I have been blogging – for profit – since 2009. I started out blogging about online business to gain virtual assistant clients. Once I found out about affiliate marketing, I was hooked! Since then I have started, and sometimes sold, a number of profit-turning blogs.
But here’s the deal. I’m sure you have been told at least once how making money from your blog is somehow dirty. If you really loved it, you’d just do it for free. And shame on you for even thinking about selling something. Total hogwash! If you are providing a service to your readers through tutorials, reviews and valuable information there is no reason you shouldn’t be making money. And there is a number of ways to do it.
I will say this upfront: It won’t be easy. And if you are not striving to be a top-tier blogger, opportunities may be scarce. If your blog is made up of primarily journaling your daily life to a small group of followers, you may have to get by on love alone. And very few people earn a full-time income through their blogs. But it is possible! If you are in it only for the cash or you put money above community however, you will burnout before you make your first cent. Guaranteed. So before you think you’re ready to make money blogging, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I ready and able to spend money on blogging? Many opportunities require a custom domain at minimum.
- Am I ready and able to blog for six months – consistently and at a high level of quality – before I make any money?
- Am I ready and able to handle the ups and downs of blogging income? Seriously up and down.
- Am I ready and able to get out there, find readers, build a community and support my followers as equally as I expect them to support me?
- Am I blogging for myself or am I blogging to be of service to others? (Blogs that provide a service, ex. tutorials/recommendations/influence, are the blogs that have the best money-making potential.)
Money doesn’t come over night. It doesn’t come free. It certainly doesn’t come to those readers can’t trust. And it won’t come on its own. You have to have influence. You have to create your own influence. Please remember – brands don’t want you (no offense), they want your readers. No readers = no money. Bottom line.
Below are several ways to make money with your blog. Here you will find a nice mix of affiliate programs, store credit opportunities, places to get review products (so maybe not cash, but free product) and some unique ideas. Have fun. Always be ethical. Always disclose your brand relationships. (On that note, this list does contain referral links. Recommendations are always honest.)
1. Affiliate Programs and Networks
With affiliate marketing, you will be earning a commission or flat fee for referring sales and leads. You can include your affiliate links within product reviews or where they fit naturally within your content. Rather than grasping at straws, think about those products or services you love. If it’s available for purchasing online, there is probably an affiliate program for it.
Pro Tip: Go back through your most popular posts and see what recommended products or services would be a good fit. Update your post, create a fabulous new Pinnable image and get it promoted to your social media channels.
- eBay Partner Network
- CenterPoint Media
- Commission Junction
- Ultimate Bundles
- Work at Home Summit
- She Is Media
- Escalate Media
- ShopHer Media
- Affiliate Window
- Warby Parker
- Stella & Dot
2. Display Ad Networks
Many bloggers start out with display advertising. It’s pretty hands-off. You insert an ad code in your sidebar widget or in a post and you earn by the impression or by the click. Some blogs do well with this income avenue, some don’t. Some do better with a network targeting a certain niche such as Rivit which works with DIY and crafting publishers as opposed to a big general platform like AdSense. A few to consider:
- Google AdSense
- Media.net – get an extra 10% on your earnings when you sign up through this link
- Amazon CPM
- AdThrive (100K pageviews/month minimum)
- The Blogger Network (90K pageviews/month minimum)
3. Direct Ad Sales Opportunities
This income opportunity can encompass many things; banner ads, sponsored posts, dedicated emails and more. Most advertisers are looking for targeted, engaged audiences. My preferred means of serving ads is OIO Publisher. It’s a one-time investment as opposed to an ongoing fee. It automates much of the purchasing process and sends your advertisers weekly stats. (Shannon Acheson has an awesome book for those looking to work with brands in this manner.)
4. Review Networks and Opportunities
Here are some great places to pick up review products and sponsored post opportunities.
- Double Duty Divas
- Allure Beauty Enthusiasts
- POPSUGAR Select
- Bzz Agent
- Skintactix Blogger Challenge
- OASAP Fashion Hunter
- Weave Made Media
- Find Your Influence
- IZEA Media
- Blogger LinkUp
- One2One Network
- Clever Girls Collective
- Massive Sway
- Social Fabric Shopportunities
- CJ Content Certified – use referral code 2891324
5. Store Credit Opportunities
You usually need to be an existing customer for these offers. While they may not pay you cash, if you are shopping there anyway why not shop for free?
- Julep (use code FREEBOX to receive your first Maven box free)
- Stitch Fix
- Trunk Club – my favorite styling service EVER
Not only can you offer your writing and blog-related skills to others but there are likely in-demand services related to your blog’s niche that can make you money. You can even offer consulting services or make money through speaking engagements. Maybe you can hold in-home or group demonstrations on a local level as well.
7. Your Own Products
Back in the day it could be a little costly to write and sell an eBook through Clickbank or e-junkie. Today there is minimal obstacles and investment involved to make your expertise available on Kindle. Amazon will pay you royalties for every sale. And remember, Amazon has their own affiliate program. You can have an army of people promoting your eBook for you!
Not hip on Kindle? Here are some other options for selling products via your blog:
- Sell your homemade wares with an eStore like Woocommerce
- Write a course and make it available on a platform like Teachable or Udemy
- Sell your ebook on your own site with a service like Gumroad
Some blogs are well-suited to include some kind of membership that offers exclusive content or assistance. The good thing about memberships is they often mean recurring income. Every month when people pay their dues, you get paid. Blog membership software:
9. Other Money-Making Opportunities
- Create your own products and sell them on Etsy
- Seek out Self-managed affiliate programs for those products and services you love
- If you are considered an expert in your field, you can make money as a speaker or coach
- If photography is your strong suit, make money selling stock photos
- Make money as a freelance writer for others
Never let money come before your community. Without community, you have no valuable asset. Put your readers’ needs first. Only take those opportunities that get you excited.
Where Can I Get More Help?
Blogging is an ever-changing evolution. Even I know I still have room to improve. Two years back I joined the inaugural class of Elite Blog Academy. It was one of the biggest investments I have made blogging and one of the best. Since I started Elite Blog Academy I have:
- Quadrupled my blog traffic (and then some)
- Increased my blog income by over 50% in just one month
- Connected with several supportive and equally motivated bloggers looking for long-term partnerships and promotion opportunities (a private Facebook Group is available to members)
- Discovered a lot of helpful resources and opportunities I wasn’t aware existed
- Increased my Facebook and Pinterest engagement and traffic with just a few simple tweaks
- Created a publishing platform I’m proud of and have big hopes for
EBA is a self-paced course divided into 12 sections.
Over the course of 12 lessons, you will learn how to:
- Eliminate blog confusion by creating an organized framework that sets the stage for everything you do.
- Discover the secret to harnessing Pinterest, the most powerful free marketing tool in the world.
- Understand what is not working in your current monetization model and instead, develop concrete goals and a solid plan for achieving them.
- Dramatically increase your site’s passive income by mastering the four key strategies of optimizing ad network revenue.
- Take advantage of the critical—but often ignored—connection between SEO and ad revenue.
- Overcome your fear of private advertising and instead learn to approach brands with confidence.
- Learn what it really takes to earn a six-figure income from your blog, then develop your own product along with a successful marketing plan to sell it.
- Create a solid working business plan to take your blogging business to the next level.
The course includes:
- 12 Comprehensive Unit Videos
- 12 Detailed Unit Workbooks with Video Outlines
- 16 Powerful Handouts
- 30 Purposeful Assignments
- 4 Live Webinars
- Accountability & Community within a Private Community Forum
You know how many courses out there are designed with one blogging topic in mind? (Ex. foodie blogs, mommy blogs, blogging blogs) This course was not created with a sole niche in mind. The information in here is suitable for everyone.
This course isn’t cheap, but that’s good thing. Your fellow EBA students are highly motivated, supportive and ready to succeed. You will undoubtedly be in good company. The course will pay for itself over time if you put in the work. And, Elite Blog Academy comes with a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not happy with your results.
Want to get started while waiting for EBA enrollment to open? I highly recommend these eBooks in the interim:
- Just a Girl and Her Blog’s Guide
- Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
- And don’t forget to grab Ruth’s 7 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Blog Income Overnight while waiting for EBA