So you started a blog and are about to hit the publish button. You are ready for people to read it and want to make some money. You are determined and that’s exactly how you should be! But before hitting that publish button, let me ask you this question – how are you planning to make money blogging?
Is your goal to get lots of traffic and make most of your income from advertisers? Are you planning to create your own products and sell them on your blog? Or will you be promoting other people’s products and making a commission from that?
If you are not sure, I recommend you briefly hit the pause button and give this a thought. Creating high quality content is the most important part of blogging, but it’s always good to have an idea of how your income will be earned.
There are some niches that get millions of page views per month such as food, lifestyle, technology and gaming, and fashion. Bloggers in these niches earn a big chunk of their income through advertisers (banner and video ads).
But if you are choosing a niche that gets significantly less traffic, like drumming or origami making, you will have to figure out another way to earn a living. Making money blogging isn’t as cut and dried as most people think.
It varies per niche but the beautiful thing is you can make 6 figures regardless of the niche you choose! You just have to know how to do it.
In this post I’m going to help you with that and break down the different ways you can make money blogging. Let’s get started!
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Banner and Video Advertising
How hard is it to set up banner and videos advertising? Not hard.
Do I need a lot of traffic to make decent money from ads on my blog? Yes, you need a good amount of traffic (like hundreds of thousands of page views per month) if you plan on making a full time living from banner and video advertisements.
What is Banner and Video Advertising?
Banner and video advertising are the ads you see on a blog. Your blog is basically real estate for advertisers. If they think your blog is the right fit for their product, they will bid with other advertisers for banner space you have available.
For example, if you visit my food blog, Pickled Plum, you will see right away that the sidebar and bottom have ads. That’s the real estate I have available to sell on my blog (I could also sell the space at the top of my blog but decided to do without), along with some space in my recipe cards and a few in the body of each post. I also make money from video ads because we shoot a lot of video recipes.
I don’t choose the brands that appear on my blog, but I do have control over the categories that can be advertised. I can choose to allow pharmaceuticals on my blog and opt out of religious, political, and other so-called ‘taboo’ topics.
Can Having Too Many Ads Hurt My Blog?
Too many banners can slow down your blog page speed, they can also make your pages reload or jump, and having too many pop ups can be frustrating and distracting for readers.
Let’s take my blog for example again – you can see that there is a substantial amount of ads on it. This does drive some readers crazy and I do receive complaints, but not very often (one every 3 months or so). But if you look at my blog, the ads don’t interfere with my page speed, they don’t make my pages jump, and there are no pop up sequences.
So yes, I do have a lot of ads but not to the point where it’s hurting my traffic or disrupting the experience of my readers. You have to find the right balance between monetizing your blog so you can earn a decent living, and keeping your readers happy so they come back.
Always remember that you are not doing this for fun or as a hobby (check out my income reports to see how much money I make from banner advertising) – blogging is hard work so don’t sell yourself short – you deserve every penny you make from it.
Best Advertising Networks
Since this post is written for beginners, I’m giving you a short list of best ad networks you can join right away. There is no minimum amount of traffic required to join these networks:
How hard is it to set up affiliate links? Not hard.
Do I need a lot of traffic to make decent money from affiliate marketing? Not necessarily.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you write or talk about a product and earn a commission from a sale. The best way to go about affiliate marketing is to only promote products or services that you use or have used in the past, and feel comfortable recommending.
How To Find The Best Affiliate Programs
Start by writing down your favorite products or services that are in line with what your blog is about. What I mean by this is don’t promote cars if your blog is about food. Make sure what you are selling goes with the topic of your blog.
Once you have your list, go to Google and search each product with ‘affiliate program’ added after the brand name. If they do offer an affiliate program (most of them do), take a look at their rules and commission rates.
If the commission is only 5% on a product that sells for $15, I would say forget it. It’s not worth your time and effort for $0.75 commission, unless you think you can sell hundreds per day. Be smart about what you decide to promote! Personally, I don’t join any program that pays less than $10 commission per sale, or averaging $10.
The only program that offers a low commission that I recommend you join is Amazon Affiliates. Amazon is great because it’s a household name. People trust the brand so they aren’t afraid to purchase things from there.
And that’s good for you because they pay for every single thing a visitor from your blog ends up buying! So even if you promoted something as cheap as dried chili peppers and the reader clicks on that link and ends up buying a tv, you make commission on both the dried chili peppers and the tv!
So all you have to do is to get them through the door and let them shop. I guarantee you will be making money with them!
Best Affiliate Marketing Networks To Join
Aside from Amazon Affiliates, check out Shareasale and Commission Junction. Both are advertising networks with thousands of merchants to choose from. Brands like J.Crew and Barnes & Noble are part of the Commission Junction network (also known as CJ), and brands like Reebok and Etsy are part of the Shareasale network.
Once you are approved for one or both networks, you will have to do some research and find companies you would like to promote. Once you find them, you apply to join their affiliate program and they will either approve or decline your application. It’s as simple as that!
Once you are approved, you will be given a special link to use so they can track your sales.
How hard is it to create sponsored posts? Medium.
Do I need a lot of traffic to be able to do sponsored posts? You need some traffic.
What Is A Sponsored Post?
A sponsored post is a blog post paid by an advertiser to promote their product. For example, a tofu company contacts me to create a recipe using their tofu product. I create the recipe, shoot the cooking steps, write a post about it, and share it on my social media channels.
How Much Money Can I Make From Sponsored Posts?
That depends on how much traffic your blog is receiving, and how big of a social following you have. Smaller blogs with less than 50,000 monthly page views can make around $150-350 per post (this is just an approximation), while bigger blogs with over a million monthly page views can charge thousands of dollars per post.
If the advertiser or PR company approaches you directly, then you get to decide how much to charge for your services. This is by far the best and most lucrative way to make money with sponsored posts. You can also reach out to the companies directly, but make sure you have a media kit ready to share with them.
Another way to get sponsored work is to join an influencer marketing company. Advertisers reach out to them to find influencers, like you, and the marketing company sends out a notice to bloggers they think would fit their criteria. Or you can look at their ‘job board’ and apply on your own. The rate is usually listed as well so you don’t have to worry about quoting or not knowing how much you will get paid.
To apply, you will have to fill out a form and explain why you would like to work with the brand, and how you are planning to showcase their product. Once you hit the submit button, the client will take a look at your application and decide whether they would like to work with you, or not. It’s quick, easy, and simple.
Best Influencer Marketing Companies
I have worked with all of these influencer marketing companies in the past and never had any issues with communication or getting paid on time:
How hard is it to write product reviews? Medium.
Do I need a lot of traffic to be able to do product reviews? You need some traffic.
What Is A Product Review ?
This one is pretty self-explanatory. A company approaches you to review their product so you write a post about their product or make a video.
I have been approached a few times to do product reviews but have always turned down the offers. The reason is that I’m not interested in doing them and don’t feel that it fits with the type of content I have on my blog.
Because of that I can’t tell you whether it’s a good way to make money or not, but I know that a lot of bloggers do it.
My guess is that you will most likely be offered free products in the beginning in exchange for a review. Then once you become an authority in product reviewing, you can start charging a fee for it.
How to Make Money Blogging by Reviewing Products
This is how I would start reviewing products and make money right from the start:
- Look through your list of affiliates that you have joined and choose 2 or 3 of your favorites.
- Write a product review for each one of them and use your affiliate link to earn a commission every time someone purchases from your blog post.
Once you have written a few product reviews, you will have a portfolio to show potential clients that you have experience in the field. Then you can decide whether you would like to get paid in products or cash.
Selling Your Own Product(s)
How hard is it to create your own product(s)? Hard
Do I need a lot of traffic to be able to sell my own products? You need some traffic
Selling products that you create from scratch is not only a great way to make money, it’s also fun and extremely rewarding. The down side is that it’s extremely time consuming and difficult (but so worth it!).
What Kind Of Product Can You Sell On A Blog?
You can sell t-shirts, mugs, whistles, socks, stickers, notebooks, anything!
If you are selling physical products you will need some money to get started. You will need enough to cover the cost of the production, storage space rental (if needed), packaging, mailing costs, and advertising (unless your blog receives a lot traffic, you will have to advertise online).
It can get pretty expensive so make sure to sit down and calculate exactly how much you will need to get this project off the ground + how long it will take to make your money back.
If you are on a tight budget you can still sell stuff online without having to spend thousands of dollars in the beginning.
Digital products – products that are not physical and can only be used online, on a computer, tablet, or cellphone – are a great way to make extra income with no overhead cost. You can create ebooks, online courses, printable stickers and planners, graphics and digital art, audiobooks, photographs, etc… The list is endless!
I have a few digital products that I have been selling in my Shopify store. I only promote my products in my newsletters and still manage to make a few hundred dollars every month. My plan is to eventually grow my store and start advertising online, but I’m happy with the way things are at the moment.
How to Create Your Own Digital Product
- Create a product that is aligned with the topic of your blog.
- Create a product that is going to help your readers or solve a problem.
- Do an online search to see if other bloggers are already selling that product (if they are, that’s good! It means the product is in demand).
- This step is optional but I would recommend buying a product similar to what you are thinking of creating. Then take a good look to see how it’s made and if there is anything that could be improved.
- Look at your schedule and block out a few weeks so you can fully focus on the product you are creating.
- Outline how you are planning to promote it.
- Create the product.
- Sell the product!
The best thing about selling your own product is that it becomes passive income once you’ve created it. All the work has been done and all you have to do is get as many eyes on it as you can.
So there you have it – I hope you have enjoyed reading this post how to make money blogging and that it helps you grow and become more successful!