10 Ways to Make Money Blogging
So far we’ve spoken about why you should (or shouldn’t) create a blog, how to find the right niche for it, and how to start your blog. Now that you have a working blog, it’s time to create your monetization plan. We’re going to discuss ten different ways to make money blogging.
Warning: this is long. You’ll want to bookmark it or pin it and use it for reference.
First, the list.
1. Blog Ads
3. Amazon Influence Program
4. Affiliate Links
5. Selling a Course
6. Selling MLM Products
7. Building a Network Marketing Team
8. Becoming an Influencer
9. Sponsored Blog Posts
10. Shopify Stores, Dropshipping, and Etsy Stores
Let’s jump in.
1. Make Money Blogging With Blog Ads
This was the first way people made money blogging online. The premise is simple. You sign up with an ad network and allow ads to be placed on your blog. The amount of money the blog makes is based on the number of views (impressions) and/or clicks each specific ad receives.
Lots of traffic and lots of ads means more money. Nowadays, though, blogs with more ads are considered spammy and are punished by Google. Ads tend to make people leave and Google tracks how long people stay on your blog.
Who is this method good for? It works best for blogs with an existing massive audience (a la Huffington Post), or sites like Diply or Ranker who advertise their listicles on Facebook. People are willing to click through multiple pages for the things that interest them. I’m guilty of this one. I’ll totally click through 15 pages of Kate Middleton outfits or 10 pages of “the best internet clapbacks.” (No one’s perfect. Now you know my internet weakness.)
Blog ads do work, but it’s a penny on the impressions sort of deal. In this era, there are far more profitable ways to monetize your blog.
Kit is one part social platform, one part affiliate wizardry, and completely awesome. With Kit, you create a profile. Then, you create your kits: lists of your favorite products, from fitness to photography to parenting to Burning Man must-haves. Other people on Kit can follow you, and you can follow back. Kit supports the Amazon and eBay affiliate programs, among a few others.
So, you create your Kit’s, then share them on your blog where relevant. Get specific. If you have a travel blog, you could have kits for long flight must-haves, tropical vacation necessities, road trip gear, backpacking packing list, and so on. Fitness blog? Recovery essentials, home workout must-haves, favorite workout clothing and gear, gym bag necessities, and so on.
You could have a Kit tab across the top of your blog, or you could just link to them where relevant to your blog. kit.co
3. Amazon Influencer Program
Similar to Kit, Amazon rolled out a way for influencers to have their own shareable, monetizable Amazon profile, called a Storefront. On it, you can create lists of your favorite things. Share your lists, make affiliate sales.
You do have to qualify for the program, and here is the link to apply: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/influencers. Similar to a Kit or Shopify Shop, you could link it at the top of your blog, as well as sharing the lists anywhere relevant on your blog. Our family brand has an Amazon Influencer account, and we use this strategy on our family blog.
4. Affiliate Links
Amazon, Ali Express, Programs. This is perhaps the second of the original ways blogs made money. It’s a great option, not to be overlooked. Anyone can sign up for the Amazon Affiliates program. With it, you receive a little header across your computer screen. Using the toolbar, you can get a special affiliate link coded to you for any product Amazon sells.
So, let’s say you’re writing a blog about a special meal plan and you recommend a specific piece of cookware, or you’re writing about a workout and there’s a photo of the person working on using a mat. You’ll link to these products. Amazon gives you the option of a short link, a long link, or a link with text and a photo. You can pick whichever works best, and link it. You’ll want to make sure you have the standard affiliate disclaimer on the top and bottom of your blog. See the ones on ours? They’re legally required so people know you are making money off their click, though it doesn’t come out of their pocket.
Amazon affiliate payments aren’t a lot, but they add up. They’re like, free money. I guarantee there’s a reason why your blog needs them.
If you’re sharing Amazon links anywhere, make sure you’re using your affiliate links. It takes two extra seconds. Plus, if the person buys anything else while they’re purchasing the item you shared, you’ll make a commission on those, too! Drawback? They have to buy it in the same time frame as they clicked on your link. In technical terms, it’s a short cookie life. …Still worth it.
5. Selling a Course
This is a super profitable way to monetize your blog, and it’s really popular for experienced bloggers and marketers. You take what you know- that you KNOW people want to know how to do- and create a course to sell it. The popular lead-ins to selling your course take additional work, however.
You can create ads on your site for the course, or for a free ten-day challenge that leads up to the course. For example, if you’re selling a fitness program, you could offer a ten-day or two-week fitness challenge or meal plan, to jumpstart people into your world.
You can also have your own ads on your site for your product. Some blogs do this, some don’t. It all depends on the feel and look of your blog. What may be completely natural on a fitness blog may look totally out of place on a minimalist decor blog. In the case of a minimalist decor blog, I’d feature a sentence at the end of relevant articles along the lines of, “Ready to declutter your own space? Take our 10-day minimalism challenge and create your own zen living space.”
Lastly, remember the rule about it taking an average of seven exposures for someone to buy something? You can’t trust some will be back seven times to your blog, so you’ll need to do two things to get those seven exposures: follow them around the web (or at least social media) with ads, and build an email list with which to email them.
Always remember in the world of the internet, there are no hard and fast rules for anything. You have to do what flows best for your specific project.
6. Selling MLM Products
It seems like 90% of new moms end up selling some kind of network marketing product. Maybe it’s because they’re at home with a baby, maybe it’s that they want to earn income from home and it seems like the easiest way to do it… Either way, it’s a thing. Building a blog specifically to sell the product can work, done correctly.
The first way to sell an MLM product on a blog is to build a lifestyle blog around the product. Let’s say you’re selling Pruvit, a Keto supplement. A Keto blog is a natural side project. Recipes, resources, experiences, and your favorite product. With proper SEO, people find the site, love your content, and buy from you. This same idea can work with essential oils, with makeup, even with financial services.
The potential drawback to building a site solely around selling your product is this: generally, people google the product because someone else has already referred them to the product, and your site is just verifying the original rep’s claims. You can counterbalance this by incorporating some of the other strategies in this article, like Amazon Lists and affiliate links.
Now, here’s the *better* way to sell an MLM product using a blog. It requires more capital, but it’s very effective. Instead of being an expert on ONE product, you can create a blog comparing all of the competing products. Let’s face it: everyone wants to know which is better: DoTerra or Young Living, Isagenix or Herbalife, Nerium or Jeunesse or Rodan and Fields, Senegence’s LipSense or NuSkin’s PowerLips. When they search for any of those things online, there are tons of results, but most of them are one-sided reviews, written by someone clearly selling one product.
What if there was a result that gave unbiased reviews of all the competing products, with links to buy them all? I make a few hundred dollars a month from having one of my product links on someone else’s site that does just that. Instead of signing up for every company, an entrepreneur posted asking for reps from several companies. Mine was selected for one product, and people visit this site, read the unbiased reviews, and pick what they want to buy.
Here’s why this works. No product is perfect across the board. Your product’s weakness maybe the competitor’s strength. If you can sell both, you win either way. This works best for products with a direct link to buy and will not work for some products or companies.
7. Building a Network Marketing Team
I wouldn’t recommend both selling a product and building a team on the same blog. There’s not a way to do it naturally that’ll receive organic traffic with a good retention rate. Google Analytics (Jonathan shows you how to install them on your blog in this post) tracks how long people stay on your blog. If people arrive at your blog looking for specific content and realize it’s all about buying a product and joining a team, they’re going to leave. The reasons why aren’t relevant here, but the majority of people are turned off by network marketing. So, don’t build a blog around it.
Now that you’re probably offended, let’s discuss how you *can* use a blog to build a network marketing team. First, we’ve established that your blog isn’t selling the product you’re building a team for, right? Now, the ideal blog for this is one teaching something: leadership skills, online business marketing skills, and so on. You provide all the content empowering people in and around your interest or influence.
Then, you use your blog to build an email list. Maybe you have a popup right on the site that appears after they’ve been there for 60 seconds- so you know they’re actually reading your blog. Maybe you have a Hello Bar popup just hanging out at the very top of the site. Maybe you have a lead magnet (ebook offer or 2-week challenge) available, in exchange for their email address.
However you do it, get their email address. Begin emailing them. In email marketing, this is called indoctrinating them. (Please, for the love of Cheese Whiz, don’t title your email list “Indoctrination List,” because they may see the list name and that’s super awkward. I’ve seen it before. …When unsubscribing.)
Email your list. Don’t waste their time. Email them helpful things, email them invitations to your Facebook lives, or new YouTube videos. …Email them when you’re running a special test group for your leadership program to help people build incomes from home within your specific business.
If you’re a network marketer, you know that people do business with people they know, like, and trust, so allow your email list to help you along that process. Then, when the time is right, offer them the opportunity to work with you. Just like blogging, this is a long-range technique.
8. Becoming an Influencer
This is the most glamorous, least profitable method of monetizing a blog. Essentially, being an influencer turns your own face into a PPC (pay per click, the technical term for a specific kind of) ad.
The first kind of influencer deal you’ll receive is generally an email from a company offering you a discount of 10-40% on their product. Then, you’re officially a brand partner. You receive an affiliate link and can share their products and earn a commission. These are silly but can be flattering. Hey, you have someone who’s willing to have you endorse their brand! Fun, but pass on these.
Then, you’ll get deals where you get paid (seriously any amount, you’ll get offered $25 at the lowest, whereas celebrities can receive thousands and thousands- usually negotiated by their agent), to post about a product. Maybe you’ll have an affiliate link to share so they can track your clicks and sales. Maybe you’ll get paid a percentage of sales. Maybe your deals are they’re expecting a certain number of likes on the photo, so they know people have seen it. These deals vary, but, if you can’t already tell, they’re not very lucrative, unless you have a massive following. As well, you have to pick and choose your partnerships, because partnered posts generally receive less interaction than normal ones. Reduced interaction hurts your search rankings, on any platform.
So, being an influencer has its perks, but they’re mostly ego-based, and you’re here to monetize, not grow your ego, right?
9. Sponsored Blog Posts as an Option to Make Money Blogging
This is great for blogs with sizable audiences. Say you have an Instagram with a substantial following. Your IG directs to your blog, where you have tons of great content. Your blog gets a ton of views. Brands will gladly sponsor posts on your blog.
You know how, when you really love something, you write a whole blog post on it? That’s what good sponsored posts are like, except they do have the disclaimer at the top (and usually the bottom, too) that explains that the post has been sponsored by the specific company, but that the opinions belong to the author of the blog.
Sometimes brands pay for just a sponsored blog post. Other times, brands are paying for a package. Perhaps, for a travel blog, they’re giving you a free vacation somewhere, and you’re doing a blog post and youtube video in exchange for the trip. Or, for a specific product, you’re being paid, doing a blog post, and weekly IG photos for a set period of time featuring the product.
Sponsored blog posts can work in conjunction with your other social media or web properties, or totally independently. The most important thing here is to make sure that the product aligns with the values of your blog, or it’ll do more harm than good. Meaning, if your endorsement doesn’t make sense with the vibe of your blog, readers will be turned off. You’ll lose readers, then lose future endorsement prospects.
Also, sometimes getting your first endorsement means just accepting some free swag instead of actual pay, but it gives your blog some legitimacy because it’s your first sponsored post. That can be okay, too.
The best tip here? Play the long game on all things sponsored. Examine how this sponsorship can and may affect your future blog business.
10. Running an E-commerce/Shopify Store
Sometimes, across the top of a blog, you’ll see a “Shop” link. The easiest way to have an online store is to use a Shopify store. They have great SEO, are pretty easy to set up, and are super customizable. You can sell products you make yourself, or you can dropship* products using a wholesale site that allows you to order a single product at a time, like Ali Express.
*What is Dropshipping?
If you’re not familiar, dropshipping means you don’t hold any inventory yourself. Someone orders on your website, and you order the product directly from the wholesaler, to be delivered to the customer. You charge more than the wholesaler, and profit as the middle man.
If you want to order inventory, you can order in bulk from China from a site like Ali Express, then you’d be able to guarantee faster shipping. Orders from Ali Express take three weeks on average to arrive, which is usually how you can tell someone’s drop shipping. You could also even have your own Amazon store using this method. We’re getting a little crazy with all these options, but the goal of Payday Authority is to shoot you straight and let you know that there are so many options for you in this wide wide world of making money online. Your imagination is your limit.
Bonus: Etsy Store
The other option for under a shop tab is to have an Etsy Store. This is a great option if you’re hand-making what you’re selling, because you may also get traffic from people searching for the item on Etsy.
Have questions? Want to bounce your ideas off other people doing the same thing?
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