Course Selling & Marketing

How to Monetize a Blog: 12 Ways Used by Successful Bloggers

16 min

Looking for ways to monetize your blog?

Here’s a list of 12 ways to help you with your blog monetization strategy.

These ways have been used by successful bloggers—some of them you know already.

We’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get started.

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Way #1: Create & Sell Online Courses

One of the best ways to start earning money from your blog is to create online courses and sell them to the right audience.

Online courses are great since you get to create them once and sell them multiple times without needing an inventory!

If you have some knowledge on a specific topic – even as a non-expert, you can build a learning program and start teaching online to students across the globe.

As a course creator you will have the opportunity to design a curriculum that is adapted to a demographic’s group needs and either help them improve their skills, overcome a problem, or achieve their biggest personal or professional goal.

Apart from generating a revenue stream, offering your knowledge through online courses can add additional value to your existing blog and expand your online community. This should help drive traffic to your new blog on a daily basis.

All you need to do to get started is to choose a course topic that:

For example, depending on current scenarios, people are more concerned about their health and fitness than they were ever before. With a lot of free time in their hands and constantly connecting with their friends and buddies over social media, problems like falling asleep have been arising.

If you are someone with expertise in sleep management and productivity, you can start an online course. You will be free to talk about how excessive use of technology can affect the sleep and productivity of a person.

By targeting a genuine problem and providing best solutions and practices to solve it, you can attract a huge audience who is actively looking for an actionable solution.

Need help? Check out these trending course topics of 2020 to get some ideas.

Currently there are many online course platforms that can help you get started with your course business. Amongst them, our very own platform – LearnWorlds.

Are you ready to start your free 30-day trial with LearnWorlds? Click here.

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Way #2: Get Sponsorships for Your Email List

Email marketing is a great way to build and nurture your audience and every marketer knows it is one of the best ingredients for success!

Using email to send a weekly or monthly newsletter helps to keep people engaged, while providing them with important information like business or blog updates featuring new article releases, offers and many more.

So, email can work as your main communication channel. It lets you connect with your target audience, give you a chance to serve them with quality and build the best relation with them to grow your online business. If you serve the audience with quality, you will be able to grow your audience base in a high-quality email list.

Taking advantage of the perks it offers in the right way can help you create an additional revenue stream. By taking advantage of email here, I mean using ads and most preferably sponsorship advertising.

Getting sponsorships from other organizations or influencers within your industry to advertise their products or services to your email subscribers can help you skyrocket your earnings.

How? Jason Salder shows the way.

From 2008 to 2013, Jason – the founder of ‘I Wear Your Shirt’ managed to make a million dollars just from wearing shirts that had different company logos on them every day.

He did so by allowing companies to buy a day in which Jason wore a shirt advertising them. Jason took pictures of himself and uploaded videos showing him wearing the shirts on YouTube.

Wondering aimfully images
Image from Wondering Aimfully

Throughout the journey he collaborated with and got sponsorships from many popular brands like Starbucks and GotoMeeting.
His own words:

For over five years IWearYourShirt (IWYS) worked with 1,600+ small businesses, Fortune 500s, authors, non-profit organizations, food retailers, service companies, and many more.

While Jason is no longer active, he proved that advertising strategies like these can bring huge success.

Jason’s example can inspire you to come up with your own ideas on how to get sponsorships that will help you further promote your blog through the content you promote on your email. The best thing is that the companies you can collaborate with may have nothing to do with your niche.

Way #3: Turn Your Blog Into a Membership Site

If you want to encourage your target audience to follow your blog and build on loyalty, the best way to go about it is creating a membership site.

A membership site is the online space that hosts the gated sections of a website, that provides premium content and exclusive access to subscribers. Having a membership site means that some parts of your blog – e.g. articles, cannot be visible to your audience unless they become ‘members’ of your site.

The membership model is becoming popular for video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime or news sites like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to name a few.

New york times paywall
The New York Times subscription service banner for Black.

More media companies are now embracing subscription pricing and this shows that gaining revenue from readers is a reliable and continuous way to monetize knowledge.

Wall Street Journal Paywall
The Wall Street Journal subscription service banner.

If you are interested in membership sites, you should know they can be either free, paid or both.

For paid memberships, you can charge a monthly or annual subscription fee to allow subscribers to access your content and receive exclusive benefits like articles, reports, emails (through newsletters), or online courses.

Also, memberships can work for any niche or industry.

So let’s say you are a fitness blogger, you can create your own series of fitness tutorials and make it available to subscribers only for $14,99 a month.

As your audience grows bigger, you can lower your subscription charge or vice versa.

Assuming that you have 1,000 members, you can make 15K per month or more!

What’s great about membership sites is that they create a sense of community and belonging as it brings people with common interests together and allows them to learn from each other. This has an added advantage to your blog as it gives people a reason to keep coming back.

Turning your blog into a membership site is easy, but this also depends on the blogging platform you use.

If you have a WordPress blog, all you need is a WordPress plugin, or a third-party platform like LearnWorlds, which allows you to create membership sites.

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Way #4: Sell Physical Products

Along with building great content for your target audience, you can come up with your own products to sell. While it may take you time to create or launch a physical product, it can be very beneficial in the long run.

Selling physical products through your blog can help you add a personal or human touch to your blog. Offering something tangible – that you have created with love, is something that your audience will appreciate greatly.

The real struggle though is deciding what kind of product to create.

First, it must be a product that your audience needs. So conducting a research on what they want the most, should help you make the wisest choice.

For example:

If your target audience is first-time parents, then a book on parenting and taking care of children is a viable option.

If you are a career coach, a DVD with mock job interviews can help jobseekers discover what they are doing wrong when searching for a job.

If you are a nutritionist writing about a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can sell recipe books or grow your own vegetables and deliver them to your subscriber’s door.

If you are serious about it, here are a few other ideas:

Any of these products can be used as powerful marketing tools to represent your brand, bringing you one step closer to your readers.
Of course, the list of physical products you can sell is endless.

Take it from lifestyle blogger Kristen Smith, who launched Bettyquette and is selling facial and body oils in response to experiencing a condition with her skin, and now she is helping others get the treatment they need.

Bettyquette bundles
Christmas bundles from Bettyquette.

Once you decide to sell a physical product, you need to calculate potential expenses in terms of the ecommerce, production, storage and distribution process. To sell directly from your blog by connecting a payment gateway or you may use online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay or Etsy.

If you don’t want to sell your own products, you can always invest in affiliate products, promoting the products of other businesses.

Way #5: Sell Digital Products

Apart from physical products, you can start selling digital products as long as they tie well or are relevant to the content you create for your blog.

Any type of digital product is an excellent choice to entice your audience to buy. From webinars and videos to podcasts, audio tracks, PDFs, checklists, ebooks, templates, downloadable guides, useful resources, graphic art to software and apps, or a combination of these.

What’s important here is that any digital product you choose to create e.g. a webinar, must provide an answer to a million-dollar question, thus giving tips or a solution to a problem.

Besides, offering value through your content is a key component for a successful blog.

Katy Cowan – trained journalist and writer who runs the Creative Boom website voluntarily, says on The Guardian:

Give people what they’re after and offer real value to their web browsing experience. Value is demonstrated in the content you publish. If your content isn’t valuable people won’t read it or return to read more. Really think about what you’re putting out there and give the people what they want.

No matter which digital product you use to distribute information, make sure it is quality content that your audience can use to their benefit.

But first, make sure it is optimized for search engines (SEO), to help people find it easier.

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Way #6: Use Google AdSense

If selling products isn’t for you, then you can use Google AdSense to make money through ad placements.

AdSense allows you to display ads next to your online content e.g. above the fold, below, on the sides of your articles, or any other place on your website. Through banner ads, you can advertise directly to your site visitors featuring products or services they might be interested in.

Unlike premium ad networks that have a minimum number of pageviews, AdSense allows you to place ads without the need to have much blog traffic in the first place. Having said that, the more traffic you get, the better the ads will work and ultimately the bigger the amount of money from Google you will receive.

Using Google AdSense is free and follows an easy three-step process:

How google ads show on a blog
Image from Google Support.

First, you make your ad spaces available and choose where you want the ads on your site. The ad of the highest ad bidder will then appear on your ad spaces. After calculating the number of clicks impressions or other interactions your site visitors have with the ads, Google pays you the appropriate amount of money.

This is an effective way to make money online but it is best used in combination with other methods of monetization. Get started with Google AdSense by creating an account here.

You can also sign up to other ad networks as alternatives to Google AdSense like:

When it comes to making money blogging, content marketing is key and a huge part of content marketing is offering sponsored content.

According to HubSpot, sponsored content is ‘a type of promotional media that’s paid for by an advertiser, but created and shared by another brand, influencer, or publisher.’

This can be anything from blog posts to social media posts (like the ones you see frequently on Instagram), or even webinars or podcasts.

An example of a sponsored post on Instagram from AliDropship.

Accepting sponsored posts – in this case articles, from other bloggers, writers, or business owners within your niche, helps to create content that is informative and resourceful while providing the chance for other opinions to be heard.

Depending on how strong your website is (see Domain Rating – DR on Ahrefs), you may start getting requests. But even if you don’t, you can start connecting with others within your network e.g. on LinkedIn.

Alternatively, you can search for relevant blogs or businesses on Google that are willing to work with you one way or another.

For example, if you are writing about fashion, you may want to reach out to other fashion bloggers or fashion designers who want to get some more publicity.

Fashion blogs search
fashion blog google search results
Fashion blogs search results on Google.

As you can see, a single search can help you find 150+ contacts you can connect with instantly. Browse through the sites and search for their email to reach out to them.

If they agree to do this, you can charge a minimum of $50 per sponsored article or over $100, if your website is performing well and even more for more prominent blogging sites.

Way #8: Start Offering Coaching Services

As a blogger you have the option to become a coach and turn your blog into a cash-making machine. Offering coaching services (one-to-one or group consulting) is by far the easiest way to start earning from your blog.

As a coach – life coach, career coach, business coach, yoga coach or personal trainer, you can make use of all the knowledge and experience you have gained throughout your life to educate and mentor others.

In a world where life coaching has become more important than ever, the need to meet the market demand is growing, and people can definitely use your help.

Many bloggers have become successful coaches and you can do the same in your own industry.

See Jenny Elliot on BizMavens, for example. Jenny is offering coaching on what she knows best – blog coaching and consulting.

On her site, Jenny says:

The Internet is littered with the remains of blogs that didn’t work out. Tens of thousands of people pour hours into their craft every single week and never see results. And the bloggers get frustrated, tired, and eventually give up. Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to someone who knows the pain and hard work of blogging? Who can look from the outside and ask the right questions? Who can see where you’re going and has a plan to get you there? That’s where I come in.

Jenny knows her craft, and for this reason a single marketing intensive session with her costs $500 while her Gold Blog Coaching Program is valued at $1000.

What makes her audience trust Jenny is the huge impact that her coaching services has on others. This shows that as a coach you will need to focus on providing practical advice and solutions to real-life problems.

To build on trust and royalty, you will need to come up with articles specifically created for those people who will more likely need coaching and use lots of testimonials.

Founder of Walk of Life and career coach Shannon Houde, makes an excellent use of testimonials:

Walk of life reviews screen
Testimonials from Walk of Life.

Reviews like these can show your audience that you are an expert in your field, and encourage more people to contact you. So in a way they are the fuel to your coaching business.

Way #9: Become a Freelance Blogger

Most people who own a blog, also work as freelance writers for other sites.

Instead of restricting yourself to one site, a popular way to start earning income – in some cases full-time income – is freelance writing, aka creating valuable content for other businesses.

Carol Tice behind Make a Living Writing, is one of the bloggers who managed to turn her hobby into a freelancing business. In an article published on her site, Carol explains how she made $5,000 in just a month as a paid blogger.

Here’s how she says it happened in a nutshell:

Throughout the journey, Carol also made sure she was building on great content:

I thought it would be enlightening to give those interested in earning from blog-writing fees a look at what it takes to earn a decent living as a paid blogger. The short answer is: Be able to write a lot of very powerful, well-linked, properly formatted, well-researched, short blogs. Never run out of story ideas.

The turning point for Carol though, was the ‘yes’ she got from Entrepreneur. Once she became a writer there, the rest was history as other smaller businesses started approaching her.

As a freelance blogger, it is important to get yourself known in your network. Start by advertising your services on your blog, through email and social media, using PPC ads.

Way #10: Consider Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is another way to monetize your blog, and this comes from people who have tried it already.

Adam Enfroy started his blog in 2019 and is currently one of the most successful bloggers in the world. At the age of only 32, Adam makes over $80k per month – passive income from which an impressive 80% streams mainly from affiliate marketing.

How did he do it?

Adam Enfroy on Forbes
Adam Enfroy featured on Forbes.

Well, he started treating his blog as a business putting in the daily work.
Adam explains on Forbes:

‘I took what I learned in my digital career and created a system to scale my blog like a startup. To do this, I planned to focus less on writing and more on pulling levers that made the greatest business impact.

I started putting 40 hours a week into my blog outside of my day job. I bought the latest software and blogging tools. And I hired an assistant to help manage my guest blogging process, a content writer to help with first drafts, and called up a few developer and designer friends.

It didn’t cost much and allowed me to focus my energy on what I’m really good at — building relationships in my niche.’

As Adam admits, today he has over 450k monthly readers, an email list of 35K and a Facebook community of 3,500 blog preneurs who want to do the same.

What’s even more impressive is that he is now projecting to make a 7-figure revenue by the end of 2020 with a 90% profit margin without spending anything on advertising!

A piece of advice to take out from this is to invest in your network finding affiliates.

From this perspective, you will need to focus more on cultivating relationships with people from your audience or like-minded professionals who are doing the same or similar to what you are doing, as opposed to creating content.

To get started with this type of marketing you will need to join an affiliate program.

Once you agree with the program requirements you are ready to connect with people who can promote your blog or business.

Way #11: Start a Mastermind Group

Have you ever thought about starting your own paid mastermind group?

A mastermind group describes a group of people who get together or meet for a period of time (from a few months up to a year or more), and are dedicated to achieving mutual growth and improvement.

The idea behind a mastermind group is to allow people to help and learn from each other.

As you imagine the benefits for the participants are many:

As a member of a mastermind group, one can learn to identify opportunities that will help them grow and solve problems that are getting in the way.

Mastermind groups may be focused on an individual or a collective problem that people are facing and helps them improve themselves in any area of their lives e.g. work-life balance, business or obtaining a specific skill.

Jack Canfield, no. 1 America’s success coach, says ‘the basic philosophy of a mastermind group is that more can be achieved in less time when people work together.’

In the following video Jack stresses on the importance of networking and building meaningful relationships which are the main foundations for success.

Jack adds: ‘I don’t know anybody who has become super successful without employing the principle of masterminding.’

As a mentor, Jack knows a lot about masterminding, and he is offering his own mastermind group planner. A total investment for someone to join Jack’s 16-week group coaching program which includes a mastermind retreat is at $997!

The price for someone to join a mastermind group may range from $500 per month to $100,000 per year. So, depending on your knowledge and experience, you can charge what feels comfortable to you.

The value you could be offering through a mastermind group is incredible. As such, there are many people who would be willing to take part.

To get started with your own, check out The Success Alliance and discover how other bloggers are doing it!

Way #12: Launch a Virtual Summit

Similarly to mastermind groups, virtual summits can help you connect with many people in your network and make a real impact.

What’s great about virtual summits (online conferences), is that they can offer a lot to online blogging businesses like yours. Apart from gaining more revenue, you get to grow your emailing list, develop relationships with influencers and establish your authority in your field.

Smart Money Mamas who have conducted a virtual summit back last year loved it so much that they are already preparing for their next one in October 2021.

The huge success of the first summit with 18,000 moms joining in, made them realize how important it was to give moms the budgeting advice and financial confidence they needed.

Chelsea Brennan, the founder of Smart Money Mamas, realized there was a market need there and decided to put in the effort investing in a 5-day virtual summit that presented 40 speakers that offered expert advice on financial planning and freedom.

Here’s what people are saying about the event:

Even though the event was free, it was a huge success.

If you want to start getting money from your own virtual summit, you can give access to people through a paid ticket. However, conducting free events will come handy if you don’t have enough audience to begin with as a new blogger. As your blog grows, you will be able to start charging for it. Keep in mind that you may have to start small, with only a few participants and perhaps more simplistic communication methods like live chat software, but you’ll be able to use the experience to host bigger summits.

Now Over to You

Blogging is a type of art in itself. Creativity is the fuel to building powerful blog content, but hard work and consistency is what helps to sustain it and is constantly improving it.

To make money online, you need to treat blogging as your full-time job – or better yet, as an online business. This means you will need to put in the effort and spend a lot of time working on it and discovering what works and what doesn’t.

Following the example from people who have already done it, you will ensure that your plan to monetize your blog is going to be a success. Best of luck!

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Content Creator at LearnWorlds

Kyriaki is a Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team writing about marketing and e-learning, helping course creators on their journey to create, market, and sell their online courses. Equipped with a degree in Career Guidance, she has a strong background in education management and career success. In her free time, she gets crafty and musical.