, and only then will you be able to develop a digital product that would satisfy their needs.
I sell online courses myself, including my flagship course called Pageviews to Profits. An all-encompassing course to help you make money blogging.
See Related: Do You Need an LLC for Your Blog?
6. Offer one-on-one coaching
Sometimes, ebooks just won’t cut it, and your visitors will want to consult directly with you for one-on-one advice.
Offering one-on-one coaching is one of the easiest ways to make money from blogging and one of the top types of blogs that make money. You’re already offering expert advice on your blog that makes you an authority in your niche, why not offer personalized advice to your visitors for a fee?
Here’s how bloggers make money from one-on-one coaching.
Start strong. Before offering your services as a coach, you need to make sure that your website is already filled with high-quality, useful information. This is essential, as it helps gain the trust of your potential clients as an expert.
Before pitching your services, you must be able to convince your potential customers that you’re knowledgeable on the subject and that you have the credentials to teach.
Create a strong services page. Reserve a page on your blog where you list out your coaching services in detail including the price. This allows your reader to make an early decision whether your services are right for them, or if you’re way beyond their price range.
Nothing bothers potential customers more than having to request a price or needing to sign up to a newsletter just to obtain product or service details. This also saves you from receiving a load of unnecessary emails asking for information you already could have provided in the first place.
Your services page should include why they need you as a coach, what coaching you offer, the outline of the coaching process, and the cost.
Have a process in place. Customers are lining up, now what do you do? You can start by booking an initial chat where you determine exactly what type of help they need and if your coaching services are a fit for them.
Based on the discussion, you can accept the offer or withhold it. If you choose to accept, you must work on a plan and strategy based on your notes and begin the coaching sessions. You’ll also want to offer ongoing support, to make sure that your clients reach their goals.
See Related: How to Become a Content Creator
7. Market your business.
Already have an existing business? You can use your website as a content marketing tool and make money blogging.
Business blogging is a type of marketing tactic that utilizes blogs to boost your business’ online visibility. Having a blog section on your business website may considerably boost your traffic and income.
Here’s how blogging helps both physical and online businesses.
Blogging drives traffic to your website. Each blog post you write is another indexed page on your website – an extra opportunity for you to appear in search engines and drive more traffic through organic (non-paid) means.
Also, each time you post a blog, you’re developing content that people may want to share through social media, which in turn helps expose your business to new audiences.
Blogging helps convert traffic into leads. Adding lead-generating calls-to-action to your blog posts is a great way to get your visitors to exchange their contact information, allowing you to tap into them for future use. This calls-to-action may lead to freebie, perhaps an eBook, webinar, trials, fact sheets, or white papers.
Blogging helps establish your authority. Constantly posting blogs that are helpful to your target market can help establish you as an expert in your field, while at the same time rendering you trustworthy and reliable.
Blogging offers long term results. Every blog you post will be ranking in search engines and collecting leads for years to come. The effort you put in today could lead to thousands of views in the future.
See Related: Best Blog Fonts to Improve Readability
8. Charge for membership
Selling memberships, or exclusive access to a website, is another popular way on how bloggers make money. A career blog might charge a certain amount per month to give users access to their job board.
A business blog may offer memberships to users who want to get personalized business advice. While this sounds like a brilliant idea to earn income, the challenge is developing exclusive content that your visitors won’t be able to find for free anywhere else.
Here’s why making money online through blog memberships is a good idea.
Ebooks are limited. While a lot of blogs turn to ebooks for reference content and training content, those who really want to stand out and attract subscribers will turn to blog memberships instead.
Ebooks have a variety of limitations, including the lack of two-way interaction and the inability to offer multiple mediums like videos. Since so many website owners offer ebooks for free, its very concept has already been cheapened, so you’ll be forced to follow a price cap.
Membership sites have the interaction and versatility that ebooks don’t have, and they’re so much easier to update and keep fresh. When your membership site is the one and only delivery mechanism, you have more time to focus on developing the best content, instead of sweating over the format.
You can also price your memberships higher that the perceived value of ebooks.
Membership sites make your customers’ lives easier. You can have multiple sets of protected content on your website, with different forms of billing (e.g. monthly payment, one-time payment, recurring billing at a set interval).
Your member will only have one account the entire time giving him multiple modes of access depending on the content. This is a great way to earn repeat business as you can upsell paying members into additional products.
If you’re just starting out with a membership site, consider hosting with Bluehost. Hosting fees start at an affordable $2.95 a month with unlimited bandwidth and 50 GB of storage (you can easily upgrade your plan once your membership site grows).
Once you’ve created your blog, you’ll want to tap into your leads to make even more money. This free online course teaches you the best ways to build your email list and sustain your blog success!