When I first decided that I wanted to become a professional blogger after graduating college, the most common question I got was, “But how do bloggers make money?” And I definitely get why. As a blogger, you’re essentially spending a ton of your time developing content and then posting it on the Internet for free. How is someone supposed to make an income off of that?
The key that most people miss is that bloggers do more than just post content. A lot more. When I first started researching pro-blogging for my year-long thesis in college, this fact surprised me! In this post, I’ll spell out exactly what I learned from interviews with some very prominent bloggers* on how they make a living off of their passions.
*I unfortunately cannot mention which specific bloggers I interviewed due to privacy agreements, so please do not ask. Just know that many of these bloggers are considered very experienced and successful.
7 Ways Successful Pro-Bloggers Make Money
1. Ad Revenue
The most obvious revenue driver for pro-bloggers is ad revenue. You’re probably used to seeing this. Banner ads, clickable links, etc. are all very well integrated into the Internet space. Ad revenue is arguably the most common form of monetization for blogs.
How much money you make off of ads depends on a number of different factors, as discussed below.
The first determinant of how much ad revenue you bring in is the number of pageviews your site has. There’s no hard number of how many pageviews you need, but suffice it to say that the more you have, the better. Much to the dismay of the freshly minted blogger, you’ll likely need thousands of pageviews per month to make any sizeable income. Still, if you know what you’re doing, you can make much more money on many less pageviews/month than you might think. How you use the pageviews is what really counts.
To make serious money through ads, you’ll likely have to join an Ad Network. Essentially what happens is that these networks work with a lot of different advertisers to place ads all around the internet, including on your site! Methods of payment vary by ad network. The most known network is Google AdSense.
Something that not a lot of people think about but is very important to your advertisers is ad placement. Obviously, an ad at the very top of your blog will pay more than that same ad in the middle of your site, where not as many people will see it. Designing your site for optimal ad placement is a crucial part to earning sufficient income off of advertisers.
What’s even more important, though, is ensuring that the best paying ads get premium placement while the ones that earn you less are placed elsewhere on your site. If this sounds difficult, you’re right! There are companies that offer services to do this for you. You might think about hiring one of these services if you’ve got the money already.
Targeted, Content-based Ads
Another trick to maximizing ad revenue comes in the form of highly specific, content-based ads. Essentially, if one of your posts is driving a lot of traffic for a specific search term (ex: DIY rose perfume), then you will optimize the ads on that post to relate specifically to the content. So, for example, the targeted ad might show readers where specifically they can buy the products/ingredients mentioned in your post. It’s a natural transition from your post topic and also helps readers find what they’re looking for.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a little less known than advertisements, but it’s equally (if not more) powerful. Basically, affiliate marketing is when you advertise a product on your site and get a cut of the proceeds from any resulting sales. Almost every company has an affiliate program, so it’s pretty easy to get involved.