I can’t even begin to tell you how often someone asks me how to make money blogging, and if a person can truly make money doing it. For some reason, everybody has the idea in their head that blogging is a scam, and if you somehow make money, it’s because you are cheating people out of their hard-earned cash with tricks and traps.
Blogging is the real deal and one of the most rewarding ways to make a lot of money online. But it’s not passive, as much as people want to convince you that it is. You are a writer, digital marketing professional, graphic designer, social media manager, web developer, and business owner all in one.
You are responsible for how much money you can make by how much effort you are willing to put into your blogging projects.
Believe me when I say that there are a ton of people making outstanding money month-after-month with blogging.
Let’s Get This Out of the Way: Do People Really Make Money Blogging?
Yes, there are many people who make money blogging, and contrary to popular belief, they are not special in any way. You don’t need a college degree or fancy titles after your name. All you need is confidence in yourself and your ability to make a good living.
But, don’t take my word for it.
- Michelle of Making Sense of Cents made over 1.5 million in 2018 with her blog.
- Lia and Jeremy from Practical Wanderlust made over $4300 in February of 2018.
- Holly at Club Thrifty made over 1 million dollars in 2019.
I could go on all day because it’s common to be making money blogging. Do a Google search for “blogging income reports,” and find out for yourself.
With that said, let me temper your enthusiasm and give you a few statistics so you can make an informed decision:
- There are over 1.7 billion websites on the internet, and 600 million of them have a blog.
- According to Statista, there will be 31.7 million bloggers in the United States alone in 2020.
- Blogging.org surveyed 1000 bloggers in 2012 and found that 2% spend less than 2 hours a day blogging and make more than $150K, 17% can maintain their lifestyle or support their family with their blogging efforts, and 81% never make more than $100.
The potential to make a lot of money is there if you are willing to work hard and smart, but the majority of bloggers, for whatever reason, never see much money.
Does it still sound like something you could be successful in doing? The opportunity is there, but the money won’t magically appear in your bank account.
Are Bloggers Legit and Honest?
Yes, of course, most bloggers are on the up and up. But as in any industry, there are con men and women and people who use shady business practices to succeed.
Blogging is a business, and with any business, there are rules and regulations. You have to choose to follow the guidelines, or you go rogue and operate on the underbelly of the internet.
You can make money both ways, but it’s a lot more fun to be morally upright and honest.
Is It Realistic to Think I Can Make Money Blogging?
Anyone can make money blogging, but not everyone will.
What you must realize is that blogging is hard work. If you half-ass it, you will never get anywhere.
You can’t build a little crappy blog and write a few articles and expect that the money will flow into your bank. You have to write and create content every day, hustle on social media, market your blog and your products, and do all the little everyday tasks that all businesses do to make a profit.
If you want passive income and don’t want to put in the work to be successful, blogging may not be for you.
The bloggers who make money are hustling every single day,
How Soon Can I Expect to Make Money with My Blog?
Everyone wants to hear that they can make millions overnight, but it rarely works out that way. If you are just starting and learning the business of blogging, it may take six months to a year to make enough money to buy a Big Mac.
You may also be one of the lucky ones who pick everything up quickly, generate a lot of traffic, and make sales right away.
If you are a bit more advanced, you can make money right from the beginning. I started making money immediately after relaunching my blog a few months ago.
It can happen, but the best advice I can give is for you to be patient. It takes time, but eventually, you will start to make money blogging.
Expecting to come into blogging as a newbie and earning thousands or even hundreds is unrealistic, and it won’t help you to start your business assuming that you will be one of the lucky few to get rich in your first year.
How Much Money Can A Blogger Make?
I mentioned a few of the outliers at the beginning of this article, but the amount of money people make from blogging varies. Some slog by month after month making pennies while others quickly grow into the millions.
To give you an idea, take a look at these income reports:
- The Ultimate List of 50 Blog income Reports by Niche — BlogAmbitious
- 50 Blog Income Reports — Raelyn Tan
- 53 Blog Income Reports — Start A Mom Blog
A lot of bloggers used to publish more income reports, but most have stopped, especially when they get to a certain income level. You can imagine the kind of negative attention they get from broadcasting their earnings, especially these days when many are losing their jobs and livelihoods to the pandemic.
Remember when you are reading these income reports that these figures are before figuring in their costs (gross income), and most likely, their profit is much lower.
It’s just the nature of doing business.
How do Bloggers Make Their Money?
Most bloggers have a variety of different ways they make money or different income streams. You should never rely on one source of income but instead, diversify and collect money in various ways.
You don’t make money by posting content directly. The only way I know to make money just by posting an article is Medium.com, and even then, you rely on the number of views and reads you get on your work.
When you have a blog, you create and post content to generate traffic to your blog, and then when the audience is on the website, they engage and interact with you in one of five ways:
- Clicking on an ad or sponsored post
- Purchasing something through one of your affiliate links
- Buying a digital product
- Purchasing a physical product you offer, or;
- Using a service you provide
Ads and Sponsored Posts
I do not place ads on my blog. I feel like the age when ads were effective has passed, and, like many, completely ignore or block anything that even looks like an ad. In fact, 200 million people installed ad blockers on their computers in 2015.
Do know that ads don’t pay as much anymore to the blogger compared to a few years ago, and you need serious traffic numbers to make an impact on your bank account. Generally, ads are ugly and create a usability problem for your blog, and most people would rather not deal with them.
With that said, it’s a decision you have to make for yourself because some bloggers do make money with ads.
Just to give you an idea from the other side of the coin: Google made $133 billion from ads in 2019, so unless you have some kind of moral or ethical problem with advertising, you might jump on the bandwagon.
You can also make money blogging by writing sponsored posts, which is an article or review written about a specific product or service that you have used. Just know that 70–80% of searchers ignore sponsored posts in favor of organic content.
As a final word, I don’t encourage anyone to throw ads on their blog, but if you want to try to make a quick buck with a little work you have to decide for yourself.
Affiliate marketing is a much better option for most bloggers. You place a unique link in your content, and if a user or reader clicks the link and buys the product or service, you make a commission.
I love the simplicity, and all you are doing is linking, so you aren’t creating any usability problems or roadblocks for your readers. And, it doesn’t cost your reader anything.
There are quite a few affiliate networks to join, with the most popular being Amazon Associates — where you get paid when your reader buys something on Amazon using your link.
Other affiliate networks I use for my blog are:
These affiliate networks introduce you to the companies and brands that want your help to promote their products and services.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest and best ways to make money with your blog.
Creating and offering digital products to readers is another great way for bloggers to make an income from blogging. Examples of digital products bloggers create are:
- Online masterclasses or workshops — Same as a course, but often live and in-person
- Membership or subscription sites — Users pay to access premium content you create
- Apps, plugins, or themes — Most of the time, if you don’t have the expertise, you can get someone to create the product for you.
Some bloggers sell physical products they create or have someone create for them. Some examples include:
- Books — Many bloggers are also published authors and sell their books through their blog or on Amazon.
- Handmade Products — The sky is the limit with what you can craft an offer to the public.
- Manufactured Products — Branded t-shirts, posters, and mugs are big sellers for bloggers and vloggers alike.
- Arbitrage — Find products in retail stores and resell them for a profit.
- Conferences, tours, classes, or special events — For example, many travel bloggers organize tours for groups of their readers.
Many bloggers have started offering print-on-demand t-shirts that are dropshipped to their customers. In fact, I have my own line of beard culture shirts on my store, Remarkable Gentleman, at teespring.com.
Many bloggers have expertise related to their blog topic and get paid when others hire them to perform tasks, such as:
- Consulting — The topic of my blog is blogging, so I offer consultations and help for those who need it.
- Speaking engagements.
- Virtual assistance (VA).
- Freelancing — Writing, design, and web development are just a few of the skills you can earn with.
Services are great because you can get started with minimal work and advertise your offer right on your blog.
“But I Thought I Just Published Content and Made Money?”
As I said, the content you create is a means to bring people to your blog so you can offer them a product or service they can buy.
You write content to present yourself as an authority on your topic or niche, and when people trust you enough, they will buy almost anything you recommend.
A blog is sometimes not even necessary if you tend to guest-post on a lot on different websites and blogs, but it is an excellent place to use as a hub for all your content and marketing activities.
How Do I Get Started Making Money with a Blog?
- First, start a blog. Pick a niche and become an authority or expert in that industry if you aren’t already.
- Monetize your blog and generate a few income streams.
- Interact with others on social media so you become known for offering the best content. Become the go-to resource for your topic or niche. As people search you out and seek your advice and experience, you make money through your various income streams.
If you are to become an authority, your content must be the best available on the internet. Find out what people want to know and create long and detailed content that will answer all the questions and keep the audience’s attention throughout.
The last thing you want to do is bore them so use your voice and personality to WOW! them as you drop knowledge bombs they can’t get anywhere else.
Do it over and over again until you’ve developed a system that both delights your reader and makes you money because they will then be willing to spend money finding out more of your knowledge.
Final Thoughts to Help You Make Money Blogging
- Only start one income stream at a time and master it before moving on to another. Your goal should be to have as many income streams as you can handle while providing the best for your readers and audience. Don’t half-ass anything. Use your whole ass.
- Your content should be the best you can offer. Depending on your niche, there will be competition. You have to consistently strive to be better than everyone else, enough that the world knows it and comes to your blog and not some else’s. You must be the best or it’s better just to stay home.
- While it’s always good to get ideas from other bloggers, take your own path. Try to be different and give people something they aren’t getting anywhere else. The last thing we need on the internet is more carbon-copies. Not everyone can be another Neil Patel or Tim Ferris. Variety is the spice of life. Be yourself!
- Most people get into blogging for the money, but the ones who stay and are financially successful are the ones who love what they do and have fun doing it. If you hate every moment blogging it would be better to find something more suited to your personality.
Blogging is fun, and, if you work hard and smart, you can make money. In a world where everything seems like it’s stacked against you, it’s comforting to know that there is something you can do to make money that is easy enough for anyone to do.
If you are willing to put in the hard work, jump over the hurdles in your path, and do whatever it takes to be a success, blogging is one of the best ways for you to make money online.
In this article, I tried to be as honest as possible about the process of building a blog, even things that might dissuade you from breaking into the blogging industry. I’ve become very adamant that we, the people who make money by teaching others to blog, are forthcoming with the realities of the process of creating and managing a blog.
For more information, read my post “Stop Telling Everyone They Can Make Money With a Blog.”
This article was first published on my blog, JasonJamesWeiland.com.