As a blogger, one of the biggest questions is how to make money blogging. I get it—having a blog is cool, and maybe you’re even enjoying writing as a hobby, but at the end of the day, it’s always going to be just a hobby unless you start making money online.
This post about how to make money blogging focuses 100% on helping bloggers understand different ways they can make their first $500 as a blogger.
Can you make more than that? Sure! But let’s start with that goal in mind, so you have an attainable goal and don’t get overwhelmed.
But first, a little about me.
Before I begin, I want to say that I understand your situation because, in 2014, I was in the same position. I started numerous blogs, invested quite a bit of money, and was met with consistent failure.
I logged all of my revenue and expenses from those days, and you can see my blog income reports here.
But, if you don’t want to read my reports, you can see below that I barely made any income each month when I started.
When I finally learned how to make money blogging, it was all from consulting that resulted from the hard work on my website.
Passive income seemed like a dream….until it wasn’t.
That said, I understand how difficult it is for beginner bloggers to make money because they don’t have a target audience, and they’re just trying to grow. I’ve been there myself.
Now that I’ve figured things out, I’ve grown significantly, and last year, I made over $200,000 with my own portfolio of blogs.
I understand what it’s like to be a beginning blogger and what it takes to scale a successful blog so that it makes thousands of dollars every single month.
I’ve gone through this process multiple times, and unlike some other “gurus” out there, I practice what I preach.
To be clear, I’m not telling you how much I’ve made to boast; I’m telling you these blogging tips to show you that I know your situation and what’s possible if you make the right decisions.
It all starts with the blog you create.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that some people get into this world of blogging and write a new blog or aimless posts about different things they’re dealing with or are passionate about.
They avoid the free domain name that hosting sites offer, and instead, they buy a domain name, web hosting account, and server like Bluehost and launch a new self-hosted WordPress blog. (If they took my IGNITION course, they’d know they need to do more than just this, but I digress)
It’s great that they took a step to start their own blog. I give them credit…..
But this is where the problem starts for new bloggers…
They look at a blog as an online journal and read somewhere that “if you write it, they will come.”
Typically, these people blog for just a few months. After that, they won’t spend any money on any tools to help them.
They don’t want to outsource anything because they see it as an “expense” and not an investment.
And frankly, I don’t feel bad for these folks.
To have a successful blog, you need to treat it like a business. Many successful bloggers do this, and you should too. Think of your blog as a piece of digital real estate in a business portfolio.
Have you ever seen a small business succeed without any money to support its growth? The answer is no.
Every single blogging business out there needs some type of investment to grow, and your blog is no different.
Whether it’s online courses that help you better understand blogging, tools to help you become more efficient, or outsourcing tasks to save you time, the great bloggers treat this as a business, and that’s why they succeed.
But it isn’t just that…..
People who start a blog and look to make money with it spend their time ensuring that the blog they’re trying to create has some type of commercial intent.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s quickly compare two different blogs to illustrate my point.
Which one do you think has more commercial viability of the two different blog niches above?
If you answered Website B, you’re correct.
In the case of a blog, commercial viability refers to how much commercial entities will be interested in the content you have written on the blog (or the content writing service you’ve hired to write it for you).
Let’s explain further.
If you choose to make Website A, you’d have a blog focused on lyrics, poetry, the meaning of English words, and interpreting what different song lyrics mean.
While there is an audience for this, and you might get decent traffic, how can you make money from a blog like this?
The blog content you write has very little to do with any company, so there will be a high advertiser demand. But, conversely, low demand means low earnings per click, fewer affiliate products, and users who never intended on spending money in the first place.
Conversely, Website B writes blog posts about pet health and pet training. The commercial viability for a blog’s niche is extremely high because advertisers want to sell their products to your audience. You can even create an online store and sell your own eCommerce products to your audience if you’d like for your online store.
Think about it…Pet Health has a lot of physical products like pet vitamin companies, pet food companies, veterinarians, pet toys that promote physical activity, and pet training has behavioral experts, products that can help, and medications.
There are plenty of pet-related affiliate programs out there that can be used, as seen by this list from Diggity Marketing. Granted, this list is just for dogs, but the point is that there is no shortage of commercial viability when it comes to the pet niche – a profitable niche.
Do you see the difference?
Website B has significantly more commercial viability than website A. This will make you more likely to succeed because you’ll be able to make more revenue and passive income as you grow.
To create successful blogs, you must ensure a commercially viable blog niche. You may want to check this free course I offer to find the right profitable niche and monetization strategies.
Now that you understand the commercial viability of picking a blog niche, let’s get into the list of different tactics you can use and the step-by-step instructions to make money with a blog and develop a blog monetization strategy.
1) Affiliate Income
For those who don’t know, if you find a product or service you like, you can link to it from your blog articles, and when people click and buy something from your link, you’ll get a small commission for referring them.
This is a great way to make money online from blog monetization in the beginning because you don’t need a ton of traffic coming to your website to make money blogging.
If you have the right content, it might only take 100 people to visit a blog post, and if one person clicks and purchases one of the products you recommend, you’ll make money blogging.
Where to Find Affiliate Programs
If you’re trying to understand how to make money blogging, one of the most common recommendations is to use affiliate programs.
Let’s review some of the most popular options.
Share a Sale
The first is ShareASale.com. This is an affiliate network of many companies that have joined and hosted their affiliate programs to get an affiliate link with the platform.
This is an excellent option if you’re just getting started because you can find many different companies in a different blogging niche that’ll complement your efforts if you haven’t found the right products to promote.
One benefit of this platform is that you can apply to multiple programs and then manage it all from one interface after joining.
Next is Commission Junction. This is another affiliate network where you can manage everything in one place. This is one of the oldest affiliate networks out there.
You can apply to Amazon Associates. Not everyone knows this, but if you link from your blog to a particular product on Amazon and a reader from your blog clicks on that link and purchases it, you’ll make a commission from that product.
The problem with the Amazon affiliate platform is that they pay very little compared (1-5% in most cases) to other programs, but I still make $500 – $1000 per month with this platform. The reason is that although the commission rate is low, Amazon does an unbelievable job at converting people.
If you like a product or service and want to recommend it to people, but you also want to make money blogging from blog monetization, check with a simple Google search. Whether you know this or not, nearly all websites use Google for monetization.
Just type in the company name along with “affiliate program,” and most of the time, they’re already going to have an affiliate program for you to join.
How to Start as an Affiliate
How do you get started with affiliates? It’s pretty easy.
1. Grow your blog to 25-50 visits/day
Generally, you want to have about 25-50 people visiting your blog daily. It would be best if you had this because you have to have some traffic to get approved for an affiliate program.
Otherwise, they’re going to look at your blog and think, “Well, you don’t have traffic, so we’re not going to approve you.” So then, you won’t even have the chance to sell anything.
2. Make a list of products/software that you use
If the traffic is there, I advise you to make a list of products you use or things you’re a big fan of and figure out if you want to sell them on your online store. I like this approach because you’ll have personal experience, so it’s much easier to create blog content as you’ll already be an expert.
3. Sign up for affiliate programs
You can sign up for all the different affiliate programs. Just let them know a little about you, your website, and how it’s growing, and you’ll usually get accepted to those programs.
It takes about 5-10 minutes to apply to each affiliate program, and the information required is straightforward, and you can add affiliate links to your posts.
4. Create Blog Post and Content
If you’re starting with this, I highly recommend that you focus on writing “Best,” “Vs.” or “Review” content. Keyword research is crucial to a successful blog, so take your time here or hire a keyword research service.
“Best” Content: This type of content focuses on helping people understand the best options for a specific product. You can do keyword research for each quality content to see the best options for products you can write about. For example, I wrote a post on the best youtube editing software. This post lists several possible solutions for YouTube video editing, and if people click on one of the links and buy the product, I can make a commission for referring them.
“Vs.” Content: I haven’t done much of this quality content, but it’s a good way to create solid affiliate content. What you would do here is compare two products together and see which one comes out on top. For instance, I could post Wincher vs. other keyword rank tracking software.
“Review” Content: This type of content is created when you want to focus on a singular product and do an in-depth review. I’ve done an Accuranker review, Systeme io review, and even a review of Thrive Themes for WordPress themes.
As you can see, the Thrive Themes review is very comprehensive, and anyone who goes there has the potential to click on my links and purchase the software. In addition, I check into some analytics, and you can see below that I’ve made over $13,500 in commissions with this one post.
2) Consulting Services
Next on how to make money, blogging is consulting—and this is pretty simple if there’s a specific skill you have. For instance, I’m in the online business and internet marketing blogging niche.
When I started the website, I had my digital marketing skills, so I opted to offer consulting services. For me, it was pretty easy because my former employer wanted me to freelance for three months as they transitioned to a new employee.
The point here is that if you have a profitable blog on a specific marketable topic/subject, you can offer yourself as a consultant for different businesses. Landing clients is the hardest part, but if your content on your blog is attracting the right people, it can be done.
How to Start Consulting
1. Ask your current or most recent employer
Your current or most recent employer is a great way to start. For example, if you want to leave your job and get into blogging full-time and have a certain skill your employer needs, you can put in your two weeks and explain that you’d love to continue as a consultant if they have you.
Some employers won’t be receptive to this, but some will be. It all depends on the company’s culture and how your boss feels about your work.
2. Choose a specialty
When you’re doing consulting, you need to pick a specialty to help you make money blogging from your expertise. This is usually related to what you do professionally, but it doesn’t always have to be.
For example, let’s say you’ve been an accountant for seven years but have a passion for health and nutrition. Your specialty could be online personal training and after you use a website builder for trainers to build your blog, you can jump into it.
Even though you may not be as credentialed in that as you are in accounting, as long as you’ve studied the subject, you’ll know more than most people.
But frankly, the easiest way to have quick success is to choose something related to the job you have. Wherever you’re employed, there will be skills you have that are sought after, so select a blog topic that you already understand that will engage your site visitors.
3. Put a form on your website for people to contact you
For people to contact you about consulting, you have to have a WordPress plugin contact form (duh).
There is plenty of a wide variety of Contact Form WordPress plugins to help with this, but I’m a fan of contact form 7 myself. It’s free, lightweight, and easy to use.
4. Market yourself
Next, to make money blogging, you want to market yourself with social media and your blog. For social media, you can put it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, or wherever else you have a presence. For your blog, you can put your consulting service offer in the navigation or even have it on your blog’s homepage.
Make it clear that you offer to consult and create content your ideal customer wants to read.
Most people neglect them as resources, but don’t be scared to look on Craigslist and Fiverr for someone who might be interested in your services. It’s a great way to land your first few clients!
5. Gather leads and choose the best fit
Once you have a blog up and have spent time creating content, you will start getting people contacting you looking for services and enquiring about making money. From here, you need to gather those leads and determine who is the best fit for you as a consultant.
This isn’t easy to determine at the start, so begin by landing your first few clients to see what you like/dislike about them and the whole aspect of working with others.
6. Do your best work
Make sure that whenever you have a new client, you do your best to make them happy. This should go without saying, but it’s really important because word of mouth will grow your consulting opportunities. They’re much more likely to refer you to other people if you do a great job.
3) Sell Digital Products
The next idea that will help you figure out how to make money blogging is selling digital products. This could be a PDF, plans or instructions, apps, online courses, or even an eBook—it doesn’t matter. The idea here is that you have your own products for sale on your website that you refer people to, and if you convince them that there’s enough value, they’ll buy it.
How to Start Selling Digital Products
1. Choose a product complementary to your site visitors for blog traffic
Figure out who your demographic is and think about what they need. For example, my blog focuses on online business.
Therefore, it would make sense for me to have an eBook on the best practices for digital marketing and affiliate marketing and other blogs, for example.
You have to take some time at this step to understand your audience better and figure out what they want. This can be difficult because you don’t have much of an audience to speak with if you’re starting.
So, how can you do it? Simple.
Use analytics to understand your most popular post(s) on your blog and create an informational product that people who visit those posts would be willing to buy.
I’m simplifying the process, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Just look at what blog topics and posts are driving traffic to your blog and figure out how to make a product that fits what your website visitors are looking for.
2. Create an outline
Next, you need to create an outline for your book, plans, instructions, PDF, or whatever you’re making. For this, you need to think from a high level.
Create a full outline that covers all aspects of what your product needs to cover. This exercise will be very important for you to think through every aspect of the final product.
3. Write the info product
Next, you have to write the info product. Again, the best way of doing this is to focus on completing one piece at a time.
Don’t try to complete it all in one day. Instead, just focus on making progress each day for a week, two, or even a month. I’ve written quite a few blog posts in my day, and some of these are lengthy.
I’ve found that the best way to create these types of posts/guides is to work on them each day and not force myself to work on them all at once. If I spend too many hours on one piece of content in a given day, I start to lose my creativity, and the writing suffers. So, knowing this, I advise you to create a little bit each day.
4. Choose a place to sell it
Once you’ve created your info-product, you’ll need a way to sell it.
Your website is the number one place to sell your product. Usually, it’s going to be where you’re going to be able to make money blogging. Having said that, it’s also crucial to have your website visitors safe and make sure their data is secure. The best way to ensure that your customer’s data is not stolen is by protecting it with SSL encryption, which I personally have on all of my websites.
Though you may have very little traffic, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell it there; it just means that you’ll have a smaller audience to market to. If you want to do this at a minimal cost with a super beginner-friendly platform, consider using Sellfy, which I’ve written a full review about here.
Amazon Self Publishing
If you decide to create an ebook, you can also try selling it on Amazon. Amazon allows you to post eBooks for sale with a platform called Amazon KDP. You have to pay a fee when you sell each ebook copy, but they have a huge audience and market to expose you to, so it’s worth considering.
Because Amazon has such a big market, they can offer a huge audience to purchase your ebook. That’s good, but it will also be much more competitive to get a sale, which is something to consider.
One way to differentiate yourself is to also create an audiobook of the ebook you create and then sell it on Audible, which can be very profitable with the right market fit.
Another place to sell an info product is ClickBank, a popular platform full of affiliates. What you do here is post your product to their marketplace, and this platform has an army of affiliate marketers who will sell it for you.
This is great because if you have an info product that converts and people are buying it, and you offer affiliates enough money per sale, they’re likely to sell it on your behalf. So though you’ll make less money per sale, you’ll increase your volume significantly, and it can help you grow your brand and the product as a whole.
You could also launch it in all three places if you’d like; there’s nothing that says that you can’t do that. But ultimately, you need to figure out where you want to launch it and go with it from there.
5. Use Gumroad if you sell on your website
If you sell on your website, here’s a little hint—use Gumroad. This platform is nice because it allows you to choose a price for your product, and then people can put in ONLY a credit card, then checkout and download your info product.
It’s fast, simple, and reduces friction when getting a sale.
The other neat thing about it is that they have the “pay-what-you-want” model. I did a post about this a while ago that you can find here, but the basic premise is that if you’re not sure how much to charge for your info product, you can tell your customers to pay what they want.
If you’re wondering, this model works.
Every week I make a couple of hundred dollars with the pay-what-you-want model, which works beautifully.
The key to the pay what you want pricing model is to point out what the average contribution is. This gives people a baseline of how much to contribute, and every single time I did earn money this way, it’s been the exact amount that I said was the average.
6. Market your product
Once everything is all set up, the last step to help you with making money blogging is to market your product. There are many strategies to do this, but I think the easiest way to start is to find the most visited pages of your blog and link from there to offers for the info product itself.
In addition to that, you could use social media, like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook groups, or wherever you’re active. It’s a great place to tell people about your info product and hopefully get some people to buy it.
4) Sell a Course
The fourth method on how to make money blogging is to sell a course. This goes without saying, but if you have a blog on a particular topic where you’re getting readers and visitors to visit and they enjoy your content, they’re going to see you as an expert.
When they do that, it’s possible to sell a course to them. The key is to give helpful information to your audience to the point where they follow you and respect your advice. Once they do that, a segment of your followers will happily buy a course that you create. I’ve done this myself and have a free course I offer that eventually leads to a paid course.
Because of the expertise I have and the authority I’ve built, I’m able to sell online courses of my own every single month.
How to Start Selling Online Courses
1. Choose a topic relevant to your blog
The first thing you want to do is choose a course topic relevant to your blog. For example, I talk about online business in this blog, so it would make sense to create a course on affiliate marketing or do keyword research and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because it’s all related and it will help your blog to be found in Google Search. You will also be able to generate income with many of your blog’s audience.
2. Outline your course and think of exercises
Next, you want to outline your course and think of exercises for your students to complete along the way.
For those who don’t know, I’m a college professor on the side of this whole “online business” stuff. Because I teach, I know from personal experience that having exercises will make students retain the information more, and it also has a higher perceived value.
You won’t hear many other folks talking about creating exercises along the way, but I assure you that it’s a great idea and will help your students greatly.
3. Film your course
Then you’ll want to film your course. It could just be PowerPoints with you talking over them, but frankly, that’s pretty boring. Don’t be scared to grab your phone and record yourself talking through different things, or you could use a whiteboard—just try to change it up and not use the same format every time.
4. Decide where to sell the online course
Next, you need to decide where to host and sell your course. I’ve broken it down into three different blogging platforms for you to consider that will help you with income streams and creating valuable content.
The first platform that I recommend is a platform called Thinkific. Thinkific is nice because they’ll give you a full-fledged online learning portal for your account, and it’s completely free to start with.
This is the platform I use to host my own courses, and that’s why it comes with my highest recommendation. You can read my full Thinkific review here if you’d like.
It’s easy to use from a tech perspective. It takes away the stress of wondering where to put your videos like YouTube videos, how to build modules, where to put your exercises, etc. It takes all of the headaches out of the process.
When I started and created my first course, I was looking for an affordable platform, and you can’t beat free, and that’s what Thinkific offers. Of course, they earn money when you sell a course, but the cut they take is very reasonable.
This platform includes the platform to build your course and the hosting for all of your videos in your course, including YouTube videos.
And, if you want to learn about other options to host your own courses, you can check my comparison between the two most popular options (Thinkific vs. Teachable) or check out this post I wrote on the best online course platforms.
Use your own website.
Another way to sell your course is to do so on your own website, which is hard because you’ll have a limited amount of people when you start. However, it’s nice because you’re able to push them from your blog content directly to purchasing the course right from your website seamlessly.
You have to figure out how to get the people to purchase the course, which is a challenger, but I’m living proof that it can be done.
The other good thing is you’ll usually have a higher price point because there is no middle man to take a fee when it’s on your own website.
My advice? Don’t go this route until you’ve had some success with your course and you’ve been able to generate some sales.
The next alternative to that is Udemy. Udemy is a huge marketplace for courses, and I still have some courses hosted there myself.
I used to make about $500 a month there. It’s a great place because it has a huge amount of students.
There are millions of students there, and they’ll even market your courses for you if they’re good. The problem with Udemy is that the entire student population is trained to buy courses for $10 each.
Because Udemy was built out as a discount platform, most students (including myself) will just wait until the courses go on sale for $10, which is often. That’s the biggest problem as an instructor on the Udemy platform. Your courses will be sold for a fraction of what they’re worth.
I like this platform as a student, but I’m not a fan of it from an instructor’s perspective.
Set up your course (I recommend that you use Thinkific)
After you’ve chosen where you want to host your course (I recommend that you use Thinkific), then you can set up the course and go through the process of uploading videos, practice materials, exercises, and everything you need to create the course.
Promote your course
Once you’ve created your course, which is the hardest part, you have to promote it. You can use your profitable blog to tell people about the course and link to it.
But it doesn’t just stop there. You can promote your course anywhere your target audience is; it doesn’t matter. The key is to make them aware of the course and give them the ability to access it -a monetization strategy and income stream.
I like to create free content that’s helpful on my blog and then give potential students a way to opt-in (usually in the form of a website pop-up) and become subscribers to my email list using ActiveCampaign.
From there, I focus on email marketing and start delivering emails that deliver value, and eventually, I’ll pitch my full course. For me, this works well, so it’s what I recommend to others.
That said, many people will use a webinar platform and drive ads to a webinar they host and try to sell the course there. This can be expensive and has a learning curve, but once you figure out a sales funnel for people to go into and end up as a conversion as a new student, this is a great way to passive income on autopilot.
Keep in mind that once you have an established reputation and your course has positive reviews, you may want to look into contacting influencers in your niche to offer them an affiliate commission if they get people to purchase your course from you.
5) Display Ads
Next are display ads.
I don’t love this one for beginners because you’re not going to have much traffic when you start your blog, and to be successful with display ads, you need a lot of traffic. That said, it’s one of the best ways to make truly passive income, so it’s a great way to monetize with the use of ad space, digital products, site visitors, and your own online store for recurring income.
At this point, I’ve found a lot of success with display ads (Over $300,000+) because I have a lot of traffic. Of course, you can check out my income reports to see the total numbers, but display ads are where most of my money comes from, other than your blogging efforts and loyal readers.
How to Start Displaying Ads (Using Google AdSense and Other Ad Networks)
1. Sign up with a Display Ad Network
I recommend that you join Ezoic as it’s the best network out there for display ads, and I use it across all of my own sites as they have the best revenue optimization on the market. If you aren’t familiar with Ezoic, you can click here to read my full review.
2. Put Ads on Your Website
Once you’ve been approved, you need to put ads on your website. This sounds complicated, but it’s super simple.
All you have to do is copy some code that the Ezoic platform gives you, put it onto your website, and they will automatically show the ads on your blog for you with every page view. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a pretty simple process.
Once you have the code, put it into your blog’s header, and then the ads will trigger automatically. Alex from the WPEagle YouTube channel has a great tutorial on this.
3. Promote current content
Next, you need to promote your current content through social media and make sure people know you have this content. Or, if you’re already ranking with SEO, that’s the ideal situation. Consider using some of these SEO tools to help if you’re not.
4. Create new blog content
To make money with Ezoic, you need to create great articles to rank them in search engines. If someone searches something and you’re at the top of Google, that’s where you want to be as it’ll continuously bring traffic to you without any promotion.
The best thing about these display ads is that these aren’t the selling ads from ad networks where you have to go direct and talk to companies to find a way to make ad revenue. Instead, you place a piece of code because of these ad platforms, and the ads, such as banner ads and more, will be served automatically without any work.
This is a great way to make money because it’s passive. The problem is that you’re not going to have a ton of traffic (site visitors), especially in the beginning. So you may make some money, which is nice, but overall, you’re not going to make a ton of real money blogging with this your first time. But as your blog grows, this is a great revenue stream.
6) Become a Freelance Writer
The next method to figure out how to make money blogging is to become a freelance writer.
Think of your blog as your resume. As a beginning blogger, you’re using a blogging platform to write and post every day, which is great. Hopefully, you’re doing a really good job, contributing a lot, and showing your expertise. But this same blog can be used to make money blogging as a freelance writer.
When looking for freelance writing gigs, you want to focus on blogs in the same, or possibly a shoulder, niche.
The same niche is tough because you don’t necessarily want to write for your competitors.
Instead, you could do a shoulder niche.
For example, let’s say that, for some reason, you’re obsessed with cats, and you write all about them on your own blog. What you could do is create content for websites about other animals.
For instance, you could write for a dog blog. It’s a similar niche to what you’re already doing because it’s for pets, but the animal is different.
How to Start Becoming Freelance Writer
1. Choose a focus
First, you need to choose a focus. Don’t be one of those writers who says, “I can write on any topic.” Nobody wants that; they want you to be a niche writer with expertise.
For example, pets are a perfect niche because there’s a lot of work out there for that one, and it’s very much in demand.
2. Find jobs
From there, you need to find jobs. There are a few different places to go for this:
You could try Upwork.com, which is a huge marketplace for freelancers. This is where many people, like myself, go to hire writers.
Or, you could look at Facebook Groups. There are a lot of them out there, so you can go ahead and join some of those.
You could also talk to your professional network to see any opportunities.
Just tell folks you’re connected with that you’re working on becoming a freelance writer, and if you’re a respected expert/writer, they’ll likely take you up on the opportunity if they need the help.
If you don’t want to reach out to your network, you can also watch for job listings on ProBlogger. In addition, they have their own job board, which is a great place to find writers for people like myself who are looking for them.
Work for an agency
You can work for an agency. There are many agencies out there where all they do is help people create content for their blog or website.
You could work for them part-time or full-time. The thing about this is, you’re not going to make as much money because you’re working for them.
However, it’s still a good way to get your foot in the door.
Lastly, you can apply for writing job positions on Craigslist in the gigs section. This is a highly underrated resource as many small local businesses like finding writers in their area.
If you want a more in-depth explanation, this post explains how to become a freelance writer.
3. Build your portfolio of clients
What you need to do from there is build a portfolio of writing clients to make money blogging. Then, start creating examples, creating content for other people, and putting a portfolio together. Then, as you become a more seasoned freelance writer, you can start charging more for your services.
Once you have those writing samples and happy clients, people will be willing to pay you increased rates.
Then you can either ask your old clients for a raise, or you can start to drop the clients and look for new ones. Over time you can make a good amount of money blogging as a freelance writer.
7) Create a Membership Community
You can also create a membership community to help you make money blogging.
Think about it, let’s say you have a small blog, and a couple of hundred people are visiting each week. What you can do is offer access to a community.
What you’d do in this instance is create a membership and tell them, “Okay, it’s $XX per month,” or whatever price you choose to join the membership community, which is usually just forums on the site that people can talk about with each other.
You may not get a lot of money at first, but if you have 20, 30, or 40 people in that community all paying a monthly fee, that can add up pretty quickly.
How to Start Creating Membership Community
1. Figure out the incentives
First, you need to figure out the incentives for your membership.
One incentive might be that you offer a group mastermind with a group of people, and you could hold office hours every week. Or, you could give them offers to access special tools. Of, you could provide them with access to exclusive content.
There could even be courses, a podcast, or info products you’ve created within the community. You have to offer them some value and consistently deliver it, so they want to stay part of the membership community.
2. Choose a platform
In terms of the platforms, there are two that I like.
First, you can use Facebook Groups. Just create a group and pay every month to maintain their membership there.
It can be a bit of a headache because you have to make sure they are paying their fees, and you have to check all that manually, but it’s a simple solution.
I’m also not in love with this solution because it’s built directly on Facebook. This is fine now, but they may eventually start charging group owners to maintain the platform.
The other platform you can use is called LearnDash. This learning management platform allows you to create an info product or course, and then you can create a community all around that.
It’s really good for WordPress blog websites and is a solid option, but you’ll need to make an info product to draw people in.
3. Market the platform to your audience
After you’ve done et everything up, then you’ll want to market the platform to your audience. Through your blog posts, website, email list, or navigation, let your audience know that you have a community and want them to be a part of it.
4. Sign up with recurring billing
Next, make sure that your audience signs up with recurring billing. This is key because you want to keep getting money month after month from all the different people joining, and you can develop a blogging business.
5. Provide value and encourage engagement
You also need to provide value and promote engagement. If you don’t do that, people aren’t going to stay, and if people don’t last, you’re not going to get paid. So, you need to make sure you always provide value, as many successful bloggers do.
8) Sell Subscriptions to Premium Content
If the content you create is valuable to your audience, they may be willing to pay or subscribe for access to it. That said, there are multiple great paywall solutions that will help you get started.
A paywall is usually popular on news sites but is getting increasingly more popular with any kind of content sites. It’s software that shows a preview of your content but prevents the reader from seeing it fully without first paying and/or subscribing to your platform.
This is like having a membership site, but it’s much simpler for you and your subscribers as it takes a lot less effort for your visitors to pay for the content, which equates to more revenue and higher conversion.
So, if you are writing about niche topics, run a small news publication, have a premium podcast, or any other valuable content on your site, a paywall might be the best monetization method for you:
- You get full control of your income and don’t have to rely on 3rd parties, like ad networks.
- You can stick to what you already do well – creating high quality content.
- You get to know your readers as you can collect subscribers’ emails and get in touch with them for feedback, upselling, etc.
How to Start Selling Premium Content From Your Site
1. Choose a paywall platform
You will need a paywall platform on your site that can handle all subscriptions and sales for you. There are multiple good ones available, but I recommend Zlick Paywall for this type of monetization. It’s a very user friendly and simple to use platform that allows you to sell both single items and subscriptions to your content.
Zlick claims to have the best conversion rates due to large-scale A/B testing of their platform and we can assure that the process to buy or subscribe with Apple Pay, Google Pay or any card, is really smooth and straightforward.
The platform takes about 10 minutes to set up and you’ll get access to multiple tools like sales analytics, CRM, and newsletters. There are no upfront fees and they only charge 5% from the transactions.
2. Set up the paywall
Set up your pricing, customize the paywall to match your site’s styles, and choose which content will be monetized. The best paywalls are very user-friendly, and this should be a quick process for you.
Once everything is set up, go live. You can start earning your first income after 10 minutes.
3. Getting traffic to your site
Keep doing what you are already doing to bring new traffic to your site: SEO, social media, email, or any other campaigns. Note that the best paywalls are SEO friendly, so they will hide part of the content from visitors but will show it fully to search engines.
4. Review your sales numbers
Make sure to keep an eye on the sales and see what kind of content gets bought or subscribed to the most. This will help you cater to the interests of your readers and convert more visitors to subscribers.
9) Offer a Packaged Service
This is like consulting, but a little bit different.
A packaged service will be something where you advertise on your blog and say, “Hey, I can do this particular thing for you every month on a retainer.”
A few examples would be;
Social media services could handle a company’s Instagram or Pinterest account.
You could also offer writing services such as content production or copywriting.
Or, you could offer a virtual assistant package (or go work at a virtual assistant service) and offer a package like;
XX hours a week/month for X amount of dollars.
The idea is to create a predetermined, packaged service that you can offer people. If they take you up on that offer, then you’ll get a new blog client. Testimonials are really big here when you are starting.
But, if you want to get a portfolio full of clients, the key to success is to make your clients happy and get referrals.
How to Start Offering Packaged Service
1. Figure out a fixed cost that works for you
First, you want to figure out a fixed cost for your services that you’re happy with.
For example, if you’re doing Pinterest management, figure out exactly what you’re going to do and then figure out a fixed cost related to your deliverables.
2. Define what the offer is (Set strict guidelines)
Step two to this is defining what the offer is. Make sure you set strict guidelines and tell clients exactly what they will get. If you don’t tell them exactly what you’re offering, they may expect more, which is not a good situation to be in.
3. Create a page on your website navigation
Next is to create a page on your website or blog in the navigation bar to ensure your blog or website visitors are aware of it. You also need to insert calls to action throughout pieces of content you write to draw attention to the offer.
4. Market your offer in future blog posts and on social media
Market your service in future blog posts and social media—get the word out there. Put it in the content you already have, but also make sure you market it in future content you’re creating.
5. Get clients for monthly retainers
Sign your clients up for a monthly retainer.
Try to get them on the hook for a specific outcome each month for one particular amount of money.
Take on as many clients as you want, but make sure you do high-quality work. If you do that, they’re going to start referring other people over to you, and you can eventually get paid more money from happy clients.
6. Increase price over time
Once people are referring clients to you, and they’re okay with your price increases, you’re in really good shape because you can start selectively about who you work with.
As you get better at what you do and become a more seasoned provider, you might outsource the services and grow a whole business where you employ others and create your mini agency.
10) Create a Paid Directory on Your Blog
How to Start Creating Paid Directory
1. Find local businesses related to your blog that advertise on Google
The way it works is that you find local businesses that advertise on Google.
As an example, let’s say you have a fitness blog.
Go into Google and search “gyms.” Then, you would look through the results to find different gyms advertising on Google.
2. Gather data about the businesses and create a directory
From there, you gather data on the companies that would be helpful for somebody who’s looking for a gym. Then, put that all together and create a directory on your website with their info.
3. Contact them to confirm their info
After you have built the directory, you contact them and ask if they can verify their information. They’ll let you know if all is good or need to change something.
4. Let them know of paid placements
Once they have confirmed the information, then you tell them, “Okay, great. And just so you know, if you want to move to the top of the page and get a paid placement, it’s $XX per month. If you want to get to the top of the page, I can help you out with that.”
If you can get that particular page ranked high on Google, you can make a good amount of money with a page on your blog.
It’s not easy to do this, but if you can make it happen, it’s easy money.
11) Coaching Others
The last way many bloggers can make money on their successful blogs is to coach.
Now, I will say—do not be a phony coach.
Don’t be one who says, “I’m a life coach,” if you don’t even have your own life together.
Don’t say, “I’m a business coach,” if you don’t even have your own business together.
The internet is full of those people, and it drives me insane.
How to Start Coaching Others
1. Have some measured success first
First of all, have some level of measured success before you go down this path.
Again, make sure that you have some level of measured success to know what you’re talking about and give good advice to other people.
2. Focus content strategy on people who need help
If you have some success, you want to take your blog and focus your content strategy on people who need help. Then, you need to write blog posts that answer their questions (aside from money blogging FAQ and contents).
Focus on stressful issues they may be dealing with.
Try to think like them and figure out what they’re dealing with. Then, tailor your content strategy to solve their problems.
3. Offer personal help and link to your contact page
Hopefully, they will come to your blog from search engines, and you can offer personal help and link to a contact page where they can then click and fill out their information to send an email over to you to make money blogging with your personal help other people.
4. Receive emails and offer services
From there, you receive their emails, and you offer your services to them. You could do a packaged deal, but it depends on what you want to do.
When I consult, I’ll have one initial call at a reasonable price and understand the person I’m talking to.
After that, I’ll offer them a session package.
I start with the initial call and typically sell packages of three calls after that. But, to be honest, especially in the online business space, to help people achieve success, I need to speak with them multiple times anyway.
5. Don’t answer everything—point out things they will need in the future
In that first call, make sure you answer their questions and find out other things they need from you in the future. You need to say, “Okay, you have these things figured out, but we also need these five-ten other things.”
To get these five-ten other things, you’ll need to have more calls because, frankly, you couldn’t do it all in one hour anyway; it would just overload them.
6. Book clients, treat them well, and referrals will come
Next, like most bloggers, you need to book clients, treat them well, and follow referrals. Just like anything in business, if you help them, referrals will come to you.
Make it an effort to overachieve and truly help people. If you take that approach, you’ll be able to enjoy the work and make a living.
12) Sponsored Posts
Admittedly, this is something that I’m not a big fan of. However, in my opinion, the risk of being penalized by Google outweighs the benefit of short-term cash.
But the premise is simple.
Once your website has a decent amount of traffic or authority, you will find that people will contact you and are willing to pay you to place content they write on your blog.
While this can be lucrative by itself, with some posts fetching $500+ once you have a reputable site, the risk here is that search engines will see this activity and penalize you.
Technically speaking, Google has created a new tag for sponsored content; this can also include a guest post. However, most people who contact you don’t want that tag applied as it’s believed that it has less SEO value.
That said, if you’re willing to take the risk or have a site that isn’t making money blogging or any other way and you don’t mind risking it, here’s how you can use this strategy.
How to Start Making Money Blogging With Sponsored Blog Post
1. Build a Website or Blog
The first step to making income from sponsored posts is to start a blog if you don’t already have one. Technically speaking, you could buy a blog/website on Flippa as well, but for a good site, that could be a hefty investment.
2. Grow Traffic and Authority to Your Site
To get individuals and businesses to contact you about placing sponsored posts, you’re going to need to have some traffic or authority on your website. Generally speaking, creating a lot of good content is important here, but even more important is building backlinks. This is because sites with more backlinks rank higher in SEO tools and are considered more valuable than sites with fewer backlinks. So, generally speaking, if you can get your site to a domain rating (an Ahrefs metric) of 40+, you’ll be a target for most businesses.
3. Set up a “Guest Post” Page
One of the most common ways to get a large amount of these inquiries is guest blogging. It is to set up a guest posts page on your site. On this guest posts page, you want to clarify that you accept guest posts and include an email for them to reach out to and a form to fill out. Telling folks that you’re willing to take guest posts will significantly increase the number of emails you get. While a guest posting can get annoying as many people try to get very cheap placements, many pay a fair market rate.
If you’re wondering why we don’t refer to guest blogging or guest post content as “Sponsored Posts” publicly, it’s because that might get you in trouble with Google which we want to avoid.
4. Respond to Your Emails
Once this is all set up, you’re going to notice an influx of emails coming in from individuals and businesses all over the internet that are looking to get sponsored posts or links placed for their website. Of course, it’s in your best interest to respond to these emails, but I have to recommend that you create templates that you can copy and paste every time. This will save you a TON of time, and it’s a good way to filter those serious about the sponsored post opportunity.
What should you include in this email?
- Pricing (It’s best to call the charge for a sponsored post a “publishing fee” as opposed to someone “paying to get guest posts.” Technically speaking, buying backlinks is against Google’s policies)
- Any forbidden link types (Gambling, Casino, CBD, Pornography, etc.)
- A timeframe for the transaction
- Expectations on payment once posted
5. Place the Sponsored Posts
When you and a third party have agreed on your terms and submitted the content, it’s a good idea to review what they’ve written and specifically what pages they’re trying to link to. Failure to do this could lead you down the path of allowing outbound links on your site that are spammy and could hurt your website’s reputation.
While people will tell you that they just want to get some exposure for the brand, the real goal here for anybody posting on your site is to rank the content they’ve already written on another site. Sometimes that’s fine, and the content they’ve written is good, but other times this can lead to a bad situation where you’re being asked to link to something you may not otherwise link to.
Have you had success making money from your blog? Do you know of another method to make money? Comment below to let me know