How to Make Money Blogging: The Complete Guide
This post was last updated on January 15, 2023.
Making money blogging sounds like a dream. Not only do you get to work independently and skip the 9-to-5, but you can also blog from anywhere in the world about the topics of your choice. While it involves hard work, even beginners can achieve this with the right strategy.
You’ll need to create a blog, of course. After that, you’ll need to grow your audience. Whether you want a side hustle or a career, this comprehensive guide will walk you through actionable steps on how to start a blog, build your readership and grow your blog. Then, you’ll learn about using the robust tools that can turn your website traffic into money.
Ready to make money with a blog? Get started on your blog with Wix.
How to make money blogging in 10 steps
Follow these 10 actionable steps to hone in on your craft and monetize your blogging efforts:
How much money can you make blogging?
Before we dive into the steps to make money blogging, let’s talk about how much you can actually earn.
How much money can you make when blogging as a beginner? Finance blog Millennial Money reports that after just two years of building traffic and subscribers, bloggers can make upwards of $100,000 annually. Within the first year, bloggers can make $500-$2,000 per month.
Let’s look at a few examples from this study of successful bloggers:
As you can see, you can earn a wide income range as a blogger. But aside from the numbers, remember these important takeaways before you begin:
You can make money blogging even if you're not a professional writer.
It’s possible to use more than one strategy to bring in a revenue with your blog.
Successful bloggers make money using many of the same strategies.
Let’s break these ideas down and identify these strategies.
How to make money blogging, part 1: build your online presence
Before you start making money, you’ll need to start a blog and grow your audience. Think of it this way: More traffic to your blog can equal more money.
For that reason, earning money begins with choosing a strategic blogging niche and spreading the word about your blog. Here’s how to do it:
01. Choose a profitable niche
If you’re just starting a blog, you're probably asking yourself—What should I write about?
Before you dive into writing, you’ll need to select a niche. Pick one overarching theme in a particular field for your blog to attract a targeted group of fans.
Start with your passions when selecting your niche—after all, you’ll dedicate lots of time and effort to this subject. But if you seriously want to make money blogging, you also need to think about what subjects people will want to read about, and if those subjects are financially viable.
Look at Cup of Jo, for example, a daily women’s lifestyle site that explores topics like food, culture, style, travel, relationships and parenting. Founded in 2007, the popular blog “receives over 4 million monthly page views and almost 1 million monthly unique visitors,” according to the site. By narrowing in on a specific niche and providing relevant and relatable content to the right audience, founder Joanna Goddard has cultivated a strong community and deeply engaged readership.
With that in mind, ask yourself these three questions when choosing a blog niche:
What are my interests?
Who is my audience?
Which topics are profitable?
Question 1: What are my interests?
You’ll want to write about a topic you’re passionate and knowledgeable about to sustain your blogging efforts for the long term.
Consider your level of professional experience as well. If you have no prior connections to your blogging niche, you’ll find it harder to establish yourself as a credible source in that industry.
On the other hand, if you have work experience, educational background or connections in a particular field, you can write blog posts about those subjects and build trust among your readership. Take a look at these blog ideas—they'll jumpstart your imagination.
Question 2: Who is my audience?
Readers will flock to blogs that provide in-demand information and insight. After you’ve decided on your niche, think about which readers you may attract, the problems they face and the solutions they seek. This way, you can create a blog that provides this group the answers they need.
Question 3: Which topics are profitable?
While you can blog about nearly anything, some blog niches can earn more money than others. To anticipate whether you can make money blogging with a particular niche, consider the sales opportunities in that subject area. For instance, a cooking blog could promote affiliate links in an article about the top kitchen appliances or sell ad space to culinary brands. A digital marketing blog could sell e-books or offer consulting services.
Types of blogs that make money
Several types of blogs can be profitable if you know how to manage them strategically but here are the most common:
Business and marketing blogs
DIY and crafts blogs
Nutrition and food blogs
Whichever niche you choose for your blog, think about how you’ll monetize it from the beginning and set income goals to build a strong foundation.
If you’re still stuck on what niche to focus on, these blog examples can help provide guidance.
02. Scale your blog content
Now that you’ve selected your blog niche, it’s time to start creating content. As you begin, keep in mind that the research and planning behind your articles can influence your blog’s financial success just as much as the writing itself.
On top of that, you’ll want to upload new content consistently and frequently without compromising on quality. Here’s what you should know as you start creating and scaling your content:
Choose the right blog topics
Just as you selected a strategic blog niche, you’ll also want to choose strategic topics to write about. The best topics must accomplish two things:
They address the needs of your target audience and offer them a thoughtful, actionable solution.
They target keywords with high search volumes—a number that indicates how many people look up a given word or topic during a selected time frame (typically one month). The higher the keyword volume, the more historic interest in that topic. When your articles provide a thorough answer to people’s search queries, the more likely it will organically rank on search engines—which, in turn, will bring people to your site.
Don’t overlook the importance of writing headlines, either. The catchier your blog titles, the more likely people will click to read the content.
Tip: Use a handy title generator tool to craft effective headlines that grab readers’ attention.
Post blog content consistently
To get more site visitors, you’ll need to post fresh content frequently. Based on the size and needs of your blog, the frequency of posting may vary. HubSpot recommends one to four posts per week, but some larger companies may post an article daily, or in some cases multiple times a day.
On top of that, you’ll want to stay consistent in your publishing cadence. Don’t release a huge batch of articles one week, only to publish nothing the following week. Instead, create an editorial calendar and plan a consistent publishing schedule ahead of time.
Distribute the workload
As you consider how to make money blogging, remember that while you’re building your online presence, you’re also sharpening your entrepreneurial skills. You’ll soon find it hard to create upwards of three posts per week while also managing your business. Still, don’t let that slow you down. Consider getting extra help as you launch your blog so that you can scale your content quickly. You can do this by:
Outsourcing some content to freelancers
Letting other bloggers publish articles on your site (a great free option for you that also gives publicity to the guest contributor).
Whichever option you choose, structure your workload to focus on business strategy as well as writing.
Ready to get blogging? Get started with Wix.
03. Build a reputation
Once you’ve created a large amount of strategic content, establish yourself as an authority in your field as the next step toward making money blogging. These tips will help guide you:
Try guest blogging
Start by expanding your online presence, particularly in the blogosphere. You can reach out to online publications in your niche and pitch ideas for guest posts. Remember to send a link to your blog alongside your pitch as evidence of your experience in the field.
To find guest blogging opportunities, browse your favorite publications to see if they publish content by outside contributors. Here is a list of 101 guest posting publications and sites that might be worth reaching out to. Some include:
Alternatively, if you follow any bloggers in your niche, you can search for their name online and see where they’re getting published. That will point you toward sites that accept guest content.
From there, you can pitch an idea to a writer or editor over email or via LinkedIn. If you already have a relationship with them on Twitter, you can also pitch them ideas there. Professionals in the online publishing world commonly use these social media platforms.
Don’t be discouraged if a publication doesn’t accept your pitch right away. Rejections are commonplace even for seasoned professionals in the publishing world. Your pitches will be accepted as you improve your outreach efforts. Besides, the more content you have published, the more you’ll build up your reputation—and the more likely a publication will want to publish you in the future.
If you’re lucky, some publications may offer you payment for your contributed content—a great start to making money blogging. That said, even if guest posting doesn't compensate you financially, it’s still valuable. In return, you get to network with others in your field, grow your readership and establish your expertise and authority. With enough experience, you could eventually land your own guest column.
Guest blogging also provides backlinks to your own blog—an important search engine optimization (SEO) signal. Read this article for more tips on SEO for bloggers.
Collaborate with experts
You can also work closely with other experts in your field to establish credibility, gain exposure and build an audience.
Reach out to professionals within your blogging niche—for example, a successful guest writer you follow or the editor of your favorite publication. Ask if you can conduct an interview with them, either as a guest post or for publication on your own blog. While this may seem like a bold request, people in this position often happily give interviews since it also increases their exposure.
Likewise, you can cross-promote other bloggers in your industry. Give their articles a shoutout on your social media posts and blog, and engage with them on Twitter. They’ll likely start reading your content to return the favor.
04. Promote and grow
The more people read your blog, the more easily you can earn an income from it. For that reason, growing your website traffic is an important stepping stone for making money from your blog.
Before we dive into how to promote your blog, keep in mind that you must continually market your work. You should promote your site alongside all other steps, from the very moment you publish your blog. Even as your readership grows, marketing your site will be just as crucial to its success as the blogging process itself.
Spread the word and build your popularity with the following tactics:
Optimize for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for your website’s visibility on search engines like Google. If you want people to find your blog, create content that ranks on the first page of organic search results for relevant queries. For example, if you’re creating a baking blog, you’ll want to appear in the top results for queries such as “birthday cake recipes” and “carrot cake recipes.”
To do this, you should not only strive to create the most informative blog posts on the web, but you should also optimize these posts by using strategic long tail keywords—a specific type of keyword that targets your precise audience.
While this might sound intimidating, beginner bloggers can easily learn how to find these keywords, especially with the help of certain keyword research tools. These types of blogging tools—which includes Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs (pictured below) and more—point you directly to the terms you should include.
If you’re completely new to SEO and keyword research, it’s worthwhile to set aside some time to take a quick online SEO course, many of which are available for free. Wix’s SEO Learning Hub is a great place to start.
You can also take a look at this blog post checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the SEO basics, from keyword research to image optimization.
Create a blog newsletter
Another way to increase blog traffic—and make money as a result—is by making an email newsletter to promote your content. This will ensure that people who find your blog will come back to read future posts.
But how do you get people to subscribe to your newsletter in the first place? Use these ideas:
Create lead magnets: People will likely sign up if they receive something valuable in exchange. Commonly known as “freebies,” lead magnets are just incentives that you offer in exchange for a subscription. Your offers might include a free e-book or guide, a complementary slide deck or online course, or a coupon code for your online store.
Use opt-in forms: Opt-in boxes typically take the form of pop-ups or slide-ins asking readers to subscribe. Because they’re hard to ignore, they tend to grab the attention of site visitors more so than static text. You might choose to create an opt-in form that directly tells visitors to subscribe to your emails. Another route is to make opt-in online forms that highlight your lead magnets and ask visitors to enter their email addresses in exchange for the free reward.
Build an email list: A dedicated email list allows you to tap directly into readers’ inboxes and share your most relevant content. Once you’ve secured your list, nurture your relationship with your readers. Avoid spamming or over-sending. Instead, choose a dedicated day and time that you send out your newsletter, so readers can rely on it.
Build a social media strategy
Not promoting your blog articles on social media can be a major blogging mistake. Social media marketing, like SEO, is a great free way to gain exposure.
Not only should you share a link to your blog on your personal channels, but you should also consider creating separate dedicated social media accounts for your blog. Try creating a Facebook business page so that you can promote your blog on Facebook, as well as dedicated business accounts on Instagram and YouTube.
Once you do this, create content to accompany your articles to grow your audience. For example, make Instagram and Pinterest posts that feature images or infographics, and then link back to your blog articles within the posts. Likewise, you can repurpose your blog content as YouTube videos or shorts, or TikTok or Instagram reels and then include a link to the relevant article beneath each video.
Get creative: start a podcast or webinar
Expand your reach even further with different types of creative content formats. Post informative how-to videos on your site, and share your insights by starting a podcast or hosting a webinar. The more varieties of content you create to promote yourself as an expert in your field, the more likely people will discover your blog.
While you should initially offer this content for free to build your audience and drive traffic to your blog, you can eventually start charging to create an additional source of revenue. Keep this in mind as you plan how to make money from your blog.
How to make money blogging, part 2: Monetize your content
Once you have a strong content strategy and a growing online presence, you’ll probably wonder how to monetize a blog.
To start making money with your blog, you’ll want to use tools to enhance your website, as well as resources like company partnerships and affiliate programs. Here are some ideas:
Online courses and workshops
Advertise within your blog
Offer paid subscriptions
Add affiliate marketing links
Write sponsored content
Provide consulting services
Books and E-books
Now that you’ve set your blog up for success, here’s how to earn a profit using the methods above:
05. Advertise within your blog
One way to make money blogging is to add Google AdSense ads to your blog posts—and generate income as a result.
What, exactly, is Google AdSense? The program allows you to place ad spaces on your site. Google then fills those spaces with relevant advertisements for your blog and site visitors. You, in turn, earn money when users view or click those ads.
According to Wordstream, if you take the average CPCs (cost per click) across all different types of businesses and keywords in the US, the overall average CPC in Google Ads is between $1 and $2.
This popular and lucrative advertising program allows bloggers to turn their website traffic into money. You have the freedom to choose your preferred ad sizes, shapes and placement, allowing you to optimize for clicks while maintaining a non-intrusive browsing experience for visitors.
If you decide to go this route, boost your earnings with the following tricks:
Create high-quality content: Even if you just want to make money with your blog, you should always prioritize your content quality. Strong content attracts traffic. And when you get traffic, your blog becomes a beneficial space for advertisers.
Find lucrative keywords: As you research keywords for your blog posts, keep an eye out for transactional terms that might interest advertisers. These include keywords that could potentially result in a sale, like “Best DSLR cameras” or “How to take professional photos.”
Choose ad style and size: Consider how ads will look or contrast with your blog’s color scheme or background. Tools like Social Stream are a great option for customizing your ads’ design.
A/B test your ad placement: When it comes to making money using ads, not all ad space is equal. The same ad can perform differently depending on its location—for instance, at the top, at the bottom, or on the side of a page. Conduct A/B tests to figure out which ad spaces get clicked on most, and use the results to inform your ad placement moving forward.
You can also add an ads.txt file to your blog. While Google AdSense is the biggest provider, using ads.txt gives you the flexibility of connecting with ad providers other than Google.
You can explore other blog monetization tools like Mediavine, Amazon Display Ads or AdThrive to name a few.
06. Offer paid subscriptions
You can also make money blogging through creating and selling subscription plans, allowing loyal readers to buy access to exclusive content.
Of course, some of your content should remain free—after all, readers will want to explore your blog before deciding whether to buy. But you can supplement the freebies with in-depth posts that offer exclusive insights subscribers would pay for.
To pique your readers’ interest, give them a preview of each exclusive post, and then ask them to subscribe to continue reading.
A similar, but slightly different, approach is to offer paid memberships to your site. You can reward members with a variety of perks, including access to webinars, downloadable resources and free blog content.
07. Sell merchandise, e-books and more
Another revenue-creating option is selling products directly through your blog. To do this, you can open an online store and sell items related to your blog niche or personal brand.
Keep in mind that you don’t just have to sell physical products. Many bloggers opt to sell digital goods as well.
Here are some options for the kinds of items you can sell:
Webinars and virtual events or meet ups
T-shirts, stickers and merchandise with your blog logo
Handmade crafts and other goods
If you run a fitness blog, for example, you might sell branded sports equipment. If you've started a travel blog, on the other hand, you might try selling digital travel guides for download.
Take a look at Minimalist Baker, for example, a personal blog turned online shop and foodie haven for many. Founded in 2012 by Dana Shultz, the blog's foundation is based on the criteria of 10 ingredients or less, one bowl and 30 minutes (or less) to prepare. Shultz authored a successful book, Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking, has over 2 million followers on Instagram and a full-scale merchandise line selling baking mixes, kitchen essentials, pantry items and even photography and lighting equipment. It’s an excellent example of a blog making money through merchandising, as well as online recipes and workshops.
08. Become an affiliate
Remember when we looked at how much money bloggers actually earn? Their expense reports show us that nearly all top bloggers use affiliate marketing as part of their monetization strategy. And for good reason: affiliate marketing is a relatively easy source of passive income.
Affiliate marketing essentially means that you make money blogging by promoting other people’s products. This involves adding affiliate links to various products or services within your posts, throughout your site or across your social media accounts. When your site visitors click on those links and make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission from the sale.
To find brands to partner with as an affiliate, browse the web for affiliate marketing programs that can connect you with different products or companies. Some of the most popular programs include:
CJ Affiliate: Connect with widely recognized brands and earn commissions by promoting their products.
ShareASale: Build profitable partnerships with brands across a variety of sectors.
Amazon Associates: Promote products sold on Amazon and earn up to 10% in associate commissions.
Clickbank: Explore a range of ecommerce tools, a global affiliate marketplace, and gain access to support and education.
Affiliate marketing is an effective strategy for both professional and personal blogs, so take the time to try out a few different platforms to find what works best for you.
09. Write sponsored content
As your blog grows, companies may approach you with sponsorship opportunities. The company will compensate you for each post you create that advertises their products to your audience. Often, these gigs come with extra perks, like free products from the company for you to review.
These posts tend to take the form of product reviews or other demonstrations of how you use a company’s products or services. A good practice is to recommend products you truly believe in so that you retain your readers’ trust. In addition, look for partnerships that enable you to create a series of sponsored posts across an extended period of time. This ensures a recurring source of revenue.
To find these opportunities, you don’t need to wait around for companies to find you. Reach out to the top organizations in your field and inquire about sponsorship options. Be sure to explain why the brand would benefit from the collaboration. For instance, tell them about your number of monthly visitors and what they stand to gain from reaching your audience.
10. Provide consulting services
Another way to make money blogging involves harnessing all the knowledge you’ve gained as a professional blogger. Using your blog as a portfolio, offer your own expertise as a service and promote yourself as a coach or consultant.
Depending on your field, you can either work with individuals or act as a consultant for companies. Many types of blogs, from marketing to nutrition and design, are a natural stepping stone to a full-fledged consulting business. For instance, you might build on your blogging experience to become a digital marketing consultant or a food coach.
To start, offer services to individual clients and entice them with special packages and discounts. You can also branch out into group services, such as conferences and public speaking events, webinars and online courses. If people find that your blog offers genuinely valuable insights, they’ll likely pay for advice that’s tailored to their needs.
Earn a living by creating a blog
Writing a blog isn’t just a hobby; it can also be a way to make money and live on your own terms. As you’ve seen, you can turn your website traffic into cash in a variety of ways. Follow these tips to grow your audience, build your reputation and make your content profitable. With a combination of quality content, business smarts, and professional monetization tools, you’ll be well on your way to earning revenue from your blog. To get you started, check out the how to monetize a blog part of our Blogging online course.
By Rebecca Strehlow
Small Business and Marketing Expert