This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series How to Start a Blog

Some people blog for fun and others do it as a way to bring in a little extra cash. There are even those people who replace a regular income with what they make from blogging, and a few rare people even far exceed their previous income. Here’s how to make money from your blog.How to Make Money From Your Blog

Is It Realistic to Make Money From a Blog?

While it is possible to make good money from your blog, it does take time and dedication on your part to get things going. There will be times when you’ll work late into the night and start again early the next morning but your efforts will be rewarded when you begin to reap the benefits of all your hard work.

For many people, blogging is a hobby or a way to earn side-gig income. For a few rare people, they work full time blogging.

When I first started my website, I was planning for it to be an online brochure for my speaking business. I honestly had little idea that people made money from blogs or that it would be a way to generate income for me. Yet the more I continued blogging, I discovered that people enjoyed reading my content, plus I could offer them high-quality products that would meet their needs while earning income for myself and my family. This is a win-win!

I’ve been blogging for three years now and my income this year was enough to be steady extra income each month. I expect that next year it will be equivalent to my part-time job income, and I have a goal of my blogging income being equal to full-time income the year after.

How Bloggers Earn Income

But exactly how do blogger generate income from their blogs? Most bloggers don’t make money from only one route, but rather a combination of income streams. Each income stream might not be huge, but put together it becomes significant. In the next section I’ll explain each income stream in greater detail.

Let me share a note about what does NOT earn bloggers money. I’ve had a couple people lately say to me, “I liked your Facebook page for you. I know people earn money when people click “like” on their Facebook page…” I’m here to dispel that myth. Followers on social media are important for many reasons, but having lots of followers or likes does not bring in any direct income.

Let me also share a helpful tip. One thing I’ve noticed is that when people start blogging for income, it all becomes so serious and some of the joy of blogging seems to be taken away. While I take my website seriously, and I do generate income that is helpful to my family, overall my goal is to have fun and enjoy what I’m doing. People are drawn to other people who are upbeat, relaxed, and having fun. Even if you think you are far away behind a computer screen, trust me that your attitude shines through in your blog in countless ways, so relax and enjoy the experience no matter the stage your blog is in, and you will be more likely to find success.

How to Make Money From Your Blog

It’s absolutely possible to earn income from blogging. The best way to secure a steady income is to plan for multiple income streams.

Here are some of the most common ways to make money from your blog:

  • AdvertisementsGoogle Adsense is one of the most popular advertisement companies, so it’s a good place for many people to start. Your website does not need to have a large following for Google Adsense to accept you, so this is another plus. When users click on the Google ads on your blog, you get paid a small fee. The more traffic you have, the more money you can potentially make. I used Google Adsense for a short time but I found the ads annoying so I switched to Gourmet Ads. I find that the payout is much higher and the ads are a higher quality. Click here to check out Gourmet Ads. Advertisements are a smaller income generator, especially in the beginning, but if you think you will use ads at some point, it’s a good idea to start with them from the beginning so your audience is used to seeing them.
  • Affiliate marketing – This is when you promote products or services offered by someone else in exchange for a commission on sales. Simply add links in your posts that lead to their sites and when readers use your link to buy something, you receive a commission for that sale. See below for more in-depth details about affiliate marketing. Second to my own products, affiliate marketing is my highest income source.
  • Freelance – Put your writing skills to work and bring in some extra cash. Many companies and individuals hire freelancers to write content for their sites but if you go this route, be prepared to work with tight deadlines. Some websites also pay guest bloggers to write articles, but most expect you to write for free in exchange for the exposure their website provides. Upwork is one company where you can list your freelance skills. I have also found writing jobs from Beyond Your Blog. Generally, I find that my time is better invested in writing for my own site but freelance writing is a helpful way to earn income when your own site isn’t yet generating much.
  • Sell your own products – When it comes to digital products, eBooks, workbooks, and courses are at the top of the list. My products are my top income generator. I have printable products and I also run an online fitness program for women, Faithful Finish Lines. You can also sell physical products. For example, if you’re great at crafts, you can make and sell unique craft pieces, either on your own site or a site like Etsy. I see my digital products through Send Owl and I host my online courses on Teachable. I have been thrilled with how smooth the process has been running our courses on Teachable. If you plan to create and host an online course, I highly recommend Teachable.
  • Use your expertise to make money – Charge a small membership fee and offer members special consulting or coaching classes where you share your experiences and knowledge of your niche with them.
  • Sponsored posts – Companies will send you free product and often pay per post for you to write a review or create a recipe using their product. The bigger your audience, the more you can charge for sponsored posts. Here are a couple companies I’ve used for sponsored posts: Socialix and Liquina, and here is an example of a sponsored post: ESV Illuminated Bible with Give Away

How to Make Money From Your Blog with Affiliate Marketing

Let’s discuss more details about affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is making a recommendation to your readers of products and courses you love. The most important aspect of affiliate marketing is choosing only products you know, trust, and can heartily recommend to your readers.

Each affiliate program works slightly differently, but generally you will be given a code or link unique to you that you can add to your site, and when readers click through your site you are given credit for a percentage of the sale.

If you use affiliate links of any type on your site, it’s important you include a disclosure according to FTC guidelines. Read more about FTC guidelines here.

Amazon affiliate links

One of the most common affiliate marketing programs for bloggers is Amazon.com. Amazon has a relatively small payout, but because they sell everything under the sun, it’s easy to add links to products and customers trust shopping there.

You’ll increase your income from Amazon by finding a few bigger ticket items to promote (currently Instant Pot is one of my biggest income generators on Amazon) and by increasing the overall traffic to your website in order to sell more smaller items.

If you choose to use Amazon for affiliate marketing, be sure to carefully read their guidelines. You cannot put affiliate links in emails or any other private location (such as a private Facebook group or membership part of your site.) You also need to put their disclosure clearly on your site.

In recent months I’ve been using Easy Product Display, which shows Amazon links like these:

Womens Funny Blogging T-Shirt Gift for a Blogger who Blogs Small NavyWomens Funny Blogging T-Shirt Gift for a Blogger who Blogs Small Navy

Easy Product Display creates a nice product display plus button for any Amazon, Zazzle, or Share a Sale links on your blog. There is a small monthly fee for this service, but for me it’s been worth it because I’ve seen a significant increase in sales since using Easy Product Display.
Easy Product Displays for Amazon and Zazzle Affiliates

Other Affiliate Linking Programs

There are many other products and programs that offer affiliate programs to bloggers. Here are a few I use with success.

Share a SaleShare a Sale offers linking opportunities to hundreds of companies and is easy to use. One company that has done really well for me as a Christian blogger is DaySpring.

Skim Links – Skim Links offers the opportunity to generate income from Walmart, Target, and other large retail establishments. The payout is small but using Skim Links is very easy. Skim Links also gives you the option that the program will skim your content and add links to any companies mentioned in your content you might have missed.

Awin – This marketing company offers affiliate programs to hundreds of companies, including Etsy.

E-Bates – Most cash back programs like E-Bates, Ibotta, and others offer referral programs. As a blogger, you have access to a wide range of people who might sign up, which brings you a commission.

Brands You Love – You may be surprised to discover a number of companies you use and love offer affiliate programs. Here are a few companies that have great affiliate programs that have been effective for me:

Digital products and courses

Affiliate programs for fellow digital content creators can be a huge way to earn extra income. For example, if an online course costs $250 and offers affiliates a 40% commission, that’s a $100 commission for each sale. We have affiliates for our Faithful Finish Lines program who earn significant income from helping us get the word out about our courses. Click here for more information about becoming a Faithful Finish Lines affiliate.

Start with one or two of the options above. When everything is running smoothly, add a couple more so you don’t have to rely on one source for all of your income.

If you are really serious about making income from your blog, the best course to teach you is Elite Blog Academy. It’s an investment for sure, but it walks you step-by-step through starting a blog or turning your blog into one that will be profitable. It only opens once per year, but you can get on the waiting list here for Elite Blog Academy plus get their free e-book.

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How to Make Money From Your Blog

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