Whether you’ve recently started a blog or are about to start one, you probably have one pressing question. How on earth will I make money blogging?
If the first image that comes to mind is of news sites plastered with ads, you probably wonder who’s going to pay ME? If you’ve read income reports from bloggers who’ve been in business for years and are making millions, you probably feel overwhelmed and frustrated and you wonder if you should even continue on this path at all.
Let me stop you right there. Blogging is not a competition. You are trying to make a living here and somebody else’s success (or failure at that) is utterly irrelevant.
A blog is like a glue that keeps your online presence together. Your blog is your business card. Your portfolio. A platform to keep in touch and make yourself known.
You can make money with your blog directly. Or you can make money because of your blog.
Keep on reading and hopefully, things will become clear.
Table of Contents
Can you make money from a blog?
Yes, you absolutely can! There are many bloggers who supplement their income this way or even make a healthy full-time income with their blogs. Some bloggers even make seven figures per year. I turned a profit within one month after starting this blog. You can read my first income report if you want to know how I did it.
How much money can you make as a blogger?
It all depends a great deal. Some bloggers never make any money. The most successful ones make millions. The vast majority of bloggers fall somewhere in between.
An important factor is the blogger’s intent. If you plan to blog as a hobby and never actively seek opportunities to make money, it’s unlikely you ever will. On the other hand, if you put on your entrepreneurial hat, there are tons of income streams you can pursue.
Having multiple income streams is extremely important. Same goes for traffic sources.
You should never ever put all your eggs in one basket.
Blogging is a very complex enterprise. Just because it has an incredibly low startup cost, it doesn’t mean cash will flow in without putting in long hours.
How do you start a profitable blog?
- Figure out what you want to blog about. Don’t make this step any harder than it needs to be though. You DON’T have to find the most perfect or profitable blogging niche right away. Most bloggers I know started with a broad topic and narrowed down the focus of their blogs IN TIME.
- Get hosted. If you need help with this step, I wrote a detailed tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog. I also talk about why I use and recommend Bluehost in this article here.
- Write blog posts people want to read. The secret sauce of making money from a blog is to become the go-to person on your topic. You do this by putting an effort into knowing your audience, staying consistent and creating valuable content.
- Convert blog visitors into email subscribers. Blog traffic is great, but an engaged tribe of email subscribers is even better. If you don’t have an email marketing provider just yet, I wholeheartedly recommend you give MailerLite a try. They are free up to 1,000 subscribers and their customer support is one of the best I’ve come across.
- Make money from your blog. Try to diversify your income streams as much as possible and never concentrate all your efforts and resources in just one area. We’ll talk more about this next.
How do you make money from a blog?
There are lots of money-making opportunities in the blogging world.
Affiliate marketing is my favorite income stream. It’s great when you are just starting out and don’t have tons of traffic or a product to sell. And it can be incredibly profitable once your blog starts gaining traction.
If you are not familiar with affiliate marketing, it’s basically a super simple way of promoting someone else’s products or services using a unique special link. When someone clicks through and makes a purchase, you earn a commission, which can be anything from a few cents to hundreds of dollars.
If you want to know more, this article has tons of affiliate marketing tips for beginners.
There are thousands of affiliate marketing programs you could join but these are my absolute favorites:
- Amazon Associates. If you are struggling to make Amazon work for you, I wrote an eBook, How to Make Money as an Amazon Affiliate.
- ShareASale. This is one of the best affiliate networks you could possibly join. It has tons of merchants to choose from, like Etsy, Wayfair, Houzz, Minted, Zazzle, Rent The Runway, Blurb, WP Engine, Viator, Biscoff (yum!), etc.
- Awin. An amazing hub for over 6,000 advertisers, including Expedia, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Just Eat, Laura Ashley, Udemy, Agoda, Fiverr, Clarks, Urban Outfitters and Ted Baker (my fave British designer!).
- Skimlinks. This is an automated affiliate marketing solution, meaning, all you have to do is add a little piece of code to your blog and they will instantly transform all your product links into affiliate links.
- My own affiliate program. Why, of course, I had to mention this! 😀 With the launch of my eBook, I also started an affiliate program that you can easily join and earn 30% commission on every sale made through your affiliate link. I’d be honored to have you on my team!
Sell your own products
This is another favorite income stream of mine. Many bloggers create and sell their own products, which is pretty awesome and can elevate the whole idea of a blog to new heights.
- eBooks. Self-publishing can be very profitable. Plus you can automate the whole distribution process and it doesn’t require an inventory. SendOwl is the e-commerce platform I personally use to sell my eBook and I can’t recommend them highly enough. They quickly integrate with Paypal and Stripe, offer super detailed seller reports, allow you to nurture a team of affiliates (you can join my team here) and apart from paying a flat monthly fee, you get to keep all your profits.
- Paper books. Many bloggers managed to sign up book deals with a traditional publisher due to their blog. But you can also self-publish paper books with CreateSpace or Blurb. I actually have a series of coloring books published this way.
- Courses. This is a very cool way to share your knowledge with the world. You simply record all the material once and sell over and over again. Teachable is one of the best platforms for creating, hosting and selling online courses.
- Handmade stuff. If you love to make things with your own two hands, from jewelry and bags to crocket and cake decorations, Etsy makes it super easy to sell stuff.
- Photos, graphics, fonts, templates, and themes. You can sell your own digital creations on Creative Market and directly from your blog using SendOwl.
Although many of these products can be sold on a marketplace, if you want to fatten that bank account, you cannot simply wait for people to find you.
In 2019 and forward, you’ll have to start connecting with like-minded souls in a proactive way. A blog is not only an ideal place to promote your products but also a platform where you can build relationships with future clients.
Companies are eager to get their products in front of the right audience and a blog can be the perfect bridge between customers and brands.
Unfortunately, profit here is directly related to traffic. So when you are just starting out, this is not a viable way to make a full-time living.
You probably wonder how much bloggers charge for advertising. But the answer is not straightforward at all and it greatly depends on the niche, negotiation skills, and reader engagement.
- Display ads. These are graphics you can place in strategic places on your blog, like the sidebar, before or after the content. You usually negotiate a flat monthly rate, either directly with the brand or an agency. Your self-promotion and negotiation skills are key. The more traffic your blog gets, the higher the fee you can charge.
- Cost-per-click ads. Think advertising networks like AdSense, Media.net, Sovrn, and Infolinks. This is where your visitor engagement rates come into play. You get paid a small amount of money every time somebody clicks on the ad. And an even smaller amount for every thousand visitors.
- Giveaways & reviews. Many companies are happy to send bloggers free products in exchange for a review and/or a giveaway. Sometimes there’s monetary compensation as well. If you want to go down this rabbit hole, make sure the products you receive for free are really worth your time and are relevant to your audience, especially if you don’t get paid for your work.
Sponsored posts are a non-disruptive form of advertising that seamlessly matches the platform where it is displayed. They are often called native ads, a huge trend right now.
- Sponsored posts. You write an article in your unique writing voice, mention the sponsoring brand, and publish the content on your own blog. You are not trying to sell anything, but rather raise awareness. In the past, I worked with companies in the Cooperatize network and had a great experience.
- Social media posts. You can also make money by leveraging your social media profiles. I’ve used SocialPubli before and totally recommend them.
- Sponsored guest posts. Sometimes brands hire freelancers to write content for them and then pay bloggers to publish said content on their blogs. While this sounds like easy money, I advise you to be very selective.
Offer your services
A blog can be a compelling business card and serve as your portfolio. If you have a unique skill and can easily do something that most people can’t or are not willing to invest their time in, then you could be sitting on a goldmine.
You start by establishing yourself as an expert via well-thought blog posts and at the same time, you let people know that you are ready to help them achieve their goals.
Apart from your blog, you can also join a freelance services marketplace like Fiverr, for additional income. The only problem here is that you cannot clone yourself, so services are not scalable.
- Freelance writing. If you are a decent writer, this one is a no-brainer. As for how much you should charge… It depends on your professional experience and the exact project requirements. Prices range from $10 to hundreds of dollars for 500 words.
- Virtual assistant. Hiring a virtual assistant is becoming more and more the norm among both individuals and organizations eager to outsource their workload. If you want to become a virtual assistant I recommend you read The Bootstrap VA.
- Graphic design. If you have a neck for design, you can make money by doing all kinds of client work, like creating logos, infographics or illustrations tailored to your client’s needs.
- Programming. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’ve been surfing the web for more than 5 minutes, you surely know the world needs more responsive blogs, faster and safer websites, smarter landing pages and better design. For every website that’s got it right, there are dozens that still don’t convert to their full potential.
How long does it take to make money blogging?
This is another complex question and no two bloggers are the same. I made money in the first month. But the most common scenario is for bloggers to start seeing some cash after a few months to a year.
Blogging has it’s own learning curve and building trust, authority and a following take time.
But with the proper planning and the right strategy, you can reach $1,000 after 6 months and a full-time income after a year. This is realistic.
This means you will not only have to work hard but also invest in your education.
There’s simply too much random and possibly outdated information out there and you could spend days, weeks or even months piecing it all together.
That’s why I always recommend you take the shortcut and stand on the shoulder of giants, bloggers who already went through all you are going through right now and learn from them as fast as you can.
This means purchasing a few eBooks and courses because they will save you tons of time and frustration.
If you’ve tried everything to bring people to your blog yet nothing seems to work, Ana’s Boost Your Blog Traffic is a godsend when it comes to growing your blog.
If you are struggling to crack Amazon Associates, my own eBook, How to Make Money as an Amazon Affiliate, will help you start earning with the world’s largest affiliate program.
How much traffic do you need to make money from a blog?
Traffic is certainly important. Even more so if your preferred income stream is advertising.
However, for all the other sources of income mentioned above, you should put the accent on quality rather than quantity. This includes getting a theme that conveys your message and establishing a personal brand.
For example, when I first started this blog, I made $245 with only 2,000 pageviews. That’s not a lot of pageviews at all.
But then I started using Pinterest in a more strategic way. My pageviews went up and I saw a boost in income too. If you are struggling to get more eyeballs on your content, read my post on how to grow your blog traffic with Pinterest.
Now if all your traffic goes to a handful of blog posts that you don’t monetize in any way, you cannot possibly expect to make money.
But if you are smart about it, you can easily make a few hundred dollars per month even with a small blog.
Can you start a blog for free and still make money?
Yes, you can, but I advise against it. While some free blogging platforms allow you to make money, they have serious shortcomings when it comes to design and functionality.
This means you could be earning way more by simply investing a small amount of money in a self-hosted blog.
A self-hosted blog means you have your own domain (like bylauraiancu.com vs. bylauraiancu.blogspot.com or bylauraiancu.wordpress.com as you’d get if you chose a free blogging platform) and pay a web hosting company to host your blog and make it available to the world.
If you host your blog on Bluehost, their plans start from as little as $2.95/month (paid annually). This is really cheap (your daily cup of coffee probably costs more, am I right?).
When you are just starting out you really don’t need to spend more than that.
My how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog tutorial makes is super easy to setup a blog in 20 minutes or less.
If you are still on the fence about this, I recommend you read why you need to purchase hosting for your blog.
Hey girl hey! I’m a writer, designer and the creator of I Am Unstoppable: A Journal For Winning At Life. I’m on a mission to inspire and empower women to simplify their blogs and business so they can show up for their dreams in a sustainable way. I also love to travel, play with kitties and decorate my home.