Maintaining an active blog is a full-time endeavor. You have to find quality content, write posts, engage in social media, find ways to get your posts seen by a wide audience - the list goes on.
So if blogging is a full-time job, why don't bloggers get paid like it's one? The answer is simple: you should be.
Many successful bloggers have found a way to turn their hobby into a lucrative way to make good money, and you can too.
By looking at a few successful bloggers, and dissecting what exactly makes them the majority of their income, we can figure out what would work best for you, too.
Abby makes $31,000/Month
Site Age: 3 years
Niche: Home organization, DIY, and home decor
Total February Income: $36,234
Total February Expenses: $4,942
Net Income: $31,292
As a home decor blogger, Abby certainly knows how to be crafty. Her wildly successful DIY website has helped her earn over $31,000 per month. This not only makes her the highest paid female on this list, but the highest paid person as well.
After taking a look at her February 2016 Income Report, we can begin to assess how her earnings and expenses are broken down.
The majority of this month's income (a whopping $10,000) comes from her Framework e-book and course. Basically, she's successful enough in her own right that she's able to sell her blogging tips and tutorials at a price that people will purchase them for.
Her second most successful business venture this month comes from her Webinar bundle, which earned her nearly $8,700. And her third most successful venture, earning her over $8,600 this month, is her affiliation with Bluehost.
All she has to do is refer people to the website with a little bit of guidance on how to start their own blog (which she did here), and she earns approximately $65 per sign up.
How you can make money referring users to Blue Host:
If you'd like to get in the business of promoting Webhosting affiliates just like Abby does, look no further than this post.
Step #1: Pick a niche that you're interested in to blog about.
Step #2: Start your blog.
Step #3: Sign up for Bluehost's affiliate program.
Step #4: Create content that will rank high in Google, so people will see it and sign up for Bluehost (think about Abby's article -- she is a DIY blog, so her post was 'How to start your own DIY blog'. Stick with your theme).
Step #5: Promote your content however you can.
Step #6: Rinse and Repeat until you get enough traffic. That's it.
Justin makes $28,000/Month
Site Age: 5 years
Niche: Internet Marketing
Total February Income: $28,636
Total February Expenses: $700
Net Income: $27,936
Justin's website, 'So Over This', differs dramatically from Abby's in terms of content. Instead of focusing on home decor and DIY projects, Justin's equally successful blog focuses primarily on internet marketing and financial freedom.
Much like Abby, however, Justin makes an exorbitant amount of money each month. With an income of over $28,000 and a monthly expense of only $700, he's clearly doing something right. He doesn't sell any products on his website, though, so what gives?
By taking a look at his February Income Report, we can clearly see that the vast majority (nearly all) of his earnings come from direct ad revenue. Justin himself explains that these ads are "direct advertisements from various media companies".
How you can make money from direct ads:
If you want to take a tip from Justin and start selling space for ads on your website, it's easier than you might think. Basically, advertisers will pay you good money for a little bit of ad space on your site. Sound good? Here's how you do it:
Step #1: Make it easy for advertisers to reach out to you. A simple "Advertise with us" Tab somewhere on your website may do the trick. If you aren't getting any bites, you may want to consider publishing a blog post to let people know you are looking for advertisers, or even sending an email to your subscribers.
Step #2: Join an ad network. Google's AdSense is a particularly popular choice among bloggers, and you can find out more about it here.
Step #3: Post the ads on your site. Profit.
Dom makes $17,000/Month
Site Age: 3 years
Niche: Internet Marketing and Web design
Total February Income: $32,032
Total February Expenses: $14,524
Net Income: $17,508
Dom, of 'Human Proof Designs', is a successful web designer and internet marketer who has found and maintained quite a following on his website. He started his website almost 3 years ago and has quickly become a top earner in the blogging business.
Focused primarily on affiliate websites, Dom is equal parts blogger and how-to guru. If we take a look at his February Income Report, we can see that the vast majority of his monthly income comes from the services he provides.
His ready-made sites can be purchased directly from his website in a bundle package with tutorial videos, and now make up nearly $24,000 of his $32,000 monthly income.
How you can make money selling product on your site:
If you have goods or services that you would like to offer your audience, you can and should. This is especially useful if you're a web designer, content writer, or another expert in a given "cyber" field.
Step #1: Make sure your product matches your blog. If your blog is centered primarily around healthy eating and recipes, it might not be the best idea to sell ready-made websites about fast food and junk food hot-spots.
Step #2: Be honest with your clients. If you're trying to sell your web design content, don't fool your audience into thinking that they are getting it for free. Additionally, don't shove it down their throats. If we look at Dom, he has a clear tab that reads "Buy Sites" at the top of his page. If someone's interested in purchasing, they'll click to find out more.
Step #3: Offer special deals for your readers. They deserve a little discount every now and again for sticking with you, after all. You don't want your blog to turn into a money-grabbing scheme, but you also want them to know that the offer to buy your product is there should they want it.
Step #4: Listen to your audience. If they're into the idea, keep doing it. There's nothing wrong with offering "premium" services for a charge so long as you don't go overboard.
Step #5: If you need some tips, check out this post from Design Sponge that offers up some more advice on advertising your products and services on your own sites.
Matthew Makes $20,000/Month
Site Age: 4 years
Niche: Video game developer
Total January Income: $20,834
A video game developer and blogger, Matthew is different than any other blogger we've seen so far. He isn't trying to teach or sell you anything - he simply does what he loves and profits greatly from it.
The majority of his posts relate to his various video game making endeavors. He then sells the games (he specializes in HTML5 games), receives royalties, and earns a large amount of money for it.
Because he was so successful in the month of January, Matthew chose to take a good majority of February off to recuperate. So, for the purposes of this discussion, we'll look at his January Income Report.
$19,000 out of his $20,000 earned comes from the HTML5 video games he creates. His second highest earnings, which he notes are the highest to date, come from his e-books. This e-book approach also worked well for Abby, so we will focus on that.
How you can make money writing an e-book:
Matthew found his niche in HTML5 games - a place that may not necessarily have the largest audience, but a dedicated one all the same. The plus side to this sort of niche is that Matthew, a seeming authority member in this area, can serve as a 'teacher' of sorts to his audience. You can do this too.
Step #1: Find unique content that doesn't already have an abundance of attention in the e-book market. Matthew, for example, has written a book on HTML5 video games, which is something that many people are not aware of.
Step #2: Produce your work in a space that can easily be saved to .pdf file. I recommend Open Office, as it allows you to save to .pdf automatically whereas Microsoft Word does not.
Step #3: Once your book is written, edit, edit, and edit some more. Perhaps even spring for a professional editing service, because no one is going to pay for your content if it's riddled with typos.
Step #4: Get a book cover. There are several websites out there willing to provide this service for a reasonable choice. Consider Elance to find the freelancer who's right for you.
Step #5: Promote and market. You wrote a book, for God's sake, so there's no use in letting all your hard work go to waste. If you need some help with the marketing aspect of things, MoneyCrashers has a few great tips.
Sharon makes $8,700/Month
Site Age: 2 years
Niche: Freelance writing and niche
Total December Income: $8,700
Total December Expenses: $363
Net Income: $8,337
Digital Nomad, written by Sharon, is a part blog/part freelance writing/part digital niche site. For all intents and purposes, this site mainly serves as a resume for Sharon. She posts the articles she writes and even goes as far as to post 'how-to' guides for starting your own blog.
The information in her website is immensely helpful to blogging newbies, and has generated a lot of traffic over the last 2 years. For personal reasons, Sharon decided to stop posting her annual income reports after December of 2015. For this reason, we'll be focused primarily on that report as we look over her earnings.
In December, her income report breaks down just how much she earned, and how. The majority of her earnings are from "affiliates", at $6,350 this month alone. When she breaks down who her affiliates are and how much she has earned from each, it's clear that the majority affiliate this month was Amazon.
How you can make money becoming an affiliate:
If you want to be an Amazon affiliate, it's easier than you might think. In a recent blog post, Sharon claimed that becoming an affiliate was, "one of the best things that has ever happened to me." Whether that is true or not has yet to be determined, but there is absolutely no denying the monetary impact that becoming an Amazon affiliate has had on Sharon, and that it can have on you as well if you choose to try it out.
Step #1: Sign up on the Amazon website. You will need an Amazon account and a blog/website URL before you are able to sign up to become an affiliate.
Step #2: Find products that you feel your readers will want to purchase. If your blog is centered around home decor, you will want to share home decor items with them. If you need some pointers, feel free to check out the Associates Blog for a few beginners tips. This site also has a few great tips for optimal use.
Step #3: Stick those product links into your blog posts. Sharon suggests the use of Easy Table, so you can compare the prices of items on your Amazon affiliate list.
Daniele makes $4,500/Month
Site Age: 12 years
Niche: Internet marketing
Total February Income: $ 8,151
Total February Expenses: $3,582
Net Income: $4,568
Daniele is proof that if you enjoy doing something and you're good at it, nothing can stop you. The longest-lasting blog on this list by far, Daniele's website has been going strong for over a decade.
Equal parts travel blog and internet marketing niche site, Daniele teaches his readers how they can afford to live the lavish, traveling lifestyle he does with a few "life" hacks. The proof is in the pudding, too - Daniele's travels are always documented on his site, leaving his readers both in awe and a little bit jealous.
Taking a look at his February Income Report, we can deduce a few important things. For starters, his two highest earnings by far come from direct ads and from his personal Wordpress management and support website. For all intents and purposes, the majority of Daniele's monthly income has been from two resources we've already discussed in depth: direct ads, like Justin did, and offering services, like Dom did.
Unlike Dom, however, Daniele did not merely offer his services on his blog. He created an entirely new website, and used his blog to promote it.
How you can make money selling product on its own website:
Your goal is the same as it was when we discussed this with Dom: you want people to buy your product. Because you are a blog owner and it's assumed you already have a dedicated fan base, you're a step ahead of most entrepreneurs already. This is a great thing.
Step #1: Find the host that works best for you. Different hosts have different pros and cons, so choose carefully.
Step #2: Find a web designer, unless web design is your forte, in which case have at it. Try to keep the product you are selling in mind and base your website's design off of that. Obviously, if you are trying to sell healthy recipe tips, your website shouldn't have pictures of candy in it.
Step #3: Be specific as to what you are selling, and explain your product thoroughly. If you're offering consultation services and you charge by the hour, explain that. If there are various pricing options a customer can choose from, clearly state what the difference between them is. As you can see here, Daniele clearly states how it works and how much it costs so there is little left to the imagination.
Step #4: Promote your own website and services both on your blog and network your butt off.
Nathan makes $3,200/Month
Site Age: A little over 1 year
Niche: Internet marketing
Total February Income: $ 3,219
Nathan, the direct opposite of Daniele in terms of blogging experience, is the newbie of the group. His website, Income Bully, has quickly risen to internet fame as a go-to spot if you're looking for some good, accurate information on entrepreneurship, SEO, blogging, and marketing.
His rapid success rate proves that he's someone who knows what he's talking about - he writes, and the people listen. His February Income Report, while it lacks details on expenses, shows that he has his hands in various ventures. His most profitable, however, are his "self created courses" and his affiliate marketing on sites like Mobile Renegade, Name Hero, and Clicks Magazine.
Because nearly $2,000 of his $3,000 monthly earnings come from his online course, we will focus on that.
How you can make money by selling an online course:
It's easy, really. Online courses are becoming increasingly popular in today's online world, and although someone could easily get this information for free on a website, there's something about paying for an 'expert' teacher that makes people feel more comfortable. So once you have an idea of what you'd like your course to be about (keep in mind that it should somehow relate to your blog niche), follow these simple steps.
Step #1: Choose a platform to host your online course on. Nathan chose Gumroad.com, but ultimately the choice is yours and depends entirely on what works best for you.
Step #2: Identify your goal and gather content. What's the purpose of your course? Once you are able to answer that one question, everything else will fall into place. If your course is made to help people understand everything they need to know about SEO, you're going to have to gather information about various techniques, collect data, and make infographics
Step #3: Create your course. This will take a great deal of time and patience, but it's well worth it in the end.
Step #4: Get your course out there! Make sure to promote it on your website, too.
Will makes $2,900/Month
Site Age: A little over 1 year
Niche: Travel blogger and Internet marketing
Total December Income: $ 3,030
Total December Expenses: $46.98
Net Income: $2,983
I can't lie to you, Will's website is just plain cool looking. Its image heavy look is easy on the eyes and makes browsing fun from the audience's point of view. The content is pretty cool, too. Ranging from tech support to travel tips, Will's website has a little bit of everything.
His December 2015 Income Report has a little bit of everything also. The majority of his income, however, comes from something he calls "Ambassadorship". The term itself isn't quite clear, so fortunately Will describes it for us as, "this is when a brand reaches out to you to work on larger campaigns that span multiple channels and weeks/months where they are leaning on you to represent their brand. You essentially become their digital spokesperson."
So, basically, Will became the temporary name and face for a brand as opposed to simply sharing an advertisement on his website.
How you can make money becoming a sponsor/brand ambassador:
It's not easy. In most situations, it's all about who you know - and, more importantly, who knows you.
Step #1: A public relations manager may reach out to you after seeing your blog. You can, of course, reach out to a public relations manager on your own and pitch yourself to them, too.
Step #2: Get noticed. Post on their Facebook page, Tweet them, and link them to articles you've written about their product(s).
Step #3: Once you've been asked to become a brand ambassador, it's time to promote. You may be asked to include an ad on your website and e-mails, or you may be asked to review products and post about them on your social media accounts.
Step #4: Profit.