How to make money blogging.
I’ve made thousands of dollars from my blog, edgeofdavid.com. It’s by no means a consistent, powerhouse income source. But it’s possible to make money from a blog. In this tutorial, I want to break down what would be required to make $100 a day or more from a blog. There are multiple ways to make money online, BUT everything is a function of traffic.
No traffic means no attention which means no money. If you do everything wrong from a technical standpoint, but are still able to get traffic to your blog or website, you’ll make money.
How much traffic do you need before you start earning money? Well that’s a simple question with a complex answer but for simplicity’s sake, 500 visitors a day, 30,000 page views a month it the threshold where you’ll start making something from your blog.
But how do you actually make money blogging?
This is always the knee-jerk response people have when it comes to how to make money online with a website. Advertising is one model to pull in revenue and cover your costs but it’s certainly not the only way.
Advertising works only in a few instances. If you’re website is difficult to monetize with products or services OR your website is in an industry with a high cost per click (cpc) AND you have a decent amount of traffic.
To put it another way, I have the edgeofdavid.com website and YouTube channel. From an AdSense perspective, those two properties make peanuts from ad revenue.
However, WebsiteCreativePro.com and the associated YouTube channel, while at the time of writing this get much less traffic and is much WAY more profitable from an ad perspective simply because of the niche.
From 250-300 views a day on the WCP YouTube channel, I was earning $100. For 250-300 views per day on the Edge of David channel I was earning less than a dollar.
Yes really. That’s why I make YouTube video. Because if i’m able to get views on my videos, it translates into a nice passive income. For My blog and vlog, meh. I should instead focus on affiliate marketing and selling products (more on this later).
Websites are unique in that many active and passive ways exist to earn an income online by building a system that can reach thousands and thousands of people without you needing to be present at each interaction.
But unlike physical stores where people can conceive how a place like a yoga studio or a bar can make money – the actual ways a website makes money are not always so clear.
Let’s clear things up and show you how to make money with your blog or website
There are 6 broad ways to make money online with your website:
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling a product
- Selling your time
Pro Tip: Don’t be a money chaser.
My first website was called super awesome dating. I started it because I wanted to make money selling dating products as those topics have HUGE amounts of potential traffic. It was a terribly stupid website. Be authentically YOU is what I’m getting at.
Meaning, don’t start your own WCP just because you think you can make money.
Don’t start a personal finance blog because you read personal finance blogs.
Get out of your bubble online and think about what you’re really into.
Don’t be a money chaser and don’t be an echo of more popular websites.
You won’t because you won’t care enough. Focus on a topic and people you care about helping.
Be a small part of a change in someones life
We all want to get our moneys worth out of any product or service we buy right? So you need to have this mindset when on the other side of providing a product or service.
So while these 6 ways are how you make money online with your website, it does not change the underlying fundamentals.
To provide value.
A type of value that helps to result in a real world change for someone. It does not need to be a dramatic change, but it does needs to be a change and you need to be part of the solution.
If you do nothing else right, provide enough value and opportunities will make themselves known.
I know it’s intoxicating the idea of making a living online, or even making a solid part-time income – but work and experience comes first. There is no fast money and unless you’re independently wealthy, you need to work.
Cast off the notions of passive income and start thinking of it as business income.
There are a few other ways to make money online if you want to pull in some extra cash within the month, but they always involve selling your time on someone else’s platform and not your own.
Which YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO
1) MAKE MONEY BLOGGING USING DONATIONS
Donations are what they sound like – people sending you money. But why would anyone do such a thing?
It goes back to value. If you provide enough value as to where you helped make a meaningful life change for someone, people will donate. Remember, you have no idea who specifically is visiting your website. It could be a high paid executive for all you know searching for gift ideas for his wife and you help him discover the perfect gift with your website on fashion.
HOW TO DO THIS RIGHT
You can setup donation buttons with PayPal.com. You need to provide a way for people to give you money and Pay Pal is the ideal platform for accepting donations. You could also provide an address to send checks to if you like. But people tend to be most comfortable with using Pay Pal as a way to send money.
Also ask for donations too. People won’t give if you don’t you ask. So ask.
Use language that is simple and to the point like:
“If you want to support my work please consider donating to help cover costs of running this website”.
Next, focus again on value and don’t demand donations or beg. You have to give, give, give, before you get.
You can also use a wish list instead of asking for donations. Wish list? On many websites like Amazon you have the option to add products you want to a wish list. You can use this instead of asking for a monetary donation.
WHO’S THIS FOR?
Donations are ideal for free software, plugins for WordPress or public interest websites. If you have a blog and want to do this, a better alternative would be to use Patreon.
Otherwise, if you have every intention of building a business with your website by selling products, providing a service and/or running advertisements DON’T ask for donations.
2) MAKE MONEY BLOGGING WITH SUBSCRIPTIONS
This is the model that was originated by newspapers and magazines and has now become a solid and consistent way countless websites earn revenue.
Patreon is most popular with YouTubers, but you can still launch a Patron page regardless if you’re on YouTube or not. This model is where you set up a Patron page and people can subscribe to your page on a monthly basis. In return they get special perks based on the amount the pledge on a monthly basis.
For example, Roaming Milleneial – a gorgeous 20 something who give political commentary makes over 4 thousand dollars a month from her Patreon patrons.
Jordan Peterson makes upwards of 3o thousand dollars a month from his Patreon.
I’ve seen other sites like HaraldBaldr.com private their blog and podcast content. Making the YouTube videos available for free, but everything else behind the subscription pay wall.
Should you do that with a blog? Well it depends on how valuable the content is AND how difficult it is to monetize your website. If your topic has high pay ads and high paying affiliate programs – you’ll make more from keeping your site free.
Unlike selling a product with a one time fee, people subscribe to your Patreon and pay weekly, monthly, or yearly fees for special access, unique content, a service and/or special features from your website.
A subscription model does not have to be forever as well, you could set up a high priced product and spread out the content over weeks or months and charge a monthly subscription for the duration of the the time. Like 47$ for 6 months.
From a statistical analysis, most people stay subscribed to any subscription for 3-6 months MAX.
You don’t even need to make it a monthly subscription either. You could have private access on your website and charge $40 every 3 months or every 6 months. Like a forum with a private area. This is done on dnforum.com for example (a forum about domain names).
Lastly, you could make a blog into a subscription based revenue model by giving away free content on your site but setting up a private special “insiders only” blog. Mark Mason comes into mind for this example:
To be successful with this model however you would need to have an already establish a level of expertise in an industry before you can charge people to listen to what you have to say. It might also be good to include bonuses like advanced copies of any products you have yet to release.
There are many solutions from a technical standpoint on how to build a subscription based product. You could do something as simple as Pay Pal for the recurring revenue and Convert Kit for the delivery. But when you’re truly ready to start a subscription model, there are plenty of tutorials and experts who can help you.
3) MAKE MONEY BLOGGING WITH ADVERTISING
There are 3 types of advertising that can help you make money online:
This means text based advertising. It’s not contextual so much in that the ads are text (they are, but there can also be images) but more specifically it’s that the advertisements are based off the text content of the web page itself. So a web page about music will lend itself to ads relevant to music like ring-tones.
You have limited control over what ads appear when you use a contextual ad program because the program automatically scans your content and determines what keywords and what ads make the most sense based on your content. This is good because people ignore irrelevant ads.
The Google AdSense program is by far the most popular, most well known, and most successful. Contextual works by way of clicks and cost per click. The cost per click is determined by the demand for a keyword. So “website hosting” is a high value keyword because lot’s of companies want to advertise for this keyword. This increases the cost per click for this keyword as these companies “bid” to advertise for “website hosting”.
On the other side is Google and the AdSense publisher who gets paid every time one of their visitors clicks an ad. If you click an ad on Google.com, Google gets 100% of the cost per click. If you click an AdSense ad on a publishers website they get 68% of the revenue and the rest goes to Google.
So obviously, a higher value keyword pays a publisher more. As a result, some websites do better with contextual advertising than others.If you want to discover what the CPC for any keyword is you simply need to create and Adwords account, use the keyword tool, and select CPC.
Placement and color
Another factor that influences your success with a contextual program like AdSense is the color and placement of the ads.
This you have control over.
Here is a link to all the different ad sizes. Unless you have a strange design, the most successful units are big square ads either at the top of your sidebar OR in your content itself. Long skyscraper ads for the sides, a leaderboard ad under the navigation bar but above the content and a square unit or leaderboard at the bottom underneath the content.
For colors, old school publishers will say to blend your ad colors into your content. I find using colors that compliment to work best. Complimentary colors is a color theory term. If your site is red, orange is a compliment. It’s important to not trick people into clicking your ads. You want people to click on your ads because the ad is relevant, not because they though it was additional content on your site.
The next question that comes up when I teach people about contextual advertising is then “why don’t I just have my friends click on my ads 10 times a day”?
This is click fraud. You’re not the first person to think of this. It violates the terms you agreed to as a publisher, and companies can track consistent unusual click activity. Stay away from click fraud and focus on your unique selling point and helping people instead.
2) Direct Ad Sales – Selling Ad space yourself on your blog and social media
Selling ads works by either you reaching out to companies for partnerships OR by companies and individuals contacting you directly to make advertising inquiry.
When this starts occurring, people reaching out to you it’s a good idea to set up an advertising page outlining the positions and the costs to advertise on your website (if you choose to advertise of course!).
Don’t setup this page until you start getting emails asking you to advertise.
Selling ads can be a bit of a hassle, but software today exists in such a manner that it can allow you to easily manage the buying and selling of ads on your website yourself.
All you need to do is determine what kind of ads you are willing to run and what the sizes are.
With smaller ads you can have more of them and charge less for each one, larger ads you can charge more (so long as it’s only one or two large ads).
To actually sell ads find an “advertising manager” that suits your needs by using search engines to discover your options as well as reviews.
Let’s use Google’s Advertising Manager (GAM) in this example:
With this platform all you do is set up the ad size in GAM. Then you get code. Copy and paste that code into your website where you want the ad to display.
When someone wants to advertise on your website, they can go through the GAM platform to purchase the space and submit their ad code in order for their ad to be displayed. All you need to do is set the price, set the duration or page views the ad will run for and of course approve the ad.
SELLING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Obviously this only works if you’re able to develop a following, the most popular social media site for direct ad sales at the moment is Instagram. If you have an engaged following and a following of over 10k, companies and individuals will contact you to advertise their product and services with an Instagram story or a shout out in a post.
3) Affiliate advertisements
The most common way to promote things as an affiliate is through a special link, but organizations, business, and product creators do create advertisements called “creatives” for their products to help affiliates drive sales.
Affiliate advertisements are ads, but they work a little different in the sense that you will get a commission based on purchase. You’re not getting paid based on clicks or page views as you do with traditional advertising programs.
Why would anyone do this? Well for example, a lot of companies will pay over 100$ per commission. So it makes sense to advertise high earning affiliate programs on your blog.
4) MAKE MONEY BLOGGING WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing describes for the revenue model of promoting and selling other peoples or companies products in exchange for a commission on the sale.
Affiliate marketing has numerous benefits for the affiliate:
- No products.
- No customer support.
- You get to leverage the quality work of others.
- You can blend in offers that make sense with your website.
Affiliate marketing has numerous benefits for the company/person:
- Free marketing and exposure.
- Access to new audiences.
- More sales.
- You get to pay your fans and customers.
AFFILIATE MARKETING THE WRONG WAY
The pitfalls to avoid:
- Going overboard with promotions.
- Promoting irrelevant products.
- Promoting products based on their commission.
- Promoting products you have no experience with.
- Promoting only expensive products.
- Not having the right traffic or enough traffic.
Affiliate marketing is very, very misunderstood by the public at large. This model may appear an easy path to wealth or at the very least some sort of online income – but it’s actually quite difficult to make sales.
Because of the pitfalls mentioned. Having success with affiliate marketing is trust based and physcological based. You need to connect with your audience and show them you understand their problem and you understand how a certain product or service can help them.
In reality though, people do not know how to sell with a website. They don’t build trust and expertise. They just promote something and tell people to buy without demonstrating where their credibility comes from.
Also, you’re going to have more luck selling a product that is priced under $150. Why? More of an impulse buy. For more expensive purchases, you’ll need to have your own email list where you market an expensive product as an affiliate multiple times.
Also, new webmasters tend to over do it with advertising and affiliate marketing. Providing a low quality experience and not providing value. This puts people off and makes your visitors not trust or take you seriously.
Affiliate marketing the right way
- Promoting only products that make sense for your website topic
- Promoting the best products that will help people
- Promoting products and services you have an understanding of
- Promoting complimentary products and services
- Taking a different angle than other affiliates
Focus on your websites content and unique selling point, if there is an appropriate product to mention, mention it. But don’t sell people on it. For example, you could have a website about studying for a certain test. On this website you could give study advice and link to relevant practice exams people could buy.
You can focus as I do on keywords and phrases related to your website. So for my dating advice website for women I mention books and guides from dating coaches I trust. But only after providing my own content and my own advice.
Also, promote products that are not super expensive. People are more comfortable with purchasing a $30 guide than a $400 course. You will make more sales and make more money as with higher priced products people need to be exposed to the product multiple times before considering purchasing.
How to sell
Review posts work somewhat well, but people are inherently skeptical of online reviews as the affiliate model gives people incentive to be bias. To overcome this you could give two links, one is an affiliate, one is a non affiliate link and tell people this, giving them the choice to support you or not.
To further build trust, make your review thoughtful, long, and detailed. Make it over 2,000 words with examples. Demonstrate that you actually reviewed the product and have used it (if you have no experience with it, how can you recommend it to others?).
To make money online with affiliate marketing, think of different angles to approach how you sell. Don’t just create “review of xyz fitness book,” think more deeply and maybe make a post on how fitness book xyz help me wake up early with lot’s of energy.
Tutorials and guides
Better than reviews, demonstrate knowledge. Demonstrate how something works and how you’re benefiting from it. Mention a product or course if it makes sense. Also show people how to do it for free and without the product.
Mention a relevant product at the end of your page or blog post in a short and sweet manner. So the majority of the page content should not be product related, it should be content specific. At the end, if there is a relevant product or course to mention, mention it.
“So that’s it. If you want to dive deeper into affiliate marketing by learning how to sell products and help people without being sketchy my close friend Mark has a great course on building passive income. It helped me get started online, maybe it can help you too?”
When writing an email and wanting to include affiliate links you must for spam reasons make the email long and of high quality. To get the best conversions from my experience is to mention a link 3 times. Once in the beginning, once in the middle, and once at the end.
As previously mentioned, put up affiliate ads in your sidebar of related products and services. If you’re selling ad space then it makes sense to have a few different ads. But if it’s affiliate ads, keep it to a minimum as too many options will cause people to click nothing. Remember you always need to direct people. Depending on the size, 1-4 affiliate ads are appropriate.
Again, people are a bit skeptical of “products I love” pages or “resource pages”. So to build trust, set out to make a high quality resource page with links to products, services, and content you recommend. Not everything you link to needs to be an affiliate link. Set out to make it a win-win for everyone involved.
HOW TO BECOME AN AFFILIATE
In the footer (as we’ve mentioned before – the footer is perfect for some very important links) is where you will typically find a link allowing you to sign up for a product or service as an affiliate. The language will be something like:
- Partner with us
- Work with us
Simply fill out the application and sign up. You can also use a search engine and type in “product name affiliate”.
Make sure to keep track of all you passwords and log-in information for all your different products.
Also use a URL shortener to clean up your ugly affiliate links as to make something more attractive. You can also use plug-ins for WordPress to achieve this. The most popular one being “Pretty Link“.
I personally use SEO Redirection though. Then, I use a subfolder to track all my links and clicks on those links (think website.com/go/product). It also avoids any conflict with other URL’s on my websites as well.
Amazon Affiliate Site
Amazon has the most popular affiliate marketing program in the world. You can make a full time income just from this alone BUT you need to promote products that are the right balance between price and commission.
This was a pitfall I mentioned earlier. No one is going to buy a camera through your link. You need to strike a balance where your creating a site that has products on Amazon that are prices $60-$150 roughly. That way you’ll actually make sales AND the commission is high enough for you earn money to make it worth your effort:
Lastly, please check the Amazon fine print for various commission rates for different products and services because THEY ARE NOT ALL EQUAL.
5) MAKE MONEY BLOGGING ONLINE BY SELLING A PRODUCT
Make your own products or courses (and run your own affiliate program if you like).
Products can be anything from a PDF e-book, to a combination of videos, audio and written content. The real question is what is the best medium to deliver what you create. The two main options are to either send the product directly in email or to have a private page on your website with a download link.
The price points for what you create will vary as well based on their perceived value. A best practice is to have one product have three price points. This tends to generate more sales than having a single price point, and it generates the most sales of your middle price point (which from a physiological perspective looks like the best deal).
Before creating a product however, you must go through the process of market research. Understand your market, use the words they use to describe their problems, look for ways to differentiate yourself from others with already existing products. DON’T copy anyone, simply understand the problems your target audience faces better than they understand it themselves.
This of course takes months of research, surveys, and talking to people – but it’s what will help your product be successful in the end because people will be telling you what they need.
Pay attention to naming and design as well. These must match your brand and must also instill trust by having a level of professionalism.
Take your time and do it right the first time. Every interaction people have with you online must be of high quality. Always.
For actual tools people use online the most popular way is to turn a Word document into a downloadable PDF that you put on E-Junkie and simply sell it on your website. You could also take that book instead and put it on Kindle.
Which is better? Kindle or selling an ebook directly on your website?
The ebook route is better if you’re planning on making the ebook a part of a bigger course. For example, you have 3 tiers. Tier 1 is the ebook, tier 2 is the ebook and some videos etc. It also makes more sense if your ebook has a very specific appeal like you’re making a study guide for some test or you’re teaching someone how to do something specific and technical.
What price should you place your books at if their on your website? 12$-39$ seems to be the range. The higher the range, the more specialized the content should be. If you’re going to charge say 39$ for the ebook, then it should the low end of a three tiered package.
Overall though, for strictly publishing ebooks, Kindle for the long term is the way to go. You’ll make more money in the short term using the E-Junkie model and selling via your website only. But once your book is on Amazon, you get enough sales and reviews, sales will stay fairly consistent.
Just look at JohhnyFD.com – he’s been making 200$ a month, every month off his travel book on Thailand. OH wow, $200, that’s it?
Hey pal, I don’t see you making an extra $2,000 a year from Kindle.
Courses are where it’s at currently. Courses can be priced much higher and have a perceived higher value than an ebook but of course will take more work. I’ve joined quite a few courses and a lot of them were simply glorified ebooks for $200.
Needless to say, if you’re making a course, you should totally include video or audio at a minimum. One course I joined on SEO was ALL text. It was nothing more than an ebook. I personally expect more at a price range of over $100 dollars.
How to host courses?
Easy, you can use a platform like Teachable or Thinkific. These are hosted platforms. The advantage is that they host your course and take care of all the technical details. The downside is that they cost a monthly fee.
Next you can use a LMS plugin for WordPress. LMS stands for learning management system. These plugins are free, but to get the features you need, you’ll have to pay for the premium versions. Which one is best? I like LearnDash – you can check out a good review page here.
Using a platform in general is more advantageous because it’s a done for you service. The LMS route can be a bit of a headache because you need to install, design and customize your course – and if you have an technical issues then look in the mirror for tech support. I want to focus on content creation, not spend a week fiddling around with software.
Another option is Click Funnels. A very expensive option, popular with YouTubers who sell courses. Click Funnels is an all in one solution. They provide with your subscription sales pages, lead pages to capture emails, email list management and a course development option.
So they basically take care of every aspect. They provide the email opt-in page, the list management and the course delivery. But they are not cheap. Most people start making money with their blog using ebooks and selling courses via teachable but then eventually migrate over to Click Funnels because it’s the best software at what it does.
Clark Kegley, a YouTuber who sells various courses pays $300 a month to use Click Funnels and ALL his sales pages, email list and course delivery are managed by Click Funnels.
Last option is Udemy.com. Udemy is a marketplace for courses. If you’re wanting to sell courses at a high price, market your own courses via your email list and what not PASS on Udemy.
Udemy is best used as a place to create short, 2-3 hour courses that are low priced. If I was to use Udemy I would be creating courses like “8 ways to get more blog traffic” or “how to make an extra $500 a month on YouTbe.” The courses would be low priced, I would create a bunch, I would link my Udemy page from YouTube as well as this site and then just simply let Udemy organically take care of everything else.
6) MAKE MONEY BLOGGING FAST BY SELLING YOUR TIME
It’s by far the fastest way to make money with a blog. Offer a service, figure out what people need and want from you. As you grow you can scale back selling your time. BUT, developing a skill that you can can paid for is always helpful. It’s what will help you be free from having a 9-5 job again. By me doing website reviews and creating websites for individuals I’ve learned SO MUCH what people struggle with that will help me create products and courses.
Side note, the ideal service however must be a hard skill, not a soft skill.
Soft skills are things like “life coaching” and being “authentically you” who lives a “heart centered” life that have no clear tangible results for the customer. Hence, life coaching is a tough sell unless you’re an established authority.
For example, I see “dating advice” gigs on Fiverr and I laugh. Who are you? Why would anyone purchase that? You first need to demonstrate you posses a strong comprehension over the material before you can give out advice. Richard Cooper of Entrepreneurs in Cars on YouTube start making videos on relationship advice for young men since he’s a 40 something divorced entrepreneur.
Now people pay him $60 for him to create a 10-15 minute video answering a specific relationship problem.
That’s how it works with soft skills – you need to prove yourself first.
So go with a hard skill related to what your website is about. This may be less practical for some website topics than others, but get creative. You may be surprised what people will pay for if you can connect the dots between their needs and wants, and your skill set.
Also, don’t call your coaching or consulting offer “coaching” or “consulting”. Come up with a more descriptive name as no one wants to be coached and no one wants to hire a consultant.
CONCLUSION – How do bloggers make money blogging?
This the end of our series on creating a new website from step 1 to done. We covered everything from building your website all the way to launching a blog, understanding SEO, building an email list and going over different monetization strategies.