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How to make money blogging for beginners: the ultimate guide to diversifying income as a blogger

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Last Updated on by Noni May

If you like reading income reports from other blogger’s you might know that the secret to earning money blogging is diversifying your income. Did you already Google for “how to make money blogging for beginners”? Yeah, I’ve been there too.. 10 years ago. I’ve been a fulltime blogger for ages now and there are multiple ways to earn money blogging and the sky’s the limit, but I recommend you check out the following ways.

How to make money blogging for beginners

I’m not a big fan of the ways that promise you the gold now, because they often feel (and are) scammy. We’re in it for the long-run, and treat our blogs like businesses, so keep that in mind when doing your own research.

I noticed that often the strategies that take longer are more profitable after a few months or years and should not rely on other platforms (more on that later with an example).

Also, what might work for another blogger doesn’t work for you or your niche, and that’s ok. Just know that each of the strategies discussed, ARE working for a lot of bloggers, so that should give you the motivation not to give up as soon as you don’t see results now.

Are you putting a lot of effort into your blog but aren’t you near making any money with it? It might not only be a visitor problem.

Many bloggers think that it’s important to have a massive following when it comes to being a blogger that gets paid but that’s not it.

I know from experience that things like conversion rate can increase if you’re keeping your target audience in mind.

When I first started out monetizing my blog I didn’t get a lot of traffic and I didn’t know how to properly monetize. But I promoted a product, that I was an affiliate for, and I was late with starting the promo, had no plan and basically just put the link out there. But I made ONE sale within 3 days and that one sale generated over $1500 dollars. I was hooked.

How to make money blogging for beginners: the ultimate guide to diversifying income as a blogger

That’s even more than what some people earn with their 40 hour work weeks in a month, so when this happened, I knew I was on the right path, and after many trial and errors I have strategies that work.

Of course, if no one seems to notice your blog, it’s disappointing, but it’s worse when you make these 6 mistakes too (and let me tell you, I have made all first 5 mistakes over the years!)

Ways to make money blogging that work today

Many of the strategies you find online, focus on building a following first and then making money. Or focus on making money from blog sponsors and Ads, but that’s almost impossible when you have a small following.

I know because I’ve been blogging fulltime the past 4 years, and I have been blogging for more than 12 years!

Before we get into the best ways of making money blogging with a small audience, let’s get into the different ways most bloggers earn money:

  • Running ads on your blog
  • Using affiliate links to generate affiliate income
  • Selling your services as a freelancer
  • Selling your own products
  • Working with brands on sponsored blog posts
  • Working with brands on sponsored posts on your social media

Now each of these categories offers a wide range of different possibilities as well, it’s time for a breakdown, the pros and cons and my experience.

I’ll also hand you the starting point and websites to sign-up to get started.

Running ads on your blog

Let me just start with saying that this is the easiest way, you just sign-up for an ad network like Google Ads, insert the widget on your blog and get along with your day while getting paid. Right? Nope, that’s not how it works and I don’t think new bloggers should start with display ads as their first way of monetizing their blog.

I mean, how often do YOU click on an ad when you see one? And I mean not accidental.

Now, how often are YOU annoyed by ads? I know I am.

Still, I did add a couple of banner ads to my blog once I got my first viral post. Why? Because it meant I could earn an extra $100 – $2000 a month from just adding the display ad to my site.

Now before we dive into the strategies on getting started with this, here are some pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Display ads are very passive, just install the widget and earn
  • Work on your traffic and earn more. All you need to focus on is getting more traffic.

Cons:

  • They ruin your blog’s aesthetic
  • You’re not entirely in control of what they show
  • They’re not profitable if you have a small audience
  • They’re not worth the $2 a month as a small blogger, you just can’t afford losing people of something like this right?

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing comes down to promoting products online to get a commission whenever a sale is made through your recommendation link.

Many bloggers have implemented this strategy already and I cannot wait to show you how to turn your blog into a money-making machine with affiliate marketing!

So before we get into the actionable steps, make sure you read the pros and cons of promoting affiliate links on your blog and social media:

Pros:

  • You don’t have to have a product. You don’t have to invest a lot of time. Just sign-up and start promoting
  • You can monetize already existing content. Ever written a review about a product? Just add the affiliate link to that product and receive a small fee when people purchase the product via your link
  • You get to monetize your influence and the products you love
  • The more traffic you have the more you’ll earn
  • It’s the fastest way to come even with your business expenses. Use a tool, promote it and make that money back. Month after month.
  • You can easily take this strategy to social media

Cons:

  • You’re promoting someone else’s product
  • If you overdo this you’ll come off spammy
  • You need to constantly rethink your affiliate strategies to keep it as authentic as possible, and not just throw in affiliate links everywhere it doesn’t make sense.
  • The more traffic you have the more you’ll earn
  • You actually need an affiliate marketing strategy
  • You might think of it as an easy way to earn money – quick. And it is, but it’s not a ‘business strategy’ in my opinion because my definition of a business is ‘being a person (or business) that sells something’. This can be products that you have in stock (or not, hello dropshipping!), a service or content for example. I don’t think ‘promoting someone else’s product’ is a business model that will build a long-term business.
  • You have to do research on the ‘legal’ part. You have to get a disclaimer and always read the (sometimes very long) agreements before you start working with a company.

Also read, what to look for in an awesome affiliate program

Selling your services as a freelancer

If you have some skills, make sure you offer them as a service on your blog. There are always brands, e-commerce stores and people looking for someone who can help with (and knows a lot about) blogging, tech things, social media etc.

Many bloggers offer services and even when you don’t have time right now, it’s smart to put up a page that lists your services. You never know…

I’m not a big fan of bloggers offering ‘blog coaching’ when they’ve just been blogging for a few months, it’s like ‘teaching people how to become a millionaire’ while the teaching is secretly your way to become one. It just feels like, you’re making money while doing something that you’re not a practitioner of. I’m a big fan of being a practitioner, but I think it’s better to offer something that you learned either by doing (it for many years) or that you studied for. But it’s up to you. Stick in your lane, if you write about food, offer services that are food related to ‘I’ll create a 8-course menu for your dinner + include a complete grocery store list’. That makes more sense for your readers that if you’re a food blogger that offers ‘services to work around the house and redo your bathroom’.

Like all the other ways of earning money blogging, there are a few pros and cons:

Pros:

  • You can build a professional portfolio
  • It’s a good way to earn income while working towards a profitable blog

Cons:

  • There’s no freedom in working for others, and as a freelancer, you still work for others
  • The competition is fierce and landing a job can be a full-time job
  • You’re not working on your own ‘business goals’, you’re doing work for someone else
  • You have to manage the clients, send out invoices and keep track of leads… it’s a full-time job

Selling your own products

Do you give people something to buy? It makes sense if you only have 1 ebook somewhere hidden on just one blog page that you’re not making any money.

Or even worse, how are you planning on generating some income if you’re not selling anything? You’ve got skills. Use them!

Check out the free platform to sell your product on for free here!

So one of the realizations, when I went from hobby blogger to professional blogger, was… If you want to make money you have to constantly offer something.

I know, it seems like an open door but in everyday busy life, I kind of forgot to offer a lot of products. I’ve been writing ‘free articles’ for more than over 12 years on my blogs, and it was about time I offer my blog readers something more.

Of course, back in the day a lot of clients found me via my blogs, but now there’s so much blogger competition, that’s not as likely to happen as before. So even in addition to selling your freelance services, you should create a product. Because you only have to do the work once, but profit over and over again from it.

And working with people 1 on 1 is fun, but it’s not very visible to other people what’s I’m actually doing for that cash money. I could have been a stripper haha nobody would know! So it’s time to put on some presale pages and show the world that I am actually a knowledge bomb-business woman freelancing professionally as a writer and photographer since I was 16 🙂

So before we get into the actionable steps, make sure you read the pros and cons of creating and selling your own products:

Pros:

  • You have to do the work once, sell it over and over again without extra work
  • You get to sell your knowledge and expertise
  • You’ll feel much more like an entrepreneur when you actually sell something (instead of still working on someone else’s hours or promoting other people’s products)
  • The harder you promote, the more income you will generate
  • You’re building a community of awesome people
  • You give back

Cons:

  • You have to come up with something that makes sense for your audience, not something random
  • You have to be strong to get over things like ‘no one buys at first’ and ‘refunds’. They’re part of selling things, and once you’ve had your first experience of a failed launch or a refund, you’ll get over it. Tweak your product and let’s get back at it.
  • You have to not only promote your blog posts, but also get a little bit ‘salesy’ in order to sell more of your products. In the beginning, this may feel ‘wrong’, it takes time for most creatives to get good at it.
  • If you put a lot of effort into creating a product, and nobody buys it or you’re not selling enough to ‘break even’, you have to take your loss. At least for that period of time. You can always try to sell more later.
  • You have to pick up new skills like creating ebooks or courses, creating a webshop and marketing products. (Luckily for you I help you with all of these aspects!)

Posting sponsored posts on your blog and social media accounts

When balanced, this option to make money blogging is one of my favorite forms. However, when I overdo it, I no longer feel authentic and I feel like an advertisement board.

I’m doing about one collaboration a month, sometimes a few more if they fit into my schedule authentically.

A sponsored post doesn’t mean you have to write it like you work for the company or that you’re writing a review. It means that it blends in to your content naturally, however, you always have to tell your audience that you’re getting paid for something.

I love sponsored posts, because I like the challenge. I also like to get paid for my creative work, which is exactly what featuring an item in your content means.

So hurray for sponsored posts and brand collaborations!

Here is an Instagram example of a sponsored (instagram) post I did for Lipton:

Sponsored posts

See, you don’t always need to make a sponsored post super ‘sponsored’. I did a road trip, took a photo of the sight and included the brand naturally, I was actually drinking that after a hike. I tagged the brand in the photo and used hashtags, that’s it!

Sounds good? Let’s get to the pros and cons:

Pros

  • You get paid to work with brands and products you already use
  • It challenges your brain, you’re basically a tiny ad agency
  • It pays well, expect between $75 (to start with) and $20.000 (well, that’s if you have millions of followers)
  • You get free products
  • You get to make money with your influence and hard work, by doing what you already did for free: writing about things

Cons

  • You need to have some influence already to get started. Although micro influencers are on the rise, you will need a following to some degree to get started. Often that’s 3000 followers or 5000 unique readers.
  • You have more chance of collaborations if you charge the bare minimum, which doesn’t do true to what you’re worth
  • People might see you as a ‘sell out’.
  • It takes a lot of time to come up with creative collaborations, you don’t want to just publish a photo that shows the products, that’s not creative and actually proves that you’re just selling out.
  • It’s possible that you lose some of your creative freedom. Often brands want to see the posts before they go live and may request changes.

Working with brands on sponsored posts on your social media

I think this is a different way to monetize as a blogger, because often blog sponsored posts are a lot of work, while social media posts sometimes just mean ‘retweet’ a tweet or visit an event and create an Instagram Story.

Working with brands is my favorite way to earn money doing what I love when I just started out monetizing my blog.

Want to get started now?

Make sure you sign-up for my free video training to build a profitable blog in 30-days here, and download 20+ influencer agencies that pay you to blog

You might also like to read:

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