So, you love writing and are starting a blog or perhaps you already have one up and running – but, how do you earn money from it?
First off, making money from blogging is relatively easy. Making a living, on the other hand is quite rare.
It’s therefore important to measure your expectations. If you’re blogging because you’re passionate about it, you can absolutely make a reasonable side income. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this will be some big money-making endeavour.
For most of us, it isn’t and that’s ok.
With all that said, here are some of the most common ways to make some extra money through blogging …
1) Banner Advertising Networks
Banner advertising is one of the easiest ways to make money blogging because you don’t really have to do anything. Find one or two networks that accept your average amount of traffic and simply insert the relevant code into your blog’s theme template or via a plugin. They’ll do the rest.
You will usually earn on a CPM (Cost Per Thousand) basis—M is the roman numeral for 1,000. This means for every 1,000 hits your page(s) get, you will earn X amount of money.
For most of us, the average CPM is less than $1 and sometimes only a few cents, but over time and as your traffic increases, you can earn a fair amount.
Many networks pay via Paypal, and you will need to have earned a minimum amount (e.g. $60) before you will be paid.
Remember: Don’t overdo it (nobody likes a blog covered in ads) and check the reviews before signing up to networks to make sure they are legit.
2) Google Adsense
Google’s Adsense program is the largest network of website and blog owners looking to monetise their content. It functions much like your typical banner ad network (paying CPM and per click), but Google’s technology is much more sophisticated and focuses much closer on serving contextual and relevant ads to the end user. Ad blocks are also highly customisable, so they fit perfectly with your blog’s theme.
Of course, because it’s Google, there are a lot of guidelines to follow. But, unless you’re blogging adult or illegal content, it’s not too hard to get things right.
3) Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a more involved way of making money from advertising. Instead of just displaying banners, you actively promote someone’s product or service via content itself—at least that’s the most effective way to do it.
You’ll usually sign up to an affiliate marketing network like Commission Junction or with an individual company, choose the products you wish to promote, and you’ll be given access to various assets (images, video, sales copy), which you can craft into a blog post. If somebody reading your post clicks through via your special affiliate link and makes a purchase, you earn commission on that sale.
One of the most common formats for running an affiliate marketing campaign via a blog is to review the product you’re promoting. The more genuine and insightful the review, the better.
In other words, don’t just promote a random product that has no relevance to the subject of your blog and tells people how wonderful it is without knowing much about it.
4) Guest Posts and Backlink Sales
Once your blog begins to get regular traffic and is well indexed by Google, you will soon get requests from people seeking to provide ‘guest posts’ with a backlink to their client’s website. This is a form of advertising that you should definitely charge for, though the exact price will depend on your PageRank, traffic, and other factors. Haggle as best you can!
While it’s easy to jump at every offer of this kind, it’s wise to stick with content that is relevant and not to bombard your readers. They can usually tell a genuine post from one designed for advertising purposes.
5) Selling Products
Depending on your blog’s niche or the popularity of the blog as a brand, you may have an opportunity to sell goods or merchandise directly to readers via an online shop.
A simplistic example could be a football blog that has a shop that sells football gear. You might hold/source stock yourself or apply the store model to an affiliate program.
If you’re sourcing your own stock, sites like Alibaba/AliExpress can deliver you unbranded products from China that you can brand yourself. Using an online loan or another form of credit to buy in bulk will allow you to maximize profits.
6) Donations and Patreon
If you have a loyal following of people who regularly read your blog posts and leave positive feedback, it never hurts to have an option for them to donate or subscribe out of good will. You can display a Paypal donate button on your pages or run a Patreon account, which allows for long-term subscriptions.
Patrons usually expect a bit more in return for their subscription, so you may decide to offer exclusive content just for them, such as subscriber-only posts or an e-book. This also works as an incentive for others to sign up.
7) Blogging for Others
If you love blogging you don’t necessarily have to do it via your own blog. There are always blog and website owners looking for people to provide content and they will pay you directly. You can find such blogging work on freelancer sites like UpWork and gradually build your profile until you’re a trusted content producer.
And there you have it, some of the top ways to make money from a blog. Of course, now it’s up to you get blogging and make those hits count!