If you’re thinking of starting a blog, or have been blogging for awhile now but you finally want to start making some money with it, you may be wondering: How do bloggers make money?
I think a lot of people (both outside and inside the blogging world) wonder how people actually make money blogging, in part because there really are so many ways to make money from a blog! And even if two different bloggers use the same monetization tactic, it could be in completely different ways. Plus there are so many different types of blogs – or niches – not every blogger will monetize their blog in the same way.
So... How DO bloggers make money?
Of course I have to mention affiliate marketing — that’s what we’re all about here!
But I mention it first because affiliate marketing is probably the easiest way for bloggers to make money, especially when they are first starting out! If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing you can read this article in a new tab, but the gist of it is this:
You partner with a company that sell products that you use, like, and want to endorse. You blog about those products and any time someone clicks through and purchases that item (and/or possibly other items on that website) you get a commission (usually a small percentage of the total sale, but some affiliate programs pay up to 50% or more) or some other incentive (like a gift card or a free month of their services, a flat fee, etc.)
There are programs that are similar to affiliate marketing, but are not quite affiliate programs.
For instance, apps like PayYourSelfie pays you to post pictures of yourself, as well things like food, travel, etc. on Instagram. (They also pay .50¢ per new participant referral.) These are sometimes called things like: partner programs, referral programs, etc.
There are also programs that pay per click, like AAA that pays .24¢ for every click, regardless of whether or not that person becomes a lead or customer for them. They simply need to click your link!
Back to more traditional affiliate programs (sometimes known as “referral partnerships” too). Pretty much anything you might want to sell or endorse online has a related affiliate program. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, sites as varied as retailers like Amazon, Etsy and Target, online business software niches like Generate Press, Shopify, and ConvertKit, and countless others.
There are rules to affiliate marketing, so if you want to try it, I recommend reading this first.
Sponsored posts are when a company pays the blogger to blog about their product or service. An easy example of this might be when a food blogger gets paid to include, say, Philadelphia Cream Cheese in a blog post. That food blogger might write a post about the many ways you can use their cream cheese (from breakfast to dessert), or they might blog about the best cheesecake they’ve ever tasted (using Philly Cream Cheese, of course!)
A well-rounded blogger (meaning they also have a large social media following and many email list subscribers) will also promote their sponsors on other platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Or via their email newsletter. The higher followings you have on those types of accounts, as well as your traffic to your website, the more you can ask to be paid for the sponsorship.
If you’re looking to create sponsored posts on your site, but don’t know how to find them, I recommend signing up for the Blogging Money Update – a 3X weekly email subscription that automatically sends you 10-15 sponsored blog post opportunities. It’s like having your own personal assistant who finds you paid post possibilities.
Selling ad space on your website is highly debated by bloggers. Some love it. Some hate it. I’ve recently started offering ads on my own website, to see for myself (and for my readers!) which camp I will fall into. (But I’m hoping to love it!)
UPDATE: I’ve had ads on my site for several months now and I love it! I make extra, passive income every month without having to do anything! I use MediaVine and I absolutely love them. But in order to be one of their publishers, you have to have at least 25,000 sessions each month.
If you’re a new blogger, you might want to try Media.net instead. (At least until you hit 25k monthly sessions.)
There are several other companies that you can work with, but most need you to have traffic in the tens of thousands, of not hundreds of thousands each month. If you have at least 10 visitors per month I have heard good things about the Ezoic ad network.
If your blog doesn’t yet have those types of numbers, you can try using Adsense. But with little traffic to your blog, you may find it’s not worth it (yet) to have ads on your site. Some people argue that having ads is a distraction, and may lead people away from your blog. But every blogger has to decide for themselves if they want to make money with ads.
Personally, I like it because you can earn hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every month, fairly passively. Once you set it all up, there is little else to do (other than continually create and promote content for your blog, of course!😂)
Selling Their Own Products or Services
I find that, typically, about a year or more into blogging, many bloggers realize that one way to make not only more money, but to also be a bit more in control of their income, is by offering a product, membership or service. Here are a few examples of how that might work:
- A food blogger might write their own cookbook.
- A DIY blogger might sell a monthly subscription for DIY projects.
- A lifestyle blogger might offer a social media course.
- A mom blogger might create a membership based on being a single parent.
- An art blogger might sell their art passively.
- A business blogger might come up with a course on How to Sell on Instagram.
So a “product” might be something like a physical book (like the cookbook example) or something digital, like an ebook, online course, membership site, app, SAS (software as a service), etc. And a service would be something styling services, graphic design, social media marketing, website design, etc.
So how much can YOU expect to make from blogging?
I’m going to get real here: you really shouldn’t expect to make much. Especially in the beginning.
Just like with a traditional business, it takes TIME to make money blogging. (Of course, there are bloggers that are the exception to this rule, and if you become one of them, more power to you!)
The great thing about blogging (especially vs. a “traditional” business like a restaurant or clothing boutique) your upfront costs are so minimal. Frugal bloggers who do it themselves can get their websites up and running for under $100. Maybe up to $500 if you want more bells and whistles.
And while some bloggers will struggle to ever make any money, and there are no guarantees, it is possible to make an extra few hundred dollars a month, or, like Michelle Schroeder-Gardener, the author of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, who makes over $100,000 per month!
So, now that you know the answer to “How do bloggers make money?” Do you want to start blogging about your own hobby or passion? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
You might also want to read: How to start a blog that makes passive income with affiliate marketing.