One of the biggest questions that I always get when I tell people that I am a blogger is, “Do you actually make money doing that?” And it’s a very fair question. I actually asked that myself when I first started discovering blogs, “How in the world do these people make money blogging? And how do they make so much that they are able to quit their jobs to blog full-time?” The whole idea just baffled me. I went about in search of answers. My curiosity quickly reached the point of frustration when I could’nt find any information on the sites of the blogs that I was following. Of course, had I been looking at blogs dedicated to delivering information about blogging I would have found answers much more easily… but I wasn’t. I was looking at food blogs. Most food bloggers don’t go around talking about how they make a living blogging. Well… unless they are like me : )
My blog has been a little slow taking off because I haven’t spent nearly as much time dedicated to its’ improvement as I should have. I kind of let it do it’s own thing, making very tiny adjustments here and there, and I haven’t seen much in the way of improvement or an increase in income. Aside from my weekly posts, I was an inactive blogger. This past month I decided to turn a new leaf and take things in a new direction. I am making an active effort here at The Green Forks to provide a more professional blog for my readers with more information geared towards those interested in the behind-the-scenes of the blogging world.
I think it is really important to have the information on how to make money blogging readily available for readers. Whether they are interested in the possibilities of creating a blog with income or are simply curious, it’s just nice to have the information accessible to them. I have also written a post on How to Create a Blog, which includes 5 informative steps on how to get your blog up and running from the ground up! Or if you want something a little more brief to read on the topic, I created a post that bullets the main Blogging Resources you will need.
Now let’s get to our main point…
How to Make Money Blogging
To demonstrate the idea behind making money with your blog, I have listed the main sources of income streams for bloggers. Not all of them will apply to you. This could be simply because of your niche or maybe you just don’t want to put that much work into creating an income. Most people are looking to make lots of money as passively as they can. It’s just human nature. But if you really want to succeed, you will have to take some initiative and put some work into your blog and your income streams.
For you to try and tackle all of these methods at once would send you over the edge in chaos. Much too stressful for any normal person to endure. Plus, as I said before, they probably won’t all apply to you. So to keep your sanity and make things work as efficiently as possible for you, start with just two. Pick one or two income ideas that make sense for you at the moment and really focus on developing those. As those begin to provide a steady income over time you can begin to build more and more income streams that will help support your blog. To begin with lets cover the basic principles-
There are two main types of online income that ALL income streams fall under:
- Passive, Low-Maintenance Income (adsense, affiliate links, membership sites, etc.)
- Aggressive, High-Maintenance Income (webinars, e-mail distributions, consulting/services, etc.)
24 Ways to Earn an Income Blogging
- Google Adsense- This is a free ad program run by Google that is pay-per-click. To use, just sign up to create an account, pick what kind of ad you want, grab the code, and plug it into your website where you would like it to appear. NEVER click your own ads or encourage others to click your ads. Google is very good at being knowledgeable of fraudulent clicks- and they will kick you out of the program. Once your out, it is almost impossible to get back in. Some people avoid using Adsense because it tends to display ugly ads in text form. I agree, those are ugly, but you can set it to only display image ads instead of including/featuring text ads. You can also filter the ads that show up by tweaking your account preferences, that way your site won’t display ads for porn, gabbling, etc. To maximize your Adsense revenue you should play with the location to see what works best with you, your blog, and your audience. You can use this diagram (below) provided by Adsense as a guide. The darker colors have been found to receive more clicks and earn better revenue. You can learn more about Adsense here.
- Affiliate Links- These are links that bring readers to services or products that they can purchase and in return you will receive a commission. There are many affiliate programs around. Some of the more popular ones include Ebay, Walmart, Amazon, Webhosting Companies, etc. A good portion of my sites income actually comes from these- Amazon, HostGator, Thesis themes, Elegant Themes, and Genesis themes. Amazon commissions are incredibly small (3% total sale or something like that), but the rest are around $50 a purchase. If you have a lot of readers and you get maybe 15 purchases a month, that’s an extra $750! I’d take it. And all you are doing is putting their link up on your page or possibly writing a post to help promote their product/service to reel in the buyers. And if you find a site that you like and don’t see an affiliate market program offered, shoot them an e-mail. They may have one that isn’t promoted on their webpage or they might even set one up for you!
- Ad Publishing Programs- These are programs that you need to be accepted into on a more professional level than say with Adsense. Usually you have to have a number of posts under your belt and be creating new content so many times a week. Once accepted, you pick the type of ad you want to run, grab the code, and place it in your webpage where you want it to appear. These programs almost always require you to place one of their ads “above the fold” on your website. This means that it needs to be visible on your webpage before you scroll down. Sometimes they also require you to advertise ads that promote their program. These programs usually pay per 1,000 views (CPM). Many require 2 year contract agreements and some do not allow you to display ad content or affiliate links from other programs at the same time. Personally I find that unless you have 10,000 + views a month it is more profitable to use Adsense, positioning their ads at the most lucrative locations.
- Review Products- Find an affiliate product that is related to you and your niche, and talk about it on your blog. If you contact and ask to review an item, they will usually send you the item free. Write a post with a review, promoting this product and if people purchase it you will earn a commission.
- Job Boards- This depends a lot on your niche and what you discuss. You can offer for people to advertise jobs or you can earn income by people clicking on jobs, all while simultaneously driving traffic to your blog and making money with ads. You can learn more about job boards here. Also, a simple Google search will help you wonders to expand upon this idea.
- E-mail List- Drive people to your blog to view reviews, affiliate products, e-books, and webinars. This will promote purchases, earning you commissions, plus increasing foot traffic on your blog and helping with ad revenue. Sending out generic posts in an e-mail list also helps with traffic and ad revenue. To create custom e-mail lists it is important to use a professional mailing site such as MailChimp.
- Membership Sites- This is a great way to establish a low maintenance, passive income. Create a fixed membership site at a monthly rate for a specified time period, maybe 6 months? You earn money each month from their membership as well as create more traffic on your website, increasing ad revenue. Find more info here.
- Offer Consulting and Related Services- Whether this is relative to you or not depends on your niche. If you are able to offer a service related to the content on your website, you can profit from it. Whether it is offering consulting on a topic, teaching a task, designing, diet planning, etc. There are people out there that will seek your help! I am offering a FREE service to help people create a blog. I profit from this because I use my affiliate link with HostGator to make the purchase for their blog’s web-hosting service. It’s a win-win for both of us- they get their blog set-up for free and I make a commission indirectly from them.
- Direct Banner Advertising- With this you sell an ad to someone (usually relative to your niche) rather than using a publishing program. You can either wait for them to come to you, usually via e-mail, or search them out yourself. Success with this is very dependent on your blogs niche. (Use Google DFP)
- E-book Sales- This is a great way to earn some extra money from your blog. You can create new content for an e-book or take a series of posts and put them into an e-book, re-purpose the content, and then sell it. Maybe you want to give one away free to develop readership. That’s what I do. I offer a free e-book with My Top 5 Favorite Photography Tips for signing up for my e-mail distribution list. This increases my e-mail list which increases foot traffic on my blog, and thereby creates more ad revenue. If you want to sell your e-book you can inlist the help of a service like e-junkie where people can download it and you can control it. You can also create your own affiliate program for your e-book and have other people start selling it for you at a commission. Tasty Photography employs this technique and it works great for them! (Tips on How to Sell E-books, Using E-Commerce to Sell E-book, How to add PayPal to Sell E-book)
- Selling a Website/Blog- Are you concerned about trying to make a blog and failing? Don’t be! You just created an asset and you can sell it! If you put up 200 quality posts about a topic of interest and you’re not seeing any future in it, you have the opportunity to sell it. The going rate is about 10-12 times the monthly income at the time of the sale. Don’t let your concern of not succeeding hold you back- you can always get out and sell! (Sell My Blog)
- Create a Directory- Contact people with skills to see if they would be interested in being listed in your directory. Charge them for the listing per year and sell the directory to your audience for membership per year. Simply create directory through pages on WordPress or with a plugin. (Click here for ‘How-To’)
- Network- By aligning yourself with other people in your niche you can learn from them, profit from their experience, and possibly increase your traffic through public contact (commenting) and guest posting.
- Webinar- Run a single webinar/series on a specific topic relevant to people in your niche. Charge for access. Webinar’s are easily created through programs like Adobe Connect Pro. It is exceptionally profitable to network with other blogs when creating a webinar. Not only will the webinar be advertised better when more than one blog is involved, but your blog will gain recognition/traffic from the readers of the other blogs as well. (How to Develop & Host a Webinar, 8 Great Tools)
- Donations- Place a donation button on blog through PayPal. This can be more/less profitable depending on your niche. (Click here for ‘How-To’)
- In Text Advertising- This is referring to those text links that usually have double-underlines and create a pop-up when you hover over them. (Kontera)
- Sell Hardcover Book- You can publish a book more easily now than in the past. Readers can purchase the book through links on your page and it can be printed on demand and sent to them. (Lulu, Createspace, Xlibris)
- Hold a Conference- You can host a conference online or in a physical location creating speaking engagements or a convention. The opportunity to do this will better present itself as you become more well-known within your niche audience. You can run this by yourself, with others in your niche, invite a popular blogger as a key-note speaker, and/or invite other bloggers in your niche.
- CPM Advertising- These advertising networks work best for sites that have a lot traffic. I have personally found that with a lower amount of traffic (about 6,000 a day), I make more money with Adsense. CPM=Cost Per Thousand Impressions.
- RSS Feedburner Ads- You can easily add an Adsense unit into your RSS feed. (Click here for a ‘How-To’)
- CPA- Put advertisements on your blog and you will make money when people perform a certain action. (For example: Advertise through a University about their Masters’ Program. Once a reader submits their info to be contacted about the program through your ad, you make money as the lead). Be cautionable about this and make sure that you are dealing with a reputable person/group. CPA=Cost Per Action. (See CPA Nation)
- Merchandising- Lots of ways to do this ‘on demand‘ with CD’s, T-shirt’s, mug’s, etc. (Merchify, CafePress)
- Create Software, Plugins, Themes, etc.- If you are tech savvy enough maybe you can do this your or if not, outsource the project. You can sell the products or rights to the product for a profit.
- Premium Content- Different spin on membership site. Offers ‘premium content‘ to people that have paid for special access to a specific set of information or posts. You can set this up with a variety of plugins. (More info here)
Now pick 1 or 2 ideas from this list and go get ‘em!
Resource: Blogging Your Passion