How Do Bloggers Make Money? Income Sources of Successful Bloggers
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How do bloggers make money anyway?
You may have heard that normal everyday people are becoming full-time “bloggers” and that they are actually making good money! I recently shared how much money bloggers make (ranging from $2,000 a month to over $100,000 a month!).
I'll give it to you straight. How do bloggers make money? Typically a blogger earns money in one of the following 11 ways:
- Display ads
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored Posts
- Create an Online Course
- Create a software product
- Services the blogger offers
- Start a conference
- Create a membership site
- Podcast Sponsorships
- YouTube ad revenue
- Email Marketing
Now that I've given you the full list of how bloggers make money, I want to dive into a more detailed explanation of each income opportunity. I'll also provide some examples of successful blogs that are making money with the ways discussed.
When bloggers start getting more and more traffic to their site, they can make money from advertising on their sites. You've seen the ads in the sidebar of sites or in the articles (like the example above).
The above example is from a food blogger, but the same type of display appears would appear for a travel blogger with a travel blog or a personal finance blog. (Different ads but some type of placements, etc).
Advertisers will usually pay on a per click or per view basis. So, a blogger will make money when a visitor either views or clicks an ad.
Google Adsense is the most common pay per click ad network that aspiring bloggers get started with.
As a blogger meets certain blog traffic thresholds they can move to ad networks like Adthrive, Mediavine, or Ezoic. These 3 ad networks all pay on a per view basis.
A typical RPM is anywhere between $10 and $20. RPM is Revene Per Mil – or revenue per 1,000 ad views.
Getting started with display advertising is extremely easy and you don't have to negotiate with all the advertisers on your site. Once you are approved with Adthrive, Mediavine, or Ezoic you simply place a small piece of code on your site and the advertising “magically” happens.
You just collect your checks at the end of each month!
Display advertising is not joke! Some bloggers are making well over $10,000 a month from display ads alone and this is definitely the most common way for bloggers to make money.
Recommending other products through affiliate marketing is another blog monetization strategy. If a reader clicks an affiliate link and then purchases a product on a 3rd party website, the blogger will make a commission for that sale.
Amazon Associates is probably the most common affiliate network that seasoned and new bloggers join to make money from. However, there are THOUSANDS of other affiliate network or individual companies offering affiliate products to promote.
Here's a list of some of the best affiliate programs out there.
Some of the most common affiliate networks are:
- Commission Junction
- Share a Sale
- Impact Radius
- Flex Offers
- Shop Her Media
This is just a very small list of hundreds of affiliate networks that exist.
Companies will pay bloggers to write about their products. These sponsored posts can be quick lucrative for bloggers as an extra income source.
Walmart, Hasbro, Zatarain's, and just about every large company has an influencer budget. These companies pay big bucks to be mentioned by bloggers through sponsored posts.
The amount a blogger can make per sponsored post will vary depending on how much traffic their blog gets and how large their social media following is.
However, a typical sponsored post will range anywhere from $100 to $10,000; with around $500 to $1,000 being a more typical type post for a moderately successful blogger.
Large companies will also pay for shoutouts of Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, or other social media networks. These quicker sponsored posts for social only typically will pay less; around $25 to $200.
However, prices all depend on the size of your audience and how targeted your readers are to a particular company offering the sponsored opportunity.
A few of the best influencer networks where you can find sponsored post opportunities are:
- Social Native
- Valued Voice
- Tap Influence
- She Savvy
- Acorn Influence
- Massive Sway
Create an Online Course
A very popular way for bloggers to make money is to start an online course. This course might be how to create a certain craft or it might be how to start a blog!
The possibilities are endless for online courses. If your readers are passionate about a particular subject that you happen to be good at or experienced in, then odds are that you might have an opportunity to sell your knowledge.
Many bloggers are often shocked how much money they can start making by selling their own course. Bloggers that build a loyal following truly have raving fans.
And if you create something that really provides value in the form of a course, those fans will gladly pay good money for that product.
You can see an example of course that sells extremely well, called Authority Site System. This teachers people how to start authority sites (and authority blogs) and make money from them.Check out the Authority Site System here.
Create a Software Product
Wait, a blogger can also be a software developer?!
In fact, I started blogging back in 2010 and in 2011, I created my first software product called Long Tail Pro. On NichePursuits.com, I blog about how to start a niche website and basically everything related to that.
As a result, I was doing lots of keyword research and felt like there had to be a faster and easier way to find keywords. So, I hired a software developer and built the software tool.
And who did I sell that software tool to? Well, my blog audience of course!
So, I'm not some extra tech savvy person, I invested in having a software tool built for me that was very targeted to a problem that my blog audience had. You could follow the same process of finding a pain point that your audience is having and then solving it through software or a mobile application.
In the second full-year after creating my software tool, Long Tail Pro, it started making six figures a year. And it made me over $100,000 a year until I sold that business in 2016 for a life changing amount of money.
Yes, I was able to sell Long Tail Pro as a separate business, and I am still able to keep my blog…NichePursuits.com!
Now, I'm seeking to replicate that success with another software tool for my blog audience, a tool called Link Whisper. (This tool helps bloggers and niche website creating build internal links much faster and easier).
Bottom line is that many other bloggers have also created software tools to monetize their blog audience, and you can potentially do the same thing.
If you blog about a certain activity that people are trying to accomplish, you can potentially just offer that activity for a service fee to your readers.
For example, I know that the guys over at Niche Website Builders originally started out just blogging. Then they started offering link building and content creation services and now that has become core to their business.
A digital marketing blog could then offer digital marketing services.
Another example is Jon Loomer. His blog started really as a way for him to share everything he was learning about creating and optimizing Facebook ads.
He then started offering courses to teach others how to set up and optimize their own Facebook ads. These courses have made him a lot of money.
But he also took the final step and now offers the service of directly helping you set up and optimize your Facebook ads. This one-on-one service has helped him expand his business even further.
So, think about what issues your blog readers might be having and if there is some sort of service that you can offer them directly as a “Done for You” service.
Start a Conference
Bloggers that truly are influencers have the opportunity to bring people together. This often happens in blog comments, in Facebook groups, and other places online.
However, many bloggers have made the transition to holding in-person conferences. There is something special about being able to meet in person with like-minded individuals at a conference.
This is not only a great way for a blogger to meet their audience face to face, but it can also be a great revenue stream as well.
Steve Chou is the founder at the ever-popular blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com. Steve already makes money from display ads, affiliate revenue, and sells his own courses.
But as a way to even expand his business further, he started a conference a few years ago called Seller Summit. I've personally been to this conference a couple of times and I met some amazing people at this conference.
I was more than happy to pay a few hundred dollars in order to meet with like minded people in the same industry as me. I don't know how profitable the conference has been for Steve, but between attendee fees, sponsorships, and other business opportunities, I'm sure he would consider it a success.
Scott Voelker is another blogger and podcaster that started holding live events as a way to further monetize their audience as well. His Brand Creators Live event was a way for him to further connect and grow his audience.
Many other bloggers have also started conferences which can not only earn money, but can also be a great way of getting more exposure to your brand as well.
Create a Membership Site
When you have a raving audience, they will want to get more and more access to you and your content. If you don't want to sell a course or if you are looking for ideas that are in addition to a course, you can create a membership site.
A membership site could allow your audience to gain greater access to you to ask questions or greater access to the broader community to allow them to ask questions of each other.
You might create a membership offering that allows access to once a month calls with your private group and access to a membership forum or a private Facebook group where your readers can connect with you or your audience.
A membership site often works well as an add-on to a course.
In order to get podcast sponsorships, you first need to have a blog. However, it is VERY common for bloggers to eventually add a podcast as a marketing tool, so I felt like this was an appropriate option to add.
Like display advertising, you will make more money per sponsorship depending on how many listeners your blog has. So, how much money you can make from podcast sponsorships can vary significantly depending on the listenership and target audience.
A typical range for most newer podcasters is going to be around $100 to $300 per episode for sponsorships. As your audience grows, you might be able to entertain sponsorship rates of $500 to $1,000 per episode.
And if your blog becomes a huge hit, you can certainly start charging rates higher than that.
YouTube Ad Revenue
Many bloggers also start YouTube channels. YouTube is a great place to market your brand and to even grow your blog audience.
Although the truth is that people that are on YouTube tend to like to consume their content in video format, whereas blog readers tend to enjoy getting their content in written form. However, there will be some crossover.
I personally got into YouTube by accident. I would write articles for my blog and then every once in a while I would need to record a video in order to do a demonstration of how to set up a website or how to use a certain tool.
I needed a place to host these videos that were meant to be exclusively used on my blog.
The obvious place to host these videos was YouTube. As a result, I ended up posting videos to youtube for 7 or 8 years without ever trying to actually do anything directly for YouTube.
Now, this is definitely NOT the way to go about creating a valuable YouTube channel, but I now have about 8,000 subscribers and I'm even making a little bit of money from the YouTube partner program.
The less-lazy blogger would put a little more effort into creating videos that could rank well on YouTube and would have a much greater opportunity to earn ad revenue from YouTube.
Many channels that were started by bloggers now make well over $10,000 a month. And some bloggers have found so much success in video format that they are blogging less and less and even question if blogging is still relevant.
A perfect example of that is Pat Flynn. He essentially doesn't blog anymore, but he now posts to his YouTube channel almost daily.
So, if you get started with YouTube, be careful…it could become your next big thing!
If you have visitors coming to your blog, you are missing out if you are not giving people the opportunity to join your email list. In fact, your email list can even become more valuable than your blog itself.
I know that may sound odd, but if you end up with 50,000, or more subscribers on your email list you have a VERY powerful asset. Imagine emailing 50,000 people that know and like your content that you have a new course out?
Even at conservative conversion rates, you can make a lot of money.
So, you can use your email list to promote your own products like courses, software tools, conferences, and much more.
But you can also sell ad space in your emails as well. You can sell ad spots for a few hundred dollars or even a few thousands dollars per ad mention or sponsored spot.
The Morning Brew is a well known company that built their entire business around an email newsletter. They didn't even really have a blog or anything else.
They just built up a huge email list to millions. Now major companies pay top dollar to get mentioned in the Morning Brew newsletter.
How lucrative can email marketing be? Well, The Morning Brew recently sold to Business Insider for a rumored $75 million.
Time to go build that email list!
So, How Do Bloggers Make Money?
As you can see bloggers make money in a variety of ways. The most common is certainly display ads, affiliate revenue, and selling courses.
However, a blog can be a launching pad to so much more including in-person conferences, software tools, and even 7 figure exits.
If you haven't started your blog yet, I highly recommend you check out our full guide on how to start a blog right here. Or if you are ready to get started right away, you will first need hosting to get your blog live.
Bluehost is currently offering a free domain name when you sign up for hosting right here.
If you want to see some examples of income reports of bloggers making money blogging, check out my recent post here.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about online business, blogging, and building niche sites then I highly recommend that you join my newsletter right here.
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