Module 5: How To Make Money Blogging

Everything you have learned about blogging and begun executing has led us to this point— making money from your blog. From this section upward, you will be introduced to several ways you can start monetizing your blog.

How to make money blogging

Sales Of Digital Products

The most independent way to begin making money from your blog is by selling digital products. Digital products are intangible assets you can create once and sell multiple times to your audience.
Most blogs begin making money first from sales of digital products before any other means.

Digital products are a fantastic source of income for your blog for several reasons.

Low Overhead Costs: With digital products, you are saved from the extra costs of manufacturing many products, shipping, logistics, inventory, etc.

Passive Income: with digital products, you make passive income. You put in effort just once in creating your product. You can replicate digital products quickly, and they deliver you a lifetime of income.

Multi-platform Earning Potential: You can sell most digital products on multiple platforms other than your blog. Some of these platforms even help promote your products.

Automation: The entire process involved in the daily sale of your digits product is automated, thanks to powerful plugins you can install on your WordPress.

Multiple Options: You can create and sell various digital products on your blog. 

To sell digital products on your WordPress site, you need a plugin that will make the entire process seamless for your audience to shop, buy and pay for your product. As well as for you to be able to upload your products and accept payments.

Below is a list of plugins you should look into.

  • Easy Digital Downloads
  • WordPress Download Manager
  • Woo Commerce check out for digital goods
  • WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart

So, what digital products can you sell?

This depends mainly on your niche and the understanding of your target audience. Below is a list of digital products to start selling immediately on your blog.

1. Ebooks

Irrespective of your niche, you can write books, which are long-form articles, and sell them to your audience. Beyond just raising money, e-books are a fantastic way to write comprehensively on topics that ordinary blog posts cannot cover.

If you own a food blog, you can write books on recipes; a travel blogger might consider writing books on travel tips, prime locations to visit, and other related topics. There are no hold bars on what you can write as long as it would benefit your readers. 

2. Courses

Courses are similar to eBooks but are academically structured. The goal of a course is to teach your audience something valuable, taking them from one section to another. Courses are a great source of income and should be very valuable to your readers if done well.

Creating courses requires a lot of dedication, research, expertise and time. Like this course which has been prepared in over 8 months of time. There are several types of courses you can make for your audience. These include:

  • Introductory Courses
  • Skill related Courses
  • Specialization Courses
  • Certification Courses

You require an LMS plug-in (learning management system) to sell your courses on your WordPress blog. An LMS plug-in simulates sites like Udemy and Coursera. Your readers get access to this course after paying.

Some top LMS plug-ins for WordPress include:

You do not have to limit your courses to just your website. There are several other platforms through which you can sell your course. These include:

3. Templates And Tools

Templates are assets tailor-made for certain activities which can be edited to be reused by multiple people. Your niche would determine the type of templates and tools you can create.

Tools are solutions created to be used for specific tasks. A tool can be an app or software. Neil Patel, the foremost blogger and an authority on SEO, has some pretty impressive tools, including Ubersuggest, a fantastic SEO tool.

Templates are reusable assets designed to perform specific tasks. As a travel blogger, you can create a template list of things tourists should carry when traveling.

4. License to Digital Assets
Licensable digital assets are assets that are protected by a license. Your target audience would have to pay you for the option to use these assets. Any case of unauthorized usage becomes grounds for legal disputes.

Examples of licensable digital assets include:
  • Pictures and images 
  • Video assets
  • Artwork 
  • Music 
  • Sounds

Sales Of Physical Products

There are several physical products you can sell directly on your blog. Unlike digital assets, physical products are pretty capital-intensive. They also come with a higher degree of risk.

However, if there is a market for them, physical products can be a great source of income for you.

The most important plugin you need to be able to sell physical products on your blog is Woo-commerce

Woo commerce is the most powerful plugin for creating an ecommerce shop on your site. It boasts several extensions which you can also buy and install for several tasks like:

  • Stock Management
  • Pick and Packing
  • Multiple Shipping Options
  • Multiple Payment Gateways
  • Tracking 
  • Order Status & Invoicing etc.

Below are a few physical products you can sell on your blog.

1. Printables

Printables include customized shirts, writing pads, cups, and other products unique to your niche. There is no end to what you can come up with. If you run a health and fitness blog, you can sell branded sports apparel.

You can skip the entire process of creating some physical products as there are third-party online companies you can partner with to handle manufacturing, sales, and delivery of your printables.

Some of these sites include:

2. Books

You can publish the hard copy of your ebook and sell it to your reader. However, this would require much more investment, as you would have to pay for publishing. There is also the hassle of the logistics needed to get your book to the buyers.

Fortunately, you can skip all these by publishing your book on Amazon Kdp. On Amazon, you can sell both the electronic version and the hard copies of your book. Of course, you should be ready to part ways with some of the profit.

You focus on directing interested buyers from your blog to Amazon Kdp. However, there are other platforms available where you can also sell your books apart from Amazon, but Amazon is no doubt the best platform you can start with.

3. Subscription And Membership

This works by creating premium content which can be accessed by readers who subscribe to your blog. You can tease your readers with a portion of a high-value article, an intimate story, insider information, etc., and then urge them to subscribe to access the entire content.

This is similar to subscription; however, instead of having just a few individual readers subscribe to your premium content, you offer paid membership to all your readers. Membership comes with more perks, like a community. Members also get more benefits like free ebooks and merchandise.

The best plugin for creating membership on your blog includes:

  • MemberPress
  • Restrict Content Pro
  • MemberMouse
  • Paid Memberships Pro
  • WP-Members
4. Sponsorships

As you grow influential in your blog’s niche and boast a growing target audience community, you can offer your platform to businesses for sponsorship purposes. These businesses will pay you to write about their services or product to your audience.

Note that your target businesses must reside within the niche of your blog. Ordinarily, as you become more established, you will be approached by several companies willing to sponsor written posts on your blog. But it is better you research businesses you think align with your brand.

For example if your website is about Food, you can get sponsorships from Restaurants, Diners, Bakeries or Fast-food businesses. And if your website or blog is about Tech, you can get sponsorships from Startups, Digital Marketing Agencies etc.

5. Speaking Gigs

Speaking gigs are an excellent source of income. Consistently publishing valuable content on your blog sets you on a path to being perceived as an authority in your niche. Beyond being an authority, your influence positions you as a wise choice for events related to your industry. You can cash out on your unique position by accepting speaking engagements.

Dedicate a page, or include your openness to accepting speaking gigs on the “About” or “Contact” page of your blog. Also, rather than wait for a speaking engagement to come your way, you can start early by volunteering to speak at some meetings. This is another way to promote your blog. Over time, you can call the shots on your speaking engagement.

6. Consulting Services

There are organizations, both large and small, often willing to pay top dollar to consult professionals for their businesses. You can become a consultant in your niche, creating another lucrative source of income upon the success of your blog.

Neil Patel is a name that is respected within the Digital Marketing Niche. Thanks to his deep understanding of SEO, he has consulted for some of the biggest firms that need help with their online campaign. If you have something valuable to add, someone is always willing to pay for your insights.

7. Freelance Services

As a consultant, you give seasoned advice and insights to businesses. However, you can go a step further by actually being involved in executing your wondrous ideas. You can work as a freelancer, servicing clients willing to pay for your service.

Instead of waiting to be hired, you can apply for jobs at companies and organizations. A better alternative is to sign up on freelancer sites. Your blog adds more credibility to your ability, putting you ahead of the competition.

A strategy is to create a "Hire Me" page on your blog. Equip this page with a short bio of yourself, your experience, and means of contacting you. I think this will work wonder. But, before all these good things come to your professional career, you take the first step and start doing. 

Some freelance sites you should consider include:

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • Jooble
8. Accepting Donations 

It is common practice for blogs to request donations from their readers.

Independent News Blog often requests donations from their readers.

You, too, can do the same. However, it must be done the right way. Do not demand from your readers, but encourage them to donate.

For example, provide so valuable content that solve the problems of people, and people will not hesitate to donate. Like Wikipedia, which provides free information on about any topic and ask for donations periodically. So, first provide value through your blog or website and in return ask for a little donation from your readers.

 Some payment platforms you can integrate with your blog to collect donations include:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Payoneer
9. E-Commerce

E-commerce on your blog is much like selling merchandise, but with a focus on actual products, you can sell directly on your blog. This is tasking, as you would practically be running the manufacturing of your products, accounting, invoicing, and delivery of your products to clients. However, if you have a dedicated readership base, you will make a profit selling your products (especially if the product is fantastic).

An example of this is a fashion blogger who has her own apparel company, a food blogger with his own snacks company, or a tech blogger that manufactures gadgets. If you're in a self development niche, you can sell your books, courses etc.

10. Drop Shipping 

Drop shipping means selling other people's products (suppliers) on your site.

With drop shipping, you display the suppliers' products, receive orders from your audience, and pass the orders to the suppliers. The supplies handle packaging and delivery of the products to the clients. However, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of Drop shipping which you should know. 

  • It requires little or no money at all to start. You have no business with manufacturing, inventory, packaging, and supply of products, as all of these are handled by your suppliers.
  • You already have a target audience who trust you, that you can quickly transform into buying clients.
  • You are not burdened with running out of stock or products to sell. You can always switch suppliers at will.
  • You have access to various products from different suppliers.
  • It is your responsibility to take the orders of the client. Communication with clients is also your responsibility.
  • You can suffer lousy PR if you unknowingly sell bad products. Your clients buy because they trust you based on your status as a knowledge expert.
  • Products might take time to get to those clients who buy from you since you are passing their orders to the suppliers.
How to choose a product for drop shipping 

Choosing a product for drop shipping is relatively easy. Your choice of product is dependent on your niche.

If you write about gaming gadgets, then you should consider gaming products. If you blog for gardening and other outdoor activities, you should go for outdoor tools and equipment. 

How to choose a supplier for drop shipping 

There are several types of suppliers based on how easy they make it for partners to drop ship for them.

Some suppliers require you to apply first. These suppliers would assess your websites and permit or deny you. An example is Pet Stores. Suppliers like these are highly professional, and they take packaging and delivery very seriously.

Some suppliers do not require your application. Examples are suppliers found on Aliexpress. Some of these suppliers might lack excellence in packaging and drawbacks in delivery.

Finally, some suppliers do not require your application but instead sell memberships like Spocket.

How to find suppliers

Finding a supplier for your blog is relatively easy. All you need to do is Google search "niche + suppliers," and Google'll deliver to you a ton of them. Look at below image, how a simple search has helped us find out a list of great suppliers in handicraft niche. Repeat for others and you will be amazed that how you can get a curated list of suppliers in your niche.

Dropshipping Suppliers

However, to help your search, do not be too specific with products. Do not add specific brand names, as this will limit your search.
There are also directories online where you can access thousands of suppliers across several niches.

How To Set Up Your Blog for Drop Shipping

Like setting up an e-commerce site, you need the woo-commerce plugin.

It's always better to set this up before approaching suppliers. Also, add 4 to 10 relative products to your store.

Google AdSense

Google Adsense is an earning program of Google that allows publishers to place ads on their sites, to earn through clicks on the ads or the number of people who see the ad.

Businesses and firms make these ads to get more visibility of their products or services to earn more profits. They pay Google to help place ads on publisher's platforms. Anybody who has blog/website/software programs, videos or anything which fulfil the requirement of Google to be called a publisher can join their program.

How does Google Adsense work

First, you have to create a Google Adsense account. Once your account is approved, you will be given a line of code to add to your website. This code acts to display the ads on your blog. You can customize how you want ads to be shown on your blog.

The above process is simple. However, as a publisher, there are several policies by Google that you must adhere to. 

Google's publisher policies state the types of content you shouldn't have on your site, including:

  • Content that promotes animal cruelty 
  • Content that infringes on the copyrights of others 
  • Dangerous and derogatory content 
  • Do well to familiarize yourself with the publisher's policy.

    Also, note that there are Google's AdSense policies that guide your interaction with the ads placed in your blog. Some of these include: 

  • You cannot click on ads on your blogs
  • You cannot instruct, influence, or ask your audience to click on any ads 
  • You cannot manipulate traffic via software or any application to drive more visitors to your blog or website to gain more visibility
  • Ensure you familiarize yourself with all of Google's policies guiding Adsense, as faulting some can lead to the banning of your blog from ever participating in Adsense.

    How Much Can You Make from Google AdSense?

    Several factors determine how much you can make via Google AdSense. These factors include:

    Your Niche

    The earning potential per niche is different. You can check the earning potential of your niche using Google's revenue calculator.

    Select a region and also a niche. Then, click on calculate. Adjust the slide to any number of views, and you will see your monthly earning potential.

    Note that Google calculates revenue based on two metrics.

  • Cost per impression, CPM, which is the cost per a thousand impressions (or views) of an ad 
  • Cost per click, CPC, is the cost per click on an ad.
  • To get the potential revenue of cost per click on an ad, input a keyword into any SEO tool, like Ubersuggest, and you will see the CPC for that particular keyword, which is the amount advertisers pay Google for every time someone clicks on their ads.

    Your Preferred Ad Unit

    The ad unit describes the format in which ads are displayed on your blog. Ad unit can be:

    • Text Based
    • Image Based
    • Video Based

    The best practice for optimum revenue is to allow Google to display all three units on your blog.

    SEO of your site

    Again, SEO comes in as a significant factor that determines how much money you can make with your blog. We have established that the best place for your blog posts to appear would be the first five of a SERP, as this opens up to more than 70 percent of all clicks for search queries based on keywords.

    Hence, the better optimized your site is for Google Search, the higher your earning potential on Google AdSense.

    Your Ad Placement

    AdSense is a game of optics. The higher the chances of your audience viewing your ads, the higher your revenue.

    The best place for an ad is often at the top of your page. Other places ads are placed on a page include:

    • Within the content
    • Sidebars

    However, note that you cannot place ads within pop-ups on your site. Doing this is breaking Google's policies, and your aim is to utilise this wonderful application of Google to earn revenue not getting banned. So be cautious and read and follow the policy guidelines.

    WordPress Ad Management

    You can offer space on your blogs to companies who might want to advertise their products. This differs from sponsorship, where a company pays you to write about their business or products. With ads, you are simply promoting their products.

    The payment structure is often flat, unlike the more advanced one used by Adsense (which will be discussed). To get companies to advertise on your blog, simply advertise spaces on yourblog. These spaces can be the sidebars, footers, or in between posts.

    To run successfully ads on your blog, you must consistently upload your media kit, which you will use to convince businesses to advertise with you. A media kit contains information like how much traffic your website gets, what is Alexa rank of your website, how many followers are there on your social media platforms, or how much email subscribers you have. A media kit is usually something that can convince the other blog owners why advertising on your blog should be beneficial to them.