Hey there blogger friend, do you want to learn how to monetize a blog?
Ha! Of course, you do!
Learning how to make money online from your blog is the dream. And there are lots of real stories of bloggers who have successfully quit the 9-5 grind because they learn how to make money blogging.
Today, you’re going to get 8 real ways to monetize your blog, plus some tips for growing your blog. The monetization methods you’re going to learn about are:
- Freelance writing in your niche
- Display ads
- Sponsored posts
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling physical products
- Digital products
- Coaching and consulting services
- Creating an online course
How to monetize a blog: 8 awesome ways to make money from your site
But first, blogging is a long game
This is really freaking important to understand from day one, and please don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. It may take you weeks or months to make money from your site, and that’s 100% normal.
The reason it takes a while is because you have to work on growing your site first. There are a lot of blogs out there — don’t let this discourage you — so you need a solid growth strategy, which includes:
- Identify your target audience and publish content they want to read. If you’re writing to foodies, parents, other bloggers, gamers, etc., don’t go off message and start publishing content that doesn’t relate to them. This builds trust between you and your audience.
- Starting an email list from the beginning. Learn how at How to Build an Email List From Scratch.
- Publish high-quality blog posts on a regular schedule. Don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning! One or two posts per week is a great place to start.
- Start networking with other bloggers in your niche. You can do that by following them on social media, following their blogs, and commenting when you have something more to say than, “Come check out my blog.”
- Get to know SEO. Learn how at SEO for Bloggers Course Review.
- Set up social media accounts for your site. Start with one platform, master it, and then move to something else. You can go ahead and create handles on other platforms, but wait to use them until you’re ready to add more to your plate. Also, stay consistent with your social media handles.
- Guest post on other blogs. This isn’t one most people are able to start in the beginning, but it’s a great growth strategy down the road. You can reach out to other bloggers in your niche to ask about guest posting. It doesn’t pay, but it introduces new readers to your site.
- Use Facebook ads to promote your blog. Facebook ads are a blogger’s secret weapon. You can learn why and how to start at Facebook Ads for Bloggers.
Okay, so that’s a lot right there, but it’s all incredibly relevant information if you want to learn how to monetize a blog. You need people to click on your affiliate links, purchase your products, and see your ads.
But here’s the next important thing: there is a method to monetizing your blog. As in, you don’t start with creating and selling courses. So, the ideas in this article are organized starting with where you should begin. It’s not completely linear though, and that will be explained as you read on.
Alright, are you ready? You’re about to learn how to monetize a blog so you can start to make money online. Let’s go!
1. Start freelance writing in your niche
One of the reasons you may have started your blog is because you know a lot about a certain topic. This is a very valid reason, and you can put your knowledge towards making money online to supplement your blogging income.
Here are a few examples of what that means:
- If you’re a food blogger because you know a ton about cooking, you can write articles about cooking.
- If you’re a fitness blogger who has a background in personal training or a specific sport, then write those kinds of articles.
- A personal finance blogger who works in the industry, then writes about personal finance for other sites.
Seriously, there are tons of niches, businesses, and blogs that are looking for freelance writers in a variety of niches. And you can set yourself up on sites like Freelancer or Upwork, but you should also put a “Hire Me” button on your site to make it easier for people to contact you. Make sure to explain to potential clients how/why you’re an expert in your field.
Now, if you’re thinking that this sounds more like a way to make money online not specifically how to monetize a blog, pay attention…
Freelance writing in your niche doesn’t just help you make some extra cash, it can give you some social proof, especially if you put links to articles published on other sites on your blog. This tells new readers, “Hey, I know what I’m talking about.”
And it does one more really awesome thing — it introduces you to readers in your target audience. That’s huge when you’re first starting your site.
2. Put display ads on your site
These are the ads that pop up on the sides, top, bottom, and middle of a webpage. Bloggers sign up with ad networks (like Google AdSense), decide where they want ads, and the networks take care of the rest.
Bloggers earn income from display ads in a couple of different ways:
- CPC (cost per click) ads pay for every user that clicks on an ad.
- CPM (cost per impression) ads pay for the number of people that see an ad.
Now, people have mixed feelings on display ads, and so do we. Heck, you might have big feelings about them too.
Display ads typically don’t produce as much income as other monetization methods and can take away from the overall user experience, but they can bring in a few bucks as you grow your site and get it ready for more lucrative ideas. They’re also incredibly passive.
One thing some bigger bloggers have done is to eliminate display ads once they have other streams of blogging income. They may also only put display ads on high-ranking posts — you can make a decent amount of cash from display ads on a really popular post while keeping them off the rest of your site.
You can learn more at Make a Living Off Your Blog (Without Display Ads)
3. Run sponsored posts on your blog
Sponsored posts are when a company pays you to write a dedicated post (or posts) to promote its products or services. Some bloggers shy away from this because it can feel like you’re selling out. But if you do it well, it’s a win-win for both you and your readers.
Learning how to monetize a blog with sponsored posts means:
- You only work with companies and brands you truly believe in.
- You only write about things that you have firsthand experience with.
- You focus your energy on things that are related to your site and will actually help your readers.
- You are honest with your readers in your reviews.
A marketing manager for the company will work with you (the blogger) to determine length, scope, and payment for your posts. And many bloggers start simply by reaching out to companies they love.
You can learn more about making money online with sponsored posts in the course Making Sense of Sponsored Posts. This course is created by two bloggers who bring in $10,000-$20,000/month just from sponsored partnerships.
You can read our honest review of the course at Making Sense of Sponsored Posts Course Review.
4. Do affiliate marketing
When bloggers think about how to monetize a blog, affiliate marketing often comes to mind because it’s a passive-ish form of income. That means, you’re not trading as much of your time for money.
Affiliate marketing is when you promote a product or service, link to it using a unique tracking link, and earn money when someone purchases something through your link.
It’s imperative that you are only promoting affiliates that are relevant and useful to your readers. You’ll quickly lose any hard-earned trust if you start pushing things that contradict your message.
Affiliate income feels passive because those links can exist on your site and generate revenue as long as you maintain a good relationship with your affiliates. You may have an article you wrote two years ago that generates a decent amount of affiliate income.
At the same time, you’ll need to maintain those articles, keep working on SEO, build your audience, and more.
To make money online with affiliate marketing, you’ll want to connect with an affiliate market — they connect you with affiliates in your niche. And here are a few popular networks:
- Amazon Affiliate
- Rakuten Marketing
To learn how to monetize a blog with affiliate income, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents earns over $50,000/month from it, and she’s put together a comprehensive course that teaches you how to do affiliate marketing without selling your soul – it’s called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Learn more about Michelle’s course at Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Review.
5. Sell physical products
Here’s another option for selling products related to your site — dropshipping.
Dropshipping is different from selling products you create or source, and here’s how it works:
- Use an eCommerce site like Shopify ← that’s a link to using Shopify on WordPress blogs.
- Use Shopify to list and sell products from other companies.
- The third-party company handles delivering the product to the customer.
- You earn a chunk of the sales.
More and more bloggers are adding a dropshipping component because you don’t have to invest in products, create, or store them. But, saying it again in case anyone hasn’t paid attention yet… make sure your monetization method relates to your site!
Fashion and beauty bloggers can set up online boutiques for clothes and makeup. Food bloggers can sell their favorite utensils, pots, and pans without needing to invest in any inventory. Mommy bloggers can sell the toys that their kids love.
6. Sell digital products
One of the cool things about monetizing your site with digital products is that they have virtually no creation or distribution costs, so they have a high rate of return, even if you’re selling $5 printables.
Another great thing is that there are literally dozens of ideas for digital products that you can sell on your site.
- Mom bloggers can sell weekly and monthly calendar templates that keep busy families organized.
- Financial bloggers can sell budget templates and worksheets.
- Crafty bloggers can sell pdf printables of invites, holiday cards, and more.
- Home decor bloggers can create and sell pdf printable signs for home decor.
You can also learn how to monetize a blog by selling website templates and themes, or even ebooks. The point is to keep your products geared towards your niche.
Your first digital product should be a free one (still make sure it’s a high-quality one!). Not only does this build trust and show your audience what kind of awesome stuff they can expect from you, it’s a good opportunity to capture their email address.
And, why are email addresses important? Because those readers are your true fans, and your list converts at a much higher rate. There is a lot of value in your email list!
Learn more about the value in your email list at Why You Should Start an Email List in 2020.
7. Provide coaching or consulting services
Coaching or consulting services give your readers more personalized and detailed instructions. Your services should directly relate to your niche (obviously), but it’s a great fit for a lot of blogs — fitness or weight loss, life coaching, personal or professional development, etc.
You can even offer coaching services that help others in your niche start a blog like you’ve done!
This is one way how to monetize a blog that takes a significant amount of trust, and that’s because coaching and consulting services can be pretty expensive. So, this monetization method is best if you’re successfully selling digital products.
Here are some tips for doing it well:
- Your services should be a more in-depth and personalized version of what you’re offering in your digital products.
- Keep in contact with your clients.
- Create several tiers of service pricing: one coaching call, 3 coaching calls, a month of coaching, etc.
You can research what others in your niche are doing to find pricing and structure that works well for you.
8. Create a course
An online course can be as simple as a week-long email course — this is actually a great freebie to build trust. Or, they can be much larger ones that have worksheets, multiple video modules, and dozens of hours worth of learning.
Larger and more comprehensive courses are high-dollar products to sell on your blog, but they also require an immense amount of trust and social proof to do them well.
But here are some interesting statistics from Teachable (this is the platform we use for our Facebook Side Hustle Course): Nearly 30% of course creators have made $75,000+ over the course of 15 months. Approximately 40% have made between $25,000 and $50,000.
Learn more at How to Create an Online Course in Just 9 Steps.
Check out this video from our very own Mike Yanda to learn how to create your first video course this weekend:
How to monetize a blog: the final word
One thing that you read over and over again in this article was about trust. Trust is the underlying thread in how you build your audience, keep them around, and make money online.
But so is value… you have to give your readers stuff that really does improve their lives.
Making money online is showing up for people, challenging yourself, and continuing to grow. It can be a struggle at times, but your blog can help you supplement your income, quit your day job, provide passive income, and more.
The possibilities are out there, so don’t stop now.