Have you ever wondered how bloggers earn their money or how you could make money with blogging? Blogging is my favourite hobby and super fun and rewarding. I would do it for free! However, the most alluring benefit from blogging may be its nearly unlimited earning potential. Let me be honest, blogging is no get-rich-quick scheme and comes with tons of effort. Yet once established, a blog becomes a profitable source of passive income that can be upscaled to make £100,000s per year. This allows many bloggers to stay home and spend time with their families or to set themselves other challenges. And you could be one of them.
To ensure Monethalia remains free of charge, this post contains affiliate links.
Requirements to make money with blogging
Before you can start to rake in £1,000s, you will need to buy a domain and hosting. While a free blog would appear to be more enticing in the beginning, these do not allow any monetisation. Hence, a self-hosted blog is crucial and my free guide shows you how you can set this up with little effort and money.
Secondly, be aware that blogging takes time. And becoming successful takes even longer. Making money with blogging starts with a lot of work. You will need to choose a theme, develop a brand, write the first posts, etc. Once this is done, there is more work. You will need to spend time on search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing. The good point about this is that once you are good to go, blogging becomes considerably less effort.
In terms of profit, it may take a long time until you reach your target. Monethalia started out with the modest goal to recuperate the hosting and domain cost within the year. I have already surpassed this after five months, but I still think you should be prepared to work for free for half a year. It is always better to be cautious than having unrealistic expectations.
Ways to make money with blogging
Running adverts on your blog is unlikely to make you rich. In fact, advertising income can be quite pitiful for new bloggers. So far, Monethalia has made ~£4 revenue from Google Adsense which comes to just over a pound per month. If I plastered ads all over the place, I would certainly earn more. However, this would also negatively affect the user experience. Imagine four or five pop-ups appearing while you are reading this sentence. You would not like this and neither would I! This is why my advert income is so low: the benefits do not outweigh the drawbacks.
Why do bloggers still bother running ads? There are two key reasons. Firstly, once your blog receives more traffic (~25,000 sessions per month), you can wave goodbye to Google Adsense. Ad networks such as Mediavine pay far better and averages $10 to $25 per 1,000 impressions.
The second key advantage of ads is that they are an entirely passive source of income. You simply set up your account, decide where you want your ads to be and that is it. Ads are the most hassle-free income source you will find. This is the only reason why you will see ads on Monethalia. At my current rate, it will take me about four years until I will actually get the money (Google Adsense has a minimum payout amount of £60), but I do not need to do anything to get there.
How to get started
Signing-up to Google Adsense is simple and only takes a few minutes. You then have to connect your website to your Adsense account by adding a bit of code into your website header. Once you have reached the payout threshold, you will be sent a PIN to verify your address.
Affiliate marketing is the main way I make money with blogging. It means I place links to products and services that I like and think of as useful to my readers in my articles. When someone uses my link to sign-up or buy something, I receive a small commission (~5-30% of the purchase price). The person being referred does not pay extra for this and may receive a sign-up bonus or discount. Even if you are not a blogger, affiliate marketing is a profitable side hustle. You can find my free guide on how to get started here.
Affiliate marketing requires slightly more effort than running ads but is also likely to be more profitable. The key difficulty is to find products or services that actually benefit your readers, fit with your niche and blog content, and have an affiliate scheme. Recommending junk may work in the short term, but is not sustainable in the long term. Equally, recommending gardening tools on a finance blog would confuse people more than it would do any good.
The benefits of affiliate marketing are that, most importantly, you are helping people. There are many products and services that can make people’s lives easier but they do not know about them. Additionally, the amount of money you can earn from affiliate marketing is essentially unlimited. As with adverts, affiliate links do not require ongoing management and thus become a passive income source.
How to get started
You can contact companies whose services and products you already use to find out whether they offer an affiliate program. Often googling “company name affiliate program” is sufficient. You should also join affiliate networks. ShareASale is the most popular program and they work with a huge range of companies to suit every niche.
Sponsored blog content usually means getting paid to write a blog post. Most commonly, you will be asked to give an honest review or a service in exchange for money and/or a free sample of the product. Unlike advertising and affiliate marketing, this is not a passive income and requires you to be active. Therefore, you are limited in how much you can earn as this strongly depends on how much time you have. However, you also have more control over how much you earn. You do not have to wait for readers to click your links, instead, you can actively seek out sponsored content opportunities.
How to get started
If you are lucky, a brand will simply find you and reach out to you with their offer. However, this is unlikely to happen if you are still at the beginning of your blogging career. Therefore, you may wish to start by contacting relevant companies. To find potentially interested companies, you can look at other blogs in your niche and what kind of sponsored post they have published. You can also use a platform such as ValuedVoice that connects influencers and sponsors.
Offering other services
You can use your blog as a tool to promote all kinds of services and products. Common services that bloggers offer include freelance writing and consulting. Products commonly sold by bloggers include spreadsheets, budget planners and other printables. The rationale for developing your own goods is that there is a huge potential for income. Think of it this way: If you place affiliate links, you will only earn 5-30% of the purchase price as commission. If you sell your own services/products, you will earn 100% (minus platform fees if applicable).
On the downside, you have to put in effort into developing and marketing such a service/product. The marketing part can be outsourced easily, for example, you could develop your own affiliate scheme. If you pay your affiliates 20% commission, you would still be left with 80% of the purchase price. Depending on what you offer, your product could thus be a passive income source. Note that services such as coaching would require you to be more active (but you can charge a higher price).
How to get started
Start by figuring out which services are appropriate for your reader. Then, consider what skills you have or what skills you can see yourself gaining. You do not need to be an expert at anything but be prepared to do a lot of research. To get some ideas, you can look at what other bloggers in your niche are offering. You cannot copy their work of course, but you can develop something better.
Once you have decided on a product or a service, think about how you can sell it to your audience. If you are developing a course, you may want to host it on teachable. If you are selling printables, you can integrate a shop into your blog. Should you plan to offer consulting or coaching services, developing a landing page would be a good start.
If you are offering value to your readers (which is the purpose of most blog posts anyway), then there is nothing wrong with simply asking for compensation. But because people are used to finding things online for free and do often not think about the time and effort it takes to write a blog post, few will actually donate. Donations will therefore unlikely to cover your blog costs and provide a full-time income, but you can easily add a donate button as another stream of income to your blog.
How to get started
Adding a donate button to your blog is simple and there are a variety of WordPress plugins you can use. PayPal Donations is currently the most popular plugin. Personally, I like Buy Me A Coffee as it increases the likelihood of someone donating. With normal donate buttons, people will think £5 is the lowest they can get away with but Buy Me A Coffee highlights that small amounts are totally fine too.
Combining income streams
The beauty of blogging is that you can combine all ways to make money with blogging to have multiple income streams. I do not know any blogger who relies solely on advertising revenue and neither do I know anyone who only makes a living from sponsored blog content. Most bloggers draw their income from all the aforementioned sources. This also means that if, for example, their affiliate links all stop working, they have other income sources to fall back on.
How to get started
When setting up multiple income streams, it is important to focus on each method one by one. For example, you may want to start with placing advertisements on your blog. To do so, you may wish to read articles about where to place ads, how to avoid being too intrusive, etc. Take your time and learn. After some time has passed, analyse which ads were the most successful and adjust your strategy. Only when you are completely happy with your ad placements should you move on to add the next income stream. I recommend this method as it is better to have one working source of income than five half-heartedly set up and underperforming income sources.
Ways to make money with blogging summary
Making money with blogging is easy and you can set-up multiple income streams to maximise your profit. Most commonly, bloggers make money through
- running ads
- placing affiliate links
- writing sponsored content
- developing their own products or services
- accepting donations
The success you will have with each method will depend on your niche. However, I recommend trying them all!
Blogging is a very profitable side hustle and if you are ready, you can follow my free guide to set up your own blog. Using my link to sign-up will give you a special discount. If you are looking for other side hustles that provide a regular and sustainable income, you may want to read about 10 ways to make £1,000+ a month.
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