It is very possible to make some money from your personal blog. In fact, there are quite a few bloggers who make full time incomes from blogging!
I never intended to make money blogging when I started blogging, but the income from my blog pays my rent and other bills each month. It has been a huge blessing to me, especially during periods where I was unemployed after being laid off from a job. If you are interested in how to make money blogging too, I hope you find this post both helpful and a blessing to your life as well!
In this post I share several books and resources that helped me create an income from blogging. You can read more at the end or check them out below:
My Top-Earning Ways To Make Money Blogging
There are several ways to monetize your blog to make money blogging. I talk about all of these in depth below but to start I want to share some of my favorites that you can sign up for asap:
- Gourmet Ads (my current advertiser!)
- Google Adsense (second tier advertiser)
- BlogHer (former advertiser)
- Mode Media (another good option)
- PadSquad (mobile ads)
- Private Ad Sales (direct selling ads)
All of these money making resources are FREE to sign up with. It’s a great idea to sign up for multiple so you have options to test while experimenting with making money on your blog.
Go sign up for these today and you’ll be started on your path to making money from your blog. They are all free to sign up with and can get you started on earning money asap.
Keep reading for more details on how to best utilize each type of blog monetization method.
Realistic Expectations about Blogging For Money
There are several ways to create streams of income from your blog and those streams of income can add up. But if you are going to monetize your blog, you need to be realistic about how much money you can and will make. Monetizing a blog can be difficult. If you want to make a lot of money and quit your day job, think again. It takes a lot of time and work to create a stable income from blogging.
The most important thing to do is get your expectations under control regarding money. You can make several hundred dollars a month – I do. If you want to make even more you have to work harder or start multiple blogs. It is easier to make thousands of dollars a month blogging if you have multiple blogs that are all contributing to your income. Each blog can earn a few hundred a month and they all will add up to a decent income. That is the path of success for most individual bloggers earning a living through blogging. Some make their entire living from a single blog, but those blogs often have massive amounts of traffic per month. If you want any more than some extra money each month, you will probably need to go the multiple blog direction or create a very special popular blog.
With that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s look at the actual process for making money with a blog. There are several major ways to monetize a blog:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Product Sales
- Sponsored Content
Those are several ways to make money from a blog and each one has multiple ways to go about doing it.
Blog monetization: Advertising
If you are blogging for yourself without any business intentions, then the most likely route of monetization for you will be advertising which is the most popular form of monetization for bloggers. In order to be extremely successful with making money through advertising you will need to get lots of traffic and be relentless in chasing down advertisers for your blog. You can make decent “grocery money” with advertising if you have consistent traffic coming to your site. At the very least you can make enough to break even and cover hosting expenses.
There are several different advertising options available for bloggers in the health and wellness niche.
Blog monetization: Adsense
Operated by Google, Adsense is the form of monetization mentioned and used most among bloggers. Depending on who you ask, Adsense is either the best or the worst thing ever in online advertising. Most bloggers never make any money with Adsense and deem it impossible. It’s not impossible to earn money through Adsense – you just have to use it correctly, which most bloggers don’t.
Adsense works by taking keywords from the page to display a relevant image or text advertisement on the page. If you make a post reviewing a treadmill then Adsense is going to display an ad for treadmills on that page. When there are no keywords Google can pick out it displays irrelevant ads or worse – public service ads. Those ads end up paying bloggers nothing and they then wonder why Adsense doesn’t work.
Most health bloggers fail to get this right, because they have too many keywords on one page, and they get traffic that doesn’t click on Adsense ads. Social traffic from social networking and other bloggers will not be clicking on Adsense ads for the most part. They are visiting your site for information or to be part of the community – not to click away on an ad.
Despite all this you can make money with Adsense. You just need to understand how it works and follow some basic guidelines.
- Tell Google your keywords. Make sure your website it properly set up to tell Google what keywords your blog is about, so the ads shown on your page will relate to what you are blogging about.
- Put Adsense on pages where you get lots of Google traffic. Visitors from search engines are easier to monetize, because they are already looking for something and willing to click on ads. If you get a lot of search engine traffic, you can do well with Adsense.
- Blend ads correctly. Blend ads into the colors of your site instead of making them stand out against your blog. They don’t need to be invisible but they don’t need to obviously stick out from the rest of the content. Make the ads look like they are part of your blog.
- Use the best ad size and location. Many bloggers who make money with Adsense say to use the 300×250 box. For the most clicks it is best to put on the upper left section of your page, where people’s eyes tend to look first. For a good conversion it needs to be above the fold on your page, meaning people see it when they first arrive without any scrolling. The best position for an ad below the fold is at the end of your blog post.
Remember that Adsense might not be the best solution for your blog. There are downsides, including only getting paid when people click ads and not choosing the advertisers on your blog. Additionally, the payout for Adsense is $100 and it can take some time to reach this mark in the beginning. Most people who make lots of money with Adsense have multiple blogs or websites running it and receive a great amount of traffic via search engines. If this doesn’t sound like your blog you might be better off ignoring Adsense and pursuing other advertising opportunities.
Blog monetization: Similar to Adsense
There are other advertising options similar to adsense, such as the Yahoo! Publisher Network. It works much in the same way as google does, by showing relevant ads on your blog and paying for clicks.
Another option is Chitika, which has the option to only show ads when traffic is from search engines – otherwise there is no ad shown. This can be a great option if you want to show ads to people finding your site randomly, but not bother your loyal readers.
Blog monetization: Ad Networks
Try signing up for these advertising networks to do advertising the easy way:
Another option many bloggers in the health and wellness niche take is joining a blog ad network. These are popular because instead of requiring clicks on ads they pay bloggers based on impressions and as a blogger you don’t have to do any work besides getting more traffic. Most ad networks offer a few dollars per one thousand impressions, which will be a split of the revenue in their favor. The blog ad networks work by selling space on many blogs to advertisers instead of trying to sell space on individual sites. All you do is put a piece of code in your template and the ad networks do the rest.
All ad networks have requirements for joining that you will have to meet before you are allowed to join. Popular networks in the health niche include BlogHer and Foodbuzz. BlogHer is the ad network for women while FoodBuzz is a great option for any healthy lifestyle blog that focuses mainly (85% or more) on food. These are popular because they can be used on lower traffic blogs. There are many other ad networks including Six Apart Media and Federated Media, most of which require a certain number of visitor and pageviews before allowing new bloggers to join the network.
You can also join ad networks that are self-service and let you sign up and set your own rates, such as BuySellAds or BlogAds. On these networks you sign up, tag your blog, set your prices and then wait for advertisers to choose your blog in the network. The potential downside to these networks is that if you price your ads wrong, you could either never get chosen or not make much money at all.
Blog ad networks do sometimes have additional rules a blogger must follow, like not using other forms of advertising or not doing any reviews on pages with the network’s advertising. Make sure you read through the rules and agree with them before joining an ad network.
Blog monetization: Sell private advertising directly
Try signing up to sell private ads through PassionFruit ads:
A less risky but much harder form of monetizing by finding advertisers is selling direct advertising on your blog. This is probably the hardest advertising to sell. Instead of wanting to buy your PR, advertisers buying these banner ads want to buy your traffic. These advertisers are looking for eyeballs and lots of them. They want to buy on a CPM (cost per thousand views) basis, so in order for you to have a chance at this you need to have a lot of traffic. Generally this option is a good idea for a blogger with 5,000 visitors a day or someone with a tightly defined niche site that receives fewer visits but still at least 1,000 pageviews a day.
The pricing of banner ad sales is usually created with a CPM method. Offering a flat monthly rate based on the number of visitors you get per month is the best solution. Most bloggers charge somewhere between $1.50 to $4 as their CPM. That means if you get 10,000 page views per month, divide that by 1,000, then take that number (10), and multiply it by your rate of $2, for a monthly rate of $20. You can use this method no matter how much traffic you get. When you approach potential advertisers, you will need to explain this and disclose how much traffic you get on a monthly basis.
It is a lot easier to seek out advertisers willing to buy text links than advertisers willing to buy banner ads on your site. In general these advertisers will seek you out instead of you finding them. Make sure you have a page on your blog that shows you are open to advertising. You can attempt to seek out advertisers for your blog, just be prepared for a hit or miss operation. Some companies will not be interested. You can find companies that will understand what a blog with a targeted audience interested in health and wellness can do for them. Explaining to potential advertisers that you have “targeted” traffic that is right for them or their product is the most effective way to hook advertisers on cold calls or emails. However still be prepared for a 50 % or less success rate.
Blog monetization: Sponsored Reviews
Try signing up for these to earn money for doing sponsored reviews.
It should be noted that doing paid product reviews is a way to earn some money from your blog. You can contact companies or let them contact you, or you can sign up for sites like PayPerPost that will match you with a product. You will have to disclose that the review is paid.
Tips for doing paid reviews successfully: be honest and if the product isn’t good, write that without fear. Companies are paying for a review, not an advertorial. Another tip? Don’t do too many paid reviews. If all you do is paid reviews then you won’t be able to keep many of your readers interested in your content, unless of course your blog is only a product review blog. Even then, too many paid reviews will make readers question whether your reviews are unbiased or not.
Blog monetization: Product Sales
Another way to make money through your blog is by selling products and/or services. This can give you more control over what your blog is offering, but it can also be very hard to do. Sales can be a hard thing to master if you aren’t a natural salesperson or copywriter. However if you do have a great service or product to offer the health market then think of your blog as a great way to advertise and create buzz about that product or service.
Blog monetization: Affiliate Sales
Try signing up for these affiliate marketing networks to earn money through affiliate sales:
The first step for most bloggers wanting to sell products through their blog is to offer products of other companies, called affiliate products. As a blogger you act as an affiliate to sell the companies products through your blog.
You sign up with a company that has an affiliate program, like ShareASale, Commission Junction or Linkshare, apply for specific programs for health and fitness companies, and then put ads from those companies on your website. You then receive a percentage of anything someone buys after using your affiliate link.
One of the most popular affiliate programs is from Amazon. You can put up banners and links to individual products or categories like exercise equipment of gourmet food. This program works especially well for every day products you may be using and blogging about – just sign in, find the product, grab the affiliate link, and add it into your blog post. It’s the most natural way to begin working with affiliate products. You can also create an online store of products you use and recommend with Amazon or OpenSky, so that you receive a cut when readers buy the products you recommend.
Affiliate sales work best with targeted traffic. Most other bloggers won’t be buying things from your affiliate links because they are aware and most likely have their own affiliate accounts. This is not always the case, but generally affiliate sales work best with search traffic that comes to your site looking for something. They are already searching for what they want and then see your affiliate link leading them to the exact product they want after reading a review or reason why they need it on your blog. My best sales come from pages that receive highly targeted search traffic that then clicks through to buy the product discussed.
Blog monetization: Physical Products
Another route bloggers can take is selling their own physical products. Do you have a catchy brand or slogan? How about turning that into a t-shirt to sell? You can create brandable products on product creation websites and then sell them through your blog to make a little extra money and increase awareness of your blog.
Another idea is to create a business around your blog that produces a physical product. You can then drum up business for your products using your blog. A great example of this is Angela from Oh She Glows. Angela blogs about health and fitness and food on her blog but she also blogs about her bakery Glo Bakery. She writes updates on her blogs about when she has new Glo Bakery products because the bars she creates are healthy and related to the audience she writes for. She has created a thriving business aided by blogging about her products.
A tip from Angela about selling a product via your blog:
My tip would be to make sure that your readers are indeed your market. In other words, make sure that the people reading your blog are the type of people who might be interested in your product. Don’t try to promote something that isn’t a great fit for the website content.
If you have a product to create and sell, consider doing it through your blog if you have a receptive audience. The options are actually limitless if you have an idea and don’t mind a little bit of work.
You can easily create physical products to sell, then sign up for Etsy to sell the products on a small scale. Some health bloggers have also found success in selling t-shirts with their logos or catchy sayings. Companies that are great for making and selling t-shirts include Spreadshirt, Zazzle, and Cafepress.
Blog monetization: Info Products
Ebooks are popular items online these days. Some of them are very useful and worth more than the money the authors charge. But most are doomed to fail after an initial burst of sales because they are not useful, not well written, and cost too much.
If you want to create a successful ebook you need to give the buyers something they either can’t get anywhere else or something with a unique selling point. For instance, a “50 Tips To Lose Weight” is too general and is most likely full of information people can get a million times over online for free. A better selling point would be an ebook like “How To Lose Weight In College – From Someone Who Did It.” You need to create something that uses your special knowledge and offers a unique angle. If you are an expert in something, writing an ebook is the way to go. Do you know more than anyone else about eating raw food or fitness during pregnancy? If you do, chances are you can write an ebook that provides value and will sell – all the while increasing your authority on that health topic.
Placing importance on value for price is how most ebooks sell – it’s not because they have some sort of groundbreaking information in them. This ebook doesn’t offer anything you can’t already find on the internet. However, it compiles all the information it would take months to learn and puts it in one place and tailors it to your particular niche of healthy living. You probably bought this ebook because you are smart and don’t want to spend months learning all the things I spent three years learning. This ebook is important because it reduces the learning curve on how to become a good health blogger. It is useful in what it teaches – one of the things successful ebooks need to be.
If you have written what you know to be a useful ebook then you need to price it fairly. Most lower ebook prices are in the realm of $19.99, $27, $39, $47 while ebooks from “experts” tend to be in the more costly range of $97, $127, $197. Compared to the much cheaper ebooks you can buy on sites like Amazon, these prices might sounds outrageous. But they offer much more quality information than a mass produced, generic blogging ebook. Self-published bloggers offer more in-depth specific information that can be translated directly into action by the reader. For these reasons, for the value they offer, ebook authors charge more. If you are teaching people a way to make money and they will eventually earn more than the ebook price then it is a fair price. Just make sure the ebook you plan to write and sell actually does offer value in some way. Don’t just write one because everyone else is doing it.
Blog monetization: Write and sell a book
Writing a real book published by a book publishing company is the dream of many bloggers. At every blog conference there are sessions on how to go from blog to book. The good news is that several bloggers in the healthy living niche have gotten book deals because of their blogs. The bad news is that none of these people have retired off the profits from their book. In fact, many of them have to work hard to sell copies of their book through their blog. If getting a book deal is your dream then pursue it – just don’t have unrealistic expectations. Writing a book will create another income stream for you but it probably won’t make you rich.
Several bloggers who have made the leap from blog to book include Pasta Queen, Diet Girl, and Carrots ‘N Cake. Writing a book is not something every blogger will get a chance to do so there is more about this in the next section on “special opportunities.”
Blog monetization: Coaching or Training
If you have knowledge, credentials, and experience in a certain area of healthy living – either eating healthy foods or training your body with exercise or something else – then you can offer coaching or training programs online through your blog. If you have the knowledge, there are many ways you can create a steady income stream through this method. You can create and offer packages of fitness training programs or you can offer hour long coaching sessions done via Skype. If you discover through blogging you have a great story that needs to be shared, you can launch a speaking career via your blog. The more qualifications you have and the more you appear to be an expert in your field, the more you can charge for this type of service. Your blog will just be a way to connect with readers in order to let them know about your services.
Blog monetization: Note on Sales
If you plan on monetizing your blog by selling a product of some sort – either physical or online – remember that people will not buy it just because it is there. The first step is always to make sure there is a market for your product. You can do this by asking your readers or by posting about the subject before creating a product. If you see interest when you do this preliminary research, then creating a product may be a good idea.
If you have already created a product, you will have to market the product or services through your blog and through other blogs in the niche. Luckily, the healthy living niche is a friendly one, so it shouldn’t be hard to get positive reviews for your product or service. If you get the positive coverage from other bloggers, you will be much more likely to make sales because people will know that what you are selling is worth the price. Word of mouth is still the best recommendation possible – even online. Give out review copies of your book or ebook or samples of your product to people to gain honest reviews that you can then share with future buyers. If you have a good product people won’t mind saying so.
Blog monetization: Donations
A final option for monetizing is the donation route. If you have passionate readers that love your blog and want to help out, you can ask for and receive donations. This isn’t like advertising or like selling your own product. If you have a severely loyal group of fans then this is an option, but it won’t work without great content and happy readers. Generally this works for blogs that don’t do any other advertising or monetization yet provide massive amounts of value the readers are willing to pay for. In the health niche donations are most often used successfully for causes – such as raising money for a charity 5k race or marathon. You can sign up for a donation button via PayPal and place it on your blog with an explanation of why you are asking for donations.
Blog monetization: Making money through diverse methods
If you are serious about making money with your blog, my best advice for you would be to diversify your methods of creating income. I make money on my blog through several different methods: ad networks, Google adsense, affiliate sales, and more. Additionally, I have multiple blogs that earn money. It is hard to earn a lot of money from one source online but much easier to earn a little bit from multiple sources. Since it all adds up when it hits your bank account, this method is quite effective.
Roni from Roni’s Weigh and Green Lite Bites (and many other blogs and websites) agrees with this method for making money from blogging:
I am not the expert, but I would suggest diversifying as the best way to monetize. Pair an ad network with a few affiliate programs and as you build a name for yourself begin seeking out sponsorships. I subscribe to the “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” mentality.
So if you want to start earning money from your blogging efforts, consider using multiple monetization ideas. It’s all about testing things out and seeing what works the best for you and your blog. There is not one way to monetize, so I can’t give you the answers to what will work the best for your blog. The best advice is to just try things, try more things, and then keep using what works the best. After some experimenting with different money making methods you will learn what you like and what works.
Blog Monetization Help
If you want more help monetizing your food or healthy living blog, check out the following ebooks about making money from blogging. They are full of great tips!
The blogger behind Oh My Veggies took her blog from a hobby to full time career with an income to match. Check out the ebook from Oh My Veggies. It will teach you everything you need to know about monetizing a food blog.
Chelsea from Messy Apron made $40k in her first year blogging and show others how to do it as well in this great ebook packed with tips, tricks, and secrets on how to generate a full-time blogging income quickly.