Maybe you want to replace your 9-5 with your blogging income.
Maybe you’ve devoted your life to taking care of your kids and now that they’re older and able to take care of themselves, you want to spread your wings again.
Or perhaps you have toddlers and you simply want to stay home where you can be close to them, spend time with them, and not miss a day of their lives. So you’ve decided to work from home on your own terms, doing what you can, when you can.
Or maybe you just want to get rid of that paralyzing student debt and start living your life already.
If not these, then maybe you just need a second source of income to be a little free-er financially. (That’s the reason I started this blog!)
Whatever the reason may be, we bloggers all have the same goal—to make money doing something we enjoy.
So, let’s talk about making money blogging.
But first, I want to set one thing straight: Blogging is basically writing, but I do NOT mean that you make money ONLY by writing. This is the age of social media and platforms. Things are different from, say, a couple of decades ago.
If you’re someone trying to make money JUST from writing, well, I’m not saying it’s impossible, only that you’re looking for advice on the wrong website. I don’t know a thing about making a full-time income with JUST your words and words alone.
But, I DO know how to make a full-time income as a part-time writer 😉 So, let’s talk about that.
In this post:
How to Make Money Blogging
Let’s take a look at the different ways you can create revenue streams with your blog. Ideally, you’ll be using multiple revenue streams to make money with your blog, so try to mix and match a few of these that make sense to you.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Let’s define affiliate marketing in layman’s terms:
What is affiliate marketing?
An affiliate is someone who sells a product or a service on behalf of someone else (an individual or a company, often referred to as the “merchant”) and in exchange, receives a commission for each sale they bring.
If you’re brand new to affiliate marketing, then you can learn the details here. But I’ll just say this: affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start making money blogging. If you have a blog on your own domain and platform, it will be a lot easier for you to get accepted into various affiliate programs.
Once you’ve joined an affiliate program, create a content strategy. For example, I’m an affiliate for SiteGround WordPress hosting. So, I often write WordPress tutorials where I can use my SiteGround affiliate link — a unique link provided to me by a merchant that they can track for sales.
This makes the affiliate link relevant and it doesn’t look spammy.
Here’s a portion of my SiteGround affiliate sales report (If you can bring 15 sales per month, at $100 per sale, you could be making $1,500 easily!)
The best part about affiliate marketing is that you do not have to make the product, provide support, or maintain quality. It’s all done by the product owners. All you have to do is write relevant blog posts, and link!
Pro tip: If you’re looking to scale your affiliate income even further, then use YouTube videos to make short tutorials featuring your affiliate product, and then leave your affiliate link in the video description.
Learn more about how to make money blogging with affiliate marketing.
2. Digital Products
Selling digital products is another easy way to start making money with your blog. The best digital products are those that are somehow relevant to your blogging niche.
For example, I write about online business, blogging, content marketing, email list building, etc. My readers are often small business owners who need digital products for their businesses, such as media kits, pricing guides, ebooks, workbooks, social media graphics, etc. So I decided to start a shop where I sell Canva templates for these products that my buyers can easily customize as long as they have a Canva account and know how to use Canva.
Eventually, I also started selling different types of products such as newsletter ads, SEO guides, sponsored post contract templates, and more—basically, stuff I think a fellow online business owner and blogger would need. You can check out my shop here for reference and inspiration (and maybe help out this blogger and buy a thing or two? 😘)
There are some things I’ve seen bloggers sell in their online shops:
- Website themes (WordPress, Squarespace, etc.)
- Printables (planners, calendars, business plans, etc.)
- Templates (documents, social media graphics, infographics, etc. made with Canva, Adobe, or something else.)
If you’re interested in selling Canva templates as I do, on this blog, but also on Etsy and Creative Market, then feel free to check out my online course (click here or the button below.)
3. Online Courses
If you find a topic that your readers love, then you can expand on it and bundle relevant topics to create an online course. In fact, online courses are some of the best ways for a blogger to make money.
I created my course — Side Income With Canva Templates — after I wrote a blog post on the topic and suddenly my organic traffic from Google went through the roof! That was my indication that people wanted to learn more about selling Canva templates and making a side income. So I made the course and it remains my top money-maker to date. You can read about the process here if you’d like.
Other bloggers and online business owners have found similar success with online courses.
For example, blogger, copywriter, and novelist C.S. Lakin of Live Write Thrive sells online courses alongside her blog. She has multiple courses related to fiction writing as that’s her niche.
You can create an online course easily using a third-party platform such as:
- Or, if you want to keep your courses within WordPress, then try MemberPress.
You can create a membership site to generate revenue from your blog.
There are plenty of ways to do this:
- You can use a plugin such as MemberPress to lock certain blog posts and pages behind a paywalled membership.
- You can create a member-only newsletter (more about this in its own section below).
- You can create a member-only community (I set this up for a client once on WordPress, using BBpress for a forum and MemberPress to manage paid subscriptions.)
5. Coaching/consultation services
Let’s say you’re a nutritionist with a private practice.
You could blog about health and nutrition and sell your coaching or counseling services through content marketing.
The way content marketing works is that you blog about a topic to establish your authority. When your readers start to trust you and your knowledge on a certain matter, they’ll be more willing to buy from you. Whether that’s an online course, an eBook, or your services, you can always use blogging to promote whatever it is you’re trying to sell.
To give you an example, let’s say you’re a therapist and you blog about mental health. You could leverage your blogging to sign more clients, and you could do that via phone or Zoom. Or, if you’re a personal finance blogger, maybe you can help your readers with their monthly budgeting. Why not offer a Zoom session and make some money by helping your readers with your expertise? Let’s say you offer an hour-long session for $199. If you can secure just two sessions per week, that’s over 1.5k per month!
6. Paid newsletters
Paid newsletters are rather lucrative these days. If you can get a thousand subscribers to pay you 10 bucks per month, that’s a full-time income right there!
The problem arises when new bloggers with no existing followers turn to paid newsletters from day one. They expect quick growth but that’s not really how it works. All new bloggers and writers have to grow through the process of building an audience. There’s no going around it.
As long as you do not mind slow growth, paid newsletters (that you offer for free in the beginning, until you have a few hundred subscribers) can eventually become a good source of income, depending on your blogging niche. Some niches are naturally more lucrative than others.
Traditional blogging, however, can bring in money more quickly. You can start selling things on your own WordPress platform without forcing people to pay a monthly subscription fee, which can be more appealing to some readers.
But, if you write in a lucrative niche, then paid newsletters are definitely worth it.
Consider these examples:
- Platformer is run by Casey Newton and Zoë Schiffer, both of whom were renowned journalists with plenty of following and crucial connections even before they started the Substack publication. They focus on social media platform scoops, which a lot of tech-savvy folks pay to stay in the loop.
- Austin Kleon is a veteran blogger and author of many books including the New York Times best-seller—Steal Like an Artist. He had tens of thousands (if not more) subscribers (gained through his very traditional WordPress blog) before he switched them over to Substack. Note that Kleon still keeps his traditional blog running in addition to his Substack.
7. Writing on Medium
Uhh… Medium. The platform you love to hate.
Medium is a curveball. Around 2019-2020, some writers made as much as five figures on that platform… per month! Some of these same writers these days make barely a thousand bucks, if that.
Most “successful” Medium writers nowadays do not make more than a thousand or two on that platform, and these writers are very, very rare.
Typically, tech writers tend to do well on the platform. Writers who share personal essays tend to do well too, especially since Medium changed how they choose stories for Boost (a system where Medium’s human editors handpick certain stories to distribute to a wider audience).
Medium is great for writers who want to experiment with form, voice, and niches. It is also good for those offshoot topics you do not want to write about in your niche blog. But if you write 3-4 stories per week on a particularly favorable topic (within Medium’s ecosystem), then you can luck out and make a couple of thousand bucks (if you’re really, really good, and really, really lucky, FYI.)
But, do keep in mind what I said about the platform being a curveball. It changes constantly, often multiple times within a single year, making it extremely unpredictable.
If you’re looking for a consistent income, a traditional blog and/or a paid newsletter is a much better option.
You can use your blog to sell freelance services too. It works best if you’re offering services in your niche.
- C.S. Lakin offers manuscript critiques in her blog where she writes about fiction writing.
- I offer SEO blog editing services.
- Zulie Rane offers freelance content writing and ghostwriting.
These freelance services do not have to be writing or editing-related. Think about what your skills are and what you can offer.
For example, aside from editing, I’ve also designed websites and graphics for clients who found me through this blog, liked what I had, and asked me if I’d like to design and set up a WordPress site for them, or design some workbooks or social media graphics with Canva for their business. Blogging can open up all sorts of opportunities, believe me.
9. Sponsored posts
Sometimes, brands will want to work with you directly to promote their products. It is different from affiliate marketing.
In affiliate marketing, you partner with a brand and use their affiliate link in your website, newsletters, or elsewhere as you see fit, as frequently as you want. But with a sponsored post, you write an entire blog post where you share something about that brand/product, and they pay you a one-time fee.
For example, here’s one of my sponsored posts where I partnered with Shutterstock to write about one of its services — Creative Flow.
Sometimes brand will reach out to you about a partnership. or, you can cold pitch a company yourself. There are also websites that connect bloggers with potential sponsored post partners. If you’re interested, you can read more about sponsored posts here.
10. Newsletter ads
Aside from sponsored blog posts, you can also sell ads in your newsletter. Since my newsletter is totally free, I have introduced a newsletter ads section where my readers (or anyone, really) can put a small ad (text-only) promoting whatever they want eyeballs on.
I do not recommend newsletter ads for paid newsletters because people are already paying you for your emails, so further trying to sell something may come off as annoying.
Zulie Rane, for example, offers two versions of her newsletter: a free version where she sells her products, and a paid version with zero promotions and 100% value only.
The screenshot below is what my newsletter ad section looks like:
11. Live classes, workshops, and speaking gigs
Once you establish yourself as an authority in a certain field, you might be able to offer live classes, workshops, or even speaking gigs. Shinah of Crooked Calligraphy offers live classes. Ann Handley, the author of one of my favorite books on content marketing — Everybody Writers (get yourself a copy!) — speaks all over the world.
If you have a skill that you can teach, you can easily leverage your blog to sell in-person or online workshops and classes. I’ve taught a blog writing workshop via Zoom myself! If you have an audience, these live workshops can be a lot of fun, and profitable too!
12. Display Ads
Not my favorite way to make money, but it is quite popular in the blogging world. Often, the first thing people do to make money blogging is sign up for various Ad networks, Google Adsense being the most common of them.
I do not like ads because it is a number game. You will need a LOT of traffic to your site, and even then, the money you make simply isn’t enough. I also tend to find blogs with lots of ads a bit cheap. But hey, if you want it, go for it. Just keep in mind that readers like me will likely have a plugin to disable most display ads.
13. Blog flipping
Yep, it’s a thing!
Basically, you buy a new/not well-performing blog and then flip it. You add regular content, create an income stream, and just when the blog starts to get traction and traffic and starts to make money, you sell it for a much higher price.
You can do so with a brand-new blog too! Buy a domain and hosting yourself, start a blog, quickly convert it to something lucrative, and then sell it!
You can buy or sell blogs at various sites; one that is quite famous among the blog flippers is Flippa.
Some people make a lot of money by blog flipping full-time. But be careful. This method requires you to fully understand the ins and outs of blogging and monetizing it. That’s the whole point of blog flipping — create a successful blog, and then sell it at its peak.
Now that we know how to make money blogging, let’s recap a few blogging facts and best practices.
Pre-Requisites for Making Money with Blogging
To start making money with blogging, you need a few things.
- A blog niche.
- A blog set up the right way with user experience in mind (pay attention to good, clean design, not fancy).
- Blog posts full of quality and value.
- A strategy to drive traffic to your blog.
- An email list of engaged subscribers who believe in you and your work.
Let’s tackle each of these briefly.
A blog niche
People read blogs to find a solution to their troubles or get information they’re interested in.
- Shinah of Crooked Calligraphy talks about a super niche topic — calligraphy — but because it is so rare as a blog topic, she has a dedicated audience.
- I write about blogging, marketing, and online income on this blog. While the niche is fairly saturated, these are popular topics a lot of people are interested in, so I end up attracting an audience who enjoy my specific way of teaching and sharing.
- Austin Kleon is all about the artistic life. People who’re into that find him and his writing irresistible.
Now, people will tell you that there are some 5 or 7 popular blog niches that are supposedly the most lucrative. Personally, I refrain from making such remarks.
I believe that in order to make money, you need to tap into the right audience. Sure, a common topic such as “personal finance” or “fitness” may be easier to deal with in terms of driving traffic or finding products within those niches that will sell. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot have a bit of an unorthodox niche AND be successful at the same time. I mean look at Crooked Calligraphy!
So, all I’ll say is that find a topic you love, and then give it a twist. Do not just talk about the thing you love, but find a way to talk about it in such a way that you are solving some kind of problem within that topic.
A blog set up the right way
There are plenty of blogging platforms. I only suggest one. Self-hosted WordPress. The reason is that it is the best platform for incorporating multiple income streams.
I suggest you set up your WordPress blog with SiteGround hosting company as they are, by far, one of the best hosting companies on a budget AND recommended not only by yours truly, but also by WordPress.org itself!
Astra is a great WordPress theme that you can build upon. You can use a popular template builder plugin with Astra or use Astra Pro and make use of their pro templates.
If you start writing on Substack or Medium, then you can forget about a self-hosted platform, but understand that if you want to make good money, having your own platform that’s not dependent on a third party’s whims will be crucial down the road.
Blog posts full of quality and value
People spend money on those whom they trust.
To make money blogging, you need to prove to your audience that you’re worth investing in. And for a blogger, the best way to do so is through blog posts.
Do not withhold information from your audience. Give them all you’ve got because that is how you build authority and establish trust and trust = money for a blogger.
Spend time learning how to write a well-structured blog post. (Here’s an SEO blog post template and workbook for you newbies.) Then, provide tremendous value within each blog post to demonstrate you know what you’re talking about.
A strategy to drive traffic to your blog
Different people favor different things when it comes to a strategy for driving traffic to a blog. Some people are really good at utilizing Twitter (or X, whatever have you) or Instagram to drive traffic. Others know SEO very well. While others have great connections and networking skills and know how to get people to link back to their content.
If you do not have a specific skill to drive traffic already and you’re just starting to learn, I advise you to start with Pinterest. It is a visual search engine and optimizing your content for Pinterest is much easier than say, optimizing for Google. (Although, I cannot stress enough about learning SEO. While Pinterest will help you get a decent amount of traffic, Google can really take it to a whole other level.)
An email list of engaged subscribers
Want to know something cool?
Let’s say that I’m in a bind and need a few hundred bucks pronto. All I have to do is send an email to my list of subscribers, offer a discount on one of my products, and I’ll make that money in just a few hours. But it’s not just that. I was only able to have successful course launches because I have a thriving email list.
An email list is a blogger’s best friend. Whether you make money with affiliate marketing, or by selling your own courses and products, or by offering services, your subscribers are your biggest fans and they’ll be the first ones to invest in you! Do not neglect or put off building an email list. You should be doubling down on your email list from day 1.
Do keep in mind that no matter how you choose to make money blogging, you will need to put in a lot of work first to build authority and credibility.
You will need to publish a lot of blog posts, drive traffic, and build an email list of loyal subscribers who will support you, motivate you, and will, essentially, be the first ones to buy from you.
Do not expect to just set up a blog and start making money. It will take time. So, I advise that you learn to enjoy the act of blogging. If you’re blogging solely to make money, then you’ll find it a lot harder to keep at it and do the kind of work that it takes to build a successful, money-making blog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before I wrap things up, let’s take a look at some of the basic questions people have about making money with their blog.
Can you make $1,000 a month with your blog?
Yes, and more!
But let’s not pretend that you can flick an imaginary wand and money will start pouring in. Blogging takes work just like any other business. So, the answer to this question is, yes, as long as you are willing to learn, be patient, be persistent, willing to make mistakes and learn from them, and then keep at it constantly, there is a very good chance that you will be able to make money from your blog, $1,000 and much more eventually.
For reference, it took me about 14 months to make my first $1,000 within a single month from this blog, primarily with affiliate marketing.
How soon can you start making money from your blog?
That depends on a variety of factors such as:
- How long can you spend on growing your blog per week?
- How familiar are you with different monetization methods and ways to build your email list?
- How lucrative is your blog niche?
- How committed are you?
Based on how you answer these questions, you may start making some profit as early as 3-6 months, or longer.
Here’s a blog profit calculator I designed. It’s not perfect, but it can give you a ballpark idea:
Do you have to have an email list to start making money with your blog?
Some monetization methods may work even without an email list, but if you’re serious about making money with your blog, you will soon find yourself in need of some way to get in touch with your audience, so yes, you must have an email list and you should start growing one as soon as possible.
So, now that you have a better idea of all the different ways that you can make money from your blog, which one(s) will you apply? Also, if you have questions or thoughts, share them with me in the comments below.
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