Once you’ve got your blog up and running, you can (finally!) start looking into ways to make a profit from it.
These are the best and easiest ways to make money as a blogger:
1. Use affiliate marketing on your blog
Affiliate marketing works by adding tracked affiliate links into the text of your blog. You can make a small commission every time a reader clicks through to a site you recommend and makes a purchase.
The links will lead readers to the website of a brand, and the money you receive is to say ‘thanks’ for sending some of your lovely readers to their site.
Almost all online eCommerce websites have an affiliate program of some sort, like Amazon, ASOS and Apple.
2. Add banner adverts to your website
As a more visual way of advertising, you can sell banner advertising space on your blog page to brands that relate to your readers.
Adverts can be placed anywhere, but they’re commonly found across the top of blog pages or in the sidebar.
You can earn income in one of two ways. CPC (cost per click) means you’ll get a set payment for every reader who clicks the advert, while CPM (cost per thousand) means you’ll negotiate a set payment for every 1,000 ‘impressions’ the ad gets.
With the growth of AdBlocker plugins, the CPC and CPM can be low, but it does depend on your industry, and there’s little harm in trying them out.
A quick way to get started is creating an account with Google AdSense.
3. Write advertorials and sponsored content
According to the bloggers we spoke to, one of the best ways of monetising a blog is through offering sponsored content opportunities (or advertorials). These are essentially adverts in the form of a paid-for article or blog post.
As an example, if Adidas brings out a new swimwear line and you have a blog on women’s sportswear, they might offer to pay you to write an article about their range. You may also be able to add some affiliate links on top.
This monetisation method usually works best when you have a strong niche audience. Once you’ve grown your readership, brands will often approach you to discuss sponsored posts.
4. Charge for sponsored social media posts
If you have a strong social media presence, you’ll be very attractive to brands. Some people actually make their entire blogging income through sponsored posts on social media. You can charge per post/re-post and the fees can be surprisingly high.
You’ll just have to work hard on building your followers first – your ‘social proof’ (or how many people follow you on social media) is seen by brands as evidence that readers will like what you post about them, too.
5. Write guest blog posts for media outlets
Occasionally, members of the press (or even brands who have a blog of their own) will reach out to you if you’re an authority on a certain topic, asking you to make a little cameo appearance on their website.
If you’re particularly knowledgeable on cooking on a budget, for example, a newspaper might get in touch and ask you to contribute some budget-friendly recipes to their cooking magazine.
Don’t be shy in pitching ideas to publications either – if editors don’t know who you are, a quick email intro is a great way of getting your blog’s name out there.
6. Work with an agency to build your blog
Believe it or not, blogging’s become so popular in the advertising world that there are now agencies exclusively catered to promoting bloggers to big brands.
Working with an agency can be super lucrative and it offers you security, but you’ll need to have a pretty decent following to be scooped up in the first place.
Agency fees are also incredibly high, meaning only the biggest brands will be able to afford to work with you, and smaller independent ones will be scared off.
Depending on the kind of blogging business you’re aiming for, this may or not work to your advantage – to use the example of ethical fashion blogging again, agency fees might prevent you from working with the small independent designers you really want to promote.
7. Sell digital products on your blog
If you have skills or advice to offer, another option is to charge a fee for access to eBooks, video tutorials, courses or workshops.
In order to make this option work, you need to be able to show you’re extremely good at what you do, or that your content has proven to be incredibly valuable. This isn’t easy.
It can be pretty difficult to convince online communities to pay up, as there’s a tendency for people to think everything online should be free of charge. Worth a try though, right?
8. Sell your blog’s newsletter space
It’s also an option to charge a brand for either advertising space or a mention in your weekly/monthly newsletter (if you have one!). It’ll take very little time to do, and you could get a fair amount for it.
However, you’ll need to build up a decent size mailing list for brands to consider this.
9. Get employers’ attention as a blogger
Using your blog to promote your own business or even land yourself a job is another (albeit indirect) way to make more cash with your blog.
If you’re one of the many students selling stuff online, your blog is the perfect platform to promote what you have to offer (although don’t go in too hard, or you’ll put readers off).
You can also use your blog as a sort of online profile – you can build your credibility on there, show your skills and hopefully get a good job out of it.
Think of it this way: your blog is like your own small business in itself, and by showing potential employers that you can do this successfully, you’re showing that you’ve got an entrepreneurial mind, and know how to achieve success with it.