When it comes to turning your passion into a money-making business, it can be frustrating and confusing. There are so many options for how to make money with a blog or just online even.
Let's simplify it and just focus on the top 3 strategies!
This article will help you understand how to monetize your blog, as well as the fundamental rules that are essential to follow when you want to turn your blog into a money-making business.
Now I should also say that you don't necessarily need a blog to make money online. A blog is just a marketing device at the end of the day. Whether it be for your money-making strategies themselves, or perhaps for your personal brand or consulting.
First, for those of you just getting started, let's go over some blogging basics. There are a few fundamental rules you must understand in order to make money online.
Rule #1: Find Your Most Profitable Niche
To make the most money with your blog, you should try to find a niche that is appealing to a large group of people. Otherwise, you're just wasting your time. More interest = more page views = more money down the line.
Here are the top 7 blogging niches that will make you the most money:
- Health and Fitness
- Personal Finance
- Business and Marketing
- Technology and Gaming
Whatever niche you choose, make sure you have a genuine passion for the topic. You'll be building a loyal audience that wants to keep coming back to your site because you're an authority in your particular niche.
Furthermore, it is much easier to sell or advertise, for instance, a makeup product on a trusted, beauty-focused website rather than, say, a book review site. When you have a niche that's appealing to a wide swath of people, with potential for lots of targeted advertisements, you will make more money from it.
Rule #2: Provide Valuable Content
Once you target your audience, you must prove your value by producing great content. Not just entertaining, but valuable.
The ultimate goal is to show people why they should return for more. The question is, “Can they benefit from your ideas?” If not, readers won't come back for more.
In the beginning, you should focus on 10-15 posts that leverage all the knowledge you have in your particular field. These should be in-depth and perfectly honed. Then, you can move on to monetizing your blog.
At the core of your site, you must have valuable content if you want to turn your blog into a business.
Rule #3: Engage With Your Audience
Providing valuable content can help you attract followers. But it’s not enough!
Next, you need to focus on building a loyal and trusting community. After all, your fans are the ones who will further promote your site and increase your following.
To do so, you should be careful about what you post. You shouldn't push products that you don't believe in. You should also direct towards engagement, which means always replying to emails and comments.
When your blog visitors become involved with your content, they will start trusting your advice and recommendations. And there you have it – successful promotions, affiliates, sales, etc.
You can also engage by posting comments on other blogger's sites in your niche. After all, they are hopefully your audience, too! Create community with your fellow bloggers and let them know you are a fan of their work!
Ask if you can guest post on their sites. All successful bloggers will tell you that you need to network with other bloggers in your niche if you want to make money.
Rule #4: Market Your Content
Some people follow the 80/20 rule. You spend 20% of your time making the content, then 80% marketing it.
Regardless of your ratio, you need to market your content big time! There are many ways to market your content, but some of the basics include…
- Getting other sites and blogs to read it and link to it.
- Taking that a step further and writing content for other sites, in which you have links to your content (aka guest posting)
- Posting it on social media in both your own accounts and getting others to post it as well.
- If you have enough expertise, going on podcasts as a guest, to market your blog, content, and products (I do this).
- Learn and implement SEO (search engine optimization), which helps your content show up on google search.
- All of the above fees your site's SEO and effectively becomes your SEM or search engine marketing.
How to Make Money with a Blog
Now, let's take a look at the top 3 strategies for making money online.
#1 Way to Make Money with a Blog: Affiliate Marketing
The first choice on our list is affiliate marketing. And that’s for a reason!
With affiliate marketing you can literally make money in your sleep. And that's the dream, right? Plus, it's fairly simple to initiate.
Most new bloggers find affiliate marketing to be the easiest monetizing strategy, since it doesn’t require much time or effort, compared to writing a course or an eBook. It is especially important to utilize when you don’t have your own products to sell yet.
So, what is affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing is when you promote products on your site, in order to earn a specified commission for each time one of your audience members clicks on your link and buys that product.
How much can I make?
Generally, different affiliate programs provide ranging commissions. For example, the Walmart Affiliate Program offers 1-4% of the item’s sale amount, depending on the payout group. On the higher end of the spectrum, Convertkit will pay you a 30% commission every month for each person who signs up through your link. You can see how that can add up!
The most successful affiliate marketers can make 6 figures per month!
Depending on the product you are promoting, you can expect to make anywhere from $1 to $1000 when someone signs up or purchases through your links. Often you make recurring money as well if it's an ongoing subscription, or your reader goes back and purchases more.
How do I determine which products to promote?
When you start to use affiliate marketing, you must determine which products you are going to promote, as well as how much you can earn. Not everything may be compatible with your niche.
For instance, if you have a fitness website, you’ll have an audience that is focused on a healthy lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise. Hence, selling affiliate protein powders or any other kind of weight loss, bodybuilding, or health supplements will be engaging to your visitors. You'll be able to generate more successful clicks, and thus more income from your blog.
Affiliate marketing can get tricky, though. There are lots of low-quality products that offer high payouts. That’s why you should always follow these three golden rules:
- Test the products and promote only the ones that you believe in.
- Make sure your audience can benefit from these products.
- Be discerning! Don't plaster every blog post with affiliate links, or else you will lose the trust of your audience.
It only takes a quick Google search to get started. Just type in “best affiliate programs for _____” and then fill in the blank. Here's a sample search.
How do I get started?
Take a great course on the subject. We recommend Buildapreneur's Affiliate Secret's course if you want something in-depth and highly instructional. Or if you want something cheaper and more of a bullet point intro, then try Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Next, once you’ve done your research, you can apply to a few affiliate marketing networks. If you get rejected, it's most likely because your site isn't doing enough volume, or they only want to work with more experienced bloggers.
Don't take it personally. Just work on building your volume and experience and then reapply. In the meantime, try out a network that's more newbie friendly, such as Mobidea, and build up some street cred there.
#2 Way to Make Money with a Blog: Create and Sell Your Content
The second strategy requires a bit more commitment, time, effort, and skills.
Creating and selling your content might not be suitable for beginners. You need be able to promote yourself as an expert in a particular niche, and your entire blog should be focused on promoting this knowledge.
Here are the top 4 strategies related to selling your own content:
Courses are mostly suitable for teaching technical skills, such as graphic design, or other formats such as accounting or making money online.
No matter the subject, if you have a valuable skill that is appealing to a wide audience, you can profit from your courses. What’s more, you can set up a great avenue for passive income by allowing the courses to sell on autopilot.
Often times you will give away several free courses and then charge for others. Your free courses usually contain a small amount of information, while your paid courses offer a more in depth lesson.
Here's what the Playlouder course page looks like.
When you give away free courses you offer potential customers a sample of your knowledge and teaching style. If you're a good teacher, they will come back and buy a course from you!
How Can I Get Started?
Here is an excellent course creation book to read and get you going!
How much can you make?
The optimal price point for your course will depend on your audience, your experience, and the value you are providing them. But as a general rule, you can charge anywhere from $50 to $1,000. Some of the most expensive courses out there are multiple thousands.
You can easily set up your courses in a simple program such as Teachable. I started with Teachable but have now moved over to LearnDash, a plugin for WordPress. Teachable and LearnDash offer similar features, but LearnDash is incorporated into your site, while Teachable is its own site.
If the idea of writing a “book” intimidates you, you're not alone! Luckily, an eBook is not a full length novel. Amazon eBooks are only required to be 2,500 words! You can easily reach that length by expounding upon a couple of your favorite blog posts that you've already written.
A simple way to choose a subject matter for your book is to run a survey and ask your readers to choose between 4 or 5 eBook topics.
The eBook market is excellent for blogs that teach a particular skill. For example, you can create attractive content on your blog, such as “how-to” articles, to draw people in. Then, you can entice the audience with your eBook.
Another great option for promoting eBooks is to utilize a sales funnel. A sales funnel is a series of emails that you send out to perspective buyers in an automated sequence. It may take days, even months before someone warms up enough to buy your eBook. When you implement a sales funnel, it will hopefully turn browsers into buyers, without much ongoing effort on your part.
How much can you make?
Will selling eBooks make you a millionaire? Heck no. According to the Mill City Press, “The most commonly purchased eBooks range from $2.99 to $3.99.” Additionally, if your book is listed on Amazon, you only get about 70% of the profits. Wah-wah. Of course you could always self-publish on your own platform instead of Amazon and keep all the cash!
So why is writing an eBook really worth it? Ebooks keep earning for life. Once you've written it, the royalties keep rolling in without any more work. For instance, let's say you make $600 per year with your eBook. Doesn't sound like much, but in 10 years you make $6,000. That's not a bad return on something you spent a few weeks to create.
More importantly than making money, though, eBooks establish you as an expert and are great marketing tools to promote your other products and courses.
Sell Other Digital Products
As long as it’s in harmony with your content, you can sell any type of digital product including downloadable guides, resources, printables, spreadsheets, a combination of videos, PDFs, or cloud-based software on your blog.
The bottom line is that you should create something that fills a need or a void for your audience. Find out what problem they need a solution to and solve it with your product. Also, take a look at what's working for other bloggers in your niche.
Digital products are a smart way to monetize your blog because you don't have the material costs you would have with a physical product. It also offers instant gratification for your customers.
How much can you make?
The range varies widely, depending on what kind of digital product you're selling. You could charge as little as $1.00 for a printable or $100 for a toolkit.
Sell Coaching Services
Nowadays, more and more people are looking for life, health, business development, or career advice. You can address any of these subjects and more, and sell coaching services through your blog.
If you enjoy interacting with people and giving advice, coaching can be very rewarding. It's also the perfect way to gain more insight into your audience and what problems they need solving. You can take this golden knowledge that you glean from your clients, and use it to create some courses that people really want!
Just about every niche has some way you can deliver your knowledge one on one. It could be as simple as getting on the phone with someone who has questions. The trick is to simply to create a plan and then implement it.
How do I get started with coaching or consulting services?
Here are some pro tips to get started:
- Design a program with a fixed cost and a specific timeframe, and put it on a “services” page on your site. Include what you offer, an outline of the process, and the cost.
- Make sure to create a simple purchasing process as clients tend to avoid anything that seems complicated or confusing.
- Clients don't need to know all the steps you take to get them to their goal. Just focus on the outcome and the results you will provide.
- Provide supplementary materials, such as weekly emails, for your coaching clients who have bought a monthly package.
Here's an example of our Playlouder coaching services page.
How much can you make?
Coaches often charge by the half-hour or by the hour. Start with a rate that you feel is a good value for your expertise. As you increase your confidence, you can eventually up your price to $100+ per hour and offer month-long programs for thousands of dollars.
#3 Way to Make Money with a Blog: Advertisements and Sponsored Content
Last but not least, advertisements, sponsored posts, and reviews are a great way to monetize your blog. The reason we've put this last is because you'll need to be an established website with big traffic before you can really start making money this way.
While you can certainly place ads all over your site at any point in time, you won’t make very much money unless you are getting at least 25,000 page views per month. The more traffic you receive, the more money you make.
How do you get more traffic? First, you can drive more traffic to your blog through guest posting on high domain authority sites. Reach out to sites that have a DA over 50 (or preferably over 60).
In addition, you can drive major traffic through social media. Pinterest, FaceBook, Instagram…whichever you choose, focus your efforts on one of these and really hit it hard! You can also try using advertisement maker tools to create ads for your social media channels.
How do I get started?
As a newbie, you can start with Google Adsense. It's a simple solution to how to make money with a blog. But, it won't make you much at first.
Once you crack that 25,000 page views per month, you can join a premier ad network, such as Mediavine. They will manage your advertisements and target appropriate ones to your site. You'll get a higher CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and CPC (cost per click), and that will be a nice income boost.
Typically these ad networks will take 20%-40% of the ad revenue from your website. But it's definitely worth it to have your advertisements managed.
Then, once you hit 100,000 pageviews per month (hallelujah!), you can upgrade to Adthrive. By switching to Adthrive, you'll see your monthly income skyrocket!
How much can you make?
Depending on the CPM and CPC, you could most likely make anywhere between $0.01 – $0.20 per pageview. If you have 100,000 pageviews per month, that adds up to $1,000 – $20,000 per month!
Sponsored content is when you post an article (or create other content) that is paid for by a sponsor and geared towards selling that sponsor's product to your audience. You will usually see the phrase “sponsored by,” “brought to you by,” “presented by,” or “in partnership with” somewhere within the content.
These kinds of posts can be product reviews, recommendations, or just an article about the company that includes links to a specific page for the company.
Usually you create the content yourself, but sometimes an advertiser will do it for you. It's up to you to choose what you're comfortable with.
When you create sponsored content, you have to think about the needs of your potential partners, without alienating your followers. Your audience can easily sniff out anything that feels “fake” and “too advertisy.”
Sponsored content works because consumers actually like to hear about products to buy if it's from a trusted source. In fact, 70% of individuals want to learn about products through content, rather than through traditional advertising.
According to Content Marketing, “Marketers are allocating 27% of their budgets [to content marketing].” This stat is from 2019 and the trend continues to grow.
How do I get started?
To generate income from sponsored content, you must have lots of traffic, as well as credibility.
You can expect to start receiving inquiries about sponsored content once you have developed a large social following and are considered an expert in your niche. BUT, you can seek out partnerships on your own without having to wait.
Many companies will have links on their websites where you can contact them and propose your idea for a sponsored post. In addition, you should set up a sponsor page and media kit on your site, so companies know you're serious about getting in on the action.
How much can you make?
You will be the one charging fees to the advertisers on your page, and you can negotiate your fee. The amount you charge will be based on your visitors per month and your domain authority.
If you are writing the article yourself, take into account the hours you will spend writing. If you're a newbie, $50 per hour is a good rate for a sponsored blog post. For an experienced blogger with high DA, you could charge up to $250 per hour. You could also just set a flat rate, such as $500 per written article.
So, Can I Quit My Cubicle Job Already?!
Now you know how to make money with a blog. But don't quit your day job just yet! Anyone can monetize their website. But, you have to be willing to put in some serious effort and be patient before you'll see the results. You shouldn't get discouraged if you're unable to make money right away. It all happens in stages.
Want to read more about blogging and making more money? Click a link below.