Blogging is a popular way to make money online. Bloggers who get any kind of traction are often asked by new bloggers how to make money with a blog. Making money as a blogger comes in many forms, such as creating courses, selling products, creating sponsored posts, using ads, and earning affiliate income.
When blogging professionally, you need to have a reliable host. Bluehost helps keep your blog up when you need it for just $2.95 per month. They also allow you to create a business email address and domain name, both of which are important for blog monetization. Get your blog hosted today.
Here are seven steps to blogging for profit:
1. Craft Quality Content Before Monetizing Your Blog
Your primary goal as a blogger is to create great content for your readers. This helps build credibility and rapport with your audience. When your audience likes the content that you create, they’re more likely to bookmark it and share your article with others. In turn, this will present you with more opportunities for making money with your blog.
There are a couple of things you can do to make sure you’re focusing on content first. Having an editorial calendar and working to get high-quality traffic will help.
Use an Editorial Calendar to Write Consistently
An editorial calendar is a place to organize your blog’s project workflow. Good editorial calendars have a place for new blog post ideas as well as the entire writing process from researching to publishing. With a system in place for your workflow, it’s easier to create a full-time income from your blog.
You can use physical sticky notes for your editorial calendar, or you can use a digital one. Trello allows you to manage several projects at once, either on one board or on multiple boards. You can also create a digital calendar using programs such as Monday.com, Coschedule, and Asana.
Get More Traffic to Your Blog
Great content doesn’t matter if no one is seeing it. Posting about your blog on social media and guest posting on other blogs help bring traffic to your site. Additionally, search engine optimization (SEO) allows your blog to get search engine traffic. To optimize your blog post for SEO, follow these best practices:
- Titles with approximately six words tend to get the most page views
- Use internal and external links
- Have at least 300 words in a blog post
- Your key phrase goes in your meta description, which gets pulled by Google
There are plugins, such as Jetpack, to check your SEO. If your SEO tasks turn green, you are doing well. It will call out any areas that you need to correct before publishing.
To create titles that get traffic, shares, and search engine results, you want to also optimize for SEO. Coschedule’s free Headline Analyzer gives you a score for your title and suggestions for improvement.
2. Choose Self-hosting to Make Money Blogging
To effectively monetize your blog, it needs to be self-hosted. A self-hosted blog means that not only do you own your content, but it gets hosted on your own server or that of a third party. Most bloggers use a third-party host such as Bluehost. It’s easy to start a blog using WordPress and a hosting site, as most hosts make it simple to install the free blogging platform from a dashboard.
Setting Up a Self-hosted WordPress Blog
Setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog is done in under five minutes using Bluehost. This will allow you to own your content.
To get started:
- Click Get Started from Bluehost’s homepage
- Choose a plan
- Set up your new domain or import an existing one
- Enter your name, address, and payment information to establish your account
- Sign into Bluehost
- Select My Sites from the left menu
- Click on Create Site
- Name your site and give it a tagline
- Click Next
- Select the domain name you created
- Click Next
Squarespace brings design, functionality, and hosting to one platform. Its drag-and-drop templates make getting started blogging seamless.
To set up your self-hosted blog in Squarespace:
- Click Get Started from the top right of the home page
- Type in “Write a blog”
- Tap Continue
- Select one of the templates
- Then create your account
- Click Start
- From here, you can customize the look of your blog and create new blog posts
3. Consider Affiliate Programs for Your Blog
Affiliate marketing helps bloggers make an income without needing to create their own products and services. You generate income through both high-ticket offers and passively any time someone purchases a product or service using the affiliate’s link.
High Ticket Affiliate
A high-ticket affiliate is someone who promotes offers that cost over a few hundred dollars, and often costs the buyer thousands. The affiliate will typically earn 30% to 50% of the sale they refer. You can become an affiliate of a high-ticket course you’ve taken, for an industry event, or you could even write a buyer’s guide on your blog that contains affiliate links. High-ticket products take more effort to promote, but the income you may generate can be lucrative.
Passive Affiliate Income
Earning income passively as an affiliate includes using ads, mentioning a product in a blog post, or dropping an affiliate link in an email. It is considered passive because while you do have some setup on the front end, it is generally not the sole focus of your efforts. Ad networks include companies such as Google AdSense, Mediavine, and AdThrive. These ad networks often use ads that rotate based on a user’s internet activity.
You can also run static ads for companies that you like using. An example is signing up as an affiliate for ClickFunnels or Walmart and running a single, static ad that only changes if you specifically change it. Static ads are great for niche sites because they use hyper-relevant ads.
4. Create Sponsored Posts to Make Money Blogging
Writing sponsored posts for brands can be a lucrative way to earn blog income. Even if you don’t have a lot of page views on your blog, you can still work with brands as a micro-influencer or blogger. Brands care more about engagement—if you have 5,000 page views per month and get 40 comments on every blog post you create, that’s better than a blog that gets 100,000 page views and three comments. This is because business owners can buy vanity metrics, like the number of followers they have. Engagement is much harder for bloggers and influencers to artificially create. It shows brands you’ve got an audience that pays attention.
Here are a couple of ways for you to approach sponsorship on your blog:
Pitch Companies You Use Now
Think about the companies whose products you use now. If those products fit in with your blog niche, research their marketing or partnership contact and send an email about collaborating. If you are unable to find an email, it is okay to send a message on social media and ask for a contact.
Become Part of a Network of Bloggers
A talent agency is a company that does the pitching of brands for you, and has a network of influencers and bloggers to which it presents opportunities. Oftentimes, these networks have established relationships with these brands and work on many different campaigns throughout the year. You don’t get paid by the brand, but get paid by the agency directly. Here are some of the most popular networks to join as a blogger:
- Influence Central
- Activate by Bloglovin
- The Women Bloggers
Each agency has its own requirements to become part of their network. However, if you have an established blog with at least 5,000 page views per month, you can join most networks. When you’re part of the network, you can apply for different campaigns that may also have their own traffic requirements.
5. Sell Products & Services on Your Blog
With plugins like BigCommerce and Shopify, it’s easy to integrate a shop within your blog. Determine what your audience needs by doing market research and then create a product to fill that need. You can create the product yourself if it’s digital, or you can outsource it by private labeling or white labeling your products.
Consider Private Labeling
A private label product is created by a manufacturer and then sold under a retailer’s name. Examples of this include Kirkland Signature sold under Costco and Walmart’s Great Value. Both retailers sell thousands of different types of products from many manufacturers, but also sell their own branded product.
White Label Your Products
To white label a product, you purchase products from a manufacturer and rebrand it as your own. This differs from private labeling in that the manufacturer is also selling this product to many other companies for white labeling. This is a common technique in the supplement industry, but can be used for a wide range of products—including digital ones.
6. Create a Course to Make Money Blogging
When you create an online course for your readers, you put in more work on the front end to then earn residual income for years to come. It is important to create an evergreen course, which means that it isn’t just relevant for the immediate term, but for a long time.
Do Your Market Research
What you consider a great course idea may not resonate with your audience. Poll your readers so that you can understand their needs and desires. You can poll them in a survey you send via email, or you can get them on the phone so that you can ask additional questions as they come up in the conversation. Tailoring the course to their needs as a whole will make the course creation process easier. You can also ask survey respondents if they’d like to know as soon as it’s available for purchase.
Determine Each Unit in Your Course
Now that you know what your audience desires in a course, you will need to choose what units you want to include. The idea isn’t to include everything you can, but to only include what makes sense. For example, if you’re creating a course for beginners in a certain subject, you can omit anything more advanced. Similarly, if your course is for advanced users, you won’t need to include beginner subjects.
Create a Sales Page to Presell Your Course
Although you conducted market research and your readers said this is what they want in a course, it does not necessarily mean they’ll purchase it. You don’t want to spend six months creating your entire course only for no one to enroll. By creating a sales page and preselling your course, you can save a lot of time. A WordPress plugin like Parallax Gravity Landing makes it easy to create a sales page for your course.
A popular strategy is preselling the course to beta testers for a reduced rate, with the expectation they will provide feedback as they go through the course and provide a testimonial at the end. This helps fine-tune your course before launching it to your entire audience, and gives you testimonials to use in the promotion of it.
7. Set Up a Subscription or Membership Site
A subscription or membership model is increasing in popularity thanks to subscription boxes and Amazon Prime. A membership site allows your audience to learn from you on a regular basis and earns you recurring revenue. This enables you to scale exponentially since you can sell many spots in your membership site.
Determine Where to Host Your Membership Site
Your membership or subscription site can be hosted within WordPress using a plugin like WooCommerce Memberships. Otherwise, you can host your course in Teachable, Kajabi, or Thinkific. Where you host your course is a matter of personal preference, as they have similar features.
Create Your Membership Site’s First Month of Content
Your membership site differs from a course in that users expect to have content as soon as they sign up. For this reason, you’ll want to have at least a month’s worth of content available upon enrollment. The content you create can include things like videos, PDFs, interviews, and workbooks.
5 Experts Give Tips on Making Money Blogging
There are many ways to make money as a blogger. We asked the experts for their tips on successfully monetizing blogs.
Here’s how the experts say you should try to make money with a blog:
1. Build Your List & Be an Affiliate
“Having highly focused affiliates you can promote throughout all of your posts are key. Offering a lot of value in your posts with a few affiliates sprinkled throughout will keep people coming back to your site. Typically, products from other bloggers offer higher commission rates (sometimes 40% or more).
“Generating an email list is still very important for bloggers. Unlike social media followers, an email list is something that you own. Facebook or Instagram could decide to shut down your page and you’d lose all the followers you acquired over the years. With an email list, you’re less vulnerable to changing search engine algorithms. If you have a new product or affiliate you want to share, you can email your list directly. Topic-specific email lists have a higher affiliate generation as well.”
– Steffa Mantilla, Blogger, Plantsonify
2. Make Money Ghostblogging
“The fastest way to make great money blogging? Don’t blog for yourself, blog for busy business owners who know they need to blog but don’t have the time. It’s called ghostblogging, where ghostwriting meets blogging. You create search engine-optimized content for a business in the voice of the business owner (or brand), and the company publishes your content on the website.
“Currently, I have several ghostblogging contracts with $1,500 per month each. Ghostblogging is the perfect long-term way to supplement my income because every contract is retainer. What’s a retainer deal? Clients keep me on for months at a time, and I create winning content for their blog long term. If you care more about making money blogging than about receiving credit for what you write, ghostblogging is an indispensable way to earn a living writing.”
– Joshua Lisec, Certified Professional Ghostwriter, The Entrepreneur’s Wordsmith, LLC
3. Build an Email Sequence Around a Digital Launch
“I set up a sales funnel that told people that I was creating a digital product that taught them how I earned over $10,000 in affiliate commissions from one blog post. That sales funnel was promoted on my blog for one month. I generated approximately 300 leads, which means I converted about 10 visitors per day. I set up a 10-email sequence and delivered nothing but value through videos, how-to’s, and blog content. This created a ‘know, like, and trust’ factor, as I was able to demonstrate my skills as an affiliate marketer.
“When the digital product was ready for sale, I started a 4-day sales pitch. On day one, I opened the cart. On day two, I reminded people that the cart was open and encouraged them to purchase the book. On day three, I created urgency by informing my subscribers that the cost of the digital product was going to increase. On day four, I gave my subscribers one last chance to purchase the product before the price was increased in 24 hours.”
– Dawn-Marie Nesbitt, Blogger and Entrepreneur, I Am Dawn-Marie
4. Run Monthly Ads on Your Site
“One strategy I use to make money with my site is through specialized ad network flat-fee monthly deals. This means the ad network sends a payment to get their sponsored post or ad up on my site for one month, and they can choose to renew or not the following month. I’ve found this to be an effective way to increase the earning potential and RPM of the pages on my site.”
– Stacy Caprio, Founder, Her.CEO
5. Improve Rankings to Work With Brands
“In order to work with brands, you have to first establish your blog and work on achieving certain metrics. It’s ideal for a website to have high domain and URL ratings to be able to rank easily on Google.
“To increase your domain and URL ratings, you should adopt search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Optimize your entire site and blog content as soon as possible, as SEO tactics take time to show results.
“Some tactics include:
- Doing keyword research to incorporate keywords of high relevance and business value
- Secure your website (https instead of http)
- Include title tags and meta descriptions for every page
“Once you’ve attained significant ratings, ranking on Google’s first page would entice brands to pay for your review and ensure that you’ll get passive income from affiliate links.”
– Bernice Quek, Chief Content Writer, Bumble Scoop
4 Bloggers Who’ve Mastered Making Money Online
Making money as a blogger takes time, dedication to the craft, and consistency. Making a full-time income can take years, but it is possible.
Here are a few bloggers who have done a great job at implementing all of these strategies:
1. Jennifer Maker
Jennifer Maker is a craft blogger who has built an entire community around step-by-step craft tutorials. She has also created a community around blogging. She nets over $100,000 per month from her courses, products, ads, and affiliate income.
2. Ruth Soukup
Ruth Soukup is an author, lifestyle blogger, and creator of one of the most popular courses on blogging, Elite Blog Academy. Her multiple seven-figure businesses get her featured in magazines like Time and Martha Stewart Living.
3. Melyssa Griffin
Within three years of launching her blog, Melyssa Griffin was already earning $1 million dollars from her blog and e-courses. She focuses on helping entrepreneurs turn their passions into something profitable and popular.
4. Angela Mary Vaz
In her sixth month as a blogger, Angela of Stray Curls made $3,451 in a month. She is an illustrator and blogger from Bangalore, India. Her work gets featured in press like India Times, The Insider, and Yahoo.
How to Blog for Profit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This section includes the most frequently asked questions about how to make money with a blog. If you don’t see your question, head over to our Fit Small Business forum and post your question there. We have a whole team of industry experts who answer questions from small businesses every day.
The most frequently asked questions about how to monetize a blog are:
How much do bloggers make?
Your income will depend on many factors, such as page views and how you monetize your blog. However, popular bloggers make decent income, from $1,500 to $125,000 or more per month.
I’m not interested in having my own blog. Can I still make money blogging for others?
There are many ways to make money blogging for others. You can be a ghostwriter, a recipe creator, and a freelance contributor. For recipe creation, you can take photos and sell it as a package. For exclusive recipes, creators can make well over $300 for each, plus the cost of ingredients.
How often should I be blogging to make a full-time income as a blogger?
While blogging consistently is important, quality matters more than quantity. If you want to make a full-time income as a blogger, you should treat it like a full-time job. If you treat it like a hobby, it will also pay you like a hobby. Producing two to three quality blog posts per week is considered full-time.
Now that you know how to make money with a blog, choose the strategy that works best for your situation. You may not enjoy creating courses, but might like being an affiliate for someone else’s product instead. Your financial freedom is entirely dependent on what you do with the tools and resources you have.
When you’re ready to start your own blog, choose a reliable host. Bluehost helps keep your blog up when you need it for $2.95 per month. They also allow you to create a business email address and domain name, both of which are important for blog monetization. Host your blog today.