When I first started my blog in 2014, I had no idea how to make money from blogging, let alone how much money it was even possible to make from a blog. Now fast forward to today. It’s even more surprising (still) that I’ve progressed from learning how to make money by blogging to now earning more than $50,000 per month from my blog.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve seen my journey from earning just a couple thousand dollars in monthly side income, primarily from freelance clients, to now earning more per month from my blog than I did in my first few jobs combined.
In 2019, my blog earned $451,238—with some months earning more than $58,000—while I was still working full-time for the first half of the year. My blog earned $127,418 in 2018, and the year before that, I broke the $100,000 mark for the first time.
How to Make Money Blogging in 2021: 12 Proven Strategies (How I Earned $451,238 and More)
- Sponsored Blog Posts
- Programs for Affiliates
- Advertisements on Blogs
- Online Courses for Sale
- Physical Goods
- Make a Software Tool Available
- Selling Your Own Products and Services
- Making (and Selling) E-Books
- Organize a Virtual Summit
- Collaborations in Business
- Podcast Advertising Sponsorships
Please be aware that some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Know that I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and support. When you click on one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which allows me to keep this blog running and all of my in-depth content free for readers (like you).
First and foremost, if you’re brand new to blogging, I’ve put together the ultimate guide to getting started with creating your blog. The first step is to get your blog online and well-optimized, and my 25,000-word guide to starting a blog will put you in a good position to make money by blogging in the near future.
While it’s a good idea to start thinking about ways to monetize your blog as soon as possible, this guide is more geared toward those of you who already have a blog and want to take it to the next level.
If you haven’t already started a blog, check out my ultimate guide to starting a blog.
Do You Still Need to Begin Your Blog First?
Check out my ultimate guide on How to Start a Blog today (on the Side).
My blog reached over 4.4 million readers (people like you) in just one year who wanted to learn about blogging, marketing, and business.
It has a large number of engaged readers and an email list of over 150,000 active subscribers to my blog.
Creating the Groundwork for How to Make Money Blogging in 2021
Before we get started, let’s go over what it takes to run a successful blog in the first place—because everything from choosing a good niche to writing great content and successfully driving traffic comes first.
Want to skip the introduction and get right to my 12 tried-and-true ways to make money blogging? Simply click here.
It is critical that you first take care of the fundamentals so that you can be confident in receiving a return on all of the work you will be putting in to soon make money blogging.
Having each of these components in place will ensure your continued success and traffic growth as you begin monetizing your content.
How do you find a specific niche for your blog?
Have you decided on the niche topic area for your blog yet? According to recent blogging statistics, it must come first (and is a necessary step before you actually make money blogging).
Finally, your blog niche is more than just the topic or grouping of related themes around which you’ll be creating blog content; it goes much deeper than that—and having that cohesive theme is essential because it gives your readers a reason to return for more.
Every piece of content I publish on my blog relates to the overarching niche of building a blogging business in some way.
Furthermore, your niche describes the type of person to whom your content is most clearly directed. It’s a close-up of your knowledge and experience. Finally, your niche is what will help you discover and grow your readership, market your content effectively, and successfully monetize your blog.
When you fully understand your niche and your positioning within that niche, you will begin to develop a very specific (and engaged) audience, making it far easier to obtain sponsorships, partners, advertisers, and implement all of the other major ways to make money by blogging.
What is a simple example of making money through blogging?
Companies that sell cookware are likely to be among your top supporters when it comes to making money by blogging if you run a DIY baking blog (your niche).
You’ll have a good idea of who your target audience is (home bakers) and what they want to achieve (looking to improve their skills, getting easy baking recipes, learning more about cooking in general). On the other hand, this means you can confidently communicate with sponsors about who is reading your blog content and, more importantly, why they are likely to purchase the advertiser’s product.
Listen to my interview with What’s Gaby Cooking’s Gaby Dalkin to learn more about how she went from writing on the side to learning how to make money by blogging on a large scale with advertisers, book deals, her own line of salsa products at Williams Sonoma, and more. If you want to start a food blog, check out my guide to starting a food blog for more information.
After hearing this example, imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have a niche to blog about.
Perhaps you enjoy writing about plant care, but you also enjoy writing about psychology, with a dash of hiking thrown in for good measure. Not only is your audience disorganized, but they’re probably also perplexed. As a result, your advertisers will be perplexed.
Gardening companies are unlikely to want to advertise in places where people are reading about psychology-backed parenting techniques.
I realize this is an oversimplified example, but finding and sticking to a niche will help you stand out in a sea of unfocused content, and will lay a solid foundation for your blog.
Is it necessary to write on a regular basis in order to make money blogging?
The short answer is that you will need to publish (quality) content on a regular basis if you want to make money blogging in a long-term, sustainable way.
Assume you’re receiving traffic from a few blog posts that are beginning to rank well in search engines.
Do you need some more ideas for writing topics?
Check out my comprehensive guide to the best blog post ideas you should cover right now.
However, once you’ve arrived, it’s tempting to think, “Well, now that I’m #1 on this topic, I’ll just settle in and reap the benefits.”
Believe me, I’ve been there. But, as we’ve already discussed, if it were that simple to make money, nearly everyone would be a wealthy blogger by now.
Once you achieve some content success and begin ranking, you will gradually increase your traffic each week. It’s easy to think it’s fine to sit back and relax. And, while blogs can sometimes be argued to be solely passive income, if you want to make money blogging in a scalable long-term fashion, you must be very proactive in putting those income streams in place… which requires a lot of real work.
If you want to make money blogging in a scalable, long-term manner, you must be extremely proactive. That entails a lot of writing.
Personally, I devote 10 to 15 hours per week to writing for my blog, in addition to my day job.
I’d write more if I could. It requires some sacrifice, and because I’ve learned over the years that my best thinking occurs in the morning, I frequently get up at 5 a.m. to write for a few hours before switching over to the tasks of my remote job.
If you want to know more, I go into the nitty-gritty details of all my blogging habits in my latest book, The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers.
You don’t have to follow my strict personal writing habits, but you must write on a regular basis. The most popular and well-trafficked blogs publish multiple articles per week, if not several per day. So, if you’re wondering if people still read blogs, the answer is yes.
Yes, it is a resounding yes.
My blogging success is largely due to my consistent publication of highly tactical, long-form content for my readers. That’s how I grew my email list to over 120,000 subscribers who read my weekly new articles. Having such a large email list has provided me with numerous opportunities.
While you may not be aiming to be the next Buzzfeed, if you want to make money, you should aim to post at least two to three high-quality, large-word-count articles (in excess of 1,500 words) per month.
This frees up time for you to promote your content.
Regular blog content not only increases traffic, but it also brings back readers. And those are the people
who will be of long-term assistance to you.
Furthermore, it demonstrates to your advertisers that you are engaged and active with your readers.
Is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) necessary for monetizing a blog?
It’s very easy to write a lot about topics you’re passionate about.
Of course, your blog should be a place for you to share things that are important to you.
But what’s more important is that you get your blog’s SEO down pat.
SEO can send even the most experienced professional marketers into a tailspin, but it is critical to making money by blogging.
Why? Because major search engines, such as Google, can send you an almost infinite amount of free,
organic traffic if you create content worthy of ranking high in search results.
We won’t go into detail about SEO in today’s guide on how to make money blogging (SEO is a major component of my paid course, Built to Blog), but I will tell you this—critical it’s to always have a specific keyword phrase in mind for each blog post, and to always do your homework ahead of time to ensure that keyword phrase is something people are actually searching for online.
Following smart blog SEO best practices will not only help you grow your blog, but it will also help you stand out as a leading industry professional if you can rank high in search results for competitive terms.
Furthermore, your audience, as well as your advertisers, will have more faith in you.
How do you create a community of engaged readers in order to monetize it?
I’ll always be a proponent of finding and growing an engaged online community. The most important thing is to concentrate your efforts not only on attracting new readers but also on establishing genuine, tangible relationships with as many of them as possible.
Having an online community, whether it’s a blog forum, a Facebook group, an email list, a Twitter community, or something else, can do wonders for your blog. And, in the end, they’ll be the ones who teach you how to make money blogging in a way that benefits both of you and them.
Create genuine connections with your readers.
Find out what they like and dislike, why they read your first article, how they found you, and why they keep coming back for more. Engage with them as people, not as anonymous readers on a screen. The investment will be worth taking a few minutes every now and then to chat via email or phone.
Your blogging community is everything. You can’t go wrong if you build genuine relationships with your readers. When you have a community, you not only have a strong support system, but you also have some crucial relationships.
One of your readers may be an advertiser looking to promote their products on your blog. It could be a podcaster interested in including your blog pitch in their next episode with 2,000 listeners.
When you have a good sense of your audience and have gotten to know them well, you can start asking for their help. You’d be surprised at what a strong community of like-minded readers can provide.
Check out my guide to driving traffic to your blog for all of my best strategies for attracting new readers and building a community.
How many readers do you need to blog for survival?
The answer depends on how much money you make from your blog and what your conversion rate is for each channel.
Of course, you won’t know your conversion rates right now, but once you start selling a product, pitching your freelance services, launching an online course, or reaching out to advertisers for blog sponsorships, you’ll be able to calculate them fairly quickly.
Here’s an example of your conversion rate when selling your own product (an online course) through your blog.
Assume you have 1,000 monthly visitors. If 2% of those readers become paying customers for your online course, that equates to 20 buyers. If your product costs $10, the total cost is only $200. If, on the other hand, your course costs $100, you’ve just made your first $2,000!
You can also look at this in a much more straightforward manner.
Fewer readers equal fewer sales.
More readers equate to more sales.
At the same time, you can work on tweaks to increase your conversion rate over time, and you can experiment with pricing to increase the average customer’s value. Math can be enjoyable at times.
Of course, two key pieces of information are required to make these estimates:
Conversions from Unique Pageviews
In your Google Analytics Dashboard, navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages to see the number of unique pages on your blog.
If you only use your website as a blog, you should see your most popular blog posts listed clearly, along with the number of pageviews they have received.
Set a date range (such as the last day, week, or month) to see your pageview count update. That is the number of people who read your blog.
To calculate your conversion rate when discussing a direct product sale to a blog reader, simply divide the number of product sales by the number of pageviews you’re seeing on your blog for a given date range—this will give you the percentage of readers who become customers.
Divide your total blog income for a given date range by the amount of income you generated in that same period to get an idea of how well your site is doing in terms of making money by blogging—this will give you the average value (in your currency) for each individual reader of your blog.
Let’s get down to business now that you have a basic understanding of what a blog is, how to start building a community, how to choose a niche to blog about, how to nail your blog’s SEO, and how to track conversion rates.
How to Make Money Blogging in 2021: 12 Proven Methods (How I Earn $58,234 Per Month)
We’ve arrived at the exciting part…
Thank you for sticking with me as we go over the fundamental steps that will get you ready to profit from your efforts. It takes a lot of time and effort, but believe me when I say that the investment is well worth it in the long run.
To be honest, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways to earn money.
I’d like to tell you that I’ve tried them all, but I haven’t. And, after years of trial and error, there are about a dozen that have proven to withstand the test of time and generate life-changing revenue for not only my own blog, but hundreds of others I know. As a result, we’ve limited this guide to only the most reputable, tried-and-true monetization channels.
And I can tell you that these top twelve ways to make money by blogging (that I’ve personally tried and succeeded with) have helped me turn this blog into a source of $50,000+ in monthly income.
These are tried-and-true techniques employed by the most successful and well-known blogs you’ve heard of.
Earn money blogging by being compensated for the content you create.
The first overarching theme we’ll cover in this guide is how to get paid for your content. This is the simplest and fastest way to begin monetizing your blog. Of course, this is why so many bloggers are pursuing this monetization channel.
The key here is to stay true to your blog’s expertise and to keep your target audience at the forefront of everything you create.
Let’s get started!
1. Blog Content Sponsored
Sponsored content is a tried-and-true investment for brands of all types, and it works wonders in the right circumstances. As a result, it is a clear winner among the many ways to make money blogging.
This method has not only been proven to work for advertisers, but it has also been proven to help you.
What exactly is sponsored content? It’s when a company pays you a fee to write an article about them—or a topic related to them—in which their product, service, or brand is prominently featured as the go-to resource for your readers who want to learn more.
It’s one of those sweet deals between a blogger and an advertiser where both of you benefit greatly from the relationship.
Here are a couple of examples of sponsored content from my blog:
When sponsored content is done well (rather than simply being an advertisement), it comes across as genuine, one-of-a-kind, and devoid of a high-pressure sales pitch. In my opinion, if your sponsored post does not result in providing real value to your readers, you’ve already veered off course.
You’ve already established trust with your audience, so they believe you when you recommend products you know and believe in. That is why, when creating sponsored content, I always advise staying true to your audience.
So, how do you go about getting sponsored? If you have a popular and well-trafficked blog, you may already be receiving sponsorship offers. If that isn’t where you are right now, let’s talk about what it takes to get sponsored content offers.
To begin, identify a few products and companies that fit perfectly into your niche.
Frequently, you’ll discover that they are products or services that you already use. Make a list of at least ten products that you’d be eager to promote and passionately support.
The next step is the most difficult, but it isn’t that difficult (I promise).
Go to the websites of your top ten products and look for someone who works in marketing or public relations at the company, then find their email address using simple blogging tools like Hunter or Voila Norbert. Remember that many companies that are interested in sponsorships actively promote a sponsorship email address somewhere on their contact pages.
Finally, send them a cold email offering to collaborate on sponsored content for your readers, emphasizing why they should pony up the sponsorship dollars.
Here is an example sponsor pitch email that you can use in your blogger outreach (or brand sponsor solicitation):
My name is Ryan, and I absolutely adore [your product]! I have a blog over at Rryrob.com, and I’d love to see if we could collaborate on a sponsored post on my blog.
I currently have [number] monthly readers and would promote the post to [number] subscribers on my email list.
Everything I write about is related to [your niche], and [your product] is exactly what my readers want.
Do you have a few minutes this week to talk about whether this is a good fit?
This is just a rough example of what you could say when reaching out—remember to keep the focus on why the sponsor should jump at the opportunity to reach your audience.
Remember to keep it personal at all times. You’re not emailing a robot; you’re emailing a real person.
Finally, if you intend to use sponsored content, you will require a media kit to highlight your sponsorship opportunities.
A media package is essential not only for attracting the right business, but also for establishing your prices upfront.
In the following section, I’ll walk you through the steps necessary to create a media package that will attract and sell the right companies.
How to Make a High-Converting Media Kit as a Bonus
If you decide to go the advertising and sponsorship route, you’ll need a media kit that provides advertisers with key metrics and insights about your target audience to help them decide whether or not their sponsorship is worthwhile (like my deck here).
Don’t worry, creating a media kit with Microsoft Powerpoint or Keynote is a breeze, and you’ll immediately reap the benefits of having a concise single document to share with potential advertisers.
Having a media kit prominently displayed on your blog (I recommend highlighting it on your contact and work with me pages) will alert companies that you are available for sponsorship. Another advantage of a media kit is that it displays clear fixed pricing, which helps you avoid low-balling, which is a bad fit for advertisers.
The following are the essential elements you must include in your own media kit in order to attract high-quality sponsors:
A brief introduction to yourself. After all, you are the product, as is your blog. Why should sponsors put their money into you? A breakdown of your audience.
Who is your intended audience?
What are their racial and ethnic breakdowns?
What are their passions? What do they purchase?
Your traffic update. This is where Google Analytics enters the picture. You’ll need to show page view figures so advertisers know how many people they’ll reach.
Opportunities for advertising What do you have to offer? What about ad spaces? Blog posts that are sponsored? Podcast commercials? Affiliate relationships? Is email marketing on your to-do list? All of the aforementioned?
Pricing. This can be intimidating at first, but if you make sure you’re pricing to fit your audience size (and engagement level), you’ll be fine. Examine other media kits from bloggers in your industry to see how they price their opportunities and how they compare.
In terms of pricing, I now charge $2,500 for a sponsored post to reach my audience—but when you’re just starting out, it’s more common to command anywhere from $100 to $500 if you’ve got an engaged, growing base of readers who can help your sponsor move the needle.
Assemble a media kit that is clear, concise, and visually appealing. Advertisers will want to download and keep it while deciding whether or not to spend money on you.
You’ll also want to make it simple for sponsors to contact you, so they can reach out and get things started with a quick email or contact form submission.
2. Affiliate Schemes
Let us now discuss affiliate programs. If you ask me, joining (and promoting) most affiliate programs is arguably easier than pursuing blog sponsorships.
Companies with built-in affiliate programs are eager to pay you money in exchange for directing them to your blog readers, which means you don’t need to pitch sponsors or invest time in developing your own product before you can start making money.
However, in order to generate a meaningful income from affiliate marketing, your blog must first receive a significant amount of traffic.
For example, here’s a snapshot of my Bluehost affiliate revenue in February 2019, when I earned $43,510.00 in referral fees from them…
Check Your Grammar
What I like best about affiliate programs is that they eliminate the need for cold outreach that other channels, such as sponsorships and freelancing, require. Furthermore, many affiliate programs, such as the best web hosting plans (even those with monthly payment web hosting plans), are well-automated to get you onboarded and promoted as soon as possible. Here are a few of my most effective affiliate revenue-generating posts:
You are paid to recommend a product to your readers, similar to how sponsorships work. The best thing about affiliate programs is that they are available from a wide range of businesses. There are numerous options for joining profitable affiliate programs, ranging from the Amazon Affiliate Program to Target and eBay, all the way down to your small budding eCommerce companies with high-converting landing pages looking to jump on the affiliate train.
Check out this epic post about affiliate marketing on my blog for more information on how to get started generating affiliate income.
What Are the Best Blogger Affiliate Programs?
The best way to make money with affiliates is undoubtedly determined by the niche in which you write. Here are some of my recommendations for the best blogging affiliate programs:
I am aware that there are numerous affiliate program options available.
To avoid becoming overwhelmed with this channel, my advice is to focus on just a few (proven) affiliate programs with close topic tie-ins to the content you’ve been creating (like I’m doing with my newest side project, SmartWP)—and know that your audience wants more of it.
3. Advertisements on blogs
Displaying advertisement space is arguably the simplest (and quickest) way to earn money.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying this negatively. When you’re first starting out, simple advertising space is the most important component—and it’s the first channel I personally pursued. However, because it is so simple to do, it also tends to yield the lowest financial return.
For example, based on around 300,000 monthly readers, this simple blog advertisement (pictured below) on my blog here generates anywhere from $800 to $1,200 in blog income per month.
QuillBot AI’s Paraphrasing Tool
This is one of the lowest returns in terms of total dollars earned of all the different ways to make money blogging that I am involved in (especially for my amount of traffic).
However, because I’m an approved publisher with Carbon Ads, which goes out and brokers deals with advertisers like Atlassian, Adobe, Slack, and hundreds of other tech-related tool companies that want to reach my audience, it takes me zero effort on a daily basis to generate revenue with this channel.
Is it still possible to make money blogging through blog advertising?!!
In a nutshell, yes. For good reason, advertising space is still an active component in many digital marketing campaigns. To begin with, it is similar to advertisements prior to the digital age—billboards, magazine placements, newspaper ads, and so on. Advertisements can be an incredibly easy way to get a brand’s name out and in front of the public eye on the right blogs (especially if you’ve followed my guide to how to name a blog creatively).
And now that we spend so many hours on the Internet (the average person spends 24 hours per week online), it’s simple to get ads in front of readers.
You can start making money blogging on this channel by advertising on your blog in a variety of ways.
Of course, the most common approach is to start with Google Adsense.
Simply sign up, place a piece of Google code on your site where the ad will appear, and advertisers will bid on reaching your audience with relevant terms.
Remember that when you use Google Adsense, you don’t have a lot of control over what is advertised on your blog. If you want to stay true to your brand and engage your audience, try a more industry-specific and tightly controlled ad platform like the one I use (Carbon Ads), or look into other options that cater more closely to the audience you have—or want to drive to.
The 7 Best Blogger Display Ad Networks
Here are my recommendations for the best ad networks to consider for your blog:
If you want to have more control over the ads on your blog, I recommend using a channel like Sponsored Content (above), where you work one-on-one with a sponsor who wants to reach out to your audience. Furthermore, if you want to rely on advertising revenue, you should learn how to write a blog headline that consistently attracts new readers.
Sure, you’ll have to find companies in your niche that want to advertise on your site, but with this approach, you’ll almost always be able to negotiate higher-paying deals.
Furthermore, as your audience grows, companies will approach you for sponsorship opportunities.
Owning and Selling Your Own Products and Services
The only way to make money is to ask other companies to pay you in exchange for sharing their products with your audience.
When you’re still figuring out how to monetize your blog, it’s important to think about what you’re really passionate about (probably not advertising other companies’ products, right? ), as well as what you’re personally skilled at, in order to find opportunities to sell your own products and services to readers.
Here’s an example of how I make money from blogging: I write eBooks (and sell them to my audience, as in this one, The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers).
For example, if you’re a parent who enjoys sharing parenting advice on your blog but has no intention of ever selling your own products to readers… Then going the sponsored content and advertising route might be your best bet.
On the other hand, if you’re a chef who’s sharing awesome new recipes and want to build a personal brand for yourself, it may be a better goal to begin the process by selling an eBook that’s a simple compilation of all your best recipes with beautiful images and step-by-step tutorials.
Testing the waters with an easy-to-create digital product can also pave the way for a plethora of exciting new opportunities.
Perhaps your eBook catches the attention of your favorite publisher, leading to a print book deal?
Perhaps a television network has noticed your growing fan base on YouTube and Instagram and wants to reintroduce you to a popular show in your niche?
The opportunities that can arise from taking the initiative to create your own products and services are limitless.
These best blogging books, blogging tips, and blogging courses will all help you better monetize your audience by collaborating with them to offer win-win digital products.
Hopefully, by now, you have a good idea of what you like to do and what you’re good at, because we’re going to talk about how to make money blogging without relying on outside advertisers from now on.
Before we get into the various ways you can monetize your own content, I’d like to preface this with a quick pricing discussion…
We’ve already discussed how to price your sponsored content and blog advertising, but the following section is a little different.
When pricing anything you’re selling on your own, make sure you factor in your blogging overhead costs rather than just picking an arbitrary number that sounds good.
When pricing a digital product, such as an eBook or online course, you may not think there is any overhead at all, but it’s critical to understand the skill you’re contributing (how long did it take to master? ), the time it takes you to create, and what it’s worth to someone who will consume and act on your content.
You might have to experiment with a few different prices before you find the sweet spot.
Take a look at what your peers are doing to get ideas. Your ardent fans may buy regardless of price, but others will definitely price-check before clicking the buy button on your blog.
4. Market Online Courses
Do you have any skills that you can pass on to others? Do your readers look to you for expertise in a particular field?
Create an online course to monetize that skill, and you’ll be on your way to making money in no time.
The best part?
Creating an online course can be as simple as filming a few short instructional videos that teach your blog readers how to do something meaningful based on your own blogging skills, experiences, and successes. If you’ve excelled at something, there are people out there who would gladly pay to benefit from your knowledge and accelerate their learning curves.
Major online course platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, and CreativeLive all offer a wide range of courses ranging in length from 30 minutes to 30 hours or more—with the longer courses naturally commanding higher prices because they are often significantly more in-depth.
On the other end of the spectrum, an online course can be as time-consuming as you allow it to be.
Here’s a shot of me filming a course several years ago that turned out to be a very in-depth, 30-day step-by-step process for students to follow. Needless to say, it took some time to create all of the content, but it was also one of the most impactful courses I’ve ever launched for my students.
As you learn how to make money blogging with online courses, my advice is to start with a short-form course (less than 60 minutes of video content) on a very specific niche topic that can be taught without too much hand-holding along the way.
Take my word for it… I’ve created four online courses in the last five years, each with a different size, scope, and topic; your first time around the block, you should start with a simple course.
What Is the Best Way to Create Your First Online Course?
First, you must decide which skill or process you want to teach (and how long it will take someone to learn it).
Then you’ll need to validate that course idea with your readers, or go out and start conversations with your target customers, to ensure there’s a paying audience for the course you want to create.
The social media marketing niche is a great example of how to make money with an online course…
Assume you’re killing it on Instagram and your followers are curious as to how you do it. You can create a course that teaches them how to be an Instagram pro step by step. Your course’s modules could each focus on a different topic, such as:
- The fundamentals of taking interesting photographs
- How to Determine the Best Posting Schedule for Your Audience
- Creating enticing captions and utilizing hashtags
- In 90 days, you can go from 0 to 1,000 followers.
An online course like this would be a great example of evergreen content—a how-to guide that students can go through and implement on their own time, implying that it can be a relatively hands-off “set it and forget it” asset rather than something that requires students to tune in for weekly live sessions.
This, of course, makes this style a very appealing way to generate revenue.
Another excellent example is health and wellness plans.
Consider selling a 30-day plan for your specific practice if you’re a fitness blogger, bodybuilder, nutritionist, or something similar. This could include:
- Video demonstrations of how to perform specific workouts
- Schedules for meal preparation and nutrition guidelines
- Shopping tips and cooking recipes
- Workout plans for the week
- Help from the online community
All of these different components would be designed to work together to get students to a common end goal or transformation.
When it comes to selling online courses, the sky’s the limit.
Before you invest a lot of time in creating a course, make sure it is actually relevant to your audience.
Validating your course concept can be as simple as tweeting about it, talking about it on your Instagram story, or sharing a short blog post in which you ask your readers and followers if this course is something they’d be interested in.
Feel out their feedback, then ask the most engaged readers to put their money where their mouth is by pre-ordering the course at a steep discount (the only true validation is whether or not people are willing to pay for your course), and then you can confidently create your course based on the feedback you receive.
I’ll soon be compiling my own guide to creating (and selling) online courses. But for now, here are a few more of the best resources I’ve found for learning how to create your first online course:
Again, for your first online course, keep it simple.
As you distribute more courses to your audience, you’ll fine-tune your process and learn how to perfect it over time.
5th. Physical Products
True, true… I know you started a blog because you said to yourself, “I don’t want to be in the physical product space, Ryan.” I just want to blog and make money without having to build products and ship packages all day every day.”
And I understand. I don’t sell physical items on my website (anymore) but bear with me on this one because a lot has changed in the last few years.
You no longer need to keep your own inventory on hand—you can drop ship your products without ever having to print a shipping label or stock up on cardboard boxes. Because of this hands-off approach, selling products is a pretty appealing way to generate revenue today.
What exactly is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a business model that allows you to run an online store without ever owning any inventory.
Once you’ve made a blog sale, your supplier (a warehouse that packs and ships orders for sellers) will ship your products directly to your customer’s door—for a fee, of course. However, you will never have to worry about your products being stored, packaged, or shipped.
Let’s take this a step further if you want to sell physical products… You don’t even have to make your own products anymore.
You can find an existing product category on the market today (with proven demand and paying customers), then find a supplier on a site like Alibaba who will create a private-label version of that product for you to sell.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to go through the (often time-consuming) process of searching for suppliers, you can use a print-on-demand platform like Printify, which allows you to easily create and print your own designs on over 250 different products. In addition, they handle fulfillment and shipping.
Here are a few examples of private-label products you could sell:
Vitamins, protein powder, and nutritional supplements are all available.
Women’s activewear and yoga pants
Backpacks, speakers, chargers, and other travel items (if you are a travel blogger)
Cosmetics and cosmetics
More ideas can be found right here.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to quickly set up an online store that’s tightly linked to your blog in order to collect orders, gather customer information, collect payments, and update your orders along the way.
Oh! Now consider this real-life example from my own former business.
My friend Matt still runs the private-label phone case company he and I started after college.
We launched the business and grew it to a $160,000 side project within our first year by being good at marketing through Facebook and other online channels after finding a few online suppliers who could make us high-quality phone cases with the kinds of designs we saw trending on sites like Etsy and Amazon.
In addition, I started a company blog where I taught others how to start a phone case business from scratch.
And for those who were serious about getting started, we sold them equipment and training on how to launch their own version of the business we’d perfected, resulting in a new revenue stream and one of the first ways I learned how to make money by blogging.
Selling physical products is a personal decision that you must make based on your niche and the type of business you want to start.
Physical products are great when you have a devoted following of readers—or when the product is very naturally aligned with your niche and there is a proven demand for it.
You can even go the swag route if you have followers who will be excited to wear your brand. I’m talking about t-shirts, mugs, prints, and other branded merchandise that you can host online and have printed by a printer dropship.
Begin testing the product if it naturally fits your target audience.
6. Make a Software Tool Available
Do you work as a software developer? If not, perhaps you have a good friend or former coworker who is.
A software tool, in its most basic form, is something that people (your blog readers or even freelance clients) can use to automate a process—or a series of processes—and avoid doing the task manually.
To give you a rather meta example of this in action, my blog is powered by the OptimizePress theme (for my CMS, WordPress).
That WordPress theme is a software product I purchased, and they charge an annual subscription fee in order to receive updates and premium support.
It is possible to run a blog without using WordPress or a theme like OptimizePress, but because of the very visual nature of how this theme works, I never have to touch a line of code or learn any coding languages in order to run my blog on a daily basis.
When OptimizePress first debuted, they created a software product that significantly simplified the process of running a visually appealing WordPress blog. That is worth paying for, and I have been a customer for nearly six years.
Software and other digital products in this category aren’t limited to WordPress themes. Other examples include the following:
- Productivity tools for mobile applications
- Service providers of email marketing
- Tools for customer relationship management (CRMs)
- Even video games are included.
If there is a process or series of tasks that people perform on a regular basis, software can be developed to help automate or streamline those activities—and if you have an audience of readers who face the same challenge, you can easily make money blogging by meeting their needs through software.
Working hands-on with a small group of readers to create and perfect your software before releasing it to the public will be the most enjoyable part.
7. Market Your Own Services
Selling your time, skills, and expertise as a service is similar to selling online courses (and freelancing, which we’ll discuss later).
Selling your services, on the other hand, differs significantly from selling courses in that you work with a client one-on-one or in a small group to provide individualized assistance or deliverables.
The common thread, however, is that you are once again identifying a specific skill that you already possess and applying it to make money through blogging.
Services that you can sell (among many other ways to make money online) include:
- On an hourly basis, I consult with businesses.
- Creating logos on sites such as 99 Designs or Dribbble
- Individuals are coached on a monthly retainer basis.
- Creating brand-specific copy or blog content
- Using your audio engineering skills to edit podcasts
- Projects involving search engine optimization for online businesses
- Creating websites or software tools for well-established businesses
- You can offer your skill as a service if you have one…
Because services are frequently performed on a one-on-one basis and include working closely with one client at a time, they will not scale in the same way that affiliate income or course sales will.
However, if you charge premium rates to established clients, it can still be very profitable, making it well worth your time.
Assume you’re a business coach, for example…
You could charge $150 for a course on how to market your business. This could be a great way to make money blogging if you have a large audience.
If your audience isn’t massive yet, you can offer a smaller group of people a $500 one-on-one coaching package, or even a done-for-you service where you charge a monthly fee of $3,000 to manage all of their social media channels and grow their following.
It’s a numbers game, and you must determine how much you’re worth and how much time you’re willing to put in.
That being said, here’s my guide to pricing your freelance services in a way that allows you to make money blogging while also putting money away at the end of the year.
Where to Look for Clients Who Need Your Services (and Expertise)
Later in this guide, we’ll go into greater detail about freelancing (working with companies) as a specific way to monetize your blog. But, for the time being, here are my recommendations for the best places to find ready and able customers for your service offerings.
While selling your services will not scale as well as many of our other ways to make money blogging on this site, it is a great place to start.
8. Create (and sell) eBooks
We’ve already discussed why writing and selling eBooks (your own digital product) is another great way to make money by blogging because your income can be scaled without the need for any additional expenses after the book is written.
When selling an eBook directly on your blog and collecting payments through Stripe or PayPal, the vast majority (if not all) of the profit goes directly to you.
There are no middlemen. There are no publishers. There are no distributors. There are no retail stores.
This means that when you learn how to write an eBook and sell it, you will keep the highest profit margin possible on your eBook sales.
Over the last few years, eBooks have been one of my dependable sources of passive income, and they’ve been critical to my own personal journey—in a way that benefits my readers just as much (if not more) than myself.
Here’s a screenshot of a sales report that shows how much money I’ve made from just one of my eBooks (The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers) since its release:
That’s $9,296.00 in eBook sales with almost no effort on my part.
This eBook is a resource I created nearly a year ago. Aside from a few updates a year, it’s a fairly automatic way of monetizing my blog through readers who discover it after reading one of my blogging-related articles.
Isn’t that a good way to make money?
I do have one major caveat for you, though… I have an engaged audience that buys my eBooks on a regular basis because I have invested a lot of time and effort into creating high quality, long-form articles (like the one you’re reading right now) that drive traffic to my blog from search engines, notable publications, and social channels.
Finally, it’s important to note that when I refer to eBooks, I’m referring to digital books in the form of downloadable PDFs. These days, creating and selling eBooks is a breeze.
That being said, you can go the extra mile and use Amazon eBooks, which allows you to sell Kindle formatted eBooks and audiobooks on your own blog as well as to the hundreds of millions of Amazon customers.
Cookbooks, fiction, self-help, weight-loss, non-fiction: you name it, an eBook is available for it.
Given your skills and experience, an eBook could be one of your best ways to make money blogging if you are confident that you have the knowledge to share and can write well. Just make sure to start with an outline.
The fact that you already have a blog with existing readers should reassure you that you have something worth reading—perhaps it’s time to turn that content into an eBook.
If you haven’t already started a blog, check out my ultimate guide to starting a blog.
Do You Still Need to Begin Your Blog First?
Check out my ultimate guide on How to Start a Blog today (on the Side).
Yes, you read that correctly. In each of these video interviews, you can see little old me in the corner.
Close hired me in 2017 to plan, produce, launch, and orchestrate a virtual summit—they’re Inside Sales Summit. I conducted 55 video interviews with some of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurs and salespeople over the course of three months.
I created a complete website using one of the best website builders available (WordPress), got the site up and running with a managed WordPress hosting plan to host the virtual summit, created every page, edited the videos, designed the graphics, established our promotional partnerships, and wrote the launch email sequences used by Close and all of the partners to promote the event.
It took a lot of effort.
However, this side project earned me $30,000.
And it was only because of my blog that Steli and the Close team decided to work with me in the first place.
Is it possible to get paid to interview 55 of my business heroes?
That is a fantastic way to earn money through blogging.
However, being paid to create a virtual summit for another company isn’t the only way to generate revenue through this monetization channel. You have the option of hosting your own virtual summit.
As I previously stated, virtual summits are a lot of work, but the work can be extremely profitable.
A virtual summit is an alive (or pre-recorded) event that features multiple guest speakers on a specific topic. This is why I am constantly emphasizing the significance of finding your tribe.
If you have a group of like-minded readers on your email list, each with their own communities that align with your messaging, you’ve got an audience waiting to be invited to a virtual summit.
A virtual summit is the culmination of all of the above methods of earning money.
You are teaching, coaching, and selling. Consider your audience and what motivates them.
- What are they hoping to learn?
- How can you assist them?
- Do you have enough material to organize a summit?
Once you’re certain of your answers to these questions, you can begin planning the event.
How many speakers do you require?
Is this going to be a live webinar or an in-person summit?
Who will be there, and when should they arrive?
Allow yourself plenty of time to put together your summit.
Then, again, and again, promote, promote, promote.
How Does a Virtual Summit Help You Make Money Blogging?
A summit can be monetized in a variety of ways.
Selling admission tickets is the most basic method (and the easiest to implement on your first try).
Depending on your industry, anywhere from $20 to $200 is typical.
Prices can be reduced for early birds. Request that all of your speakers promote the event to their respective audiences.
Another way to monetize your summit is to provide free “live” viewing and then sell an all-access pass to anyone who wants to watch the speakers they missed (or watch them again).
With either approach, you can sell another product to your audience after the event is over, such as an online course, eBook, or coaching package that expands on the concepts covered during the live summit.
In any case, organizing a virtual summit will most likely be your primary focus for the quarter.
If you choose the summit route, you should also ensure that you have other monetization in place while your attention is solely on this project.
Make Money Blogging Using Your Own Talent
You have talent. You have a lot of experience. Your audience has faith in you.
You’re golden, my friend if you’ve made it this far and have a blog with a real readership. You’ve got talent, and you’re only now learning how to monetize your blog.
Perhaps the monetization channels we’ve discussed thus far aren’t the best fit… Or perhaps you’re already using them and are looking for new ideas.
So, in the following section, we’ll go over how to sell yourself (in a good way that monetizes your blog).
10. Business Collaborations
You have an audience when you have a growing blog.
And when you have an audience that keeps returning for more of what you’re giving them, you’ll be able to create opportunities for unique business partnerships as a way to further monetize your audience.
Business partnerships can form in a variety of ways, making it difficult to explain just one.
A business partnership can be as simple as an affiliate relationship, as we’ve already discussed.
However, it could also indicate…
Collaboration with a tech company to white-label their app and sell it to your followers
Collaboration with another blogger to create a product and market it to each other’s audiences
After your food blog takes off, you can start your own salsa line with Williams Sonoma (like Gaby Dalkin has done).
The point is, I keep emphasizing the importance of cultivating an audience.
This is also true when it comes to forming win-win business partnerships.
Find other companies or individuals who share your audience, goals, and, most importantly, your plans for making money through blogging.
All that remains is to find a way to collaborate so that all parties benefit.
11.Sponsorships for podcasts
If you’ve been telling yourself that starting a podcast is critical…
So, here’s your chance. It’ll be a lot of fun, and it could be very beneficial to you.
My podcast typically generates four to five figures in sponsorship revenue per year, with sponsorships from brands such as Freshbooks, Monday.com, and Skillshare costing around $500 per episode to get in front of my 30,000 monthly listeners.
Sure, when you’re just getting started, you won’t be able to command comparable sponsorship rates because your show won’t have thousands of listeners tuning in to hear what the show’s all about right away.
It will take time to transition from selecting the best podcast hosting platform to launching your show and growing your listenership. If, on the other hand, you’ve already done a good job of creating content and attracting regular readers to your blog, you can launch your podcast with a bang by heavily promoting it to your existing readers.
The best part about starting a podcast to make money is that it can be relatively low effort once you’ve mastered the tools and process (compared to writing massively epic blog posts all day, every day).
Begin Small with Podcast Sponsorships to Position Yourself for Success.
If you’re short on time, you can start by converting your existing blog posts into spoken words and regularly posting them as podcast episodes that go through all of your blog’s most popular content (and share previews of what you’re working on right now).
If your show is entertaining and you discuss interesting topics or bring on exciting guests, you’ll likely attract more listeners steadily over the course of your first few months of podcasting. Promote your blog and podcast by engaging in thoughtful blogger outreach to pitch yourself as a guest on other podcasts, offering to do guest blogging, and developing a social community with whom you can regularly share new content.
Once you’ve established a regular listenership for your podcast, you can add podcasting to your media kit and begin charging sponsors for podcast ad placements such as 30-second pre-rolls, mid-rolls, and post-rolls that promote your sponsored products and services.
Freelancing isn’t for everyone, but it’s a good option if you’re still trying to figure out how to make money blogging.
In fact, until a few years ago, freelancing accounted for nearly 90% of my blog income. Furthermore, the relationships I formed with freelance clients during my first few years of blogging helped me position myself to make money from other (more passive) sources of blogging today.
As previously stated, if you are a skilled writer (or at least enjoy it enough to improve over time), you could start freelancing on the side to share your knowledge with clients willing to pay.
👋 Do you want to learn how to start a freelance business on the side while working full-time? Read my ultimate guide to starting a freelance business.
Especially if you’ve already established your own blog to a respectable level and can show clients that your content attracts and engages readers.
Now, becoming a freelance writer could be your chance to assist other brands, startups, and bloggers in doing the same. This is where freelancing comes into play. But it doesn’t have to be just writing.
You can market your services in the following ways:
Consulting with established companies’ marketing teams and teaching them how to create content
Becoming a hired gun who rewrites website copy and makes suggestions to improve it in order to attract more customers
Coaching other writers and bloggers who want to achieve the same outcomes as you.
Never forget that you have a skill that can be used to make money by blogging, even if it’s just trading your time for a little extra cash today. Check out my list of the best websites to find blogging jobs online (if you want to monetize your new writing skills with some paid gigs)—or, if you’re a developer by trade, check out these WordPress developer job sites.
If you aren’t ready to dive into some of the more time-consuming ways to make money by blogging, or if you simply want to supplement your income while working on larger projects, freelancing may be your best option. Just make sure you have a clever blog layout that directs potential clients to your service page, where they can learn more and hire you right away.
How Will You Earn Money Through Blogging This Year? Items for Action
What are your thoughts on your blog? Are you ready to take the next step and monetize your blog?
Your ability to act quickly will be the most important determinant of your success. All of the perfect blog business planning in the world will not result in anything happening.
So here’s my call to action for you today…
Launch your blog right now if you haven’t already (follow my step-by-step guide to starting a blog).
Determine whether you want to take a longer-term approach to making money through blogging (with a higher return).
Begin taking small steps today to create that asset, pitch yourself, or otherwise bring it to life.
Do You Still Need to Begin Your Blog First?
Check out my ultimate guide on How to Start a Blog today (on the Side).
I strongly advise you to make a list of your personal top picks for the best ways to make money blogging based on time and effort, as well as viewing these through the lens of activating your own skills and interests.
It will take time (months) to transition from starting a brand new blog to learning how to make money blogging, but the effort will be well worth it.
Once you have an idea of how long it will take to bring your preferred method of making money by blogging to fruition—as well as an estimate of how much money you could potentially make from that channel—fairly it’s simple to decide what you should concentrate on.
It’s common for many new bloggers to focus on low-effort, mid-profit ways to make money by blogging in the early days. It’s a good way to start monetizing your blog, but don’t make the common blogging mistake of attempting to monetize your content too soon at the expense of not building strong connections with your readers.
Then, once you’ve received your first dollar (or $100, $1,000, or even $10,000+), you’ll have a better understanding of the work required to make money blogging in your niche—and what it will take to accelerate to the next level. Just keep in mind how to handle your taxes—I recommend bookmarking my guide to taxes for bloggers.