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Running a blog is one of most common ways to earn passive income without having to do a lot of work, but before you get to that point, you have to do a lot of work (didn’t mean to burst your bubble).
There are a few different ways that you can make money with a blog, and I’ll be discussing most of them in this article.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a simple advertising and business model where you, the affiliate, make commission from the sale of a product or service that belongs to a company, who is the affiliate program in this case.
As the affiliate, do not have to deal with the customers in any way, aside from your efforts in promoting the product or service to them.
You are basically the middle man, making a referral for a fee. So if a potential customer buys something that you referred them, you get a percentage of that sale.
If you have a blog that focuses on tech gear, and you make an article about the best wireless headphones of 2020, you can sign up with Amazons affiliate program, and refer the reader to the best headphones that are sold on the Amazon website.
If the reader clicks on one of the links that you provide within the article (which would be a special “affiliate link” given to you by the affiliate program), and makes a purchase, you get a commission of the purchase(s) made.
The company makes more sales, and you make money helping the company make more sales and everyones happy.
This business model works the same way for tens of thousands of products and services, from hundreds of different companies.
One of the key aspects to the success of affiliate marketing is obtaining traffic. You can’t make referrals and generate sales with your links if noone even knows your’re promoting the product right?
So the typical ways that affiliate marketers generate sales is through a platform that they work on driving traffic to, and a blog is one of the most popular platforms to do this with.
What you generally want to do, is focus on creating content, that will in some type of way provide value to your readers while encouraging them to purchase the product or service that is associated with your content.
Knowing SEO strategies is also beneficial in helping to increase generated traffic to your site.
That in a nutshell, is how you make money in affiliate marketing with a blog.
Let me add, that besides creating content that can influence a reader to make a purchase, you can also try to get customers to click on your affiliate links with hopes that they will make a purchase by simply advertising the product or service with a banner ad, which will lead me to the next option in how to monetize your blog.
2. Display Advertising
You see ads (also known as banner ads) up and down, and in and around a lot of websites that you go on.
Ads, are the easiest way to make money with a blog, because you literally don’t have to do anything after you place the ads where you want them to be seen on your blog.
You can get paid for posting banner ads on your site if a visitor clicks on the ad, regardless if they make a purchase or not. This advertising model is known as Pay-per-click (PPC).
You even get paid just from the amount of visitors that visit your site and different web pages, this model is known as pay-per- impression.
Pay-per-impression is even easier and better than pay-per-click because you’re literally getting paid just for the visitors coming to your site, even if they don’t click on anything. The visitor appearing on the web page is the impression.
As a beginner blogger, you are more than likely going to to use the Google Ad Sense company to place your ads, since they have the lowest barrier of entry compared to other ad companies.
Other premium ad companies typically require that you have a certain amount of monthly visitors before you can qualify to join their program. Google Ad Sense does not have that particular requirement, although there are other requirements that you must meet to get approved for the program.
3. Sell Digital Products
A digital product is basically an intangible asset or piece of media that you can create one time and sell it as many times as you want.
Digital products can be created in the form of PDFs, templates, plug-ins, streamable files, MP3s, videos and more.
Selling digital products are a very popular and profitable way that a lot of bloggers make money with, many build entire empires around digital products.
The key to creating and selling digital products is to create something that can help solve a problem(s) for your visitors, or to have some type of value within your product.
An example of a blogger selling a digital product can be a fitness blog having a downloadable printable or PDF of a workout plan for a costly price.
Or a blog that focuses on careers that has a downloadable template on some resumes examples that they created.
Some different examples of digital products include:
- Online Courses
The great thing about digital products is that they aren’t typically hard to create when you have a good idea of what you want to make, and you can scale the product by charging whatever price that you want for it.
A blogger can easily make 5 to 6 figures annually selling digital products if they create a good quality product and market and pitch the product effectively.
The e-learning industry is projected to grow to about $325 billion by 2025.
4. Consulting / Coaching
There is a good chance that you will have a decent level of expertise on your blog niche that a lot of other people interested in that topic does not.
Even if you don’t, you are likely to develop better skills pertaining to your blogs niche as you are consistently blogging, learning and teaching about the topic.
You then can provide consultation to others.
Some people prefer to get more detailed and personalized instructions that they can get from a book or a course, and will be willing to pay for that advice.
5. Membership Plans
A membership site is a website containing gated content, features, or community that only subscribed members are able to access and consume.
So you can decide that the content and value that you create will be exclusive to the visitors that decide to opt into a membership plan or subscription.
Membership plans are not the norm for bloggers, but it can still be applied to your blog if you choose to.
Typical prices for a membership site is between $5 and $10, but you can charge whichever amount you’d like, I would advise that you’d make it a reasonable price that aligns with the value within your content.
The good thing about the membership site model, is that it’s passive income.
The subscription fee that you set is guaranteed to you on a monthly or annual basis, as long as long as you can constantly maintain your subscribers and prevent them from cancelling their membership.
6. Sell Physical Products
One direction that you always have an option in taking your blog in, is to sell physical products.
It isn’t out of the ordinary for a blogger to turn their website into a full-fledged e-commerce website alongside their blog.
You can start small and build up your inventory as your content, and visitor interactions grow.
If you can get to a point where you’ve built an audience that trust you, it shouldn’t be hard to sell physical products directly to them.
Pay attention to questions, complaints, and interactions in general of your readers. That can guide you to decide which products they’d be willing to buy from your site.
7. Start a Podcast
Podcasting is becoming a very popular way for people to share their messages to the world, while optimizing growth for their business in the process.
Now would be a great time to add a podcast to your blog, to generate more traffic to your site while the popularity of podcasting is growing.
It’s also a way to establish a uniquness with your blog that most others do not possess.
It’s estimated that podcasting will grow to 130 million people in the United States alone by 2022.
Aside from helping your site generate more income by driving traffic to it, you can generate income from podcasting with advertising, subscriptions, sponsors, crowdfunding and premium content.
Podcasting can open up doors to a series of other avenues like, television, film, books, conferences and events.
Some popular podcast niches include:
Similar to how you need to have web hosting for a website, in order for you to have a podcast you have to host your audio files by a media host company so that they can be streamed and downloaded by listeners.
Some podcast media hosts include:
You can also manage and host podcasts with WordPress plugins like:
- Simple Podcast Press
- Seriously Simple Podcasting
- Smart Podcast Player
All you really need to start a podcast is:
- Podcast hosting
- Audio editing software
- A microphone and headphones
- A Skype or a Zoom account (for interviews)
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8. Accepting Donations
Acceptiong donations for a blog is an avenue that a blogger will usually take if they are running a non-profit organization, but really any website / blog owner can accept donations.
The mission of getting donations is to figure out how to create the value and drive the influence to make visitors want to donate in the first place.
You can create an opt-in form where supporters can donate through an already built platform like Patreon, that takes a percentage of the donations, or you can download a WordPress plugin that will allow you to accept donations.
Some tips on helping to encourage visitors to donate is to:
- Create great content and stories
- Report on the impact of donations
- Use social proof (that other people are donating)
- Make the donation process easy (with a smooth interface)
- Show appreciation (By sending back letters, emails, social media shoutouts etc)
9. Sponsored Posts / Reviews
There are bloggers that generate income with their blog by writing reviews on the products, brand or services of a company for a fee from said company.
These types of posts are called sponsored posts.
This billion dollar business model, known as influencer marketing, is advantageous for the company paying for the review, because the post exposes the bloggers audience to their business, which can in turn help generate sales and traffic towards their business.
Generating revenue from sponsored posts and reviews will not be open to you as a blogger until your site starts to generate a considerable amount of traffic and becomes established as a reputable site to some extent.
It is important to make an honest attempt to provide genuine feedback on the company product or service to maintain your platforms integrity and to keep the trust of your audience.
Bloggers will ideally talk about a brand, product or service that they use and like when gettinp paid for a sponsored post.
Bloggers will typically charge anywhere from $250 to $5,000 for a sponsored post.
There are a few other ways that you can make money with your blog, but we went through the most known and ideal ways that a blogger would want to monetize their blog.
It’s not likely that you will already have a pre-set method on exactly how you will monetize your blog when you start it, it’s really one of those things that you will figure out through trial and error until you realize which way works for you.
What’s important is that you get started, if you haven’t already, and shoot until you hit the target, so that you can get closer to figuring out which method will bring you success.