According to Statistica, there will be an estimated 32 million bloggers in the US by 2020, nearly 10% of the US population. While the number of bloggers is high and nearly 70% of bloggers started their blog with the intention of making a side or full income, fewer than 8% of current bloggers make more than $10,000 per year according to Blog Tyrant.
You don’t have to be part of that 92% who make less than $10,000 per year blogging. I have compiled a list of ways you can easily make hundreds if not thousands of dollars more per month blogging. When these revenue streams are coupled with our other growth strategies for blogs, your earning potential could explode.
1. Ad Networks
Ad networks are a great way to start earning an income from your blog quickly without even needing to sell anything.
2. Sponsored Posts
Once you have decent traffic (500+ pageviews per day) to your blog, you will likely have other blogs or advertising companies reaching out to you offering to pay you to post an article on your blog. Most of the time these articles will contain a do-follow link to a product that they are trying to advertise.
You’ll usually be given two options for these sponsored posts: write it yourself or have the agency write it. This is usually negotiable, but if you ask the agency to write the article then you will probably be paid less for the post (i.e. they’ll pay you only $175 instead of $200) since they will probably hire a writer to draft the article. If you think you can pay a writer to write an article for less than the difference the agency is charging, then you should do it instead and keep the extra money. Also negotiable is the amount of time that the post stays live. If you don’t want the post to stay on your blog forever, you could ask for a 6-12 month timeframe.
A word of caution: Many of the sponsored posts I have received in the past are spammy. The products these companies or blogs are trying to promote have few other advertising channels available to them and they hope that by asking a few hundred or thousand bloggers for a link back to their site, they can get traffic that they either couldn’t get from traditional advertising methods or boost their rankings in Google by having more backlinks to their blog. If you publish an article that links to a website that Google considers spammy, you risk having your blog blacklisted or de-ranked by Google. You could also lose the credibility you’ve built with your audience if you link to websites or products that you personally haven’t used. So our advice: tread carefully with sponsored posts. The short-term gain of a few hundred dollars may not be worth it in the end.
3. Sponsored Links
An alternative to the sponsored post is the sponsored link where an agency, company, or individual pays you a fixed fee to have a do-follow link on your blog, either in an article or a widget area (menu, footer, or sidebar). Like the sponsored post, you can negotiate the length of time for the sponsored link as well as whether it’s a do-follow or no-follow.
4. Paid Placement Advertising
Once your blog reaches sufficient monthly pageviews, direct advertising becomes an option as well. You’ll start receiving emails from agencies and companies who want to place banner or video ads on your blog. You can also reach out to companies directly and offer placement opportunities on your blog. In another article, I cover the steps to reach out to brands for direct advertising opportunities.
There are three forms of paid placement advertising: fixed, CPM, and CPC. Fixed advertising means the advertiser will pay you a fixed dollar amount monthly or quarterly to place a banner ad on your blog. CPM means that advertisers will pay you anytime a website visitor views the ad displayed. CPC means that the advertiser will only pay when a visitor clicks on the ad. If given the option to choose between the two, consider who your audience is. Are they likely to click on ads? If not, and you receive a lot of traffic, a CPM model might earn you more.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another easy way to start making money from your blog without much work on your part. Affiliate marketing is a form of CPA (Cost-per-Action) advertising which means that an advertiser won’t pay you unless a customer actually purchases a product. Products types that leverage affiliate marketing range from physical goods to software products and even ebooks. You don’t have to hold inventory and you get a commission (one-time or recurring) whenever someone ends up buying.
For example, Amazon Associates is an affiliate program offered by the world’s largest e-commerce website. The program gives you unique links for products on their website that you can post on your blog. If a customer clicks on the link on your blog and then purchases any item on Amazon.com within 24 hours, you get a commission ranging from 1-10% depending on the product category.
Many companies have affiliate programs and you can find most of them in affiliate marketplaces.
6. Downloadable Content
Another way to make money from your blog is to create downloadable content for your website visitors. Whether you’re a teacher who wants to sell teaching plans or you’ve created knitting guides, downloadable content that your website visitors can purchase for a few bucks can add up to large sums of money.
The key is to make downloadable content that is valuable to your customers and supplements what you’ve already provided to them for free. Charging customers for something they aren’t sure that they need is a surefire way to lose trust.
Downloadable content is also a great way to build an email list by providing a lead magnet, but we’ll cover that in another post.
7. Online Courses
As higher education establishments keep raising tuition rates, students have recently been turning to online courses through sites like Udemy and Coursera to get an education at cheaper rates in specific subjects that they are interested in. If you run a blog that educates website visitors, consider creating an e-course as well that you can either host on your blog or publish on one of these eLearning websites. You’ll only have to record the lessons once and you’ll get paid everytime a student enrolls in your class.
While you’re waiting for your own blog to get traffic, you can always freelance for other blogs. Use a site like Upwork.com, Fiverr.com, or Freelancer.com to find other bloggers who need articles written for them. This will give you practice for writing on your own blog and you’ll earn some initial income that you can use to grow your own blog. Finally, you may meet or work for someone with whom you can act as a mentor while you grow your own blog.
If you offer advice on your blog, you could also offer consulting sessions to your audience where you’d give them one-on-one attention to help them in whatever area your blog is about. If you run a blog about boating, you could offer a 30-minute consulting session about how to get started boating. If you run a blog teaching people how to grow their business, you could offer consulting sessions about how they can start leveraging social media in their business. Think about what knowledge you possess and how you can use that knowledge to help others through consulting.
In addition to downloadable content, you can write an ebook and sell it through your blog. Maybe you’re a sneaker reseller who wants to share your knowledge about reselling sneakers or you’ve already grown a sizeable blog following and want to consolidate your blog posts into a book. The great thing about ebooks is that you control the content and you can capture 100% of the profit margin (minus transaction costs) which, when compared to affiliate marketing, is significantly more. The upfront effort of writing the ebook may be large, but the payoff will last a long time and you can always update the content instead of writing a new ebook if you want to include new content.
10. Membership Area/Private Forums
Private forums are another way to earn an income from your blog. If you possess unique knowledge that a portion of your audience is willing to pay for, you can offer it behind a paywall in the form of a members-only section of your blog or in a private forum. In the members-only section, you can include premium content that you don’t want to offer for free on your blog. This could be content that you would otherwise offer in your ebook or consulting sessions.
If you want to build a community around your blog, a private forum might be a better option. This way your audience still gets access to premium content, but they can help each other as well. There are many WordPress plugins and other software products for building paid forums.
Now that you know how to start making money from your blog, it’s time to start earning. There are countless other ways to make money from blogging than what’s on this list and the key is to be creative in your thought process. Making your first dollar from blogging is exciting, but earning your thousanth is even more so. Stick with it and soon you may be making a sizeable second income!