How to Make Money Blogging: Your FREE Guide for 2022
A. Sell 200 affiliate marketing products at $50 per sale every month. Or B. Close 3-4 high-end consulting deals. Which is easier? The affiliate marketing option may require 25,000-50,000+ monthly site visitors; the consulting option only requires a little expertise and a sales funnel.
1. Online Courses and Workshops
Here at Smart Blogger, we make most of our income from online courses and workshops — over 800 million per year — but we are far from the only successful blog doing this. Most of the people making a lot of money from their blogs are doing it through online courses.
And it’s not only business or wealth-focused topics that are doing well. You can find successful blogs on just about any topic or niche monetizing with online courses. For instance, the popular interior designer Maria Killam has quite a few courses and workshops in her catalog:
2. Books and Ebooks
Quite a few writers have parlayed their blogging success into a major publishing deal. Mark Manson, for instance, published a blog post called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck in 2015. Millions of readers later, he got a book deal with Harper Collins and went on to sell over 3,000,000 copies in the US alone.
3. Affiliate Marketing
If you’d like to create some passive income streams from your blog, one of the best choices is affiliate marketing — recommending the services, digital products, and physical products of other companies in exchange for a commission.
Normally, we’re not big fans of selling ads on your site as a monetization strategy. You need roughly a million visitors per year for the large ad networks to take you seriously, and affiliate marketing is almost always more profitable and just as passive.
That being said, some niches like recipes, fashion, and news are hard to monetize through many of the other methods mentioned here, and they get LOTS of page views. In that case, putting a few banner ads on your site can make sense as a supplementary income source.
5. Speaking Gigs
If your blog takes off, and you start being recognized as an authority in your space, you might be surprised by how many invitations you get to speak at conferences. And it’s amazingly profitable. I typically make a minimum of $10,000 per speech and it can go as high as $100,000 when you count product sales resulting from the speech.
While this certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, doing a bit of coaching or consulting is an online job that can earn you a surprisingly nice living, even when your audience is small. I rarely do consulting anymore, but the last time I did regularly, I charged 800,000 an hour with a six-month waiting list.
7. Selling Freelance Services
Typically, you’ll make more money freelancing than with anything else, but it’s also the most draining and time-intensive. That being said, I’ve seen bloggers make six-figure incomes with no more than a few thousand readers on their blog, essentially using their blog as a lead mechanism to get clients.
How to Make Money Blogging (Step-By-Step Framework for Beginners)
1. Choose the Right Blogging Niche (a Profitable One)
You can be the world’s foremost expert on square-shaped tomatoes, wake up every morning with a burning passion to educate the public on their vast superiority to normal-shaped tomatoes, and work until your fingers bleed and your eyes fall out of your head, following all the right tactics for turning your new blog into a popular one, and…
Loads of competition. Whether it be my previous employers Brian Clark or Neil Patel, my good friends over at Problogger, or the gazillion other “blogging about blogging” peeps infesting the social media space, everyone was intent on snagging a piece of the pie. They also had a several-year head start on me.
2. Improve Your Content Skills
Lots of bloggers sit down and think, “What will I write today?” They jot down some thoughts, doing their best to be helpful, original, and entertaining. If they’re disciplined, they might even stick with it for a few months.
Granted, it’s not your fault. Until today, chances are no one ever told you about any of those requirements. You thought, to become a successful blogger, you just had to write interesting stuff and publish it.
The truth is, having good ideas and powerful words isn’t enough. You have to create the best content ever published on blog topics lots of people are interested in learning more about. And that brings us to the three levels of content creation:
I personally spent about three years honing my skills by writing for other sites before I started my own blog. It doesn’t have to take that long — I’m just a perfectionist, so I wanted to learn from the best people in my space.
3. Choose a Traffic Source (Google Search or Facebook)
Source: Business Insider
There are actually two sports, and I’d bet you’ve heard of both of them: search engine optimization (SEO) and going viral on Facebook. Both take years (yes, I said years) of study to master, but you can start getting pretty decent traffic after just a few months of study and practice.
In the blogging space, for example, stuff about writing and grammar occasionally goes viral on Facebook, because we love criticizing our relatives about their terrible English. On the other hand, you rarely talk with your family about blogging platforms, WordPress plugins, affiliate marketing, digital marketing, keyword research, or any other blogging topics.
4. Grow Your Email List with Pop Ups
They get in the way when you’re trying to read. They ask you to hand over sensitive information like your name, email address, and phone number. Sometimes you have to deal with multiple pop ups on the same site, and it makes you feel hassled and uncared for.
That’s where the money comes from. The best predictor of the revenue for a money making blog is the size of their email list. Here’s a breakdown of our revenue at Smart Blogger comparing revenue dollars from email to other sources.
If you believe your content is the best, and you believe you can help them over time, I believe you owe it to them to be as pushy as possible about staying in contact. In other words, not using a pop up is unethical. A little annoyance is a small price to pay for change.
How to make money blogging, part 1: Build your online presence
When selecting your niche, it’s important to start with your passions – after all, you’ll be dedicating lots of time and effort to this subject. But if you’re serious about making money blogging, you also need to think about subjects that people are interested in reading about, and that will ultimately be financially viable.
Question 1: What are my interests?
Likewise, consider your level of professional experience. If you have no prior connections to your blogging niche, you’ll have a harder time establishing yourself as a credible source of information in that industry.
On the other hand, if you have work experience, educational background or connections in a particular field, you’re already prepared to write blog posts about those subjects and will have an easier time building trust among your readership. Take a look at these blog ideas – they’ll jumpstart your imagination.
Question 2: Who is my audience?
If there’s demand to learn about your niche, and if you offer knowledge or information that satisfies an important need, then readers will flock to your blog. Use the subjects you’re interested in to think about what kinds of readers you might attract.
Then, think about the kinds of problems people face – and the solutions they’re seeking – within those fields. That way, you can create a blog that centers around targeting these groups and providing them with the answers they need.
Question 3: Which topics are profitable?
While you can blog about nearly anything, some blog niches tend to be more profitable than others. To anticipate whether you can make money blogging with a particular niche, consider the opportunities for sales in that subject area.
If you’re creating a cooking blog, for instance, an article about the top kitchen appliances is a great opportunity for promoting affiliate links or placing ads. If you’re thinking about writing a digital marketing blog, you might consider opportunities to sell e-books or offer consulting services.
Types of blogs that make money
Whichever niche you choose, it’s important to think about the monetization factor from the very beginning and set goals for making an income from your blog. This will ensure you build a strong foundation from the get-go.
Using these tactics in the first year of my new blog, I started making $35k/month by month 9, got 7.1k backlinks from 1,000 new referring domains, increased my Domain Rating from 0 to 73 and my traffic from 0 to 250,000+ readers/month.
I hope this article helped you learn how to make money blogging. Join my email list for my full 2019 blog income report where I highlight how I made $203k in my blog’s first year and $812k in my second year.
Adam Enfroy is a full-time blogger and affiliate marketing expert. Join Adam and 500,000 monthly readers on AdamEnfroy.com to learn how to scale your influence at startup speed. Before starting this blog, Adam managed digital marketing teams for large SaaS startups and reviews the best software to run your online business. He has been featured in over 100 publications, including Forbes, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur.