How to Monetize a Blog: 15 Profitable Strategies
This article was last updated on July 6, 2020.
For many writers, creating a blog is a matter of passion. The opportunity to share interests, knowledge and ideas with people from all over the world is a beautiful way to build connections across communities. In addition, a blog helps improve website SEO and substantially strengthens the online presence of personal brands, businesses and other organizations.
But as many of us have learned, passion alone does not pay the rent. On top of that, the responsibilities involved in operating a great blog are highly time-consuming: writing posts frequently, creating promotional campaigns, sending emails to subscribers, engaging with readers and more. That is a serious commitment that sometimes results in little payoff.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are multiple avenues for bloggers to earn money from their work. In this article, we’ll discuss what it takes to build a strong blog that grabs the attention of your audience and puts you on the path to success. Then, we’ll dive into how to monetize a blog, from writing sponsored and affiliate content to selling merchandise and digital goods.
The fundamentals of blogging
Before you learn how to monetize a blog, you’ll need to grow your audience by building a foundation of powerful content. This requires fulfilling the five key principles of blogging:
Know your niche: Every good blog needs a strong focus and a clear target audience. Rather than writing about anything that comes to mind, you’ll need to explore topics within a niche if you want to build a strong fanbase. Use your blog to build your expertise in a particular area and to fulfill the specific needs of your readers.
Deliver quality content: While the quantity of your blog posts is important, the quality is even more so. Aim to publish posts consistently, but don’t let that limit your ability to create thorough, well-researched content. After all, your goal is for readers to enjoy your articles and come back for more.
Offer value: Just as every business must offer value to its audience to succeed, so does a successful blog. People read articles in order to address a need - whether it’s to learn something new or find a solution to their problem - and your job is to satisfy it. Go beyond cookie-cutter content and aim to write posts that stand out with original insights and genuinely helpful information.
Drive engagement: Your blog should not only satisfy readers, but it should also make them hungry for more. Post creative forms of content such as videos and quizzes, and add a forum to build a sense of community around your personal brand. The more you engage your readers, the more successful you’ll be at monetizing your blog down the road.
Establish your authority: If you’re a known expert in your field, people will want to read your work. Spread the word about your expertise by building your presence across other online platforms. Guest post on company blogs and other online publications, publish articles on sites such as Medium and LinkedIn, and build a strong social media following. These strategies will help you cement your reputation as a thought leader, as well as drive additional traffic to your blog.
Once you’ve successfully fulfilled these five blogging basics, you’ll have powerful content and a dedicated audience. Armed with these two ingredients, you’ll be well-equipped to start monetizing your blog.
How to monetize a blog
Offer paid membership plans
Become a freelance blogger
Make money from online ads
Become an affiliate marketer
Write sponsored posts
Get sponsored by a brand
Ask for donations
Sell online courses
Start a podcast
Create a webinar
Host a virtual summit
Offer coaching or consulting services
Continually promote your blog
01. Offer paid membership plans
Your blog posts offer more than just an opinion. They are a combination of your experience, expertise and unique perspective. People want to read them because they offer special value, whether it’s professional advice, life-hacking tips, personal empowerment or any type of training. While most of your posts should be free and readily available, consider creating a pricing plan in which you set aside exclusive content for paying members.
To persuade your readers that this premium content is worth paying for, keep some parts available for free viewing. You can use these free samples as a way to captivate your audiences and get them hooked on your blog. In order to keep your publication balanced, indicate in your content calendar which posts you’d like to reserve as premium and which ones will be available to all readers.
Another approach is to allow readers to purchase subscription plans so that they buy access to your content. This is a popular strategy you'll see on publications across the web. On Wix, you can easily set up a subscription plan that allows you to monetize your blog. When posts get added to the subscription plan, they get marked as exclusive content for paying readers.
02. Become a freelance blogger
Another effective blog monetization strategy is to become a freelance writer for widely read online publications within your niche. Even if your own blog isn’t drawing in much traffic yet, your posts serve as a valuable portfolio of your writing that you can leverage to become a freelance writer for other blogs. By using your own content to establish your authority and expertise, you can get hired to write for other blogs and might even be able to make it a full-time job.
To find these opportunities, you can research dedicated freelance writing job boards, or you can reach out to brands directly. Whichever route you take, be sure to provide a link to your own blog to highlight your writing skills and experience.
03. Make money from online ads
One of the most reliable ways to make money as a blogger is to display advertisements throughout your site and easily collect revenue from each click. The great advantage of this option is that it requires minimal effort from the blogger’s end. All you need to do is set up an account with an online ads platform and connect it to your website.
Using Google AdSense, you can define which fields, industries and categories of ads should be displayed on your blog to ensure that they’re a strong fit. In addition, you can design the look of the ads to match the design of your blog overall. When you create a blog on Wix, you can add Google AdSense ads to your blog and generate income anytime those ads are viewed or clicked.
For the ads on your blog to be profitable, make sure that they relate to your audience’s interests. If your blog deals with health and wellness, your target audience probably won’t feel tempted to click on real estate ads. Instead, you'd want to choose ads that promote wellness solutions or health products.
04. Become an affiliate marketer
When considering how to monetize a blog, some people opt to become affiliate marketers. As an affiliate, you partner with a brand to promote their products, and earn a commission for every product sale that originated from your blog. From the perspective of both bloggers and brands, affiliate marketing is a win-win situation.
This performance-based revenue works best when both parties involved share the same target audience. You’ll need to find a company that your readers might actually be interested in. Otherwise, you’re reducing your chances to drive leads and sales. Having this affinity for the brand also means that you will be able to promote it better. When you find ways to connect the product’s value with your organic content, you make a stronger sales pitch.
While there are a variety of affiliate programs to choose from, one of the most popular choices for beginners is Amazon Associates. As an Associate, you’ll include links to Amazon products within your blog content and receive a commission for every purchase that comes through your site.
05. Write sponsored posts
Another option is to create sponsored content that highlights a specific product or service. This is often an effective form of advertising for brands, and it’s also a powerful way to monetize a blog.
To get started, you’ll need to find a brand to partner with. While businesses will sometimes reach out to bloggers directly, you should also take the initiative to email brands yourself and inquire about partnership opportunities.
The sponsored post often includes a product review or demonstrates how the writer uses the product for professional or creative purposes. It’s a great way to earn reliable income through your blog, since (unlike with ads and affiliate programs) you know exactly how much you will be making.
If you choose to write sponsored posts, keep in mind the following tips:
Look for a brand partnership that enables you to create a series of sponsored posts spread across several weeks or months. This way, you have a recurring and fixed source of revenue.
When you reach out to brands, show them how sponsoring your posts would benefit their business. Tell them about your website traffic, show them how the interests of your fans align with their brand, and offer ideas for how you’d include their products in your content.
Don’t try to hide sponsored posts. Be honest with your audience and clarify it with a short disclaimer.
Don’t compromise your integrity as a blogger. Only recommend products that you believe in and that you think would offer genuine value to your readers.
06. Get sponsored by a brand
In addition to creating sponsored posts, another benefit of establishing paid partnerships is to get your blog, or even your entire online presence, sponsored by a brand. With this approach, you don’t necessarily need to devote entire posts to product reviews or recommendations. Instead, you might choose to feature the sponsoring brand in your blog’s header, with a note in your articles and your social media content that thanks them for their support.
This type of sponsorship can be especially helpful if you find a brand that you genuinely appreciate and that’s highly relevant to your niche. When you negotiate your agreement, make sure that both sides are clear about expectations and boundaries, so that you don’t end up feeling like you are compromising your work.
07. Ask for donations
You can also monetize your blog by simply asking for donations. While you shouldn’t be pushy, you can leave a friendly, transparent note to fans expressing your appreciation for their readership and welcoming their support. Your audience will be especially inclined to support you if you’re blogging about a good cause, whether your goal is to promote social justice or support nonprofit work.
Note that the principle behind donations is that they enable your audience to thank you for providing them with free, valuable content. For this reason, it’s not advisable to ask for donations if you’re already selling your content.
08. Sell e-books
As you build your readership, offer your fans an in-depth, comprehensive angle on your content in the form of an e-book. Your e-book can be an elaboration on topics that you cover in your blog, or it can introduce a new theme or question that is highly relevant to your target audience.
For instance, if you’re a photography blogger and regularly publish tips for shooting and editing, your e-book could explore the most fascinating locations you have ever worked in and what they taught you about photography.
As you create your e-book, draw lessons and stories from your own knowledge and experience. Teach readers something new, and show them how they can put this knowledge into action in their own lives. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out this article for tips on how to write an e-book.
09. Sell online courses
Consider repurposing your most popular written content in the form of online courses. This technique for selling videos online will not only help you drive engagement, but it’s also a powerful blog monetization strategy.
While you should continue to offer short-form video content for free, you can ask for payment for premium videos that are longer or more in-depth. Using Wix Video, you can sell, rent and enable your video content for download under your own terms. This enables you to determine the pricing and even restrict the duration of the video’s availability.
To make the most of your online courses, think about the types of content that your target audience would find valuable enough to pay for. For instance, you might create a complex tutorial video that offers insights that go beyond what your audience might find for free online. These might include educational videos such as coding tutorials or a series of fitness training videos.
10. Start a podcast
If you want to get especially creative with your blog, another monetization option is to start a podcast. Rather than create your audio content from scratch, you can simply repurpose the existing content on your blog.
Podcasts have skyrocketed in popularity within the past couple years, and taking advantage of this trend can help increase your blog’s exposure and drive more traffic. On top of that, you can make money from podcasting by selling sponsorship slots to businesses. Essentially, these will be like short radio ads that you incorporate midway through each podcast.
11. Create a webinar
You can further use your knowledge to create a webinar and charge people to attend. Not only is a webinar a powerful tool for sharing your insights and teaching participants new skills, but it also helps you build deeper relationships with your audience and increase engagement on your blog.
Your webinar can take a variety of forms, whether it’s a slide presentation, tutorial, workshop or audience Q&A. Regardless of which format you choose, be sure to focus on a specific subject you’re particularly knowledgeable about. Piggyback on your blog content, but offer additional insights that can’t already be found for free on your blog. You should also offer actionable takeaways so that your audience leaves the session feeling that they’ve learned something tangible.
12. Host a virtual summit
You can also offer paid admission to another type of virtual event: a virtual summit. Typically, a virtual summit or conference is a video interview of 20 or more experts about a given topic. Often, they’re free for a period of 24-72 hours, after which subscribers may choose to purchase an “all-access pass” to continue viewing.
Not only do virtual summits help you earn an income from viewers, but they also are a powerful marketing strategy for generating new interest in your blog. By helping you expand your reach and increase your website traffic, they can generate income short-term while contributing to your blog monetization efforts long-term.
13. Offer coaching or consulting services
As you build your authority and share knowledge with your readership, supplement your content with one-on-one coaching sessions. Regardless of your field of expertise, there is always more than one way to convert your knowledge into useful training for others.
For example, if you use your blog to share your passion for gardening, you could offer one-on-one video sessions offering tips and advice for how someone can improve their personal home garden. Or, if you’re a digital nomad and travel blogger, you can offer customized travel itineraries to clients based on their interests and budgets. Likewise, if you’re an entrepreneur or career blogger, you can offer career or life coaching sessions to your audience.
14. Sell merchandise
Many bloggers make money by selling products inspired by their content. While some of these bloggers are already well-known influencers, internet fame is not a prerequisite for selling merchandise.
Monetize your blog by selling merchandise related to your industry or niche. You can sell specific items relevant to your industry, or general products stamped with your custom logo. To do this on Wix, you can choose to either add a pay button to your website or open an online store.
15. Continually promote your blog
For the above methods to be effective, you’ll need to promote your blog consistently so that you constantly drive more traffic, engage with your audience and strengthen your readership. As you write blog posts and monetize your content, implement the following strategies so that your site continues to stay profitable:
Optimize for search engines: Search engine optimization, or SEO, is deeply intertwined with content creation. As you write, you should refine your content to rank high on Google and other search engines. This way, you’ll be able to gain exposure and drive even more traffic to your site. This SEO for bloggers guide lays out valuable steps for developing a robust SEO strategy.
Be active on social media: Blogging and social media marketing go hand in hand. Build and optimize your social channels so that you share your expertise on multiple platforms and gather followers. If you create compelling content on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you’ll be able to maintain a steady flow of traffic on your blog.
Engage fans with email marketing: Newsletters are a great option to keep your audience engaged. Promote your latest blog posts with captivating emails that encourage your audience to keep coming back to your website.
By Rebecca Strehlow
Wix Blog Writer