It’s almost always blogging that comes up as the answer whenever someone asks, “How to make money online?”. And it’s a fair answer, because outside of IT and Marketing – blogging by itself is one of the most lucrative ways of making money while doing what you love.
But, just like the corporate ladder, there is also the blogging ladder. You must be willing not only to commit but also invest a significant amount of your personal time to make your blog succeed.
The shortcuts to success are few and far apart, and the most successful bloggers have had to drag themselves through the “mud” to rise to the top.
Times have changed
I myself have either managed personal blogs or written for other bloggers since the early 2000s. And, since then to the present day, a lot has changed in the way blogging can be seen as a profitable career choice.
Back then, you could start a blog on just about any topic imaginable and make it profitable within a month. Search engines like Google were much less strict about different types of ranking schemes, and overall, there was a lot less information available to the general public.
Everything started to change in early 2011 when Google released it’s infamous Google Panda update. At the time, the algorithm update affected around 11% of all ranked websites. Gradually, both bloggers and SEO experts alike started to realize that this update would change every aspect of producing content and getting Google to rank it.
Content farms, as such, would no longer be a viable method for making money with blogging. Much less with trying to make blogging a career choice. Stricter rules meant that bloggers had to smarten up, as did marketing experts and anyone else involved with producing digital content.
But, the story doesn’t end there.
The strange world of ad-blockers
You see, it’s not just search engines that kept updating their algorithms to more civilized rulesets. Another caveat that has affected the earnings of hundreds of millions of people across the globe is ad-blockers. Specifically, AdBlock (now known as Adblock Plus) which was introduced in 2009.
Let’s say you were, or perhaps you still are using advertising networks like Google AdSense, Newor Media, RevContent, or BuySellAds. Well, if a visitor coming to your site has an ad-blocker enabled, they will never get to see those ads because they are being blocked. Of course, the improvements in user experience (from the reader’s perspective) are massive, but as far as your revenue goes – it’s not like you can say the same.
As an independent blogger, you can lose anywhere from 50% to 70% of your advertising network revenue thanks to ad-blockers. And it comes as no surprise that many are now turning to solutions like ad-blocking prevention and such. Who likes to lose money, right?
This is also our introduction for this roundup of ways in which you can make money as a blogger in the year 2020. In short, keep an eye out for any new Google updates which might affect your content strategy. And decide on whether you want to use advertising networks seeing as how your ads are getting blocked by most readers anyway.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can make the most money while retaining blogging as your career of choice.
Create a product
As someone with expertise in a certain category/industry, you’re more than likely capable of launching your own product. And it doesn’t have to be a physical product either. Digital products like eBooks, learning courses, and webinars sell extremely well to the right audience.
And that’s what you should be focusing on, anyway — building the right audience. By positioning yourself as an expert on a specific topic, you can rest assured that people will naturally come and seek out your take on a specific topic. So, why not put all that expertise together into a product?
Jeff Goins, who was notoriously dedicated to his blogging practice, gradually turned his efforts into feasible products. Such as his book, “Real Artists Don’t Starve,” which also touches the exact point of this article.
When you have something to say, when people are listening, it’s the perfect opportunity to turn your passion into a product. And in the case of Jeff, his book rose to Amazon’s best-selling list faster than the speed of light.
The best part about this approach is that you can build your entire blogging strategy around your product. If you have a message to share, then do so through your product. And, use blog articles and blog posts to supplement whatever new things you have learned or added to your product.
The oldest method for making money that existed way before the Internet did, yes, that’s affiliate marketing. While not as popular as it once was, affiliate marketing is nonetheless a superbly reliable way of making extra income from your blog. And there really isn’t any additional training required either. You can start from day one.
Let’s say you are using a specific WordPress plugin that you really enjoy. As an example, WP Rocket is a fairly popular WordPress plugin for improving both the performance of your site, but also the ability to cache your content more effectively.
As it turns out, WP Rocket has an affiliate program. And, the chances are that your favorite product or tool also has a similar affiliate program. But if not, you can find plenty of opportunities to promote other products through sites like ShareASale, Commission Junction, Blink, and many others listed here.
It comes down to how well you know the particular product and whether it’s a good fit for your blog. E.g., Bloggers who write about food might find it enticing to promote food-related products that they use in their own kitchen. Likewise, a blogger specializing in marketing might want to promote marketing tools as an affiliate. It works out the same way.
Consider becoming a freelancer
As the popularity of content marketing grows, so does the need for reliable and professional freelancers. Almost every major brand or product outlet these days is running some form of a content marketing strategy. And they do so because content marketing works wonders for sales, for building a brand, and for generating long-term exposure.
Freelance blogger job sites like ProBlogger are a perfect example of how popular freelancing is, and how much in-demand writers are. Albeit, it’s not the only platform where you can find freelance work. As we have previously shared, there are countless job sites for freelance writers and the like.
At the end of the day, you started your blog because you have a passion for writing and a passion for a specific subject. Believe it or not, there are thousands, if not more, people, looking for experienced writers to help them with their projects. And one of those helpers (freelancers), could be you.
Nicholas Godwin made more than $50,000 in just three months from jumping on job opportunities listed over at ProBlogger. Now, combine that with any other possibilities out there, and you’re looking at a very solid and steady side-income. His story is just one of many that showcase the success of freelance blogging.
Write sponsored posts or reviews
Let’s assume that you have been blogging for roughly 6-12 months already. That’s a solid number, and by now, you should have a readership of several thousand people per month. Even if organic only. You might already be making some income from your ads or other revenue-earning ventures, but another such venue to consider is sponsored posts and reviews.
The above photo shows a snippet from the ShoutMeLoud Advertise page. Granted, they are an extremely established brand by now, their rates for sponsored product reviews start at the range of $1,200. Not bad, right?
Well, think about your own blog and the kind of traffic you’re generating already. You might not be able to charge as much as above, but you could start somewhere. Given that you’re okay with letting other people promote their products or content on your site.
In my experience, the average blogger will charge anywhere from $100 to $500 per sponsored post based on different metrics. Such metrics include backlinks pointing to your blog, domain authority ranking, traffic strength, and more.
Alexis Schroeder, who became a full-time blogger in 2016, makes anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 per month from sponsored posts alone. And that’s a number not to overlook. Such passive income can be life-changing even for someone in a very successful position already.
Explore the idea of podcasting (optional!)
There is a ton of stuff to learn about podcasting, no doubt. For the average blogger, to get into it fully would require a bit of a learning curve and dedication. So, as such, this last way of making money through your blog is completely optional. Nevertheless, very rewarding if you do it right.
Most bloggers are already converting their articles into audio format, which supplements the fact that 82.4% of people listen to podcasts for more than 7 hours each week. On top of that, it makes for convenience. Rather than having to read an article, your readers can choose to listen to it while on their way to work or to the supermarket. It’s a win-win situation.
But my recommendation is to explore the full idea of podcasting, which means creating an entirely new podcast run by you on a subject that you have passion for. There are so many great ways to advertise your podcasts these days, YouTube and iTunes being the best, respectively, that you’re guaranteed to attract an audience over time.
Platforms like Anchor make it easy to start your podcast (for free!) with zero time investment. Grab your phone, and Anchor will let you connect both with your guests, or you can choose to solo podcast. Afterward, index and categorize all your episodes and do whatever you like with them.
Last but not least, it’s an amazing way to build your brand. Getting in front of the camera and showing yourself and your passion, people, naturally love that. Like attracts like, so to speak. But, besides that, you also have the ability to connect with other bloggers or influential people.
You can invite them as your guests for certain episodes, and if you really get the hang of it, you can go as far as creating episodes that no one has thought of yet.
One of my favorite health/food related podcasts is run by Rhonda Patrick from FoundMyFitness. Her in-depth understanding of certain topics has enabled her to invite guests to her podcast that you wouldn’t generally get to hear or listen to just by looking it up. So, in the long-term, it is helping her build a very strong brand but also earn a steady long-term income as her content remains relevant long after publishing.
Wrapping things up
How you make money with blogging is entirely up to you. Some areas of earning revenue have become a lot less rewarding than in the past. Sure, but that also leaves room for innovation and new ways of thinking.
To summarize, I recommend looking for more personal connections in how you make money with your blog. Collaborate with other people, work together on projects, or simply exchange ideas. You can go the traditional way and grind your way to revenue, but I think this article shows reliable alternatives that are far less painful.
How are you going to make money with your blog in 2020? Do tell us!