How do blogs make money? It’s the burning question that is on every blogger’s mind.
Beginning bloggers want to know if it is possible to make money blogging.
Bloggers that have been at it for a while want to know how to better monetize their blogs.
Your Mom want to know how you get paid to blog.
The answer is really quite simple.
How do bloggers make money?
The same way everyone else does: by offering something of value in exchange for money.
I actually already have a post on here about the top five ways bloggers make money. It’s your typical make money blogging post: sponsored posts, affiliate marking, services, ads, or products.
The way it is presented makes it seem kind of easy. There is no such thing as easy money.
Can we make money blogging? Yes, yes we can.
We are still going to talk about those money making methods, but I am going to present it a little bit differently. We are going to talk about the value you have to offer as a blogger.
The value you provide is what you will get paid for.
Thinking about making money on your blog this way will change the way you think about your blog’s monetization plan.
Bloggers provide value that people are willing to pay for in the following ways:
- An audience + digital space
- An audience + content creation
- Digital or physical products
- An audience + content creation + marketing
- Help, assistance, or services.
Blogger offers audience + digital space to advertisers.
Let’s start here. A captivated audience is something that other brands advertisers seek after. They want to get their product or company in front of more eyes. So if you have a digital space (a blog) and a large audience that you’ve worked hard to capture, companies are going to want to pay you to advertise for them. In the blogging world, this is usually done through ad networks. Occasionally brands and companies reach out directly to place an ad on a blog, but usually bloggers sign up with an ad network and they then place ads on their site with the help of that network.
The more audience you have, the more money making possibilities with ads.
Making money via ads is still alive and well, but just know that you if you want to make money that way you need to make your blog worth while for those paying for ad space – and they want people.
Lots of people.
Beginning bloggers often try making their first money with ads and quickly get frustrated when they are making pennies a month. The reason they can’t make money from ads is because they do not have what ad networks are looking for yet – traffic.
If you want to make money by placing ads on your blog you need to work on getting visitors to your site.
How do you get visitors to your site? Quality content. Your content has to be heroic. It needs to be helpful to your visitors in some way and then you need to market it like crazy.
When you are ready, here are some places to put ads on your blog:
- Over images – I find this annoying, but lots of bloggers are making good money from it.
- Before videos
- Footer, many bloggers are using the sticky footer on mobile
Popular ad networks bloggers belong to
- Adsense – no monthly minimum to apply
- Adthrive – minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews
- Mediavine – 25,000 monthly sessions
- Sovrn – no monthly minimum to apply
How does making money with ads work? Sovrn shares the following,
“advertisers pay website owners based on how many people have seen their ads. Every time an ad is seen by a reader, that’s called “an impression.” Because there are billions of ad impressions every day, advertisers pay based on intervals of 1,000 impressions or CPM (cost per mille impressions).”
Food and fashion bloggers are two in the blogging industry that have high success with ad placement because they generate a high number of daily visitors. Their traffic tends to bounce a lot quicker than others because people come for that one recipe or outfit and are good. Ads are a great way to capitalize on that kind of traffic.
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Blogger offers an audience + content creation to brands.
Say you create totally awesome content. You have a unique spin on your topic. You’re good at presenting a project. You’re a good story teller. You take beautiful pictures. You make interesting videos. You have an audience that loves what you do. That is valuable. Companies and brands are searching for people that create great content and are in touch with their audience. They will pay bloggers to create content and mention their brand, service, or product tactfully inside your content.
This type of content is what bloggers refer to as sponsored posts. Sometimes the content you create for sponsored posts will be the entire blog post process (content, pictures, set numbers social shares) and other companies will pay you for just one aspect of your content creation. Bloggers receive sponsorship for any of the following:
- Styling and staging
- Live videos
- Social media posts
Audience size isn’t as crucial as it was with ads, but companies will want to make sure people are visiting your site before they pay you to create content for them.
In addition to amount of visitors, companies will want to know if your audience is a good fit for their brand. A healthy food product is going to look for bloggers that write about healthy living or recipes. A natural beauty brand is going to look for beauty bloggers that are already talking about the ingredients in the products they use. You get the picture.
If this is a way you want to make money on your blog, my suggestions are to hone in on your unique style, focus on a particular audience, niche down, and put yourself out there. You can’t wait around for companies to come to you. Create a perfect pitch and reach out to companies on your own.
Blogger offers product to their audience.
This is one we are all familiar with. A product can be something of value when presented to an audience that needs/wants it. Bloggers can sell digital products, educational products, create their own physical product, or wholesale purchase a product and sell it for retail on their blog, or an extension site.
Sell A Digital Product
Digital products are very simple to sell on your blog. You can use a WordPress plugin like Easy Digital Downloads or a tool like Gumroad to sell and deliver the digtial goods you create. Some examples are: Printable planners, invitations, party printables, meal plans, etc. Digital products have a good earning potential because they usually have little to no costs attached to create them.
Package An Educational Product
We live in the age of knowledge. Maybe too much but that is a topic for another day.
As a blogger you probably have expansive knowledge on a particular subject and can share that with others. Today’s bloggers are educating their audience by creating their own ebooks, physical books, guides, online courses and workshops.
A large number of bloggers are trying to make money online by packaging their expertise and selling it to their audience so that they too can learn.
First, this is usually content bloggers are already creating on their blog. A lot of people have posts that are educational by nature and so a educational product comes naturally.
Secondly, creating and selling an ebook or ecourse has a higher earning potential than some of the other money making methods. You are in control of the price point and you make the full commission.
Lastly, audience size is not as crucial to start making money as it is with ads and sponsored posts. Obviously the more followers you have the higher earning potential. But if you have 100 followers and 10 buy your 30 dollar course than that is $300 dollars more than you would have had. On the flip side someone with 100 followers might make fifty cents from ads in a month.
People are looking to learn and grow, by providing them a way to learn you have something of value that they are willing to pay for.
Create a physical Product
Many people use their blogs to showcase and discuss products they create. The creative entrepreneurs of the world make up a large space in the blogging world. Some have been creating their product for a long time and start their blogs as a way to market their product. Other bloggers create their own product after seeing a need or coming up with an idea they knew their audience would love. I have been following bohoberry.com for several years now and have loved seeing the products she has created for her blog audience. As she blogged about her own bullet journals she was able to create products to help her readers create theirs.
There are several ways you can sell a physical product alongside your blog. Some bloggers link their site to an Etsy shop and sell their product there. You can sell physical products on your WordPress blog by using the plugin WooCommerce. Other bloggers use Shopify to create their blog and storefront, instead of WordPress.
Examples of products bloggers can create: mugs, clothing, jewelry, physical planners, etc.
Purchase a product at wholesale and retail it
I’m actually surprised that the blogging world doesn’t talk about this one more. But, it is a great way to make money online and not have to create your own product. There two main ways bloggers make money selling a product they purchased from a wholesaler:
- They purchase the product and handle all the shipping and sometimes packaging for that product
- They work with a wholesaler that drop-ships products. This means the bloggers sells the product on their site but the wholesale company packages and ships the product to the customer.
Example for number one: North Star Balloons is a balloon company that sells balloons to businesses only, not retail. A party blogger or wedding blogger, for example, could become a retailer and create a balloon shop on their blog (StudioDIY has one!). You blog posts will feature these balloons and funnel readers to your very own balloon store.
Blogger offers audience + content creation + marketing to brands and other bloggers.
That’s a mouth full. The value you have to offer in this section is your marketing expertise, an audience, and content. You will use these three things to sell someone else’s product to your audience. The brand or blogger will receive the money from your reader and will pay you a commission of the sale you generate for them.
This is called affiliate marketing.
This is a great way to get started in selling online because there is less risk and time commitment involved. It’s also a good test run for you because you can practice selling before you create your own product.
Affiliate marketing is where a blogger establishes a connection with a company and then promotes that company and/or their products and services within their regular content. Each blogger is given a unique URL to the company’s website. When a viewer clicks that link and then purchases from the company, the blogger receives a commission.
They usually receive commission in the form of a percentage of the sale or a flat rate for sign up or purchase.
There are several ways bloggers can become affiliates for companies or even other bloggers. If you talk about a product or company on your blog, head to their website and scroll down to the very bottom of their website. This is usually where there is a link for the company’s affiliate program. Sometimes brands like to hide their programs and so I do a site:search on Google for affiliate programs, they are also sometimes called partner programs so try different phrasing if you are Googling it.
You can also reach out to bloggers in your niche or complimentary niches who have created their own product, course, or ebook. Many of them have an affiliate program set up and are looking for help marketing it. For example, I am an affiliate for my friend Kate’s Pinterest Marketing Course (why yes, that’s an affiliate link)
And of course, there’s always amazon affiliates. Who doesn’t purchase from Amazon?
However, you can’t just drop affiliate links and expect to make money. You have to be strategic about your affiliate monetization plan. (P.S. spell check keeps telling me that monetization is not a word. So, sorry but I’m using it anyway 😜)
Blogger offers help, assistance, services to their audience.
People need help. Maybe they want to understand something better or maybe they want someone to hold them accountable. Some people just want to hire someone else to do something for them so that they don’t have to. Many bloggers offer services in relation to their niche to offer help and assistance to their audience.
In this money making method, your blog acts as a platform to prove your expertise on a subject and attract new clientele for the services you offer.
Offering services alongside your blog is a great way to grow as an authority on your subject. When my blog was new, I offered blog migrations from Blogger to WordPress. My clients enjoyed working with me and the experience they had moving from Blogger to WordPress. Not only did I move their site over but the package included WordPress coaching to set them up for success. They knew that I understood WordPress and how it would work for them as a blogger. My clients knew that my blog content would continue to help them. Because of this experience, my clients recommended me and shared my blog with their blogging friends.
Although I am not offering this service at this time, I do accredit it for accelerating the growth of my site.
Services help you build relationships with people and people help you grow. Yay!
Offering coaching or consulting packages can also help you better understand the needs of your target audience. I come up with a plethora of blog topics when I am directly working with my target audience.
Examples: social media management, graphic design services, personal shopping services, coaching or consulting packages on any topic – fitness, relationships, decluttering, etc.
I didn’t realize I was so enthused about making money on your blog via services until I sat down to write this section. While it might not be your long term monetization plan, it is a great way to start making a little cash, build up your authority, and create lasting relationships. Or, it might be the right long term business plan for you!
Go forth and make money!
Take some time today to sit down and write out a monetization plan. Monetary plan. Money making plan. (Spell check likes those better.)
What value do you have to offer in exchange for money?
If you feel like you don’t have anything to offer yet – what value do you hope to have and what are you going to do to to get there?
For those of you that are already making money, leave a comment and tell us all what your #1 type of income is and what value you are exchanging for money.