How do you make money blogging is the #1 question I get asked!
In today’s post, I’m going to be sharing with you the top five ways to make money blogging, even if you’re just starting from scratch.
You can also check out the YouTube video here:
You can also check out my “How to start a profitable blog” video here
The first year that I actually started blogging, I made a negative of $500. The next year I made $3,000 and the third year I made $11,000 and now I do this full time.
So how did I manage to do this? It took me quite a while.
If you’re expecting to have a shortcut to success, if you’re expecting that I will tell you that in the next six months you are going to be a six figure blogger or in the next 12 months you’re going to be a six figure blogger, you should stop reading right away.
I’ll be sharing with you five simple ways that actually work in 2020 that you can start with even if your blog is brand new.
I think you’re probably already familiar with ads.You’ve seen them on YouTube, you’ve seen them when you visit your favourite bloggers’ websites, you’ve seen them on eCommerce websites, you’ve seen them pretty much everywhere.
You have to remember that when you’re distributing content online, whether it is through a blog, through a website, through a podcast, through a YouTube video, through any other channel that has a decent-sized audience, there will be advertisers and especially advertising networks that will be interested in leveraging that.
Depending on the scale at which you’re at and how large your audience is, there are different advertising networks that you can target. But before I get into the top advertising networks, I want to share with you the minimum requirements that you need to actually get started with putting ads on your blog or your website.
At the bare minimum, you’re going to need at least five to 10 blog posts and you’re going to need some pages such as an about page, a contact page, a disclaimer, a privacy page, and all of these basic elements that you need to be able to be eligible for any ad network.
Now, as a beginner, the best place for you to start is definitely Google AdSense.
Google AdSense is quite strict when it comes to accepting websites and you want to make sure that you actually follow all of their privacy and disclaimer policies before you apply and submit your blog. Because once you get banned from Google AdSense, it’s really hard to resubmit and get approved. So I would do it the right way in the first place, even if it takes a while for you to figure it all out.
In my opinion, the best time to actually start about thinking of monetizing your blog with ads is when you have at least five to 10,000 pageviews because this is the right time for you to actually see how you can monetize your audience with ads and see a result, which is a little bit more decent than what you would expect with less than 5,000 page views.
You will probably still not make a lot of money. You will probably still make less than $100 a month, but it’s a start.
> So if you’ve just started and you have 10 to 15 blog posts and you have all of these pages ready to go, then I would then apply for Google AdSense.
> If you have more than 10,000 page views, then you can look at networks such as Monumetric, Ezoic and tons of other networks.
Depending on where you’re based and which country you’re at, you might have a specific ad network for you, which might work much better for you than a global ad network.
> If you reach 25,000-page sessions, then you can apply for MediaVine, which is one of the networks that one of my websites is on, my travel blog Indian Girling.
> Once you reach 100,000 pageviews, you can apply for networks like Ad Thrive which is quite popular with food bloggers, but they’re also very, very selective about which blogs they take.
So the more premium the ad network, the more selective and harder it is for you to get in. But once you get in, you can actually earn a pretty decent amount.
Mediavine, for example, on one of my websites earns me anywhere between $1000 to $2,000 a month depending on my page views. And I think that’s a pretty solid income to be earning for a blog that is less than two years old.
#2 Affiliate Marketing
You’ve probably heard of affiliate marketing or you know a little bit of it. Basically, when you go to someone’s website and you click on a link which has a strange URL to make a purchase, the blogger whose website you’re on gets paid. But you only get paid when you actually have affiliate links on your blog or on your website.
The easiest way for you to get started and you don’t even need a lot of traffic for it, you can just get started with it right away, is through affiliate marketing because affiliate income actually builds on the audience as you grow your blog and grow your audience.
So in the beginning you probably won’t make a lot of money unless your audience is highly targeted and in a very small niche. Because there’s a lot of competition when it comes to affiliate links and there are various policies and different cookie times and different payout things that you need to keep in mind with every different affiliate.
As a beginner, you probably don’t want to get started with one on one affiliate programs so the best place for you to start would be to join networks such as the Amazon affiliate network or ShareASale or Rakuten or CJ which offer you a ton of programs in different brands in different niches and in different industries so that you would never have a lack of finding products to sell or finding products to promote.
The only requirement that some of these affiliate networks might have is to actually have a blog that is at least a couple of months old and has content which is hyper targeted and relevant or have content that is hyper-targeted to the brand or the products that you’re about to sell.
If you’re a travel blogger and you apply for a food company to give you an affiliate marketing link, it’s probably not going to work out and it’s also a bad idea because the audience that you have is likely interested in travel products and services instead of food products and services. Unless you run a large lifestyle blog and you have a mixed audience.
This method is, I believe, the hardest method because not only is it hard to get sponsorships, especially at the beginning, but it’s also something that’s not really scalable because each time you have to go out and look for sponsors, especially when you have a small audience and a small social media following.
As influencer marketing gets bigger and bigger, it’s not just enough to have a blog.You also need to have a decent size of social media following, whether it’s on Instagram or on Facebook or Pinterest or LinkedIn, irrespective of where your social media following is you do need one.
And I think this is what makes it really hard for new bloggers or beginner bloggers who don’t have a decent traffic and social media following to actually generate a lot of money through sponsorships.
Now, I just want to put in a disclaimer here. A lot of people offer sponsored content in the form of creating or offering backlinks. I’m not going to comment on whether or not it’s a good practice.
All I can say is that it’s a practice that hurts your SEO ranking and your Google ranking in the long run. So I would avoid it, especially as a beginner blogger when you don’t really know what to expect.
$10 or $20 per link might sound tempting to you at the beginning when you’re dying to make the first couple of dollars, but it’s not something that will help you in the long run and might hurt the visibility of your blog and you don’t want that to happen.
Once you have a decent size, which is, let’s say, anywhere between 10 to 25,000 page views and you have a decent social media following, it’s the right time to start looking for sponsors or brands in your particular niche or domain.
Now, you can reach out to them one by one, but that’s probably going to take a long time and it’s not really the most productive way of doing it. But thanks to the whole influencer marketing boost, there are platforms such as AspireIQ, Rev Influence, Tapify, TapInfluence (or others that you can find if you just Google influencer marketing networks) that you will come across that actually share sponsorship opportunities on a monthly or a weekly basis.
Now for every different opportunity you might have different requirements. Some would require you to have a 10,000 plus following on Instagram. Some would require you to have a Facebook page. It totally depends on the brand and the company and what exactly do they require for their campaign to be a success.
So, in the beginning, I wouldn’t chase this too much because I think at the beginning of your journey you should be focusing on growing your audience and building your following and building your email list instead of just focusing on sponsorships, especially, because it’s not a very scalable method.
While ads and affiliate marketing income scales really well the more you grow your traffic and the more you grow your audience, sponsorships don’t necessarily scale in the one to one ratio. Sometimes they come, sometimes they don’t. So, it’s a little bit more of a volatile method of monetization.
This method of monetization is actually my favourite because I think in the long run it’s the most passive way of monetization. Now, when I say passive, I don’t mean that you can just sit and do nothing and just chill out for six months in your room without having to do anything.
You probably can do that, but you would have to work to a certain amount and to a certain point before you can take time off like that. I know that passive income sounds really tempting and amazing, but as a beginner blogger, you should not be thinking about it for at least the first six to 12 months until you’ve built an audience and a suite of products that you can actually put on autopilot.
With products, there are two different ways of monetizing your blog. You can either have digital products or you can have physical products.
Physical products are a bit more problematic because you need to have a warehouse, you need to be thinking about shipping costs and all of that, and you probably don’t want to get started with that as a beginner blogger.
So the thing that you would focus on then is to actually have a suite of digital products. So digital products can be anything ranging from presets to templates to swipe files, to eBooks, to courses and memberships.
It’s probably easier for you to start with something small such as a preset or a template instead of jumping right into a course or writing a book, because that’s probably going to take a much longer time and you’re not going to make a lot of sales if you don’t have an engaged list or an engaged following on social media.
A product also requires you to set up certain things such as payment processing, as well as different membership portals, depending on the kind of product that you’re selling.
So this is a method of monetization that I would recommend to slightly more advanced bloggers that have spent six to eight months building an audience and then actually really know what the audience wants before they jump into creating products directly.
For example, if you’re a travel blogger, you can actually help people out with their visas or with their travel obligations or with even booking their trips and charge a small service fee for it.
If you’re a social media or a marketing expert, then you can actually help people manage their social media accounts and so on and so forth.
There’s so many services that you can offer people, including virtual assistants, social media managers, blog managers, content managers, freelance writing, email copywriting and so on.
Depending on what your niche is and what your particular skill set is, you could even get started with Fiverr or Upwork to broaden your potential reach and to get people back to see your blog and your portfolio.
So that’s how you make money blogging!