If you really want to go from hobby blogger to pro, you must be willing to work hard, invest in training and stick it out for the long haul — expect to wait a year or more before you can attract enough traffic to monetize your blog.
How much you’ll ultimately earn and how quickly you’ll turn a profit will depend on the quality of your content, your market niche, how often you blog and, most importantly, how effective you are at promoting and monetizing your site.
There’s one more important consideration to factor into the profitability equation: Even if you don’t earn anything from advertising or sponsorship revenues on your blog, you might earn a very good income because of your blog.
Let me tell you, blogging is not for the faint of heart, it takes time, as well as patience, persistence, hard work, and perseverance. I tell you this not to discourage you from becoming a monetized blogger, but to give you a realistic point of view on what you can expect. For myself, I fell into a career that I absolutely love, and because of my blog, it has laid the groundwork for other opportunities that I otherwise would not have been privileged to.
Here’s how I personally make money blogging, as well as some other blogger’s stories, earnings, and tips.
Ship Physical Products (Without the Inventory Headaches)
When you think of selling physical products on your blog, it might seem like a nightmare. You imagine yourself in your living room, surrounded by products and empty boxes, with dozens of printed-out orders in hand, and you’re trying to make sure everybody gets exactly what they ordered.
But these days, you can sell products without needing to store, package, and send them yourself. You can use dropshipping companies that do it for you.
Dropshipping is a method of ecommerce that lets you transmit orders directly to the supplier. The supplier will then take care of the packaging and ship the product directly to the customer.
You don’t have to lift a finger, your spare bedroom doesn’t have to turn into a stockroom, and the USPS guy won’t come knocking on your door every day.
Promote Other People’s Products and Earn Steady Commissions
You probably use several products related to your blog niche, right?
I might even guess that you love some of those products. If you nodded yes, then you can probably reap the benefits of this “holy grail” of passive blogging income: affiliate marketing.
Leanne Vogel, a nutrition educator and the blogger behind the keto blog Healthful Pursuit, uses many supplements in her own diet. So when she’s writing blog posts or recording podcast episodes, mentioning those products is natural.
When one of her audience members buys from her referral link, she makes an affiliate commission. And that, my friends, is “passive income”: referring your audience to products you know and love and getting paid for it, too.
Offer a Challenge That Will Change Your Readers’ Lives
In 2014, I began to enact dozens of tiny changes in my life (like waking up earlier, making time for fitness every day, and journaling). I blogged about many of these changes as I saw them make a positive impact on my life.
As these small changes turned into habits, I realized something:
Every small, positive change we make in our lives pays compound interest.
The Unsettle Challenge is a paid email series that delivers one email a day for 30 days, each challenging the reader to make a positive change in their lives, like eliminate wasted time or drink a green smoothie every day.
I charge $30 for it — one dollar for each day of the challenge — and sell it to my subscribers through an automated email
And I haven’t touched the sales email, the challenge, or the sales page at all since it launched.
In an online world full of free challenges, you might doubt that you can charge for a challenge, but I’m proof that you can — as long as the challenge offers value.
Sell Resources and Templates You Created for Personal Use
Sherry, the Canadian blogger behind the blog Save Spend Splurge, found herself in $60,000 worth of debt after college.
This is a predicament shared by many millennials today. But instead of paying her debt back slowly with minimum payments, Sherry created a budgeting template in Excel that helped her get that entire debt load off of her back just 18 months later.
After starting her personal finance blog, Sherry realized something. If her Excel template was powerful enough to clear her debt in 18 months, it could help her readers too.
You may have created some resources for your personal use that would be useful for your readers, too. In fact, maybe you’ve created a resource that they’d be happy to pay for.
For example, if you blog about weddings and you’ve created your own invitations, you can sell them as printables. If you blog about graphic design, you have probably created Photoshop templates that you could sell. Or if you’re a travel blogger, you could sell bag-packing checklists or trip-planning worksheets.
Whatever niche you’re in, chances are there’s plenty of opportunity for selling such resources and templates.
Sell Courses That Teach Highly Desired Skills
Your audience wants to develop skills that will help them fulfill their goals. You can get paid teaching them those skills. And you don’t even have to do it in person. (Wouldn’t be passive if you did, now would it?)
Blogger Sarah Lambert writes a photography blog for moms, and she gets to do just that by selling online courses to her audience, teaching them how to do what she loves to do.
She first offers a free email challenge to grow her email list and prove the value of her courses:
All you need is the course content, and a course-creation platform like Teachable or ClickFunnels.
You can sell the courses on your website like Sarah does, through your email list, and by mentioning it in articles where it fits.
This can make you a lot of money as courses can sell for high dollar amounts. Many bloggers charge anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for their courses. When it comes to pricing your course, you should keep this in mind:
If you want to charge high prices, you absolutely can, but you must make big promises. Similarly, if you want to charge low prices, you absolutely can, but you must make small promises. In either case, though, the value of the promise should be at least 10X the price.
Online education is a $107 billion industry. A lot of that profit comes from bloggers selling courses around their topics. They organize their content into a learning system and add immense value to their readers’ lives.
What can you teach your readers that would add value to their lives?
Otherwise, you can choose some different ways to make more money blogging as:
Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another income stream that I used right from the start. In fact, when I didn’t have any direct advertisers in the first few months, I filled my ad slots with affiliate marketing ads. This way, I could potentially make money while looking like other companies were purchasing ad space on the site. Make sure to check out my favorite affiliate networks and read this article for information on making money with affiliate marketing.
Work with an Ad Network
When I first started blogging, I worked with a couple of ad networks only to make pennies each month. Later, I signed up for Google Adsense, and I began to make a little more money, about $100 each month. But then, poof, Google decided I had invalid ad clicks and banned me from the program. After that had happened, I decided to join
After that had happened, I decided to join Media.net (Yahoo and Bings ad network). I made decent money with them, but once I got accepted into AdThrive‘s program, I stopped using them. I’ve been with AdThrive for a few years now and I absolutely love working with them! I make excellent money using their ad optimization network, and their staff is incredible!
Just aside note about working with ad networks. It can be a great way to generate money, but you need to have a decent number of page views each month since these networks pay on a CPM basis. If you’re interested in this monetization method, check out the ad networks I mentioned above and these below.
Make Money with Direct Advertising
A lot of people will tell you that traditional advertising is dead, but I’m living proof that you can make good money from direct ad sales. In fact, this is one of my biggest sources of income. You can look at my advertising page for rates and offerings.
Earn Money From Corporate Sponsorships
Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked with a few brands which I really love. For these companies, I do more intense sponsorship packages that can include anything from written reviews, live social media correspondence at events, Twitter parties, and social media campaigns. If this is something you’re interested in pursuing, check out these articles on working with brands.
Sell Services on Your Blog
Besides the revenue sources mentioned above, I’ve also done some social media contract work, and occasionally, I’ll receive a paid request to write an article for another publication. Depending on the pay, brand, and my schedule I’ll sprinkle these in from time to time. If you want to sell services on your blog, make sure you check out this post.
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