Why Does Blogging Make Money?

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“It’s easy to make an extra $500 – $2,000 per month blogging in your first year.”

Have you ever seen these phrases on the internet? It sounds so sweet, right? Unfortunately, the blogging world is not so sweet because the blog itself does not make any money.

A blog is just a tool to “sell” products/services.

Then, how do people make money from their blogs? Here are the most common ways to make money through blogs:

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Display Ads
  • Sponsored Posts
  • Sell Digital Products
  • Sell Freelance Services
Graphics: Used Canva Pro

Let’s start with the simple formula of passive income with Affiliate Marketing!

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DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you. Please read my full disclaimer here for more info.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a way of earning a commission by promoting other people or company products/services. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and make a percentage of the sale as a commission. The easiest way to start affiliate marketing is to sign up for an affiliate network. ShareASale is my favorite affiliate network because it’s beginner-friendly.

The simple formula of passive income with Affiliate Marketing is PV x CTR x CVR.

  • PV = Pageview
  • CTR = Click-through rate
  • CVR = Conversion Ratio

Display Ads

Typically, bloggers sign up with a third-party display advertising network or sell space directly on their website.

Third-party display advertising has some requirements such as:

  • Mediavine – requires a minimum of 25,000 website sessions per month
  • AdThrive – requires a minimum of 100,000 page views/per month
  • Google AdSense – has no requirement for website sessions and pageview per month

Because of that, most bloggers start from Google AdSense even though it’s lower pay. In addition, Google Adsense will only pay you when your Adsense account reaches above $100.

Here is reality:

I’ve been blogging since 2020. Today is February 4th, 2023. I made $61.31 as of now. Please note that I don’t want to annoy my blog readers, so I only place the ads on the sidebar. And I have very small pageviews. I’m sure some people earn more with Google Adsense. I’m just showing this as one of the examples.

Businesses ask the influencer to promote their product directly in exchange for compensation. That’s called Sponsored Posts. The payment is based on a contract between businesses and bloggers.

These are some examples of sponsored posts:

  • Shoutouts
  • Host Giveaways
  • Product Reviews
  • How-To Tutorials
  • Become Brand Ambassador

Some bloggers use their blog posts as a portfolio and apply for freelance writing jobs. Some bloggers sign up for influencer networks to get hired by brands. Some bloggers apply for affiliate programs to get offers directly from the business.

I think sponsored posts are more realistic ways to make money compared to other methods.

Sell Digital Products

Digital products like eBooks, online courses, printables, stock photography, and templates are super popular right now!

For example, some people use a graphic design platform called Canva and sell their social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content.

Here are some popular Canva-related digital products on Creative Market:

  • Pinterest graphics templates
  • Instagram graphics templates
  • Presentation infographics

I use Payhip to sell printables on this blog (: It’s one of the most cost-effective platforms to sell digital products.

Sell Freelance Services

Some bloggers sell their own services and/or virtual assistant services on blogs. What kinds of services are popular now?

Here are some examples:

  • Writing services
  • Administrative services
  • Graphic design services
  • Social media management services
  • Create custom WordPress plugins
  • Build original apps

You can learn how to become a freelance graphic designer and/or how to become a software developer without going to school.

These 5 methods are some examples to make money on blogs!

OK, now why the free blogging platform can’t make money?

This is a common question on the internet, “why a free blogging platform can’t make money?”

Well… it’s not 100% impossible to make money with a free blogging platform, but most affiliate companies and display ads accept an application for their own domain bloggers.

If you want to make money from display ads or sponsored posts, you better have your own domain blog.

So, how much does it really cost to run a blog (with your own domain)?

This blog, Happier Freelancing costs:

  • Domain name $9.06 a year
  • EasyWP WordPress includes managed hosting for $22.88 a year

(9.06 + 22.88) / 12 = $2.66 a month.

I paid around $3 to run this blog. Not so bad, right? Depending on the domain name, the prices vary but the first year of the domain registration fee is always super cheap. (domain fee is not fixed)

The most popular WordPress hosting for a beginner is Bluehost.

It’s the #1 recommended host by WordPress and has more than enough features to do everything. There are different types of servers to host a website and all at different price points, but web hosting doesn’t need to be expensive, especially for personal bloggers.

I’ve created the 6 best cheap web hosting services comparison here if you are interested.

Wrapping Up

The downside to starting a blog is that you’ll need some patience. If you’re a beginner, allow 6 months to make a few dollars a month, 12 months to make a part-time income, and 24 months to make a full-time income.

I made $940.43 for the first year of blogging and $647.74 for the second year of blogging. I know it’s not a lot of money, but enough to cover all the blogging expenses.

Happy blogging!

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