How to Monetize a Blog


It wasn’t too long ago that making a website would have cost you a heck of a lot of money – we’re talking thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands of dollars, both to set it up and then maintain it.

Monetizing a website was going to be just as challenging – people didn’t have PayPal as we know it today, and Stripe wasn’t even a thing. Email marketing hadn’t even been heard of.

The good news is that today, you can begin to maintain and monetize a blog with WordPress with just a few hundred dollars.

However, just because it’s a lot easier to come up with a good blog strategy right now doesn’t mean that people do.

Why? Well, most bloggers report that they earned $138,064 over the past year, and this is professional bloggers. This means that bloggers that aren’t professional earned just $9497.

Of course, this is terrible, especially when you think about how most bloggers start blogging so that one day they can quit their day job and do it full time.

So, how are you supposed to go from being a novice blogger, to one who is drawing in six figures?

Well, you are going to need a robust marketing plan, which is going to include the right content, as well as a niche that is highly profitable.

You are also going to need a really good monetization method.

When Should You Start to Monetize Your Blog?

There is no certain number out there for how much traffic you need to be getting to your website, or how big your email list should be before you can start to make real money from your blog, because this all depends on how you are able to sell it – and what you are selling.

However, there are two things to get sorted before anything else, and they are: get steady traffic, and grow your email list.

You need to be able to get a steady stream of people coming and checking out your blog, and you also need to make sure that you are cultivating a modest, yet growing list of people on email who are getting your content in their inbox regularly.

These two things are really important, but what’s also really important when thinking about monetizing your blog efficiently is the numbers.

If you are trying to make $10,000 from your blog, then you will need to sell a $200 product to 50 people, or you will need to sell a $500 online course to 20 people. It’s all about the math.

This doesn’t mean that the answer to monetizing is increasing how much you are charging for your product.

It means that you need to find the best monetization method that lines up with where your blog is currently, or where you are hoping it is going to be in the future.

In this article, we are going to talk about how you can monetize a blog and make money online, whether you are getting thousands of people looking at your content every month, or you are literally just starting out.

We are going to share some pretty solid strategies that other bloggers have used in the past to help their revenue, so that you can apply the same thing to your blog.

Become a Freelance Blogger Within Your Niche

Freelance Blogger

One of the easiest ways to start making money from your blog is to become a freelance writer within your nice.

You have probably started your blog because you think that you have the experience and knowledge of the industry to get ahead, so why not take advantage of this?

Brands are always on the lookout for people that can help them create content that is going to add to their marketing strategy, so who better to do this than someone who has a lot of knowledge about that particular niche?

The average freelance writer in America is going to make around $40K a year, and you might not be able to garner these rates right when you start, but you will be able to build up to them. Just make sure that you don’t lowball yourself in the beginning.

You might think that charging someone $10 for an article is going to get your foot in the door, but the reality is that this might put some people off because they might start to question your skills as a writer.

Plus, charging so little for your work can deplete you of motivation.

Also, it’s better to charge your clients per project as opposed to per hour, because it is going to be difficult to determine how long it is going to take for you to finish a task, especially when you are just starting out and you haven’t learned the ropes yet.

When you charge a fee based on the project itself, you get rewarded for finishing faster, and your clients know how much you are going to charge from the beginning – there is no confusion around this.

The good news when it comes to freelance writing is that you don’t need a lot of people coming to check out your blog to start making a bit of money, because all brands care about is that you are able to write really good content.

Your job as a freelance blogger is to create written content that is going to appealing to people visiting the website, because some of these visitors are going to become clients.

As long as there are brands within your niche that are making money, then you know that they are going to need content writers to help with their blog.

Just make sure that you don’t pick an industry where the brand can’t afford to pay you.

You’ve got to know how to market yourself, and how to put yourself in a profitable position.

One way to work out whether you are in the right niche for your interests, and to make sure that the niche that you are in is profitable, find at least five or six writers that are covering the niche. See what kind of content they are writing, and what their social proof is.

Remember, you don’t need to have a lot of traffic to be a successful freelance writer – you’ve just got to know where the money is. You’ve also got to be proactive about promotion your service.

How to Discover Blogs to Write For

One of the best ways to find a blog or business within your niche that you want to write for is to do a Google search using keywords that relate to your niche, and see what comes up.

Of course, the first few blogs that appear are going to be spending a lot of money on content marketing.

Now, all you’ve got to do is get in touch with the owner of the website, and pitch them your freelance writing services.

Make the Most of Your Own Site

Aside from going out there and trying to find new gigs as a freelance writer you can also make the most of your own website, because at the end of the day – you’re a writer.

We suggest that you make the most of inbound marketing, as well as SEO to drive people to your website, where you can offer them your blogging and writing services.

Sell an Ebook to Your Audience

Sell Ebook

One of the most popular ways that a blogger might choose to monetize their blog is to sell an ebook.

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This is a really good approach because it’s pretty easy to create, and it is usually priced reasonably enough that most people who visit your website are tempted enough to pay for it.

Another reason to sell an ebook is to work out if people are interested in the kind of topics that you are covering enough to actually pay you for them.

It’s a low-risk way to work out if you are bringing value to the people visiting your website or not.

The good news with this point is that you don’t necessarily need a lot of people filtering through your website to make a decent amount of money through your ebook.

Even if just a few people that came through bought your ebook, you could start making a serious side income.

What’s great about this approach is that if you have the right marketing strategy, and you’ve got something of value to offer with your ebook, then you aren’t going to need that many people interested in buying it – you just need a few.

Where You Can Sell Your Ebook

Then, you can choose to sell your ebook directly through your blog, or through platforms like Podia or Gumroad.

Of course, you can sell your ebook on your website, especially because you get to keep all of the profits.

If you choose to publish your ebook on Amazon, then you are only going to keep 70% of the profits, but there is an advantage here and that is that the more books you sell the more exposure you are going to get, which is of course going to lead to more sales.

Selling ebooks isn’t limited to one niche either, which is always nice. There are ebooks out there on fitness, blogging, photography, and anything else that you can think of.

You can even make the most of content that you have already included in your blog, and flesh it out a bit.

How to Make Your Book

The good news is that if you don’t have the time yourself to come up with an ebook, you can always hire a ghostwriter to do it.

You can find ghostwriters everywhere from Scripted and LinkedIn to Upwork and also Fiverr.

Just keep in mind that you are going to get what you pay for, which means that if you don’t pay someone a lot for it, it’s probably not going to be high in quality or value.

Create and Sell a Course Online

Another way to monetize your blog is to sell an online course. One of the things that holds a lot of bloggers back from coming up with an online course is because they believe that they need to be an expert to do so.

However, this isn’t the case – all you need to really teach a course is to know more than the audience that you are trying to teach, so that you can present your information in a way that people are going to get a lot of value from.

For example, you don’t need to actually be a professional chef to write a book about cooking.

If you can cook better than most people that you know, and you can create a course on cooking that you think is really going to add value to people’s lifestyle, then there is no reason why you can’t do so.

Coming up with Course Ideas

If you already have an existing audience online, then all you need to do is figure out an issue that a lot of them have in common, so that you can solve it for them.

Ways to Figure Out Pain Points That You Might be able to Solve

  • Send Out a Survey: one of the quickest ways to work out what issues the people in your audience have is to ask them through a survey. You can send your survey via email.
  • Read the comments: You might shy away from reading the comments on your blogs, but this can actually be where you are able to find the best information around what issues your audience might have, and what they are hoping to find within your writing. If you don’t have too many people commenting on your blog yet, you can always look at similar blogs within your niche.

Hosting Courses

Online Courses

You can host your course on WordPress with plugins that are associated with hosting, and this is one of the best approaches because it means that you get to keep all of the profit from your course.

Obviously, you can also hire a developer that can help you with it, but then you are going to have to share the revenue.

Extensions for Courses Through WordPress

  • WP Courseware
  • Learn Dash
  • Lifter LMS
  • Learn Press

Begin a Consulting or Coaching Business

Sometimes, people are going to want a bit more detail when it comes to you teaching them that goes beyond a book or a course that they have to get through themselves.

Sometimes, they want a bit of one-on-one time, so they turn to someone who has the time to do this through coaching or consulting.

These are monetizing strategies that the majority of blog owners turn to when they have found success in selling a course or a book, and they want to create an additional revenue stream.

However, it’s not just for those that are established in the world of blogging. You can also decide to go for this approach from the beginning as well.

Like most monetization strategies out there, coaching relies on your being able to use your skills and experience so that you can help people solve an issue in their lives.

If  you are already bringing in revenue from courses and books, then consider offering a one-on-one consultation for people within your audience.

And, if you are just starting out, the low volume nature of consulting is going to mean that you can start to generate revenue from a skill, without having to traffic to your website yet.

This is because with consulting, it’s not just about how much traffic you are getting, it’s about what kind of traffic you are getting – and whether it is the right kind.

This means that you will need to be writing targeted blog posts in categories that your customers care about.

Offer a Paid Membership Plan


Businesses that have subscription models are becoming more and more popular, and everything from membership sites to Netflix are part of the so-called subscription economy.

This is a gated section of your business online where members can subscriber to your service either on a monthly or annual basis, and they will get benefits that people who don’t subscribe won’t.

The thing about your community is that it is going to include people who share a common interest, and these benefits can include reports, articles, webinars, advice, and even meetups in person.

The thing about a membership site is that it doesn’t just let you reach more people, but it also gives everyone a sense of belonging within their community.

One of the things that you are going to love about a membership site is that everyone is part of that community, whether they are aware of it or not, and there’s nothing like creating a successful brand around a community, because it is likely to last for a lot longer.

Also, based on how much money you are charging for your membership, you might not actually need that much traffic to make bank.

The good news is that you can create a membership site for almost anything, as long as the people that you are targeting have money to spend, and they are dedicated to the cause.

If you already have a dedicated audience, and they are already willing to spend money, then creating a membership site might be the most profitable thing that you can do.

You can easily begin to make thousands of dollars, and you only need a few hundred people to sign up.

Now, there is a lot of hate when it comes to displaying ads in the world of blogging.

Most people believe that it is a bad monetization approach because you’re not going to make anything that’s worth talking about from it.

Most of the time, they are right, but there is a reason that display ads are still used, even though they don’t get a good rap.

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Why? Because they work and they are the quickest and potentially the most profitable way to begin monetizing your website.

It might take a bit of time for ads to take off on your website, but as you improve your content and your blog grows, you are going to be able to start making some real money from them.

Become an Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate Marketer

You can’t have an article about being able to monetize a blog without talking about affiliate marketing.

This is one of the more common ways that a blogger is going to be able to make money online.

When you use affiliate marketing, you promote the products of another brand, and you receive a commission on every sale that they make as a result.

Basically, you are helping to sell a product, and you are getting a commission every time someone buys that product.

So, what do you need to be successful with affiliate marketing? You need a niche, an affiliate product, and an audience that you can successfully market your product to.

You can build up your audience by writing about topics related to your niche, and once you have established your audience, you can find products that they are going to be interested in buying.

Develop Sponsored Posts and Reviews

Making money through sponsored reviews and posts is one of the less common ways to monetize a blog, most likely because you are going to need a lot of credibility and traffic to get away with it.

With reviews and sponsored posts, a blogger is going to charge a company a fee to write about their product on the blog and share their opinion.

The product is going to get exposed to the audience, and the brand is going to get more exposure themselves.

When thinking about influencer marketing, you are probably thinking about YouTube and Instagram.

However, writing a sponsored post on your blog is influencer marketing as well, and it’s doing pretty good right now. In fact, 63% of brands use influencer marketing.

When featuring a product through your blog, you will need to make sure that you are honest about it, because it’s not worth losing your readers’ trust for just a couple of dollars.

The only downside that you are going to discover about sponsored posts is that you will need to have built up a solid presence before you can start making money from this avenue.

If you don’t have any social proof, then brands aren’t going to look your way and want to work with you at all.

This is because they need to know that working with you is going to generate sales for them, and if nobody is seeing your sponsored post, then it is a complete waste of their money.

Sell a Physical Product to Your Audience

Another method to monetize your blog is to sell a product directly to your audience.

Some bloggers are going to even move from selling just a couple of products to being a complete ecommerce website that fits in nicely along with their blog.

If you have already been able to build up an audience, then one of the best ways to generate revenue from it is to monetize it and sell a product directly to that audience.

The thing is that they already trust you, which means that it is going to be easier to know what they want to see as opposed to being a big retailer.

Sell a Digital Product to Your Audience

Sometimes, the best way to solve an issue that your audience has isn’t to sell a physical product, but to sell a product with digital downloads or software.

The good news is that even if you don’t know the first thing about coding, you can always hire someone who does.

You can sell digital products like templates, themes, and you can even do audio recordings for your audience that is going to help them solve an issue that they might have.

Launch a Virtual Summit within Your Niche

If you keep up with what’s going on on the internet, then you have probably been part of a virtual summit at some point.

Keep in mind that a web conference or virtual summit is different to a webinar.

The biggest difference is that a virtual summit is a lot of the time more engaging with the audience.

They are more or less a conference that you can attend online with a host, and they are going to include Q&A sessions, and you can even invite multiple speakers.

Normally, a virtual summit is free to attend, but they are only accessible for a limited amount of time.

This is where the organizer makes their money – they sell an ‘all access pass’ so that the people who attend the conference can have access to the material whenever they want, even when the conference is over.

You can also sell products that relate to the conference, which might include a course or a membership plan.

The good news is that you don’t have to be that well-known to host one.

Accept Donations on Your Blog


Another way that you can make money online is you ask your audience to make a donation.

You can accept donations through a variety of WordPress plugins, but you can also accept donations through PayPal as well.

Of course, accepting a donation is pretty normal for a non-profit, but you can also do it as well if you aren’t one.

However, this doesn’t mean that just any blog out there can start making money from donations.

For most bloggers, it is going to take a bit of time to start getting a decent income from donations.

This is because you will need a really dedicated audience that wants to donate to your cause, and this usually means providing them with a lot of valuable content first.

Start a Podcast

You probably already know this, but podcasting is pretty popular right now. There are currently more than 700,000 active podcasts out there.

If you’ve already got a blog, then including podcasting in the mix is going to be a super smart way to get more traffic by making the most of the growth of a podcast.

They are great especially if you are a newbie, because the majority of written blogs within your niche are going to have more written content than you – but how many of them are focusing on a podcast right now?

The thing about podcasts is that they don’t just help you get your name out there, but they are also another revenue stream for your blog.

With a big enough audience, you can begin to sell sponsorship slots for your podcasts, so that brands can reach the right people with your community.

What You Need to Start a Podcast


Most people think that they need a lot of things to start a podcast, but this simply isn’t true.

All you really need is a microphone, editing software for audio, a pair of headphones, podcast hosting, and a Zoom or Skype account.

This is it – now you can begin to create episodes that you can share with the world.

Final Thoughts

It is super easy these days to jump on the blog bandwagon, but the majority of bloggers get stuck when they try to monetize it.

The thing about blogging is that the concept of doing so alone isn’t going to bring in the money, unless you figure out a monetization method that lines up really well with your blog.

As the examples above have shown, you don’t necessarily need a huge amount of traffic or leads to begin generation a decent income from your blog.

And yes, your niche does matter, but it isn’t the end all and be all when it comes to whether you have what it takes to succeed or not.

What you are going to need is a good understanding of the numbers required to make your monetization method do really well, and the drive to work hard so that you can promote what you are offering.

We hope that you have got enough information in the article above to go on, so that you can take the next step in becoming a paid blogger, and monetizing your blog.

Good luck!

Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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