Every mom should have an option to stay home with her children, regardless of income

Top 10 Ways to Monetize Your Blog

Maybe you started your blog because you just wanted the opportunity to share your passion and experience with the world.

Or maybe you knew from the beginning that you wanted to make money from it, but you just haven’t gotten around to monetizing it yet.

Perhaps, you’ve wanted to make money from your blog since the beginning, but you just didn’t know how.

No matter which one of those applies to you, today I’m going to teach you the top 10 ways to monetize your blog.

As a successful blogger, I've had the privilege of getting to know a myriad of ways in which to earn income blogging. Here are the top 10 ways to monetize your blog.

Top 10 Ways to Monetize Your Blog

I remember standing before the judge in my divorce hearing. I had been a stay-at-home-mom all my kids lives…but the minute the judge told me that I needed to get a “real” job or lose thousands of dollars a month in the divorce, was the moment, I told him that I would not.

That my kids meant more to me than money. That I refused to leave them.

I told him that I KNEW I could make $1,000/month from home.

You could see it all over his face, he wanted to laugh. He asked me how long it would take for me to get there. I told him to give me ONE year! One year…that’s all I needed. He set the divorce hearing…one year from that date.

My lawyers BEGGED ME to reconsider. “You can’t tell the judge that,” they said. I lovingly replied…”I just did.”

Literally EVERYONE around me told me to get a job. My family, my friends, my church, everyone. No one believed in me, not one.

I tell you the truth, within one years’ time, I was making TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH!!!!!!! Yep….a month. I exceeded what I told the judge 10 times over.

I cry every time I tell that story. 

Blogging is not some get rich scheme and it does NOT happen over night. BUT, if you are consistent, if you work hard, you absolutely CAN make good money blogging. I know…because I do it. In my last income report, which you can find here, I share exactly how I make $23,000/month.

And if some single mom from Idaho can do it, don’t TELL ME that YOU can’t!

Here are the top 10 ways to monetize your blog

1) Website Ads

One of the most common ways people know of to make money from a blog or website is with ads.

However, there are many different types of ads you can use on your site and this is the part that a lot of people don’t know.

There are banner ads, in-text ads, text link ads, cost per click advertising, and many more. You should take some time to do a bit of research into the different types of ads and also see how they would look displayed on your blog before deciding what you want to do.

For me, I use these two ad networks:

  • Google AdSense – I use Google AdSense ads in my sidebar, below my posts, and the vertical ad underneath the navigation bar. Find the three ads that do best on your site (with your analytics they give you) and keep them. Delete the ones that don’t do as well. There’s no point in showing an ad that doesn’t make you GOOD money! Also note, that on any given page or post, you may ONLY SHOW three ads from AdSense. Be careful not to display more ads from their network than that, or you can get shut down. This is something they DO monitor. One time, they emailed me about it, asking me to remove one, because I didn’t know about the rule. I was thankful they took the time to contact me and email me, instead of just automatically shutting me down!
  • Media.net – What I love about Media.net is that you can put the ads where you want them. I like to put them in some of my more popular posts. You can customize the ad colors any way you want and Media.net will automatically A/B split test them to get you maximum results. Here’s an example of the ad that converts the best on my site; making me lots of money…

Example of the ad:

A couple other great network choices are:

  • Federated Media – This is a great company that many of the top bloggers are in. I have not personally been able to secure a spot yet (they are very picky to get on with them), but they are very good and I keep trying. I highly recommend them based on what other bloggers who are with them are telling me.
  • Martha’s Circle – Several of my blogging friends are with Martha’s Circle. It is an ad network. I am not with this company, however, from all the positive feedback from friends, I have applied.

It’s important that you don’t overload the site with too many ads or go with too many networks. It can slow down your page load times and be very annoying to visitors. If you annoy all your visitors, you’re not going to have enough traffic to make any real money from ads.

With that said, you DO want to go through more than one ad network. This puts them in a position of competing against each other for ad space, and you make more money.

2) Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is my personal favorite! It’s a popular choice, because you don’t have to create any products of your own and it’s fairly easy to get started.

All you have to do is find good products that someone else has already created that your blog visitors will appreciate and then share those products.

You get a portion of the sales when you are signed up as an affiliate and all you really have to do is recommend the product.

Of course, to be successful with affiliate marketing, you need to build trust with your audience. Otherwise, they are not going to want to purchase the products and services that you recommend and they will continue to maintain your trust when you take care to only recommend quality products that you PERSONALLY use and trust. Don’t just start affiliating anything and everything you can.

I’d also encourage you to read more about affiliate marketing in my in-depth post here, Why You’re Not Making Enough Money in Affiliate Sales and What To Do About It

Some other great affiliate companies to join are:

Amazon – of course, the affiliate giant. Definitely a great thing to put on your blog.

Share A Sale – I like this company, because I can apply to whatever company I want through their site. Then, it’s easy enough to grab an affiliate link and plug it into the site. A few of my favorite companies that go through ShareASale: Gymboree, Julep, Zulily, StudioPress (Genesis and child themes).

PicMonkey – I loved their company, but they did not have an affiliate program, so I wrote them and asked for one. They said they would make one and I worked with them to beta test it all out. It’s a great affiliate program and a great picture site to use.

eJunkie – a lot of my friends have their affiliate programs with eJunkie and I’ve been with them myself, both as a seller and affiliate for a while now. It’s very easy to use their programs and super easy for affiliates to make money through them. Get a full list of tons of products on eJunkie that you can list on your site by grabbing my free eBook, Huge Affiliate Products Resource List for Lifestyle Bloggers.

Ebates – this is a fantastic company that I absolutely adore. EVERY time I shop online, I go through them and earn cash back on the purchases that I’m already making, and it REALLY adds up! If you click here, you can get a free $10 gift card (no strings attached; I promise!)

eBay – eBay has an affiliate program as well and it’s pretty good. If you can’t find something on Amazon or want to do price comparison’s, this is a great option for you.

ShopHer – this is a great company. They have lots of different affiliate links you can choose from and find the one that fits best with your brand. It’s kind of similar to ShareASale.

ePantry – one of my favorite affiliate programs. Each time you refer someone to their site, not only do they get $10 off their $20 order, but you earn $10 credit for their products. I never pay for household products because I always have enough in sales, which makes it super nice, especially since their products are such high quality.

Zaycon Fresh – another one of my favorite affiliate programs. You earn $1 for each person who places an order. Just like ePantry, you do not need to be a blogger to use this referral system. Simply tell your friends and have them go through your link. You can send your friends the link by email. It’s super simple and very effective. You use the money you earn on products with their company, which their products are, of course, amazing!

3) Sponsored Campaigns

Another option for making money with your blog is sponsored campaigns. This is something I don’t personally do anymore, but it’s a great option for most bloggers.

You can sign up directly with a company’s campaign or you can join networks that feature many different campaigns. You should take care to only work with sponsors who align with your brand’s message and the ideals that you represent on your blog. Don’t be so excited to make a few bucks that you accept just anyone. Always turn away more than you accept. Be diligent and be picky. There’s a million and one options out there for you!

Of all the companies that I’ve ever signed up with, these are the ones that pay the best and have the best brands to work for

Izea – I never got too far in with Izea. I’ve done a couple posts and it’s pretty standard stuff. A few of my friends make killer money with them. Definitely worth your time.

Pollinate – this is another great company. Every time that I’ve worked with them, I’ve had pleasant experiences and unlike Izea, the rules and guidelines are a bit more relaxed, so it’s easier to complete the task.

Tap Influence – this is a great sponsored post company to sign up with. They have a lot of great opportunities.

Clever Girls Collective – I enjoy working with this company above all other sponsored posts companies because they really make things very simple. There’s not a ton of hoops to jump through. Everything is pretty straightforward and they often have great Facebook posts that I enjoy doing as the projects are always FUN, so it’s doesn’t feel like “work.”

4) Create a Membership Site

Another way to earn money from your blog is to create a membership site that people need to pay to gain access to. This business model turns your blog into a money-generating tool.

It doesn’t have to be a recurring subscription, but that is also an option for you. If you charged $20/month (a moderate fee on average), and you have a 5%-member churn, at the end of a year, you could be earning more than $3,000 per month at the end of 12 months.

Some bloggers have special Facebook groups solely for paying members. They add value to the groups by providing information not available anywhere else. This is something that I’ve been personally thinking about starting for some time. I’ve been in lots of prayer about it, and it may just be the way I go in the future. For now, my Facebook group is free, and you can join it here.

5) Sell Digital Products

You can create your own digital products and sell it from your blog or create eBooks and sell on Amazon to make extra money. The more products you create, the more money you can make. You have complete control over them and you can create many different types of digital products. There are no limits to the number of products you can create and offer on your site.

For me, I love to create eBooks on Amazon. I really personally enjoy it. One question I’m often asked is, “How do you find marketable ideas to blog about and write an eBook about?”

After you’ve been blogging for a while, you will start to know what topics do well for your site and what your audience wants to know from you. If I’m writing a post, and it starts getting into the 4,000 word count, I immediately consider it for an eBook. Not everyone should do this. There are different marketing plans/ideas for everyone, but this is my personal strategy. I then begin to think about if it’s valuable enough that someone would pay a few dollars to get the information. If I feel they would, and if after I’ve prayed about it, it seems like a great idea, I go for it.

Another great idea is to turn a series on your blog into an eBook. Because they are so long and can easily be formatted into an eBook, it seems wise to me. When I first heard this idea, I honestly had a huge problem with it. But someone mentioned to me that a lot of people want the convenience of having a huge series in an eBook form on their phones or ipads, so they can read while on-the-go without downloading ads and other things that a website offers. A couple bucks is worth it to them and getting your information into as many hands as you can is helping more people, and in my opinion, that’s what it’s all about…helping as many people as I possibly can.

Another way I create ebooks, is by what my readers want. If a lot of them are asking for a particular thing, then I know it’s going to be popular and instead of writing a 2,000 word post, why not write a 4,000-6,000 word book on it instead and really go a lot deeper into the content, answering every question they possibly could have.

Again, it’s up to each individual blogger, but that’s how I personally decide what to create eBooks about.

6) Sell Services / Coaching / Consulting

Another option for making money from your blog is to sell services, coaching, or consulting in something that you are an expert in.

This is honestly, where the big bucks are made, and while I COULD very well charge for coaching and make a boatload of money (and I did do that in the past), I decided that I’d rather help a million people in a free post, than get paid to help 1 person. For me, I just want to help as many people as I can, but hear me, there’s absolutely NOTHING WRONG with coaching. It is a very lucrative endeavor and everyone has different goals for their blog and in their personal lives. Neither option is wrong.

In that way, your blog is a great platform in which to meet people, help them, and introduce to them what you do. If they connect with you, they will sign up as clients and that’s how you get paid. You get to set the price on what services you offer and it’s completely within your control how much you earn. Many people find it fun working directly with clients like this about the things that they are passionate about. You could also create a course and teach many at the same time. The possibilities are literally endless.

7) Advertising Space

You can offer advertising space on your blog for a fee. The amount you charge is usually based on how much traffic your site sees and people who advertise with you may want to see proof of that traffic before they pay you. That said, if you get a lot of traffic, it can really raise the price of your advertising space and by working directly with sponsors, you get paid better. This is something that I have done in the past, but no longer do, due to time constraints.

8) Private Forums

Another option to earn from your blog is to create private forums that people have to pay a fee to gain access to. You want the information here in these private forums to be worth the fee, of course, and you must describe the benefits accurately in order to get signups, but private forums are a good way to pull in extra cash from your blog. You could charge a monthly fee or just a one-time fee to gain access for a lifetime, or for a predetermined amount of time, such as a year.

9) Sell Physical Products

You can also sell physical products on your blog. These could be physical products you purchase to sell or make yourself. If you make them yourself, you could sign up for an Etsy store and link to it from your blog. Sell Avon, Younique, or another company’s products? Again, link to your products from your blog. Weave in the links, where applicable, on your blog. I personally sell Biomat, so whenever it comes up in natural conversation on my blog, I link to it. You get sales when someone purchases using your link.

10) Virtual Assistance

Blogger like me, who run successful blogs and bring in enough money to hire things out, usually do. For me, I have a personal assistant, Katie, who is ABSOLUTELY wonderful. I would NOT be able to do all I do without her. She does various things for me like deletes spam emails, pins on Pinterest for me, even sets up some of the bones of recipe posts.

She is very helpful to me and as soon as you are able to hire things out, I’d definitely recommend it. In the meantime, the best way to learn blogging is to become a VA (virtual assistant).

You can learn all kinds of tasks from other well-established bloggers, that you can use in your own blogging journey and get paid for it in the meantime.

I plan to go into much more detail on the whole world of virtual assistants very soon, so stay tuned….lots more information is coming. Being a VA is how I started out paying for my own blog, so I know it very well, coming at it from an employee and an employer perspective.

With these top 10 ways to monetize your blog, you’re ready to get started. Whether you’re building a blog from scratch, or reworking an existing blog, you’re ready to make money from your hard work. Remember the importance of your content, your unique voice, and the messages you have to share. While it’s important to use methods like the ones above to monetize your site, none of it will matter if you don’t publish great content and fantastic pictures for people to see.

Further reading….here are a couple, very inexpensive ebooks I’ve written on making money with your blog. You can check them out on Amazon using the links below:

If you haven’t started a blog yet and you think that blogging might be the path for you, here are a couple fantastic articles that can help:

As a successful blogger, I've had the privilege of getting to know a myriad of ways in which to earn income blogging. Here are the top 10 ways to monetize your blog.

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  1. Thank you Sarah for posting another great article about blogging- I particularly appreciate the heads up about the 3 ad limit on Adsense! Personally, I try to keep my ads to a minimum, because there is nothing worse than going to blog and not being able to read any content because it’s cluttered with ads! I try to keep a healthy balance on my blog, and it’s a work in progress 🙂 Thanks again for the motivation!

  2. I have Adsense and of course use Amazon Affiliates. I’ve made a few bucks, but I’m thinking of trying out sponsored posts. Supplementing my husband’s income is ok, but I would eventually like to replace it.

  3. Thank you for this article! I’m fairly new to blogging, in my 5th month, and NEED to start monetizing! I loved reading about how and why you started blogging! I’m a “grandma” blogger feeling a bit overwhelmed by the tech stuff, social media aspects, and the insecurities of a business world dominated by the 20-30 something age group. (Truthfully I’m in awe of all you young mommy bloggers!)
    I’ve signed up with Izea, but haven’t found a lot of opportunities in my
    niche. I appreciate the other suggestions for sponsored posts. I really loved the Etsy suggestion as I’m working on products to sell through my blog and wasn’t sure how to do that! Thank you so much! Your post has inspired me and given me a boost of confidence! I love your gentle reminder about praying about decisions! I did that when beginning this journey after loosing my 12 year work from home job. I felt strongly this was the path to take and I so appreciate your willingness to help others like myself out! Thank you!

  4. This was a great post on earning money through your blog. I have trouble with earning money from my own blog. I have blogged a year now but have yet to see any revenue. I have tried affiliate marketing through Amazon; I have made nothing yet. Are there some good blogging books on affiliate marketing you can recommend. I am interested in freelance writing. I have read many blogger success stories. I have thought about applying but a lot of applications don’t recommend having your posts published on your own blog. There are so many guidelines in freelance writing.

  5. Hi Sarah! You’re such a great inspiration… I decided to start my blog because of you! It took me a while to figure the first things out! I recently quit my job and I am working on the blog full time now! Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed though! You know, there’s so much to learn yet I feel there’s not enough time! hehehe

    Anyway! Your hard work and dedication really encourages me! Thank you for what you do!

    God bless you so much!

    • Catalina, it looks like you have a great start on the blog. 🙂 The blog titles are super useful to readers, which is great. It does take some time, but if you stick with it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

  6. I’m curious about your experience of selling your ebooks on Amazon vs your own site. I currently have 2 ebooks on my site, but I’ve been thinking about doing one on Amazon. My blog is a big niche (flooring), so people who come to my site are searching out that info. But, clearly, I haven’t done the greatest job of promoting the ebooks.

    This is one of my projects for the next month or two. (Affiliate marketing is a higher priority, though).

  7. These are some great ideas! I am already doing some of these, but my goal for 2017 is to publish an ebook and debut a digital product. Thanks for the detailed advice!

  8. At what point do you sign up for these companies (particularly Amazon and Adsense)? I heard you have to be established before being accepted and that you don’t want to apply too early so your website isn’t marked as rejected prematurly. Is there a certain views/month I should get? A certain Alexa ranking?

    My new years resolution is to get net positive and pay income tax on my blog for 2017! So far my startup cost is about $220. I’m afraid to sign up for monthly fees, until I start at least having a trickle coming back.

    • You really don’t need to pay for plug ins. I do not believe (off the top of my head), I have any plug ins that I pay for, however, you MUST see your blog as a business to invest in monetarily, in the right areas, if you want to make money. Think about it like a store. A new grocery store that opens up in your area stocks their shelves with food before opening. In the same way, we have to invest in our blogs to start making money, because it has to be a GREAT blog with gorgeous pictures and fantastic content to even be considered mainstream. There’s a lot of competition, you have to go above everybody else to make it. You can do it, just be very methodical about it. Here’s how I do it….whatever everybody else is doing, I do the opposite! PURPOSELY! But…I’m a rebel. 😉 XD

  9. Hi Sarah. First. Bravo! I am impressed with your success.
    I have to get out of corporate before I kill someone! If I could make $10k a month from blogging that would be awesome. So the reality – I will begin part time and have a few ideas on my blog theme etc. If I really put in the effort how long do you think it would take to generate, say, $500 a month. I know it’s a guess but I would value your opinion