Ever since I started blogging the question “how to monetize a blog” has never been far from my mind. Through my blog I’ve created a six-figure online business that I can run remotely from anywhere in the world. In the words of the recently passed David Bowie: Gee, my life’s a funny thing!
It’s more-or-less a miracle. I’m paid for sharing my thoughts and opinions with the rest of humanity – all without the costs of a traditional business. I’ve consistently made at least $5000/month passive income profits through my site (you can check this out in my income reports).
While the rewards and benefits are great, creating residual income with your blog is not particularly easy. In this article, we’re going to walk through the five most legitimate options available to monetize a blog.Build a business the right way: with a branded authority website a sizeable email list Click To Tweet
When you learn how to make money off your website, you’ll have built a business the right way: a branded authority website with a sizeable email list. This means long term success for you, as opposed to get rich quick schemes – which never work.
How to monetize a blog: what are your options?
These options covering how to monetize a website run the full spectrum from sources of passive income through to trading your time for money. Starting a blog is easy but making it profitable isn’t. It does take time. But the time creating content is well spent. Good content on your site will eventually mean authority and income for you.
If you pick the right route to match your personality, goals, and audience, you should be able to start making money online with your blog very soon.
On the topic of how to monetize a blog by displaying adverts, you have two main options. One is to join an advertising network and let them manage the ads that are shown on your website. While the other is to sell space to advertisers directly yourself.
Joining a popular advertising network like Google AdSense is perhaps the easiest way to get started. After signing up and adding the relevant code to your website, ads will be displayed to your visitors. Each time a reader clicks on an advert, you’ll earn money. Depending on the topic of your blog, this amount per click could range from a few cents to a fistful of dollars.Displaying adverts isn’t for everyone – they can make a site look ugly! Click To Tweet
Joining a network like Google AdSense makes the whole process relatively hands off. If you want to see if your website has the potential to earn money through advertising, use the Google Keyword Planner to see how much advertisers in your niche are paying per click.
Monetizing your blog by selling advertising space directly to advertisers gives you more control over the ads. However, there will be more work involved as you’ll have to find those willing to pay for exposure on your site. There are services like BuySellAds or OIO Publisher that help connect you with advertisers. In my experience, Google Adsense always pays more though.
When it comes to how to monetize a blog with advertising, success depends largely on traffic as well as the topic of your website and whether it attracts high paying advertisers.
Displaying adverts isn’t for everyone – they can make a site look ugly.
Question: would you like to see more ads on this site?
So, bombarding your audience with ugly ads doesn’t appeal but you’d still like to monetize your website? Then becoming an affiliate is a great alternative.
Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a commission each time a visitor purchases a product or service through a special link on your site. Affiliate commissions can range from a few percentage points of the purchase price, through to flat fees, and even recurring payouts.
Although similar to traditional advertising, affiliate marketing can be a more subtle way of monetizing a website. Instead of displaying adverts, you can simply insert a text link into an article, pointing to a product you recommend.
You can get $50-$200 for a single sign up to a web host via one of your links. If you get significant traffic to those links you can make serious money.
You may wish to notify your visitors that a particular link is an affiliate link – it’s totally up to you. However, I like to inform my readers of the affiliate links.I like to inform my readers of the affiliate links. It's always better to be transparent. Click To Tweet
Amazon Associates is the most popular affiliate program. By linking to their store from your blog, you can earn a percentage of any amount your visitors spend there within a certain period – although the percentage is very small comparative to other affiliate schemes.
Other affiliate programs can be found through multivendor networks like Commission Junction or ClickBank. However, many vendors run their own in-house affiliate programs. Either way, there’s a good chance you can promote products and services in your niche as an affiliate.
To find out if your website has the potential to be monetized with affiliate links, see if there are any related products on Amazon that you could recommend. Also, check if the services and products you use have an in-house affiliate program or are part of a network. You can always find an affiliate scheme for a product or brand but googling: “product/brand affilate”.
Further reading about my affiliate income: $10,000+ Passive Income From One Blog Post That Took An Hour To Write.
Sell your own products
Promoting other people’s products via advertising, affiliate marketing, or sponsored posts is fine. However, the next step towards building an online business is to launch your own product. This is the route I’ve made the most passive income from (but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right for you, others have been more successful with affiliate marketing, for example).
To help you decide what products to create, the items you’ve had success promoting in the past can provide inspiration as to what your audience are looking for. Indeed, by blogging, you will develop a sixth sense of what your customers want from the feedback you get.
Whether your market research points you towards creating a physical product or a digital download, you can either sell your product directly from your website or leverage a popular e-commerce marketplace by learning how to become an Amazon FBA seller or selling on Udemy.
Promote your services
Offering a service is probably the quickest way to make money online and when it comes to finding clients, your blog is the perfect shop window for your skills.
Offering your blogging and web design skills as a service is one option. As too is making yourself available for coaching and speaking engagements. Whatever service you choose, your blog gives you the opportunity to showcase your abilities and expertise.
To get started, draw up a list of services you’d like to provide that also tie into your blog and its audience. Then create a services page on your website explaining how you can help. Linking out to profiles on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, or 99designs, can help boost your credibility – although freelance sites such as those shouldn’t be used for too long as competition is fierce.
Further reading: How Web Designers and Developers Can Get Clients Through Blogging.
Offering a service and trading time for dollars isn’t scalable. For this reason everybody dreams of monetizing their blog by leveraging their skills. So creating premium content is a good alternative.
Whatever you’re blogging about, there’s likely to be a section of your audience that wants to know more. If you’re a food blogger, maybe your audience would like to know how you take such great photos. Perhaps your readers want to know exactly how they can follow in your freelancer footsteps. Or maybe your audience just wants to be able to blog as well as you do.
Methods for delivering your premium content could involve setting up your own course selling site with Teachable, producing an eBook, or creating an online course. Whichever format your premium content takes, this blog monetization option can be an effective way to cash in on your expertise. Once you have the audience and the email list, it becomes easier to make money from third party platforms like Udemy and Skillshare. I’ve made over $100,000 in Udemy in less than three years and over $50,000 last year.
Once you’ve created the premium content, you have a potential passive income source. And each new post you publish on your blog will help increase the exposure of your premium content.
Monetize your blog: You can do it!
You now have some tried and tested ideas that explain how to monetize a blog. Whether you want to display adverts, promote products as an affiliate or create your own services, products, or premium content, there should be a website monetization method (or methods) here that’s right for you.
The first step in learning how to monetize a website, for me, was Active Income: Earning money from clients doing web and graphic design service. This is how I was able to leave work and work for myself online way back in 2008.
After that it was creating valuable free content on my site and building an email list.
If you want to know how how to monetize a blog, do this: Start blogging as soon as possible and write every week about what you do. Don’t write to say “I’m brilliant at doing this”; write to explain how and why you do what you do. It sounds crazy that you should give away your secrets and techniques about how you make your money. And yet that’s what actually works. People see that you know what you’re doing and hire you!
Also, on your own site you can collect email addresses which is really important later on.
You’re much better off providing a service to clients when you’re starting out. It’s an easier way to make a living and it gives you great content ideas that you can use to grow the passive income side later on.
Has this helped you decide how to monetize a website? Have you got any other suggestions of how to make money off a website? Please share your thoughts in comments below.
Mukesh Negi says
The best way to monetize any blog is Affiliate links. First use that products then share your experience with your reader through which you can earn money. I have been doing this for last 1.5 years and and till now i earn 17000 $.
Rob Cubbon says
I wouldn’t say “The best way to monetize any blog is Affiliate links” just because it’s best for you doesn’t mean it’s best for everybody, Mukesh. You’ve made a great start, though, congratulations!
Subham Mundra says
Hey Rob, I’m your Udemy student. I am working on a coupon and deals website for the Web Designers and Marketing Community. It will include Coupons and Deals for WordPress, Joomla, Hosting Etc. Can you tell me some good ways to drive Organic traffic to the site? A Better way to drive traffic from search engines except Blog Post as I’m not habituated in writing posts or articles.
Rob Cubbon says
Hi Subham, if you don’t want to write or create content yourself then you’re either going to have to pay someone to do it and pay for traffic. Facebook ads will be the most beneficial price-wise for that market, I believe.
Other than that there’s podcasting, Kindle e-books, YouTube marketing – but they are really more content ideas. You have to have content to drive the paid traffic to! So there’s no alternative!
Here are some more ideas for you: 15 Amazing Content Creation Ideas For Your Content Marketing Strategy, How To Create Money Making Content With No Following and 10 Types of Free Content You Can Give Away Now.
I’ve been following you for a while and really admire your work. I’m currently enrolled in one of your Udemy classes!
I’m in the process of creating my first wellness-related e-course (I’m a health and wellness writer) and I was wondering: Would you say it’s better to create a course on Udemy, or have it on your own site? I’m really torn about what direction to take. Any insight?
Thanks, and have a great day!
Rob Cubbon says
The good answer, Lauren, is that you can do both!
Since it’s 10x easier to upload courses to Udemy than it is to sell them on your own site, you should start on Udemy, especially if you have no audience of your own. Also the courses on your site should be different than the ones on Udemy, they should have more content and be more premium in nature so you can charge higher prices.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.
I have a question about domain and branding. I’d like to use my name as my brand/domain but also considering another domain which will focus more on what I love doing. Would you suggest going for a name-based domain/brand or going in for a unique company type brand domain?
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Richie, I wrote about this and have a video on it. I talk about it here: Choosing a domain name. It really depends on your situation. For me, the least risk is to choose your name. I’ve never regretted it. I’m not going to change my name whereas, with a company, that can change. Also, with a real name you are free to pivot into other niches that are of interest to you in the future. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.
Aandelen Kopen says
I like Amazon for affiliate links, yes the percentage is lower but their range of products is so big that you can practicly blog about anything and there is a related product for it. For this reason its a good all-round affiliate program. And the information you give is great. Thank you.
Rob Cubbon says
True, Aandelen, you can get virtually anything on Amazon.
Akhil Soni says
Thanks for sharing this amazing information as it really helped me and i really learnt so many things.I have a question how i can increase traffic on ecommerce site as i am running a Digital marketing agency in Jaipur i would be glad if you will share this information with me
Rob Cubbon says
The only advice I have about traffic, Akhil, is to create great content and help people.
Jamie Hill says
I have been following your advice for a while now Rob, finally took the plunge and started my own website! it has been hard, I am a wordpress newbie, but the site is now starting to take shape. I have learnt that it is a marathon not a sprint when it comes to creating good content for a niche website.
Rob Cubbon says
Wow, so glad to hear you’ve been here before, Jamie. Best of luck with the new website. Remember to remain engaged and passionate about the website’s subject in order to consistently create that useful content. 🙂