People usually look at me like I have 3 heads when I tell them I run a blog.
But blogging is not what it used to be. The term “blog” is short for web-log and gives the impression of an online diary. And that is exactly what people think I do! So silly… but I’m here to tell you that I wouldn’t still be here if there I wasn’t getting something out of it. Time is money, and blogging takes a LOT of time. This’ll give you the rundown on how bloggers are making money in 2018.
When I started blogging, I didn’t realize how much money could be made. And honestly, I was skeptical. I didn’t doubt that real money was being made, but I doubted the ethics behind it. So many things seemed…. scammy. I’m crazy frugal, and opening my wallet is hard enough for things like groceries. So I skepticism is a huge factor in my purchasing choices.
Once I started to hear about bloggers making 6-figures… a MONTH… I dove a little deeper and wanted to learn their “tricks”. Turns out, they aren’t all tricks. I am still skeptical, but there are thousands of bloggers with good intentions and so much to share! And once they establish themselves as a valuable resource, money starts flowing in.
I won’t waste your time, so this is the short list.
These are the 5 most widely used monetization methods:
2. Affiliate Marketing
3. Sponsored Posts
this post contains affiliate links. please see the disclosure for more details.
So Ads are obvious, but that can’t be how bloggers are making money
Ads are surprisingly well paying. But not for everyone. People can make upwards of $5,000 a month on ads. It’s wild (and entirely passive income). The pay scale for blog ads depends on 2 things – 1. traffic and 2. RPM.
Traffic: the number of visitors or page views your blog gets
RPM: The “Rate per Mill” or in normal people terms, the amount per thousand visitors
A blog’s traffic depends on many things. Too many things. There are dozens of traffic sources, and Lena from What Mommy Does has a massive ebook on her 21 traffic strategies and that is what I owe a lot of my success to. She covers everything from headlines to social media to font pairings. It’s… thorough, to say the least.
I highly recommend checking it out, You can grab your copy here or join my mailing list and wait for a sale! (These are the sorts of things I share EXCLUSIVELY with my subscribers)
When it comes to traffic, there are page views and sessions. So what’s the difference?
Page views are just that, page views. Sessions are the number of different users. A user can have several page views, but that only counts as 1 session. Ad networks come in “tiers” based on your blog’s number of sessions.
- AdThrive is for the big guys with 100,000+ sessions PER MONTH (your session count will always be referred to on a monthly basis)
- Mediavine requires 25,000+ sessions (they are who I’m with and they’re amazing)
- Google Adsense has no session requirement (that I know of) and they pay dirt :/ but hey! passive income!
RPM depends on fewer things, but it’s not “fixed”. The rate per thousand (which I call it because it makes more sense) mainly depends on 1) the time of the year and 2) the pages that are being viewed.
Typically, the holiday season is when people are more click-happy and ready to make purchases. This increases our ad revenue (yay). The summer season is typically slow for purchases AND blog visitors. People are outside I guess lol I’m a Floridian so all I want to do in the summer is stay cool inside but to each their own.
RPM ranges anywhere from $1 to $30, so you can see why traffic is such a hot commodity! More visitors = More money
See how my RPM did not drop with my sessions? It’s been a sad couple days haha! But this is the stuff.
But like I said, it kinda depends on which pages are being viewed. I have noticed my “product heavy” posts and lists of items to purchase pay better than general mom posts. I do not recommend creating only product posts unless reviews and such are your blog’s niche. But it’s interesting, and that was only MY experience. I’ve heard everything.
Alright, then what’s this affiliate marketing business?
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting third-party products and earning a commission if a sale is made. A blogger becomes an “affiliate” and markets the corresponding product or service to their audience. When an audience member makes a purchase through a special affiliate link, the blogger gets a cut of that sale. It’s awesome. Everybody wins.
There is a lot more to it, of course, but the most important thing is that it’s not easy to make money with affiliate marketing unless you know what you’re doing. Still, the recipe for affiliate marketing success is simple enough. You need to have:
- niche specific products to promote
- an audience that trusts you
- honest recommendations
It sounds simple, and it is! This is where traffic comes back into play, because the bigger your audience – the bigger the payout. Affiliate income definitely beats out ad income when it’s done right. I plan to cut back on the ads once my other streams pick up enough to cover the cost of running this blog.
Where people go wrong
I mentioned all this talk about “doing it right”, so what does it look like to do it wrong? It goes south fast when people start promoting products they don’t believe in, to the wrong audience, with no good reason to buy.
how do you become an affiliate?
There are a few routes you can take to become an affiliate and start making money ASAP.
Join an affiliate network and choose from hundreds of brands
The ones I like are:
Join a program directly through the website
Not all companies have affiliate programs, but if they do you can usually find information in the website’s footer menu. Check out Amazon’s footer below.
BTW – Amazon has an AMAZING affiliate program. The thing that makes it so great is because everyone already uses them. They don’t even need to
I think this is the ONLY income stream that the general public understands, sort of. After I’m asked how do bloggers make money? It’s usually trailed with brands pay you, right?
This is when a blogger reviews or features the brand’s products or services in exchange for money. That’s the gist of sponsored posts. It’s a pretty big market, too. More and more consumers trust bloggers and influencers before regular commercials or advertisements. This is because the general public is getting smarter and savvier. (I guess that’s a word.)
We’re more likely to trust an ACTUAL frugal mom recommending an affordable alternative to Whole Foods than we would be if it came from a celebrity who obviously doesn’t live frugally. There are so many markets to tap into, and bloggers have interesting audiences.
People are getting skeptical though, specifically on Instagram. Paid-for promotions have gotten their slap-on-the-wrist and now have to disclose the sponsorship.
Best practices include not reviewing products you don’t know and trust or wouldn’t use yourself. Just don’t try to dupe people. That’s not cool.
You can get sponsorship opportunities through networks or by directly reaching out to your fave places.
As vague as it sounds, bloggers make money creating and selling products. Anything from an ebook to a template pack to 1-on-1 coaching calls can be sold. This is the beauty of online business (or any business). There are thousands of skills and creations in demand for everyone.
Want to learn how to budget? There’s a blog for that.
Want to learn how to cook? There’s a blog for that.
Want to learn how to build a deck? There’s a blog for that, too!
There is a market for literally everything which is one of the reasons why everyone should consider starting a blog. It’s amazing! No matter how lackluster you think you are, there is something that you can sell. Your expertise or your creation.
Products come in all shapes and sizes. The prices can range anywhere from $1 to $200 or more. Honestly, there’s no limit. When marketing is done right, and it gets in front of the right audience, things fly off the digital or literal shelves!
Digital products are HUGE because there is little to no overhead cost. There are no goods being used to manufacture the product each time it’s purchased. It’s a one time deal. The gift that keeps on giving. A downloadable money-making machine. They are
But courses… that’s where the money’s at
Bloggers can make bunches of money on everything else, but courses come with so much more earning potential. At least, that’s how I feel.
Why are courses soooo profitable? A few reasons.
1. Courses are AMAZING
In a post-financial crisis world, so many of us are interested in expanding our skill sets, and why wouldn’t we?! History has proven that those lifelong careers usually end with dissatisfaction. And since not all skills require a college degree or years of studying, online courses can offer some amazing training.
They are usually highly specialized and completely flexible so you aren’t wasting time with “filler courses” and unnecessary information.
2. They cost very little
Most online courses are going to be much cheaper than formal training. The price won’t add to the student debt crisis AND they could help you do things you actually want to do. As much I loved college, I didn’t love being required to take a dozen electives just so I could be qualified to do a handful of jobs.
A lot of these courses cost less than a 3-credit hour class at a community college. Let that sink in.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Formal education will make you a living; Self-education will make you a fortune. – Jim Rohn” quote=”‘Formal education will make you a living; Self-education will make you a fortune.’ – Jim Rohn”]
3. They offer so much
Depending on the course you take, it may or may not be “resume worthy”, but you will still get some great skills out of it. Courses provide so much more than just written instructions and practical advice like a book does. A lot of blogger’s courses provide video instruction, worksheets, private Facebook groups, and more.
4. They’re flexible
I’m sure there are some traditional type courses that time you or hold you to a strict schedule, but I haven’t come across any. Most online or e-courses are entirely flexible, meaning you can start and stop whenever you want and you won’t be penalized for working at your own pace.
5. They can charge a higher price
This is better for the course creator than it is for the student, but maybe not. Since many courses cost more than say, a 50-page ebook, it has way more profit potential. But they don’t cost more “just because”.
Creating a course is a massive undertaking, and they are usually very well done and provide unbelievable value. This is a huge job, and it only makes sense that the creator would put a sizable price tag on that.
However, it’s no surprise that students place more value on a course when they pay more for it. The psychology behind a higher priced item makes the purchaser value it higher and become more actively engaged with the coursework. That’s when people really reap the benefits of their investment.
Courses are a win-win.
I mean, all of these monetization methods are (even ads in some cases), but courses are in a league of their own.
Bloggers from every niche come to the table with their own unique skills, perspectives, methods, and voice. When they find a market of people interested in learning how they do what they do, everybody wins! My two favorite examples are Michelle Schroder-Gardner and Ruth Soukup. Michelle is a proven affiliate marketing guru and Ruth is a decorated blogging pro, and they each teach courses on those skills.
It’s so incredible that we have the opportunity to learn from them, thanks to their online courses. They share their skills for a fee, but the skills they share are only worth a small fraction of what you can earn. My college courses didn’t offer me nearly any actionable advice, but these ladies do it everyday (and often for free!!).
Some online courses can be found at:
Bloggers usually use:
Bloggers make money doing a lot more than just “unboxing” branded items and sharing a few posts about them.
Ads, affiliate sales, sponsorships, products, and courses not only give blogs 5 different monetization methods to choose from (or combine), but they create some serious earning potential.
Every blog has a unique purpose, place, and voice, but they can all make money with these methods. This should give you an idea of why everyone is suddenly a blogger. Starting a blog doesn’t sound so crazy after all.