35 Smart Ways To Make Money Blogging
There’s more than one way of making money with your blog, that’s for sure. However, some ways are sketchy (I’m talking pyramid schemes or pushing fad products) and some ways won’t amount to anything.
If you already run a blog and are looking to find REAL and SMART ways to monetize it, this post is for you.
Each of these 35 ways is a legitimate method you can use to increase your blog’s income. Even if they don’t all interest you or apply to your blog, they’re sure to get the gears in your head spinning and help you come up with unique twists or ideas for your own business.
Take a look at my income reports to see which ways are currently working the best for me.
Affiliate Marketing: Best Networks
Below are only the best affiliate networks for bloggers, and also the ones I’m part of myself. Some networks and products are sleazy, and I don’t believe in promoting those products.
Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world and you can make serious money by joining their affiliate network. They pay between 4% and 8.5% commission (the more items you sell, the higher your commission).
Linkshare is a great network to join for fashion and beauty bloggers, and beyond. They’re the largest affiliate network and host many popular brands and retailers. Commission varies between programs, but it generally starts at 5%.
ShareASale is another huge affiliate network that hosts a ton of programs. If you’re new to affiliate networks, this one is easy to use. I’ve also found that programs tend to offer higher commissions than on Linkshare.
iHerb is an online health store (they sell everything from shampoo to supplements) that ships internationally. If you’re a beauty, lifestyle, or health blogger, you might want to check out their very attractive affiliate program.
There’s no such thing as joining too many affiliate networks. You might find profitable programs on Pepperjam that aren’t anywhere else.
Target is a huge retailer if your audience is American, and they do have an affiliate program. It’s hosted on Impact Radius and it’s free to join. The commission they offer varies from 5% to 8%.
RewardStyle brings a ton of brands and retailers under one roof. This network focuses on fashion bloggers, but anyone can apply. They offer very good commission and long cookie durations.
Want to get into rStyle? Leave a comment and I can send you an invite. Keep in mind there’s no guarantee since they still have to approve your site.
Some bloggers have products of their own. If they take affiliates, you can become an affiliate and earn a commission when you promote their products to your own audience.
Not all brands are part of the popular affiliate networks. Ask your favorite brands if they have an affiliate program. If they don’t, offer them to partner up through a coupon code. You can provide your readers a discount code and earn affiliate commission.
Affiliate Marketing: Strategies
Once you’ve joined those affiliate networks, there are several ways of boosting your affiliate sales. Try the ones listed below and you’ll see results if done right.
Make a new page where your readers can shop your favorite products. Use affiliate links to monetize that page, and make sure to link to your “shop” page in the menu.
You’re allowed to use affiliate links on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As long as you’re not being spammy, you can share relevant affiliate links on your channels.
The keyword here is “favorite”. Writing reviews for mediocre products or products you’re not in love with isn’t going to make anyone purchase whatever it is you’re reviewing.
Don’t write rave reviews for products you’re not genuinely passionate about, or you’ll lose all trust. However if you are genuinely in love with a product and find it super helpful, write a rave review and use your affiliate links.
Most of your affiliates have sales every now and then. Whenever they’re having a big sale, share it with your readers through a new post. You can also mention some of their best products in the post, and don’t forget to share your post on social media!
Are you collecting emails? If you have a large enough email subscriber base, you’ll get great results from including affiliate links in your emails. Be careful not to end up in the spam folder, and make sure to provide enough value.
Pay-per-click means that you’re getting paid a small amount of money every time a reader clicks on a third-party link. Pay-per-click might be a good option for smaller bloggers, but often times I don’t find it ideal.
With ShopStyle, you make a small amount (usually 5 to 10 cents) every time a reader clicks on your text links. You can link to a large number of stores and retailers. ShopStyle is free to join and easy to get in.
This is my favorite option of the bunch, but it’s also highly targeted towards fashion, beauty, and lifestyle bloggers.
I don’t personally use Skimlinks, but it’s a really big company and some bloggers swear by it. Skimlinks basically adds links to your content, and those links are monetized per click.
There are other similar sites you can look into (such as Viglink) but I won’t mention them all in this article.
Ads, ads, ads
Selling Ad space on your blog is one of the oldest and most obvious ways of monetizing a website. The more traffic you get, the more appealing your blog will be in the eyes of advertisers.
Keep in mind that there are pros and cons to having ads on your site.
Google Adsense is a popular way to incorporate ads to your blog. They most pay per click, and the amount you get paid varies depending on your niche. Typically, you get paid between $1 and $4 per ad, but some ads can pay up to $20 per click.
Any new blogger can get accepted into Google Adsense as long as they have a blog that doesn’t violate any rules. Click here to sign up.
AdThrive is the Ad Network I’m currently on, and I recommend them if you’re looking for third-party ads. They pay you per impression and not per click, which I believe to be a good thing for publishers/bloggers.
An Ad Network puts bloggers and ad sellers head-to-head, and they do all the work to set up the ads on our blogs. Typically, they split the earnings 50/50 with the blogger.
Some ad networks cater to specific niches. An example of this is Gourmetads, which is a way for food bloggers to have targeted food ads on their sites.
By showing ads that are relevant to your content, you’re getting paid more for each ad.
This is the best way for you to make money with ads, especially if you’re new at the game. Simply email brands and retailers directly and offer them advertising space on your site.
You can create a sheet with your rates and statistics, or you can include all the info in your media kit. If your blog is new, contact startup or local companies.
A big advantage of private ads is that you control everything. The ads also won’t slow down your site like third-party ads do. The con? You have to put in all the work to find advertisers.
If you have a large audience, you can make a lot of money through sponsored content on your blog. By sponsored content, I mean writing a post to promote a brand in exchange of money. This often also includes taking pictures of their products and coming up with a great story for your post.
Linqia pays you per click as you promote a certain campaign on your blog and social channels. I don’t personally use Linqia, but I’ve seen a lot of bloggers rave about this network. The more work you put into each campaign, the more it pays off.
Massive Sway is a network where bloggers can find sponsorship opportunities. You get notified of any fitting campaigns (as shown below) and you can apply to those you want to take part in.
Another network bloggers rave about is Pollinate. To Join this one, you must live in the US or Canada and get at least 20,000 monthly pageviews to your blog. Pollinate is big on “storytelling” and creating a community.
This is how I’ve always operated when it comes to blog sponsors. I list my sponsorship opportunities in my media kit along with my rates. Whenever a company contacts me for a collaboration, I tell them about the type of sponsorships I can offer and give them my media kit.
You can also actively seek sponsorships yourself by emailing brands that might be interested. The longer you blog, the more sponsorship opportunities will be coming along your way, even if you’re not a part of a network.
Perhaps the most accessible way of creating your own products. With digital products, everything is done online and the product you’re really selling is information.
A Kindle book is essentially an eBook in a format that’s compatible with Kindle reading tablets. The advantage of creating books in this format is that users can search for Kindle books on Amazon. You have the potential of getting a lot of eyeballs on your book, even if it’s not very well-known.
Similarly, you can write an eBook yourself and advertise it on your blog and to your mailing list. If you have a large readership and you can offer them an eBook that matches their interests, you can make a big profit.
Don’t forget that writing an eBook is free (or low-cost) since there’s no publishing involved and you can DIY the whole process.
Do you have a skill that your audience could benefit from? There’s potential to create a helpful course about anything from knitting to building the best ferret play den.
Some websites are 100% membership-based, and their whole business model revolves around it. If you already have a blog, you can find a middle ground: consider creating a section of members-only content. You can include helpful articles, graphics, templates, printables or any goodies for your members to download.
By subscription service, I mean offering a service that requires a recurring payment to keep accessing it. For example, if you’re a good photographer, you can offer a library of stock photos that you take. Subscribers would pay a monthly fee to access your stock photos and be able to use them on their blog.
Creating physical products is more involving. Below, I listed a few of the simplest ways of achieving this for bloggers. They involve some external help, but you can promote your products on your blog.
Want to make T-Shirts with logos or designs you create yourself? It’s easier than ever with a company like Teespring. You can go through the whole process online and let them handle everything for you, from printing the shirts to shipping them.
Do you have any skills when it comes to crafts, handmade items, or anything artsy? You can sell anything from handmade skincare to custom blog logos to jewelry on Etsy. Create your Etsy store and use your blog to promote it!
If you’re a talented designer, you can use Society6 to help you create objects with your designs on them. They can put your designs on everything from mugs to pillowcases to iPhone cases. Go create products, and show your readers your awesome work.
Your blog can act as a launchpad to other online opportunities.
Does talking about your favorite topics sound amazing to you? Podcasts are still huge and they’re not going anywhere. Podcasters make money through sponsorships. You can also include a podcast as part of your blog, making it easily accessible from every page.
Most of us are visual creatures. Blogging is great, but there’s something amazing about creating and watching video content. For one, it’s easier to form a stronger bond with your audience via YouTube.
Do you know who else loves video content? Google. Since they own YouTube, it’s not surprising that so many Google search results are on YouTube.
If your Instagram audience is through the roof, brands will offer you paid post opportunities. Some Instagrammers make a complete living off of the platform. If your numbers aren’t there yet, it might be a good idea to grow it. Hopefully you’ll use your influence for good and not for *cough* detox tea.
When you blog about a certain topic long enough, you’re considered an expert in that field. If you love writing (which you probably do if you’re a blogger!), go see if your favorite blogs or online magazines accept contributors. Many do, and they pay per article.