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how do bloggers make money

One of the biggest questions I get asked all the time is how do bloggers make money?

There are actually several ways that bloggers make money. Bloggers make money through affiliate sales, sponsored posts, ads, and selling their own goods and services. Most big-time bloggers (and small-time ones as well) use a combination of these monetization methods.

Two things to keep in mind before we go over the 4 Monetization forms there are passive income streams and active income streams. A passive income stream tends to mean you do the work one time and then continue to make money off that work for months (and sometimes years!) on end. Active income is work that you do once and that you get paid for one time.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post most likely contains affiliate links. I earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. 

How to Make Money Blogging: Affiliate Products

Selling affiliate products is one of the easiest ways to start making money in the beginning. Selling affiliate products is very common. You have probably bought affiliate products in the past. Basically, an affiliate product link is anytime a blogger links to a product they love and it takes the reader to another site on which they can purchase that item.

Some Common Affiliate Sales Companies include

Amazon Associates

ShareASale— ShareASale has 100’s of merchants to choose from with varying levels of commission percentages and cookie lengths. It is free to sign up with ShareASale.

Important things to know about affiliate marketing:

Commission: Affiliate sales work through commission. The blogger (you) gets a small commission off of each qualifying purchase. For Amazon Associate, this commission ranges from 1% and 10%. The commission on most things is pretty small. However, the nice thing about Amazon is that you earn a commission off of almost anything that someone buys when clicking to Amazon from your blog even if they don’t buy the product you were selling. This can add up!

Cookie Duration: A cookie is like a digital tracker that gets placed on your web browser that tells a website that you clicked on someone’s affiliate link. The longer the cookie duration the better for you. Companies that give you a 6-month cookie are really good because that means if someone clicked on your link and didn’t decide to buy anything that day but decided to buy that product next week or even 4 months from now, you will still get that commission. (As long as they didn’t click on another bloggers affiliate link after you).  For reference, Amazon Associates cookie window is only 24 hrs long.

 Money Making Beginner Tip: Be sure your affiliate disclosures are clear and easy to find. This usually means at the beginning of the post, and often before or after the link as well.


The Upside and Downside of Affiliate Marketing

The Upside:

You can start making money pretty quickly. Signing up for affiliate programs is simple and straight-forward. Linking products is simple and easy!

The Downside:

You do need some consistent traffic to start making any large amount of money. The most common advice I see is that you will need 10k page views before you can start making any decent amount of money. This, of course, depends on your niche, your commission percentage, and cookie duration.


Beginner Blogger Tip

Be sure your affiliate disclosures are clear and easy to find. This usually means at the beginning of the post, and often before or after the link as well.


Make Money Blogging Pro Tip

Seek out higher paying affiliate products that have longer cookie durations and higher commission percentages and link as often as you can without sounding sales-ey! 

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How to Make Money Blogging: Ads

Ads are the most passive form of income for blogs. But ads can be a tricky thing to navigate. Too many ads make your website look spammy, and not enough ads will make you very little money. It takes a significant amount of traffic to make any decent amount of money on ads. Expect to make around $50-$100 per 10,000 monthly pageviews. Of course, this can vary but this tends to be an accurate general estimate. 

Read: How to Increase Blog Traffic

Things to know when picking your ad network.

  • Most ad networks utilize a PPC (pay per click) commission.
  • Some ad networks require a minimum amount of page views or sessions before they will accept your blog
  • Most ad networks will require you to make a minimum amount, say $100 before they will pay you

The Upside and Downside of Ads

The Upside:

Ads are 100% passive income. You can sign up with Ad companies that do all the work of placing ads on your site. You literally do not have to do anything.

The Downside:

The downside of ads is that the payout is extremely low. You need a lot of traffic to make any kind of decent money off of ads. Ads can also make a beautiful professional site look incredibly spammy.

Some Common Ad Networks Include:

How to Make Money Blogging: Sponsored Posts

Sponsored Posts are another really common way that bloggers make money. A sponsored post is when an advertiser pays you to write a post reviewing their product or service. I personally have never done a sponsored post and I don’t want to give you false information so let me direct you over to this well written and informative post all about Sponsored Posts.

Here is a list of common Sponsored Post/ Influencer Websites you can create a profile on to get started. *We have not worked with any of these companies personally.

The Upside and Downside of Sponsored Posts

The Upside:

The great thing about sponsored posts is that you can make a decent chunk of change from writing one blog post. You write your post, promote it, and get paid! It’s simple. This is the most straightforward way to make money online. You know exactly how much you will make and about how long it will take to create the content.  

The Downside:

The bummer about this form of income is extremely active. You make money the one time. It doesn’t matter if traffic continues flocking to that post, you already got paid for it. If you want to get paid for a sponsored post again you will have to write another one.

Tip: How to Write Amazing Blog Content

How to Make Money Blogging: Selling Your Own Products/Services

Selling your own products and services on your blog is the fastest way to start making money off your blog. Selling ebooks, courses, printables, and guides can be a passive income form right from the very beginning. You will put in a decent amount of work on the front end but afterward all you have to do is worry about marketing your product and driving sales.

The Upside and Downside of Selling your Own Products and Services

The Upside:

Income can be passive once you get the ball rolling. Selling a $12 ebook is going to make you more money than selling a $100 Amazon product simply because you are making 100% of the sale.

The Downside:

There is a significant amount of work that has to be done to sell an ebook or printable. If you have a lot of time to work on your blog and business you might be able to bust out an ebook in less than a month but if you are like most bloggers and are trying to replace your income before quitting your day job you will be burning a lot of the midnight oil before you manage to get an ebook, course or printable ready to sell.

How to Make Money Blogging: Combination Method

Or if you are like most bloggers you can use a combination of the above methods to make an income.  Chances are multiple income streams will probably be right for you! Which one(s) will you choose? 

Why Spark Your Blog?

We have been where you are! We got married, overspent, had a baby, and felt like we were drowning in student loan debt, bills, and every day expenses. Starting our first blog changed everything! With my little mommy blog, I was bringing in over 1k a month in less than a year with pretty minimal effort and maintenance  (after I got the blog off the ground that is!)

That could be you too! If you have a few extra hours to spare each week think about what that extra income can do for you! And if you work really hard you can turn blogging from a side hustle into a full-time gig! It's possible!

So stop dreaming and start doing!

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