You can not make any real money blogging in 2018, can’t you?
The short answer to this question is:
Yes, you can do that.
I have been earning a very good living off of my different niche blogs for almost a decade now but I have to tell you that when I started my journey, in 2005, I did not know literally anything about blogging even how to add posts.
I really did not know a single thing about blogging and I was probably the most incompetent rookie that was about to start a blog at that time but yet I was determined to make thousands of dollars every month online.
I initially started this blog because I wanted to get new visitors that I would then turn into my clients to my local offline business that I was running at that time.
My blog started to grow steadily as I published new and better posts that were really good compared to what my competitors would place on their platforms.
After a few months I was getting a bit success and I got new clients after receiving some organic traffic and marketing my blog on some directories in my niche.
I met a few guys in the one forum and it turned out that they were having blogs that were related to mine.
The other day, I was chatting with a one of them about different things through an email and the topic of blogging naturally came out and he told me that his blog was generating lots of passive income.
I was really shocked when he told me that.
How do you even do that? I asked myself silently while scratching my head in confusion.
But here is what blew me away:
This guy shared with me that he was making between 10,000 and 15,000 dollars a month at that time.
That is almost an annual salary for most of the people in the Europe.
Now, that got my attention.
So I started to learn tons of different things including how an affiliate marketing works and I learned that there are better ways to monetize a blog than to just post an ad and make pennies.
In today’s post I am going to share with you best ways to make money with a blog that I learned over so many years with a trial and error method and I will also mention some popular ones that are not profitable anymore.
How Much Do Bloggers Make?
The sad truth is that 90% of bloggers do not make any significant amount of money for various reasons.
The main reason why most blog owners do not make much online is that they have been told by many so called Internet gurus that you can earn $10,000 without much of an effort.
So what they do is they post a several low quality posts and then they wait weeks and months for visitors to arrive and for money to magically appear but obviously, none of these ever happen.
These are what I call dreamers and they represent a significant number of people that start a blog these days.
The other kind of bloggers is what that I would call dabblers.
They add new content irregularly, mostly two or three posts every month and they post whatever they feel about anything and everything.
Most of them make money with their blogs but it is nothing exceptional and it is just enough to pay their hosting and maybe some bills.
They obviously run their blogs on the side so that is why they spend so little time on them and they never really commit to blogging.
Dabblers always put as many ads on their blogs as possible and they do not care how annoying these advertisements are since they do not give a damn about their readers.
They might get occasionally some traffic and backlinks here and there but since they do not know much how search engine sites work, they do not take advantage of them.
But there is also a third group that represents only a small percent of all 100s of millions of bloggers and they earn four, five or even six figures a month from blogging and there is literally no limit how much you can make with your blog.
I will give you a two examples of such bloggers to show that they really exist and I am not making things up.
You guys can google Michelle Gardner.
She is a fantastic young woman that created a blog on how to save money and she has been blogging for fun but she turned her hobby into a very nice and profitable business.
She earns well over $120,000 a month and the vast majority of her income comes from promoting other’s brands (she is doing affiliate marketing) but I can see that she also is having a success selling courses.
Alborz Fallah is another living proof that you do not have to be a seller or a professional writer to make a successful blog.
He started CarAdvice.com because he has always been passionate about fast cars so he wrote hundreds of reviews that were (and still are) so good that people shared his amazing posts everywhere and soon he turned his hobby into a very profitable business that earns an income of $125,000 every month.
There are only dozens of bloggers that disclose their blogging income like this one smart lady – Michelle or the car guy – Alborz, but I can safely say that there are probably thousands of other bloggers that make lots of money as well but for some reasons they do not want to share their income reports.
I just wanted to show them as an example that you do not have to have a degree and run a blog for years to earn lots of monies.
In fact, I do believe that everyone can make a decent living off of a blog if you have a knowledge in some field (it can be fitness, health, business, just about anything), and you actually solve issues (it can be as simple as starting a blog or how to write a good headline) that other people might face.
5 Ways To Make Money Blogging
I would not be surprised if you all have heard about the Google’s baby – AdSense.
Well, in case you have not heard about it. Google AdSense is a well known program which allows blog owners as well as YouTube channel creators aka YouTubers to earn money online.
It is one of the most popular ways to make money because you just have to place a simple code in the sidebar or somewhere else on your blog and that is it.
Google will do the rest for you so you can say that AdSense is very newbie friendly.
You will make a few cents every time a visitor clicks on the ads that you have on your blog.
Sometimes you might see a site that might have a higher subscriber or follower count, but that does not mean that they necessarily make lots o money.
You would have to have a very large volume of visitors to be able to make just 1000$ using AdSense.
You might ask me this question:
Should I run ads on my blog?
A year ago, I did a test on one of my niche blogs and I just put a one ad from AdSense in the sidebar for three months.
The result was worse than I thought it would be. I made just 200 dollars and at the same time I promoted my ebook and I made almost $3000 on the same blog.
Of course, I dropped the ad as it was making 15 times less money than my own digital product.
Monetizing your blog with ad networks like Adsense says that you do not really care about your readers since you add some random ads that send your readers to other websites that might not be good at all.
I have seen many popular blogs that displayed ads that basically promoted some very scammy products.
It is also important to add that more and more people (as of today 30% of all Internet users) use apps like AdBlock that remove all ads on websites, so what it means is that about 30% or even more readers will not even see the ads from the AdSense or any other similar company.
Another downside of working with ad networks is that you have to constantly read their rules because they change them every few weeks and if you do not adhere to them, they will ban you without warning.
I am not kidding here. I have seen many of my internet friends lost their money because they were kicked off out of the ad network for something really trivial.
I know that putting third party ads will not work well for my business because they send my readers to someone else’s website or product.
Moreover, they actually can hurt your own brand, because people would not take you seriously if they would see a site that is loaded with random ads that might actually redirect to some questionable products that a trustworthy blogger should never put on his own site.
Well, I am not saying that you can not make a great money with AdSense.
It would be a plain lie if I would say that.
But the truth is that there are only a few AdSense millionaires and you will need to have a blog that gets millions of views every single month to become one of them.
Fortunately, I have to tell you that there are way better ways of monetizing your new blog (no matter of niche or the number of subscribers) and best of all they will make you look like you actually care about readers (if you will create something of a great value) and they can bring you a really solid income, not just a few pennies.
2) Sponsored Posts
I would rather earn no money from blogging than to promote some low quality products that are not going to help my readers in any way.
I know that it is an easy way to make a quick buck, because all you have to do is to add a post which you do not even have to write yourself since the company that wants to advertise on your blog will provide you with everything.
But at the end of the day, a sponsored post will damage your image over several dollars and the worst thing is that it is very hard to restore a tarnished reputation after such a mistake.
Of course, you can add to your blog every few months a one post that promotes a product that is really good and might be helpful for your readers, but…
First of all, do not expect to earn lots of money from sponsored posts alone because established bloggers charge between 300-500 dollars for a paid post and if you have a small blog, you can expect to get about $50 for a sponsored post.
And the most importantly, even if a company that you will promote in that post, offers something really amazing, do you think that it is smart to create a great blog that contains lots of quality posts and has a solid following just to send your visitors to someone else’s blog?
No, please do not throw in the white flag of surrender and say that you give up yet because there are better ways to monetize your blog and I am going to reveal them below.
3) Affiliate Marketing
If you do not want to create your own digital or physical product, let’s say an ebook, an online course, then your best bet is to get into affiliate marketing.
What is it?!
Do not worry guys, if you are new to blogging then you might not be familiar with many things but I am here to help you.
Affiliate marketing is not as complicated as it may sound.
I will give you an example to show you in an easy way what is it and how it works.
Let’s say that I run a fitness blog and I write a review post about the ebook that is titled “How To Get And Keep Your Six Pack”.
I did not make this ebook myself, but a guy named Paul Fitnessman wrote it but since he has his own affiliate program, everyone can sign up for it and promote his ebook.
So if one of my blog visitors reads my review post, and then clicks on the link that I placed within the post, he will be sent to Paul Fitnessman’s website and if he buys that ebook, I will earn a commission from that sale.
You do not need to send anything, deal with any chargebacks or give any support to people that buy products.
All you need to do is to sign up for an affiliate program that has an ebook, a course or even a physical product that your blog readers might be interested in and then you display a banner or write a post where you link to that product.
How much you can earn from a one sale?
It depends how much the product that you promote is worth and what is the commission rate aka how much you will earn for every sale that you refer.
If you promote an online course that costs $100 and the company that owns the course gives you a 50% commission, you will be paid 50 dollars every time someone clicks on the link from your review post and purchases that course.
Affiliate marketing is a better way to earn money from your blog than AdSense for many reasons:
- You choose which product you want to promote. If you would work with ad networks, you would not be able to pick and choose specific ads and sites you want to be displayed on your blog. With an affiliate marketing, if you know a truly great product that you have used yourself and you can honestly recommend on your blog and that is what successful bloggers do.
- It is more profitable. I have always made pennies when I tried to monetize traffic with AdSense. On the other hand, when I am recommending someone else’s products as an affiliate and I can earn really well. For example, there is a one company that I am an affiliate for and I promote their course on my small niche blog that gets only 100 visitors daily but I manage to make over $500 every month from that one product alone.
- It is truly a passive income. Once you create a one quality post where you place your affiliate link to the product, you can expect to get sales regularly since visitors will keep coming to that post every single day from the Google and other search engines.
If you have a blog in a food niche, then find a website that has an ebook or any other digital or even physical product that can be really valuable to your audience and sign up for their affiliate program and you will be given your own unique link that you will be allowed to use on your blog, on social media websites or even in email newsletters.
While I am mainly focusing on creating my own product (especially ebooks and online courses) for my audience, an affiliate marketing still brings me a great income every single month with just a one or two hours of work.
4) Offering Services
Now, let’s say that you are running a blog where you teach people how to play guitar, you can also offer your services to those of your readers that would want to ask you specific questions and get more in depth advice that they can not find in your content.
One of you might be good at learning new languages fast, you might do not know about that but this gives you a really good opportunity to make some great money.
The best thing about this is that you do not have to be a total pro at what you do.
You can teach people very basic things that you have just overcame yourself and the funny thing about is that they will see you an expert (they have read your amazing posts), even though you are just two levels ahead of them.
The big downside of offering a service is that you are basically trading your time for money.
This means that if you spend two hours consulting your client, you will be paid for exactly two hours of advising.
Whereas, if you would create a product, for example, an ebook, you write it once and then you can sell it for years or even decades, without working on that product.
I worked a month to create one of my online courses and once I released it, I did not work on it since then and it keeps bringing me a solid income every single month, even though I do not even “touch” it.
I have to admit that I offered consulting services before and I earned quite a bit of cash from it, but I do not offer such services anymore since I can make more money and provide value to a large number of people with my digital products instead.
If you like to teach people one on one and you love interacting and getting to know other people then consulting or coaching can be for you.
You need to have some great posts on your blog, so that your readers see that you really have an actual knowledge in your field and you could help them.
Are you already published a high quality content?
It is great!
You will just need to create a simple page where you put some information about the service that you want to offer, display testimonials of your previous clients and do not forget to add a picture of yourself because it will instill trust that is important in every business.
5) Selling Your Own Products
In the early days of blogging, I really thought (like most of new webmasters do) that advertising or affiliate marketing are the best and the most profitable ways of making money with blogs and now I know that I could not be further from the truth.
Many of the Internet gurus still try to preach newcomers that they should monetize their blogs with AdSense or affiliate products and they do this for some reasons.
Most of them just want to recruit new people aka affiliates that will promote their stuff and they obviously do not want you to create your own products and become their competitors.
I have to honestly say that I have tried literally every way to make money with my blogs and digital products like ebooks, ecourses, plugins and themes are by far the best way to solve actual problems for lots of readers and earn a very handsome income at the same time.
Heck, it is not only my own opinion, just ask any honest blogger out there and they will tell you the same thing.
You can build your own items like:
- eBooks – There is no doubt that creating an ebook is the most popular and the most convenient way to sell your own digital product.
- Online courses – Do you prefer to create videos? This can be for you. You will teach your readers what you know in recorded videos.
- Apps, plugins, or themes – If you can code yourself, then you should try to create one of these for your blog audience today.
- Membership Site – This one is for you if you want to create a premium content regularly for members that will pay a fee every month to access your site. A good example of such website would be Netflix.
You can create your own app, plugins or themes for WordPress or for any other platform if you are a coder and sell them on your blog.
I run a one blog that has a very small audience (we are speaking of 20-30 visitors every day) and a few years ago I created a plugin that I promote on this little blog and it brings in about $1,000 or even more every single month.
If I would put up AdSense ads instead of creating my own product for that blog, I would make a few dollars at best.
Why Selling Your Own Stuff Is The Best Way To Make Money Blogging For Most Of The People
There has to be a reason why the most successful bloggers on the web are not monetizing their traffic with Adsense and they are creating their own digital products instead.
I am going to give four (there are many more for sure) reasons why you should create your own ebook, online course, a plugin or other kind of product that your blog audience may desire:
- You do not have to deal with shipping. It is a very reason why I love to create such products. Digital products can be distributed to your clients very easily, quickly and for no money. Whereas, if you were selling physical products like shoes, phones, you would have to deal with many things like actual producing, shipping, chargebacks and storing.
- It is a true passive income. If you are consulting with your clients, you are getting paid only for the time that you spend with your clients. Whereas, with your own digital products, you create them once and then you will make money off of them every single day for years to come. They do not require almost any work beside some editing and updating from time to time. For example, I have a one ebook that is few years old, but it still sells every day and I do not need to spend any time on it.
- Low starting cost. In this day and age, you can create and then sell your own digital product for free or for a very low cost. If you want to create your own online course, you just need to record videos with your camera and then once they are done, you will need to upload them to your blog or to some platform where your visitors will access them for money. There are even free solutions like Udemy where you can publish and sell your online courses on to your blog readers.
- The most profitable way. I have tested every single way of making money with blogs many times over the years and every time I do such tests, selling my own products always brings me the most money, by far. I would say that an affiliate marketing can be profitable too, but there are many very small micro niches where there are simply no good products to promote but that is a very solid reason why you should create your own one.
Which Way Is Best For Me?
I have mentioned what works for me and for the most successful bloggers out there but the reality is that it can be possible that it might actually not work for you.
I started making my first money with my blog as an affiliate and I learned a lot how to create a high quality product, how to sell and other very important skills so I would recommend all of you that are just starting out to promote others’ products first and then after you learn some things, you can create your own stuff.
If you test different income streams, you will eventually find something that works best for you and your blog readers.
No Readers, No Money
If you think that just creating a good product is going to make you rich then you are dead wrong, my friend.
You need to know that you will have to build an audience first before you make any income, because no one is going to even enter your website if you do not have any posts on your blog. There is no magic.
However, there are no fancy tricks either. You just have to write really good content that your potential visitors will love to read and these posts have to provide value for them because it is the only way to create a successful blog that can make you lots of money.
Every day thousands of new blogs are being started and there are already millions of bloggers adding new content on a regular basis so you have to compete with them.
I can guarantee you that if you will create really unique posts that are so good and contain information that can not be found on any other blog and then you publish an ebook or something else that is very useful for your audience, then lots of money will come to you.
I have been there, done that. It does not matter which topic aka niche you choose for your blog, it works for any business online or offline, because it is how money is made and that is how I am able to bring in thousands of dollars from blogging.
X person has a problem and he is looking to find a solution and when he meets Y person that can provide a really good solution to his problem, X person will be happy to pay him or her.
These days more than ever you are actually able to reach millions of people that share your interests and might face problems that you have overcome so you know how to solve them and you provide solutions through your blog and your products.
You can make a very good living from selling your own stuff (we are talking about ebooks, online courses) that you have created or you can be just an affiliate and you can still make a handsome income with your blog but you have to be creative and create an amazing content that your readers can not help but to share everywhere and read over and over again.
I would like to know if any of you know other effective ways to make money blogging in this day and age.