Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Money Blogging
It seems so elusive how all these bloggers are reviewing, traveling, or cooking their way to the six-figure income while being a digital nomad. It is certainly a mystery to many out there. Just imagine how nice it would be to wake up and write about what you love every day and make money doing it! So how does a blog make money? Let’s talk about the A to Z of how to make money blogging.
How Much Money Can You Make From a Blog
Here is our own example. We created a hobby blog about BMWs at the end of 2015. It started with making nothing for a very long time in Google Adsense. Yes, that’s a big fat zero. Many months rolled by as we continued to publish new and unique content, test, optimize, and improve the website. Then we started seeing a few pennies coming in each day. By 2018, we were generating healthy, passive advertising earnings through Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliate program. The website was successfully sold off at 2x the annual advertising revenue.
It’s true that there are quite a few bloggers out there making thousands of dollars per day. It is completely achievable, and you can do it too. The amount of money you make really depends on a few factors.
Of course, you will need to have a blog first before getting into the “make money” part. Follow our complete guide on how to start a blog to get started.
6 Factors that Determine How to Make Money from a Blog
First, if you observe the successful bloggers out there, they all have the following things in common. These ingredients are the keys you need to set a solid foundation to start making money with your blog.
#1 Continue to grow your online traffic relevant to your blog vertical
Advertisers pay for views or clicks of their ads so you must create online traffic to your blog. Grow your blog visitors through channels such as search engine, paid media, social media, and email marketing. Use your social traffic or presence to create advertising income. Collect emails and grow your list for email marketing campaigns
#2 Why Growing Your Blog Traffic Matters
The answer is rather simple, if there is zero traffic visiting your blog then there would be zero customers clicking through or viewing an ad. For your blog to make money with advertisers, there are two types of rates an advertiser will pay for their advertisements to run on a blog
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Rates. What advertisers are willing to pay for every click of their ad. Example – if an ad has a rate of $1.00 CPC and there are 100 clicks then you would have earned $100
- Cost-Per-Impression (CPM) Rates. What advertisers are willing to pay for every 1,000 impressions of their ad. Example – if an ad has a rate of $1.00 CPM and there are 100,000 views then you would have earned $100
#3 Connect Income Sources with Content to Optimize Click-Through Rates
As you start to write your blog post, weave in the advertising whether it is display ads or affiliate ads into your content. The natural flow on your article integrated with ads will improve visitors to click-through on the ad and allow you to earn more income
#4 Continue to Publish Authoritative and Quality Content
Advertisers want to be on websites that produce family-friendly content. Think about blog articles that cover finance, consumer products, goods and services, or technology and software. These are verticals or industries where corporations will feel comfortable advertising on versus non-family friendly content. No advertiser wants to be on a blog which damages their brand image
#5 Continue to engage your audience to increase pageviews or reduce bounce rate
The more a visitor engages on your blog and clicks through on your website to read other pages, the more often ads are shown to that user. This gives the blog more opportunity for a visitor to click through on an ad versus viewing an ad only. Are their tools you can create for the blog to increase engagements? For example, create an image carousel will increase the views of pictures or graphics or a survey question module that visitors can interact with. The point is, go beyond writing content for the blog and add fun and interactive elements to the blog to engage your visitors.
#6 Have multiple income streams so you are not dependent from one advertiser
Do not rely solely on advertisers to make money blogging. We recommend expanding the blogging income stream to the 8 sources below over time. One income stream may create more income in the short term but also think long term goals for your blog. For example, if you are able to produce and sell premium blog content like webinars or online educational courses – how much will you price this? $100, $500, or $1,000 per customer? One sale of a webinar or online educational course through your blog will earn you more income than an advertiser’s display ad for one visitor.
Remember, internet fame doesn’t always happen overnight. However, if you are willing to put in the time, hard work and taking all the right approaches, you will start seeing results and higher revenue as you continue to build and grow your blog over time.
It definitely takes time, effort, and a lot of dedication to accomplish what’s above. Yes, it may be a hard and constant grind, but the worst thing to do is to quit before you see results. It is the tradeoff you need to make in order to turn blogging into a real, profitable business. Now, let’s get to the point and find out how money is made from blogging.
Blog Income Source #1: Run Advertisements
A common source of income for many bloggers is hosting on-site advertisements. These advertisements can be private ads through contracted sales, ads by advertising marketplaces such as Double Click, or through popular ad networks such as Google AdSense.
Google AdSense is great for starters because there are no “pre-requisites” (such as minimum traffic requirement) needed for signing up. This means you can start making money right away once your blog is approved.
Estimate Google AdSense Advertising Money
See how much advertising money your blog will make with Google AdSense based on your industry and which region your visitors are coming from. Head over to Google AdSense, scroll down to the middle of the page, and use their advertising calculator.
Enter the region where most of your visitors are coming from. Select in general the industry your blog is related to.
For example, let’s select most of your blog traffic comes from North America and your blog is related to the financial vertical. The average monthly pageviews of the blog is 101,100. The estimated annual Google AdSense earnings will be around $37,852. As you grow the traffic of your blog, you are more likely to earn additional advertising money through Google AdSense
How Google AdSense Works
The concept is rather simple. Basically, you will make room on your blog template to insert advertisement modules. If you use a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, you can find free plugins or extensions through their support communities to help you easily insert ad modules.
Google Adsense Revenue Split
As a publisher, you split the revenue share with Google AdSense for the advertisements placed on your blog. You will receive 68% and Google will receive 32% of the advertising revenue.
Signing up for Google Adsense is Free and Only Takes a Few Steps
- Click get started on Google AdSense Home Page
- Enter the URL of your blog
- Enter your email address
- Select Yes or No if you like to get helpful Adsense info
- Click Save and Continue
- You will be guided to add a tracking code to your blog
- Once the tracking code is added to your blog, the approval process will range from a few days and up to 2 week
Watch a Short Video by Google on How to Get Your Application Approved
You have completed the first step to monetizing your blog.
Setup your payment information
Once your Google AdSense account has been approved, let’s set up your payments profile.
Go to Payments on the left hand navigation > scroll down to Payments Profile > and start editing your information
- Confirm the country/region that you are in
- Enter the account type, whether you are an individual or corporation. Once you establish that you are an individual or corporation, this information cannot be changed in the future
- Enter your tax information.
- If you are in the US, select if you are a US citizen, US resident alien, or US Corporation
- Enter your first and last name and address
- Enter your SSN or EIN corporation number
- Sign and submit the application
Google Adsense Auto Ads
Google has made adding ads to your blog much easier through their Auto Ads program. Google will dynamically insert ads throughout your blog based on their machine learning algorithm that optimizes the chances an ad will be clicked through by your visitors. The Auto Ads are mobile friendly, so the ads that are automatically inserted will fit any screen size.
Enabling Google Auto Ads
In the left navigation, go to Ads > Overview
Click on the pencil icon next to your blog domain name
Toggle the Auto Ads on. A blue highlight would mean that Auto Ads are turned on. Click Apply to Site
Manually Insert Google AdSense Ads
Manually inserting Google AdSense ads allows you to customize where you like the display ads to show up through your blog. Choosing this option gives you full control of the ad experience of your blog, when and where the ads will show.
In the left navigation, go to Ads > Overview
Select By Ad Unit > Display Ads
Give the ad a name > Select if you like the ad to be shaped like a square, horizontal, or vertical
Under Ad Size, select Responsive. This option will automatically shape the ad to fit any screen size and improve your ad earnings
You will be given an unique AdSense code that you will need to copy and paste to your blog and where you like the ad to show up
The ad module will automatically display advertisements on your webpages. AdSense controls what advertisement runs on your blog, however, you can select and filter the ad categories you would like your visitors to see.
When your visitors click on an ad, you will receive a monetary payout. It can range anywhere from a few pennies to a few dollars per one click. The amount of money you get paid for depends on how many pageviews and unique visitors your webpages receive. So ultimately, the more traffic your blog has, the more desirable your ad spaces are to advertisers.
3 Google AdSense Best Practices
#1 Understand You Won’t Get Rich Overnight
Don’t expect to hit the lottery with AdSense. Earnings are accumulated over time, and it all depends on how much quality traffic your website receives and which industry your blog is related to. You are likely to start with making a few cents a day or make nothing on some days, but don’t get discouraged. Most bloggers started this way. Just focus on growing your website traffic for the long run and the payout will scale.
#2 Offer Useful and Helpful Information in Your Blog
To get more website traffic, start with making your blog content great. Think about your own experience with web browsing. The worst thing is to click open a bunch of junk links that are just a waste of time. We want information that is useful and helpful in answering a question or solving a problem. Help yourself by helping others and you will see more money coming in as your website performance improves.
#3 Do Not Click on Your Own Ads
Do not try to trick Google and click on your own ads. Don’t try to be smart and ask your friends and families to click on them either. It’s never worth it because Google will find out, and you can be blacklisted and banned by AdSense. It’s simply unethical and bad for business. We highly recommend that you read the entire AdSense Policies to avoid getting into trouble.
Blog Income Source #2: Join Affiliate Programs
Affiliate marketing is the pie that every blogger wants a piece of. Many affiliate programs out there seem so enticing because they promise lucrative payouts. The truth is, yes, you can make some serious money doing affiliate marketing for your blog. However, it takes more than a few words and a link to really make it work.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
Many businesses are paying a commission to agents to promote their products or services. In the online marketing world, agents are usually publisher websites or blogs that promote these products or services to the public.
One of the biggest and most popular cross-industry company offering lucrative affiliate opportunities is Amazon. You can literally promote any product from e-books to electronics, to everyday products, and get paid for it. A second affiliate option is Commission Junction. They are a marketplace for advertisers and publishers to join affiliate programs.
When blogs join affiliate programs, they receive a dedicated affiliate link to track referrals with. When a customer clicks through on the affiliate link and completes a purchase through that affiliate link, the referring blog will receive compensation. Additionally, there are usually display ads with the affiliates promotion that can increase your chance of click-through when placed on your blog.
Referrals are tracked by cookies. They are data files stored in a user’s web browser to recall specific browsing references and information about that visitor. Customer purchases should not be affected in any way when the transaction is done through a legitimate affiliate link. This means, there should not be any gimmicks, tricks, or unfair surcharges to the customers when companies are offering genuine, straightforward affiliate programs. Webmasters or bloggers should take responsibility to only make referrals for legitimate businesses.
Add Affiliates that Makes Sense for Your Audience
Create a list of ideas of products or services that will make sense to your blog audience. Is there a promotion or product that can be weaved into your blog articles to drive a sale of the product?
Let’s say your blog is related to photography. The reasonable product affiliate to advertise on your photography blog could range from the latest Canon DSLR cameras for specific use cases or recommend camera lenses to upgrade for an existing camera.
If your blog is in the automotive or car vertical, an affiliate to sign up and promote on your blog could be auto insurance such as brands like All State or State Farm. Additionally, you can promote automotive accessories such as leather cleaners, floor mats, or touch up paint to name a few.
Over time, the list of affiliates to advertise on your blog will grow and increase your blog’s earning potential.
Affiliate Marketing Best Practices
Focus on Making Quality Content
“Content is King” is a famous saying in the online marketing industry, and there is a good reason for it. Content dictates the success of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which is one of the most important approaches to drive traffic and gain authority for your blog. Having quality and trustworthy content will positively reinforce affiliate marketing effort by telling visitors that your blog is, in fact, legitimate. Show your audience that you are sharing a great product or service by providing adequate and authentic information.
Follow Google Affiliate Program Guidelines for SEO
While monetary incentives can be enticing, do not forget, you are making a blog for visitors, not for advertisers. If your blog is massively promoting affiliates with very little added value, watch out for Google penalties that will negatively affect your blog’s SEO and keyword rankings. So abide by the Google’s Affiliate Program Quality Guidelines careful.
Be Selective of Your Affiliates
Choose your affiliate partners carefully because your reputation is on the line. There are numerous affiliate programs out there, and many of them pay attractive commissions. However, one mistake you can easily make is to jump into every affiliate opportunity you see. This can have an adverse effect and jeopardize visitor trust.
Pick affiliates that are applicable to your blog content. You should always understand and test out the product or service before promoting it to anyone. We believe in and abide by sharing businesses only if they benefit our visitors. From our own experience, we do not promote anything we wouldn’t use or haven’t used. It is an ethical responsibility to make only positive contributions through our content to our audience.
Blog Income Source #3: Get Sponsorships
Sponsorships are the golden opportunities every blogger dreams of. When your website is gaining momentum in its niche and people trust and love your content, you have the potential to get paid by companies to promote certain products and services on your blog.
How Sponsorship Works
Sponsorship usually creates a business relationship between an advertiser (a business) and the publisher (your blog). Advertisers compensate you in exchange for endorsing and getting their products and services out there to your audience.
The endorsement can be a review article, a video demo, or a promotional post on social media. Bigger sponsorships can be online or offline events, conferences, and training. It may take more hustle and bustle to get sponsors to be interested in you. However, the reward is definitely worth the investment.
Depending on your blog’s influence and audience reach, compensation can vary. The amount you get paid really depends on each unique situation of the sponsorship. Of course, there are some star bloggers out there making a cushy income with sponsorships. What you don’t see are years and years of hard work and dedication behind all that glamor.
3 Sponsorship Best Practices
#1 Strengthen Your Blog’s Unique Proposition
So how can you get businesses to endorse you? Start by highlighting your uniqueness and outshine the competition. Make your blog and content memorable. Sure, there may be many other bloggers out there doing what you do, but you can be different. You can build your own empire and cultivate that distinctive persona. Those are the top qualities sponsors look for.
#2 Build Brand Authority
Your blog is your own brand. Aside from having sustained website traffic and a dedicated audience, the brand authority of your blog plays a substantial role. Sponsors look at how much power of influence you have within a target market. Put yourself out there as an authoritative brand by creating authentic content and positive rapport. When your blog has a positive and trustworthy brand image, you can build more credibility with the audience and attract sponsors.
#3 Have a Strong Follower Base
The interaction between your blog and its followers is another big-ticket item for a sponsored relationship. How you stimulate and engage followers potentially spells out how well you will do to promote a product or service.
Many influential bloggers take advantage of social media to interact with their followers. Doesn’t matter if it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, know the right social media marketing strategies to win over fans and create audience interest in sponsored products.
Blog Income Source #4: Sell or Resell Services
Selling service is a very popular way for bloggers to make money. These bloggers usually have exceptional skills or expertise that can help and service others. For example, if you are a makeup artist, a web developer, a photographer, or an expert of any kind, you can promote your services, teach the skill, or mentor others through blogging. Some experts even use blogging to promote services of another company that they are associated with.
How Selling or Reselling a Service Works
There are many potentials with promoting an expert service in a blog. It is the perfect medium for self-advertising, and it gets your name out there to a targeted niche. When you have expertise in a field, sharing your knowledge to help others make better decisions can in turn bring abundant website traffic. It is an effective channel for service providers to connect with potential clients.
A great example would be the online marketing guru Neil Patel. He is the author of online marketing blogs NeilPatel and QuickSprout, as well as the co-founder of the well-known online marketing tools CrazyEgg, HelloBar, and Kissmetrics. Through each of his website, he blogs extensively and shares his wealth of knowledge about everything online marketing. Today, Neil Patel is a multi-millionaire entrepreneur continuing his path in providing online marketing services to businesses and teaching the public about how to do online marketing.
3 Selling or Reselling Service Best Practice
#1 Show Your Expertise
When you are coaching others about a certain subject, present yourself as the expert. In addition to showcasing your credentials and works, share your professional opinion and expertise that will really benefit those that come to you for help.
For instance, every time we consult a new client, we get straight into presenting a website evaluation along with an actionable plan to improve their search results right away. We believe in cutting out the junk and fluff because results will speak for itself.
#2 Helping Not Selling
Sales pitches don’t work anymore, and people are smarter than that. Blog articles should not look like a commercial advertisement because that hurts the user experience. Instead, work on building a solid reputation by helping people to solve problems. Make it the top focus of your blog content. When people trust the real solutions you can offer, they will naturally consider your services.
#3 Target the Right Audience
Targeting the right audience means finding the right niche market that will respond to what you have to offer. This is where SEO keyword research comes to play. Keyword research identifies what people are using to actively look up your type of services in search engines like Google. So now you can reserve your resources to target a proactive group of audience who are already interested in what you have to say.
Blog Income Source #5: Promote Products
There is so much potential with marketing a physical product. Online marketing has become the essential strategy for businesses to expand their market and grow their revenue. If you do have a physical product to sell, then great! Blogging may be the missing piece of your marketing strategy. Even if you do not own a physical product, many bloggers are making a profit from blogging about someone else’s products.
How Promoting Product Works
When selling your own product, you can increase its demand and market exposure by blogging to educate consumers and to target a ready-to-buy audience. Content creation is the foundation of any online marketing effort. By creating quality content through a blog, you are creating opportunities to let the audience get to know your product in many different perspectives.
When you are blogging about someone else’s product, you are essentially the middle person taking a commission by making a sale. So now your blog becomes a marketing channel for other businesses to connect with customers.
There are many ways you can make money blogging about someone else’s product. The most common ways are through affiliate marketing, sponsorships and doing paid product reviews. We’ve talked about the first two methods, so we will be focusing on blogging for product reviews next.
There are many companies out there looking for high traffic blogs to do product reviews. Some bloggers receive the products for free, some get monetary compensation, and some get both. The situation varies according to the particular business, the industry, and how much influence your blog has in the niche.
3 Product Review Best Practice
#1 Select Products that Benefit Your Audience
Choose products to review carefully. Make sure they are relevant, authentic, and are good for your audience. Taking up everything coming your way may not be such a good idea for your brand image. Although the monetary incentive may be tempting, but you can potentially hurt your reputation and lose traffic if the products you review are not a good fit with your audience or are not up to standard. Weigh your opportunity costs and value long term wins over short-term gains.
#2 Give Truthful and Accurate Product Description
The truth is, not every product is flawless. So your review should reflect both the good and the insufficient according to your own user experience. Give a thorough and honest description of the product. Include images, videos, and measurements or even do a comparison. Don’t just copy and paste a description you find from the company’s website. Remember your blog visitors read your reviews because they trust that you can demonstrate the product beyond its commercial photograph.
#3 Provide Product Demo Based on Your Own User Experience
A video that show-and-tells how to use a product is very popular with customers. Many of the YouTube and Vimeo stars were made this way. The video can include anything from package unboxing and product installation, to the actual step-by-step usage demonstration. The key is to show the audience, from your own experience, how to use the product and what’s your honest opinion of it. This is a great way to stimulate audience interaction and engagement.
Blog Income Source #6: Sell Educational Courses
Create a blog income source through selling educational courses based on the vertical your blog is in. Do research online on what courses in your vertical would look like and how much these creators are charging for their courses.
For example, if your blog is related to photography then have several topics and courses on how beginners can start learning about photography. As a starting point, what are the necessary steps for a beginner to start their journey and provide tools for students to succeed. As you start to develop the education course, think about how much you will charge per student that signs up for the course. Will it be $50 or $499 per student? Consider the pricing strategy as part of your blog. Depending on the content of your educational course, you can definitely charge a premium for your hard work.
Sell Educational Courses Outside of Your Blog
Selling an education course on your blog is no easy venture. You have to set up an ecommerce system where you are selling a digital product while hosting your course through a platform where the content is educational. Students need to have a great engagement platform to learn your course
If you are not able to develop this on your blog, we recommend to create and promote courses on Udemy or Skillshare. Use your blog to drive visitors or interested students to take your course through these learning management platforms. As a creator, you only need to focus on creating the course and materials for the topic you are teaching. Instead of managing the checkout, customer service, and cancellations of each student orders, let Udemy or Skillshare handle the part of the operations.
Focus on growing your students for the education course.
Blog Income Source #8: Sell Webinars
With your blog if there are topics that have a better format such as a video to deliver the message why not transform the blog post into a webinar. Use a webinar format to further demonstrate your product, service, or content of your blog. Launching a 45 minute to 1 hour webinar is another path to building your income.
Create a landing page on your blog to collect information like their first name and emails. Next price out your webinar on how much you like to charge per customer. Once there is a webinar plan, select a platform to host your webinar for your audience.
Here are a few platforms to host your webinar
Attend a Free Webinar
Tip: Attend a free webinar, in any topic and industry, and see how others plan their webinar, the landing pages used to collect user information, and how speakers deliver their content through a webinar platform.
Bottom Line Summary
First and foremost, continue to grow your blog traffic first. Without online traffic to your blog, you are not likely to succeed with making money blogging. Learn search engine optimization (SEO) and optimize your blog to grow your blog’s organic traffic.
Remember user experience always comes first. How well your audience interacts with your blog is important as if a visitor comes to your blog and quickly exits, they you just lost an opportunity for an ad to display.
Once you have the basics down, start with Google AdSense to make money blogging. This is the easiest path to making advertising income online for your blog. Install the ads in proper placements throughout your blog to increase engagement.
Making money blogging is a long term goal. Grow each of the blogging income channels one at a time.
Short-Term Goals to Make Money Blogging in Year 1
Month 1 – Setup Google Adsense
Month 2 – Join Affiliate Programs
Month 3 – Get Sponsorships
Month 4 – Sell or Resell Services
Month 5 – Promote Products
Month 6 – Sell Educational Courses
Month 7 – Sell Premium Content
Month 8 – Sell Webinars
Long-Term Goals to Increase Your Blog’s Income
- Learn how to increase blog traffic
- Learn how to gain more blog visitors organically
- Learn how to grow your email subscribers
- Learn how to establish a social media presence – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram
- Learn how to increase followers on social media for your blog
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Beginner Bloggers Make Money?
Most beginner bloggers make money by using Google Adsense. This is the simplest path to monetize your blog with display advertisements through Google. By installing a tracking script on your blog provided by Google, you can place ads manually throughout the blog or setup Google’s Auto ads where Google will automatically place advertisements on the blog.
How Do Bloggers Get Paid?
Bloggers can get paid through several income streams and they range from Google Adsense, signing up for affiliate programs like Amazon Affiliates, promoting or selling products, selling education courses, selling premium content, or selling webinars.
How Can I Make $1000 a Month Blogging?
The first step to make any monthly income through blogging is to gain traffic to your blog. Think Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or social media marketing to drive visitors to the blog. To make $1000 a month blogging, the second step is to start monetizing your blog through Google Adsense, signing up for affiliate programs like Amazon Affiliates, promoting or selling products, selling education courses, selling premium content, or selling webinars.
Instant success to make $1000 a month blogging is not guaranteed but you can strive to make $50 a month as your blog starts to grow. Focus on producing quality content and improving the blog’s SEO and drive more organic visitors.
How Many Views Do You Need to Make Money Blogging?
Google Adsense provides a calculator that allows you to estimate the advertising money your blog can make based on the location of your visitors and the industry the blog is related to.
For example, if the majority of your blog visitors comes from North America and the blog category is related to Beauty and Fitness, then starting with 50,000 monthly page views will net you an estimated $6,042 in annual advertising earnings.
Check out how much you can earn through Google Adsense: https://www.google.com/adsense/start/