For many writers, starting a blog is a passion project. The opportunity to share interests, knowledge and ideas with people from all over the world is a beautiful way to build connections across communities. But as many of us have learned, passion alone does not pay the rent. The good news is, it’s possible to make money off a blog, whether you just want to make some extra spending money or turn blogging into a full-time career.
Essentially, there are three ways to monetize a blog: Sell a product or service, create gated content or promote external brands. This article discusses specific strategies, helps you decide which are best for your blog and offers tips for maximizing your monetization efforts.
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How beginners can monetize a blog
Monetizing a blog can be a time consuming and challenging process, and it is not something that can be achieved overnight. However, there are a few ways that you can make money off your blog, even if you're blogging as a beginner.
01. Make money from online ads
One of the most reliable ways to make money blogging is to display advertisements, usually web banners and banner ads, throughout your site and collect revenue from each click. The 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. This is also often referred to as digital display advertising.
Using the Google AdSense advertising network, 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 overall design of your blog. When you plan how to make a website and 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 is a type of website which deals with health and wellness, your target audience probably won’t feel tempted to click on real estate blog ads. Instead, you'd want to choose ads that promote wellness solutions or health products.
You might also want to consider using pay per click or paid ppc ads in order to generate users to your website in the first place. The more website visitors you have, the more you can increase the numbers of converters on your display ads and targeted advertising efforts.
02. Ask for donations
You can also monetize your blog by 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.
You might feel more comfortable asking for donations if you are better able to convey the learning aspect of your content. Being able to provide tangible value to readers from your content may make them more likely to donate and you more comfortable with the process.
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 already charge for access to it.
03. 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 freelancer for other blogs. By using your own content to establish authority and expertise, you can get hired to write for other blogs and might even be able to make it a full-time job.
Learn more: How to start a writers blog
To find these opportunities, you can research dedicated freelance writing job boards, online marketplaces for freelance work or 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.
04. Sell eBooks
As you build your readership, offer your fans an in-depth, comprehensive angle on your content in the form of an eBook. Your eBook can be an elaboration on topics covered on your blog, or it can introduce a new theme or question that’s highly relevant to your target audience. For instance, if you’re a photography blogger, your eBook could explore the most fascinating locations you have ever worked in and what they taught you about photography.
When you create an eBook, draw lessons and stories from your own knowledge and experience. Use your book to teach readers something new, and show them how they can put this knowledge into action in their own lives.
Learn more: How to start a book blog
Consider using Patreon to create and market your book to your potential readers. Once created eBooks can be a good source of passive income, as you create it once and hopefully sell forever.
05. Do some affiliate marketing
When considering how to monetize a blog, some people opt to engage in affiliate marketing. As an affiliate, you partner with a brand to promote their products, earning 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 are actually interested in to increase the chances of driving leads and sales. Having this affinity for the brand also means that you’ll be more successful in promoting it.r. By finding ways to connect the product’s value with your blog’s organic content, you’ll make a stronger sales pitch to your audience.
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.
06. 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.
Your first step is to find a brand to partner with. While businesses will sometimes reach out to bloggers directly as part of their own content marketing efforts, you should also take the initiative to email brands yourself and inquire about partnership opportunities.
Sponsored posts usually include a product review or demonstrate 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’ll 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.
07. 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 website header, with a note in your articles and social media content thanking them for their support.
This type of sponsorship can be especially helpful if you find a brand that you genuinely appreciate and is highly relevant to your niche. When you negotiate your agreement, make sure that both sides are clear about expectations so you don't end up compromising your work.
Ready to monetize your blog? Start with Wix.
How to monetize a blog over the long term
If you’ve been blogging for a while and you’re ready to make some bigger commitments, here are a few tips for monetizing a blog over the long term:
01. Build paid membership plans
Your blog posts offer more than just an opinion. They’re 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 behind a paywall is worth paying for, keep some parts available for free viewing. You can use these free samples as a way to captivate 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 they buy access to your content. This is a popular strategy used 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’re marked as exclusive content for paying readers.
02. Create 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 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 pay for. For instance, you might create a complex tutorial video that goes beyond anything your audience can find for free online. These might include educational videos such as coding tutorials or a series of fitness training videos.
03. Start a podcast
If you want to get especially creative with your blog, another monetization option is to start a podcast. Rather than creating 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 increase blog 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.
04. Make 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. Being a part of the blogosphere is very much about building an online community, and webinars help you do just that.
Webinars 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 subject you’re especially 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.
05. Host a virtual summit
Another type of virtual event which you can charge admission for is 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.
On top of helping you earn an income, virtual summits are a powerful marketing strategy using streaming media to generate new interest in your blog. By helping you expand your reach and increase website traffic, they can generate income short-term while contributing to your long-term blog monetization efforts.
06. Offer coaching or consulting services
Once you build authority and trust with your readership, you’re in a position to supplement written content with one-on-one coaching sessions (see how to start a coaching blog). Regardless of your field of expertise, there’s 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.
Learn more: How to start a consulting blog
07. 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 merchandise 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.
How to drive blog traffic to maximize profits
In order to make a good amount of money from monetizing a blog, you need to establish your credibility, build a following and attract more readers to your blog. Here are some tips for driving blog traffic to maximize your monetization efforts:
01. Know your niche
As you set to start a blog, you'll need to define its focus and a clear target audience. Rather than writing about anything that comes to mind, create a specific type of blog with a strong, centralized focus. Use your blog to build expertise in a particular area and fulfill the specific needs of your readers.
Not sure what niche to run with, consider these examples:
02. Deliver quality content
While the quantity of your blog posts is important, the quality is even more so. Aim to publish posts consistently as part of your blog strategy, 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.
03. 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. This type of valuable content can also be used to generate backlinks to your blog, from other sites, who share your valuable content in their own blog and news posts. Quality backlinks and content shares send powerful signals to search engines, making your content more visible to more people.
04. Drive engagement
Your blog should not only satisfy readers, but 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. Consider tapping into the potential of social media marketing strategies, such as influencer marketing in order to do this. This means not only sharing your own content on social media platforms, but getting others to as well. The more you engage your readers, the more successful you’ll be at monetizing your blog down the road.
05. 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.
06. Promote your content
For the above methods to be effective, you’ll need to promote your blog consistently to constantly drive more traffic, engage with your audience and strengthen your readership. As you write blog posts and continue to monetize your content, implement the following digital marketing strategies so that your site stays 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. The best place to start is always with keyword research from which to plan blog topics and posts around.
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 promote your blog on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, you’ll be able to maintain a steady flow of traffic to your posts.
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. Work on building up your mailing list, to get more eyes on your content.
An important part of promoting your blog is understanding your site analytics. Knowing where your users are coming from while pinpointing what blog posts are sparking their interest and engagement can help you plan better content and generate more traffic to your site.
When to monetize a blog
Now that you know how monetize a blog, you need to consider when it actually makes sense for you to do so. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when to monetize your blog. However, there are a few factors you should consider before making a decision.
Your audience: How big and engaged is your audience? When you're considering monetizing your blog, pay attention to the people who would be making that happen. It's important to have a lot of people who are interested in your content and likely to be willing to pay for it. If you don't have a large or engaged audience, it may not be worth monetizing your blog yet.
Your content: What kind of content do you create? If you create high-quality content that people are willing to pay for, then you may be able to monetize your blog sooner. Make sure that your content is well-written, informative and engaging.
Your goals: What are your goals for your blog? If you're just starting out, you may want to focus on building your audience and creating great content before you start monetizing. However, if your main goal is to make money from your blog, you may want to start monetizing sooner. Having a clear monetization strategy will help you achieve this more quickly.
Monetize a blog FAQ
How do I monetize my blog?
There are many ways to choose to monetize your blog, depending on your niche and industry. Some of the most popular ways to monetize include offering content by subscription, affiliate marketing, online courses, eBooks, selling ad space on your blog and sponsored posts.
How many views do I need in order to monetize my blog?
If you want to sell ad space and use Google AdSense, you'll need at least 1000 page views on your blog per day, to get started with it. Other types of blog monetization, such as affiliate marketing, don't necessarily require a minimum number of views. However the more website traffic your blog generates, the easiest it will be to seek out and secure monetization opportunities.
Do blogs still make money?
Yes, blogs can still make money. However, it is important to note that the days of making a full-time income from a single blog are long gone. Nowadays, most bloggers who make money do so by having multiple streams of income.
Can you start a blog as a side hustle?
Yes, you can start a blog as a side hustle. In fact, blogging is a popular side hustle for many people, as it can be a relatively low-cost and low-time commitment way to make extra money.
To start a blog as a side hustle, you will need to choose a niche, create a blog and start publishing content. Once you have a following, you can monetize your blog through a variety of methods, such as advertising, affiliate marketing and selling your own products or services.