Blogging is no longer just a hobby these days. There are many bloggers today who make a good living by writing and sharing their thoughts. Some started off blogging as a hobby and discovered that if they put more time and effort into it, it could replace their full time job. Some started their blogs for the sole purpose of earning a living. While there are many sources of revenue that can be tapped into, advertisements and affiliate sales seem to be the top income generators. If you’re interested in how to make money blogging, read on.
Please note: we’re not selling you anything here. You’re not required to buy an e-book or subscribe to our newsletter for a complete guide on how to make money blogging! This entire post is dedicated to sharing a quick and honest guide for people wanting to earn from their blogs or websites.
While there are a lot of options for monetizing your blog, and there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. The best course of action for you will depend on several factors, such as your chosen niche and the size of your audience.
In this article, we’ll explain how to make money blogging, and introduce five proven strategies that can help. Let’s get to work!
Why It’s Smart to Monetize Your Blog
It may sound intimidating, but ‘monetizing a blog’ is simply about making a reliable income. Different bloggers use various strategies, but the goal is always to generate cash on a regular basis:
If your project is for fun anyway, you may as well get paid for your time. Many techniques don’t require a lot of extra effort. You can use the funds to support the blog itself, supplement your income, or even grow your site into a business.
Even better, some methods of monetizing a blog will generate passive income. This means that once you’ve put the framework in place, you won’t have to do much in order to keep the earnings rolling.
Where do you begin? Blogging for income, while seemingly simple, can become overwhelming very fast. Lets slow down and go through a list of things you need to be mindful of when trying to create a blog that can turn into a part-time or even a full-time income for you:
1. Topic or Niche
Before you begin crafting your website, it’s smart to put some time into carefully choosing a ‘niche’. This is simply the topic you’ll be focusing your writing on, such as health, pets, crafting, and more.
You will need a topic that you can write about. Not everyone is a cook or a traveler or an interior decorator. Think about what you can research and write about best, what your passions are, and whether you understand those topics enough to elaborate and share your thoughts on.
This is the time to also plan ahead and come up with possible ways in which this could potentially turn into a business.
2. Competitive Research
Find out which are the ranking blogs on the topic that you have chosen to write on. See how they are making it work:
- What are they doing right and what could you improve upon?
- What keywords are they targeting?
- What is their post frequency?
- How have they set up their blogs, what kind of site layouts are they using and how can you be better?
- What are the common themes they are targeting?
- Who is their target audience? How are they serving them well, what could you do better?
Keep revisiting and reanalyzing the top three in your space; blogs evolve constantly and it would be important for you to stay on top of latest trends.
3. Editorial Calendar
Planning ahead pays off. You will need a schedule, a recurring list of tasks that will guide you towards the end goal of publishing a set number of posts every week. Creating a monthly editorial calendar and making sure you have enough topics to write about will be instrumental in keeping you on track.
4. Blog Setup
- Hosting: Approx $4/month
- WordPress: Free
- Domain Name: Free for the first year
- WordPress Theme: Start for free, upgrade later for as low as $35
So your total cost to start could be as little as $4!
If you have the time to learn and experiment, there are a lot of online resources that can help you get started with the blog all by yourself. However, hiring a developer and a designer could help accelerate the setup process, and you would be able to start off on the right foot.
5. Social Media
You will need social media profiles; Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Sharing your content on social media should be a part of your publishing process. Needless to say, social media allows your blog to reach a wider audience.
Monetizing Your Blog
Once you’re set and up and running, there are a few things you can do that will make your monetization efforts more effective. For example, attracting a decent amount of traffic to your site will make you more attractive to companies that may want to advertise on it. Having a mailing list should also make it much easier for you to sell products and stay in touch with your readers.
However, if you don’t have many visitors and haven’t set up email marketing yet, don’t let that stop you. We’ll show you some income-generating strategies that you can get started with right away. As your blog grows, these techniques will become even more effective, and you’ll be able to add new options to your money-making toolkit.
Now, it’s time to look at some strategies for making money with your blog. Each of these techniques can be used on their own or in combination, so we suggest reading through all of them to see which best suit your needs.
1. Affiliate Marketing
When you’re monetizing a blog, affiliate marketing is an excellent place to start. An affiliate marketer promotes a company’s products or services, and is paid a commission for each resulting sale.
You’ll do this by endorsing a product or service on your blog and inserting unique affiliate links in your post. When one of your readers uses it to make a purchase, you’ll earn a percentage of the profits.
If you want to try this technique, you’ll need to start by doing some research to find the perfect product to promote. Ideally, it should be related to what you write about. If you blog about recipes, for example, you may choose to feature a line of cookware or online culinary classes.
With affiliate marketing, you don’t need any technical knowledge. If you can insert a link into a post, you’re ready. Also, there’s no limit to how much money you can make with this strategy. As your traffic increases, so should clicks on your affiliate links. In other words, your income is likely to scale alongside your blog.
There are some potential drawbacks to affiliate marketing, however. It can be easy to promote sub-par products simply to get commissions. Remember that it’s still vital to provide real value to your audience. Also, don’t forget to be upfront about including affiliate links in your posts. If you’re not transparent, you risk losing your readers’ trust.
2. Direct Advertising
Another way for a new blogger to make some money is by selling ad space on your site. You’ll typically earn a small commission when one of your visitors clicks on an ad. This is a fast way to generate a modest income, and your earning potential will only increase as you gain more readers:
Google AdSense is a quick way to get started with online advertising. You can add a single piece of code to your site, and Google will display promotions that are relevant to your posts. You’re in control of where the ads appear, and what type of content they include. That also means you can remove them whenever you wish.
There are a few pitfalls when it comes to direct advertising. As with affiliate marketing, it’s possible to get carried away and place too many ads on your blog. This can make your site less visually appealing. So it’s best to include them sparsely, and to make sure they don’t clutter your content or navigation.
3. Product Sales
Instead of promoting other companies, you could create and sell your own products. There are many ways to do this. As with our other suggestions, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you offer is highly relevant to your niche and audience. If you run a cooking blog, maybe you have a secret spice blend that you can sell to your readers.
If you want to set up a more passive income stream, you can try selling a digital product. E-books are a popular choice for bloggers, since readers should be eager to access more of your writing. Producing a book also helps you cement yourself as an expert in your niche.
You could even provide a service rather than a physical (or digital) item. If you run a fashion blog, you might offer your talents as a stylist:
Selling a product can be more challenging if you don’t have a mailing list or a large social media following to market to. However, there’s no reason not to start brainstorming ideas for products as soon as you start blogging. As your audience grows, so should interest in the products or services you offer.
4. Sponsored Posts
Achieving success with sponsored posts takes work and patience, but it can result in significant payoffs. With this strategy, a business pays you to write a blog post that mentions or reviews a product. You make money, and the company gets its offering in front of a new audience:
If you’re already an expert at affiliate marketing, this technique is a natural progression. Crafting effective sponsored posts involves many of the same skills, such as creating targeted content to pull in the right readers. You also won’t want to sound too pushy and should strive to provide real value.
You can make a lot of income from sponsored posts, but this likely isn’t a strategy you can pull off at the start of your blogging career. Before paying for a post, businesses will need to see that you have a significant, engaged audience. So that’s where we’d suggest focusing your efforts first.
Last but not least, giveaways can be fun for your readers and result in a profit for you. When you run a giveaway from your blog, you can structure it like a raffle. This means asking your readers to perform a task in exchange for an entry. For example, they could enter by sharing a post on their Twitter feeds or to their Facebook followers.
Giveaways may not earn you money directly, but they increase awareness of your blog and bolster your social following. This will help you get more eyes on your posts, translating to more attention on your affiliate links, advertisements, and sponsored posts. You can also gather email addresses to help with marketing your products.
There’s some strategy that goes into setting up an effective giveaway. You’ll want to be sure that the prize appeals to your target audience. You also need to get the timing right. If your contest is open for too short a time, not enough people will find out about it. If you run it for too long, on the other hand, people won’t feel any pressure to enter.
Using a plugin like RafflePress makes running a giveaway in WordPress effortless. You can even assign different numbers of entries to each action. So if you’re focused on building up your mailing list, make sure to offer a more substantial incentive for providing an email address.
How the Right Theme Makes Monetizing Your Blog Easier
Monetizing your blog is a much simpler task when you start with the right theme. There’s more to this choice than just aesthetics. Some themes come with features that make them the perfect fit for a particular monetization strategy.
Built-in Affiliate Marketing: Cressida Pro
If you want to give affiliate marketing a try, for example, Cressida Pro comes with a ‘Shop This Post’ feature that makes it easy for readers to purchase your recommended products. You can add as many items as you like to this area. It’s an elegant, visual way of reinforcing the links in your post:
What’s more, Cressida Pro’s contact page can be customized to let businesses know that you’re available for sponsored posts. This page also makes it easy for them to contact you directly:
Built-in Ad Spots: Elara Pro
Elara Pro is another wise theme choice if you want to monetize your blog. This theme’s built-in ad space enables you to include advertisements on your site, without worrying about them looking cluttered or forced:
This widget works with Google AdSense, or you can add custom HTML to display promotions from other sources.
Elara Pro also makes it easy to sell products right on your site, thanks to its built-in promo boxes. You can use these to display a carousel of items on your home page, or a single item in the sidebar. You can link this widget right to your WooCommerce products, which is an excellent way to drive sales.
There are a variety of ways to make money from your blog. When choosing the best method to get started with, you’ll want to consider your niche and what features your theme offers. As your blog grows, you can scale your current strategies and add new ones.
Here is your checklist on how to get started:
- Topic: Find your niche
- Competition: Do your competitive research and analysis
- Plan: Create your editorial calendar and plan ahead
- Blog Setup: Purchase your domain name and set up your blog
- Social Media: Sign up for social media platforms and set up your profiles
And here are five of the best ways you can make money and generate income with your blog:
- Affiliate marketing
- Direct advertising
- Product sales
- Sponsored posts
What’s the first method you’ll try to monetize your blog? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!