Running a passive income blog is the dream for a lot of new bloggers, and for good reason… you have a job you’re passionate about, and you can make money while you sleep.
Passive income is so appealing because it’s a source of income that requires little to no effort to maintain. It takes some kind of upfront investment, often time. But once you get a source of passive income up and running, you stop trading time for money.
The opposite of passive income is what you’re probably doing right now. You’re working a traditional 9-5 job and paid a certain amount of money for the time you’re working. Pretty standard stuff.
The problem is that there are only so many hours in the day, and only so many ways to make more in your current profession. Growing a passive income blog allows you to make extra money while you’re working at your day job, while you’re on vacation, and literally while you sleep.
Passive income isn’t a myth, a scam, or some kind of online urban legend. It’s a real source of income for many, many bloggers out there.
And today, you’re going to learn about six sources of passive income for your blog and the one thing you need to do to grow a passive income blog.
6 ways to make money from a passive income blog
1. Display ads
Display ads often bring in the first bit of passive income for bloggers. These are small ads that you place on your blog and run through an ad network — Google Ad Network is one of the most popular. Once you place the ads on your blog, you’re virtually done.
You’re paid by CPC or CPM:
- CPC = Cost Per Click. You’re paid when someone clicks on one of the display ads. You might hear this referred to as PPC (pay per click) advertising.
- CPM = Cost Per Mille. Mille is Latin for “thousands,” and these ads pay per thousand impressions (or views).
But here’s the thing: display ads are the least lucrative way to earn money from your passive income blog. Most ad networks only pay pennies, and the ads can be pretty annoying and slow your site down. That leads to a poor user experience overall.
Here’s what we mean by poor user experience: The other day I was searching for a recipe for queso dip, found one that looked interesting, but the page took forever to load because there were so many display ads! Not a site I plan on visiting again.
While display ads might net you a few bucks a month in the beginning, most bloggers eventually take them off their sites to focus on more lucrative options that readers don’t mind.
Speaking of better options…
2. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you’re paid to promote products and services on your blog. Affiliates are bloggers, and companies give their affiliates a special link to be used when talking about their products or services. When someone signs up or makes a purchase through your unique link, you earn a commission.
Affiliate marketing was once considered to be the holy grail of blogging income because, in theory, you could write one blog post with affiliate links, and generate income from that post for years to come. That’s the goal of a passive income blog, right?
But that’s not exactly how it works. In reality, you have to work on driving traffic to your site, keep promoting that post, continue to churn out epic content, and keep nurturing the relationship with your audience.
In short, making affiliate income is passive-ish.
Still, it’s a great source of blogging income. You are paid to promote products and services that you believe in and can help your readers. This brings an immense amount of value and builds trust.
The key is to only promote companies that relate to your niche and that you believe will actually help your readers. Don’t waste your audience’s time or yours with crappy products that don’t make sense for your blog. For example, a personal finance blogger wouldn’t want to promote a subscription snack box company. They would do much better with an investing app or side hustle ideas.
For example, personal finance blog Millennial Money Man is an affiliate for a family emergency binder. It works for his site because it helps readers organize their financial lives in the event of an emergency. M$M wrote a review of the binder, explained exactly what is included, and how it would help readers.
There are even a CTAs (call-to-actions) for readers to click on to purchase a copy:
If you’re interested in earning semi-passive income with affiliate marketing, check out Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle’s blog, Making Sense of Cents, regularly earns around $50,000/month in affiliate income alone. Her course teaches you how to do affiliate marketing without selling your soul.
You can read our full review of the course at Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course Review.
3. Create and sell an online course
Helping your audience develop valuable skills is a great way to earn passive income from your blog. Again, make sure it relates to your blog, but also you need to have established yourself as an expert.
Here’s what it means to be an expert:
- You have an in-demand skill that you can teach your readers. Example: You’re a successful freelance writer who can teach others how to start and run their own freelance business.
- Your blog is known in its niche as a destination. Example: You’re a food blogger and you’re known for your gorgeous photos. You can teach others how to take beautiful images of food for their sites.
In both of those examples, the course is solving a problem, and there’s inherent value in that.
To create a course, you’ll need a teaching platform (Teachable is awesome and what we use), and then you can decide if you want to go with a video course, text-based course, or a mix of both — this might depend on what you’re teaching.
Video courses do really well because most people are visual learners, and these courses are often perceived as higher value, so there’s that too. And surprisingly, you can create a high-quality video course in just a week. Check out the below video to learn more.
Because it takes more work to create, sell, and manage a course, the payout is generally higher — courses can run anywhere from $200-$500 or more. To make even more from course sales, give your students the option for additional coaching or access to a membership-only group. Not only are you making a little more income, you’re ensuring your students’ continued success.
If you want to learn more about creating a course for your passive income blog, read How to Structure Your Course & Create a System to Sell the Hell Out of it All Year Long.
4. Create and sell printables, templates, and other digital products
Creating and selling your own digital products can bring in a nice bit of passive income, and it applies to nearly every blogging niche out there.
- Personal finance bloggers can create and sell budget templates, money makeover guides, etc.
- Parent/kid bloggers can create and sell weekly or monthly planners and activities booklets for kids
- Food bloggers can sell meal planning guides, recipes booklets, and more
- Home decor bloggers can sell printable home decor items
- Fitness bloggers can create and sell personal training guides, workout and diet trackers, etc.
Those are just a few examples of the kinds of digital products you can sell through your blog.
What makes them a great source of passive income is that you don’t have to manufacture or ship digital products. You can sell these directly on your site, link to them in blog posts (when it’s appropriate), have a third party payment system set up, and deliver via email. That’s minimal work on your end.
Just like any kind of product, please make sure that it makes sense for your audience. And we also highly recommend that you offer your readers a free product before you try to sell them anything.
Offering a free digital product generates leads. You capture readers’ email addresses, they see how awesome your stuff is, and then when you’re ready to sell them something, you can create a sales funnel for your products.
Read more at: The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Sales Funnel
5. Sell physical products
Until fairly recently, selling physical products seemed like more work than it was worth for a lot of bloggers, but dropshipping has changed all of that. Dropshipping is when you use a platform like Shopify to curate a shop, use it to sell products, and ship out from a third-party source — you’re not touching those products at all.
Because these aren’t products you’ve created, it’s key to make sure they fit your blog and audience. You will lose your audience’s trust if you promote products that don’t fit well. And a passive income blog is only as good as its audience’s trust.
If you’re interested in making passive income from dropshipping, think about the things you use on a regular basis, things that make your life easier, and things that would make your audience’s life easier. Make sure those things connect to your blog, and you’re good to go!
6. Write a book
Yes, writing a book sounds like a major time investment. You know how much time goes into writing a 1,500-3,000 word blog post, so how the heck are you going to write a book!? But here’s a secret… your book doesn’t have to be a 100,000 word tome.
Ebooks have changed the way people read, and it’s changed the way authors write. It’s now more than okay to have a 20,000-50,000 word book. That sounds much easier to tackle!
The other great thing about ebooks is that you can self-publish them and sell them on a platform like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
And yes, you’re going to hear it again… you will do better with your book if it relates to your blog!
Read more at: The Truth About How to Build a Passive Income Blog
What you need for a passive income blog
No matter which forms of passive income you pursue (and yes, you should try more than one!), they all require one incredibly, incredibly important thing… traffic.
However, that doesn’t mean that more pageviews equals more money, because you’re not just going for casual readers, you want true fans. True fans are the ones who will click on your affiliate links and buy your courses and other digital products.
These are the people who love your content. But how do you find those true fans?
Well, it requires some skill. You need to:
- Regularly publish engaging content
- Work on SEO (search engine optimization) strategies — check out SEO For Bloggers to learn more
- Start an email list — read more at How to Start an Email List From Scratch
- Have awesome lead magnets — listen to episode #58 of the Laptop Empires podcast, How to Create a Great Lead Magnet That Grows Your List and Leads to Sales
- And grow your audience using non-traditional methods, like Facebook ads for bloggers
You don’t need just one or two of those — you need all of them.
While there’s a lot of passive income to be made in the blogosphere, you have to hustle to make it happen.
The final word on growing a passive income blog
The truth about making money from your blog is that you’re playing a long game. It’s a pretty slow business model overall, but once you start making money from your blog, there’s nothing like it.
Blogging gives you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, bring in some extra income, and grow a business that you’re passionate about.
Growing a passive income blog takes work, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Rather than spending the rest of your life trading your time for money, you can have a steady stream of income coming in while you sleep. That’s a reality for many, many bloggers. And with some hustle, it can be a reality for you as well.