How to Make Money with a Blog for Beginners [2020 Guide]

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Ever wondered how people make money blogging? Or maybe you’ve read some blogging income reports that are light on detail and want to know more?

This comprehensive guide on how blogs make money should clear up any questions.

Side note: If blogging is something you are interested in, there is some truth talk at the end of this post I really want you to read. I promise it’ll help you out. But first, let’s dig into the reason you came in the first place.

How to make money with a blog for beginners

One of my favourite things about making money blogging is I have multiple paydays each month. My main ad network pays by the 5th of the month, a secondary ad network pays on the 20th of the month, my two main affiliates pay on the last business day of the month.

Sprinkled between that are the payments that I receive from smaller affiliates or sponsors who pay after being invoiced.

Each of these income streams stems from a different tactic I’ve implemented on my blogs. I’ve written posts that bring in $200-$500 each and every month after creation. (Don’t worry, I’ve also written a lot of posts that get no traffic and make nothing.)

It takes strategy, and good keyword research to succeed, but a lot of success in blogging is simply a numbers game. The more content you have, the higher the opportunity to help new readers and increase your profit.

Below I’m going to detail how to make money with a blog. Not all methods work on all blogs, but there are enough ways to monetize a blog that you should find something for all niches.

Ad networks

Advertising is everywhere and impossible to avoid. It’s no different for blogs. In fact, for most people, advertising is the first way to make money from blogging.

There are numerous ad networks to choose from.

Google has its own Adsense, which pays lower than the premier ad networks I’m going to mention soon, but it’s free to start and they do not require a certain number of page views to qualify.

I personally use Adsense for my starter sites. It’s a quick way to make money from a small blog.

The next tier is what I like to call mid-range ad networks. These are Ezoic, Gourmet Ads, Monumetric. Each requires a minimum of 10,000 sessions per month to join.

These tend to pay better than Adsense but not as well as the big daddy ad networks; Mediavine (requiring 25,000 sessions per month) and Adthrive (100,000 sessions per month).

All advertising is paid via two methods: CPM (cost per mille) which means cost per impression – where you are paid simply for someone seeing the ad; CPC is cost per click and pays when someone clicks the ad.

I am with Mediavine for this site you’re reading now and my smaller blog, Little House, Lovely Home. For the past three months, LHLH has made an average of $14 per day from advertising.

For reference, LHLH receives between 700-1500 page views per day. I have ads removed from all affiliate-heavy posts (you’ll understand what this means later on).

It’s not money I could quit my job with, but it’s the easiest money you can make blogging because all you need to do is get people to your site and you’ll make a few cents.

Selling direct ad space/in email and on your website

There is another way to sell advertising on your blog. You can negotiate directly with customers who would like to take ad space and charge them a set fee.

This could be ad space in the sidebar of your blog or an advertising feature in an email blast to your mailing list. It could also be in-text link inserted into a piece of content relevant to the customer’s product or service (just make sure you mark the link as nofollow so you don’t get in trouble with Google).

If you have a large and engaged social media following, you can sell a sponsored ad and make a cool image or video to promote the product. There are endless ways to make money with advertising on a blog

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you refer your readers to a product or service and they sign up to purchase or use that product or service. The affiliate marketer (that’s you) receives a commission from every sale or purchase.

As an example, the links you see to hotels on a travel blog are affiliate links. The links you see to buy a blogging course on this page are affiliate links. If you read reviews of products before you buy them, you’re likely looking at an affiliate link to Amazon (which I’ll discuss next).

Affiliate marketing is my preferred method of making money from a blog. This is because you don’t need a lot of traffic and there are zillions of affiliate programs you can promote.

If you use and like a product, your readers probably will to! A few things to keep in mind. You must disclose your affiliate links. This is both an FTC requirement and a being a good blogger requirement. Be upfront and transparent with your readers. They don’t mind you making money, but no one likes being lied to.

(A simple disclosure at the top of each blog post should suffice, see the top of this post for mine).

Networks like Shareasale, CJ Affiliate, AWin are a great place to start. Or just ask other bloggers who they like to use.
Affiliate commissions vary. Some maybe be a % of the sale and some might be a set price cost per acquisition (CPA) method.

Amazon associates

Amazon is deserving of its own special mention as it is the most popular affiliate program for bloggers by a country mile. The Amazon Associates program is available across all Amazon stores in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Germany, France and every other country where Amazon has a presence.

The Amazon Associates program allows bloggers to generate links to products which can then be embedded in blog posts or promoted on social media.

You’ll then receive a percentage of sales generated from your link. Amazon’s commissions aren’t the highest, but it’s an easy program to join and suits almost all niches. They pay at the same time every month.

Refer a friend


Another way to make money with a blog is with refer a friend bonuses. This might for products or services you use and want to promote to your audience. I promote Ebates/Rakuten and other services in this manner.

I mention them on blog posts where I talk about saving money or ways to travel cheaper. As I use this cashback service for both of those purposes, I can talk about them genuinely and with experience. This is exactly what your readers are looking for.

As you can see above, I make $25 per signup so this is a nice additional blog income stream.

Lead generation

Lead generation is when you generate leads in the form of contacts for a business.

In practical terms, this could mean you have a contact form on your site where readers sign up to be contacted by a mortgage broker, or financial advisor, real estate broker or personal trainer (niche-dependent, obviously).

For example, if you have a lot of content about hiring a financial advisor on your blog, you may want to establish a relationship with a local advisor who can service your audience.

You might be paid per lead – when the contact details are given to the advisor, or per conversion – when the customer signs up for a paying program with the advisor.

These kinds of arrangements are usually made from direct contact, so it’s best to have a plan in mind of who you want to work with before you start a blog with the intent of monetizing through lead generation.

Sponsored posts

A lot of bloggers like to work with brands creating sponsored posts. These are simply posts you write with the express intention of promoting a brand.

This is an example of a sponsored post I recently did with a company wanting exposure to my Australian and New Zealand audience.

Sponsored posts can be very lucrative, especially if you are based in the USA. I charged $300 for my first sponsored post a few years back, but now charge triple that and am still on the low end of the scale.

Whilst you definitely don’t want to overwhelm your blog with sponsored content, there is good money to be made working with brands on sponsored posts, so it’s worth considering them.

Selling e-books

Writing and selling your own ebooks is a great way to make money blogging without needing a huge audience

Ebooks are cheap to make with Google Docs and Canva and can be loaded into WordPress as a downloadable file, or you can use third party sales software like Sendowl as a payment gateway and for delivery.

You can write an ebook on anything at all. Basic bike maintenance, how to use Excel for family budgeting, a specific money-making strategy. If your audience is interested in a topic, you can make and sell an ebook on it.

Create a course

Online courses are a wonderful way to make money from a blog. They can be on any topic at all and if marketed properly, can continue to bring an income for a long time after the initial launch.

Platforms such as Teachable, Thinkific or Podia host the course and manage all the payments. This post on the Teachable blog has some great info to get started: Create an Online Course Your Students Will Love

Freelancing

When people think about how to make money blogging for beginners, freelancing doesn’t always spring to mind. But using your blog as a platform for freelance work can be the quickest way to start making money online and give you the remote career you crave.

Before I started to focus on earning money blogging, I wrote freelance through Upwork. At one time I was writing for a real estate agent in New Jersey, a savings site in Sydney, Australia and an online magazine based in Los Angeles. All from my little kitchen table office here in New Zealand.

Related post: How to Get Your First Job and Work Online With Upwork

At the time my blog wasn’t making more than $500 each month, but I was earning more than double that freelancing between my newborn’s naps. Whenever I pitched for new work I spoke of my blog and referred to it for writing samples.

If you want to work as a freelance writer, having a blog is a brilliant way to start writing regularly and attract new clients.

Flipping Websites

One of the easiest ways to start making money from blogging for beginners is to buy a profitable website rather than starting one from scratch. This won’t suit everyone but it’s a viable alternative to building your own site from nothing, and worth investigating if you have money to invest.

Buying and selling websites is a lucrative business. A blog can be sold for up to 36* it’s monthly profit. If you can buy a site making $100 a month for $3600, then grow the income to $500 a month, you can sell for $18,000.

Flipping renovated websites is a strategy used by lots of internet marketers. It’s not exactly a beginner level tactic, but you might consider tackling a project like this after you’ve blogged for a while. Click here to read my case study about buying an existing website.

The Truth About Making Money from a Blog

If you’ve read through all this and you’re still interested in blogging, I want you to know a few things.

Firstly, blogging will be the most fun you’ve ever had which helps a lot with the second thing.

Secondly, blogging is hard. You have to learn a lot of technical stuff that feels like a foreign language to you, it’s totally learnable but you’re probably going to be cursing at your computer a few times so be prepared for that.

Thirdly, success in blogging takes time. The person making $5000/month within 3 months is an outlier. I believe I followed a normal timeframe of making $2000 month within 18 months, and I was not working in another job at the time. 

Lastly, serious bloggers invest in themselves. If you try to find out everything for free, it’ll take you a lot longer than if you took a select few paid courses and started earning money faster. These are my favourite blogging courses. I highly recommend you check them out.

Got any questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll reply.

Read next: 9 Commonly Asked Blogging Questions Answered: Help for New Bloggers

Emma

Emma

Hi, I'm Emma. I set about gaining financial freedom back in 2012 when my son was born. I've been hustling to pay down debt, save money and build online and passive income streams ever since. You can find out more here.

4 thoughts on “How to Make Money with a Blog for Beginners [2020 Guide]”

  1. It seems as though Google AdSense has made it more difficult to monetize your blog. I recently applied and was denied. I have 4 blog posts so far and about 200 views overall. In the rejection email,they explicitly said they weren’t required to give explantion of why AdSense applications are rejected.

    • Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing why you were rejected. However, I know people have reapplied when they have more content (I’d aim for 10 posts) and been approved. Nothing stopping you reapplying for Google Adsense again.

  2. Great informative post Emma. I made my first earnings online from Amazon’ Associates in 2005. It is the easiest way to earn online.

    I never tried flipping websites. Have you had any experience with it?

    • Agree, Amazon has a great program. As for flipping websites, I’ve bought one to renovate but haven’t actually done much to it yet. I find I’m less motivated to work on it than my other sites. I do plan to work on it next year when my husband finishes his job, it’ll be his learning project to get that site to grow.

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