This post may contain affiliate links.
There comes a time in the life of most beginner bloggers where they find themselves wanting to monetize. Blogging, while lots of fun, is also lots of work. So it’s no surprise that you’ll probably find yourself wondering how to make money blogging.
As you probably know by now, starting a blog is easy. It’s the making money part that people struggle with. And while I’m not going to sit here and tell you that making money from your blog is easy and by next month you’ll be making thousands of dollars completely from home, I will tell you this – there are literally thousands of people who are making anywhere from a few hundred dollars all the way up to hundreds of thousands completely online.
I personally make a full-time income from blogging, but like everyone else, I started from zero. Zero blogging income, zero traffic, zero experience blogging, zero experience making money blogging.
I stumbled my way through the dark for months.I’ll never forget the day I made my first $0.07 from my blog. I was absolutely ecstatic, because it confirmed to me that I could do this thing – I could actually make money from my blog!
I learned through trial and error, and now I want to share with my top blog monetization tips for beginners, so you can actually start making money blogging.
This article is going to be a little different from most blog monetization tips for beginners articles. Instead of just listing out how to monetize your blog, I’m also going to show you the steps you need to take to build a successful blog!
Blog Monetization Tips for Beginners – The Ultimate Guide
1. You Need Traffic
Let’s get something out of the way first – you need traffic to make money from your blog.
I see so many bloggers telling newbies that pageviews don’t matter, you shouldn’t be chasing traffic, etc.
That is not true.
First of all, you’ll notice that the people that say this are all getting at least 100k pageviews a month on their blog. It’s easy to not focus on pageviews when you’re already getting a ton of pageviews, right?
But I’m going to be real – pageviews are incredibly important and you absolutely should be focusing on and chasing traffic.
Think about this – you can write the most epic blog post, have an irresistible call-to-action for a top-notch affiliate product that converts like wildfire. But if you don’t get any eyes on that post, you’re not going to make a dime.
In a nutshell, you DO need to be focusing on pageviews.
There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your blog, but the two that you should be focusing on the most are SEO and Pinterest.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of writing posts on a topic that people are searching for on Google (or Bing, Yahoo!, etc.) and optimizing your post so the search engine picks it up and (hopefully) displays it on the first page of results.
That’s a very brief, simplified explanation of what SEO is, but suffice to say – you absolutely MUST be focusing on SEO if you want to succeed as a blogger.
To actually learn HOW to do SEO on your blog, I thoroughly recommend Stupid Simple SEO. Stupid Simple SEO was created by Mike Pearson, a SEO expert and successful blogger. Last year, Mike sold a blog in the outdoors niche that was making $95,000/year from the Amazon Associate’s Program. He drove the majority of his traffic via Google Search, and teaches his exact strategies in Stupid Simple SEO. The course is only open for enrollment a few times per year, but his free 5-day SEO course is GOLD.
Pinterest is also a search engine, but unlike Google, Pinterest is a visual search engine. When people type something into the Pinterest search bar, they are looking for visual results (i.e. pictures.)
Every post you publish on your blog should have at least one (preferably multiple) eye-catching images that you can either pin or upload to Pinterest.
Like SEO, there is a lot more that goes into successfully utilizing Pinterest for pageviews. The best Pinterest course I’ve ever taken is called Pinterest Traffic Avalanche.
Pinterest Traffic Avalanche was created by Lauren McManus and Alex Nerney, the uber-successful bloggers behind Avocadu and Create and Go. The course will teach you exactly how you can drive hundreds of thousands of pageviews to your blog utilizing the power of Pinterest. Click here to learn more about Pinterest Traffic Avalanche.
2. Your Posts Need to Provide a Solution
The days of writing blog posts about your day at the beach and making money from that are long gone. Unless you’re a reality TV star, unfortunately the internet is just way too crowded for that type of blogging to really be successful at making money anymore.
Of course, if you just want to blog about your day at the beach because you enjoy keeping a diary of your life, then that’s perfectly fine. But we’re talking about blog monetization tips for beginners, which means we want to make money blogging, right?
That means that instead of diary style posts, every post you write needs to:
- Meet a need of the reader
- Provide the solution
What that looks like is going to be different for everyone, and will based on your niche.
For example, say your niche is women’s golfing tips.
What you’ll need to be doing is thinking of the needs of women’s golfers. What type of things would they be googling or searching for on Pinterest?
I’m not a golfer, but let’s just say they’re looking for the best golf driver for women.
That is their need – they need to know what golf driver to buy.
So your post should be written to meet their need, and provide a solution.
Here’s what your blog post might look like “The Top 5 Golf Drivers for Women (Including Our #1 Pick!)”
By writing a post like that, you met their need (you reviewed the top 5 golf drivers from women) and you provided a solution to their problem (what golf driver should they buy?)
3. Always Create Value
When you’re writing a blog post, you can’t expect to write 300 words of fluff, slap up some affiliate links and sit back and watch the money roll in.
It doesn’t work like that.
When a person Google’s something or types a search term into Pinterest and clicks over to your blog post, they expect to find a detailed answer to their question.
Take this post you’re reading right now, for example.
You came here to learn how to make money blogging. We’re only up to number 3 on the list and you’ve already read almost 1000 words of real, actionable content that will help you to actually make money from your blog.
I’ve told you that you need to focus on traffic, where to go to actually get that traffic, and the type of content you need to write to make money.
You didn’t click here only to see 300 words slapped together with a huge affiliate link saying “BUY THIS.”
When you create value, your readers are left feeling satisfied with what they read. They’re happy with their experience, they start to trust you, and they’re more likely to purchase what you recommend because if you’re providing that much excellent value for free, it’s clear you know your stuff.
There is no hard and fast rule on how many words your blog posts need to be. If you’re a food blogger, for example, it’s pretty ridiculous to suggest that you need to write 2000 words on how to bake a chocolate chip cookie.
However, if you’re reviewing the best golf drivers for women, you might need MORE than 2000 words to truly create a valuable blog post.
Don’t stuff fluff into your post to make it longer, but do make certain that try to cover the topic in-depth.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the exciting stuff: how to actually start making money!
Affiliate marketing is hands-down, one of the best ways to monetize your blog.
If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing, it just means that when you recommend a product or service to someone and they purchase it using your affiliate link, you get a commission.
The amount of money you’re paid can vary wildly, from as low as 2-3% to as high as as 50-70%. Digital products tend to have bigger affiliate commissions, with 40% being the average.
Affiliate marketing can provide the opportunity for you to make a lot of money from your blog, and the great thing about affiliate marketing is that it’s very passive. You simply promote the product or service, and then the owner of that product or service does the rest – you don’t have to deal with shipping, customer service, refunds, etc.
While affiliate marketing isn’t complicated, it’s also not easy to do it right. Slapping up an affiliate link on your sidebar isn’t going to be enough to make money through affiliate marketing.
I have two recommendations for affiliate marketing courses, depending on your experience level and your goals.
If you’re a beginner to affiliate marketing:
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is the best affiliate marketing course for beginners. The course was created by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents. Michelle makes 7 figures a year from her blog, and Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is her flagship course in which she shares how to monetize your blog with affiliate marketing.
When you enroll in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, you also get free access to the alumni Facebook group. Many alumni (myself included) say that this is one of the best perks of enrolling in the course. I don’t spend much time in Facebook groups but this is one of the few that I check almost every day. Click here to learn more about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
If you’re more experienced in affiliate marketing:
The other affiliate marketing course I recommend is called Affiliate Secrets 2.0. This affiliate marketing course was created by Spencer Mecham, a 7-figure affiliate marketer and the #1 Clickfunnels affiliate.
The course is different because it covers more advanced affiliate marketing strategies, and includes modules on YouTube and paid traffic (via Google Adwords.) Read my full Affiliate Secrets 2.0 review here.
Ads are another popular way to monetize your blog, but they’re not for everyone.
The pros to displaying ads on your blog are:
- They’re easy to set up
- They’re basically the definition of passive income
- Once you reach enough pageviews, you can join an ad management company like Mediavine who handles the entire process for you and optimizes your income
However, like I said above, ads are not always going to be right choice for everyone.
Some people feel that ads clutter up the look of their site. Of course, you can adjust the amount of ads you display to help alleviate this, but there are people who just don’t like the look of ads at all.
Additionally, display ads can detract from your affiliate links and even compete with them. For example, you might write an article on the best summer sandals for kids on Amazon. There’s a good chance that you’ll start to see ads for summer sandals for kids appearing on your post. If someone clicks on the ad instead of your affiliate link and buys a pair of sandals, you won’t receive any affiliate commission. However, this can easily be rectified by turning off ads on individual posts, or blocking certain companies/categories from advertising on your blog.
Having said that, ads are still a very popular and easy way to monetize your site. I make thousands of dollars per month from display ads on my various sites, so I’m definitely not aversive to them, it just depends on the individual situation.
If you want to display ads on your site immediately, and you don’t reach the requirements for Mediavine yet (25k sessions in the last 30 days) then the best place to get started is with Google Adsense. Simply sign up for a Google Adsense account, submit your application and wait to hear back. Make sure you have the following on your blog:
- Contact Page
- At least 10 posts of high-quality content
Once you’ve been approved for Adsense, it’s just a matter of logging into your dashboard and setting things up how you’d like them to display. Google Adsense has actually made this super easy by introducing a feature called “Auto Display Ads” where you don’t have to do anything besides flipping a switch and Google Adsense handles the rest.
Google Adsense can be a good option for when you’re just getting started, your traffic is low, but you still want to make a little money from ads. However, it’s worth noting that you will likely make VERY little by displaying Adsense ads on your site, in comparison to a premium ad network .
As soon as you reach the pageview requirements, I recommend that you apply to Mediavine. Mediavine is a premier ad management company that requires you to have 25k sessions in the last 30 days to apply.
When I switched one of my blogs over to Mediavine from Google Adsense, my earnings went up by a LOT.
6. Sponsored Posts
If you were to ask most people “How do bloggers make money?” they would probably say “companies paying the blogger to write about them.”
That’s essentially what a sponsored post is, but it’s actually not the best and most common way that bloggers make money – affiliate marketing and ads usually come ahead of sponsored posts.
Having said that, sponsored posts can certainly be a lucrative income opportunity.
Most companies won’t even look at you for a sponsored post until you’re getting at least 10,000 pageviews per month, and for a lot of companies, it’s even higher.
Reaching 10,000 pageviews/month isn’t difficult when you know how to use Pinterest properly and have a good grasp on SEO.
Once you’ve reached that milestone, you can start applying for sponsored posts, but before I tell you exactly how to do that, I want to address something:
Please don’t work for free.
Once you start increasing your reach, companies will start to take notice of you and pretty soon you’ll have them reaching out to you to discuss a collaboration.
I get these emails all the time, and a lot of them follow this formula:
We recently discovered your blog and we love your stuff. We’d love to work on a collaboration.
Unfortunately, we don’t have an advertising budget so we’re unable to compensate you monetarily, but we can give you <<<insert some “exclusive discount code, free or discounted product, giveaway for your readers, social shares, etc.”>>>
Here’s the problem with this – they’re lying.
Companies DO have a marketing budget, and if they don’t then they need to get one and not expect bloggers to promote them for free.
A discount code or a free pair of shoes won’t pay your bills, and by accepting these sorts of offers, you are undervaluing yourself and the blogging industry as a whole.
So please, don’t work for free!
When you’re ready to start working with brands, you can reach out to them yourself with your media kit or sign up for any number of sites that connect bloggers with brands. A few of these include:
7. Sell Your Services
Another popular way to make money from your blog is by selling your services to other bloggers and/or businesses.
You might be thinking that you don’t have anything you’re good enough at yet to sell, but you’re probably wrong. You just have to think outside the box a bit, and remember that while you might not be an expert on a certain topic just yet, it’s likely that you’re at least a few steps ahead of someone else and thus, you can provide that service to them.
Are you great at creating beautiful, eye-catching Pinterest graphics? Maybe you’re a whiz at growing an instagram following. Perhaps you’re excellent at writing.
Start advertising those services on your blog:
- Creating Pinterest graphics for bloggers/small businesses
- Managing Instagram accounts
- Ghostwriting for bigger bloggers
I recommend adding a “Hire Me” page to your blog and listing your services on there. You can also mention your services in your blog posts, where relevant. Additionally, there are many blogging-related Facebook groups that allow people to advertise their blog and/or services on certain days.
8. Digital Products
Digital products have exploded in popularity over recent years, and as the world becomes increasingly digital, they’re only going to get more popular.
Selling your own digital products can be a lucrative income generation strategy. In fact, I know bloggers who make upwards of 100k/month selling their own digital products!
Digital products include things like eBooks, courses, online membership programs, etc., with the least labor-intensive of these usually being eBooks.
If the thought of creating a digital product sounds daunting, rest assured that it’s actually a lot easier than you may think.
An attractive looking eBook can be made quite easily by following these steps:
- Type your eBook into Microsoft Word
- Create an attractive cover on Canva (they even have free templates you can use.)
- Save the cover as a PNG or JPG and insert it into your Word Document
- Export the document as a PDF
- Upload it the product to Sendowl, who will handle the payment and delivery
You can then promote your products in your blog posts, via social media, to your email list, etc.
I’ve outlined 8 of the most common ways to make money blogging. Of course, I encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to monetizing your blog. Spend some time each week brainstorming ways you can better serve your readers, write an epic post, find relevant affiliate links you can add to the post and then promote the heck out of on social media.
It’s not easy to make money blogging, but thousands of people are doing it every day, so it’s not impossible.
My biggest tip – don’t quit too early. Many people start a blog and when they’re not making money 2 months later, they quit. Don’t be that person! Keep going, keep learning, keep implementing and before long, you’ll start to find that the pieces are fitting together.
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