Can I make money blogging?
I’ll make this answer short and sweet… yes!
There are also plenty of ways to make money blogging!
How bloggers make money online varies though – according to their niche, experience, and blog monetization methods.
This guide offers an overview of how to monetize a blog plus:
- the five most popular ways to make money blogging
- a break down of each method of blog monetization
- important considerations you need to make for blog optimization
- 10 steps to start making money with your blog
So, let’s get started and explore the different methods you can use to make money blogging on WordPress now.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links meaning that should you make a purchase using one of these links, I could earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
How to Monetize a Blog: 5 Popular Methods
If you haven’t already signed up for a Self-Hosted WordPress site, this should be the very your first step you take along your path to profitability!
Starting a blog with Siteground is easy and affordable – I even have a six step guide to show you how to take your blog from idea to launch!
Switching to self-hosting was the best decision I ever made in terms of blogging for profit and my income has literally quadrupled since then!
Not only does having a self-hosted blog allow you to earn more though, it gives you the freedom to customize your site as much as you like. This includes access to:
- Thousands of WordPress Themes
- Thousands of WordPress Plugins
With both free and premium options available.
On WordPress.com, you’ll have to pay $25 USD a month by signing up for their Business Plan just to get access to plugins! Crazy, right? This is actually the other major part of the reason I finally switched over to a self-hosted WordPress.org site.
More opportunities to customize my blog, the potential for a much higher income, and all at the cost of one cup of coffee at month? Yes, please!
So, let’s get to it and see how you can use these strategies to start earning with your website.
1. Affiliate Marketing
If you’re a brand new blogger, you may have heard this term just a couple of times so far. Or maybe you’re still not exactly sure what it really means.
Affiliate Marketing is a type of sales where individuals (or in our case, bloggers) promote another company’s products or services in exchange for a commission when a signup is achieved or sale is made.
Affiliate Sales are most effectively made after building a loyal following and trust from your readers. And in order to maintain that trust, you must always, always, always disclose that you are a member of an (or the) affiliate program(s) you are promoting in each post where you include such links to your audience.
Ideally, placing a disclaimer before you post your first affiliate link (where your reader will potentially click to make the purchase) is the way to go!
Some people, and I’ve been guilty of this too, have a tendency to make a purchasing decision before finishing an article.
Chances are, your post is not the first one they’ve read promoting that particular product! Instead, this individual is near the end of the buyer decision process and is seeking confirmation that they are indeed making a good choice when it comes to spending their hard-earned money.
Put yourself in this situation: a consumer is considering purchasing two different types of televisions.
The first is an LG and the second is a Samsung.
When speaking with a salesperson at an electronics store, that person is then convinced to buy a Samsung TV after hearing a salesperson’s pitch for it.
Once the television has been purchased and loaded into her car, the store manager then advises her that Samsung is offering employees a $25 Spiff (Immediate Bonus for a Sale) on all televisions sold that week.
How would you feel?
When promoting affiliate links, image that you are talking to a friend over coffee!
Including images of yourself using the product or screenshots, if it is a digital product, also adds another element of authenticity.
You’ll build trust with your audience and your opinion on that product will feel that much more genuine.
Only promote products and services that you enjoy and/or use personally.
And only promote products catered to your audience!
For example, my blog is a lifestyle blog that focuses mostly on blogging, social media, and my experience in motherhood. It wouldn’t make sense for me to starting promoting an ebook on keto dieting!
Stay true to yourself and true to your niche for the best results with Affiliate Marketing!
In my personal experience, the top four affiliate marketing programs are:
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
- ShopStyle Collective / LikeToKnow.it
However, in addition to these affiliate programs, consider applying for individual programs offered by plugins you use on your blog or through your favourite retailers.
2. Sponsored Posts/Brand Partnerships
Those coming from the Instagram and Social Media world know this game very well! This is actually where I got my start as well.
Sponsored blog posts work the same as they do on social media.
Signup through a marketing or influencer agency, or collaborate with a brand or company in exchange for free product(s) and, if you generate enough traffic to your site, compensation for your efforts.
While the Instagram posts I’ve done in the past have paid between $40 to $250 a post (for a following of about 15,000), blogging is another story.
In my experience…
High-quality sponsored blog posts tend to start at $250.
However, depending on your traffic, you may consider asking for less or more relative to your experience and that potential project.
Keep in mind as well, that if you discover sponsorship opportunities through a network, there may be a standard flat rate for either the social media or blog post the brand is requesting.
To give you an idea…
I earned approximately $1,000 in December 2018 from sponsored social media alone!
Personally, I love to style and create beautiful images for brands I enjoy in my everyday life or am interested in however, if creating sponsored content is not something you’re interested in, that’s ok!
Please also keep in mind that you can say no if a company you are not familiar with or are not interested in pitches an offer to you.
There is nothing wrong with respectfully declining an offer.
Generating extra income for yourself or your family is a wonderful thing but maintaining your brand and authenticity is an essential part of any long-term business plan.
I was once offered a sponsorship opportunity for a colour-changing shower head light!
While earning additional income is nice, this is just not my scene and my followers would have been surprised to see this item on my blog and Instagram feed.
Put yourself in the business’ shoes.
Would you really want someone who is not enthusiastic about your product to promote you? I’d rather search for someone else who is passionate about funky and unique items for DIY-ing your home!
There’s a lot of debate on this subject!
And while I don’t want to get too much into it, I can say that I’ve made a reasonable amount with ads.
If it merely covers the cost of managing, promoting, and hosting your blog, I’d say it’s completely worth it (to see what I use in terms of content creation and distribution, click here).
Why would you say no to free money, right?
Are you concerned about your website’s performance? No need to worry!
Mine has a fully loaded time of 1.2 seconds despite showing ads 🙂
Site speed is a major but often overlooked SEO factor – to test yours, check out GTmetrix.
To generate a decent revenue with ads, you need an equally decent amount of traffic – but it’s easily done with the right mind set.
Promoting your blog and content everyday (and not just on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram, but to real people in your community and daily life as well), the results will reflect your efforts!
We purchased a new vehicle recently and upon learning what I do for work, I was asked by several employees for my business card! Talk about an unexpected but fantastic opportunity to network.
In my opinion, if ads are just enough to cover the costs of hosting and/or additional tools, I think it’s worth it for new and experienced bloggers. You’re basically starting and growing a business for free!
If you’re ready to get started with Google AdSense, check out how you can get AdSense approved today and start earning with your blog from day one.
But please, if you are going to include advertising on your site…
DO NOT click your ads or tell others to do so!
This is a dishonest practice that will ruin your reputation and get you banned from participating in such programs in the future.
4. Offer Services
This is a really fun one and the sky’s the limit!
Some services you may have seen promoted during your time on Pinterest or while looking for “Work At Home Jobs” and/or for “Stay At Home Moms” include:
- Freelance Writing
- Brand Development
- Virtual Assistance
- Web Design/Development
- Blog and/or Social Media Management (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook Page, Twitter, etc.!)
- Graphic/Pinterest Pin Design
Advertise your service on your blog in a category called “services” in your main menu.
Or signup through a network that connects brands and/or individuals!
To give you an idea, about 35% of my income in March 2019 stems from the services I offer – photography and social media consulting being my top two earners.
Explore the things that you are good at and offer to share those skills with potential clients or partners.
5. Sell A Digital Product
Of all of the methods I’ve discussed so far, this is probably the most fun one for the designer at heart!
Creating digital products for consumers is a beautiful thing and the ability to sell your work with various types of licenses to anyone around the world creates endless opportunities!
Some wonderful ideas for digital product sales include:
- Virtual Workshops
- Stock Photos
- Logo Designs
- Infographic Designs
- Pinterest Pin Templates
- Website Themes
- Instagram Story Templates
- Instagram Story Highlight Covers
- Lightroom Presets
Pro Tip: If you’re an avid social media user like I am, make sure to only use your templates once you’ve launched them!
This shows confidence in your product and will establish a recognizable brand image to your audience.
The key to any good promotion is of course, to promote, promote, and promote some more!
Instagram user? Always include a link to your blog in your Stories!
How do I make money without a social media following?
This is something I get asked a lot!
But keep in mind, we all had to start somewhere and believe it or not, not all of the same people who follow my Instagram page follow my blog.
While my Instagram profile is more catered to motherhood, daily life, and beautiful home decor, my blog focuses on becoming a girl and/or mom boss.
Now clearly, ladies or gents looking to work from home are not always the same people browsing for lovely home decor inspiration!
Please also consider that…
Building a social media following is actually something anyone can do.
Ok, so you can make money without a social media following?
Yaasss! That’s exactly what I’m saying!
Believe it or not, a social media following is a nice bonus but it’s a totally different entity.
So, let’s start making some money in 10 easy steps… ready?
Yes, tell me your ways!
- Create a cohesive brand and make sure you adhere to it cross-platform
- Have a clear niche and/or target audience from the start
- Learn from the big players in your field, making notes on the things they do exceptionally
- Become an expert in your niche and assert yourself as such wherever you promote your blog
- Create an opt-in for your email subscribers (for instance, I offer a totally free and totally fabulous Blog Post Planner + Bonus Instagram Content Planner to my subscribers).
- Generate traffic to your blog using Pinterest, Tailwind, Instagram, and/or other social media or methods you rock at!
- Be consistent – maintain your subscribers and visitors by writing a new post once a week (ideally on the same day of the week), sending out a monthly newsletter, and/or posting on social media
- Promote products and new launches wherever you promote your blog!
- Create sponsored posts/sell your services and/or digital products
- Ask for feedback – your audience will love the fact that you are checking in to see how they are enjoying their purchases 🙂
In summary, the top 5 ways to monetize your blog are:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sponsored Posts / Brand Partnerships
- Displaying Advertisements
- Offerings Services
- Selling Digital Products
Have you already monetized your blog? What were your favourite methods for doing so? What are your favourite affiliate networks? Let me know in the comments below!
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