When I started my first blog in 2008, I did it because I wanted to do something creative for fun. I had no idea that people could make a living from blogs! The good news is that, no matter what stage of blogging you're at, there is probably a way to turn your passion into profit. I’ve put this list together to get the ideas flowing and to help you see how your blog – or even an idea that you haven’t yet started – could make you some cash!
Choosing the Right Monetization Method for You and Your Blog
Please remember that you don’t need to try a monetization method just because someone else is doing it. I have tried so many things in the past just because it was the popular thing at the time, but they didn’t always serve me. The number one thing you should be considering is your audience, and what they’d be interested in.
Some audiences are truly interested in product reviews, ads and affiliate links. However, many markets will be put off when they see that kind of content, and would rather see paid courses or services from you. It’s up to you to consider what would work best for your blog and then to test how it does once you implement new strategies.
So, although the following list contains a lot of ideas, remember that it’s probably best to start with one or two rather than trying everything!
To make things easier for you, I've put together a handy blog monetization checklist for you to refer back to, plus it has some extra ideas on deciding on the best options for your type of blog. Just click the big button to download it:Click here to download my free blog monetization checklist
If you’ve built up a decent amount of traffic to your blog then advertising could be the way to go. This usually works well for more product-focused niches, like fashion and beauty, or even recipe websites where you tend to get large amounts of traffic but may not have the kind of following that wants to buy a course from you.
There are a few different types of ads you could sell on your website. Whatever you choose, just remember to keep your audience in mind – don’t bombard them with ads. Instead, you should experiment with what works best then probably stick to around 1 or 2 reputable advertisers to keep your site from getting too cluttered.
1) Pay Per Click Ads
When I first started blogging, Google Adsense was the big way to make money. This is simply an ad network run by Google that pays you according to the number of clicks the ads get. The advantage of using an ad network like this is that you don’t have to find the advertisers yourself – you simply apply for the network directly and then they provide you with code to place on your site. Chitika is another example of a pay per click ad network.
2) Pay Per Impression Ads
Some ad networks will run pay per impression ads instead of pay per click. These ads are perfect for any website that gets a lot of traffic. You get paid depending on how many people view the ad (basically, how many people land on your website), and they don’t need to click it for you to get paid. These ad networks are not my speciality but a quick Google search will turn up lots of options for you!
3) Selling Ad Space
The third option is to do the work yourself and sell advertising space directly to companies that sell products or services that tie in nicely with your blog traffic. You can simply create a page on your site with details of your traffic, and how much you charge for different types of ads (banner areas, text ads, sponsored posts etc.) and then take the money directly from them. This is more work but the potential is there to earn more money, and you also have more say over choosing who to promote (which can help you keep your site portraying the exact kind of message you want to your followers).
4) Multimedia Advertisements (Podcasts & Videos)
If you have a podcast or create videos as part of your regular content creation then you may consider advertising for these platforms, too. YouTube makes this easy, or you can get sponsored directly and include a quick message at the beginning of your podcast episodes.
Placing ads on your site indirectly promotes products and services, but you may prefer to promote these more directly from within your content using one of the following methods.
5) Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing means getting paid a commission when you refer a customer to purchase a product or service. It's one of the most popular ways for bloggers to make money, simply because it’s extremely versatile and it takes out the time and stress of having to create your own product. And most bloggers have some sort of affiliate revenue even if they do sell their own products.
No matter what you blog about, there are probably products out there that you could promote as an affiliate. If you blog about fashion, you can tell followers where to buy the clothes. If you blog about healthy lifestyle then you can link to your favourite blenders or healthy snack subscription boxes. And if you blog about how to run an online business, you can become an affiliate of a website hosting company or of someone else’s training program.
If you’re questioning whether your customers will be happy with the fact that you get a commission, then just make sure you go about it the right way. Don’t promote something just because there’s a nice commission attached. Try to promote things you’ve actually used, or that you would potentially use. And don’t be afraid to be honest about the drawbacks of products in your reviews.
Affiliate marketing is easy, and there’s great potential there if you have the right audience. However, commissions can be low and it can be hard to make a full-time living from it. So choose wisely, and try to combine affiliate marketing with some of the other monetization methods in this post.
6) Product Reviews
Making money from product reviews is really just another form of affiliate marketing, but I wanted to include it as a category of its own. While many bloggers will try to blend affiliate marketing into their usual type of informational or entertaining content, product reviews put the products front and centre.
You may decide to turn your blog into a review site to help people make decisions. For example, if you’re an expert on tablet computers then people may come to trust your opinion when looking to buy a new tablet. You could create a series of reviews stating the pros and cons for all the different models on the market, interspersed with useful content about getting the most from your tablet computer.
7) Sponsored Posts & Working With Brands
Once they’ve grown a big enough following, many bloggers go on to work directly with brands. Brands will often contact well-known bloggers and send out freebies – these don’t earn you directly but they can benefit you in everyday life! And you are not obliged to review any of the products you receive (although you may choose to).
Eventually, brands may even offer to pay you for reviews or sponsored content. Companies may ask you to give your honest thoughts on a product, or include a link to their website inside the content somewhere. Sometimes they may write the post for you and pay you to post it.
Sponsored posts can offer good money for the kind of work you’re already doing on your blog, however, you have to be careful who you work with and that you’re not watering down the value of your blog by stuffing it with too many sponsored posts.
(Want an easy checklist of ideas, and how to choose the right monetization method for you? Don't forget to download my free checklist!)Click here to download my free blog monetization checklist
Selling Products & Services
If you don't like the idea of ads or promoting other people's products (and it's not for everyone!) then you may find products and services the best choice for you. Your own products take more work, but can help you reap massive rewards later on.
8) Selling Your Services (Design, Writing, Coaching etc.)
So many skills go into running a successful blog, which is why many bloggers end up selling those services to their readers! Services may include web design, writing, branding, photography, marketing and coaching. So if there’s something you’re especially good at, or you’ve been receiving emails about from your customers, then why not consider offering it as a paid service through your blog?
All you need to do to get started is to open a PayPal account and create a “services” page detailing what you offer. You don’t even need to include prices if you’re unsure, simply ask people to contact you for more information. Whatever you do, learn from my mistakes: don’t undercharge and get burnt out!
Services take time, but they are a great way to cover the bills while you’re working on your own products. And you may even find that your chosen service is what you love to do, full stop!
9) Selling eBooks, Courses & Other Digital Products
When you create your own digital products, you get to keep 100% of the profits from everything you sell. And, unlike with services, you aren’t limited by the number of hours in the day. A digital product can be created once and sold many times over, even while you’re sleeping. It’s the ultimate online business dream!
Of course, it does depend on your niche. You usually need to have something to teach someone, either in the form of an eBook or a course. You could even run a live workshop one day, make a recording and sell the self-study version on your website without any extra work from you.
You can get some ideas for your niche by thinking about the questions you always get from your readers, and by searching around other bloggers in your niche and seeing what they offer.
10) Premium Content & Memberships
Following on from the digital products above, some people turn their regular content into a paid product. For example, you could charge people for a special, private monthly newsletter, or for special access to other content that you wouldn’t release to the public. You might not think people would pay for this, but I’ve seen YouTubers doing this with Patreon, and in the past I’ve paid business owners to get a short newsletter with their insider business tactics.
11) Selling Physical Products
Many bloggers also go on to sell physical products, for example merchandise related to their brand. You may even come up with a whole product range that relates to your blog topic, for example beauty bloggers who go on to create their own makeup or homeware products. Many bloggers also sell physical copies of their eBooks or planners.
Other Monetization Methods
I’m not sure how easy it would be, but a number of bloggers do ask for donations to keep their websites running. This would work best if you’re providing some kind of service that’s hard to monetize, for example if you’re an activist or bringing awareness to health issues and providing community support around a specific subject.
13) Selling Your Blog
Selling your blog isn’t an ongoing way to make money from it, but it’s worth including as some blogs can go for a decent amount of money! If you want a change then it’s well worth considering earning some money from your blog and then starting fresh with something new. Have a look on some websites like Flippa.com to see what sites like yours are going for.
14) Portfolio/ Personal Branding
Last, but by no means least, maybe you just want to blog as part of your personal brand. You might not make money from your blog directly, but it’s all part of the bigger picture of what you’re doing and how people perceive you. This is the case with celebrities, but is also common among people who have physical books and might make their living giving talks, for example.
Don't forget to download my free blog monetization checklist as a handy reference of ways to make money from your blog – it also gives you some extra ideas on ways to find the right monetization method for you…Click here to download my free blog monetization checklist
Need help monetizing your blog, or have some ideas that didn't make this list? Leave a comment below!