Anyone can start a blog, but only an entrepreneur can figure out how to make money from one. To turn a profit, you might need to sell ads, promote products or even write an e-book. We’ll help you choose the best tactics for you.
4 ways to cash in on blogging
If your blog gets decent traffic, consider using any of the following tactics. If your audience is small, the first two are probably a better fit. Either way, employing more than one money-making method will increase your opportunities to bring in cash.
1. Display advertising
You’ve no doubt seen digital ads for cell phones, credit cards and other products on websites you’ve visited. Companies can bid to run ads on your blog, too, through a program such as Google Adsense. You decide which kinds of ads run and where on the page they’ll appear, and you get paid when a reader clicks them.
Estimating your possible earnings is tough, but this detailed guide to monetizing with Google AdSense can help. Here’s the general idea: Say your site receives 2,800 views in one month, and 1.5% of viewers click on a display ad — that’s 42 clicks. If the advertiser bid 75 cents per click, you’re looking at a paycheck of around $30.
“For a new blogger, seeing the $30 or $50 check can be all the motivation they need to keep up their blog and eventually get to those higher payouts,” says Joseph Hogue, author of “Make Money Blogging.”
2. Repurposing blog content
You’re already producing content, so why not distribute it in another form? Turn your blog posts into chapters of an e-book, which you can sell on Amazon.
Self-publishing probably won’t make you rich, but “it’s an excellent source of passive income,” Hogue says. That means you can nearly forget about the content after compiling it and posting it to Amazon. Just collect a payment now and then.
Plus, you already have the perfect marketing platform, complete with a relevant audience — your blog. Hogue advertises his e-books about investing and passive income on his personal finance blog, PeerFinance101.
3. Affiliate marketing
If you often mention products in your blog, look into affiliate marketing. Let’s say you have a blog about smoothies: You could link to a specific blender selling on Amazon in one of your posts, and if a reader clicks on the link and buys the blender, you’ll earn a commission.
Hogue says a single purchase can put anywhere from a couple dollars to hundreds in your pocket. To find advertisers and products for your site, join an affiliate network, such as ShareaSale, CJ Affiliates, Flexoffers, LinkShare or Amazon Associates.
Affiliate marketing is a serious moneymaker for many bloggers. Hogue earns roughly $2,000 per month this way from two of his blogs. He knows of others who use it to bring in tens of thousands each month.
This method works best for blogs that get a lot of traffic. The more readers, the more likely that someone will see the post, click the link and buy the product.
4. Sponsored content
With this tactic, companies pay you a flat fee to publish a post about their product. For example, you or a blender company would create a post on your smoothie blog about a specific blender, which could include a link to a website where readers can buy it.
Sponsored content opportunities might be hard to come by if your blog doesn’t receive much traffic. But if you get the chance, Hogue says even authors of low-traffic blogs should ask for at least $100. Request more if you have to write the content yourself. You can ask for a few hundred dollars apiece once your blog has a larger audience.
You can find these opportunities on ad networks or by reaching out to potential sponsors. You might also receive unsolicited emails offering cash for a sponsored post.
This tactic isn’t for everyone. Some bloggers, especially new ones, are uneasy promoting a product for money because it makes them feel like “they’re basically a shill for a corporate sponsor,” Hogue says. He suggests only promoting products you’ve tried and would actually recommend. The products should be relevant, too, so no gushing about a carpet cleaner on your smoothie blog — unless you’re prone to spilling your drinks.
Before you think about money
No matter the tactic you choose, making money from blogging takes patience. You won’t be able to make the big bucks until your blog gets solid traffic and shows up high in Google search results, and that takes time. You should also be a student of the blogging industry. Hogue follows “blogs about blogging” and sites that delve into search engine optimization.
Given all the dedication required to profit from your blog, you’re best off choosing a topic you love. “You’re going to be talking a lot about it, and sometimes that passion is your only motivation for doing it,” Hogue says.