I Make Money Online: Blogging

I don’t know why I never thought abut writing this article because I do this every month, but one way that I make money online is by running this blog.  How much am I making?  On average I net about $1,000 each month but it has been higher than that as well.  I think that I made close to $3,000 during my best month.  You can make money blogging as well.

First, let me be completely honest with you.  Everyone can have a blog, but not every blog can or will make you money.  That’s the truth that everyone selling you the dream of riches earned with your keyboard will not tell you.  Second, having a blog that will make you money takes time.  Once you calculate the amount of time that it takes to make money on your blog, you might decide that it is easier and more time effective to just get a second job. Okay, on to how I make money blogging.

I’m not going to go through the process of how to establish and build a blog because it has been done by many people.  A good primer can be found at ProBlogger at How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners.  Once you have chosen a topic that you feel passionate about, and have established your blog, you will inevitably think about making money.

blogging income streams

Ways to monetize your blog according to ProBlogger

Your blog can make you money a number of different ways.  Your blog may help secure you free tickets to events, free items, gift cards, and cash.  The items that you are offered may depend on the genre of your blog.   Mom bloggers may receive offers of free products for children because the manufacturers want to target that specific audience.   Book bloggers may receive advanced copies of books.  Gaming bloggers may receive tickets to launch parties for video games. Travel bloggers might receive free hotel stays or airline tickets.  It all depends on what your blog is about.

If you’re not too excited about getting free products, the prospect of earning cash might excite you.  Again, I’m going to caution you that not everyone will make money through their blogs, but everyone can try, right?  I’m going to talk specifically about how I’m making money online and the resources that I use.

Pay Per Click or Cost Per Million Networks

I used to do income reports every month and I would mention Adsense.  This is probably the easiest way to earn money through your blog.  You sign up with Google and they will provide you with a code snippet for you to include on your blog.  If you scroll to the right of this article, the ad that you see is provided by Google.  Google can display ads in text link, image or video form.  Every time someone clicks on advertisement, Google will pay you for the click.  Clicks can pay you anywhere from a few pennies to a few dollars, depending on the ad that was shown.

Google has a ton of rules on what you can and can not do, but if you follow the rules and get to $100, Google will send you a check for the funds on the 23rd of the month after you reach the $100 threshold.  It took me about four years to get my first $100 and then two months after that to get to my second $100.  What was the difference?  A lot of trial and error.  These days I’m making between $250-$400 per month through Adsense.

Similar to pay per click (PPC) networks are cost per mille (CPM) networks.  CPM networks will pay you a fee for every 1,000 page views.  It’s not usually much but it can add up if you have hundreds of thousands of visits per month and if your blog is in a genre that has a decent payout.  I have seen anything from $0.05 per thousand page views up to $10.  It all depends.

There are more PPC and CPM networks out there such as BidVertiser, but Adsense is by far the largest.

Product Reviews

I get a ton of offers to review financial products or review a book.  I typically don’t have time to do this, but it can be a good source of free products and potential income for the right individual.  Usually, these companies want your honest opinion about their product.  You will usually have to write up a review and publish it on your blog.

Compensation can range anywhere from a free product or trial for a service to gift cards or other financial compensation.  It’s not usually much money, but if you do enough of them, you can end up with tons of free stuff.

Affiliate Referrals

Millions of companies out there want you to purchase their products, but they don’t want to advertise in every single corner of the internet.  They also don’t want to pay for a sales team.  This is where you come in.  They are willing to pay you for every customer that you send their way who either signs up or purchases their products.  This is called being an affiliate.  There are more affiliate networks out there than I care to cover, but I’ll mention the two that I use.  I use Commission Junction and FlexOffers.

Here’s an example.  I really believe in using CreditKarma as a free way of monitoring your credit.  They happened to be on Commission Junction offering to pay a commission for every person who signs up for their service using my referral link.  So, if you sign up for CreditKarma, you get a free service that is useful, CreditKarma gets a new client, and I get a commission.  It’s a win-win situation.

There are literally thousands and thousands of product and service providers available.  The key is finding a product or service that fits your blog that your readers will be interested in.  I can offer a deal for furniture on this blog, but it wouldn’t really make sense, would it?

Ad Sales

This is where most people think that they will make money, but it’s also the hardest way to make money.

There are a number of different types of ad sales.   Ads can range from display ads, full site takeovers, mentions within newsletters to  text links in your sidebar or within an article.  I’m not going to debate the merits or legitimacy of one ad type versus another.  The companies may pay you to display an advertisement for a given time period or for a certain number of times over a given period.  They are basically paying for your readers to be exposed to their advertisements and products.  The amount that can be made through ad sales is directly proportional to the size of your audience, your topic area, the number of visitors to your blog, and your rank.

With text links, some companies are hoping to have your ranking with Google passed along to them.  This also happens with sponsored posts. There is a lot to learn about these types of advertisements and the potential for being penalized by Google.

You can sell ads directly from your website or you can join an ad network such as Google’s Double Click for Publishers or Buy Sell Ads where they will sell your ad space for you.

Your Own Products

This, my friends, is where you can make serious money.  Many bloggers develop their own products and sell that to their audience.  If you have a built in audience and you believe that you know what they are looking for, you can make your own product and offer it directly to the individuals already asking for your product.

This can take the form of information products such as books or videos, physical products such as t-shirts or services such as website building. By developing your own products you can maximize your profits by creating an affiliate network to sell the product for you.

I have not done this yet, but I AM working on an eBook.  Who knows what I’ll do with it.

Offline Opportunities

Okay, I’ve saved the item with the largest earning potential for last.

Your blog can be a springboard for opportunities offline such as speaking events, teaching classes, writing articles and consulting.  I have seen my counterparts being paid consulting fees in the thousands for their time.  In this case, your blog basically serves as your portfolio and as an advertisement for YOU.

From being discovered through my blog, I have been asked to be on a certain show featuring really, really cheap people no less than three times.  I have been interviewed for local television news segments and quoted as a source or expert in newspapers.  If you want to be featured in the media (I didn’t because of my job), then there is a world of opportunity for you.

I’m working on building this end of my revenue making, with an eye towards making this blog the cornerstone of my entrepreneurial ventures.

I ranked each way that I make money in order of the potential for that methodology to make money.  Choosing exactly what to do is completely up to what you are comfortable with and how much time you chose to devote to your blog and what you are comfortable doing.

For some, a blog might always be a fun way to share your interest with the world, and that’s perfectly fine.  If, however, you choose to make your blog a part of your side hustle or Plan B as I like to call it, then this money could potentially pad your current income.  But, don’t forget my warning.  Building a blog takes time.  Building a successful blog takes even more time.  Building a blog that makes you enough money to compensate you for that time can take forever.

Thank you to Free Money Minute for suggesting that I write this article.

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19 thoughts on “I Make Money Online: Blogging

  • Those are great tips. I’ve been blogging since October and have just started digging into ways to monetize the site in the last few months. Adsense is certainly the easiest. Some of those other suggestions take some time and work but they are worth it. You really have to enjoy the procession – the writing, back end stuff, and the interaction or else blogging just isn’t for you. Fortunately for me I am really enjoying every aspect. Keep up the good work!

  • Great post! I unfortunately was the victim of a spam attack a few years back and have been since unable to get my Adsense account back. I wish I would’ve waited until now to sign up – where I actually have a bit of traffic instead of when I started. I did take your advice and check out Buy Sell Ads so thanks for pointing me in that direction 🙂

    • That’s one of the dangers of monetizing too soon. There’s so much to learn initially that it’s very easy to make mistakes. Sometimes your blog just needs to age a bit to build trust , even with Google. But the good thing is that there are alternatives to Adsense!

  • This is the best post I have read on monetization of a blog or website! I appreciate your honesty, especially on the prospects of earning an income and the timeframe involved in your experience. Consistency and patience are my take aways. Thank you also the mention also, every little bit helps!

  • Great info! It seems like your blog is very lucrative, but can I ask what are you actually doing to maintain it? How much time are you putting into it each month? Ie, I assume that if stopped writing, your revenue would go down. What is the trick to maintaining this blog as a revenue builder versus how many hours per month you are working on it? I mean, I know you’ve built a large audience that keeps coming back and if you stopped writing, they would go away. What are you doing besides writing blog entries? Thanks!

    • Great question!

      If you scroll back through my blog posts for April, I think that there might have only been 4 articles all month long because I was sick. I still netted over $1,000 last month. That is because I now have someone who can write articles if I don’t (I pay him to write) and I have someone who will negotiate ad deals for me as well.

      Google AdSense is completely passive because the search engine traffic will come regardless of whether I write a new article or not. Ads that have been negotiated for a specific time period will pay me regardless of whether or not I write anther article. So, some things can be passive and some require active maintenance.

      Now, don’r forget, I do caution that blogging takes a lot of TIME. I probably spend at least 40 hours per week doing blog related things including relationship building, writing the e-book, social media promotion, continuing education about finance, and scouting new opportunities. There are some weeks that I only spend 5 hours on the blog too.

      A blog making 5 figures will not happen overnight, but one making an extra hundred bucks a month is perfectly doable.

      Edit: I should point out that when I had a full-time job, I probably spent 15 hours per week on the blog for the same amount of money. I’m hoping to double what I make each month.

  • That’s really awesome. Good to hear you are earning that much from your blog. I’m thinking of some other ways to monetize mine as well and you’ve just given me an idea. Thanks.

  • Good tips for those getting into this. I’ve been really trying to move past private sales and affiliate promotion and work on building niche sites that play on Adsense revenue. I also consider this activity to be one of the first “products” I’m creating where I could eventually sell it.

  • Great info here, I am looking to get into mobile app development as my service to provide!

  • Great info here, I am looking to get into mobile app development as my service to provide!

  • I have found that Google is very quirky when it comes to accepting AdSense accounts. I have heard that you have at least 6 months of steady blogging before they will accept you.

    • Nooooooooooooo. They’ll accept you right away and you don’t have to blog to have an account. I had a commercial website and no blog when I first signed up for Adsense and earned my first $75 that way. The reason why I recommend that you WAIT until you’ve been blogging for some time before signing up is that you tend to make SO MANY mistakes when you first begin that you can inadvertently violate a rule. Also, the more established your site, the more authority you have and the more Google “trusts” your site. Weird, I know.

  • I started blogging recently about money. It’s been a great ride so far and haven’t figured out the right way to monetize it. I’ve seen increase in readership and this was a great post in figuring out (outside of affiliate) how to make some income. I have a bigger picture (like yourself) about why I blog. It too is part of my entrepreneurship endeavors.

    Thanks for the info.

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