This is a guest contribution from Paul Back.
You think about it all the time – how great it would be to make money from your blog.
Yet, with monetization, things can get a little confusing. There are just so many different options.
Making money from your blog is not something that happens by accident.
It takes forethought, planning, and a winning strategy.
Once you understand all of the possible ways to monetize your blog, it’s much easier to devise the right plan.
Succeeding at Monetizing Your Blog
The First Step is Understanding Your Options
There are almost limitless possibilities for a blogger like you to earn money online, but most of these fall into a small number of distinct categories.
This post is designed to show your options so that you can go on to make the right monetization decisions.
Without having a clear idea of what’s possible, you simply can’t make a solid choice.
Your destination is a blog that makes you money – you need to choose some routes that will get you there.
Let’s face it – blogging is hard work, so don’t make it even harder by failing to create a clear path to reaching your goals. You’ll end up investing time and energy on something that just won’t work for you.
When analysing your options, think about your end goal – do you want a more passive way to earn? Perhaps you want to offer a service? Maybe you just want to create and sell your own products? Not sure yet?
Whatever it is – we have it on the menu.
The Full Menu
I scoured the Internet for months trying to find the most diverse and proven ways to make money from blogs.
I’ve talked to every contact I have, conducted research, done free and paid courses and classes, read real books and e-books, watched videos, attended webinars, and have tried a lot of these strategies myself – if it’s not on the list, it probably doesn’t exist or just doesn’t work.
So don’t worry; I’ve got you covered!
Look through the list, and find your best options — or just see what’s available. Use it as a guideline for your blog monetization plans.
Ads are great, but they can be tricky.
They can deliver staggering revenues, but for most people, they make very little. If you want success with ads, you must consider traffic, audience, and context.
Generally speaking, the traffic numbers of most blogs don’t have the volume to make a real dent with display advertising, and once you have the traffic, there are usually better ways to monetize.
Of course there are exceptions to the rules – so aim to understand your niche and audience before deciding if ads are right for you.
- Pros: Easy to set up, offers passive income (set-and-forget), requires no special skills, works on most audiences, and works from day one.
- Cons: Usually results in relatively small profits, requires a lot of traffic, turns off some audiences, makes your blog look less attractive, and is usually not the main revenue maker for a blog.
- Best When: You have a lot of traffic, you have other sources of revenue, and you’re waiting to develop your own products for sale or quickly monetize without much effort.
You have many ad networks to choose from. Google AdSense is the most popular, but look into Media.net (Yahoo/Bing) and Clicksor. These ad networks are contextual – they automatically display ads based on your page’s content.
After you choose an ad network, there’re many different ad models you can use – each one has its benefits.
Here are the best options:
Display Advertising Options:
Get paid whenever a visitor lands on a page displaying the ad, as its “seen” — it doesn’t matter if the ad is clicked or not.
- Pros: Visitors don’t have to click on your ads to make money.
- Cons: Needs even more traffic than other ad types and usually pays less.
- Best When: This is great for high-traffic blogs that have little audience interaction – news-type blogs for example.
Get paid when someone clicks on the ads displayed on your blog. (Prices depend on niche — more competitive = more money.)
- Pros: Standard advertising model — it is the best bang for your buck.
- Cons: You want advertisers with relevance to your blog to increase ad clicks.
- Best When: In high competition niches that are relevant to your blog.
Banner ads are placed in sidebars, headers, and individual posts. These can be PPC or PPM.
- Pros: Common and effective form of advertising.
- Cons: Can ruin the look of a blog depending on which ads are displayed.
- Best When: You have control over which banners display.
Appear in the RSS feed of a blog.
- Pros: A great way to make money from your RSS feed.
- Cons: With the decline of RSS feeds, these have become less popular; that doesn’t necessarily make them bad.
- Best When: You have a large RSS list.
These are ads that are embedded within your written text. When a reader clicks on them, it displays the corresponding ad.
- Pros: They look like links, so there is no need for banner ads.
- Cons: Distracting. People may find it annoying. Makes your blog worse from a usability perspective.
- Best When: You don’t use other forms of advertising.
If you have a mobile app or want to advertise via mobile channels. See: ADMob, Millennial Media, and Adfonic. There were 7.1 billion mobile devices connected to the net in 2014 – mobile and app advertising is set to take advantage of this in a big way.
- Pros: Take advantage of a growing sector, less competition in the app sector, majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
- Cons: Situational – you need to have an app or want to advertise in apps.
- Best When: You have an app, and you want to capitalise on the growing number of mobile devices or when your audience largely uses mobile to view your content.
Use widgets such as AdSanity to help you manage and customise ads on your blog.
- Pros: Detailed advertising information, makes your ads more profitable and customizable (e.g., display ads with higher revenue). Works with single or multiple ads.
- Cons: Cost of entry, needs more effort on your part.
- Best When: You already use ads with some success and want to increase their profitability.
Create a bulletin or job board and let others advertise on it for a fee.
- Pro: Easy to set up and can drive huge amounts of relevant traffic to your blog, which amplifies other monetisation avenues and turns your blog into a “hub” in your niche.
- Cons: Usually this is not a primary source of income; your blog has to be sufficiently popular.
- Best When: Your blog is seen as a hub in your space when you already have a lot of traffic and when combined with other revenue streams, e.g., Problogger Job Board.
Audio ads on your podcasts
If you have a podcast, use audio ads similar to a commercial radio station and promote people’s products, services and get paid — e.g., use networks like this, and this.
- Pros: A great way to earn money from your podcasts.
- Cons: You must have a regular audience for your podcast to have any real effect.
- Best When: You have a large and consistent podcast audience.
Sponsored content is advertising material in the context of a blog post (should be disclosed). Its effectiveness is determined by audience size and relevance. A good example of how sponsored content works is mashable.com. They regularly use content from big companies and get huge brand visibility in exchange for money.
- Pros: Good way to earn money. Most people would have no issue with sponsored content, if you label it as such.
- Cons: Would turn some people off and would only work well in some niches (depending on sponsored content opportunities and how well they match your blog).
- Best When: You have a large reach and you are in a niche with good sponsored content opportunities.
Ads on your videos (for other’s products or your own)
Use your videos as platforms for advertising. Use the YouTube advertising program, or create an agreement with a sponsor, and mention them or display their logo in your videos.
- Pros: Make money from the content you create, easier to get noticed than blog banner ads, relatively unexplored area for most bloggers, and can go viral.
- Cons: Only applies to video content. Traffic needed. May need relationships with businesses.
- Best When: You are a successful video content creator.
Directly sell ad space on your blog
Sell ad space to other bloggers or businesses without going through a middle man (ad networks).
- Pros: No middleman, total control over what ads you want to display, more profit, and you can choose ad designs that complement your blog.
- Cons: Fewer ads to choose from and harder to arrange than AdWords (or equivalent).
- Best When: You share an audience with a blogger or business that’s interested in advertising on your site.
Sell, Sell, Sell – Blog Stores
Sometimes, the best way to make money off your blog is to treat it like a sales platform.
The biggest problem for most online businesses is they lack traffic volume and a repeat audience. As a blogger, that’s your bread and butter.
Bloggers get so hung up on providing free content that they forget they are allowed to sell to their audiences. If you provide real value with your content and offer something relevant, your audience would love to buy from you.
Here are the best ways:
Create blog merchandise:
Sell shirts, caps, or just about any merchandise from your blog.
- Pros: A fun idea which under the right conditions will make a great income; check out Cafepress and Merchify for ideas.
- Cons: Situational — some brands just don’t make for good merchandise.
- Best When: You have an active, engaged community and a cool social brand. E.g., it’s perfect for health blogs.
You can create a simple eBay store for your blog. It’s easy and a quick way to start earning an income. Alternatively, you can auction items to your audience without eBay.
- Pros: Easy and cheap to set up.
- Cons: Not suitable for every blog, people might take you less seriously depending on niche, and probably not a steady income.
- Best When: You are in a creative category such as DIY or in a niche that has many physical products associated with it.
Start an ecommerce store
Sell items directly from your blog with no third party involvement.
- Pros: This is a great way to monetize a blog; a varied inventory can create fantastic revenue.
- Cons: Need products to sell. Not all niches can be successful – or at least not without thinking outside the box. Check out Lynne Knowlton’s selection of products.
- Best When: You have many things to sell or have a blog for business purposes.
Reviews and Sponsorships
As a blogger, your biggest asset is your audience.
They give you authority and influence. And when influential people speak – others listen.
This makes bloggers like you perfect for product reviews and sponsorships. These strategies have been around for a long time – and for good reason; they work.
You can use the power your audience gives you to earn a living, without violating your audience’s trust or using any sleazy tactics.
Here are the best ways:
Paid reviews are where an advertiser pays the blogger for a review of their product or service. Bloggers should let the audience know when a post is paid for; in some countries it’s required by law (including the U.S.). You can use PayPerPost, com or make your own arrangements.
- Pros: You get paid to review products and services in your niche. It’s easy and requires little effort.
- Cons: Not every niche and blog has the opportunity to review a product. This method is a short-term monetization strategy.
- Best When: You have a popular blog with a lot of reach and an audience that is understanding.
Receive gifts for reviewing products
Getting paid in the form of products or services can be another source of revenue.
- Pros: An easy way to get rewarded. You can set up a page on your blog to let people know you do reviews, or you can email people directly if you are interested.
- Cons: Most people would prefer cash payments.
- Best When: You have a large audience that values your opinion.
Get sponsored by a company
Leverage your audience and influence to get sponsored by a company that will pay you in cash or gifts to promote them.
- Pros: Can be lucrative, and you don’t have to do your own development or branding.
- Cons: Usually you need to have a popular blog.
- Best When: You have a popular blog and you outreach to companies that you have an interest in working with.
Become a brand ambassador
If you love a particular brand, you can try to become a brand ambassador. You promote a company and get paid in commissions, free gifts, or cash.
- Pros: A great way to earn and promote your favourite companies.
- Cons: You need to have a company you strongly believe in that fits your image, you need a large following, and your reputation is in another’s hands.
- Best When: There is a company that lives up to your expectations of quality, service, and ideals — and is beneficial to your audience.
Every blogger has fantasized about making a fully passive income at some stage.
And affiliate marketing is the best way of doing that. But even with passive income, you still have to do some work.
Well, initially at least.
But get it right and your life will change in a big way. So kick back, relax, and watch that money come rolling in.
Here are the best ways:
Join an Affiliate Program
Becoming an affiliate is the perfect way to make money selling products or services without having to invest time in creating them yourself.
- Pros: Great source of potential revenue, no need to develop your own products.
- Cons: Turn your audience away if you promote the wrong type of product, lose audience to competitors, lose audience if you overdo it, and not as much money as making your own products.
- Best When: You have a large devoted audience, you want to make extra money to an already successful blog, or you want to “test drive” an idea before committing your own time and money.
Affiliate links in posts
This page contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.
You create “evergreen” content with links to affiliate products – this is not promoting another blogger’s products via email advertising. For an example of affiliate links in posts, check out Darren Rowse’s Digital Photography School. The difference is subtle, but some audiences simply do not want to hear about other people’s products in your email messages.
- Pros: Earns money while providing value to your audience. Perfect for monetizing your current content.
- Cons: Takes some effort to set up; very few people could make a full living off affiliate links in posts.
- Best When: You create incredible list articles with affiliate links and you have a large audience.
Webhosting referral affiliates: (Bluehost, Godaddy, Hostgator)
Promote a service you trust and use on your blog to earn commissions.
- Pros: It’s easy, no special skills are needed, and anyone can do it. All website owners need hosting.
- Cons: Like other affiliate links, this usually won’t be enough to make a full living, and needs lots of traffic.
- Best When: Using hosting companies that you trust and use with your blog. Your audience has or intends to have a website, e.g., blogging, social media, and business niches.
Affiliate sales from social media (Instagram and Pinterest)
If you have a large presence on Instagram or Pinterest, you can promote affiliate products using RewardStyle or ETSY. This is a great way to use your blog in conjunction with social media, and earn money – perfect for visual merchandise, i.e., fashion or design blogging.
- Pros: A fantastic way to leverage your social media presence.
- Cons: You need to have a large following to be accepted.
- Best When: You are a popular blogger that focuses on visual content.
Create an affiliate program for your own products
This is a way to get extra reach and revenue from one of your own products.
- Pros: Increase profits for no extra work, and a great way to make extra sales and get exposure.
- Cons: Not as profitable as tapping into the market without a middleman.
- Best When: You have an expensive product to sell and have relationships with influencers in your niche.
Directly sell other bloggers’ products and get commissions
Like affiliate marketing, you’re selling other people’s products, but unlike traditional affiliate marketing, the commission is determined directly between you and the other party.
- Pros: High commissions and relevant to your audience. Good way to build goodwill and relationships with other bigger players in your niche.
- Cons: You need strong connections to other bloggers – which means you are already established. Has potential to lose your readers to your competition.
- Best When: You already have a medium to large email list and have good relationships with other bloggers/businesses/gurus.
Be a Leader
As a blogger, you’re naturally a coach and mentor to your audience.
You love what you do, and you wouldn’t change a thing. So, why not get paid for it?
Everybody wants your help, but it’s not possible to help everyone. You need to prioritize and still find the time to create quality content.
When you charge for your services, you can focus on your work, provide quality advice, and spend
your time more wisely.
Here are the best ways:
Consulting is about using your expertise to provide specific problem-solving or troubleshooting – such as providing marketing advice or strategy. E.g., Neil Patel. Consulting usually requires you to have a specific skillset.
- Pros: Usually more lucrative than coaching and builds your credibility faster. Great as a primary or secondary revenue stream.
- Cons: Requires a high level of authority and credibility in your niche when compared to coaching, therefore not the best option for total beginners. It’s also time intensive.
- Best When: Your intervention can have quick and measurable results (changing marketing strategy, providing SEO audits etc.), usually “service” based.
You offer expertise to help your clients resolve a problem – coaching is similar to consulting, but there is more emphasis on providing support, encouragement, motivation, and guidance. With coaching, there is less emphasis on having a specific skillset or qualification in general and more emphasis on support and feedback.
- Pros: Provides a consistent flat rate and a reliable income, and you also learn more about your audience.
- Cons: It is a time-heavy process that slows the growth of your blog and requires a certain amount of authority.
- Best When: There is a longer-term issue or problem that requires more than one or two sessions to resolve — e.g., lifestyle change, personal development.
Group coaching programs
Like advanced consulting for a whole group of clients through a predefined curriculum. You provide lessons, exercises, feedback, and mentoring.
- Pros: You learn new skills and get rapid feedback about what your customers want – while being paid.
- Cons: A lot of time is taken in running and preparing these courses. You need some level of experience.
- Best When: You have already had success with one-on-one coaching and are looking to take on more students at once — e.g., Selena Soo.
Get Paid for Superior Content
It’s your job to create incredible content for your audience.
You spend countless hours researching, writing, creating and editing. But some content is just too valuable, too time intensive and too in-depth to be given away for free.
If you didn’t charge for it – it would be impossible to keep your standards that high.
This is a natural progression for any blogger, and it’s a fantastic way to earn money.
Here are the best ways:
Private interview series
You interview experts in your field on a number of important topics and charge a fee for accessing this material — e.g., Yaro Starak from EJ.
- Pros: These are cheap to set up, easy to scale, and are incredible relationship-building opportunities.
- Cons: The experts have to be well known authorities in your space for people to consider it valuable enough to pay for. The interviews must provide real value. You need to be fairly well connected.
- Best When: You are well connected in your niche as well as have other products (with higher prices) for sale.
Develop and sell your own self-paced courses
Self-paced courses are teaching resources that a user goes through at their own pace; usually it’s a combination of text, video, audio, and live calls.
- Pros: One of the best ways for bloggers to make sustainable, high-level profits. Courses like this build your credibility and can be your sole revenue stream.
- Cons: Time and effort intensive to put together, and you need a lot of experience in your field (to create worthy learning resources).
- Best When: You are a popular blogger who’s ready to step up to the challenge – this separates the casual bloggers from the big boys. E.g., Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging
Create a video course
Video courses are similar to self-paced courses, but they focus heavily on in-depth “over the shoulder” type videos. These are perfect for instructing complex tasks that users need to view multiple times to follow.
- Pros: Same as a self-paced course.
- Cons: Video courses take a lot of time to set up, may require special video and editing software, and high production value is a must, due to repeated viewing.
- Best When: You are in a technical niche like link building / SEO. E.g., Brian Dean.
E-books are a great place to start monetizing.
- Pros: Low up-front and overhead costs, no ongoing cost or customer support, easy to create, and you gain credibility and widen your audience.
- Cons: Relatively low profit per sale, and requires high volume to make money.
- Best when: You have other forms of revenue, and you are looking to expand your authority. E.g., Enchanting Marketing.
Create regular private content that users pay to view.
- Pros: A great way to get consistent money (this works by charging a relatively small, recurring monthly fee).
- Cons: You need to produce regular high-quality content that’s worth paying for.
- Best When: You have a ton of high-quality topics to discuss, and you’re invested in creating high-quality content consistently for the long term.
A great way to reach out to hundreds or thousands of clients at once.
- Pros: Like private membership content but usually more time intensive. The quality is usually lower than that of premium courses.
- Cons: It takes a lot of time and energy to set up, and the level of service is usually not as high as a self-paced course.
- Best When: You have a loyal audience and you are willing to spend time each day to review threads and post in forums, or when you have other “power users” that will aid you in the forums.
Leverage Your Blogging Skills
As a blogger, you develop a particular skill set.
This skill set is extremely valuable in the real world. But most bloggers take it for granted – some don’t realize how sought after these skills can be.
But if you’re smart, you can use these skills to your advantage.
Here are the best ways:
Paid guest posts
There’re blogs and business sites that pay you to guest post. Do this regularly and the money starts to add up. Check out some great resources for paid guest posting: here, here and here.
- Pros: Great way to polish your writing and get paid for it.
- Cons: Too time intensive to make a lot of money.
- Best When: You want to earn some money while polishing your writing skills.
Ghost-writing for other bloggers or sites
Earn money by offering ghost-writing services for other blogs or businesses. This is similar to guest posting, but you’re not credited for the work, and you’ll usually get paid more per post.
- Pros: Fantastic way to boost revenue and build relationships.
- Cons: Time consuming, and a lot of bloggers may find it unsatisfying in the long run.
- Best When: You are in the freelancing / blogging / writing niche, which means you can charge a lot more and build a reputation with popular bloggers and businesses.
Use your blog as a platform for a higher-paying job
Use your blog as a launching pad for a much higher-paying career in the real world. Make yourself an authority in the niche your ideal job fits into, and use it as leverage in your workplace or the job market. You can also launch your own freelance career as a blogger, writer, or coach.
- Pros: Gives the security of a “real” job. A lot of people prefer more traditional and structured ways to earn money.
- Cons: Ultimately, you are bound by the job market.
- Best When: Your passion lies within a particular business sector or you are self-employed.
Write sales letters
Writing a sales letter is similar to a sales page for a business, but it’s longer, more detailed, more difficult, and requires a high level of copywriting and marketing skills.
- Pros: Direct marketing is a particular skill that can earn you much more money compared to traditional copywriting.
- Cons: It’s an acquired skill, and not everyone is capable of doing it well.
- Best When: You’re a blogger in the marketing/copywriting niche with a few years of experience.
Publish a book
Write and publish a physical book. Many bloggers have become bestselling authors; some even have a few books under their belts.
- Pros: Books are an incredible authority booster, and you receive huge acclaim and open up other opportunities. Not only do you make money from book sales, but you also can increase your rates on all your other offerings.
- Cons: For this to have any real chance, you need a fairly large and devoted audience.
- Best When: You’re a gifted writer, and you run a popular blog. E.g., Seth Godin.
Write web copy for businesses/blogs
A great way to use your copywriting skills is to write sales copy for websites. Copywriting for company websites and sales pages is a sought after skill, and can be hugely rewarding.
- Pros: Get paid a lot more than just writing articles.
- Cons: Providing a service like this usually only applies if you are in the blogging, social media, or marketing niches.
- Best When: You are in the right niche and have some degree of authority and/or marketing experience.
Form a partnership (with another blogger, online business, or physical business)
Enter a mutual business relationship with another blogger, business, or physical business, and get paid to do so.
- Pros: Access to revenue or skillsets that you otherwise wouldn’t have. With a mutual partnership, you have the option to split up work, access to products you normally would not have, and the freedom to focus on doing what you’re best at.
- Cons: Not receiving full profits.
- Best When: Your blog is related to an industry with business opportunities, and you are well connected.
The Power of Events
You’re probably pretty social.
You love talking with your audience, you love networking with other bloggers, and you love to share what’s on your mind – and the best way to share ideas is to share with a receptive group.
And creating an event is an excellent way to teach, raise your profile, and get paid.
Here are the best ways:
Organize an event (in real life)
Step out from behind your keyboard, and organize a real-life event. Take the lead and earn money from real-life events — like Copyblogger, Problogger, or NerdFitness (check out this awesome fit camp) — if you have readers that are in proximity to you or are willing to travel. Most people put more value in a face-to-face interaction and are willing to pay for the experience. Events will bond you with readers, and are mutually beneficial.
- Pros: You can make great money and strong bonds with readers.
- Cons: It can be difficult logistically and may not work in some niches; usually you would need to be well known and respected.
- Best When: You have a strong bond with your audience, and you can organise an event worth paying for.
Paid speaking gigs
Use your blog as a platform to launch a speaking career.
- Pros: Branch out from your blog for a well-paid and rewarding speaking career.
- Cons: The suitability of this depends on your authority, niche, and comfort with public speaking.
- Best When: You’re passionate and imagine yourself “blogging” in front of a large, live audience. E.g., Neil Patel (above) or Adam Franklin.
Host a branded Twitter party
Bloggers have more authority on social media than most businesses or online users. If your blog gives you clout on Twitter, approach a business or company to host a branded Twitter party and get paid for your efforts.
- Pros: Leverage your large Twitter following and get paid to promote.
- Cons: A Twitter party is audience specific and brand specific. This strategy requires your audience’s “permission” and participation, and it would put some people off.
- Best When: You know your audience likes the brand/product being promoted, and you have a large Twitter following.
You can hold a webinar online, or a real-life local event, which requires payment to attend. E.g., Jon Morrow’s live workshops for his Guest Blogging program.
- Pros: A cool way to teach and engage an audience which is very rewarding and provides you with a good income. Similar to group coaching but with a higher price bracket.
- Cons: You would need to organize well and have a high level of service and value for this to work.
- Best When: You have had some practice with webinar software and consulting.
Get the Crowd On Your Side
Rally the troops and form an army.
With the power of the crowd on your side, you can achieve incredible things.
Harnessing the power of crowdfunding has never been easier; there is money to be made, projects to complete, and lives to change.
If you have the will, and the right people behind you, there’s a way.
Here are the best ways:
Create a crowdfunding page
If you have a specific goal or mission for your blog, create a crowdfunding page, and source funds from your audience.
- Pros: Get paid for having a vision and the initiative to start something your audience appreciates.
- Cons: Ideally, you need a mission people can get behind, and this method usually doesn’t provide reoccurring income.
- Best When: You have a vision, goal, or mission that inspires people to take action — you may be helping others (like Pat Flynn did), have a special project you want to work on, or be developing a product your fans want ( with an epic $50 million dollars from crowdfunding – check out their blog here).
Enroll in the Beacon network
Get donations for your creative work.
- Pros: An innovative way to get paid for your work.
- Cons: Not yet a proven way, and it’s mostly for creative work.
- Best When: You have a blog in the creative space, and you want to try something different.
Get fan funding with Patreon
Get donations for your creative work – this is like crowd funding but for a sequence of smaller projects.
- Pros: A great way to make money for content in the creative space. A unique way to build a bond with your fans.
- Cons: It’s not mainstream, and your audience would need to adopt the Patreon system.
- Best When: You create creative projects, and your audience is open to new ideas. E.g., Cliff Ravenscraft uses Patreon for his podcasts.
Get your audience on Flattr
An interesting platform for you to share your creative content and get paid for each “like” from any Flattr user.
- Pros: In theory, it’s a great way to get paid for your creative work.
- Cons: You have to convince your audience to use the Flattr system.
- Best When: A large part of your audience uses Flattr.
Get tips on Tiptheweb
Encourage your readers to use a tipping service to get paid for your creative work.
- Pros: You get rewarded for your outstanding work on a per case basis.
- Cons: This is in the beta stage, meaning you most likely won’t get enough people tipping to make a solid income.
- Best When: You consistently create great content, and your audience members are early adopters that benefit from your work.
Let your audience show gratitude on Gratipay: Similar to tipping but provides a reoccurring weekly donation for doing good work.
- Pros: You have a better chance to make regular income than tipping since you get weekly payments.
- Cons: Might have a harder time convincing your audience to commit to reoccurring weekly payments.
- Best When: You have a loyal audience, you create great content, and you do not advertise or sell any other products.
Just ask for donations (PayPal)
A bit of an old-school way to make money blogging. Just put up a donations page, and ask your readers to donate, either for a specific one-off purpose (e.g., buying a new microphone) or just in general. This can work well, depending on your audience. E.g., Scooby’s Fitness Network.
- Pros: One of the easiest ways to make money from your blog.
- Cons: Not a dependable income and as most people will not donate.
- Best When: Your readers feel in debt to you and your great work, especially when you don’t push any products on them.
Sometimes it’s necessary to get technical.
Creating a unique product for your audience takes a lot of resources, planning, and work. If you have the know-how and the will to make it happen, you can achieve great things.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying that if you do it right, it’s going to be worth it.
Here are the best ways:
Develop and sell your own physical products
Much like selling your own programs, but this product is physical.
- Pros: A physical product lends you credibility and makes you seem more serious than your competitors. Physical products are often easier to market.
- Cons: Costs are higher due to producing prototypes. Higher risk strategy when compared to non-physical products or courses due to upfront costs.
- Best When: You are in a niche that allows for physical products. E.g., no meat athletes gear.
Sell your blog/site template or theme
Sell your custom designed blog theme or template.
- Pros: A great way to make money if you have a unique theme that people like.
- Cons: Not every theme and template would apply; most wouldn’t.
- Best When: You have your own custom theme that your readers ask you about regularly.
Develop and sell your own software:
This is specific to your industry; your programs could be web-based programs, software, or systems that you directly sell to your audience.
- Pros: The best option for high revenues, and it can be your sole revenue stream. Specifically designed with your audience in mind, which makes it much easier to sell.
- Cons: An advanced method, it takes a lot of time and money to set up. It’s crucial to have experience (or an experienced team) in development and to really know your audience before you attempt to create these programs.
- Best When: You have an already popular blog, in the right niche, with a proven track record in sales, and you have money to invest in hiring experts to help you. For example, AppSumo, created by Noah Kagan who runs his own blog at OkDork, or KISSmetrics.
Create a mobile app
Create a mobile app related to your audience, use it as a way to sell something, or leverage it for promotion, advertising, and brand awareness opportunities.
- Pros: A unique approach, and unlike other app developers, you already have an established audience. Use your blog as a platform to distribute your app, build awareness, and create cross-promotional opportunities.
- Cons: Technically challenging, and you need to have a good idea of what people want.
- Best When: You have experience in development, you know your audience well and understand what they need. The level of complexity varies, but you would need a developer if you do not have the skills. Here is a non-tech example.
Try Something Different – Break the Mould
Sometimes, the best way to make a living from your blog is to try something new.
That’s the beauty of it; there really isn’t a limit to what you can do.
If you have the courage to try something different, you may get the rewards you’ve always wanted.
Try something unconventional, innovative, cutting edge – or even downright crazy!
If you have the vision, passion, and drive, no one is going to stop you.
Now go get ’em tiger!
Here are the best ways:
Treat it like a business, and look for an angel investor
If you’re looking to turn your blog into a profitable business, search for investors to back you financially and strategically. Look to Mashable and BuzzFeed for examples.
- Pros: Secure funding to invest in your blog and the security of knowing successful business people are backing you.
- Cons: It’s less like a traditional blog and more like a business, which requires a regimented and profit-driven approach.
- Best When: You have a vision, and you want to build a business around that.
Use a paywall
Paywalls are commonly associated with news websites, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t use them for a blog.
- Pros: Proven in other industries to make money with your content. A great opportunity to make it work for blogging. Great with in-depth content or more news-type blogs.
- Cons: Will put a lot of people off.
- Best When: You have a popular blog with exclusive
Try an “out there” idea
Check out Lynne’s awesome treehouse. She thought outside the box and made money from it. You may not have a treehouse, but you have skills, services, opportunities, or physical products that a portion of your audience will be interested in.
- Pros: Unique to the individual; almost everyone has something special they can offer.
- Cons: You have to look hard to create opportunities.
- Best When: You identify your unique offer, and you have the courage to try it out.
Sell your blog
Sick of your blog? Sell it. Get paid for your effort; look how Ramsay Taplin and Yaro Starak sold theirs.
- Pros: Get rewarded for all your hard work with none of the pressure.
- Cons: It’s usually only one payment unless you have a licensing contract, which can be complicated to arrange. Your blog needs to hold a business value to be eligible for sale.
- Works Best: When you have a successful blog that you want to get rid of.
Here’s a Toast to Your Success
You have choices to make.
Choose the right ones for you and your blog – and you’ll be rewarded.
Hundreds of thousands of people make money from their blogs; some even make enough to quit their day jobs.
Stop wondering what it would be like – join them.
In reality, it’s no harder than what you do as your job every day.
But without blind luck, the only way to get there is understanding your options, choosing some strategies, and working toward your goal.
Targeted action is the difference between success and failure.
There is a lot riding on your decisions.
But don’t use that as an excuse to take no action.
The only decision you’ll regret is the one you don’t make at all.
Right now, action is vital.
Even if it means you make mistakes.
You can adapt and change later – just start now.
You have your options laid out in front of you – make your choices, and work at them.
It’s time to make a move.
Are you ready?
Paul Back will help you grow your blog, increase your traffic, and teach you to make money online. If you’re serious about blogging, then head on over and get your free guide to The 3 Most Effective Blog Monetization Methods and start earning a good living from your blog, quickly and without frustration.
Great post! This is the most in-depth review of monetizing a blog that I have ever come across. The pros and cons for each were really informative, and creating a mobile app was one that I had never thought of as an option. This is really an excellent resource.
Thanks so much for that! I got to admit, it took a really long time to put together, glad you enjoyed it.
I don’t like to do Paid reviews. It’s like selling your thoughts and feelings for some bucks. :P As far as Advertising is concerned, I love this way of making money and affiliate marketing is also good.
Thanks for sharing this article i was just looking for how to make money and your post is the best.
Glad you like it! Hopefully you can use it as a resource to get yourself started.
This is an incredible comprehensive list of ways to monetize a blog! I was wondering why there was nothing on in image advertising? Maybe I missed it, but I think its worth mentioning as its a great and clean way of optimizing the space on your blog for advertisements. What do you think?
Wow! I agree with Josh – this list of monetization ideas is the most indepth list that I have ever seen. I’ll be coming back to it time and time again. Soooooooo good!
Paul – you really nailed it with your ‘out of the box’ thinking and the pros and cons. I am so happy that I started working with you last year. You have made such a difference for me – not only on monetization but on my blog subscriber optins. My subscriber count went from 2000 to 10000 subscribers in 9 months. THANK YOU for your epic tips!
Monetization – I just started selling my first ebook and LOVE earning money while I’m sleeping :) lights out income is a beautiful thaaaaang.
Lynne from Design The Life You Want To Live http://www.lynneknowlton.com
Thank you so much for that – I’m really glad to be working with you as well, you and your blog rock! Haha who does not love to wake up to more money than they had before going to sleep?
But you make it too easy, you have an amazing blog and amazing readers and you’re a joy to work with. Thank you for coming over and having a read, I really appreciate it and hopefully you got some more ideas to work with!
Excellent! So thorough ;)
Right Now I have a few income streams open through blogging: eBook sales, – I have 20 on Amazon and am adding 1 weekly – freelance writing, blog coaching, affiliate income streams, sponsored posts, and I am working on a few other streams too. Opening the streams opens you up to multiple sources of income. Not a bad thing. Because if one stream lowers a bit for the month I have others to call on, and I am also adding streams as we speak ;)
One note I’d love to add; your content does the monetizing. Like, I open plenty of channels and keep adding them yet, I know that people buy my Blogging from Paradise books or hire me to write for them, or to coach them, if they see immense value in my content. I publish a pillar style, 6,000 word post most Wednesdays and I also have my new book release every Monday, because by giving away free value I can gain the trust of my audience, and once I have that trust, I can prosper.
The thing is though, some bloggers sprint before they crawl. I have been there, adding all types of income streams without having any good content on my blog, to spur buys, hires or clicks. As you add 1 stream at a time – from this wonderful list, or from other ideas – simply keep writing, and writing, and writing. Make writing 1000 words or more daily, not to publish really, but to hone your writing skills, your number 1 income generating activity because when you get your writing game down, you’ll get your blogging game down, and then, you’ll prosper through your income streams.
I write 6,000 or more words daily. Really. Not lying lol…..because I love writing, BUT because I want to free me, and to free my audience and writing this much is also a wickedly effective monetizing strategy too, because money responds to value and I can share that value through comprehensive posts and through kick butt eBooks.
Tweeting and Pinning from Bali.
Thanks so much for the warm reception. That is some pretty amazing insight, I feel that people do forget that its all about creating useful resources for your readers – after all we are bloggers and we deal with information.
I think it may its a flawed approach to try to sell straight away, you need to build and audience first, find out what they want and then provide that to the best of your ability.
A lot of people do not see or think about how much hard work bloggers put in behind the scenes to make it all work. Like you said, its all about writing, writing and writing so to be successful like yourself, you got to love what you do – or else it just doesn’t make sense to stick with it.
Thanks for sharing the information, I hope other readers read your comment as its completely spot on.
I really appreciate you taking the time out to read the article and add your thoughts to the mix! I’ll see you around Ryan
What a great insight Ryan.
I am grateful for your insights.
I am a new blogger and learning every single day
Wow, Paul – what an extensive list! I wish I had this when I started out 3 years ago.
Thanks for the great article,
I wish that as well haha. I hope it gives some people out there a few ideas for their blogs. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Great thoughts! I’ve mainly stuck to CPA offers and a bit of CPC, but it’s time for me to branch out a bit. Thank you!
My pleasure mate, glad that my post made you think about your options! have a good one
These are really creative ways to be making money from your blog and I have actually considered a few. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks a lot David – yeah I had to really look around to find some of these! Glad it got you thinking.
Great article – we hear this all the time. Blogging (or any web content) is definitely a snowballing process. It takes a ton of time and effort to build the first little ball and get it rolling on it’s own. However, if you keep at it you can create a massive juggernaut that almost runs itself! Does anyone have a sense for how long it takes people to build up self sustaining blogs?
Thank you! That question is impossible to answer as there are so many intangibles, but if you’re smart about it you can make money from your blog no matter what niche you are in. Glad that the most got you thinking though :)
Wonderful post Paul,
Thanks for going so in-depth. I especially appreciated the “Best When” part, as it really helps put into perspective which methods might be better for different people to try.
No problem, it was my pleasure. I hoped people would get something out of it and it sounds like you have so that’s great news.
This is a great resource for both newbie and more experienced bloggers a like. This was very in depth outline of all the creative ways to monetize.
Thanks so much Nicole :)
This is very true, Nicole.
Thanks for a great article, Paul.
This is awesome stuff.
Every blogger should reference this article :)
Awesome Post Paul
Many thanks to ProBlogger team for publishing this wonderful informative article.
Great Collection of Information and Great Collection of Websites too.
I don’t think you’ve missed out anything on how to monetize a blog.
Your post closely targeting on how to get direct advertisers to your blog. Most of us looking for that aspect only.
I like this blog article setting
In-fact this is going to be the trend for the future bloggers. Usually people write list post but this is new to them. They stop with Pros and Cons they not even think about Best When. But you’ve made it.
Thanks to all for drafting this superb post
Really wonderful article. I love to read this post. Covered almost all online money making methods. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you very much for the detailed article.
This list is Awesome Paul! I’ve already been trying to think outside the box and am in the process of creating products and pre-production for a travel app. Thanks for this in depth information.
No worries at all Nicole, really happy you got something out of it!
Fantastic tips, thanks for making this guide and making it such a clear breakdown. You see so many articles out there like this but this has definitely been the best I’ve read!
I was searching for how to make money with blog your article helped me for that..Thanks for sharing this article..Great post
Now, starting a blog is easy but in order to be able to successfully monetize the blog, you need to establish the blog. In this guide, I have also covered the topics that help you establish your blog so you can monetize it.
thanks so much paul just started blogging your article is so helpful to me.
I almost can’t believe that I have in front of my eyes such a valuable article! Thank you so much for taking your time to write it. You just made my day :)
My pleasure :) glad you enjoyed it, hopefully it has given you some new ideas of the directions you want to take with your blog
Wow this is a comprehensive post. Essential reading for new bloggers I think.
Thanks Bryan! Yeah I really wanted to create a reference list for bloggers to use, I’m glad you liked it.
Thanks Bryan! Yeah my aim was to create a resource that bloggers can use to get a few ideas, I’m glad you liked it
Oh my god, I’m new to this and this is the most incredible post I’ve ever read about making money from a blog :) Thanks so much for your good work!
Wow I’m not sure what to say Candy :), I’m just really happy that I could help out
Thanks. That’s a very thorough tutorial. I’v recently been researching the subject of monetizing blogs/websites and was at a loss for idea. Well, now with 60 ideas at hand, I can be creative. Great job!
That’s great! Glad I could help out, now you can use your time to implement some ideas instead of researching :) Thanks for commenting
The above post is well detailed and well understood. Of a truth, there are many of the points mentioned above am coming across for the first time which i hope to implement in my blog..
Awesome post. Thank you so much for compiling such a complete resource. I’m going to bookmark it and return for a reread. Great info to consider as I think about my next steps.
My pleasure John :) its very rewarding to hear that, I hope you find some gold nuggets in there to use for your own blog
Great list. I think you covered almost all online monetization methods. Good for newbie bloggers.
Hey Paul, thanks for the shout-out and being the example of getting paid speaking gigs. Great on ways to ways to monetize a blog too!
No problem at all :) Thanks for checking it out Adam.
It must take a really long time to put all of these methods together! Thank you for your good job, Paul Back!
Haha yeah it took a while, glad you enjoyed the post Tracy!
That is a “knock it out of the park” post.
I can only imagine the hours, weeks and months that went into it – but so worth it.
I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back and read it again and again. Once is not enough to process so much valuable information.
Well done and thank you so much.
Thank for your support Mary I really appreciate it. I’m glad you got something out of it too! I did hope this post could be used as a reference point for bloggers, something they can come back to for inspiration and ideas.
Hey paul nice sharing and great work to list all these. Some of them are known and some of them are new for me and i can also try from them, so thanks.
That’s awesome, yeah I really wanted to find some resources that might be not as well known – I’m glad it gave you some ideas.
Thanks for sharing Paul, I am glad that I am curious to know what is best practive when asking for donations. any tips?
I’m not sure about “best practice” but I would just be honest with people. That is someone everyone can appreciate and you leave them to make their own decisions, just be transparent and be up front. You can’t “go wrong” with that approach.
Hope that helps
making money from blogging is always a good thing when your dedicated to “doing the transformation blogging work.”
Hii i am into affiliate marketing since last 2 years but i have one doubt in my mind.
It is good or bad to use adsense in affiliate sites ?
Will adense ads impact sales and bounce rate of site ?
Appreciate the time you put into this. Very helpful. A couple of the items I was doing pretty much for free without realizing “Hey I should get paid for this” Like hosting twitter gatherings.
Post really gave me energy.
That is awesome to hear, these sort of posts take a lot of time and energy to put together and when you hear that it sparks an idea in someone, or motivates them to try something new it makes it all worth it.
In 1 month back when i did not get adsense i’ve lost my hope. But there is also lot of alternative here. Thanks I will be get somethings new from here.
Great Post! Wow…I didn´t know there where that many types of monetization for blogs! This post is awesome! Thanks for the info.
Your welcome Carlos – hope you got something out of it!
This post is providing best sources information, How I can monetize my blog and can generate more revenue, all process which your defining inside this post I will try some process and getting great result..
thanks so much for giving here pros or cons… which is very helpful for me..
My pleasure John That is awesome to hear, these sort of posts take a lot of time and energy to put together and Appreciate the time you put into this. Very helpful.
Hi Paul thank you for this huge massive post. I am already starting to think in what ways I can make more money from the blog with all these strategies. :)
That awesome! I hope you find some that work for you :)
I knew there were a lot of ways to make money with your blog, but i didn’t realize how many different ways LOL… This was a nice plethora of ways to monetize your blog. I think out of all of them, I’m only using two ways which are affiliate marketing and ads (Google Adsense). I think I’m going to book mark this post for later use!
Thanks for the share! Have a good one!
That sounds awesome Sherman, yeah there really are quite a number of ways to make money blogging – just have to look outside the most common methods. Hope this post gives you some ideas for later on.
If you ask me, selling ad space & affiliate programs are the best.
If you can promote affiliate programs properly, they can earn you a lot . And the best thing is that it’s available for almost every niche.
Thanks for your article. Really liked it.
I would like to add my view on this way. Adsense has been popular for a long time and it’s a fact that it’s one of the most common way to monetize a blog. I am not sure if I should say “it’s the best way” but I agree with this page. THANK YOU.
Lately, I’m considering starting a blog and later quitting my job, but I was afraid I won’t be able to earn enough money. Your article made me think about it and definitely inspired me. Thank you = )
That is awesome :) I hope you give it a shot. Just make sure to either have a solid blog going before you leave your job. It is definitely possible to grow a popular blog when working full time, but it does require a lot of effort and time management.
I’m really glad you got some inspiration!
All the best
This is an excellent review, thanks.
Just wanna ask:
Is it alright for you to turn the lists into a PDF format so that we can review them offline?
In regards to Patreon, could you make an article on how to promote and monetize a blog with Patreon?
Plus, when is the best time to use Patreon, at the beginning of the first blog or after building the audience?
This is a very useful post for all the bloggers. Keep posting valuable content like this. Thank you !
Hey Paul this is the perfect article, thanks for sharing.
My God… 60 ways…. Loves your post…