Can you make money blogging? Yes. And today we are talking about 17 ethical and epic ways bloggers make money . . . 14 of which I’ve used myself. And even though there are a lot of skeazy “online business opportunities” and “gurus” talking about goofy ways to monetize a blog, you’ll find that what we’re talking about below are simple, smart ways to essentially build out the revenue model of your business.
Note: this post was originally published in May of 2014 but it has been completely updated with several additional years of experience making money from blogs in different niches 🙌🏽.
If you want to turn your existing blog into a business, or start a new blog that will become a business, this guide is an essential, must-read resource.
Let’s hop in with 3 non-negotiable principles I’ve learned after blogging for 13 years 🤪 and owning 2 blogs that make a full-time income. Then let’s run through the 17 monetization methods for bloggers.
But first . . . the elephant in the room . . .
Can you really make money blogging . . . in 2022 and beyond . . . if you’re just starting out now?
Definitely, yes. Did you know that there are 3.5 billion Google searches made every day and that the volume of Google searches grows about 10% every year?*
So, even if you just focused on the search engine optimization of your blog content as a business growth strategy (but there are many other ways to grow your blog and business), then your goal would be to make content relevant enough to be discovered and clicked on during one or more of the 3.5 billion searches happening on Google every single day.
To illustrate this in a silly but memorable way:
Perhaps you remember back in elementary school when a bunch of us kids were hanging out, waiting to be picked for a team (whether during math class or gym).
If you were hoping to be one of the first people picked, but there were only 2 teams, your chances may have been slim.
But, imagine that same scenario with 3.5 billion teams ready to pick people. Your chances just went up, by a lot, right?
Well . . . that’s more or less the Internet 🤣.
Alright, alright, I know. Enough with the silly illustrations.
Let’s move on to 3 quick principles (and your competitors are probably ignoring #2 and #3), which will give you an advantage if you’re just starting out.
Rule #1: Don’t just blog . . . collect email addresses or other contact information from your visitors.
Collecting contact information from willing visitors will provide you with a way to text, call, mail, or email people interested in your topic and your products/services.
The type(s) of contact info you collect from your visitors will vary depending on your industry and your ideal clients. For certain nonprofits, corporations, enterprises, and people . . . getting on the phone is the best way to do business. For others, they love texting (this has been a big part of business when I’ve lived outside of the USA). And for others, it may be about receiving traditional mail or email.
Don’t rely solely on people coming to your website as your only means of sharing information and offers with people.
Mini case study moment (from actual blog businesses):
For my health and wellness site (which is monetized primarily through way #6 below, as well as #3 and #2), my email list is important because it provides me with a direct route to selling my own digital products—whenever we have them—and it keeps my site on the top of people’s minds.
For my business blog (currently monetized through #1, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 16), our email list is our primary driver of sales. We used to make the majority of our income each month purely from sales of digital eBooks purchased by search engine visitors, but our email list is the leader now.
Rule #2: Diversify your income sources and your “traffic sources.”
You may have noticed above that my blog businesses are monetized in multiple ways? Well, let me bring you in on a secret I learned through experience . . . if you ever decide to sell your blog business, it can command a higher price if your income is diversified.
This is not to say to use all 17 blog monetization methods, at once. This is to say that a blog monetized solely from one of the methods below is riskier to buyers . . . and riskier to you (even if you plan to keep the site and not sell it).
Think about it:
- The technology behind your one monetization method might break. Even if it’s just for a few hours/days, this can kill profits for that month.
- Or, a major competitor might enter the market and dominate your one offer. Even if you can bounce back, how long will that take?
- Technology could also replace the need for your one service, leaving you without a revenue source.
- Or, you might have a lifestyle change that makes your one chosen method impractical to deliver.
Similarly, your traffic sources (meaning: the ways in which you get people to visit your website) should be diversified as well.
Major changes (for Facebook ads, for search engines, in social media) can happen at any time. And, they can throw your business out of balance when you only rely on one method to get in front of new potential customers.
Rule #3: Build a true revenue model. Don’t just select a few monetization methods and call it a day.
A revenue model is about:
- Choosing the ways you’ll make money blogging—a.k.a. choosing your revenue streams (from the list below); and
- Understanding the exchange of value taking place from your reader’s/customer’s point of view as well as your own . . . and therefore knowing how to price your offers; and
- Knowing who, why, and how someone will pay for what you’re offering
Pro tip #1: As you consider the blogging revenue streams below, think about the last 2 points above—how will you create and exchange value with someone? Who is that person? Why are they willing to pay you? And how will they pay you?
Pro tip #2: Your customer may not be your consumer. The person who buys your product or service may not be the person who uses it.
For example, you may sell corporate yoga/wellness products. Which means, your customer is likely the head of HR, or the CEO, etc., but your consumers are the team members of the organization.
Or, you may sell tutoring services . . . or fun printables and activities for kids to use. The product is designed for young people, but it’s typically their parents who are your customers (paying the bill). Meanwhile, they’re usually the ones searching for your services as well.
Whether your customer *is* your consumer, or your customer is buying for another consumer, the customer is the one who must understand the value they’ll be getting in exchange for what they invest with you.
Okay, now for what we’ve all been waiting for . . .
17 Ways to Make Money Blogging
We’ll dive into each of these ways below (with tips, real-life examples, and mini case studies).
- Publish Books
- Accept Sponsorships
- Serve Ads (PPC and CPM)
- Sell Custom Ad Space
- Become a Product-Specific Affiliate
- Join an Affiliate/Associate Hybrid Program
- Offer Freelance Services
- Offer Coaching Services
- Launch Consulting Services
- Create a Membership Program
- Offer Online Courses
- Host Workshops and Other Online Events
- Publish Digital Tools and Templates
- Offer Physical Products
- Create a Subscription Box
- Get Speaking Engagements
- Create SaaS or Apps
1. Publish Books
Publishing books that you can sell from your blog, or through Amazon.com, can be some of the most rewarding, hassle-free money you’ll ever earn. Typically you only have to write the book once (though it may need tweaks and updates), then you can sell it into infinity and beyond 🚀.
Your book(s) can take on many formats or styles:
- eBooks: you can sell them through Amazon Kindle using KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), or on your own site
- Print books: you can sell print books without carrying inventory using a service like KDP or a specialized printer like Vervanté, Blurb, Lulu, or IngramSpark
- PDF roadmaps, guides, or other downloads: you can design PDFs for sale using Apple Pages, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Canva, Affinity Publisher, Adobe InDesign, and more
- Planners or specialized journals/devotionals: you can also design a “book” that is useful because of its layout, prompts, and directions
- Workbooks: your book can be a full-on workbook or a book with workbook pages sprinkled throughout; for example: my first ever print book was 150 pages of info followed by 50 pages of worksheets
- Audio books: you can publish your book on Audible.com using the ACX service
Mini case study:
If you’ve been a reader of this site for a while, then you may know that I’m a big fan of self-publishing as a way to make money blogging.
The site you’re on right now started as byRegina.com, and it:
- Helped me earn $100,000 in profit from 1 self-published print book over 5 years ($20,000/year). Note: I use Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly CreateSpace) by Amazon to sell print books without carrying inventory or having to fulfill orders myself.
- Consistently helped me earn $1,000/month from 1 eBook when I had a small online audience.
- Helped me earn thousands in income from books alone, starting less than a year after creating the blog. You can see here in my Blog Income Report from all the way back in January 2015, the blog was helping me earn over $7,500 from books each month. Note: this blog was started in April of 2014.
In use elsewhere around the web:
And here are several published books from members of our 8-Day eBook Blitz:
- The Affinity Guide (which is a playbook about launching effective employee resource groups) by Bethany
- Learn to Love to Read (helping busy parents with their kids) by Kim
- Business Model Basics by Carin
- How to Capture, Connect & Convert Your Customers with Captivating Content by Felicia
- The Little Dermatology Book of Black Hair and Skin by Pamona
Where they go on your blog:
If you want to monetize your blog through self-published books, you can advertise your books in the same way you do your services or other products. You can link to them from posts, in your site’s sidebar, header, or footer, in PDFs, inside other products, during live webinars/events, using your social media accounts, and anywhere else you can think of.
Note: the book I spoke of above that earned me over $100,000 in profit in its first 5 years sold mainly from the sidebar of my site. Which reminds me ⬇️.
Always remember to include an image of your book (the cover, interior pages, etc.) whenever and wherever you can. That way, people can visualize themselves reading it and can preview how helpful it is.
Who self-published books are best for:
As long as you have something of value to communicate, and are able to package that value as a print, audio, or digital book, you may want to highly consider selling books.
They are low-maintenance, often no-maintenance, products that allow you to help people at almost every price point.
2. Accept Sponsorships
Another popular way to make money blogging is to create sponsored posts, reviews, social media content, or endorsements for a particular brand.
Example sponsored post concepts:
- You might develop a recipe using a certain brand’s ingredients.
- Your audience might enjoy an in-depth tutorial of a certain brand’s software.
- Or, you could do an in-depth book review.
- You could show your readers how to complete a DIY project with a certain brand’s materials.
Why are brands eager to work with bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, Instagrammers, and other content creators? According to a recent Tomoson study**, businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on this type of “influencer marketing.”
You can pitch and negotiate directly with (or be approached directly by) the brands you want to work with for sponsored content.
Or, you can work with a sponsored post network (that can line opportunities up for you) such as:
- Linqia (the only one on this list I’ve personally used)
- IZEA (who owns TapInfluence as well)
- Blog Meets Brand
Where they go on your blog:
Whereas regular sponsored posts will go in the (you guessed it) blog posts section of your site, some sponsored posts require social media content too. Meaning, your agreement with the sponsoring brand may include a certain number of tweets, IG images, etc.
And note: many social media influencers get sponsorships solely for Instagram, TikTok, or another platform. So if you don’t have a blog yet, but have an Instagram account you want to monetize, it’s definitely possible 🙌🏽.
Who they are best for:
No matter your traffic level or “status,” if you have a brand that wants to work with you on a sponsored post, and you feel the brand/post is a good fit, then go for it. Jumping in and trying it is the best way to figure out whether or not it’s a good long term strategy for you.
My friend Mattie James’ blog holds great examples sponsored posts. For years, she has consistently secured 4-figure and 5-figure brand sponsorships. The post pictured below is in collaboration with Pine-Sol.
3. Serve Ads (PPC and/or CPM)
PPC (pay per click) and CPM (cost per thousand impressions) ads are another popular way for bloggers to make money from their hard work.
Pay per click ads are web advertisements that you can place on your website (through a few lines of code) that theoretically deliver targeted ads to your audience. You earn a small amount each time one of your blog visitors clicks on a particular ad.
Pay per impression ads (often called CPM for cost per impression or cost per thousand impressions) are web advertisements where you earn a small amount of $$ each time the ads are viewed.
So, in theory, any visitor to your blog who scrolls to an area where you display CPM ads is earning your blog a bit of change.
Both PPC and CPM ads can be hit and miss, as in, sometimes the ads delivered will not be a good fit for your readers. However, PPC and CPM ads are a very low-maintenance form of blog monetization and can eventually be decent earners for you.
Example programs you can sign up for to earn from ads revenue on your blog:
- Google AdSense
- MEDIAVINE (I’ve used them for my health blog 🥗; note: they require sites to have 50,000 visitor sessions each month)
- SHE Media
- Monumetric (which allows blog partners starting at 10,000 pageviews per month, as shown below in the image)
- Infolinks (which includes less obtrusive “InText” links)
- Sovrn //Commerce
Where they go on your blog:
PPC and CPM ads can go in your sidebar, header, or footer, and sometimes even between blog posts or throughout your page content (this last one is not my favorite and seems tres, tres distracting).
Who they are best for:
PPC and CPM ads will work best on high traffic blogs because enough people need to see them in order to get the amount of clicks/views that translate into real revenue for you. This doesn’t mean you can’t put these ads in place while your blog is still in its early stages . . . just don’t expect to pay your mortgage with ad revenue each month just yet.
Note: many networks that pay per impression require that your blog has a minimum number of monthly page views in order to apply to their program (among other qualifications you might need to meet) so they can provide maximum value to the companies paying for the ad space.
The food blog Pinch of Yum has PPC/CPM ads in place on their site:
4. Sell Custom Ad Space
Another less utilized (but equally viable) way to make money from launching, writing, and maintaining an epic blog? Selling custom advertisement space in your sidebar, header, footer, or other spaces on your blog.
You can sell individual advertisement “blocks” on your blog to brands interested in reaching your target market and frequent readers.
Think about traditional magazines for a second. They don’t have a digitally automated ads system (such as those above in the PPC section) for their print magazine.
They have a media kit that explains who their readers are, how widely their magazine is circulated, etc. Their kit also shows advertisers what pages or spaces are available to purchase for ads in their magazine, and what the rate for each space is.
You can set up something similar for your blog.
You can have a page and form on your website called “Advertise with us.” that allows potential advertisers to get in touch. And, you can also contact potential advertisers directly.
Make sure to:
- Understand who comes to your site through the use of free software like Google Analytics.
- Understand why a brand will want to pay to get in front of your audience.
- Research competitor websites and see who, if anyone, advertises with them. You can reach out to those same advertisers or to their competitors.
- Consider developing a media kit that explains your readership, social influence, and advertisement rates (with illustrations of where on your site the ads go).
The benefit of selling custom advertising space (as compared to using PPC/CPM programs) is that you will have control over exactly what goes on your site. And how it looks. You can suggest or require ad designs in line with your brand’s aesthetic.
Other benefits are that you get to set your rate and that you don’t have to have 50,000 site visits per month. You can have fewer than a thousand visitors per month if your topic is niche and your audience is engaged enough.
Where custom ads go on your blog:
Custom ad space is typically in a sidebar, header, or footer, but it can also be mid-page as well.
Who they are best for:
Custom ad space is best sold on blogs with a very specific and consistent readership or on large blogs with a good handle on who their readers are.
Since you’ll be managing your ad space on your own, there are no external qualifications . . . you just have to convince advertisers to spend their $$ with you.
5. Become a Product-Specific Affiliate
You can make money from your blog when people buy products and services linked from your site that have attached affiliate programs.
You can find these programs in one of three main ways:
- If you know specific influencers or blog owners who sell products or services, they may already offer an affiliate program (or be willing to start one). You can often find their program explained clearly on their site. But, if not, do a Google search for “[Brand Name or Product Name] affiliate program.”
- Any larger companies you know of that sell services, digital products, and physical goods may also have a partner or affiliate program. I recommend making a list of all the products, software, and services you use regularly. Then, research each company to see if they have an affiliate program.
- Lastly, you can use affiliate networks to join the affiliate programs of multiple companies and receive combined payouts.
Example affiliate networks you can apply to as a blogger (to get product-specific affiliate links):
P.S. The way to make affiliate programs non-sleazy, is to only promote stuff you actually feel adds value to the people who read your blog.
I would be highly embarrassed if you were reading my blog and one day clicked on an ad or affiliate link and bought something that was utterly useless or annoying to you. However I regularly link to Hello Audio, ConvertKit, Teachable, and other products I use (such as Quuu Promote) as an affiliate because I get tremendous value out of them.
Where product-specific affiliate links go on your blog:
Affiliate links/images can be in your blog’s sidebars, posts, pages, emails, PDFs, social media shares, and more. Certain programs will have limitations on what you can say/imply with your links and advertisements, as a way to protect themselves and you.
Who they are best for:
Errrybody. If you have ever found a product or service you believed in and felt compelled to share with friends, then you are perfect for partner or affiliate income. You work really hard on your blog and your recommendations turn into real sales (that likely would not have otherwise happened) for companies. Why not earn a portion of that 💰?
6. Join an Affiliate/Associate Hybrid Program
This is not an exact study or statistic 🤨. But, I think if you asked all the bloggers you know “How do you make money blogging?”, at least 60% of them would answer Amazon Associates. Which I’ll explain in a second.
See. Affiliate/associate hybrid programs have a slightly different earning potential for your blog than the product-specific affiliate programs we just spoke of.
How? Well, these hybrid programs—and Amazon Associates is a prime example—give you a small commission on any product the person (who came from a link on your blog) buys.
As an example, if you clicked on one of my Amazon.com affiliate links for a book, but got to the site and bought a spiral vegetable slicer, I’d still make a commission.
Or, if you bought the book but also bought a TV, I’d make commission on both items.
Example associate programs you can sign up for to make money from your blog:
- Amazon Associates Program
- Target Affiliate Program
- Walmart Affiliate Program
- Best Buy Affiliate Program
Note: each of these affiliate programs for bloggers varies, so be sure to check the policies of each one to determine exactly how you’ll earn commissions and what those commissions will be.
Where they go on your blog:
This type of affiliate link/image can be in your sidebar, posts, pages, emails, PDFs, social media shares, and more. Just as with product-specific affiliate programs, certain hybrid programs will have limitations on what you can say/imply with your links and advertisements, as a way to protect themselves and you.
Who they are best for:
Errrybody again. No matter your blog’s traffic level, you can probably find relevant, useful links to products you would normally buy from Amazon, or Target, etc. Again, as long as you are being genuine and trying to add value, you almost can’t go wrong.
As an example, on my health and wellness site, I frequently link out to the exact hippie/non-toxic products I use. I’ve included a screenshot below of our site’s affiliate earnings on a single, random day.
Note: Amazon has a relatively new feature for Associates, where you can place images in your site with real-time prices. You can choose images in certain categories, or literally, choose the exact products you want to link to.
Learn more here.
7. Offer Freelance Services
Before we give you 80+ service business ideas below, let’s start with the thought below.
Selling your own services from your blog can do a lot more for you than just earn you money. The additional benefits come in the form of establishing your reputation and authority in your field. Which can lead to being able to expand your business or pivot to different products later.
Keep in mind: when you decide to start blogging for money, or blogging as a business, you’re not limited to only selling your services from your blog.
You can list your services in large marketplaces like Upwork or Fiverr, or niche marketplaces like Verbling (for language tutoring).
80+ Service Business Ideas
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Career Help (5)” opened=”true”]
Cover letter writing
Job search/placement consulting
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Data/Analytics (2)”]
User interface & user experience (UI/UX)
Google Analytics setup/strategy
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Design (10)”]
Graphic design of brand identities (including logos)
Design of print materials
WordPress web design
Squarespace website creation
Social media graphics
Book layout/interior design
Book cover design
Product packaging design
Presentation design (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.)
Drawing or illustration services
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Development (2)”]
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Education (4)”]
Translator or language teacher
Tutoring or test prep
College application review
Tech tutoring (i.e. how to set up and use your tablet)
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Fashion (3)”]
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Food (3)”]
Cooking / personal chef
Nutrition coaching (where allowed by law)
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Lifestyle (8)”]
Interior e-design and styling
Fashion / image consulting
Home maintenance / organizing
Crafting / homemade goods / personalized goods
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Music (3)”]
Audio editing for musicians
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Online Business (16)” opened=”true”]
Social media management
FB or IG ads management
Specialty website setup (course sites, sales pages, etc.)
Online business manager
Internet marketing consultant
Social media consultant
Search engine optimization consultant
Customer service and/or email support
Small business marketing
Blogging / blog consulting
Phone/video sales rep for online businesses
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Photo/Video (6)”]
Graphics creation for videos
Audio editing for podcasts, audio courses, and more
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Professional Services (12)” opened=”true”]
Tax and financial planning
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Special Events (4)” opened=”true”]
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Sports & Fitness (3)”]
Yoga (or other special activity) instructor
Personal training and fitness
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Writing (10)” opened=”true”]
Copywriting for businesses
Writing for publications
Substantive editing of writings
Ghostwriting for blogs
Ghostwriting for books
Proofreading / editing
Business writing (business plans, grants, proposals, key reports, etc.)
Where your freelance services go on your blog:
You can advertise your freelance services from your posts or pages, your sidebar, your header, your footer, your social media accounts, marketplaces, and anywhere else you can think of.
Who they are best for:
If you have a helpful service you can perform or task you can complete for another person or business, and you don’t mind communicating with clients, then selling your own freelance services could be a great fit for you.
The amazing Claire Paniccia offers “done for you” SEO services, as an example.
Typically, services that you complete for a person (a.k.a. done for you or DFY) are freelance services. Whereas guided services you do with a person (a.k.a. done with your or DWY) are usually coaching services.
Consulting services are most often a mix of both . . . you’ll work with the client to get the data/info you need, then craft a plan for them, and perhaps even help them implement it.
You’ll notice there is a bit of crossover between freelancing and the next two monetization types (coaching and consulting) below.
8. Offer Coaching Services
Freelance services are heavy on the “I’ll do it for you” (example: make your website).
Consulting is heavy on the “Here’s the roadmap and strategy to get it done” (example: a marketing consultant who creates a 6-month strategic plan).
And coaching is heavy on the “I’ll be here, guiding you as you move toward this important goal, looking out for pitfalls and opportunities.”
That’s why there are life coaches, business coaches, money mindset coaches, divorce/transition coaches, weight loss coaches, and more.
As a coach, you help people see their blindspots, adopt healthy practices, and be consistent on their goals.
A lot of what you do is help your client with their mindset. You’re looking for anything holding them back and giving them tools and tricks to move past things that aren’t helping them.
You typically also have a unique view as a coach because you have helped other clients with whatever it is, or have gone through it yourself, so your superpower is often the special lens you have on the challenges and potential rewards your client is facing.
Tools that will help you with your online coaching practice:
- Scheduling tool for clients to book appointments and fill out info forms // Acuity Scheduling or Calendly are examples
- Audio and video meeting tool to host your client sessions // Zoom and UberConference are great examples
- Project and task management software to keep track of your clients, client notes, and client progress // Notion and Asana are examples
- Client dashboard tool, so you can take payments as well as load videos and documents for your clients // Teachable, Dubsado, and HoneyBook are great examples
Where your coaching services go on your blog:
Share your coaching services from your website’s pages, blog posts, sidebar, header, and footer. Also consider sharing from your social media accounts, marketplaces, and anywhere else you can think of.
Who they are best for:
If you have the ability to help people accomplish their goals (through motivation, mindset techniques, and more), and you don’t mind communicating with clients, then becoming a coach could be a great fit.
The epic Dr. Angelina Davis offers coaching for consultants who want to expand their personal bandwidth. She helps people completely transform the way they approach time management, productivity, and project management.
Pro tip for coaches: using some form of audio or video on your blog can help you establish a necessary trust connection with your potential client faster than just text.
Consider offering a free audio course people can sign up for, running a public or private podcast, hosting free starter calls, or holding free webinars. Dr. Angelina hosts the Excel at Consulting podcast (previewed below), which helps clients get to know her better before hiring her.
💡 Second pro tip for coaches: you can do individual 1-on-1 coaching, or you can do group coaching.
Say for example you are a novel writing coach and your blog features articles to help people start and finish their first novel.
Yes. You could totally offer 3-month or single session coaching services for individuals. But, you could also host a “Finish Your Novel” Group Coaching Bootcamp a few times per year. So, the same hour-long time slot you were gonna fill with one person each week, could have 8 people, or 75 people 🎉, in it.
9. Launch Consulting Services
Another great way to make money blogging is to launch consulting services that relate to your blog content.
Consulting is about looking at what your client is currently doing (by analyzing data, habits, actions, and outcomes) and developing a strategic plan to get them where they want to be.
Because of this, there are consultants for everything from nonprofit fundraising and screenplay story development to interior designers who craft a plan for your home or period and fertility specialists (like Krystal—below) who can help you identify root causes to any issues you may be experiencing.
Note: the same tools (to book appointments, take payments, and stay organized) that we shared above for coaching apply to consulting too. Same with the pro tips we shared in the coaching section.
With consulting you may want to consider offering:
- 1-on-1 personalized services
- Sessions where you advise/help a whole team
- Group trainings and “hot seat consulting” (where individuals can ask questions specific to their needs)
- Customized audits or reports (example: a website SEO audit)
- “VIP Days” where you work with a client live (online or in person) to create a strategic plan and complete certain tasks
- Industry reports that are specific to a niche industry where people are willing to pay for your studies or insights (example: a study of how 1000 different successful interior designers are using social media)
Where your consulting packages go on your blog:
You can share information on your consulting packages from your blog posts, site pages, sidebar, header, and footer. Also consider sharing from your social media accounts and service marketplaces.
Who they are best for:
If you have the ability to assess issues in a client’s current approach to their goal, and provide customized suggestions from your experience and industry knowledge, then consulting could be for you.
10. Create a Membership Program
An increasingly popular way that bloggers make money for their hard work is by selling spots in membership programs.
Why is it gaining so much popularity? Because out of all the ways there are to make money blogging . . . it is one of the only ones that is set up for recurring monthly income.
Basically, in a membership program, members pay a monthly, quarterly, or yearly fee for access to certain content, community, or events.
👆🏽 Above you can see an example of Charles Michel’s monthly membership for people interested in conscious cooking and food.
💡 Memberships are great because they offer bloggers a more predictable revenue stream. And, if you build up to hosting a successful one, you won’t necessarily have to spend as much time marketing and selling as bloggers with some of the other revenue streams.
Note: your membership program will exist on a spectrum that gives you control over how “intense” it is.
In other words: you can offer exclusive online content and a community space for your members on the low-intensity (and likely inexpensive) end, or, you can offer a high-end mastermind with luxurious retreats, or even a premium membership with live weekly trainings and customized support.
The latter two would likely be a bit of an investment for members and might fall into the high-intensity category. What you offer will be about what you feel great about offering and what will be useful to your audience.
Tools you can use to host and run your online membership:
- Software focused on setting up tiers (levels) for your members, accepting payments, and providing a private communication platform // Buy Me a Coffee and Patreon are great examples; Ghost allows you to build a full website with your membership options
- Membership software focused on releasing great monthly workshops, courses, or written content // Teachable and Podia are great examples
- Membership software focused on community // MightyNetworks
Where your membership program gets mentioned on your blog:
Same as with many of the other products and services in this guide. You can share your membership from your blog posts, pages, social media accounts, blog sidebar, header, and footer.
Who they are best for:
If you enjoy creating regular, helpful content, and you like the idea of building a community of like-minded or like-goaled 🤣 people, then creating a membership may be one of the best monetization models for you.
You get the chance to learn from your members and let their questions, ideas, problems, and achievements inspire even more creativity inside of you. All while helping people.
Cyndie, the founder of Dear Grown Ass Women, has a monthly membership to support her writing.
11. Offer Online Courses
When you’ve got enough knowledge and experience in something to explain it in a way that helps other people “get it,” it might be time to think about offering courses as a way to monetize your epic blog.
Your course can take many formats. It can be a/an:
- Audio series or course // hosted with private podcasting software like Hello Audio, hosted through your website, or published on a service like SoundCloud
- Email course // you can schedule emails for certain dates, or, have your emails all queued up and ready to send out as soon as someone buys your course; you can use software like MailChimp, ConvertKit, or Flodesk
- Drip course (where lessons are “dripped” a.k.a. released at a certain frequency—example once every 3 days) // you can use one of the email software programs above to drip out a course, or you can use course hosting software like Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, or Kajabi
- Mini-course // a quick course meant to be consumed in an hour or so (or perhaps a day); you can use password protected pages on your website to host your course, or you can use any of the course software in the point above
- Premium or signature course // whereas many signature courses start at $1,000 USD or above, you can charge more or less depending on your brand; your signature courses will be where your best (and often, most comprehensive) help on certain topics live
- Live course // whether a premium course or a smaller one, you can actually deliver your course live—usually done over the course of 1 – 12 weeks
Where your courses get mentioned on your blog:
Share your courses from your blog posts, pages, social media accounts, blog sidebar, header, and footer. Consider regularly sharing your courses in your weekly emails to your email list as well.
Who they are best for:
If you have something you’re good at, and would prefer to share or teach it in a way that’s scalable, courses may be for you. When I say “scalable” I simply mean that a course can be sold to 10 people a month, or 100, or 10,000. Whereas, if you’re offering 2-hour consulting sessions, you can’t do 10,000 of those in a month.
Dominique Broadway of Finances Demystified teaches The Wealth Transfer Investing Course.
12. Host Workshops and Other Online Events
A high-value product that’s both simple to create and deliver sounds almost too good to be true. Especially when you’re first starting out and looking for ethical, legit ways to make money blogging.
But. Such a thing exists. Online workshops.
They not only serve customers well, but they also offer the business owner a priceless learning opportunity. If you choose to do live online events, you will be able to receive questions, gauge reactions, and learn a lot about how to serve your paying clients.
People will show up to learn, do, and get advice or ideas specific to them. You will show up to teach, facilitate growth activities, learn, and apply your framework and expertise to actual problems/questions.
And workshops (or online events in general) can take many forms:
- Online workshop, masterclass, or “lab” // usually a 1-time online event—however they can be pre-recorded; you can host a purely “teaching” workshop, or you can mix in a Q+A, or even some guided co-working
- Expert panel or interview case study // a live or pre-recorded session that you direct, but that highlights the experiences and knowledge of your guest(s)
- Summit or conference // a multi-session (and potentially multi-day) event featuring the expertise of your speakers; sessions can be pre-recorded and simply released on certain days and times
- Intimate live group session // a smaller gathering that provides a safe, welcoming atmosphere for your guests to learn, meet each other, ask questions, and get work done
- Live bootcamp, lock-in, or retreat // typically a multi-session event, or a longer event (think: 8-hour event where you’re locked in and working on something specific) with a clearly defined goal for attendees
- Challenge or live course // materials or sessions that get released each day/week for a specified time period (think: 12-day yoga challenge or a 3-week coding class)
- Live group program or accelerator // a more premium live course with group coaching elements added in (think: 8-week program with 1 lesson per week and 1 group coaching session for people who’ve completed that week’s “homework”)
After doing hundreds of online events (including every type on this list), I can say with certainty that there’s a style of event that works for almost everyone—even for introverts (like me 🙋🏽♀️). And that there’s a way to host each type of event for free.
- If you’re nervous live, you can pre-record. Use a tool like Loom, Zoom, Camtasia, or QuickTime.
- If you’re not a fan of big crowds, you can do something intimate. On Zoom or UberConference you can go for 40 or 45 minutes (respectively) for free before upgrading your plan.
- If you don’t want to do the teaching yourself, you can host summit sessions or panels. You can use StreamYard, Zoom, UberConference, or Ecamm Live among other programs to feature 2 or more people at a time.
- If you want to offer a premium product, you can opt for a retreat or group program. Your workshop doesn’t have to be free, or under $200. People often charge $2,000+ for premium group programs or accelerators. I’ve hosted ones for $800, and ones starting at $2,400. You can use a tool like Zoom for the meetings, then a tool like Teachable/your website to host the recordings and additional files.
- If you don’t like being on camera, you can record videos of your slides or do an audio-only event with episodes releasing on your scheduled dates using a private podcast feed (like the ones available in Hello Audio).
Where your events get mentioned on your blog:
Share your workshops from your blog posts, email newsletter, social media accounts, blog sidebar, header, static pages, and footer.
Who they are best for:
If you enjoy giving ideas and feedback live, so that you can help people with their specific challenges, all while learning a bit yourself, online events are for you. And even if you aren’t a fan of hosting events live, you can pre-record elements and still build out an epic customer experience.
For example, the “lessons” of your conference or bootcamp could be released as pre-recorded audio or video each day of your event, but then you might host live text-based chats or audio chats using software like Discord to complement the lessons.
13. Publish Digital Tools and Templates
Templates, tools, and patterns can make your customers’ lives, businesses, and goals easier.
For example, we once released a set of 156 formulas for people to create subject lines for their emails (or titles for their blog posts or YouTube videos). People loved that they didn’t have to think so hard about subject lines anymore.
After it made its first $14,000 in profit in a few weeks, we came to realize that (duh 🙄) people enjoy cutting down the time/work they have to put in to get things done.
Not out of laziness or the “get rich quick without trying” mentality, but out of the “Duh. Why spend time on things that aren’t my strength?” or the “Duh. If someone has cut down on my workload for me, why would I ignore that?” mentality.
What kind of templates/patterns/checklists could you create?
- A subject lines/titles document of formulas that people can plug their content into (again, this is what we did, but we welcome there being more of these in the world if this is a strong suit of yours!)
- The budgeting spreadsheet and system you use
- A font pairings guide/checklist (Yep. It’s been done before and one of the people who did it charges $397 for it; so it’s possible.)
- A sewing pattern
- Beautiful desktop/phone/tablet wallpapers or backgrounds
- Content planning spreadsheets/templates
- Wedding planner
- Wedding budget template
- Client intake process checklist and template
- Antique restoration checklists for various types of antiques
- Résumé templates
- Code snippets (HTML, CSS, etc.) that people can plug in and use
- Recipes (for food, for body care items, etc.)
- Interior design room combinations at different budgets (ex: “Want a $1,000 living room, here are some combos to try.” “$2,500? Here’s what I’d go with.”)
- Fitness journal/planner
- Yoga workouts for a week, planned out
- A download with instructions and images on how to do 20 popular hairstyles for curly hair
- Chore chart for families
Who they are best for:
Does your audience have things they need to accomplish on a somewhat consistent schedule, or even just a few times . . . or even just once? Something they might pay to make simpler, take less time with, or go through less drama/headache to accomplish? Then templates/patterns/formulas may be a good fit for you.
Kelsey, of Paper & Oats, sells beautiful planning templates in her Etsy shop. And if you’re wondering if templates can be profitable/lucrative . . . multiply her # of sales (over 10,000 . . . as seen in the graphic below) times an average price of $10.
You’ll arrive at a 6-figure sum that she’s likely made from helpful templates and checklists. She’s an impressive woman; and her templates aren’t even her primary business 😲.
14. Offer Physical Products
I’m guessing “offer physical products” is a bit self-explanatory, but what might not be as obvious is the four main ways you can sell physical products.
- You can create the products (ex: handmade jewelry) in your home or workshop, list them on your site or a site like Etsy, and then ship products to customers.
- You can design the products and get print-on-demand companies to actually print and ship your products. Examples of POD companies? ✅ Printful (shown below) or ✅ Society6
- You can purchase products that have already been manufactured and then sell them on your site or on platforms like Amazon.com.
- You can get your own ideas manufactured into products and then sell them from your site, from Amazon.com, or from other marketplaces.
What physical products might you sell on your blog? Anything (that matches what you blog about). Example products:
- kitchen tools (like Ali Maffucci‘s Inspiralizer—shown below)
- yoga or fitness gear (like a yoga wheel or fitness clothing)
- gift baskets
- custom clothing, bags, mugs, etc. (like those shown in the Printful image above)
- special lotions, hair care products, and other body care items
- really, anything you want to create
Where links to your physical products go on your blog:
Not only can you have a “shop” or “store” page devoted solely to your products, you can also incorporate their pictures and links in your posts, sidebar, footer, header, social media accounts, and anywhere else you can think of. It’s your product so it’s your choice. The Product Placement Police Department (PPPD) will not be breathing over your shoulder and handing out Poor Product Placement Citations (PPPCs). I freaking hate PPPCs.
Who they are best for:
Any blogger at any traffic level can make and sell physical products. Even if you have a small group of people who visit your blog, you can still potentially sell your fun, valuable products. And people will love you for it. If they enjoy what you do, they’ll even spread the word for you.
Returning to the example of my friend Mattie James, she created “Mattie Mugs” with fun sayings on them that her audience appreciates.
Pro tip: selling physical products comes with increased liability (even if you don’t make the products yourself). They can break, have harmful ingredients, cause allergic reactions, etc., so you’ll want to make sure you have insurance and are following all laws/guidelines in your city, state, country, and industry.
15. Create a Subscription Box
So, take everything we just said about physical products (everything from how to get them made to the additional liability you’ll want to consider) and apply it to subscription boxes.
The only difference is, you’ll ship out subscription boxes to your customers at a specific frequency (most commonly monthly). Which also means you’re making a recurring income from those customers.
Angie of Liberate & Lather sells Ignite and Write—a monthly subscription box with a candle and journaling cards (as well as a monthly masterclass and community online).
16. Get Speaking Engagements
Another way to make money blogging (or rather, get offers as a result of your epic blogging work), is speaking.
You can be invited to speak at (or pitch yourself for):
- online conferences
- in-person conferences
- associations and communities
- summits or seminars
- membership communities or masterminds
- and more
As a super introvert, I didn’t think there would be a time you could get me up on stage in front of even 20 people, let alone 200 or 2,000. But. Over 7 years of running a blog business full time, I’ve spoken at dozens of events . . . and I survived 🙌🏽.
Who speaking is best for:
Speaking at various events can not only be an amazing credibility booster, personal development exercise (for shy people like me), and income earner, but you can also meet tons of future collaborators and customers through these events.
If you already enjoy speaking, or suspect that you might like it and want to move past any fears related to public speaking, then I highly recommend you add it to your offerings. It will help diversify your revenue streams and put you in front of people who are invested in learning and growing.
17. Create SaaS or Apps
Lastly but not leastly 🤦🏽♀️, a pretty epic way to monetize your blog and audience is creating software as a service (SaaS) or other computer/phone applications that help people.
Note: software as a service (SaaS) is software that is licensed on a subscription basis. Example: you pay a monthly fee to use your favorite budgeting software, or you pay a monthly fee for your email marketing software.
As you build your blog audience, and find unique ways to help people with your content, you may start to see gaps in your industry. Opportunities to serve people better with apps/software.
I’ve seen bloggers develop design apps (to help people style their photos), SEO apps (to help people write better content), and more.
Nathan Barry took his blog from 0 to 30,000+ email subscribers, and also sold books and courses online. But, he felt there was something missing in email marketing software. So, he launched ConvertKit in 2013 and has grown it to a company that makes over $25,000,000 in annual recurring revenue 😲.
💥 And, boom; we’re done. I know that was a pretty hefty guide. So, thank you for reading, and we hope this helps you on your business journey.
If you have a moment, please take some time to add a comment below on which revenue streams you’re considering and why.
Did anything stand out to you as a unique way to monetize your blog? Were there any ideas you hadn’t thought of before but that now seem appealing?
👇🏽 Let us know below.
Quick note for people pursuing ads and affiliate revenue: make sure you comply with any and all laws/requirements/agreements that are in place with each form of advertising + affiliate relationship you choose. For example: you typically need to disclose that your links are affiliate links.