Starting a blog can be a great low-cost way to experiment in side hustling and entrepreneurialism. Since you can still maintain a day job, blogging allows you to work a day job. During your nights, weekends, or between errands with family, you can write articles, build an audience, and start conversations on social media to build your brand.
It’s a great way to also pick up some extra skills (a la talent stacking) for marketing, coding, photography, and copywriting!
So, if you’re looking to turn blogging into a side hustle, or into a full time career, or maybe simply use it as a means to talent stack in the digital age–read on!
One of the most common ways that people make money with a blog is to insert display ads in the content or sidebar to generate revenue based on traffic. For clicks, you can earn higher returns, but for every impression, you can earn passive income.
Ads can be secured through ad networks like Google AdSense (that track impression activity through a pixel) or with direct ad placements for a static sidebar ad that is secured on a monthly basis with a flat fee.
While ad revenue is the easiest to implement on your blog–for it to be profitable, you would need very high daily traffic. It can be an excellent supplement to your monetization strategy, but luckily, it’s not the only way!
Related: How To Start A Blog
Sponsorship opportunities include paid social media promotion, sponsored articles, or reviews and video content which is created to talk about products or brands.
After you’ve built a name for yourself and have a blog that’s updated regularly, you can start pitching for brands to sponsor pieces of content that would be aligned with your audience. Sometimes, brands will also find you and ask to send you product for free, or even pay you for promotion on top of product that's provided.
Sometimes brands want a dedicated product review, while others want you to tell a story where their new product is authentically woven in, and yet others want to simply focus on the item and do a giveaway. Sponsorships can be very lucrative and a win-win if your audience could benefit from the partnership.
Knowing how much to charge for your sponsorship packages will vary based on niche, the engagement of your audience and traffic, but you can get an idea of how much to charge by joining networks like TapInfluence or Acorn Influence to get offers and start gauging interest.
While brands can find you and you absolutely can pitch brands on your own, working with a blogger network can be a great way to get started since they broker deals on your behalf and help you get visibility to larger brands with bigger campaigns.
If you are in a niche that’s product based–whether your blog talks about fly fishing or real estate investing–there’s a high probability you will eventually talk about products that can be sold through affiliate programs.
If you review a new fishing pole on your fly fishing blog, you can insert a link with a tracking code that generates a commission every time you make a sale on that pole.
Amazon associates is a very popular affiliate program for several reasons–not only do you have access to thousands of products without having to opt-in to various affiliate programs and maintain the links individually, and you also can generate sales on products you don’t directly talk about. If you mention a fly fishing pole, and someone clicks that link but ends up buying dog kibble instead, you will get credit for that sale and receive a commission.
ShopHer Media is an influencer marketing agency that connects bloggers and other publishers with brands, making it easy to monetize your content. There are no fees to apply to become a partner.
ShareASale is an affiliate network where members earn money by referring shoppers via their websites to various products, services and stores that they like. There are no fees to apply to become a publisher on the ShareASale network.
Creating your own product
Chances are you’ve seen a blogger promote an ebook or online course before, and it can be a great way to make money from your audience so long as your content is targeted and valuable.
If you are taking the time to build a blog around homeschooling your children, or even documenting your own path to financial independence, what are things you wish you would have known when you started or could be a specialized product that the market needs?
Identifying what your audience is craving that solves a problem–like travel hacking for larger families or sharing your lesson plans for homeschooling in an ebook, can be a great way to monetize content you’re already offering readers.
Ebooks can be sold on Amazon, or direct downloads as a PDF on your site with relatively low cost. Courses can be developed from the comfort of your home and uploaded to sites like content.ly who provide an easy framework to get launched.
While many bloggers focus on digital products that don’t require production or shipping, we’ve also seen bloggers with larger audiences develop physical products as well. Some bloggers have developed their own yoga mats, coordinated in-person workshops or retreats, and others have even created apparel with quotes or catch phrases. It’s up to you!