It seems lately the focus for making money as a blogger is from either affiliate links or selling what you know. While those are valid and AWESOME ways to make money blogging, there are many ways you can make money blogging. And these don't feel scammy or like you're selling your soul for the purpose of making a buck. I'll never forget when I did a sponsored post about adult diapers…. truly am sorry.
I want to bring you 11 surprising ways that you can make money from your blog. After all, you put so much work into your blog. You deserve to profit from it.
I should note, in order to really make money from a blog, you need to build it correctly. In case you haven't started a blog, you can do so here. You need a few things to make a blog profitable which includes driving traffic, creating content that people care about, focusing on awesome social media, consistently providing value to your blogging community. With all that said, even if you're just beginning you can make money blogging.
Before we get into how you can make money, I want to tell you I am a full time blogger. But that doesn't mean that every cent I make comes directly from this blog. I think in order to really profit from a blog you should diversify and have multiple income streams. I didn't make money overnight. I think any blogger who tells you that is CRAZY (and maybe they just want to sell you something?!) because it's going to take some time and effort.
11 Surprising Ways To Make Money Blogging
While creating an online course is a good way to make money blogging, you can also sell what you know in written form, too. I do believe we all have a unique set of lessons to share with others, so anyone can teach. An eBook is a great way to do this. Sites like DPD and Gumroad allow you to take payments and sell your digital products online. The reason why I like these sites is because they make it seamless to deliver your work in a professional way.
You can also publish a non-self help book. You are a blogger so you like to write, so publish that novel you know your audience will love!
Some of my favorite ways to learn are from ebooks. I can go at my own pace and take notes along the way. If you're interested to see an ebook I have for sale, check out my book Instagram Unlocked.
Many bloggers set up their blog and before they even hit publish on a post they are trying to set up Google Adsense. While I think this is a good way to make money, it's not the greatest. I recommend waiting to set up display ads on your blog. You don't want to overcrowd your layout or distract people from what your blog has to offer.
As you can see, this blog uses very few advertisements. I'd rather not have you click off my site to go buy something from Ulta. BUT it can be a good way to make some extra cash. Instead of going through Google Adsense, I do recommend checking out ad sites like Blogher, Media Nexus or MediaVine.
The absolute best way to monetize this way is by more eyes on your site. Pageviews are the key here. The more people that view your blog, the more that see your ads.Take a look at this post on how I went from 0 to consistently reaching 250,000 pageviews every month. And no, it's not about posting daily! In fact, I post less often!
But another way to sell ads that I do really love, is to sell ad spots to other bloggers or online shops. This way, you manage the ads and determine how long the ad stays up and for how long. You can set up terms for this however you like but I think this is a really good way of choosing what ads are displayed. I think Alex in Wanderland has an awesome program for bloggers she calls the “featured blogger program.” You also have a better chance of making money here, since display ads typically have very low return.
Oh don't you love the word passive? It basically means lazy, or more technically, you do nothing while the money rolls in. While we all know you need to absolutely put in some time and effort, you can make money passively with a blog. The best way to do this is with affiliate links. Affiliate links are those you put on a blog post (for example, if I tell you about a font I like on Creative Market (hat is an affiliate link) linking back to a product or service. You then make a percentage if the someone buys. I think one of the best platforms to find links from 1,000s of companies is Share a Sale. It's very easy to use and makes creating links a breeze.
The way this becomes passive is when you create evergreen content – content that stays relevant over time, and people continue to click and buy. Here's an example of an evergreen post I wrote. Although this post is almost a year old, I make money when people buy what I recommend. I love this way of making money because I truly believe in the products and services I use. You can also use something called SkimLinks that places links in your post without YOU having to think. Let's say you talk about a dry shampoo you love. Skimlinks will link to that shampoo for you. It's really an easy way to monetize.
Make sure that you use these affiliate links naturally within your posts. You never want to come off as spammy or try and share a product that your audience won't use. To me, this is one of my favorite ways to make money because I share about products I truly use and then get to share them with my audience. This is a huge money make for my blog. If you're feeling stuck on how to move forward with making money with affiliate marketing I highly recommend the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
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Now that you've created a base of readers and followers, why not monetize it with stuff you know your audience will care about? Lots of bloggers start online shops to sell products. A couple examples are Venus Trapped in Mars‘ blog templates or The Daily Tay's t-shirts.
I think Etsy is a great way to sell physical products and have an online store front. You can also use sites like Spreadshirt to create t-shirts or hats and use their platform to sell your custom designs (without having to have the stuff in house!). Other options are Teespring and Cafe Press. You design it, they ship it.
Social Media Promotion
A lot of bloggers think that the best way to make money is via sponsored content or review on their blog. And it is a great place to make money. But you can also make money by promoting products on your social media channels. You can work with brands by promoting their products or services and get paid to share your real opinions. Companies like Izea will pay you to promote products. Instagram is the number one source for this. You can also sell your gorgeous Instagram pics on sites like iStockPhoto.
My advice is to make sure this is a product or service you personally use and care about. It's very easy to tell if someone is not truly invested in a product. So only share what you like, know, and trust.
Here's an example of how I shard about a service I used while on my trip to Iceland:
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Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all. -Helen Keller ? This trip to Iceland is already one of my favorites this year. @happycampers_ has made it so incredibly wonderful. Pulling off the side of the road has been so much fun and for those who don’t know… this might be a little preview of what we do in America when we move back next year. Have you traveled in a camper?! Would you? #heleneiniceland #happyiceland
You might like this post: How to Land Sponsored Travel
I looooove webinars. I seriously can't get enough of webinars or online workshop by bloggers. Usually, this means an hour (sometimes a bit longer, depending on the subject and price) of teaching on a specific topic.
What I love about Webinars is that I get to connect and talk live with people who read my blog. Of course, you can do these for free, but if you plan to go really in-depth you can sell them OR you can even sell a product at the end. The best part about webinars is that they are free or relatively cheap to set up.
You can create slides in PowerPoint or Keynote and then use Google Hangouts (totally free) to go live. Now, you do need to have a hosting platform for the live stream video. I use Leadpages for this (as well as for lots of other things) and I highly recommend it.
If you're worried about going live or being in front of the camera, you can also host a membership site and pre-record the content and have people pay monthly for your online education. Alternatively, you can create a private forum or membership area for people to ask questions or receive feedback. There are so options when it comes to creating workshops or a place for people to find help online.
Sell your site
Let's say you work on your blog for months. Then, you get an idea for ANOTHER blog. Flash forward to months later and you never pay much attention to the other site. We could be talking about me… maybe. (I started a site called the Festival Queen 2 years ago. It has exactly 9 posts and I thought it was epic. Alas, it's sitting in the dust.) You can sell your domain! If you really aren't using that site you can sell yours on Flippa. It's easy and quick and you'll get the best price.
Sell it Used
Lots of people have turned to eBay to make extra cash. One year I wanted money for Christmas gifts, so I sold all my American Girl dolls. I made $5,560. I had a lot of dolls….
You can still sell your stuff as a blogger! On eBay you can sell your used stuff (we all buy crap for the blog) like planners, notebooks, coffee mugs, etc. You can also use sites like Poshmark to sell your clothes and accessories. This is great because you can announce your items are for sale to your audience and get cash back for items you no longer need. You can also sell to your audience. Many people make Instagram accounts dedicated to selling their items. Remember, your audience very well might like to see
As a blogger you're probably well versed in social media promotion, Google Analytics, writing interesting articles, SEO, and managing an inbox. Some bloggers need help with all of the above. You can be the answer to their prayers and help them build their blog.
My suggestion is word of mouth (so many bloggers are looking for Virtual Assistants) and setting up a “work with me” page on your blog. Make it super easy for others to find and contact you.
An Email List
Whether you want to make money off your blog or not, you need to create a newsletter. This is the best way to stay in touch with your readers. Now you might be thinking, but how can I create an income stream from a newsletter? Well, I think you can use your newsletter to recommend products, sell your content, or even create an automated sales funnel.
If the word funnel makes you itchy (I know it sounds technical) but it's really just a set of emails that are sent in intervals once someone subscribes to your email list. I use (and recommend) Convertkit to create a newsletter and they will walk you through the process of creating a funnel. Or just setting it up in general.
I think bloggers often forget that they have marketable skills that they can sell to businesses that need it. Some ideas are writing, design, proofreading, and photography. Many bloggers can work with companies on a freelance basis and charge a great rate in return. A great place to sell your services (besides creating a page on your blog, which you should) is on Upwork and Fiverr. You can even freelance as a social media consultant. The possibilities here are really endless.
As a final note, I want to tell you it's perfectly reasonable for bloggers to make money online. You are putting so much time and effort into your blog, you should get paid for it. We buy things because we know, like, and trust people, and your blog is delivering that content regularly.
What ways are you making money blogging?
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