10 Legitimate Ways To Make Money Blogging
You would be surprised by how many people I talk to that are so fascinated when I tell them that I make money blogging. I mean, my former accountant (she was great, unfortunately, she’s my “former” accountant because she moved), her mouth used to drop when she did my taxes.
I still remember her in disbelief saying “wait, wait, wait, you made THAT from blogging?! Well, I need to talk to YOU about some ideas I have… ”
That was usually followed by a brief interview like I’m at a podium in front of film crews and cameras while fielding questions from reporters. I don’t even have a PR person!
Of course, I never mind answering but this finally prompted me to write a post about the different legitimate ways to make money blogging so I can share this post to those that are just as fascinated, without having to show tax documents.
I say “legitimate” because there are a lot of shady tactics like scammers and spammers that give the rest of us online entrepreneurs a bad reputation.
Let me just go on record and mention that not all of my income comes from blogging, but usually a vast majority of it does. How much? Let’s just say I paid off my student loans years ago from the income I made online.
Before I get into the various ways to make money blogging, here are just a few items that I’d like to point out to keep in the back of your head:
It Takes Time And Effort – I think a lot of people have this impression that blogging for money is a piece of cake and you can make money instantly right as you start. Unfortunately, if it was that easy, everyone would be rich from blogging. It takes time, effort and dedication. All three are required, not optional.
Additionally, you will have to try out different strategies that will work for you. Maybe it’s tweaking your ad placement, changing your website’s theme, color schemes, etc. What works for others may not necessarily work for you especially if you’re in a different specific niche.
If You Write Great Content, They Will Come… – If you write amazing articles, people are bound to find it, share it and keep on coming back. People tend to overlook this very important part of blogging but before you start making money, you have to write articles that people want to read (if it’s helpful and useful to your reader, that’s even better).
Did you know a majority of bloggers actually blog because they like to write and are passionate about the topic they’re blogging about? I mean, there is no blog without the blogging. So focus on the content first and the people will come… then, well, you know, the whole making money part.
Loving And Knowing What You Write About Makes it Easier – “If you love what you do for a living, you never work a day in your life.” If you’re knowledgeable and passionate about what you write about, people will notice and most importantly, it won’t seem like a job to you.
You might as well make some money blogging while you’re at it.
With that said, let’s get into the 10 Legitimate Ways To Make Money Blogging (these are all ways I have made money from blogging).
PPC and CPM Ads:
PPC (pay-per-click) is exactly what the name states; they are ads in which you are paid each time someone clicks on the ads you display on your blog.
The most popular PPC ad program is Google Adsense. There are a bunch of other ones that are good, such as Chitika, but in my experience, none come close to Google when it comes to payouts because they are one of the biggest companies in the world.
CPM (cost per thousand impressions) ads doesn’t require your visitors to click on the ads, but rather, are simply based on impressions. Basically, if someone visits a page on your blog and the ad is displayed, that counts as an impression. If they check out other pages on your blog, all those count as impressions.
Keep in mind, PPC and CPM ads are generally revenue sharing programs so they take a cut of the profit for finding advertisers for you.
For example, Google Adsense takes a 32 percent cut while you, the publisher, keep the rest or 68 percent.
Advice: PPC and CPM ads are typically good for two types of sites – one that receive lots of visitors or one in a niche with high paying keywords (advertisers bid for keywords specific to them – ex. I once received over $20 on a single click on an old niche site). The reason why high traffic is a key is the fact that the typical rate in which someone clicks (click-through rate) on the ads is somewhere between 1-2 percent of the times, on average.
I made this work on an old site but it was receiving over 200,000 visitors/monthly and I believe my click-through rate was somewhere around 3-4 percent. That’s just to give you an idea on how much traffic I was receiving to make a good income.
Though, for that specific site, it was hard to convert those visitors into returning ones or subscribers. So, if this option doesn’t suit you then maybe you should try…
If you can find advertisers on your own (or they find you), you can always cut the middleman out and sell private ads while keeping 100 percent of the profit. Companies looking for a target audience in your niche are ideal.
For example, if you own a photography blog, companies selling cameras or printing services would be a good fit.
Though, looking for advertisers typically requires more work. The more popular your blog becomes, the easier it becomes as advertisers will find you.
Advice: Selling private ads are great for any blog and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a smaller traffic blog or one that receives tons of visitors because you’re setting your own price. If you don’t know how much to charge, entrepreneurs-journey.com wrote a great article on how you can set your prices.
Though, like I mentioned previously, it requires more work. Not only are you looking for potential advertisers but you also have to keep track of who advertises, how long their ad will be up for, payment, adding/removing their ad, knowing some coding to add their banner to your site, etc.
I recommend the OIO Publisher WordPress Plugin, which I personally use, because it works as the middleman and does everything for you. The advertiser fills out a little form, uploads their banner ad and inserts payment information (I have it setup through Paypal). All you have to do is approve (or disapprove if you feel it’s not suitable for your site) it when you receive an email letting you know you have a new advertiser.
You can get $10 off by using my coupon NY16-DATMONEY when you purchase it through this link here.
Being an affiliate marketer is working as a middleman to promote a product or service for a company. Typically how it works is you sign up for an affiliate program (such as Amazon, ShareASale or a specific product directly) then you promote a specific product on your site, for example. Each time someone purchases a product through your affiliate/referral link, you earn a commission.
Advice: I know some affiliate marketers who make a net profit of six-figures a month, but they are advance affiliate marketers and they spend lots of money to make even more money.
An example on how affiliate marketers make it work for them typically looks like this:
They usually outsource work (such as building landing pages), do keyword research to see what people are searching for that’s related to that product and pay for advertising campaigns to obtain the traffic/potential buyers.
They also do a lot of testing, tracking and analyzing to see which campaigns are working and which ones are not.
If you’re not looking to spend money, that shouldn’t stop you from promoting affiliate products that you personally use and would recommend.
If your followers trust your recommendations, then it shouldn’t be hard to promote products and services that will bring value to them. But the key is to promote products or services that will actually be beneficial to them or you’ll just seem like a spammer.
Selling Your Own Online Products:
Selling your own online products is great because you basically cut out the middleman. If you thought like I did in the beginning, you may be thinking you don’t have the experience to sell your own products but you’re wrong. If I did it, you can do it!
Some online products could include: writing an eBook that would benefit your readers, designing custom website templates, and creating software or apps.
Advice: If you have a great idea but don’t know how to proceed, don’t let that stop you. There is a wealth of knowledge on the internet to help you with it. If you happen to have the funds, you can outsource the work to have someone do it for you.
I personally like to learn how to do the work I’m outsourcing so I get a sense on how quickly it should be done and how much it is worth to do. That way if someone charges too much to do 15 minutes of work, I might as well do it myself.
I would recommend writing a helpful eBook for your readers to start off especially since you’re already blogging to begin with so you already have the skills to write one.
Any products you create, it would also be beneficial to give some away for free so you can work on building traffic and new subscribers. For instance, offer your readers a free copy of your eBook, if they like it enough, they may consider writing a blog review about it which would help promote it.
Selling Your Own Offline Products:
If you have a good product, people will buy it. I have a friend who knits amazing scarves and sells them. I have college buddies who started their own clothing line company and sells directly from their site as an online store. I know a friends mother who sells her paintings on etsy.com. I have another friend who wrote an amazing book and got it published.
You just want to expose your product to as many people as you can with various marketing techniques, which will vary depending on your product.
Advice: Do it! If you’re already creating great offline products, promoting them on your blog only helps increase your business and sales.
I was having a conversation with my friend that knits amazing scarves and she said it’s hard for her to make large quantities of them at a time. I recommended outsourcing but she felt it would take away from her personal product.
The best case scenario would be having high demand for her products. Though, I believe she sells them at her leisure just as a side business because she believes in quality over quantity.
If she had a personal blog, she could simply setup her your online store and people can purchase them whenever they do become available.
Again, just an idea, but at the end of the day, you have to be the one to actually do it.
A sponsored post is when a company or individual pays you to write about a product or service they are promoting. If you’ve been around DatMoney.com for quite sometime, you would have seen a few sponsored posts about companies or products.
There are third party sites such as SponsoredReviews that work as a middleman to find you advertisers that are looking for paid reviews. You can either set up your own price and let advertisers come to you or look through their listing for ones you’d like to review that are in your niche.
Advice: I would recommend choosing reviews on products you would actually use or pay for and not just any just for the money because your credibility goes down. The products and services should also be related to your niche.
If you have a food blog, you probably shouldn’t be writing about investments. Not saying you don’t know anything about investments but it’s like asking a professional football player for his advice on who you should vote for president. Would you really listen?
There is no set number on how many sponsored reviews you should post but a majority of your blog shouldn’t be filled with them. I’d say one sponsored review for every five normal posts.
Keep in mind, companies usually want your social media included in the reviews. For instance, writing the sponsored review and shouting them out on your Twitter account.
You may be thinking, “how is giving away prizes on a blog contest a way to make money?” Well, what a lot of companies will do is sponsor a prize and give one to you, the publisher, and one to give away to your readers.
If you’ve participated in contests that I hosted years ago, there were prizes companies sponsored such as video cameras, gift cards, gaming consoles and even cash.
Giveaways and contests are very similar to sponsored posts in the sense that you’re writing about a contest and mentioning the companies or individuals sponsoring the prizes.
Advice: Hosting contests is a good way to gain exposure and followers. You’ll almost always see a spike in traffic while hosting a blog contest. Though, in my experience, many followers unsubscribe shortly after the contest is over but if people are truly interested in your content then you do end up reaching a larger audience.
Plus, you’re still getting paid, even if it’s a prize and not necessarily cash value.
Selling A Service:
If you have a wealth of knowledge and become reputable, people will pay for your services. Some examples of selling your service includes, but not limited to: consulting/coaching, graphic and web design, speaking to large groups, etc. The list goes on.
I’ve built a good enough reputation and showed I’m knowledgeable that people have hired me to do consulting. I’ve also provided services to design web banner ads. I was even asked to speak to a large group, similar to a motivational speaker (though, I declined). So, you can too, if you choose to… and have the time.
Advice: You can use your blog as a platform to sell your services. If you own a fitness blog, you can sell your service for one-on-one training. If you own a photography blog, you can offer services as a photographer for weddings and other events. If you own a web template blog, you can offer services to customize web designs. If you own a writing blog, you can offer services for copy writing.
Selling a service is a good way to build relationships/network, build a good reputation and be another source of income.
Having a subscription or membership site is a good way to provide exclusive content for your readers. If you have an extremely engaged following with an incentive for them to pay a subscription fee then it’s worth trying.
Think about it like subscribing to your favorite magazine. You pay a monthly or yearly fee, you receive your magazine before it even hits the stores for the general public to purchase. You’ll also save money off the cover price and have other incentives.
Advice: Having a subscription service is one of the best ways to have recurring monthly revenue. Though, I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a small following because it may not be worth the investment and time.
On top of that, you should provide new content that people can’t find anywhere else pretty regularly on top of your normal content for the public. So, if you can’t keep up with large amounts of work, it’s probably not the best idea.
There are plenty of other legitimate ways of making money blogging, you just have to think out the box. Just take a look at ProBlogger, he has a job board set up and charges to post job listings for 30 days.
Advice: Take a look at big and small blogs in your niche and see what they’re doing and what you would do differently to stand out. Get creative but make sure you’re taking action instead of just letting it be a good idea.
I only listed 10 ways of making money blogging but there are plenty of different ways so if you have an idea that’s not illegal then make sure you test it out and keep testing to perfect it.
A couple of items that I would like to emphasize, especially from my past mistakes, are:
Make sure you thoroughly read the terms of agreement and policy: If you’re signing up for things such as Google Adsense or any third party company you’re partnering up with, you don’t want to accidentally do something against their terms and then be banned… permanently.
Have multiple sources of revenue: Never keep all your eggs in one basket because if something happens to your basket, there goes all your eggs. Or in this case, your revenue.
Trust me, it’s a bad feeling when your revenue goes from thousands monthly to chump change.
Don’t rely on one source of traffic either: Search engines are great for getting traffic to your site but their algorithm changes too often that you can go from getting tons of traffic from a popular keyword to it stopping completely. Same goes for relying too much on one social media platform too.
Go do it!: You can read all different tips from every single website out there but when it comes down to it, you have to go out and do the work. You have to test out what works specifically for you. You have to go earn your money.
What are you waiting for? Go make that money and let me know what’s worked for you!