7 ways to monetize your blog
Imagine: You wake up — but you don’t get out of bed right away. You check your text messages or Instagram feed for a few minutes, relishing in the warmth of your blankets.
Finally, you get out of your bed. You walk into your kitchen and start on a pot of coffee. While it brews, you go to your bathroom and brush your teeth, making sure to get the back molars just like your mom taught you. Spit. Rinse. Finished.
You walk back to your kitchen and pour yourself that first cup. You savor the smell of those roasted beans as you make your way to your home office. As your computer boots up, you take that first sip.
It boots up. You check your emails.
Your blog made $7,165 while you slept.
When you know how to monetize your blog, you can implement systems to start living the life you want while making money passively. (Note: “passively” doesn’t mean “easily” but we’ll get to that.)
Once those systems are in place, you can stop imagining scenes like the one above and actually start living it.
I want to show you how.
- 7 ways to monetize your blog
- The tools for your first $10,000
Let’s get started.
7 ways to monetize your blog
You can’t just make a blog and just expect money to start rolling in. Trust me. I’ve tried. Instead, focus on two things:
- Marketing = any way you advertise third-party products and/or services through your blog.
- Products = any way you sell your own products and/or services through your blog.
These are the two biggest ways you can monetize your website. And there are different ways to approach both.
This is one of the most common ways people monetize their blogs — and you’ve probably seen it before. They typically come in the form of advertisements in the header or sidebars of a website.
And there are a few different advertising models a blog owner can leverage:
- Pay-per-click. The blog owner is paid every time a reader clicks on the advertisement.
- Pay-per-impression. The blog owner is paid every time a reader looks at the advertisement.
- Pay-per-action. The blog owner is paid every time a reader does an action that’s agreed upon by them and the advertiser (e.g., signing up for email updates).
While this is the most prevalent way websites make money, it’s not necessarily the most lucrative. Expect to make anywhere between $0.05 and $1 for each click, impression, or action.
Don’t expect to make a living off of this route if you’re a beginner blog owner with less than a million visitors per month. This is a good way to supplement your blog income though — especially if you couple it with other methods.
To get started, we recommend you sign up with Google AdSense. This is a service provided by Google that allows bloggers to make money through ads.
To begin, click on this link and sign up.
Remember: Don’t rely on this exclusively to make your income. The cost-per-thousand or CPM (primary metric for ad revenue) for web ads has been trending downwards for years. Couple that with the fact that the average clickthrough-rate in America is .08% and you’ll see that it’s just not a viable way to make money unless you’re pulling in millions of unique visitors each month.
Instead, compound it with another monetization system, such as…
2. Affiliate marketing
This is the method of promoting third-party products and/or services through a link. Every time someone buys said product/or service by clicking on your link, you get money!
It’s a very common way to start making passive income, so you’ve probably encountered it before.
For example, a personal finance website might have affiliate links for credit cards they support. Or maybe a fitness website might have affiliate links for supplements.
Every time someone clicks on those links and gets that product, the blogger gets money.
The affiliate commission will vary — but it can be as high as $50 or $75. If you have a loyal following that trusts your opinions and recommendations, you can end up earning quite a bit of money per month even if you don’t have that many readers.
If this sounds appealing, test the waters with Amazon Associates — Amazon’s affiliate program. They’re the biggest affiliate in the world. (If you’re ever on a blog and notice an Amazon link, it’ll likely be an affiliate code.)
To get started, just head over to the Amazon Associates page and follow the sign-up instructions.
While you can make a lot of money on affiliates (especially if you run a popular product review blog), you should keep in mind that affiliates can change their rules whenever they want. And some readers can perceive affiliate links as corrupting your objectivity. (Did you recommend that new camera because it’s the best, or because it’s a high paying affiliate?)
3. Email sponsorships
Like ads, sponsorships involve a third party placing an ad alongside your content. Unlike an ad, these sponsorships show up in your email.
Often times, they come in the form of a “This email is brought to you by [sponsorship]” message at the beginning or end of an email:
Sponsorships are a good way to earn a few hundred or even thousand dollars a month.
However, obtaining a sponsorship is difficult for two reasons:
- Thousands of subscribers. The only way to attract sponsors willing to pay you top dollar for placement in your newsletter is to show them you have a large and dedicated list of subscribers. If you’re a beginner with <100 subs, you’re going to have a difficult time finding a sponsor.
- Time suck. You’re going to have to spend a lot of time reaching out to potential sponsors to see if they’d like to send a sponsored email to your list. And even if you nailed a sponsorship, you’re going to have a tough time scaling if you don’t have a dedicated team of salespeople constantly reaching out to potential sponsors.
So if you’re just starting out, you’re likely not going to have those as prerequisites … but that’s okay. Beginners can still make money by selling products and services.
Like this blog post? Learn how to create amazing content like this that attracts and engages your target buyers with our FREE Ultimate Guide To Remarkable Content.
Joe Pulizzi, founder and CEO of Content Marketing Institute, once wrote that your book is “the greatest business card on the planet.” It tells the world what you’re about, helps establish you as a thought leader, and can generate you passive income.
They’re relatively simple to create too — and no, I’m not just saying that as a professional writer. In fact, if you’ve been running your blog for long you can extract content directly from your blog and repurpose it into an e-book.
It’s also classic 80/20. Once you write it, it’ll generate you continuous income.
A few examples of e-books:
- “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day” by Nomadic Matt. Travel expert Nomadic Matt dishes out knowledge for any wannabe budget travelers out there. Cost: $5.99
- “6 Steps to a Radio-Ready Song” by Graham Cochrane. Learn how to create awesome songs with this e-book. Cost: $17
- “Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business” by Ramit Sethi. A no-nonsense guide to building an online business. By us. Cost: $7.99
- “Take Off: How to Travel the World with Next to Nothing” by Bryce Conway. Take a deep dive into the world of travel hacking with this guide. Cost: $14.95
- “Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful, and Less Stressed” by Paula Rizzo. Television producer Paula Rizzo shows you how to be more productive and get more done through the art of list making. Cost: $9.99
For more on creating and selling e-books, be sure to check out our article on the topic by GrowthLab staff writer Stephanie Lee.
5. Physical product
This is probably the least passive way of making passive income on this list. It’s also the one that’ll take the most time, money, and energy from you.
A physical product takes a long time to scale too, as you’ll have to go through the process of designing, prototyping, packaging, and shipping a new product.
However, if you’re willing to put in the sweat equity, you can start earning money on your blog by marketing and selling physical products on your blog website.
For more information on how you can get started, be sure to check out our two best articles on the topic:
- “How to launch a physical product.” Entrepreneur and SEO consultant Brendan Hufford breaks down how he launched his six-figure physical product business Ok! Kimonos.
- “Launch lessons from a $300k Kickstarter campaign.” Jeff Sheldon, founder of Ugmonk, breaks down exactly how he was able to get funding for his product launch.
This is one of the fastest and easiest ways you can monetize your blog. By providing one-on-one guidance to prospective clients, you’ll be able to charge a lot while sharing information you already know.
A few other reasons why coaching/consulting is great:
- Abundance. Many customers / clients are willing to pay premium prices for coaching. That means your income can explode with just a few clients on your coaching roster.
- Ease. You can meet with customers in person, with video conferencing (Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.), or even over the phone. This flexibility allows you to cater to customers all over the world — improving your chances of getting clients.
- Immersion. You get to effectively conduct customer research with coaching. You can tap into their fears, goals, and vulnerabilities by interacting with your clients through one-on-one coaching. (Also you have the opportunity to get glowing testimonials from your customers.) You can then use these learnings to help more people using another idea on this list.
There are a few downsides to coaching though. You need to be more involved in order to make money, since you’re offering a one-on-one service. That means a lot of continuous work and sweat equity in order to make money.
You are literally selling your time for money, and that has a natural limit.
But that shouldn’t detract from the fact that coaching is a great monetization idea utilized by beginners AND advanced earners.
A few great examples:
- IntrovertedAlpha.com. Sarah Jones offers up weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly coaching in dating for introverted men across four program tracks. Cost: $3,800 / 3 months, $7,000 / 3 months
- JohnFawkes.com. Fitness and wellness coach John Fawkes offers up remote coaching sessions for folks who want to eat healthier, work out better, and get great sleep. Cost: $14.99 / week
- GreaterThanRubies.net. Style coach Caitlin Skidmore offers style consultation for women in specific life situations (mothers, 40+–year-olds, etc.). Cost: $99
You don’t need a huge list of subscribers or a bunch of readers on your blog to make a lot of money with coaching either. All you need is a handful of people willing to pay.
7. Online courses
Online courses are an information product that allow you to reach people all over the world. The best part? You don’t need a bunch of design or coding knowledge.
A course can be something as simple as PowerPoint slides and a voiceover by you. You can start building these courses today if you wanted.
Online courses are also easily scalable. This means once you build it, you can start to take on as many customers as you’re able to attract. This is the main way we make money with IWT or I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
You don’t need to try and get each and every one of your readers to buy your course either. 80% of our revenue comes from just 4% of our email subscribers.
You don’t need a huge list. What you need is to simply get started.
Here are a few great examples of online courses that rock:
- Nerd Fitness Academy. Get fit and strong even if you’re so nerdy, you make Urkel look like George Clooney. Includes meal plans, workout regimens, and access to a community of fitness-minded nerds.
- A Strenuous Life. Brett McKay and the Art of Manliness team give you a course on how to better yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. By the end of the 12-week bootcamp, your mustache will be growing a mustache.
- Study Hero. For the student who wants to become a star in their class and ace the courses without the stress. Learn the best study systems as well as test-taking techniques to turbocharge your GPA.
- Emotional Resilience. Tree Franklyn helps women manage their emotions through a system of resilience. Perfect for anyone who just wants to stop feeling overwhelmed all the time.
- Novel Bits Bluetooth Low Energy Training. Mohammad Afaneh shows developers how to master BLE and Bluetooth 5.
To help you even more, check out this four-minute video from Ramit where he breaks down how to create and sell online courses.
(And if you’re having trouble deciding which online product to start with, this post by Sarah Jones covers the basics.)
The tools for your first $10,000
To successfully monetize your blog, you need to have the right tools to do it.
That’s why we created the Simple Tools to Earn Your First $10,000 Online.
This is an online technology toolbox that’ll cover you from A to Z as you work towards making your first $10,000, including:
- Winning blog creation tools
- Email systems
- Support help we use at IWT that have helped us after over a decade and millions in sales
You don’t need a massive budget and you don’t need fancy tech skills. This guide will be your checklist for every resource you need.