When I was first starting out as a blogger nine years ago, things were totally different.
I was blogging for a hobby, I didn’t know what I was doing half the time and I made a ton of mistakes.
All I knew was that I had a passion for writing online.
Then blogging became a powerful form of digital marketing and an important way for brands to drive website traffic.
Naturally, as I built my content, grew my audience and found my “voice,” opportunities soon came a-knocking.
And now I have a money-making blog, I blog for other companies and I help other bloggers to make a living doing something they love.
If you’re new to the blogging industry, you’re probably wondering how the whole monetisation thing works.
I mean, it’s all well and good setting up a blog, but where do you go from there? Where does the money actually come from? And how on earth do you blog as your sole source of income?
That’s where I come in.
In this guide, I aim to answer all your questions in terms of how to make money with a blog so you can turn your hobby into a thriving business (just like I did!).
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
How to Make Money with a Blog: The Methods
The most popular five ways of making money blogging are as follows.
1. Affiliate Programs
How to make money with a blog 101: affiliate marketing.
Never heard of affiliate marketing? No problem. This is where you promote a product or service on your blog using a customised link generated by an affiliate program or agency.
As a result, when a reader clicks on this product/service link and makes a purchase, you’ll get a commission of the sale.
Sounds good, right?
List of Popular Affiliate Networks
There are many affiliate programs you can join as a beginner blogger.
- Amazon: Easy to join and use, use Amazon Associates to choose from and advertise over one million different products for a 10% commission. And a bonus? Even if your reader doesn’t buy a specific product but purchases from Amazon, you’ll still receive the commission.
- ShareASale: Offering pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-click programs, ShareASale has teamed up with a lot of merchants appropriate for bloggers, like Tailwind and FreshBooks.
- RewardStyle: Fairly exclusive and renowned for only accepting top influencers, this is the ideal program for fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers who want access to 4,500+ retail partners in their niches.
- CJ Affiliate by Conversant: One of the largest affiliate networks around, CJ Affiliate has partnered with brands all around the globe in a multitude of industries.
- Skimlinks: Skimlinks is one of the most straightforward affiliate networks to use. Once you sign up for an account, they automatically convert the existing links you have on your blog into affiliate links.
Personally, I’m currently part of the RewardStyle network for my fashion blog, and I also use Amazon Associates for non-fashion related posts.
Pro tip: I find that these affiliate programs help to boost my blogging income every month when I write about trending topics and products.
Whether you decide to stick to one core network or join multiple to maximise your earning potential, the good news is that you can get this method going pretty much straight away. (Wahoo!)
Become an Affiliate for Services You Use
In addition to joining affiliate networks, you can become an affiliate for specific services you’ve bought and used in the past.
For instance, I’m an affiliate for the Bluchic website themes. They have dreamy designs that are practical as well as beautiful (I currently use the ChicServe theme!).
I’m also an affiliate for self-hosted website platform SiteGround. Why? Well, they’re just the best in terms of fast loading times, user-friendliness and all-around excellent customer service.
Pro tip: just make sure that you only promote products and services that you love and believe in.
Otherwise, you’ll lose credibility and risk being unable to build trust with your readers. And building trust is essential if you want to make some extra cash recommending products and services.
2. Host Ads on Your Blog
Another method you can use immediately when it comes to how to make money with a blog? Advertising placements.
Google Adsense works by matching text and display ads to your blog in line with your content and visitors. This program allows even the smallest bloggers with a low amount of traffic to start advertising through their banner and sidebar ads.
Why? Well, you can earn money every time a visitor sees the advertisement and interacts with it.
Having said that, most blog ad placements rely on a good amount of traffic to be a viable income stream.
If you’re at the point where you have more than 25,000 sessions (30,000 page-views) a month, I have some great news — you qualify to become a Mediavine advertiser!
And this is mostly how you can make a killing using the blog advertisement method. Check you out!
3. Work with Brands on Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts involve collaborating with brands and getting paid to talk about their products or services. You may even be sent some products to try for free, which is known as gifting.
Either way, it’s all about working with a brand to showcase what they’ve got to offer to your blog’s target audience.
You might just be asked to produce a sponsored blog post. On the other hand, you might also be required to post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and/or Pinterest. (This would be so that the brand in question can receive further exposure across all your channels.)
Sure, the requirements may differ from brand to brand, but do you know what stays consistent? The principle. If you have a lot of traffic and social media followers, you can make a full-time income solely on this method alone.
4. Offer a Service
Wondering how to make money with a blog when you’re just starting out and you have, like, zero traffic (hey, we’ve all been there)? Offer a service.
Freelance blogging, social media management or virtual assistance (to name a few), are great ways of making profitable income as you build your blog and audience.
Plus, if you have a particular skill that’s in demand or helps you to stand out from the competition, you might as well use it!
For example, when I first started monetising my blog, I became a freelance blogger on the side. I then managed to develop this into a full-time income within the first six months.
Want to do the same? Check out the below resources:
- What is Freelance Blogging? And How Do I Become a Freelance Blogger?
- Become a Blog Writer (and Blog for a Living!)
- Find a Profitable Freelance Blogging Niche (+ Expert Advice)
- How to Find Freelance Writing Gigs
- How to Transition From Part-Time to Full-Time Freelance Writing
Since then, I’ve carried on down the freelance writing and blogging route because I love working with new clients across a variety of publications. But you might want to scale your service-based business back once your blog biz starts blooming.
Either way, just do whatever works for you, pal!
5. Create Digital Products
Finally, once you’ve grown and nurtured your audience, another monetisation option is to sell resources that will help your readers solve a particular problem.
Whether this is through an eBook or online course, there’s no denying that information is power in the digital age and you can make a good amount of cash purely by teaching or mentoring others.
How do I do that, you ask? Well, Teachable is the perfect platform to create an online course. Alternatively, Canva or PicMonkey helps you to create functional yet visually attractive printable PDFs for free, which you can then sell via your blog or email list.
(If you need help with your personal blogging journey through my auditing/mentoring program, please click here to find out more details. I’m here for you, blogging buddy!)
Either way, I find that there’s nothing better in life than helping others, so why not give one of these options a try?
How Do Bloggers Get Paid?
Now that we’ve covered how to make money with a blog, you might be wondering how bloggers get paid.
Basically, there are two common methods:
- PayPal for brand collaborations, affiliate income, digital products, ads and services
- Bank transfer for brand collaborations and services
Different clients and brands will have various terms and conditions when it comes to payment, which they will outline for you in your initial email discussions.
In terms of programs and networks, they usually have all payment information available to view on their websites.
How Long Does it Take to Make Money Blogging?
I’m not going to lie to you, monetising your own blog is a slow burner. It takes time. And you’re probably not going to make any income for at least six months to a year.
However, if you offer a service while your blog baby is cooking, you can build a profitable business in the meantime.
Then when you do start generating more income from your blog, it’s up to you whether you scale down your services or carry on doing both to ultimately make the big bucks.
The Bottom Line
Building up a blogging business until it provides you with a full-time income is not easy. However, it is possible.
It just takes hard work, determination and a passion for blogging to be able to succeed.
And trust me, it’s worth all the time and effort.
After all, blogging can be extremely lucrative. Plus, you get to do something you love for a living. And that what I call a win-win situation.
What are your top tips in terms of how to make money with a blog for beginners? Let me know in the comments!