Blogging, making money online, having an online business. It’s all in here. This is the beginners’ guide to monetizing your blog to the max.
As a new blog owner or even if you haven’t yet started a blog (you may want to read How to start a blog after this post), you might have heard how people make money online by blogging.
Writing and creating content and earning money in automation.
There are multiple ways to monetize your blog, and this post is all about that. Showing you all kind of ideas you can make money with blogging.
Blogging becomes an online business when you start making money with your blog. It’s not just blogging anymore, it’s running a business and that kind of mentality you should have from the very beginning.
If you think that making money online is easy or that the money comes your way just by writing blog posts. Nope, it doesn’t work like that. At the beginning at least. Later though, it works just like that.
It’s tempting just to get into the blogging world and get things rolling, but there are steps you should take. So you can avoid some basic mistakes, you should read: 35 Mistakes Beginner Bloggers Make.
However, when you have finally started your blog, and you are ready to make some cash. You need to know what options and possibilities there are.
Thankfully there’s a bunch and if you utilize these all, as many successful bloggers do, like Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income), and Michelle Gardner (Making Sense of Cents) just to name a few. You will be making some serious income.
It’s about combining different income streams to make that cash flow in. You have to build your blog one step at a time. Slowly but surely, you will gain traction, and ad income, affiliate income, and other income types start to flow in.
Below is the beginners’ guide to monetizing a blog:
- Using display advertising
- Affiliate Marketing for Blogging
- Creating digital products and services to make money
- Freelance blog and website
But first, you have to start with the fundamentals. You have to know what makes an excellent blog.
If your foundation is crippled, so will be your income.
Make a strong foundation for your blog, and the whole monetization process becomes so much easier.
With these few basic fundamentals, you are able to build a strong foundation for your blog.
You need a clear foundation, as that is what ultimately decides your blogs destiny. Traffic is built on top of the foundation, an email list is built on top of traffic, money is created from the list.
But to keep it at the beginner level.
Focus on the following topics:
- Picking a niche that makes money
- Creating better than amazing content
- Generating engagement
- Building your audience
Picking a niche that makes money
Niche is the market area or your expertise on a specific topic. Brainstorm on this as this will be the thing you will be blogging about. What is the thing you would like to talk about? Blog about.
Not every niche makes money the same way. Some niches have little monetization opportunities while other niches have massive potential.
The following niches are somewhat proven to be so-called money niches (or more like sub-markets) (source):
The common factor is that they apply to many people and helps people to achieve something.
1. Fitness and Weight Loss
People like to stay fit and look good. There are blogs about yoga, keto diet, bikini fitness, muscle building, gym training programs and so on. The list is pretty huge, and the niche is pretty huge.
Eating healthy and finding new recipes to stay fit is very popular. This niche is very closely related to the above fitness niche. However, this niche is more about being healthy from the inside.
3. Dating and Relationships
I remember when I was lonely and searching for a partner, online was one place to find them. Luckily, I found my wife from the same workplace, but many find their life companion from online and this niche is all about that. We can easily see why this niche is one that lasts from time to time. Love.
Dog lovers, cat lovers, lama lovers. There are so many people with pets and sharing your own experience and expertise with other pet lovers is an excellent choice for a blog niche.
5. Self-Improvement/ Personal Development
I’m all over personal development and online business of course. Personal development is all about you sharing your experiences surrounding life and how one can become the best version of themselves.
6. Wealth Building Through Investing
One form of making money online. One of the biggest investing blogs out there is Seeking Alpha which I use to get top tips on stock investments. Seeking Alpha has users that have blogs inside the platform. However, the best way to approach this is to create your own blog about investing like Investopedia.
7. Make Money on the Internet
My blog is part of this niche. Sharing tips and tricks on how you can make money online. This article is one of many. People are always fascinated to find out different ways they can make money (I am at least) it’s safe to say this niche is here to stay.
8. Beauty Treatments
Skin care products, hair stylists, make-up reviews and all things beauty. This falls under the category of people wanting to look their best and wanting to look young forever. As long as there’s a demand for beauty products, there’s demand for blogs to share information on these products.
9. Gadgets and Technology
As a man, I like all things technology (yes, I know women also drool over these, but maybe the amount of drool is smaller?). I just can’t help myself. I’m always interested to see a new TV and read a review about it. New headphones, new smartphone, new video game console. There’s always happening so much in the technology industry, so there’s a lot to talk about.
10. Personal Finance
I love money, and I guess you do too. I guess you wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t. Saving money, debt management, budgeting. How you handle your finances? Blogging about it is lucrative and giving advice for handling it is always in demand. People like to save more money and earn more money. Making personal finance a niche worth looking for.
What to think about all this
As you can see these niches make sense. There’s a logic behind these niches, and it’s that all these niches are something people want.
If you think about monetizing a blog that talks about used car headlamps. It could be that there are some difficult times ahead. It’s not said that you can’t make money with pretty much any topic.
It’s how difficult that is. The above 10 niches are niches that have money market carved in them.
Creating better than amazing content
I have stated this before, but in case you haven’t heard this before. Content is king!
It means that when you create content that is damn right amazing and that content has helped your reader, you have created amazing content and you will rank for it.
Without great content, you don’t get long lasting traffic, and you can say goodbye to your monetization efforts.
You need traffic to get money. Traffic is people, and people click to your ads and affiliate links. If you don’t have traffic, you don’t have a business.
Good content generates engagement. Whether it be social media engagement or comments to your blog. Engagement is essential and the more engagement you have, the more growth you will see to your blog.
Engagement is part of the whole SEO (Search Engine Optimization) game.
It’s logical too (maybe I should have named this blog a ‘logical blog‘). Let’s say your content is shared multiple times in social media and there’s a bunch of comments from users. This all tells Google that your content is something worth showing on page 1 search results.
People are interested in your content, so it must be good?
Building your audience
As the last quick fundamental, there’s your audience. You are always speaking to someone when you are writing your blog posts.
When you make a connection with the reader, the reader most likely wants to know more about you and read more of your content.
When that awesome thing happens, they might subscribe to your blog updates and this way you are slowly building an audience for yourself.
Your job is to provide value through your blog and by providing value, you will slowly have your own group with whom you will be talking with.
Using display advertising
So let’s get going with the monetization. Hopefully, you read the fundamentals as you won’t be making any money if you don’t get the foundation right.
First up is the display advertising which means the ads you see on some websites. It’s always a decision the website owner makes, whether to include ads or not.
Ads can be intrusive and distracting, or they might feel like a breath of fresh air if done correctly.
Ads might not disturb your readers experience about your site, they might even give the blog post a much-needed breather.
Let’s see what kind of ad networks there are what are the ones you should aim for.
There are a bunch of ad networks available, but I will list only the ones you should know or care about.
Not every ad network is the same and not every ad network bring you the same results.
Basics of ad networks and how they work
How ad networks work and how you get paid. There are a few methods, and those will be explained below.
CPM / Cost Per Mille (per thousands of impressions)
CPM pricing model is based on how many impressions an ad gets. You might have heard this term in Facebook ads, and it’s the same thing here. Impression happens when people see your ad.
CPM is an excellent choice when you have a huge blog following and get a lot of visitors per month. Let’s say you have 200 000 visitors coming to your blog every month and that you get $10 for every thousand impressions, 200 x $10 = $2000.
When the CPM value is at $10, you will get a nice paycheck just by getting the traffic. Even if the people wouldn’t even click your ads.
CPC / Cost Per Click
As the name says. You get extra income when someone clicks an ad they see on your site. If you have a highly engaged audience, this kind of pricing model might work for you.
Typically CPC is in the range of $1-5 per click. This is the same with Facebook ads, where you might be paying Facebook by the clicks. When your ad is highly optimized, you can get away with smaller click prices.
CPA / Cost Per Acquisition
Cost per acquisition means that you get paid when someone clicks on the ad shown in your site and also signs up to the service that was advertised.
As you might already figure out, this kind of ad income might be hard to get, however, if and when you have high traffic coming to your site, you might just get these clicks and signups.
CPA usually brings in way more money than CPC and CPM models. Just because the advertisers want those signups and not just create brand recognition like in CPM model.
The 5 Ad networks you should know
Might be the most known ad network there is. However, this might also be one of the worst there is.
The thing is that AdSense doesn’t bring enough money for the exchange of you making your site look ugly by the ads.
You can make money with AdSense but I think the visual aspect of those ads have to be taken into account and I would steer away from this platform.
You should also consider your brand and your sites bounce rate with these ads. AdSense does not open a new window but instead takes your reader away from your site. This increases bounce rate (which is not good) and the ads, in general, look awful and usually won’t blend well with your branding.
AdSense uses CPC pricing model.
You can get started with these as you don’t need a specific amount of pageviews to be accepted.
Your site will look pretty ugly and takes your readers away from your site.
Monumetric offers 4 different programs which you can join. All 4 programs have different traffic limits that have to be reached. The lowest starting at 10K visitors per month, however, in this traffic limit you have to pay $99 to set up the ads to your site.
I wouldn’t invest that kind of money just to get ads to my site. I’m better off with ads in this case.
Monumetric does offer a free setup (I think, it’s not stated in their site) when you have 80K or more pageviews per month.
Monumetric pays by PPV Pay-Per-View (which is pretty much the same as CPM). PPV means that you get paid by just showing your ads. This is different than with the AdSense where there is a CPC pricing model.
Digino had some remarkable ad revenue increase just by switching from AdSense to Monumetric: earning more than $400 in one month, compared to AdSense £130in one year.
Even if the above is the only example, you can be sure there are plenty more, and the majority of those examples say AdSense sucks.
Media.net does not have any minimum amount of traffic to be accepted into the program. This could mean an excellent opportunity for you if you want to put ads right away to your site.
Authority Hackers increased their ad revenue 5x when moving away from AdSense to Media.net. Earning around $2K from ads, though it should be mentioned that they have approximately 200 000 pageviews per month and you won’t be having that when you start your blog.
Media.net uses CPC, CPM and CPA pricing for advertisers, while you use the CPM model to receive your income. Media.net has a payment model of around $1/10K impressions.
It could be higher or lower this year but seems like, you should have quite a lot of traffic to get anything out of this platform.
Mediavine is widely popular among bloggers and can’t blame. It is rather targeted for bloggers. Their ads are also not too intrusive and look good. Ads also blend well with articles and are somewhat nice to look at.
You can get into Mediavine if you have more than 25 000 sessions (not pageviews) in a month. You can read more about pageviews and session in this article: Google Analytics for Bloggers. So Mediavine is a bit different from the other ad networks, as it’s using sessions and not pageviews like so many other.
The network works in the CPM pricing model, but you can easily hear people talk about RPM, which is basically the same. RPM meaning Revenue Per Mille. You can read a good example of RPM usage from the Mediavine site.
Adthrive is a bit more demanding with their acceptance procedure. You have to have around 100 000 pageviews to be accepted into the program. You also have to have the majority of the traffic from the U.S.
They claim on their website that the average increase in ad revenue is around 3x, but it’s always different for every blog.
AdThrive works in the CPM/RPM pricing model.
Customized ads with affiliate links
You can also place images with affiliate links to your site and more preferably to the side banner of your blog.
Many affiliate programs offer you custom images that you can then include to your blog, usually with HTML code. However, you don’t have to write any code, you just copy and paste the code to your side banner. So don’t worry.
This custom image usually has your affiliate link and code already attached to the image so you only have to paste HTML code and that’s it.
You can easily do this with Elementor Pro. To be honest, Elementor is possible the world’s best drag and drop builder. Adding custom images and other to your blogs side banner is a breeze and fun when you really get into it.
Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
When I started blogging, affiliate marketing was something I had never heard of. I knew sponsored posts and promoting products, and affiliate marketing are closely tied to these concepts.
Affiliate marketing in simplicity is when you promote and sell a product, service a course or something for a company and get a commission for that promotion. In affiliate marketing, you get your own affiliate code for each affiliate program you join.
To give you a brief example of affiliate marketing. Let’s say you buy a service you really like ConvertKit. Now, ConvertKit has its own affiliate program that you can join. They offer you a 30% commission each month from everyone you refer.
Referring means that someone has clicked your affiliate link and signed up to use their service.
Think about the earning potential these affiliate programs offer you. I mean, your only job is to add an affiliate link to different products and services that you are talking about.
This is not about tricking people buy the products and services you promote. I, for example, I am not doing that, I stand behind the products and services I use. There’s zero problems for me to promote companies which services and products I use.
I’m happy to promote them because I’m a happy user of their services.
So you see, for you to do this ethically, you should stand by the products you are promoting. You don’t want to go and cheat people just for the sake commission.
Affiliate networks have a collection of companies listed in them. These companies work with a particular affiliate network, and by signing up to an affiliate network, you are able to sign up inside the network to a bunch of companies.
I, for example, like to use ShareASale as they have Tailwind, Grammarly and WP Rocket in their list. I use all the mentioned three product and service, so it was natural to join ShareASale and sign up to these affiliate programs.
To list a few networks for further studies:
Single program affiliate links
Even though the affiliate networks have a lot of companies under their belt. You can’t find every company from there, and that’s because they have their own affiliate programs.
I also have my own affiliate program for my online courses and products. If you use Gumroad, you can easily create an affiliate program for your users. I’ve done so.
Some companies have strict rules you have to fulfill before you are accepted to the program. If you can’t get into a program, just wait some time, grow your blog, and try again.
Info Product affiliate programs
Part of growing your blog and expertise is buying yourself courses and info products. More than often you are able to become an affiliate for the product or for the course you just bought.
Michelle’s affiliate marketing course is a perfect example. If you buy her course, you are able to become an affiliate for her course, if you follow the guidelines set for becoming an affiliate, that is.
These online course creators affiliate programs are usually very lucrative as you can usually earn in the range of 30-70% of the full course price. Now, that’s quite a lot of money as the courses are usually in the range of $97-$1497 or more.
Selling a course priced at $697 with 40% commission rate gives you over $270, and you only had to promote the course. Insanely cool, right?
Affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative business models there are. Ads coming second. However, even affiliate marketing can’t stand against the power of your own products.
Creating digital products and services to make money
This is the holy grail and also the thing you should go for. If you want to make serious money online. Creating your own products and services is the way to go. Trust me.
Yes, you can make insane amounts of money with affiliate products like Michelle does (some $100.000/month) but with your own products, you define the profit margin, and that’s the key here.
The sky is not the limit when it comes to making money with your own products.
So let’s go through what kind of products you could sell.
Ever thought of writing your own ebook? I have and will write one. Ebooks are so convenient and easy to use, and they come with you everywhere (assuming you use Kindle as I do or some other eBook reader service).
The ease of use and the price is what makes ebooks so desired.
However, in the blogging world, there’s also another form of eBook, and it’s the one which you create by yourself and not publish it on Amazon Kindle but in your own website.
I have bought ebooks that cost around $47, and that is not your typical $7 ebook price. Yet again, as mentioned before, the beauty of your own products is the fact that you set the price and as you can already say the profit margin is around 98%.
When you are at the very beginning of your blogging career, an ebook could be one of the first products you could be creating.
Digital products and downloadables
I’m always amazed by how many different companies there are that sell digital products and downloadables. Even the Elementor Pro plugin is a digital downloadable, even though it’s a service at its heart.
Digital art is a perfect example of a digital product. You can sell PSD-files (an Adobe Photoshop document that includes the artwork and everything), art tutorial videos, etc.
Yet again, the sky is not the limit when it comes to digital products. You can even sell excel spreadsheets if you want to. If you have outstanding powerpoint templates, put them to sale.
I think imagination is the only limit here.
You need a platform to upload your digital products, and the service I use is Gumroad, but you can also use a service like Easy Digital Downloads.
Creating an online course might not be the best place to start when you have just started your own blog. I would wait just a bit to get the hang out of blogging and online business in general.
You can always get a course for yourself or sign up to a program that gives you inside info on course creation if you want to jump right in.
And as you can see, there’s the beauty of online courses. They are easy to get into and they more than often provide insight that you just can’t get anywhere else. Even if you could get, it would take time.
So online courses are a quick way to get in-depth knowledge about a topic, and if you can create a course that is invaluable to your audience, you can expect to make a nice amount of money from it.
Membership sites more than often work in a subscription-based pricing model. Though I do know membership sites that also has a one-time payment.
If you want to create a membership site and start collecting monthly income from your services. Memberpress is probably the best membership plugin in the industry of membership plugins.
I use Memberpress for my own membership program and love the plugin. It has everything you need and even more to be honest.
What is so cool about membership sites is that you get monthly income from them. You also have to set them once and then update it as necessary or as promised.
By creating a membership site, you have created yourself a passive income stream and something you can rely on.
Freelance blog and website
I was once very doubtful of creating my own website, I thought that it’s only for some serious businesses and you know, you only have a website if you are a business. In the beginning, you might not feel like you are a business so you might not be too into building your own website.
Building a website isn’t so difficult. You can read my ‘How to start a blog‘ article if you are unsure of how to do it. It’s super easy and fun.
A website gives you almost unlimited possibilities that you can do with it. If you are not into blogging but more like wanting to build a freelance website, you can do that too.
Here are a few examples you can build your site for
Writing: build yourself a freelance writing site. Where customer and companies can hire you to write for them.
Website designer: Build a fantastic website and use it as a reference to land clients for yourself. With Elementor Pro you can build websites with premade templates in hours. It’s really that powerful.
Coaching: You are great at something and can offer coaching services for individuals and companies. There’s a bunch of ways you can do coaching, group coaching through Skype, personal coaching, coaching for businesses.
Consulting: you are an expert at some topic and can give consulting for that topic. Let’s say you are working in a certain company that by working there develops your skills in a specific area. Making you an expert in it. Why not start your own consulting business around that area of expertise? Make sure it’s in your companies policy for you to be able to do that.
A final note
Blogging and online business is possibly the best thing that has happened to me. I love the possibilities a single website can give you.
You can monetize a single website in so many ways that it’s just astounding to me.
To recap the monetization opportunities mentioned in this article:
- Display advertising
- Affiliate marketing
- Digital products and services
- Freelance blog and website
Even if the above list is small, the opportunities all those categories have is almost unlimited.
There are so many great services and ways you can monetize your blog that once you get the hang of all these, I’m pretty sure you are sold for blogging.
Your job now is to create excellent content that brings traffic to your site, which you then monetize.
Yes, you monetize the traffic, not your site. You monetize the expertise and knowledge you have. Your job is to create multiple income streams and use many of the ways presented here.
Just by relying upon only one source of income is never a good idea.
I’m not relying on only one income stream. I have more than one income stream and will build more and more income streams over time.
Why should you only rely on one income stream? Why would you make that kind of decision? If that one income stream vanishes for some reason. What happens then?
Monetizing your blog is a must in my opinion, and the reason is that it’s so easy to do that.
So there you have it, quite a long article but then again this is a guide you can save for later and come back to it now and then. You can also pin this to your board for others to find it too. That would be great!
Want to save this? Post this ‘How To Monetize A Blog’ post to your Pinterest board for later reading!
Bring in the discussion
Have you monetized your blog yet? Is there something that left you questioning or is there something that should be added. Please do comment below and share your thoughts. Would be awesome to hear more monetization ways for blogs.