Blogging,  Money

How Do Bloggers Make Money?

(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

Have you ever wondered just how bloggers make money? If you are a social media user, I guarantee that you have across some pretty cool Pinterest pins or Instagram pictures. Those pictures will then link you to beautiful blogs.

Next thing you know you start reading more and more blog posts, and you find yourself going down the “how to make money rabbit hole”. Soon you become curious of just how people are making money off of their passion projects in the form of blogging.

This page contains some affiliate links. This means if you click on some links I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you. 🙂

Questions start to conjure in your mind like: How do bloggers actually make money? How much time does it take to make a profit…a real profit? How do they get so much traffic to their blog?

If this literally sounds like you, then you have come to the right place. I am here to explain the top five ways bloggers make money from their blogs.

The truth is there are many different ways to make money with a blog. But after blogging for over two years, and making a bit of money myself I have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to making money from a blog.

Okay are you ready? Grab a tea, coffee, wine, whatever you like, get comfortable and ready to learn the top ways to make money from a blog.

Woman holding a latte with pretty latte art.

#1 – Build A Strong Foundation

This almost goes without saying, but you need to have a blog in order to make money with a blog. What a novel concept, right? The good news is that starting a blog is incredibly affordable. You can start a blog with Siteground hosting for as little as $3.95 a month!

But Siteground isn’t the only game in town, you can also use Buehost and Wix as hosting platforms for your blog. I personally have used Siteground from the beginning, over two years now and have had no issues at all.

Flat lay picture of a laptop, coffee, cellphone and spoon.

Head over to my section Step-By-Step Guide To Starting A Blog for detailed blog post instructions and how-to videos that explain all of the basics such as getting hosting, picking a domain name and starting to put word to ink in the form of your first blog post. This is all for free! I want to help you start your own blog!

Once you have your blog up and running, congrats, you have now laid the foundation to becoming your own boss and taking full control over your future. This is the beginning of great things I promise you.

Now, before you dive in to monetization with ads there are some things you should do first. I recommend focusing all your attention on your blog content as a first step.

Woman holding a cell phone in front of a laptop.

There is not a secret number of social media followers you need to make money. In fact if you have enough engaged followers, I believe that can be way more beneficial than having a huge following that is not engaged with you or your blog.

There is also not a set number of posts you need to be successful but I recommend having at least 10 blog posts published on your site as a starting point. This allows visitors to have plenty to read when they land on your blog for the first time.

Just imagine the alternative, someone clicks on a really cool pinterest pin that links to your blog, they read that post wanting more only to realize there is nothing else to read. You don’t want that. You want to keep viewers on your site as long as possible.

Flat lay picture of coffee, laptop, journal, glasses and polaroid pictures.

When you begin to put your blog posts together always keep your audience in mind, write quality content of at least 1,000 words. But, 1,500 is even better!

Be sure to include the following pages on your blog:

Hint – It is important to have specific information on your blog when you are applying for monetization with advertising agencies such as Google Adsense later on.

  • About page
  • Privacy statement
  • Terms & Conditions statement
  • Disclosure statement

To learn more about why these pages are important read my post on The Legal Side To Blogging Every Blogger Should Know.

Aim to post once a week.

By posting a new post once a week you will keep your blog fresh and up to date and your audience will know that there is always something new to read and come back for.

I admit this was not always the case for me, as I am a part-time blogger that has a full-time day job. But one of my goals this year is to post once a week.

#2 Grow Traffic

Traffic is the most important piece to making money with a blog. Without traffic, no one is visiting your site, which means no chance at earning advertising profit (we will get to advertising) or purchasing products from your site such as eBooks, online courses, or clicking on affiliate links.

Laptop, journals and apple cell phone.

For me personally Pinterest and organic search engine traffic have been the main drivers of traffic to my site. I do not have a Facebook account, although every once in a while I will see some traffic from Facebook, which is due to others sharing my posts and linking to it.

I used to have a Twitter and an Instagram account, although for me, I did not had as much success with driving traffic from those sources, so I gave them up and concentrate 100% on Pinterest and improving SEO (search engine optimization) so that my blog posts will rank higher in web searches.

For example, one of my most successful organic searches to my blog is my post titled Christmas Itinerary for New York City. If you search the phrase “Christmas Itinerary New York City” in the Google search engine you will find my post on page 5 of Google.

Jane and Brenda at Buvette in NYC.
Me and my mom on our NYC Christmas Trip back in 2016!

I know what you are thinking, who goes past page one these days in a Google search? Probably not that many, but if you are really researching a topic, you may go to additional pages in a Google search.

This is actually really exciting for me to be ranked that high in a Google search. Think about all of the content written about New York City and the Christmas holiday, there has to be thousands upon thousands of blogs and news articles.

So, for me to have a post ranked on page 5 of Google, and the fact that people are finding my blog organically like that makes me so happy and gives me tips on how to improve other posts on my site.

The trick with ranking high in google is to include key words that people are searching for. It also helps if you have posts over 1500 words, as google gives posts with higher word count more authority.

Lightbulb with a plant growing inside.

So, before starting to write a blog post, think of the possible question a potential reader may be asking that would lead them to your post. For example, someone may search what is the best Italian restaurant to eat at in New York City. With that in mind you might title a blog post “The best Italian restaurants in New York City” and then you can write a nice listicle article of the top 10 Italian restaurants in NYC.

To help with writing SEO friendly posts, I recommend using the free WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO. When writing blog posts Yoast will give you recommendations along the way and will help you make your content more SEO friendly. I use it every time I write a post and I can’t believe this service is free!

#3 Monetization With Advertising

Okay, so you’ve successfully started your blog, you have a steady stream of traffic coming to your blog, now it is time to implement ads on your site and start bringing in passive income.

Bloggers that are making money are making a significant amount of income through ads.

There are threshold requirements for getting your blog accepted to various types of advertising agencies.


Mediavine requires your blog to have 50,000 sessions per month and also be in good standing with Goodgle Analytics.

When you are just getting started, obtaining that high level of traffic per month can seem overwhelming and difficult. However it is not impossible.

Applying to Mediavine should be a goal you want to set for your blog. Focus on the quality content and SEO and the rest will follow in time.

Google AdSense

Google Adsense is one of the most popular ways to monetize your blog. They do not have a specific visitor requirement to get started.

But remember, in order to make a lot money with your blog you will need to have a lot of traffic.

Google Adsense is a great way to get started with monetization . You can learn how ad placement works and you can start earning right away.

An ipad showing statistics.

Google Adsense Has Specific Requirements

Remember in point #1 I mentioned it is important for your blog to have specific pages?

The reason why having an about page, a privacy statement and a contact page is crucial when you try to apply for Google Adsense.

In fact, by not having those pages on your blog, you are very likely to get denied from Google Adsense.

You must, I repeat, must have an about page. You also must have a privacy and terms and conditions page.

Another area that helps you get approved is by having a high quality of posts. Google does not explicitly state that you need a specific number of posts. But it does help to have more rather than less.

Keyboard, pen and paper and a woman on a cell phone.

Reasons Why Bloggers Get Denied From Google Adsense

One of the most frequent reasons bloggers get denied for google adsense is because they don’t have enough quality content. So, think about a site that only talks about affiliate products, unfortunately google does not rate that highly.

It is possible to get approved for having affiliate links. But, you need to make sure that you are posting valuable information, and providing helpful insight to your readers.

So, don’t just write a laundry list of affiliates hoping to make a few bucks from people clicking.

Try writing a nice review of a product and reasons why it works so well, or doesn’t. That will be valued much more. You will then be on your way to making money through your blog in no time!

#4. Selling Courses & Products

In my opinion this is the top way bloggers ultimately make the most money from their blogs.

If you don’t believe me just take a look at some of these income reports from top bloggers:

  • It’s A Lovely Life blog earned $145,780 in the month of January 2019 just in course sales!
  • Making Sense of Cents earns an incredible amount every month from her successful course titled Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle brings in well over a million dollars per year with her blog, it is really incredible.
  • The She Approach – Ana has made over $24,000 with her online courses! I even purchased one of her eBook’s titled Making Pinterest Possible
  • Helene In Between – Helene Sula made over $10,000 in one month on her webinars and courses.

As you can see from some of the above reports, selling online eBooks or courses are the major money makers.

Woman on a laptop inside a coffee shop.

It is never too soon to share your knowledge with others and create a course. But it does help when you have a strong engaged audience. When you have that in place sales will grow tremendously.

Trust me, I tried to launch an eBook about Pinterest strategy during my first year of blogging. The outcome was a complete failure. You can read about it in my post What One Year of Blogging Taught Me.

One of the reasons I believe my ebook failed was because I didn’t have a big enough engaged audience.

In the future I may try to write another eBook or course. My plan is to continue to learn along the way and share with others as I do.

Selling your own product is a very lucrative way to make money from your blog.

You are not sharing that earned income with advertisers and you can control the cost.

The blog No Borders Required, has a great post titled 8 Surprising Things I Learned From Selling Online Courses. This a fantastic read about pricing your courses at a premium rate.

#5. Making Money With Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the second best way that bloggers earn a significant amount of money. The cool thing about affiliate marketing is that you can implement this right away.

I explain this in my post How to Make Passive Income While You Sleep.

The top affiliate earners I have seen with high income blogs are by promoting a blog hosting platform that they use, where they then get a cut of the sale when someone starts a blog.

I can back that up as that has been the highest paying affiliate for me, through promoting Siteground, the blog hosting platform I use.

The next highest affiliate earner that bloggers earn money from is usually from promoting an eBook or a course they have taken, where if they promote it, they will also earn a cut of the money.

I know that A LOT of bloggers have taken the popular course I mentioned earlier titled Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle. Chances are if you research affiliate marketing on Pinterest you will see this recommended again and again.

Woman typing on laptop.

I have personally not taken the course, and I am not an affiliate for it at this time. (Full disclosure) However, it does seem widely popular and I have only heard wonderful things about it.

Sometimes there is not an opportunity to be an affiliate for eBooks and Courses, but I have seen a ton of bloggers offer this model. Think about it, it incentivizes others to promote your product, and both parties earn money, it is a win-win.

Other Types of Affiliate Marketing Programs Include:

  • Share-A-Sale is a collection of hundreds and hundreds of companies that you can apply to be an affiliate for. Even popular companies such as WayFair and the children’s clothing store Gymboree. This can be a great compliment to your blogging income. As there is a product for everyone to promote!
  • Email Platform Mailer Lite – When you start your blog, you will likely also start growing an email list and will send out periodic emails to engage your audience. Almost all of the email platforms bloggers use have affiliate programs. I personally am an affiliate for the email platform I use, Mailer Lite. I love Mailer Lite because it is completely free for your first 1000 subscribers. Plus, you can do so much more than just email, you can create landing pages and create sales funnels.

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