Blogging about your passion, regardless if that’s gluten-free recipes, budget family travel, or any other niche topic, can be a source of income. According to a survey from Growthbadger, two-thirds of bloggers said they began blogging to make money.
Many bloggers earn $50,000 per year or more using Google AdSense or affiliate marketing, or selling their own products. Generating income from a blog requires not only the steady production of content that builds an audience but also smart marketing.
Setting up your blog for success
The essential first step to a profitable blog is building an audience. Many bloggers make the mistake of assuming that publishing a lot of content, regardless of the value it brings the reader, is necessary to build an audience.
But to stay relevant, you need to publish quality content. Publishing short, fluffy posts every day is unlikely to get you an audience, but publishing longer, well-researched, and well-written articles regularly, even if less frequently, will demonstrate your value to discerning readers.
Successful blogs are tightly focused on a specific industry, niche, or topic. A blog that tries to cover every aspect of crafting is far less likely to attract a large audience than a blog specific to knitting or jewelry-making because the latter serves a need for a particular audience.
Once you have an audience that can rely on you for informative content about specific topics, you can add more value by creating thorough tutorials on that subject. Here’s how the opportunities to monetize a blog expand as your audience grows.
Ways to monetize a blog
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
- Sell e-books and courses
- Provide sponsored post options
Sell e-books and courses
Provide sponsored post options
Affiliate marketing involves placing links on your site to a product or store. When someone buys from that link, you get a small commission.
The idea is to strategically place affiliate links in content related to the store or product. For example, if you blog about making jewelry, you can recommend specific tools for beading or creating a patina on jewelry. Just include a link to a site that sells those tools.
There are many affiliate programs besides Amazon. Shareasale, BrandCycle, and AvantLink all offer affiliate programs by linking to merchants who offer a large product selection tailored to your audience. For example,TripAdvisor offers a 50-percent commission, making it an excellent site for travel bloggers looking to monetize their blogs.
Once you have a sufficient audience, you can sell advertising spots on your blog. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads become profitable once you have at least 10,000 visitors per month, while Google Ads can generate appreciable revenue once you have 100,000 visitors per day.
Even before your audience is that large, you can generate advertising income by selling display ads to companies specific to your niche. Even a small audience can generate some revenue, and that revenue will increase as your audience grows.
Perhaps the most lucrative aspect of a successful blog is the email list you accumulate. You can grow your list by offering a free “magnet,” like a downloadable checklist of tools needed for jewelry making, in exchange for an email address.
It’s easy to embed a signup form on your website with JotForm. You can also use one of our integrations to automatically send your visitors’ information to a service like Mailchimp for your email newsletter.
The newsletter should provide information beyond what appears on your blog, as well as ads and links to the products or services you’re selling.
When your blog has a big enough audience, you’re likely to have a market for books and courses that teach new skills. Distilling your expertise and material into e-books and courses gives you a product to sell, without splitting the revenue with an affiliate.
For example, you can offer an e-book detailing various beading projects, or an e-course for learning to make enameled jewelry, to your email list or as a premium to get new subscribers to join your email list.
You can create Kindle and paperback versions of your e-books to sell on Amazon or as digital downloads directly on your website. Many blogging platforms include a plug-in that lets you sell directly to your readers, but there are trade-offs to consider.
Selling on Amazon lets you reach a wider audience, but you only keep a percentage of the profits. Selling on your blog lets you keep all the profit, but total sales might not be as large.
There are similar considerations for courses you might create. You can either sell them directly on your blog or upload them to platforms like Teachable or Udemy. These platforms will host your e-course in exchange for a percentage of the profits.
Influencer marketing has become pervasive. Nearly two-thirds of businesses that budget for influencer marketing plan to increase their spending over the next 12 months. A key technique for influencer marketing is sponsored posts, where you charge a fee to write about a product on your blog. At the beginning, when you don’t have a lot of traffic, you’ll be working with smaller brands that want to get the word out about their products. As your blog grows, larger brands will want to participate, and you’ll be able to charge higher fees.
Blogs are a proven way to earn money online. If you use multiple monetization methods, you’ll see your income grow a lot faster. Build a credible, valuable blog with an audience, and you’ll be able to leverage these methods to make money.