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How Do Blogs Make Money?

by Davis Porter

While blogs are traditionally leveraged for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and content marketing, recent web trends have proven that they’re also capable of making money on their own. So much so that blogs can even develop into independent businesses with consistent revenue flow. 

To put that into perspective, consider HuffPost, for instance. The globally renowned news blog is making in excess of half a billion dollars every year. Another impressive one is Engadget, which sits at the top of the tech media blogging industry, with an annual revenue of $47.5 million. And that’s not all – there are many other types of blogs that make money in millions.

In this article, we reveal exactly how they do it. Read along to find out how you can transform your own blog into a sustainable revenue stream.

How Do Blogs Make Money in 2020?

Affiliate Marketing

looking at charts on a screen

For more than two decades now, bloggers have been relying on affiliate marketing for passive income generation. They simply recommend products and services offered by other businesses, and then subsequently earn commissions from the resulting sales. 

Engadget is one good example of a blog that strategically capitalizes on affiliate marketing. A significant chunk of its $47.5 million treasure chest comes from recommendation links within its product review publications. 

You’ll find, for instance, several of its articles’ static headers with Buy Now CTA buttons. Every single purchase made after following such links translates into income for the blog. 

Now, if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you might want to check out reputable affiliate programs like Amazon Associates, ClickBank, eBay Partners, Shopify Affiliate, and ShareASale. Such platforms will link you up with businesses and brands that are willing to pay you for each buyer you refer to them. 

In essence, you’ll get a unique affiliate code along with a corresponding affiliate link. You can then embed the links into CTA buttons, banners, and general hypertexts within your blog. 


adwords with scrabble pieces
adwords with scrabble pieces

Advertising is another exceedingly popular method of earning from your blog. It basically entails promoting a product, service, business, or brand, on your blog in exchange for money. And in the end, your ad earnings depend on not only the level of audience reach, but also the corresponding compensation formula. 

That said, there are two primary methods of making money from digital ads: 

  • CPC – Cost Per Click.
  • CPM – Cost Per Milli. 

CPC ads, for starters, are the Pay Per Click (PPC) banners or links that earn you money each time your blog audience clicks and follows the ad. 

CPM programs, on the other hand, generate revenue based on the number of people who view the ads. Such impressions are typically quantified and paid for in batches of 1,000 views. 

Now, as it turns out, both of these ad programs are readily available on the web. You’ll find a vast array of platforms offering different types of memberships. For the best possible results, though, you might want to prioritize large providers like Google Adsense. 

Built and managed by Google, Google Adsense happens to be the most expansive network for both CPC and CPM ads. You just need to create an Adsense account, and then copy-paste its code to various sections of your blog layout. 

When you finally publish the ads, Google will proceed to dynamically personalize them based on your blog’s content, as well as the readers’ individual surfing patterns. That means each person could possibly end up viewing a different ad. 

Your subsequent commission rate, however, depends on multiple factors, including the ad niche, website quality, traffic sources, and the number of ad publishers. On average though, you can expect about $1-$1.5 per 1,000 CPM impressions, and $0.20-$15 per CPC click. 

Selling Digital Products

exchanging money for products

Fortunately, you don’t have to rely entirely on third-party revenue programs. Your blog can also make money on its own from direct sales. 

Although you can go ahead and sell physical items, blogs are particularly effective when it comes to digital items. Bloggers have, for years now, used their articles to engage leads and skillfully convince them to purchase things like; ebooks, website themes, plugins, apps, music, videos, images, and online courses.

The trick here is to develop a relevant product, and then engage your audience with content that addresses their problems, challenges, and needs. You can offer your audience helpful and actionable advice while systematically pointing them towards your digital product solutions. 

One popular blog that expertly applies this approach is Moz. As an SEO software provider, Moz increasingly attracts new users from its ever-expanding audience community. 

All that is thanks to its insightful publications about SEO matters. And as a result, the Moz blog now generates about $44.9 million a year

Another blog that uses such a strategy is Smashing Magazine – which, on the other hand, has grown to make an annual income of about $5.2 million from its premium subscriptions. It encourages its blog readers to pay just $5 a month to enjoy exclusive publications and resources. 

Solo bloggers have not been left out either. We’ve seen many of them using their blogs to establish themselves as authorities in their fields, and then subsequently, take advantage of the resultant influence to sell products like ebooks. 

A great example is Mark Manson, whose success story began with a rather provocative blog post. So intriguing was it that readers responded quite overwhelmingly – and, after millions of hits, the article ultimately got Mark a book deal that went on to sell over 3 million copies in the US alone. 

Over To You

Since these ideas have been sampled from numerous types of blogs that make money, you should be able to comfortably use them across a wide range of businesses. What’s more, you can strategically leverage several income streams at the same time. 

But, don’t get carried away. Spamming your audience with ads and offers could be detrimental to your blog and overall business earnings. 

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