How bloggers make money?
There are four key ways in which bloggers make money: placing ads on their site, writing sponsored content, recommending products as an affiliate, selling their own products or services.
How to monetize a blog
Advertisements were the first monetization method I tried. There are several networks to look at Adsense, Mediavine, Taboola, BuySellAds plus many others. Every Advertising company has its own requirements for the blog to be met, so make sure you check that before applying as a publisher. What do advertising networks pay for?- CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per thousand impressions) mostly.
Yes, there is a benefit: placing ads is quite simple. Yet in my opinion, this is the worst advertising method for a new blogger. Think about it, it takes the same effort to get someone to visit your blog, read content and click on ads. And specifically, if your content does not attract high-cost keywords, then the profit will be low as well. In this case, I would rather prefer other blog monetization methods.
2. Sponsored content
Beware, so not everyone will look at sponsored content joint ventures with you. The reason being is you have to show yourself as an authority and have a well-established blog. Other bloggers don’t want their content to appear in an unknown “Joe Shmoe” new blog which was launched a month ago. In most cases, you’re looking for success stories or the type of content, that your audience benefits from.
3. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize a blog and you may find products in every possible niche. Benefits: you don’t need to create a product, handle payments, refunds, deal with complaints and law. Most vendors will provide you with ready-made email swipes, banners, audience insights, even keywords if you plan to run an advertising campaign on Google or Bing. You can find my High paying affiliate program list here.
4. Selling own products and services
Most bloggers, who are in this business for a long period of time, have their own products and services. The benefit of having your own product is to be independent of other platforms, not paying a percentage of profit. Traffic will flow via your own website over and over again because people will come back looking for new updates.
Popular blogs that make loads of money
Below you will find bloggers, which I’ve listed because they hooked me up in one or another way. Great content left me with impressions so I memorized one or two things from each. And no this is not the top-earning blogger’s list, just people I stumbled on and follow to this day (not all but…).
Everyone is interested in how much money you can make from a blog and 5 years ago many bloggers were making income reports every month. These posts were very popular, yet now most people do not reveal such information anymore.
problogger by Darren Rowse
- Domain age: 17 years
- Pages indexed in Google: 11000
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~348000
- Selling: own books & courses.
Darren mentioned that a digital photography school blog makes more income than ProBlogger. This is the last income report from 2016 I found.
anastasiablogger by Anastasia
- Domain age: 4 years
- Pages indexed by Google: 748
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~49400
- Selling: own courses, Mediavine ads & Adsense ads (YouTube)
Anastasia is very successful on the Pinterest platform, which was a kickstart in gaining traffic to a blog. Now she’s got a well-growing YouTube channel as well. In her latest blog post published in 2021, she claims-making $40000 a month.
smartpassiveincome by Pat Flynn
- Domain age: 12 years
- Pages indexed by Google: 3210
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~296300
- Selling: own books, courses, podcasting plugin, affiliate marketing, sponsorships.
Pat for a long time showed a very fancy graph directly on the homepage for the public as proof. Plus frequently made income reports for nearly 10 years, which many people were curious to look at (me either). Here is the last screenshot back in 2019 from the internet archive. Nowadays he’s probably making too much to show off 🙂
Detailed by Glen Allsopp
- Domain age: 24 years
- Pages indexed by Google: 92 (seems like all blog posts are noindex nofollow and only the most important content visible to search engines)
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~166300
- Selling: own course, which opens just for a limited time in a year. The only thing you can do is join the waiting list.
Glen is well known in the blogging and SEO community for a long time, better recognized from viperchill blog. Which is kinda abandoned now, but can’t be ditched away, because it is still a valuable asset with strong authority. You can find his latest updates on Gaps blog.
matthewwoodward by Matthew Woodward
- Domain age: 9 years
- Pages indexed by Google: 487
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~150600
- Selling: Affiliate marketing and SEO services
I stumbled on Matthew’s blog a long time ago and the statement I remember from him was: I will build an authority blog with no links (mean no link building on purpose…). Now his blog has loads of links picked up during those years 🙂
socialmediaexaminer by a founder Michael Stelzner
- Domain age: 11 years
- Pages indexed by Google: 6570
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~1.6M
- Selling: podcast, email, event sponsorships, serve ads.
Maybe Michael started blogging alone, but now he’s got a team working on his blogging and other activities. When the level is reached so you can’t handle a time rather hire someone…
sethsblog by Seth Godin
- Domain age: 5
- Pages indexed by Google: 8170
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~475900
- Selling: own books, courses
Well known worldwide, famous person, founder of Squidoo, and as an author for best-selling books on Amazon.
johnchow by John Chow
- Domain age: 21
- Pages indexed by Google: 7330
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~
- Selling: books and affiliate products (most).
In 2007 he started a new challenge: how much can you make from blogging if you pull out all that stops, but still work only two hours a day. In two years, the blog income was $360,000.
huffingtonpost by founder Arriana Huffington
- Domain age: 16 years
- Pages indexed by Google: 2030000
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~4.7M
- Selling: sponsored advertisements via banners
I can’t name Huffington post a blog anymore, because it has grown into such a big publication platform owned by Buzzfeed. However, it all started with Arriana writing and posting content about topics like life and politics.
Moz by Rand Fishkin
- Domain age: 22 years
- Pages indexed by Google: 83200
- Estimated traffic monthly: ~2.8M
- Selling: SEO software
Moz got ~70m in revenue in 2019. Rand started a blog SEOMoz, which is well known in the SEO community, however, he left the company. You can find his current publications on SparkToro.
Wrapping up: How bloggers make money
What I have noticed: all long-time bloggers run away from Amazon, eBay affiliate programs. Adsense also pays only cents and is not worth starting with (I have a written blog content in mind to be exact.) Most of the listed people here have their own products or services created.
Well, this is just a shortlist of people and there are hundreds worldwide making living out of blogs. Some of them stay away from attention as much as possible, while others are well recognized worldwide. As you can see bloggers make money and a lot if they just stick enough and don’t stop publishing content for a long time.
All data gathered from public sources is accessible for anyone and might be not exactly correct, take it with “a grain of salt”.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.