Now that your blog is all set up and you are ready to begin publishing content, the next step is figuring out how to monetize (aka “make money”) with it. For most of us, the decision to start a blog was fueled by the desire to turn a profit from it right? Too often, new bloggers get tunnel vision on how to make money with their blog and can't see beyond recommending products in their posts. There are so many ways to generate income as a blogger, but you have to think outside the box!
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Please note this post may contain affiliate links and ads, read my full disclosure here.
Side note: If you happen to have landed on this post and haven't quite yet started your blog or just getting started and could use some helpful tips, you definitely want to read this post on How to Start a Blog which includes video tutorials and a comprehensive course to walk you thru the steps!
How to Monetize Your Blog
There are so many ways to generate income as a blogger. Some are super easy and can be done from day one – others may require a little more effort and may not show results right away. To be truly successful, you need to utilize as many of these methods as you can to increase your monthly earnings and also create passive income streams. Also, keep in mind that the term “monetize your blog” also includes things beyond the actual blog itself (that's where the outside the box thinking comes into play!).
#1 Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the most common method that most new bloggers use to monetize their blogs. If you don't know, affiliate marketing is where you promote or recommend a product or service using a unique tracking link (affiliate link). When someone clicks on your link and chooses to make a purchase after clicking it, you will earn a set commission on the sale. Promotion can be done via hyperlinked text in the blog post, sidebar or in-post banners, emails (except for Amazon links), social media, and Pinterest.
Affiliate marketing can be VERY profitable when done properly. The truth is that for a blog, affiliate marketing can take a while to actually generate significant income because you don't yet know what your audience wants. You should place a couple of affiliate banners on your sidebar, and can definitely use affiliate links within the text of your post, but until you truly know what your audience wants or needs, those typically won't convert well at first. Once you begin to figure that out, you will definitely want to install the Pretty Links plugin. This will significantly improve your affiliate conversions (making a sale) because it enables you to make the link look more like it came from your blog instead of a bunch of random characters that sort of look like a hacked link. My conversions jumped tremendously once I began using Pretty Links. Also, you can check out my huge list of affiliate programs broken down by niche.
You can get ahead of the affiliate income game by utilizing Pinterest to promote your affiliate links. The majority of my affiliate marketing income actually comes from Pinterest and not my blog.
#2 Sponsored Content
Another way to monetize your blog is by applying for sponsored content. There are several really great Influencer networks that will pay for you to write a blog post to review and/or recommend a product or service. These offers span pretty much all blog niche categories. Some of them do require you to have a set amount of traffic before they'll select you for a promotion, however, there are a few that brand new bloggers can get started with. Some of these ask for your “rate” for doing sponsored content. If you aren't sure, you can use Social Bluebook as a guide. You can also use Grammarly, which a free tool that helps ensure your content is free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Izea – Izea is great because it offers several different types of sponsored content options. This was the very first influencer network I used when I first started my blog. I didn't write sponsored blog posts, but I did do a lot of sponsored social media posts. This is where you simply share content on your own social media platforms. This provided me “easy” income while I started building my blog and generating decent traffic to it.
Activate by Bloglovin – This is another great option for brand new bloggers.
You can see more Influencer Networks here.
#3 Create a Course
Aside from creating blog content and adding a few affiliate links here and there, why not take your knowledge of a given topic to the next level? Monetize your blog by creating and selling courses! Seriously! I was hesitant at first myself but once I finally decided to do it, I was so glad that I did! With blog content, you are always searching for topics to write to keep the momentum going with your audience. You often provide bits and pieces of information that could actually be expanded upon into a mini-course or challenge. What do you blog about? Is there something in that niche that you can teach someone how to do? Instead of writing several blog posts breaking it down, put it all together into a single course and sell it! My courses now account for around 40% of my monthly income!
Platforms such as Teachable make it super easy to put your ideas into a course format. Teachable also enables you to create your very own affiliate program so that others can promote your course and earn a small commission. As you create more blog post content, you can promote the course within the blog posts to boost sales!
#4 Create an E-book or Other Digital Product
Me? Write a book? Yeah right lol! Actually, more and more people (not just us bloggers) are turning to E-book to generate additional income. Some content might not be the right fit for an online course, but may be perfect for a smaller platform. An E-book doesn't have to be a super-long novel so you can literally write about anything. Heck, if you've written a good “How to” post on your blog, add a little more detail to the content and sell it as a digital E-book they can download. What is it that you know how to do (and do well) that you often share with others? Put it into a written (ok, typed) format and start earning money from it!
There are several methods for creating and selling E-books and digital products. The first, and easiest, is to create your draft in Canva and sell it via SendOwl. You can also use platforms such as Amazon to publish E-books for the Kindle. And there are plugins that you can utilize as well but I've found SendOwl to be the easiest way for new bloggers (and it is more cost-effective). Either way, this is an excellent means to increase your income and create a passive income stream.
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#5 Freelance Writing
Instead of only writing content for your own blog, freelance writing can provide an avenue for you to hone your writing skills and generate more traffic to your own blog. It can also provide you with a means to write about topics that don't necessarily fit with your blog. Learn more about Freelance writing and how to get started (it's super easy!).
#6 Offer a Coaching or Other Service
Do you enjoy “doing” more than actually writing content? Or maybe you enjoy both. Some people learn better with one-on-one interaction instead of simply taking a course. You can provide individual coaching or assistance, which can actually provide higher income returns because coaching clients tend to remain loyal and purchase future products or services you offer! Don't get too caught up in the term “coaching” and think you don't have what it takes to do that! Coaching is just a fancy word for helping people. Coaching can be done one-on-one or in a group manner. You can conduct individual and/or group calls/webinars where you can provide the information to your clients. You can check out my Services Offered page to see how easy it is (and let me know if I can help YOU!)!
Aside from coaching, simply offering services to help others is another method to monetize your blog. Are you great with admin stuff? Many bloggers (and businesses) are now turning to Virtual Assistants (VA's) to help them with various admin tasks. You don't need to go work an actual office to do things such as scheduling, making phone calls, responding to messages, etc.
Be sure to read these other posts about making money:
- Top 10 Affiliate Programs for DIY and Craft Bloggers
- How I Make $1000 each Month with Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
- How to Boost Affiliate Sales with a Solid Affiliate Marketing Strategy
Let's Monetize that Blog!
So there you have it! I'm sure many of you may not have even considered a few of these as ways to monetize your blog. Once you start thinking outside the box, it's easier to see how your blog can be a platform to launch additional income streams. You've probably seen blog income reports boasting of high monthly income and thought NO WAY! The truth is that the majority of the income listed in those reports don't necessarily come from the actual blog (affiliate marketing). Much of their reported income comes from things like selling courses or digital products and offering services.
It is so important in planning your blog strategy that you plan for multiple income streams. Why? Because at any moment, a single stream could take a plunge leaving you struggling to regroup. Creating multiple streams enables you to continue earning money even if one of them flops.
Want to learn more? Want to learn the exact methods and strategies I've used for converting my affiliate links and generating additional passive income each month? Blog Income Bootcamp – breaks down the science of how to convert your affiliate links into more sales, including how/where to promote them for higher conversions. It walks you through the exact steps I took to earn 5 figures in the first 12 months! Read more about Blog Income Boot Camp and see for yourself!