When I get asked what I do for a living, people either nod vaguely like they don’t quite understand what I said, or they ask this question: How do bloggers make money?
It’s a totally understandable question! Blogging is a strange job without a straightforward, regular paycheck. Large and very, very small amounts of money can come from a whole lot of sources each month and they all add up to an income (hopefully!).
So if you’re curious how this all works, either because you’ve thought about becoming a blogger or you’re just plain curious, I’ll pull back the curtain and explain how bloggers make money.
How Do Bloggers Make Money?
The 4 Basic Methods:
Bloggers make money by allowing advertisements to be placed on their websites. I’m sure there are some ads on this page you’re looking at right now.
I don’t reach out to individual companies to have their advertisements placed on my site. Instead, I use an ad management company that handles all of it for me, which is how pretty much everyone does it these days. You can use Google Ads, AdThrive, or Mediavine (my ad management company), just to name a few. Most of the higher paying companies require you to have a certain amount of pageviews before they will work with you.
One of my biggest blogging regrets is that I didn’t bother to apply to a better ad network when I could back when I was starting out. I had Google Ads, which pays close to nothing, and I didn’t realize that I could make a whole lot more with a different company.
No matter which ad management company you use, to make a solid amount of money from ads, you need a lot of pageviews. Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest and I always recommend that new bloggers learn how to make pins for their posts and start posting on Pinterest early on. It was literally the second big thing I learned how to do with my blog, after learning the basics of writing blog posts.
I one million percent recommend the Pinning Perfect course if you want to learn how to get tons of traffic from Pinterest. The women who created the course teach you absolutely everything and are constantly updating the course as Pinterest changes things.
The second way that bloggers make money is with affiliate links. If you’ve ever been on a website and clicked a link to check out a product you could purchase, that was probably an affiliate link. It’s just a special link that has information in it so that the product company knows that you got to their website because of an affiliate. If you make a purchase or sign up, the affiliate will likely earn a commission.
This could be links to products on Amazon or other online stores, creating an account for a free app, or links to an online course. Commissions can range from 2% to 40%, sometimes more.
Amazon affiliate commissions are generally on the super low end, whereas a commissions for an online course is usually at the higher end, but it all depends.
I try to be as honest and ethical as I can about affiliate links. I only recommend products that I have used personally, or truly believe are of value.
This also means I disclose when I am using an affiliate link. The top of each of my blog posts states that there may be affiliate links in the post, plus there’s a longer statement about affiliate links in my sidebar.
I learned affiliate marketing through Michelle Schroeder’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. It was the first blogging course I ever spent money on! And it made me a whole lot of money — I earned back well over what I paid for the course over the next two months. Michelle also shares how to use affiliate links legally (some of those disclosures I mentioned above are necessary by law).
The biggest chunk of my income comes from ads right now, and the second biggest chunk comes from affiliate links.
Another way to make money as a blogger is to create your own products to sell. I have to say, the idea of doing this totally freaked me out for years, but once I got started (thanks to learning how in Elite Blog Academy) I realized how exciting it can be.
I’ve created and sold three of my own products so far, all of which have been PDF ebooks/workbooks. The only one I have for sale right now is my Clutter-Free(dom) guide. I’ve made well over $7,000 from selling my own digital products over the years (I started in 2017). I’m currently working on my first e-course to launch later this year.
One great thing about creating and selling your own products is that you get to keep most of the money. With affiliate links, you only make a small percentage of the sales but when it’s your own product, you get to keep most of it.
I’m not sure I ever would have made the jump to creating my own products without going through Elite Blog Academy. It walked me though the entire process step-by-step so that it was much less scary. They even provided email templates so that I knew how to launch my products so that people would buy them!
EBA only opens for registration to the public once per year, but you can get on waiting list here (which I definitely recommend that you do!) if you are at all interested. They also have a FREE guide on how to set up a blog if you want to give blogging a go.
The final big way that bloggers make money is through sponsored posts. This is when a company pays you to mention them in a blog or social media post. It could be a full-on product review or just a mention that they sponsored a post about a related topic.
You can get sponsored posts by contacting a company directly or by finding them through an influencer network, which is a site that connects bloggers with companies.
I’ve just been starting to dabble in this area. I’ve done one sponsored post so far (this one). It took a lot of back and forth to make sure the company sponsoring the post was happy with everything.
I hope this has helped make a little more sense of the question: How do bloggers make money?
Each blogger has a different combination of these income sources, but these are the four main categories of how it happens.
If you think you’d like to become a blogger, I highly encourage you to do it! You can get a beginners guide to setting up your blog for free from Elite Blog Academy right here.