I started blogging a year and a half ago at JustOneWayTicket.com. After six months, I started making money from my website. After one year, I was making enough money from blogging to give up all my freelance jobs and travel the world.
I’ve compiled a list of eight ways to make money blogging. Just remember to use advertisements and other revenue streams sparingly at first so that you can find the right balance and keep your readers as your top priority.
1. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make extra money and create a passive income stream. But what exactly is affiliate marketing? It’s a performance-based marketing strategy, where a business rewards an affiliate—like your website—for each visitor that you bring them. In other words, you earn money for referring your readers to other websites.
Before you start adding a ton of affiliate links to your blog, ask yourself what kinds of products might interest your audience. Think about your favorite products and then write about them. But be sure to only suggest and refer products that you truly love. You can also create a resource page on your website, where you list all the products you use.
What affiliate programs are best?
Depending on your niche, there are affiliate partners for everything. It's pretty easy; you just sign up and add the tracking links to your website. These are some of my favorite affiliate programs:
- Amazon.com Associates: The web’s most popular and successful affiliate program is Amazon.com Associates. It’s a great place to start because Amazon sells just about everything. Sign up for their partner program, search products that you like or use, and mention them on your blog. In my case, I often make videos for my readers, so I recommend the cameras that I use with a short description as to why I love them.
- E-Junkie: If you're into digital products like eBooks, you should sign up for E-Junkie. The commissions on eBooks are excellent on E-Junkie, often around 50%.
- Affiliate Window and CJ Affiliate by Conversant: Affiliate networks like Affiliate Window and CJ Affiliate by Conversant are also great choices, because they offer a wide range of advertisers and agencies.
2. Pay-per-click advertising
The most popular pay-per-click (PPC) advertiser, also known as cost-per-click (CPC), is Google Adsense. It's simple: you sign up for an account and add advertising banners to your blog. You are limited to three ads on each web page.
Every time someone clicks on an ad on your blog, you get paid. The amount you make for each click depends on several things, such as the value of the keyword associated with the ad and the location of the person who clicked on it. Generally speaking, you’ll make somewhere between a few cents and a few dollars per click. Make sure your articles use the right keywords, because Google Adsense will serve ads based on your content. The more relevant the ads are, the more likely your readers will click on it.
Once you set up an account, Adsense will let you select where the ads appear on your site. The top of your sidebar is one of the best positions to place a banner ad. Ads placed at the top of your website usually get more clicks than ads at the bottom. Another great place for ads is right below a blog post headline.
3. Pay-per-view advertising
Pay-per-view (PPV) advertising, also known as cost-per-mille advertising (CPM), are similar to CPC ads. The difference is that you get paid per 1,000 views, not per click. On average, you can earn about $1-2 per 1,000 views. So if your website has 100,000 page views per month, you would earn between $100-200 per month.
I personally use and recommend Yielselect. But another reliable CPM network is Tribal Fusion. In my personal experience, I’ve earned more from Google Adsense CPC ads. But if you're just getting started, I suggest you implement both on your blog and find out what works best.
4. Direct advertising
The most lucrative form of advertising is to offer banner space and text links directly to advertisers. You can place them in your sidebar, your footer, or directly within blog posts. I’ve found that placing links in the footer of my homepage works best for me, under a section called “Resources & Partners.” Some of them are bought by advertisers; others are affiliate links that I’ve added myself. But as with all advertising, I suggest you test various locations to see what works best.
You can also show that you sell banner space by adding a box on your sidebar that says “Advertise Here.” Or consider adding an “Advertise” section to your top navigation. If advertisers aren’t knocking on your door regularly, you can sign up for an ad network like BuySellAds. You’ll be able to set your rates and wait for the offers to roll in.
Another smart tactic is to visit other blogs in your industry and find out who advertises on their blogs. If you see one that might be a good fit, search for their contact information and send them an offer.
5. Sponsored posts
As your website attracts more readers, advertisers will also approach you about sponsored posts. These advertisers generally send you a completed post, including a link to a company website, asking you to publish it on your blog. You get paid for your reach; the more popular your blog and the higher your PageRank is, the more money you’ll be offered for a sponsored post.
Not all bloggers agree on sponsored posts. Some frown upon the practice, but I have found sponsored content to be one of my biggest income streams. If you do decide to go this route, you should always place a clear disclaimer on the sponsored post, so your readers understand that it is paid content. Any links you include in these posts should also use the nofollow attribute, which is standard practice when linking to paid content.
Alternatively, you can offer to write an article for the advertiser to make it a better fit for your audience—but it’s best practice to disclose when an advertiser is paying you to write something.
6. Product reviews
If it fits your niche, you can write paid reviews about products that you think are of interest to your readers. Again, it's important that you always disclose such posts to your readers. Even more important is to write honest reviews; you never want to comprise the trust of your readers for a few extra dollars.
Sponsored Reviews is a popular site to find advertisers, who are willing to pay for a product review post.
7. Sell your expertise
Once you’ve built a readership that values what you're saying, your blog can be a platform to launch products or services.
- Write an eBook: Launching your own eBook can be one of the most lucrative ways to monetize your blog. "How to" guides are especially popular. You can sell eBooks on E-Junkie, Amazon, the Apple Store, or on your website. It's a great method that doesn't involve any investment besides your own time. Once written, you can update it once a year and continue to make money for years to come. As I’ve said before, make sure to write quality content.
- Consulting and coaching: If you become an expert in your blog’s field of focus, you can start offering consulting services. Think about the things that you know inside and out; advice that friends and family always ask you for. You can offer one-on-one coaching for an hourly rate to help people reach their goals. It's understandably difficult to sell such services when you first start a blog. You need to earn the trust of a dedicated group of readers. If you’re interested in pursuing this type of avenue, consider adding a "Hire Me" section to your blog, where you can offer your services.
8. Social media promotion
If there is one piece of advice that I always give bloggers who are starting out, it’s this: be active on social media from day one.
There are a lot of social media networks nowadays, but today the most important ones are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Choose at least two of them and spend a little time each day building them out. It pays to build followers and fans, because the more people that follow you, the more influential you become.
You make money on Facebook and Twitter? How is that possible?
I get these questions all the time. There are numerous companies that pay me to tweet or share a post on my Facebook Fan Page, simply because I have thousands of followers that value what I say.
How do you get more followers and fans?
With Twitter, it’s actually quite simple. Start by following people in your niche. In most cases, around 20-40% of them will follow you back. Next, follow the followers of other top bloggers in your industry. I’d also make sure that your Twitter profile pictures look interesting to the average visitor.
While following a lot of people can be time consuming, there are some great tools and applications that can help you build followers in a short period of time. My favorite app is ManageFlitter. It’s a tool that will help you to follow hundreds of people and unfollow those who do not follow you back.
For Facebook, be sure to read my post on how to get more Facebook fans and grow your community.
Where can I find advertisers that will pay for tweets or shares?
The short version: if your social media profiles are popular, the advertisers will find you.
But if nobody contacts you, check out Izea. It’s a great website that connects influencers with companies that are looking for people to tweet about their products. You can earn anywhere from $5 to $100 for a single tweet.
I started my blog as a hobby, but today it’s providing enough income so that I can travel the world and write about the things I love. Over time I've learned how to incorporate ads and sponsored content, while still keeping my blog personal, honest, and useful to my audience. It may take time to find the right balance, but it’s definitely worth it.
If you’re trying to monetize your blog, don’t give up too early. It may take time. As long as you love what you do and write high quality content, additional income will follow.
Travel Blogger at JustOneWayTicket
Sabrina is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com, an inspiring travel blog focused on her experiences (and disasters). She's half-German Italian and has visited more than 50 countries around the world. She’s a talented photographer and web designer, whose blog posts and photos keep visitors coming back day in and day out. If you’re ever on the road, she’s probably somewhere close by.