Blogging Basics

How to Monetize a Blog: Earn a Passive Income From Your Blog

Martin Trauzold
Martin Trauzold
Last updated October 11, 2019 13 Min Read
How to Monetize a Blog: Earn a Passive Income From Your Blog

Andrea Piacquadio © Pexels

Earning money consistently without showing up to a 9 to 5 job sounds like a dream. Luckily, as e-commerce grows in popularity, creating a steady income online is actually much more of a reality than you might think.

In fact, by 2022, affiliate marketing on blogs is expected to have generated over 6 billion pounds in the US alone. This kind of revenue means that it’s the perfect time to test out earning a passive income online for yourself.

Blue passive income bar graph. The screenshot shows affiliate marketing spending in the United States from 2010 to 20222.

What is Passive Income?

Passive income is exactly what it sounds like: rather than actively swapping your time for remuneration, your revenue stream no longer relies on a fixed period of active work, such as a shift at the office. 

Instead, you can set up a blog or invest in shares and sit back while it earns money on its own. You’re ready to sign up, right? Well, before you do anything, there are a few things you need to know about passive income – especially when you’re starting from scratch!

How to Create Passive Income with No Money

There’s an incredible range of options available to anyone looking to start generating passive income. First up, it’s important to ask yourself what skills you can actually bring to the table, for example:

  • Visual arts: Are you skilled with a camera or have a good eye for design? You could generate a fair income from selling stock photos or graphic templates.
Passive income source website header from selfmadesuccess. The site contains passive income examples.
Passive income handmade products website header from Etsy. This screenshot shows an online shop example.
  • Wellness and health: Another popular content topic is fitness and health. Whether you offer healthy recipes or exercise tips, making instructional videos or vlogs may be right for you!
Woman who does fitness on Instagram account image. Example screenshot for passive income through fitness and health tipps.

Blogging is one of the most popular and most accessible routes to a fruitful online business. Producing content around a topic you already enjoy can harness a niche interest—and make you money!

It’s easier than ever to establish an online presence with a simple, budget-friendly set-up process through blog platforms like WordPress. Furthermore, the formula is well-proven: WordPress blogs have over 400 million visitors per month.

A chart showing the market share of WordPress CMS.

With cheap and sometimes even free blog platforms and hosting services available, blogging is the obvious choice if you’re looking to outearn a passive income online. You can get started with little to no investment at all by sticking to the basics.

How to Make Money from Your Website: The Basics and Benefits

So why should you choose blogging over the other passive income avenues? While it is incredibly easy to get involved, the marketplace for bloggers has become quite crowded. Still, there are a few clear benefits to creating a blog and making it your own, including:

Comparison chart on the effectiveness of different marketing strategies.

If you plan your SEO strategy well and work with services like Google Ads, search engines can do the work for you and build your audience with minimal effort.

  • Build trust with your audience: By offering a consistent, informative source of content, you have the chance to connect with your readers. Unless poorly structured, blogs are not usually overtly commercial. In fact, the reason concepts like affiliate marketing work is because there is a certain level of trust between an audience and a blogger. If they care about their reputation, a blogger isn’t going to endorse just any old service or product. This is why readers are more likely to click links and take your recommendations seriously.
  • Cement your digital identity: If you are looking to use blogging as a springboard for other income, then producing engaging and high-quality content is paramount. With a potentially unlimited audience growth and an online presence under your control, your blog is a great way to network and become popular enough that you can reap financial benefits. Although it is a well-trod field, beauty blogger Kristina Bazan was able to stand out enough that her online presence converted into a lucrative real-life collaboration with L’Oreal.
A screenshot of the collaboration work between blogger Kistina Bazan and L’Oréal.

These are just three of the many benefits of blogging. As e-commerce grows and the popularity of blogs increases, there are sure to be more and more reasons everyday to opt for blogging as a passive income. The next thing to consider is how you want to monetize your blog and what steps you need to take to begin earning.

How to Make Money from Blogging and Where You Can Start

Once you have decided on blogging, it’s actually quite a quick process to get started. While brainstorming for your blog, find a topic where you genuinely have a deep interest. You’ll be creating a lot of content around this topic, so it’s important that it’s a passion or great interest to you. 

If you are writing about computer games and you haven’t played one since you were a teenager, writing and creating around this topic will feel like a chore, and you might even lose steam completely. Here is the good news: The more specific your interest is, the better. The blogging world is a crowded space, so coming up with a focused topic will help set you apart from the crowd. 

You can even build a successful blog around something as niche as making soap –nothing is too niche, as long as it’s something that matters to you.

A screenshot of the blog “Lovin Soap”.

Once you have established a following, you can monetize not only your creative content but also take advantage of integrated advertisements like banners and pop-ups. This is generally known as affiliate marketing and essentially means that you direct your readers to specific products, after which you receive a certain amount as commission. This amount can vary and may depend on successful sales too. 

Additionally, having a loyal fanbase can translate into a successful mailing list. By communicating regularly with subscribers, you will build a rapport to offer recommendations for particular products and services.

6 Tips on How to Monetize Your Blog

  1. Affiliate marketing: As discussed earlier, affiliate marketing is a great way to transform your content and online presence into an income. By joining up with an affiliate program, it is quite easy to get started on identifying which products make sense for you to promote and how you can best highlight them in your work. 

For example, Amazon Affiliates offers a few ways in which bloggers can direct their audience to a product page, even offering embed codes so you can easily just copy and paste an ad into your layout. There is also the option of setting up your own “Site Stripe” with Amazon, so you can log in, choose a product you would like to recommend, and easily create a link for your own blog.

A screenshot of the SiteStripe toolbar.
  1. Products or services: Rather than work with an established platform like Etsy or iStock, your own personal blog can serve as a digital store itself. This is not only made easy by intuitive WordPress plug-ins like WooCommerce, but also means you won’t have to pay a commission to a third party host. Additionally, you have greater agency over how you market your goods – right down to descriptive texts and images.
Logo of WooCommerce.
  1. eBooks or instructional content: If you consider yourself an expert on your topic, consider sharing your knowledge with your audience via a paid service. By creating an eBook, you have the chance to sell it through Amazon’s Kindle service and potentially reach an even larger audience. Instructional content like an eCourse works too. By creating consistent, informative content, you can become a trusted resource for your audience. They’ll be more likely to invest in your paid content and click through on any affiliated links.
  2. Consulting services: Once you have established yourself as a reliable source of advice on your blog’s subject, you can even offer your services as a consultant. Companies regularly outsource for fresh ideas, and bloggers are a popular option these days. You don’t even need a specialised degree, your own blog’s success is qualification enough to prove you know what you’re talking about. You’re a resourceful, educated influencer that may offer valuable advice on a specific subject.
  3. Start a newsletter: This is especially useful to bloggers who write on current or evolving topics. For example, technology or finance bloggers would be well-suited to start a subscription-based newsletter, through which they can send out weekly updates to inform their audience on news, and also highlight products and services relevant to these changes. Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich recommends that you keep the creative content at about 80% and the commercial content limited to 20%. That way your audience doesn’t start to feel spammed and disengage.
  4. Hosting Ads: For anyone who wants to try creating content before committing to an affiliate program, a quick way of generating income from your website is by hosting advertising. By simply focusing on your own content and creating a following, you can then position your site as an attractive option for paid content like banners or display ads. 

The good news is that it is quite simple to set up too. You can use programs like Google AdSense and Kontera to link you to advertisers appropriate for your page. Once the ads are displayed, you can earn a steady income from visitors clicking on these banners.

Choosing the options in which you can earn a passive income from your blog really depends on your topic. Some niches will just naturally lend themselves more to affiliate marketing.

For example, a blogger focused on beauty products will find linking products via an affiliate program like Amazon Associates easy to incorporate into their content. Whichever path you take, remember to keep a balance –you want to be a blogger, not a salesperson.

Now That You Know the Basics on How to Make a Living Online…

Where should you start? The easiest way to begin earning a passive income is by setting up a blog with WordPress. As a cost-effective and user-friendly platform, WordPress is ideal for testing how a blog works for you without any hefty financial commitments. 

After you have identified a topic for yourself and started producing content, the next step is to decide which monetized content model is right for you. Whether affiliate marketing with an established partner like Amazon Affiliates or starting smaller with integrated advertisements, you’re now on your way to earning a passive income.