Last year, I quit my job and started blogging full time. Since then, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how someone can make money blogging. In fact, earlier today I had lunch with a friend who asked that same question.
I would imagine anyone who doesn’t know much about blogging would be a little mystified by it. I’ll admit I didn’t know exactly how the money-making aspect worked until I started researching how to start a blog.
I kept seeing posts like “How I Made Six Figures Blogging Last Year” and “How I went from $0 to $5,000 a Month Blogging in Under a Year.” I rarely clicked on those posts because they seemed scammy. Besides, I’m sure they wanted me to pay them to tell me how they did it, and I didn’t have much of a budget for that.
But still, I was curious. There are people who blog for a living, after all, so there must be a way that doesn’t involve scamming hapless readers, right?
Turns out, yes, there are actually many ways to earn a living (or at least a decent side hustle) blogging. Here are four ways to make money blogging:
This was how I assumed most bloggers made their money. People come to your page to read what you’ve written, they see the ads you’ve placed, and the advertising companies pay you. Easy, peasy. And while the overall system is a little more involved than that, this is essentially what happens.
There are a few complications with generating revenue from ads, though. First, you have to apply to ad networks and hope they accept you. You also have to get a lot of traffic on your site to see any real money: most companies pay by the thousands of page views.
So, say your ad network pays a rate of $10 per thousand page views, and you get around 10,000 page views a month. That’s $100. A nice chunk of change, but not exactly an amount anyone can live off of. You also have to be careful that you don’t get so greedy your blog turns into one giant ad black hole. No one wants to see that.
This one was a little harder for me to wrap my head around, but think of it like this: You probably belong to some referral programs already, through your bank, your cell phone carrier or internet service provider, etc. Even my dentist has a referral program. You refer a friend, and the business gives you some sort of discount, credit, or cash back.
Affiliate links are like that. You recommend a product or service that you use and love, toss in a link that directs your readers to a site where they can purchase the product or service, and you get money from that company. The great thing about affiliate links is you’re being paid to do something that you would do for free: recommending a useful product to people you care about.
A sponsored post is when a company pays you to write a post about their product. This is different from affiliate links in that an affiliate link is usually just an additional bit of info in a post you’ve already crafted about something else, whereas a sponsored post is a post written entirely about and for a specific product.
Often, it isn’t even a product the blogger has used before. When a company releases a new product, they will often send samples to bloggers and, essentially, pay them to give their product the thumbs up.
Honestly, I have a bit of an issue with this method of income. I’m certain that most bloggers are extremely ethical about sponsored posts. That is to say, they only recommend a product if they truly like it. But the idea of someone (especially a corporate someone) telling me what to write about makes me a tad uncomfortable.
Products and services
This is by far the best way to make money blogging! Bloggers often have a blog to promote something else they’re doing, or they have more to say than can be compressed into a simple 500-1500 word blog post. So they sell products and services through their blog.
The fun thing about this is it can be anything you want; it’s as varied as bloggers themselves. The When I Grow Up Coach sells career coaching services. Ruth at Living Well Spending Less has a whole shopful of neat products. Some bloggers sell handmade products like soaps, jewelry, or home décor. Some sell digital products like WordPress themes or e-courses.
I myself offer freelance writing services, and I plan to launch my first e-book soon. If you’re lucky enough to have a product or service that really takes off, this option can bring in a pretty sweet little income for you.
So there you have it, the four main ways to make money blogging. If you’re interested in starting your own blog, hit me up with your questions in the comments or an e-mail!
As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it, and don’t forget to sign up for e-mails for answers to more of your blogging questions.