So, how do you make money with a blog, anyway? – It's a question that people ask me, a lot.
Usually, they are a little hesitant to inquire.
Maybe they are afraid that they are missing the “obvious” or asking a dumb question or something like that.
Or perhaps the money conversation is just taboo.
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But the truth is that people don't understand what blogging as a profession is all about – and how a blog makes money is mystery to most.
Bloggers Make Money From Multiple Sources of Income
My simple answer is that you make money with a blog from multiple income streams.
I find that it's a lot of trial and error. You have to know your audience and what they want.
Once you figure it all out, it just might change. A blog is like a toddler.
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Here Are Some Possible Revenue Streams
The way you make money with a blog is only limited by your vision.
You can be as creative as you want to be – but you also should be clear on your mission.
Here are some of the more common income streams that bloggers use.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising is one of the more well known methods to make money with a blog.
One of the most famous programs in this category is Google Adsense.
This is how pay per click advertising works. A blogger
- applies and is accepted into ad program.
- He or she gets ad code from the program website.
- She then inserts the code onto herown website and magically ads appear in those locations
- Readers visit the bloggers' website and, if interested, will click on one of the ads.
- The blogger gets paid for each click (all aggregated on the program's website).
Blog advertising is probably the easiest to set up.
However, the amount that you get paid per click is usually pennies. So it takes a lot of traffic to see good results.
Also, when a reader clicks on your ad they are taken to the advertisers website. So that click takes them away from your website.
If you want them to linger then you have to think that strategy through. What are your blogging goals and how will you steer your readers to help you achieve them?
Ad networks often operate on a “pay per impression” basis.
The set up is very similar to that of Pay Per Click advertising – where you insert code into your website to make ads appear.
However, you make money based on the number of people that see those ads.
This sounds pretty good because the reader doesn't actually have to interact with the ad for you to make money.
The downside is that the amount that you would get paid per impression is pretty low. Sometimes, depending on the ad inventory that the program has – your visitors may not even see an ad.
So, again, this revenue source works best only if you have a lot of website traffic. In fact, many programs require a minimum traffic level before they even allow you to apply.
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Affiliate marketing is another good source of income for bloggers.
A blogger can talk about a product or service on their blog, post a link to that product, and earn a commission when a reader makes a purchase.
Of course, you need to set up the affiliate relationship in advance, and grab a special link from to track visits from your site.
Amazon Associates is a very popular affiliate program and they have recently introduced their Amazon Influencers Program as well.
Some companies outsource the management of their affiliate programs to sort of a clearinghouse.
Rakuten, ShareASale, and Commission Junction (be aware that CJ kicks you out of their program if you don't make commissions consistently – and they deduct a fee from your accumulated earnings for the months that you are not profitable) are companies that manage the affiliate programs for a large group of popular companies.
As a blogger you would sign up for an account with one of the clearinghouses and then apply to relevant affiliate programs within.
The key to being successful with affiliate marketing is to find a few products that
- you are passionate about and that
- fit the needs of your audience
The upside about affiliate marketing is that you stand to make more money when people actually make a purchase than you would with Pay Per Click advertising.
The downside is that setting up links can be time consuming and some of the clearinghouse sites are sooooo dated, slow, and tedious to navigate and use.
Also, keep in mind, that with affiliate marketing you must disclose to your readers that you may make a commission on their purchase.
Sponsored Posts and Social Media Shares
Big brands want people to know about their products. So, they like to have bloggers write about their stuff.
It is good business for you, as a blogger, to get paid to write.
There are many different companies out there that act as matchmakers of sorts. They find the brands and connect them with the bloggers.
Typically you receive a free review product and also get paid for both writing an article and sharing it to your social media audience.
Of course you are obligated to keep your end of the bargain.
As with affiliate marketing, with sponsored posts you must disclose your paid relationship with the advertiser so as not to mislead your readers.
I love doing sponsored posts – but they should be used sparingly otherwise you risk turning your readers off.
Here are some of the ones that I have done:
- Toss the Tube with Scott Brand Toilet Paper
- Unlock Your Full Potential with Free Personality Tests
- How to Create Family Time at Dinner Without the Chaos
- 5 401k Mistakes You Could Be Making Right Now
- Follow the Open Road Fuel For Wherever Life Takes You
Sponsored Tweets is a service that bloggers use to tweet out advertisements to their Twitter following (although now they have expanded to other social media platforms as well).
This is pretty quick and easy cash from the blogger's standpoint – but again should be used sparingly so as not to anger your audience.
Your Own Products and Services
By far I have seen (from bloggers that publish their income reports) that selling your own product is one of the more lucrative avenues to make money with a blog.
You can create an info product at just a fraction of the cost of a physical product. If you have a large audience or a large network that can help you promote your product then it's a great thing.
Your product or service could be an e-course, an ebook, or consulting or coaching packages.
By offering your own product, you get to keep the profits.
You Will Need A Lot of Website Traffic
At this point, it may sound like it is really easy to make money with a blog – but here's the thing – you can't make money if you don't have website traffic.
That is why starting out as a blogger is painful.
You are writing and creating great content, but you are not getting paid.
Building your audience and the trust with your audience is the first step.
Once you get the momentum going you can monetize that traffic through pay per click advertising, ad networks, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, selling your own products and services, and even doing paid speaking engagements.
The sky is the limit!
As you can see making money from a blog is not like getting a paycheck or even sending out an invoice to your clients. As a blogger you will rely on multiple revenue streams to feed your business.
More about this:
How Do You Make Money With Your Blog?
If you have a blog – how do you turn a profit?
What revenue stream has been the most successful for you?
Let me know in the comments below.