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How Do Blogs Make Money: 10 Ways to Cash In (+ Pros & Cons)

Every other day, a new blogger claims they are earning a full-time income from their blog. But how exactly do they do it?

In this article, we will discuss 10 popular methods bloggers use to cash in on their passion, along with the pros and cons of each approach.

studies show only around 5%-8% of bloggers actually do. 

The monetization strategies you use and how successful you are at implementing them play a huge role in how much you can earn from blogging. If you don’t know the different methods to use, you’re not going to cash in.

I personally know content site owners earning six figures from their blogs, while some can earn even more.

In fact, globally known blogger Pete Cashmore (made Forbes’ 2014 30 under 30 list) has an estimated net worth of over $120 million. This is largely thanks to his website, Mashable, which he started in 2005 and sold in 2017 for $50 million.

niche site that uses affiliate marketing as the main form of monetization is one of the quickest ways to earn a full-time income online. From personal experience, you can earn four figures a month within 12 months with a high-quality affiliate marketing site.

The truth is people love review content. For example, imagine you just got your first puppy. A super easy way to get what you need and feel confident as a new dog owner is to read in-depth reviews from other experienced dog owners.

Continuing with that example, a single page on the best dog food for 2023 can generate over thousands of monthly organic visits, ranking for hundreds of keywords. 

You can understand the demand for this type of blog when you look at the search volume of some keywords in the U.S. alone:

List of keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerList of keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
Data via Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Plus, the entire first page on Google for “dog food” shows commercial search intent, with numerous reviews also showing up.

SERP overview for "dog food" shows keywords with commercial search intent, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerSERP overview for "dog food" shows keywords with commercial search intent, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

You can work with affiliate networks like Amazon Associates and Commission Junction or through private affiliate programs. 

How much can you earn? 

On average, affiliate networks offer lower commissions (between 1% and 10%), whereas private affiliate programs offer anything up to 90% affiliate commissions. 

Therefore, if you’re producing dozens of articles per month reviewing high-ticket items with an affiliate program that offers a 60% affiliate commission, you can earn a comfortable income. 


Affiliate marketing is easy to start, doesn’t require you to create and manage products or services, and can potentially bring in large commissions.


It requires a lot of work in the beginning (creating content, building relationships with affiliates, and so on) and can be difficult to scale over time if you don’t choose the right niche or have the right team in place.

Sponsored content

Social proof is one of the best ways to get people interested in your products. That’s why companies pay bloggers to write sponsored posts or create sponsored content in exchange for a fee.

Example of sponsored contentExample of sponsored content

How much can you earn?

That will heavily depend on how much traffic your website gets, as well as how influential you are. But the average is anywhere between $25-$1,000 per post. 


This can be a great way to get paid for your content, with the potential to earn a large amount of money per post. It can also help you to build lasting relationships with brands.


It can be difficult to find sponsors, especially if you are not considered an “influencer” in your niche. It also requires lots of work (research, writing, promotion), and you must be careful to remain unbiased. 

Selling services

By producing content on a particular topic and gaining a sustainable readership, people will naturally associate your name with your topic of expertise. That way, you become an authoritative voice in your niche. 

Because of this, bloggers can use their websites to market and sell services such as consulting, coaching, digital marketing services, and so on.

Example of consulting servicesExample of consulting services
Example of digital marketing blogger Neil Patel offering consulting services on his site.

How much can you earn?

It depends on the service you’re selling. But as an example, consulting gigs can earn anything between $60–$300 per hour.


It’s easy to start with (assuming you have an existing reputation) and needs very little upfront cost or work to get going. Plus, there is potential for high earnings from services that can also build long-term relationships with clients.


If you want to actually deliver a quality service, you need to put all your efforts into it, which may be difficult to maintain if you’re already running a blog full-time. If you can’t, you will be offering a subpar service, which won’t have clients returning for more. 

It’s also difficult to scale over time, as clients want to work with you, the expert, not an employee.

Selling physical and digital products

Many bloggers create and sell physical or digital products on their websites, such as ebooks, courses, merchandise, etc. 

Digital products are more scalable and don’t take as much work to put together. For example, with ebooks, you write the book one time, and then can sell thousands of copies year after year. 

Example of digital products for sale on a beauty blogExample of digital products for sale on a beauty blog
An example of digital products sold on the Hot Beauty Health blog.

How much can you earn?

Again, this depends on the products you’re selling. But it can be anything from $4 for a book to $50 for merchandise items like T-shirts.


There is huge potential for high passive earnings from sales of the products, and it is easy to scale.


Selling products requires a significant upfront investment in terms of creating the products. Even ebooks take significant time to write and edit, produce artwork, and so on. 

With physical products, there is the additional work of setting up the management of product sales to ensure products are manufactured and shipped without any problems.

Online courses

Online courses are a great way for bloggers to monetize their websites. 

As a topic expert, you can create an online course related to your niche and sell it on your website.

There are even instances of people with successful personal blogs selling courses on “blogging tips” or “how to make money from affiliate marketing.” 

Example of a blog courseExample of a blog course
Example of courses available on the Authority Hacker blog.

How much can you earn?

On average, courses sell between $400 and $1,000 per sale. But of course, it depends on the niche and how much of a following you have.


There is a potential for high earnings from sales of a course, and it’s easy to scale with additional courses.


Courses require a significant time investment (creating the course content), require marketing efforts to find customers, and can be difficult to compete against larger businesses with more resources.

Coaching and mentoring

Bloggers can easily pick up a cult following of aspiring bloggers who want to be just like them. With expertise in your niche, you can offer one-on-one coaching or mentoring services to help others learn. 

As someone who has mentored many times, I can say from experience that it can be rewarding.

Coaching and mentoring exampleCoaching and mentoring example
Example of Women In Tech SEO’s mentoring program.

How much can you earn?

That depends on how well-established you are, but you can earn $50–$150 per hour on average.


Not only can you earn a solid income from coaching, but it can also be extremely rewarding to see former mentees build and develop their own successful careers.


It requires a lot of work to deliver the service and build and maintain relationships, and you must be careful to remain unbiased and ethical when providing advice.

Public speaking

Bloggers with expertise in their niche can share their knowledge and experiences through public speaking engagements. This can be at industry workshops, seminars, and conferences. 

Write-up explaining what to expect from an SEO speakerWrite-up explaining what to expect from an SEO speaker
Example of SEO public speaking from Craig Campbell.

How much can you earn?

You can earn anything from $500–$10,000 per event, depending on how high-profile you are. 


There is potential for high earnings from speaking fees, and it is easy to scale with additional engagements. Plus, it requires minimal upfront investment.


You have to be comfortable speaking and often presenting in front of large audiences. You also need to be a naturally confident and competent speaker. 

Premium communities

Many bloggers create premium online communities and charge a fee for access. This can be for exclusive content, mastermind sessions, or networking with industry leaders. 

Example of a premium communityExample of a premium community
Example from premium SEO community Traffic Think Tank.

Private communities work by offering monthly or annual memberships to allow access to exclusive content.

How much can you earn?

These communities can earn anywhere between $50 and $150 per monthly subscription.


Great potential for high earnings from membership fees, and it is easy to scale with additional members. Plus, you can build relationships with members.


It requires a lot of work to create and manage the community, and it can be difficult to find members if you’re just starting out.

Blog flipping

Buying and selling blogs is one of the most profitable ways to earn income online.

If you know what you are doing, you can buy a beginner blog with decent traffic relatively cheaply, make some improvements, and sell it for a profit—much like flipping a house.

You can buy or sell a site privately. Or you can do it through a broker’s website or marketplaces like Flippa, Investors Club, or Empire Flippers

Example of blogs for sale on a marketplaceExample of blogs for sale on a marketplace
An example of blogs for sale on Investors Club.

How much can you earn?

Content sites usually sell for anything between a 20–40x multiplier. So if your site is earning a monthly profit of $1,000 per month, it could sell for anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000. 

A successful blog can sell for around six figures. In fact, according to Empire Flippers, the average price of a content site is $101,400.


There’s a huge potential to cash in by selling your blog. Plus, it gives you additional capital to buy blogs that you can sell later for a profit. 


It requires a lot of work to research potential blog opportunities, buy existing blogs, and manage them. Also, it can be difficult to find buyers or sellers, depending on the niche.

competitor analysis and suss out what works and what doesn’t, giving you a blueprint to work from.

Further reading

Keep it unique

With more than 600 million blogs out of 1.9 billion websites in the world and over 6 million blog posts published daily, you need something to set you apart from the competition.

Example of a unique blog angleExample of a unique blog angle
Example of an article on pet funeral planning from a blog about pet memorials.

There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from a competitor who is absolutely killing it. But think of a unique way to go above and beyond to offer something better than what’s on the web. Here are some ideas on what you can do:

  • Write from your personal experience – If you want to start a pregnancy blog, talk about things you wish someone had shared with you when you were pregnant.
  • Offer more thorough knowledge than others – For example, go above and beyond with product reviews, such as including an unboxing and review video. 
  • Use custom visuals – Most people skim content. Infographics, videos, and original images can help catch readers’ attention. 
  • Fill gaps in the market – Maybe you love alpacas, but there just aren’t enough dedicated blogs out there. That could be your goldmine idea right there.

But an important note: It also needs to be of high quality! Being different isn’t enough. Blog posts that are expertly written with actionable advice are what both users and search engines want to see. In fact, Google’s guidelines state:

Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.

Make your content both useful and interesting by:

  • Finding a unique angle for your topic.
  • Writing clearly and concisely.
  • Making it easy to read and absorb.
  • Satisfying search intent and E-E-A-T.

Further reading

Use SEO to grow free, passive traffic

Anyone can start a blog. But not everyone can make a blog successful. Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you earn free traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.

One of the biggest mistakes new blogs make is writing about the wrong things. Writing about topics that people are searching for gets your blog in front of interested readers. This can grow your audience and get more leads for your products, services, and courses. 

Using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer can allow you to identify relevant, high-volume keywords, understand search intent, and analyze competitors’ keyword strategies.

Matching terms report results, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerMatching terms report results, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Want to learn more about SEO? Check out our SEO course for beginners.

Build an email list

As amazing as SEO is, things can change on a dime. Sometimes, you’re just one algorithm update away from losing half your traffic (yes, it happens!), and that’s why capturing emails is so important. 

A niche-relevant newsletter sharing your own content and any other relevant things happening, like news or job opportunities, is a great way to gain thousands of subscribers that can turn into leads and sales.

Example of an industry-specific newsletterExample of an industry-specific newsletter
An example of one of the leading SEO newsletters, SEOFOMO, which has over 27K subscribers.

As long as you aren’t spamming, you can contact your email list whenever you want. This is a great way to capture leads if you add additional monetization methods like courses, products, or services. 

Expand your blog by adding additional channels

You can make the most out of your blog (and possible income streams) by adding additional channels like social media, YouTube vlogging, or even a podcast. 

Example of a blog with multiple channelsExample of a blog with multiple channels
Example of a parenting blog that has expanded to include digital products and a podcast as an additional channel.

This allows you to expand your target audience and can give you opportunities for additional monetization methods (YouTube ads and sponsored podcasts, for example) and further revenue streams.

Final thoughts

There are many ways blogs make money, and many of these can be utilized to ensure your blog has multiple income streams. 

Whether it is recommending affiliate products in your blog posts or selling consulting services, there are many monetization methods with great earning potential open to even beginner bloggers. 

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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