I’m sure you’re here because you’re not getting the simplest and easiest explanation of how do blogs make money. This article is easy to understand and is totally for beginners so read on and learn!
Hi Trisha! I have been following your blog since 2014. I am amazed at how your blog has grown so much, and you are still here after so many years! I have a question, and I am getting conflicting and unclear information on the Internet. How do blogs make money? Do you mind sharing? I’ve always loved your way of explaining things, and I want to understand it in the simplest way possible! I am thinking to quit my job and be an entrepreneur, but I am scared I don’t have the proper tools. Please let me know where to start! Thank you so much!
Clarence P., United States
When I started blogging in 2010, I did not have anyone explain to me how do blogs make money. I simply dove into it by writing and writing without knowing the business aspects of it, so your question is valid!
Of course, the very first step is to create a professional blog. The problem with new bloggers is thinking about the money first without creating it. There will be no income if you don’t put up a website/blog, but we tend to be driven by money first.
To tell you the truth, a really good blog earns money after 1-3 years of creating it. 6 months if you are already a professional blogger, but overall, it takes time. You have to be patient!
Do not expect your blog to earn money or your business to be successful if:
- You are not ready to work 14-16 hours a day. Being your own boss requires a lot of time
- You get easily bored from creating, and you’ll jump from creating one blog to another (I made this mistake, too).
- You’re only thinking of what you’ll earn and not investing in the proper tools to make your blog earn money. In order to earn, you also need to spend.
I know that you don’t hear this a lot, but this is the truth. I have written about the cons of starting your own business that nobody talks about, so read that and make sure you are ready to do this.
Working for myself is one of the greatest things I have decided early in life. But note that my blog is over 10 years old, but I am still working on it every day. You can’t just leave it once it’s done since it will give you passive income FOREVER (if well taken care of).
Good luck, and if you need help, sign up for my courses or join my retreats! I would love to teach you more in person! Here are the answers to your burning questions, “how do blogs earn money?”
Can I earn money blogging about my passion?
This is one of the first questions that I want to answer. “Blogging” or “being a blogger” is always almost incorporated with “social media influencing” and fame. But it is not!
The truth is anyone can make a blog and earn from it. So, you’re a Real Estate broker who wants to leave your job because you have so many ideas in mind that your company doesn’t want to listen to.
Or you’re a sous chef whose head chef never listens to your menu ideas. You’re frustrated because you can never put up your own menu. And let’s be honest – you will be forever in the background as a chef unless you serve your own menu.
Leave your job and make a blog. A blog is just a tool to gain authority and customers. Take it as a space to present yourself and your expertise.
As for me, traveling, languages, and local life are my passions. With it, I have helped thousands of people live in many countries abroad, travel easily, and even gain residency in their chosen country!
There is no limit to what kind of blog you want to put up. Any profession or passion can make a blog. Even candle makers, baking moms, and any passion you can think of can make blogs!
How do blogs make money?
#1: Bloggers who write well make money
You’re probably reading a lot about making money easily with ChatGPT, an AI tool that helps you write blog posts easily.
While ChatGPT or any other AI tools are fast and easy, this blog does not thrive with AI tools. I still write all the blog posts myself!
Many Youtube videos and Instagram posts say that you can earn $1,000 USD a day with AI tools, but you still need to edit the posts. Although Google says that AI-generated content is not against their rules, the problem is that you can duplicate content from other sites, as AI tools write the same thing for topics.
I have tried generating AI content, and none of them ranks. Still, what I write genuinely is what ranks better on Google. Writing is the number one skill for earning money from your blog.
And not only that. It would be best if you also were well-equipped with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I started this blog with just writing and without SEO education, and it is not the same. I have seen that my traffic has greatly improved when I combined good writing and SEO skills.
You don’t even need to have expert SEO knowledge. Start with the basics, and you will improve greatly as you go. Don’t dwell too much on it in the beginning because you will end up not making content.
#2: Blogs make money with advertising
One of the top money-earning scheme for blogs is advertising. And I do not mean Google ads. When your website reaches a certain traffic, you can apply to a full-service advertising program. Two of the best in the industry are:
Although many are in the market now, these are your best options. Do not apply to any advertising company unless you reach these certain numbers. Otherwise, your efforts will be wasted on other advertising programs.
If you are hearing Raptive and Mediavine for the first time, these advertising companies are full-service ad management and monetization partner for online publishers (any niche).
When you join and qualify for their programs, they place ads on your website from various advertisers. They use a revenue share model, meaning they take a percentage of the ad revenue (around 25% as of 2021) generated from the ads they place on your blog.
The remaining revenue (around 75%) is paid out to you. The revenue generated from these ads is usually based on impressions (the number of times the ad is viewed) rather than clicks. So, more traffic to your blog usually translates to more ad revenue.
Your viewers or customers don’t necessarily need to click the ads so ultimately, your goal is to have your article viewed, browsed, or even skimmed!
#3: Blogs earn from Affiliate Marketing
Thankfully, my industry (which is travel) has a lot of affiliate marketing programs, so this is also one of my major income earners. Most blogs also earn money from affiliate marketing more than ads.
Actually, this is everyone’s stepping stone on how blogs earn money so you may want to go this route first.
Affiliate marketing is an online marketing strategy where a person partners with a business to make a commission by referring readers or visitors to a particular product or service.
In easy saying, the affiliate (you) earns a commission for marketing another company’s products.
The affiliate searches for a product they enjoy or believe in then promotes that product and earns a percentage of the profit from each sale they make. These sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.
The affiliate earnings you get is based on the revenue model of each affiliate program. There are a lot! For travel, I use TravelPayouts. Here, you will find affiliate programs from big guns in the travel industry like Booking.com.
There are many affiliate programs (including Amazon products), but you also have to have a certain number of traffic in order to qualify. Additionally, affiliate marketing is not limited to the travel industry although most affiliate programs focus highly on travel as there are more products to sell.
You can earn from courses, AI tools, web design platforms, domain markets such as GoDaddy, rental car companies, and many more! You can easily find programs that will fit your niche so take advantage of it and do not write a post without an affiliate link.
#4: Bloggers also earn from Youtube
Not all blogs earn with Youtube. This is very optional as maintaining a blog and a Youtube channel at the same time is hard. I myself have not focused highly on my Youtube channel because of other priorities in my business but many bloggers convert their blog content to a Youtube video.
If you are really serious with earning money online, then you’ll have the time to do both. You will also see a lot of videos sharing their $25,000 USD revenue on Youtube but you may still have questions on how Youtubers earn.
One of the primary sources of Youtube income is ad revenue generated from YouTube’s Partner Program. Once you meet certain criteria (a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months), you can apply for the program.
Once accepted, ads are placed on or around your videos, and you earn a portion of the revenue generated from these ads.
The amount you can earn on Youtube can vary greatly on the number of views your video receives. Ad revenue is commonly calculated based on the cost per mille (CPM), which is the cost an advertiser pays for one thousand views or clicks of an advertisement.
However, the actual CPM can vary based on many factors, including the video content, the audience’s demographics, and the time of year (with certain times like the holidays often commanding higher CPM rates).
YouTube takes a cut of this ad revenue (45% to Youtube and the remaining 55% going to the creator). This is also one of the reasons why I focus heavily on my Mediavine earnings because the split is higher (25-75).
The country where your viewers are watching your videos can significantly impact your earnings. This is because advertisers are willing to pay different amounts depending on the geographical location of the viewers due to differences in purchasing power, the level of advertiser competition, and other market factors.
For instance, views from countries like the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom generally have higher CPMs compared to views from many other countries. So, even if two YouTubers get the same number of views, the one with more views from countries with higher CPMs would generally earn more ad revenue.
Additionally, YouTubers can earn from channel memberships, where viewers pay a monthly fee for access to exclusive badges, new emojis, Members-only videos, and similar perks.
Super Chat and Super Stickers, which are essentially paid comments or stickers during live chat, are another source of income.
#5: Well-read blogs earn from social media campaigns
This is the least income-generator I focus on, although I am very tempted to put effort into it because I still get inquiries from brands because of my blue check.
I got my blue check on my social media platforms in 2016, and I have become a certified creator since then. There are already so many creators these days that social media campaigns and ad spending are so low.
Brands now look at social media based on following, which is stupid because you can easily buy followers. I also find social media lacking expertise as everyone can upload cooking videos, and they are suddenly a chef.
Or post videos of their babies advising on how to raise children, and they are instantly an expert in parenting.
Social media campaigns are coordinated marketing efforts that communicate and promote a specific goal or objective across various social media platforms over a set period.
These campaigns can serve various purposes, such as increasing brand awareness, promoting a new product or service, improving customer engagement, or driving traffic to a website, which I mainly do.
I prioritise driving traffic to my website, and I only use social media to do that. It is not my main platform to create.
My social media campaigns and website involve a strategic, focused approach aligned with the brand’s broader marketing strategy. I heavily screen brands I want to work with.
Successful campaigns are often creative, memorable, and aligned with the brand’s voice and message. They may include various forms of content such as images, videos, infographics, and user-generated content and utilize social media tools such as hashtags, polls, and contests.
There are various ways to earn money from social media campaigns. Suppose you are a social media influencer with a substantial following. In that case, brands may pay you to participate in their campaigns, which could involve creating content about their products or services or sharing their content.
If you own a business, you can use social media campaigns to promote your products or services, leading to increased sales. But the foundation of this is still your website!
You could earn money by helping brands develop and manage their social media campaigns if you’re a social media marketer or strategist. This could involve creating content, optimizing posts for each platform, tracking analytics, and managing engagement.
The pricing for social media campaigns varies greatly depending on the complexity of the campaign, the platforms used, the number of posts, the length of the campaign, the level of influencer involvement, and the size and engagement level of the audience.
The problem with this is that there isn’t a standard industry pricing, so it depends on you. But it also doesn’t mean you can charge whatever you like.
You need to justify these prices and match them with the quality of work you can deliver. I have many tips on how to do a social media pricing plan – browse the blog!
#6: Blogs can earn from speaking engagements
As my website traffic grew and my visibility on Google increased, I got invited to many speaking engagements with payment. In the beginning, I did not deem myself a professional public speaker so I trained myself how to be one by taking courses.
As such, I have landed a Ted Talk and different digital nomad conferences where I could speak and share my expertise.
Getting paid for speaking engagements involve building a strong professional background, publishing a book or research, or gaining recognition as an expert in your field.
Networking is crucial, too; attending industry conferences and events can connect you with potential opportunities. You can also develop a professional website that showcases your expertise, previous speaking engagements, testimonials, and contact information.
This is why having a website that consistently publishes content about your expertise is the cheapest and most credible way of getting paid for speaking engagements.
The amount you charge for public speaking can vary greatly depending on your level of expertise, the value of the information you’re sharing, your reputation and recognition in your field, the length of your presentation, and the type of organization hiring you.
For beginners, it might be more important to gain experience and build a reputation, so you might start by speaking for free or for a modest fee. For example, Ted did not pay me to speak but since Ted is a prestigious organization and I was really young when I did this, I did not charge them.
As you grow in popularity and demand, you can start charging more. Fees can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per engagement. High-profile speakers can charge tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You can charge a flat fee or along the way, negotiate terms including travel and accommodation expenses or potentially a percentage of ticket sales revenue.
You should also consider the nature of the event. Nonprofit, educational, or charity events might not have the same budget as corporate events or industry conferences.
Always ensure your fees are fair and reflective of your expertise and the value you’re providing.
Don’t undervalue yourself. Professional public speaking is a skill that requires time, effort, and experience to develop.
#7: Earn a blog income from 1-1 coaching
This is where I get the bulk of my blog income from today. After sharing FREE resources over the course of 10 years, I realized that I needed to charge for my expertise, so I have accepted 1-1 coaching for entrepreneurs and new business owners.
This type of income earner flourished during the 2020 pandemic when the world all turned to the Internet for information and making money.
Online business coaching is a type of professional service where you (as an experienced individual a.k.a the coach) provides guidance, advice, and support to another business owner or an executive to help them improve their business’s performance and success.
This can involve many areas, such as leadership skills, business strategy, operational efficiency, financial management, sales and marketing, human resources, and work-life balance.
Business coaching can also help set and achieve specific business goals, overcome challenges, and make critical decisions.
Business coaching empowers business owners to understand and take full advantage of their potential, enhancing their business’s growth and profitability.
Pricing for online business coaching varies on your coach’s level of expertise, reputation, the nature of the coaching provided, and the length and frequency of the sessions.
There are several ways to structure your fees:
- Hourly Rate: You can charge by the hour ( from $50 to $500 per hour, or even more for highly experienced and sought-after coaches)
- Package Rates: You can offer packages that include a set number of sessions over a specific time period (like a month or quarter). These packages might include additional services like email support, assessments, or resources.
- Retainer Fee (I do this a LOT): This is more sustainable on a longer term and can secure your financial status for a year. You can charge a monthly retainer fee for ongoing, long-term coaching relationships. This typically guarantees a certain amount of the coach’s time each month and may include additional benefits.
- Program Rates: If you offer a specific coaching program (for example, a 12-week leadership coaching program), you might charge a flat fee for the entire program (i.e. $3,500 USD for 12 days of in-person retreats).
- Value-Based Pricing: In some cases, especially with high-level executive coaching or coaching that directly impacts a business’s profitability, you can charge based on the value you provide. This could be a percentage of the increased profit or revenue.
Your rates should reflect the value you provide and the results your clients can expect. Be sure to communicate this value clearly when discussing your fees.
Consider your target clients’ budget. What a large corporation is willing to pay might be different from what a small business owner can afford. It all depends on reading people and their budgets!
As you gain more experience and results, you can increase your rates accordingly. But there is no one price that fits all for online coaching businesses.
Along the way, you can also add a multitude of product lists that can go with your coaching (i.e. a 100-page handbook on how to set-up a website). It all depends on your niche and expertise but blogs earn from selling digital products on their websites.
#8: Travel blogs like mine earn A LOT from group trips
… and I also do entrepreneurial retreats. Many clients will spend on travel and bonus if they want to learn something from your expertise.
My group trips are usually just for fun and are attended mainly by my social media followers. They see how I travel on social media, and they want to have the same kind of experience.
For example, I bring them to local communities, introduce my group to local families I have stayed with, and tour them in places that align with my sustainability beliefs.
Of course, to do this kind of deep travel, it took me years of connections and years of traveling! You can’t just show people around if you have not been to a place.
Alternatively, any business can be integrated with travel. If you are a holistic coach, you can do business retreats. I do an entrepreneurial retreat where I teach small business owners (in any industry) how to integrate business into their craft. I have done this in person, in many destinations!
This is particularly easy for me because I live in Mexico and speak Spanish fluently. Mexico is a destination that you don’t need to sell. Everyone wants to go to Mexico!
On average, you can earn from $3,000 USD to $10,000 USD a week for hosting trips. But mind you, this is the most tedious and exhausting way blogs earn money. It requires a lot of work and a great team!
Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She’d like to believe she’s not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.