Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn commissions if you purchase something through the links below. Please read my disclaimer for more info.
Some people just blog for fun, but the majority are trying to make money from their words.
So for most people, once they start a blog the first thing they are going to focus on is monetizing their new creation.
In this article I am going to show you my 9 favorite ways to monetize blogs.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to monetize your blog with ALL 9 methods. Choose the ones that you are the most comfortable with and that make the most sense for your particular niche.
How to Monetize a Blog in 2021
1. Amazon Associates
Promoting affiliate programs is the easiest way to monetize any blog. All you have to do is find affiliate offers that match what your visitors are interested in buying.
The easiest affiliate program to promote is Amazon Associates.
Almost every blog owner starts here.
The great part about Amazon Associates is they allow you to start promoting products right away.
You just have to get at least 3 sales in the first 180 days to be approved to continue selling.
Amazon has items for literally every niche known to man, so it’s easy to start picking out items to promote on your site. Plus, you get credit for everything in the cart at checkout.
Even the items you didn’t promote!
Because of this, I find that around 65% of my Amazon Associates commission comes from items I’m not actively promoting.
The only downside of the Amazon Associates program is that the average commission rate is super low (1-3%) and the cookie duration is only 24 hours.
Regardless, I still always suggest that you start out your blog by promoting the Amazon Associates program because it converts so well (almost everybody has a Prime Account with their credit card attached).
2. Other Affiliate Programs
Once your site starts to get more traffic, you should test other higher-paying affiliate offers.
Many of these offers will pay 10-20% for a sale and have cookie durations of 30-90 days.
That sounds great, but unless the company is a well-known brand or store in the niche, they probably won’t convert nearly as well as Amazon.
So, if you switch programs, you could be leaving money on the table even though the commission rate and cookie duration is more attractive.
Some companies host their affiliate programs on large affiliate networks, but other brands may self-host their affiliate programs.
Below are some of the best non-Amazon affiliate networks and the most popular affiliate programs they host:
An easy way to find affiliate partners in your niche is through a simple Google search using the niche or specific company name + “affiliate program”:
Another easy way to find if a particular brand you would like to promote has an affiliate program available is to go to their site and scroll down to the footer. If they have an affiliate program they will usually have a link to it there.
3. Display Advertisements
Display advertising is the most passive income you can generate with your blog.
Essentially, an ad network is paying you to let them put ads all over your site. You get paid a very small amount for every ad that a visitor sees and/or interacts with.
The display advertising network that is most commonly seen on websites is Google Adsense. It’s the easiest network to get accepted to, but the RPM (Revenue per 1000 pageviews) is awful.
Once you start to get a higher volume of traffic (greater than 10k pageviews per month) you can apply to a premium ad network where the RPMs will be much higher.
Here are some premium ad networks that are great alternatives to Adsense (minimum monthly traffic requirements):
Alternatively, you can directly sell ad units on your blog to companies in your niche that are looking for exposure.
4. Digital Products
Another excellent way to monetize your blog is by selling digital products.
I personally add digital products to my blog in the later part of my monetization journey, because I want to make sure that the blog is going to have enough traffic to justify all of the time, money, and energy that goes into setting up a shop and creating products.
Some examples of digital products you could sell include:
- Online Courses
- Presets (Image Filters)
Not every type of digital product will be a fit for every niche, but usually, ebooks are an easy way to monetize your blog’s traffic.
Digital product sales perform the best when paired up with a quality lead magnet and a well-thought-out email marketing campaign.
🤓 Pro Tip: One hack is to first offer digital products as an affiliate from a site like Clickbank, identify the ones that getting sales, and then create a better version of the product and sell it yourself.
The great part about setting up digital products to sell on your blog is you just have to download a free plugin (WooCommerce), hook up Paypal and optionally sign up for a free Stripe merchant account (not in every country) and you are on your way!
Alternatively, you can use an all-in-one selling platform like Gumroad and they will take care of hosting the product and accepting payments for a small monthly fee.
5. Accept Guest Posts/Sponsored Posts
Once your blog is getting traffic you will start getting approached by people or companies to let them guest post on your site.
In essence what they are asking if you would be willing to allow them to publish a post on your blog that they will write.
In this post, they will link back to their own website and increase the authority of their site through yours.
The choice is always yours as to what type of content and quality you are willing to accept.
Not everyone chooses to accept guest posts on their blog, but many bloggers make a fantastic living selling access to post on their sites.
People charge anywhere from $xx-x,xxx to guest post on their blog, depending on how much SEO benefit the post will give the potential buyer.
📝 Note: You should never accept guest posts that are linking back to sites in shady or illegal industries. Stay away from casino, adult, and pharma sites.
6. Link Insertions/Niche Edits
Link insertions (often referred to in the SEO community as niche edits) are very similar to guest posts except as a blog owner you are simply adding someone’s link into an already existing post.
For this reason, people are generally willing to pay much less for link insertions than they are for guest posts.
The upside though as a blog owner is all you have to do to get paid is add a single link to content that is already on your site.
This means no proofreading submitted articles, editing, or formatting like when you accept a guest post.
Most bloggers who accept guest posts will also accept link insertions but price them at a discount.
As with guest posts you should always make sure that the sites you are linking back to aren’t in shady industries.
If you have a significant amount of traffic coming to your blog, you may want think about dropshipping relevant products to your audience.
Dropshipping is when the customer pays you for a product and then you pay a 3rd party to ship it and make it appear as if it was coming directly from you.
The main benefit of dropshipping is that you don’t have to deal with production, inventory, or fulfillment.
The margins that you get when dropshipping are often 10x what you will earn from promoting products through the Amazon Associates program.
AliExpress is a very popular marketplace to find items to dropship for almost any niche.
One downside to adding dropshipped items to your site is you will have to deal with customer emails, shipping issues, and customer returns.
8. Print on Demand
Print on Demand (POD) is like dropshipping in that you don’t pay for the product until after the buyer does.
POD can be a great alternative to promoting apparel items from Amazon or Etsy.
For example, if you had a blog in the pet niche, you could promote a $20 pug t-shirt on Amazon and receive $.80 for the sale ($20 sale * 4% commission).
However, if you sold the same shirt through your site using a POD service you could make $8 for the sale ($20 sale – $12 Cost of Goods Sold).
That’s a 1000% increase in profit!
🤓 Pro-Tip: Some POD providers have software that will allow your customers to customize the designs that they print.
9. Create an Ecommerce Brand
If your blog becomes a true authority in the niche, you may also want to consider selling products for the highest profit possible by creating an e-commerce brand.
Unlike dropshipping, you will be buying your inventory upfront and either fulfilling the orders yourself or paying someone to fulfill them for you.
Using the earlier scenario, if you were to buy your pug t-shirts up front you would only be paying $6 per shirt instead of the $12 cost with POD.
If you were fulfilling the orders yourself, you would be making a $14 profit on every shirt sold.
While that may sound really attractive, you will have to invest some time and money into customer support, dealing with returns, and keeping up on inventory levels.
When Should You Start to Monetize your Blog?
The choice of when to monetize your blog is totally up to you.
You can start monetizing your blog right away through affiliate marketing. Programs like Amazon Associates and Clickbank will let you promote their products immediately.
You probably won’t have very much (if any) traffic initially, so I would suggest waiting to add Google Adsense display ads to your site until you are consistently seeing 100 visitors per day.
Once your blog achieves 10,000 pageviews in a month you can start applying to premium display ad networks.