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Starting a blog is one of the best ways to make money online. Although it’s not easy, and anyone who tells you that you will make money fast is likely lying, making a full-time income with a website is possible. Here’s how to make money blogging so you can quit your nine to five and live the life of your dreams.
Building a Profitable Blog
The best thing about blogging is that there are various ways to make money. Although we will cover all of those in this post, it’s important to note that knowing the different ways you can make money won’t help you make money.
There’s far more to making money blogging than dropping an affiliate link in a post. We will cover all of it!
The Different Ways to Make Money with Your Blog
Here are the ways you can make money from your blog:
- Affiliate Marketing: Linking to a product or service and earning a commission when someone uses that link to make a purchase
- Display Ads: Ads you see on the internet. Bloggers earn a share of the revenue from all display ads on their website
- Printables: Bloggers create digital products which their visitors can purchase and download
- Courses: Online courses help bloggers share their expertise with their audience. The classes are usually comprehensive and in a niche that the blogger is an expert in. Visitors pay for access to the course.
- Sponsored Posts: Brands pay bloggers to write about their products.
- Coaching: Bloggers offer coaching calls and one-on-one sessions with users for a fee
- Donations: Content creators set up a donation system on a platform such as Patreon, so their number one fans can support them
- E-Books: Many bloggers find writing a book is the next step up from blogging. They make money from selling these books online.
- Private groups: Some bloggers monetize their communities by creating exclusive groups, like a special Facebook group for paid members.
- Selling Websites: Many people build blogs with the intent to sell them. They constantly build new websites and sell them for a profit.
- Selling Links: Although this is against Google’s terms of service, and I don’t recommend it, some companies still pay bloggers to place links on their website. Please don’t do this if you want to stay in Google’s good graces. The difference between this and a sponsored post is that all links in a sponsored post will be marked “No-Follow.” A sponsored post is not meant to help the company with SEO. It’s intended as an advertisement.
Although these are the most popular methods of making money with a blog, the sky is the limit. Innovative bloggers are constantly coming up with new ways of monetizing.
How To Make Money Blogging
Everyone who searches for how to make money blogging comes up with this list. The truth is, we all know that bloggers make money from ads and affiliate marketing.
But anyone who has been blogging for a few months or longer knows this doesn’t answer the question.
The real question is how to make money blogging. How do you make money with display ads, affiliate marketing, etc. Blogging isn’t Field of Dreams. People aren’t just going to use your affiliate links because they are there.
Making an income from blogging is hard work, but it is achievable. Here’s what you need to do to make money with any methods listed above.
1. Get Traffic
It is possible to make thousands of dollars with display ads, but the unfortunate truth is that you won’t make that much money unless you have high traffic. You can’t even get into the best ad networks without high pageviews.
Adthrive requires 100 thousand monthly pageviews for applicants, while Mediavine requires 50 thousand sessions. You can get into smaller networks before achieving these stats, but they typically have lower RPMs, and you will make less money overall. Still, it’s better to join a lower-paying ad network and start making a little money. You can always change networks once you achieve higher page views.
The hard truth is that getting traffic isn’t always easy. Here are some strategies that will help.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is still the best way to get consistent traffic. The problem with SEO is that it isn’t immediate. It can take up to two years (or longer!) for a post to rank on Google. Not only that but there is a tremendous amount of competition, especially for high-volume keywords, which you should be targeting if your goal is to make money via display ads.
Because of these difficulties, many small bloggers give up on SEO, but that’s a mistake. Yes, it’s challenging to rank, but you will start getting traffic and making money with your blog once you do.
The thing that helped me the most with SEO was joining the Blogging Insiders SEO Hustle Mastermind group. I got access to some great tools for on-page SEO, but I also received coaching, guest posting opportunities, a massive library of content to syndicate, and the ability to ask questions about every aspect of blogging. The group has changed my life and steered me towards having a profitable blog.
You can try it for three months for just a buck a month. It’s a great deal and a must if you’re serious about building a profitable blog. Many full members (myself included!) got into premium ad networks due to the group’s guidance.
Many bloggers have found success with Pinterest. If your blog is in a visual niche like food or travel, you can still gain a lot of traffic on the platform.
However, Pinterest is also a search engine. Pins need to be optimized for Pinterest SEO to improve discoverability. Another limitation to Pinterest is that it’s a private company, and its number one goal is to make money. Therefore, the algorithm is constantly changing, and the platform is doing everything it can to encourage users to pay to play.
Although we can say similar things about Google, it’s a little different in that Google’s mission is to serve users with the content that best meets their needs. Therefore, Google’s algorithm updates look at user intent and experience more than how to make Google more money.
2. Build a Community
Another way to make money blogging is to build a community on other social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Post quality content that the people you are targeting would want to engage with, and send them to your blog.
This strategy works well for driving affiliate sales and getting donations. Your community on social media should be your blog’s target audience. Social media helps them find you, and then you can drive them to your blog to make sales. Some bloggers don’t even sell items, but they offer so much incredible content on social media and on their blogs that supporters give them money every month so they can keep creating content.
3. Solve a Problem No One Else Has
If you want to make money via product sales, you need to identify a pain point for your visitors and solve that pain point. Many bloggers have found success in selling courses about how to blog, while others use their expertise to create a course in their niche.
There are courses on side hustles, getting out of debt, making money online, and a wide variety of other financial topics in the personal finance blogging community. These courses identify a specific problem for their users and offer an opportunity to solve it.
Identifying and solving problems also works for selling digital products and coaching.
4. Build an Email List
Building an email list is similar to building a community with social media but different in that you own the list, and it’s harder to get followers.
The great thing about email subscribers is that email likely isn’t going away. Email servers don’t have algorithms to change. The list of email subscribers you build is a built-in customer base for your content and possible affiliate sales.
Building an engaged email list is hard work. You need to offer people something to get them to sign up, which is called a lead magnet. You’ve seen it on most websites, this one included. The lead magnet draws people in and gets them to sign up, but you need to keep delivering great content to keep them engaged.
5. Build Trust
Making money through affiliate sales is one of the best ways to earn money online. However, people aren’t just going to click your link and buy the product you recommend because it’s there. You have to build trust with your audience and show them exactly why they need the product to get them to buy.
To do this, it’s essential only to promote products that you know about and fully disclose the relationship you have with them. For example, many bloggers promote Bluehost as a web host because they have a great affiliate program. The problem is that many of these bloggers don’t even use the platform, and you have no idea whether they use it or not.
Bluehost is a great starter host and perfect for folks who want a hobby blog. It’s cheap and easy to use. I used it when I first started. But it has a lot of downtimes, it’s slower than some other hosts, and it won’t fit the needs of people who want to grow their blog into a business. I still promote Bluehost because I’ve used it, and I know who will benefit. But I also give an honest opinion and offer other options for those who need more from a host.
People will lose trust in you if you promote crappy products to make a few bucks. Promote things you know and trust, and you will continue to drive sales over time.
6. Target Your Audience
If you’re trying to sell a specific item, whether your own or an affiliate product, you need to target the people who need it. You can do this with ads, which will cost money or old-fashioned SEO.
SEO is vital for both driving volume and driving a targeted audience. When you are trying to monetize via display ads, the volume is essential, so you should target high-volume keywords that you can rank for in search engines.
However, when you are trying to make sales, that changes. You want to drive targeted traffic that will buy the product you are selling.
For example, let’s say you have a blog about pets. You could write a post about dog breeds, a super high-volume keyword with over three hundred thousand monthly searches. It’s a difficult keyword to rank for, but with effort and fantastic SEO, you might be able to get some traffic.
However, you aren’t ever going to sell anything with that keyword. If you want to make affiliate sales, you have to write about things with buyer intent in mind. Consider something like “best harnesses for huskies” instead. This is an extremely low-volume keyword, with only about 20 monthly searches. But it’s also easy to rank for and has excellent buyer intent if you’re in the business of selling husky harnesses.
(all keyword information was found using MOZ – a must-have tool for SEO research!)
The point is that your strategy may be different depending on whether you are trying to monetize via display ads or affiliate marketing. A good approach is to have a mix of both on your website.
Making Money with a Blog Isn’t Easy
Many people will tell you to start a blog because it’s easy money. Although it is possible to make money blogging, none of it is easy. If you want to make quick cash, consider taking surveys, freelancing, or driving for Lyft. Blogging is not the way to fast cash.
However, blogging can be a lucrative side hustle that you can parlay into a full-time career, unlike those easy money gigs. It takes hard work to get to that point, but the payoff is worth it.
Are You Ready to Start a Blog?
Learn how to start a blog, from hosting to niche to installing WordPress here. You will not make money quickly, but you will learn many new skills and start building a business that can provide lasting income.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.