How Bloggers Make Money: 10 Ways To Get Paid In 2021

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I'm a Certified Health Coach, longtime blogger, and host of Elizabeth Eats on YouTube. In addition to writing recipes (I love to eat!), I'm a strong believer that life is too short to settle for anything less than living your best life.


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how bloggers make money online

There is so much advice out there around how bloggers make money online, but not very much of it is from someone who has actually done it.

Well, I’m here to change that!

I’m here to walk you through the best ways to make money off your blog and share what’s worked for me. I’ve personally made money with seven of the ten ways listed on this post. I left my corporate job for the blogging and online world and never looked back. In fact, I worked for one of the biggest professional services firms in the world, and blogging has paid me more than my corporate job ever would have.

How do bloggers make money from a blog? Common ways bloggers make money from a blog are ads, selling products, affiliate marketing, and teaching online courses. These ideas are only a few of the ways you can monetize after you start your blog.

Careful, though! What I recommend is starting with simply one of the strategies I recommend here. You’ll spread yourself way too thin if you try to incorporate all of them at once—even I don’t use all 10. Eventually, you can work your way up to 2 or 3 of these ideas.

Many of these tips are ways you can make money 24/7, too. Yes, that means even while you’re not actively working. Read through this list to learn how bloggers make money and decide which tip works best for your personal blog and brand. I know one will stand out.

get paid blogging

1. Create An Online Course

Think about the unique skills you have and create an online course to teach them.

For me, that was food and wellness. You all know I’m passionate about a balanced approach to health and that I love creating easy nutritious recipes. I put in the hustle to create an online space where we’re all learning how to become healthier and happier.

Since then, I’ve created multiple courses focused on helping people build their own blogs. In fact, over 12,000 people have enrolled in my online programs!

If you have technical expertise around blogging, like website design or backend development, those areas are in high demand for beginning bloggers who want to take a DIY approach.

Come up with tutorials and courses that deliver clear results. You want a course that a start-up blogger can point to as the start of their success story.

2. Memberships Or Subscriptions

Many bloggers make money using online courses as a jumping-off point for paid memberships or subscriptions to deliverables. Popular options include paid email newsletters, personal coaching sessions, or even art prints mailed to your home.

This option is great for bloggers who want to take a coaching-style strategy to their readership base and promote their services in an ongoing learning model.

A great example of this is Social Squares. Their membership plans offer access to beautiful images that are refreshed monthly, and customizable caption templates for those starting online businesses.

Keep in mind that you need to be on the ball with monthly, high-quality content since that’s what your subscribers are paying for. If you’re newer to content creation, this can feel like a lot of pressure.

I’d suggest starting with an online course first and seeing how that feels before diving into a more high-maintenance income stream.

3. Content Marketing & eBooks

Selling eBooks and online content you create may seem like a tough sell. There’s just so much out there that’s free for users to read and consume.

Giving freebies to visitors to your blog can be a wise strategy. Show them what they’d be missing first to get them acquainted with the high-quality content you’re putting out there.

After that, create eBooks within similar topics that you’ll put up for purchase, promoting them on your email list and blog, or from your sidebar to your eCommerce shop. You can also learn from marketers around the web about creating a great eBook.

Products can be delivered right to a user’s inbox or via a download. How much you charge for those products is really up to you, but don’t devalue yourself.

Consider getting creative with pricing. I recommend pricing your product between $17-$19 or $27-$29.

There’s something to be said about consumer behavior when prices end in the numbers 7 or 9. This is a theory that’s been around for years among those who study psychological pricing. I’ve tested both ending prices in a 7 or 9 and to be honest I don’t think it matters.

Consumers just feel like they’re getting more of a deal when they see those numbers at the end of a price. If it helps you make a few extra sales, why not try it out?

4. Paid Brand Influencer Deals

Bloggers with a well-defined niche and personal brand can seek out brand & influencer partnerships. This is where a brand pays you to blog about their product. You’ll want to be sure that you seek out partnerships that you believe in and are relevant to your readers.

You don’t need to wait for partnerships to come to you, either. Reach out to brands you already know and love for sponsored posts. Market yourself!

There are 2 caveats here:

  • You have a legal responsibility to disclose any paid partnerships featured on your blog. Do that with a clear disclosure statement at the top of the blog post (or podcast or YouTube video) featuring the sponsorship.
  • You will need a following before you can secure well-paying partnerships. The brand will want to see your metrics to find out how many viewers will see their products.

5. Write Blog Posts For Other Bloggers

If writing SEO-optimized content brings you joy and you’ve developed a knack for putting together ranking posts on a Google search, you can share that expertise. Write paid blog posts for other bloggers.

This can take the form of ghostwriting, where you write under another blogger’s name, or writing with your name attached as a paid contributor. Writing blog posts for other bloggers is also a great option if you don’t want to be “the face,” but you really enjoy creating the content!

Putting together an excellent article for others may also spark something for your own blog content. It’s great to have a more steady source of income while still doing what you love.

6. Affiliate Marketing For Digital Products

Affiliate marketing is always on the list of tips for how beginner bloggers make money. The reason for this may be that there’s little effort to get going with affiliate campaigns, even for new bloggers.

When you become an affiliate for a product, that means you get a percentage of sales from that product when your users purchase it from your blog, newsletter, or social media promotion.

The strategy works best when you’re promoting products you already use.

Consider starting with your blogging platform. Big web hosting providers like Bluehost have generous affiliate programs for their partners. Investigate programs for each paid WordPress plugin you use, too.

Digital products will often have a higher revenue share than physical products, but you should shoot for a 50% revenue share on what you promote from other bloggers.

You’ll want to make sure what you’re promoting doesn’t compete with your own products, though. You don’t want to promote anything so similar that it could pull your users away from your own original work. Choose digital products that fit your audience and your brand.

For example: if you fell in love with a course that helped you run your WordPress blog, that would be an easy product to promote. You’re also building trust with your audience when you promote products that worked for you.

7. Affiliate Marketing For Physical Products

Depending on your niche, there may also be a number of physical products that are a natural fit for promotion on your blog.

The revenue share isn’t typically as high as with digital products from other creatives like you.

Promoting physical products that you’re already a fan of and mentioning in your blog posts is very little work for the potential of a regular payoff.

Hit the search engines and find programs for brands that you love. Some will be through partner programs that you’ll need approval for, while others will have their own dedicated affiliate groups that you’ll contact directly.

Commissions on successful affiliate purchases vary, but 10% is fairly generous for most programs. That’s what you’d get from Le Creuset, for example, if you’re a food blogger looking to promote their kitchen products.

You may see many bloggers using the Amazon Associates Program as their preferred affiliate network. The share you get from those affiliate products is very low, though.

Most purchases will result in a 1-3% commission after the most recent cuts to Amazon’s affiliate program rates. For example, if you’re a home improvement blogger, rates in that category fell from 8% to 3%.

You should investigate whether there are ways to create direct partnerships with products you love before signing on with a program for a product that you’re unfamiliar with.

Carefully consider which products you link to, and don’t throw affiliate links into a blog post just because you feel like you should. Keep in mind that you’re sending users away from your post to get to those links, too.

Here’s my guiding question: “Is the money I’ll make from this link worth my reader clicking away from my site?” Only you can decide, but it’s worth contemplating for each partnership.

8. Sell In A Digital Store

Crafty bloggers interested in selling physical products of their own can create a digital store. This may be prints of photos you’ve taken, handmade journals, aprons you sew, or date night kits. It’s totally up to you.

I’d suggest coming up with a spreadsheet to determine the cost of creating, shipping, and promoting those products before seeing a profit.

It may also be worth it to you to join forces with an outside company that works with bloggers who create their own products.

You’ll need to do the math to determine what’s most cost-effective for you. (And when you sell, don’t forget my pricing tip—end your product prices in 7 or 9!)

9. Freelance To Showcase Your Skills

There are bloggers out there who have quite a bit of previous experience in related areas. Many bloggers have been freelance writers, photographers, or graphic designers in the past.

If setting up your blog came easily to you, and you have time to do the same for others, consider selling those services on your blog.

If you love managing your newsletter, designing graphics for your site, or writing content that pops, set up a portfolio on your blog and showcase those skills to others looking for the same.

LinkedIn is a great place to find like-minded freelancers like you.

Posting your services on freelancing sites like Fiverr or Upwork is also an option, but those often take a commission of what you earn as part of their referral. It may be worth advertising on your own site or reaching out to people in your network to offer your services.

10. Ad Network

Ad networks are a popular monetization strategy for one big reason: After you set things up, it’s a truly passive income stream—and one of my personal favorites!

Depending on your ad network, you’ll get payouts one of three ways:

  • A cost-per-click (CPC) payout
  • A cost per mille (CPM) payout. This refers to the cost per thousand impressions.
  • A combination of both CPC and CPM.

My preferred ad networks are AdThrive or MediaVine. They’re better about suggesting ads for your target audience and connecting users with products that fit your brand better.

How many views do you need to make money blogging? If you have more than 100,000 page views per month, you should be making money blogging full-time.

AdThrive requires 100,000 page views per month to place ads on your page. MediaVine requires 50,000 monthly sessions, which comes out to about 60,000 page views per month. Don’t let those numbers scare you, though. If you follow my blogging best practices, you can get there in a matter of months.

In many niches, you can expect to make anywhere from $0.01 to $0.25 per page view. If you have 1,000 page views per month, that can mean an extra $10-$100 per month. If that doesn’t sound like a large amount of money, more traffic means more revenue.

If you’re nowhere near those numbers for the best ad networks and still building a successful blog, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. You can start off with Google AdSense with a new blog. You just won’t have as much control over the ads that appear on your site.

That means ads that appear may go against the standards you’ve set for yourself as a blogger and a brand, affecting the user experience. I don’t allow any ads promoting alcohol or salacious products through my ad network, for example.

How Bloggers Make Money: The Takeaway

Blogging requires more than just good luck to be successful. When you make a decision about monetizing your blog, you’ll need to consider which of these strategies fits your blog best as a small business.

You’ll also need to decide if you’re willing to put in the time and effort you need to create a successful blog. Blogging is a fulfilling career, but successful bloggers know that you need to build trust with readers to get the views and sales you want.

Do you need to be a full-time blogger to make money blogging? No, you do not need to be a full-time blogger to make money blogging. However, you’ll need to be posting each week consistently and spending considerable time building your online presence and brand.

My blog started out as a recipe archive. I wanted to share delicious ways to be healthier in a more practical way. The more I posted about things that I loved, though, the more people noticed.

Now that you know how bloggers make money, you will need to put in the work to build a presence online. It takes hard work to create new ways for people to find you and your domain name by adding value to your readers. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply plan ways to make a lot of money.

If you’re feeling inspired and want to learn more about creating a high-traffic blog that will make you money, I put together a step-by-step guide and blogging workshop to help you do just that.

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Hi, I'm Elizabeth

I teach you how to be healthier without extremes, so you can live more and obsess less.

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