Some would say that blogging is dead. But with all the ways to monetize a blog in this day and age, that’s just not true. Blogging is still just as relevant as it was before, and this idea that it’s “over” only comes from the fact that other mediums of making money online have come to be.
But if writing is your preferred medium, there are plenty of ways to make money from your writing. In this post, I’ll highlight the best ways along with a few common methods that will hurt your growth as a blogger.
9 Ways to Monetize a Blog & Still Have Time for a Life
You don’t need to work 24/7 in order to make money blogging, unlike many videos and blogs will have you believe. There are a ton of ways you can set yourself up to make larger sums of money from less work.
1. A book
Writing a book is a really easy way to make money blogging. It might not seem like it, but the fact that you’re already a writer puts you miles ahead of most people who already do write and publish books to make money.
There are two primary ways to monetize a blog with a book:
- Publish on Amazon and send people to your book
- Sell it from your site and deliver as a PDF
There are pros and cons to both methods and it really depends on your goal. We’ll cover those below.
If you’re thinking, “but I don’t know what to write a book about!” that is a lie your mind has constructed based on old beliefs that people who write books are famous or only traditionally published. The truth?
Your book is already written.
Go to your blog’s page and take a look at your categories. These are all sections of a book you can write, and the blog posts themselves are already the content. While the book will look differently than the formats of your blog posts, the content will likely be the same. Better yet, you can probably write a book for each category you have, expanding the monetization potential of your blog.
The writing process can be a confusing one, which is why we recommend working with a coach who can take your writing skillset and niche knowledge and help you determine how to fit it all into a book (or two).
Self-publish on Amazon:
If you take the self-publishing route on Amazon, you will have to do a little extra work by making it available in paperback and ebook at a minimum, and creating an audiobook if you want to be competitive in all mediums.
The process is pretty straightforward, but it does have multiple steps. You can read about those in this post about how to self-publish on Amazon.
But here’s the rundown:
- finish your draft
- get it formatted for all versions
- have a quality cover created
- fill out your title and description after uploading to Amazon
- choose the proper categories and keywords
- promote your book
Here are the pros to taking this route:
- it’s a physical product (if you do a paperback version)
- you can reach a bigger audience than JUST your blog readers
- you can grow your email list from your book (new audience)
- you can send people to your blog (new audience)
Sell it From Your Site:
You can also write a book and create a PDF file of it (as well as an EPUB file to be read on someone’s phone or other device) and sell it directly from your website. This method would involve much of the same steps as self-publishing on Amazon, like formatting and cover design, but you wouldn’t go through the process of having it listed on Amazon.
Here are the pros to monetizing your blog with this approach:
- you manage the entire process
- it’s faster to implement
- you have something to promote on your blog
- you keep 100% of the money
2. An email list
If you’re not already growing your email list from your blog, you’re behind the curve. This is a minimum for every blogger nowadays in order to capture your audience’s information to more directly promote not only your own blogs, but other methods to monetize (like a book or other ways below).
Growing your email list is one of the ways to monetize your blog because you can deliver materials with affiliate links or sponsored emails (that we’ll cover in detail below) directly to their inbox, increasing the conversion.
Here’s how to grow your email list, in short:
- choose an email marketing provider like Mailerlite, Convertkit, or Flodesk
- create exclusive content to give in exchange for name and email
- implement that content on your blog in appropriate places
- deliver the content via email
3. Sponsored emails
Once you have an email list, you can actually make much more money than just linking your own products or from affiliate links (that we’ll go into more detail about below). You can actually get paid to feature other products, services, or brands in your emails.
There are a couple types of sponsored emails you can use:
- fully dedicated email: this is one you can charge a lot more for, and the content of the email will entirely revolve around the brand paying you to feature them. It might look like a skincare tutorial email using only a certain product.
- feature slot: you will make less with this method, but will be paid from various brands. This might look like a round-up of your favorite skincare products and you’ll feature a few that you were paid to put in there.
As with any of these ways to monetize a blog, always make sure to work with companies you have used and love. You will lose a ton of trust otherwise, and your emails will be less effective down the road.
4. Sponsored posts
This is where much of the “real” money comes for your blog. Similarly to a sponsored email, you can also make an income by having brands pay you a large lump sum in order to write blog posts about their products or services. Dedicated sponsored posts can bring in thousands per blog post, depending on your average blog traffic.
The best way to start attracting this type of work is to feature the brands you want to work with. By getting an affiliate link first and using that, you can start to show a company that your audience likes and purchases their products.
Once you have some good data on that, you can approach the brand with an offer: a dedicated blog post to recommend their products/services to your readers. Give them a fee, your audience information, as well as any data you have on how the affiliate links have performed for their company.
Be patient! This one can take some time, but you also might find some brands approaching you directly.
5. Affiliate income
This is probably the most common of the ways to monetize a blog. There are thousands and thousands of blog posts and videos online to help teach you how to do this. You see it everywhere!
The short of this method is to provide links to products you love and when a reader clicks and buys something, you will get a varied percentage of what they paid.
Here are some websites you can use to get affiliate links from:
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
- Rakuten Advertising
- Etsy Affiliate Program
In order to make content to add affiliate links to, especially if you want readers to click and buy, focus on blog post topics around how to use the products along with the benefits of them. When you showcase a product in those ways, it’s far more effective than just linking to something you mention, but don’t really focus on in the blog post.
6. Ecommerce (products)
If you’re the type to want to create your own products, it’s one of the popular ways to monetize a blog. Instead of just featuring other products on your blog, make your own!
This works best if the products you make support the content you write about. This might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many blogs don’t follow this rule.
When it comes to this way to make money on your blog, there are a couple options:
- Manufacture your own products
- Use a drop shipping service
Manufacturing your own product is definitely the more lengthy process. This involves many iterations of your product, testing, and also housing it all in a location you can ship it from. If none of that is up your alley, you’ll benefit from using a drop shipping service.
Drop shipping is when you choose from available products, list them on your website, and someone else creates, packages, and ships the products to the customer. This can take some time to determine what products to sell and which site has the quality you’re looking for, but is one of the stronger ways to monetize a blog.
Here’s a list of drop shipping websites to make it a little easier:
- Wholesale Central
7. Speaking engagements
Technically, this isn’t on the blog, but it is through the blog. If you’d like to try your hand at getting on a stage and talking to others about your niche, speaking engagements can pay substantially.
Because you have a website with a dedicated audience, it might help you raise your speaking fees too.
In order to make this even easier, writing and publishing a book is a great way to be seen as even more of an authority in your field. Most often, you can find speaking gigs by researching events within your niche and reaching out to the company running it. Most event organizers are always looking to bring in experts that can help sell more tickets to the event.
8. Exclusive content for a subscription
Of all the ways to monetize a blog, some sort of subscription is among the most reliable because it’s a predictable income from month to month. Sure, some people might cancel or bow out, but subscriptions that are reasonably priced—between $3-$15 per month—are easy for most people to forget about.
What those people will pay for, then, is exclusive content not available elsewhere online.
Patreon is an example of this with its ability to house your exclusive content and charge customers, but there are other methods too.
Here are some pays to create a subscription product for your blog:
- Patreon: videos, blog posts, polls, other content
- Facebook groups or other memberships that require payment
- An app that includes features your blog doesn’t have
9. Consulting or courses
If you’re an expert in a specific field, you can always charge people to learn from you. We see this most often on blog posts and this method has a ton of potential to make you a significant amount of income.
Consulting allows someone to pay you to come to their business or spend time with their teams to teach them about your area of expertise. Courses allow you to create video content teaching your methods and sell it to anyone who wants to pay for access.
If you want to try this route, here are some course creating softwares to get you started:
The Most Time-Sucking or Unprofessional Ways to Monetize a Blog [AVOID]
Just because you CAN use some ways to monetize a blog, doesn’t mean you should. There are certain methods that will do more harm than good, and aren’t worth the extra padding to your bank account in the long run.
You certainly CAN put ads on your content. These will pay you a certain amount per view, click, etc. The thing is….they’re terrible for your reader’s experience on your website and will ultimately isolate them, driving traffic away from your blog posts. That’s the opposite of what you want.
While it’s one of the earliest ways to monetize a blog, it’s certainly the least effective.
Have you ever been on a website and couldn’t even read the content you came for because an ad popped up, then a video played somewhere on the page, then the page jumped down when another ad loaded? Exactly.
Don’t do that to your audience.
2. Low quality merchandise
Always test the merch you’re selling. While it’s easy to sell T-shirts on your website, if they’re such a low quality that they feel like paper and will shrink 3 sizes in the wash…skip it. The money isn’t worth losing trust from your readers.
Thankfully, most of the drop shipping websites allow you to purchase your own products at a lower cost in order to see if the quality is to your standard. And remember, standards matter.
What your readers get will be a reflection of you.
3. Non-related sponsors or features just for the money
It can be tempting to take on any sponsored post or email. It’s money! But if it has no relevance to your audience, it just becomes another one of the ways to monetize a blog that will be ineffective. If your audience is into gardening, trying to sell them the latest watch by a company won’t go over very well.
Stick to companies that are in alignment with your audience, and your values.
While there are a lot of ways to monetize a blog listed above, remember that focusing on a few specifically will take you the furthest. Develop the right content, grow your audience, and allow brands to see the loyalty you’ve built within your readership. They’ll pay you for it!