Making money with a blog might sound too good to be true. But thousands of average, everyday people are quietly raking in impressive sums each month from their blogs.
In this comprehensive guide, we peel back the curtain on how money making blogs work. You’ll discover the various blogging business models, income streams, and strategies used by top earning bloggers.
Whether you want to replace your 9 to 5, make some extra cash on the side, or build a blogging empire, this guide has all the details. Let’s dive in and expose the truth about building a profitable blog from scratch.
How Do Blogs Make Money? The Top 8 Monetization Models
So how exactly are bloggers earning so much from what seems like simply sharing their thoughts online? The secret lies in the various income streams and monetization models leveraged by successful blogs.
Here are the top 8 ways blogs make money:
1. Display Advertising
One of the simplest ways blogs generate revenue is by displaying ads. Blogs receive money each time an ad is clicked or viewed. Top ad networks used by bloggers include:
- Google AdSense
The money earned depends on the blog’s niche and traffic volume. For example, a blog with 100,000 monthly visitors could make $1,000+ per month from AdSense.
2. Affiliate Marketing
In affiliate marketing, blogs earn commissions promoting other companies’ products. For each referral sale driven, blogs receive a percentage cut, usually 20-50%.
Affiliate programs are offered by sites like:
- Amazon Associates
- CJ Affiliate
A popular product review site earning $5,000 monthly could make an extra $1,000 from affiliate commissions.
3. Sponsored Posts and Advertorials
Sponsored posts involve writing about a brand or product for a fixed fee. Advertorials are written in an editorial style instead of overt ads.
Rates vary greatly based on the blog’s traffic and influence. A blog with 50,000 monthly visitors could charge between $250-$500 per sponsored post. An influencer blog with 500,000 visitors might charge $2,000+.
4. Sponsored Social Media Posts
Besides articles, bloggers can also get paid to promote brands through tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook updates, and other social media.
Again, rates vary based on follower counts. A blogger with 50,000 Instagram followers might charge $250 per post. One with 150,000 followers could charge $500 or more.
5. Video Content and Pre-Roll Ads
More blogs are capitalizing on video content, such as YouTube channels and TikTok. Videos allow bloggers to tap into another revenue stream – pre-roll ads played before each video.
YouTube pays 55% of ad revenue generated. A YouTuber with 100,000 monthly views could earn around $500 monthly. Those with 1 million+ views can make $2,500 or more per month.
6. Selling Online Courses or Ebooks
Many bloggers turn their knowledge into information products like ebooks, online courses, video tutorials, or membership sites. These provide another way to earn from their audience.
For example, an ebook could be priced at $20 with 50% profit margins, earning $10 per sale. A $200 online course could net $100 per enrollment.
7. Consulting Services
Bloggers can also sell their expertise through one-on-one consulting. Rates range from $100 per hour for newer bloggers up to $500 per hour for industry influencers.
Coaching packages are also popular, such as a 3-month program for a fixed monthly fee like $500 per month.
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8. Physical Products
Finally, some bloggers earn income selling physical products such as apparel, accessories, or tools related to their niche.
For example, a blogger could create custom t-shirts, water bottles, and gear featuring their blog brand and designs. Products carry high margins with sites like Teespring handling orders.
As you can see, there are numerous proven models for monetizing a blog. Most successful blogs leverage several income streams for diversified earnings.
Next, let’s look at the 10 step formula for growing an income producing blog from the ground up.
The 10 Step Blueprint for Building a Profitable Blog
Here is the methodology that top bloggers use to grow their sites into thriving businesses:
Step 1: Choose a Profitable Niche
Your blog’s niche directly impacts how easily you can monetize it. Some niches simply offer more opportunities to earn.
What makes a profitable niche? Here are the key factors to consider:
- Search volume – Higher search volume indicates more people actively seeking information on the topic and greater potential traffic reach. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to assess.
- Competitors – Moderate competition is good. Too many means it will be hard to stand out. Too few could indicate lack of interest.
- Monetization fit – Ensure your niche lends itself to the income models outlined earlier like affiliate marketing and selling digital products.
- Passion – Choose a niche you genuinely enjoy and care about. This leads to better content and authority over time.
Ideally, your niche should check all boxes – search volume, competition, monetization options, and personal passion.
Step 2: Pick the Right Blogging Platform
Your blogging platform forms the foundation for everything you’ll build. While Blogger and Tumblr are options, WordPress far outstrips them in features and scalability.
Pros of WordPress:
- Open source and free.
- Powerful customization with themes and plugins.
- Easy to use, even for beginners.
- Scales to handle huge traffic.
- Own your content and data.
Self-hosted WordPress lets you buy a custom domain name and control the whole site. WordPress.com is more limited but still excellent for starting out.
Step 3: Get Your Blog Online
Once you pick WordPress, it’s time to get set up. Here’s a quick guide:
- Buy domain name and web hosting. Recommended hosts are Bluehost and SiteGround.
- Install WordPress via auto-installer on hosting account.
- Choose a premium theme for design and functionality.
- Install essential plugins like Yoast SEO, Google Analytics, security plugins.
- Configure settings – site title, time zone, permalinks, etc.
- Create a free account at WordPress.com.
- Choose your blog name and free subdomain (yourblog.wordpress.com).
- Select a free theme. Limited customization options though.
- Install free plugins available. Upgrade to premium plan for more features.
- Configure account and blog settings.
With these steps complete, your blog is officially online! Now the real work begins.
Step 4: Create Valuable Content Consistently
Content is king when building any blog’s authority and traffic. Focus on creating high-quality content that solves readers’ problems and answers their questions.
Here are the keys to effective blog content:
- Address search intent – Optimize content for what people are searching for in your niche. Use Google Keyword Planner and Google Suggest.
- Feature targeted keywords – Include a primary keyword or keyphrase in each post title. Mention it in the introduction and 2-3 times naturally throughout the post.
- Length – Shoot for at least 1000+ word in-depth posts. Longer, comprehensive content performs better.
- Engaging style – Write helpful, informative content that builds trust and makes readers want to stay and read more.
- Multimedia – Include relevant images, stats, tweets, videos and infographics to reinforce points.
- Actionable takeaways – Provide concrete tips, steps, or action items readers can implement right away.
- Promote content amplification – Encourage social shares, links to your content, comments, and discussion to amplify reach.
Post at least 2-3 times per week initially to build traction and search visibility. Later increase to daily posts as you’re able.
Step 5: Promote Content and Build Backlinks
Besides great content, you need promotion and backlinks to grow your blog:
- Share new posts on social media.
- Engage with your audience in comments.
- Promote content in relevant online communities.
- Pitch and syndicate content to build backlinks from other sites.
- Participate as a guest on other blogs and podcasts.
- Build relationships with influencers in your space.
- Leverage email lists, social shares, retargeting ads, and organic amplification.
Step 6: Set Up Email List and Offer Lead Magnet
An email list is vital for building relationships with readers and generating repeat traffic. Offer a lead magnet like a free ebook, toolkit, or course in exchange for emails.
Use a service like Mailchimp or ConvertKit to manage your list and send emails. Send 2-4 emails per month with blog updates, tips, and valuable offers.
Step 7: Start Monetizing with Affiliate Programs
Once you have traffic and an audience following along, it’s time to begin monetizing your blog. We suggest starting with affiliate marketing since it’s one of the easiest models to implement.
Find affiliate programs that align with your niche and promote relevant products or services. When readers click your links and make purchases, you earn commissions.
Add affiliate disclaimers and disclosures to comply with FTC guidelines. Track sales and optimize promotions based on performance.
Step 8: Diversify Income Streams
Next, build on your initial success with affiliate marketing by incorporating other monetization models:
- Sell ads – Sign up for mediation networks like Google AdSense, Media.net, and Ezoic. Place ads strategically within post content.
- Sponsored posts – Pitch brands you mention for paid sponsorships and advertorials.
- Digital products – Create your own ebooks, online courses, webinars etc. and sell to your audience.
- Services – Offer consulting, coaching, freelancing related to your expertise.
Having multiple income streams makes your blog less susceptible to issues affecting any one model.
Step 9: Analyze Metrics and Optimize
Continuously analyze your blog’s performance and opportunities for improvement:
- Review analytics – traffic volume, referral sources, pages per visit, bounce rates, etc.
- Assess keyword rankings in search engines to improve visibility.
- Identify reader interests based on popular content to create more of.
- Test new posting schedules, email sequences, and promotions.
- Survey readers directly for feedback.
Tweak tactical elements of your blog to boost engagement and returns from monetization efforts.
Step 10: Expand Your Authority
With an established, profitable blog, you can expand your business and authority:
- Launch additional content properties – podcast, YouTube channel, courses etc.
- Create products and services to sell.
- Host your own events – conferences, meetups, bootcamps.
- Pursue opportunities for partnerships, sponsorships and media.
- Build an influencer brand with yourself as the face.
- Flip your blog for an exit. Most blogs sell for 24-36x monthly earnings.
Following this 10 step blueprint, anyone can create a successful money making blog within 12 months. Now that you know the formula, it simply takes consistent work over time.
Next let’s answer some common questions people have about building profitable blogs from scratch.
Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Money Making Blog
1. Do I need to be an expert to start a profitable blog?
No, you don’t need to be an industry expert or thought leader to start a money making blog. Many successful bloggers began sharing their knowledge as average people who were passionate about a topic.
They learned and gained expertise through continuous research, content creation, and community engagement. Readers come to value your perspective as you blog more about a niche.
2. How long does it take to start making money from a blog?
It typically takes 6-12 months to start generating income from a new blog. You need time to create content, build traffic, and form relationships with readers before you can monetize effectively.
Most blogs don’t become full-time income sources for 1-2 years. Be patient, focus on value first, and the money will follow.
3. What expenses are involved in starting a blog as a business?
Minimal costs are needed to launch a basic blog. A domain name is around $15 per year. Hosting is about $7 per month. Premium themes cost $20-60.
Once established, you may incur costs for software, services, advertising, contractors, products, etc. But outside initial setup, blogs can be run very lean.
4. Is it better to be broad or niche focused when picking a blog topic?
We recommend starting with a narrow niche for maximum chance of success. It’s easier to dominate a specific niche rather than a crowded broad topic.
Once you gain authority in one niche, you can then expand into related topics or verticals. Many top blogs grow this way.
5. How important is social media for driving blog traffic?
Social media is enormously impactful for amplifying a blog’s reach. Focus first on creating amazing content.
Then promote it through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This exposes your content to built-in audiences which drives traffic.
6. What are essential plugins and tools I need for my WordPress blog?
Critical plugins include an SEO plugin like Yoast, Google Analytics for tracking, caching plugin to speed up load times, and a security plugin like WordFence.
Useful tools are Grammarly for proofreading, Canva for graphics, Mailchimp for email, and Ahrefs for backlink research.
We’ve now peeled back the curtain on the powerful but attainable model of making money through blogging. By following the steps outlined, you too can join the thousands earning impressive income from blogs.
It does take consistency, hard work, and patience to move from idea to established business. But with the right niche, smart strategy, effective execution, and persistence, you can build a profitable blog from the ground up.
The time to start is now. Pick a niche you’re passionate about, setup your blog, and begin creating amazing content. If you provide real value to others, the money will follow over time.
We hope this comprehensive guide provided the blueprint, insights, and motivation needed to turn your idea into a thriving money making blog. The world needs more people boldly sharing their knowledge and perspectives. Get out there and start your journey today!
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