We’ve seen lots of tutorials on how to earn money blogging from a blog without ads. But realistically, is it possible?
The two most popular ways to monetize a blog are:
- Google Ads: Pretty much everyone is accepted. No wait times, and easy setup.
- Selling services: There’s always a need for writers or virtual assistants that can make businesses’ lives easier.
Both of those methods have huge disadvantaged:
- Google Ads are extremely cheap. You won’t likely earn a lot, even if you have lots of traffic.
- Selling services means you work 24/7, hardly taking any vacation. It is hard to plan your life around a constant need to do something to get paid. It can make money but it is exhausting.
Are there any alternative blog monetization methods you’d like to explore?
Here are a few ways you can earn income from blogging without using too many ads on your pages:
How To Earn Money Blogging with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is making a commission from every sale you bring to a third-party business.
Be careful with this one, however, because it’s easy to get carried away. You don’t want your site turning into a sleazy operation to turn a few bucks. That will degrade your content and ultimately bring fewer people to your site.
However, writing an occasional review of a product from your niche, and then putting your link at the end will net you more profit than AdSense, at least until you get a large enough user base that Adsense starts making you more money, in a more socially-acceptable way.
Just make sure your reviews are legitimate, well-written, and unbiased, and your user base should find them worthy of content.
When writing reviews and product listicles, make sure that the content is SEO optimized. If your site has some authority, and you target keywords that you know, you can get on the first page of Google search, the review will rank well and you will get users coming to the review earning you passive income in the long run as well as in the short run.
How To Create Legitimate Reviews
When creating content for affiliate reviews and listicles, there are two important considerations:
- Legal rules. I cannot say much about this as I am not a lawyer but you do need to make it clear that you are going to make a commission if anyone clicks some of your links.
- Google’s requirements. Google has been working hard to ensure affiliate sites provide valuable and useful content, so they have been doing so-called Product Reviews Updates (PRUs) fighting sites that produce made-for-affiliate-income sites.
Google offers a long list of tips on how to avoid your site being impacted by those updates, and some of these factors are summarized below:
|Linking to multiple sellers (not just Amazon) to give readers choice.||Linking to multiple sellers (not just Amazon) to give readers choice.|
|Add original images and videos|
Encouraged “to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.”
Low-quality lists of products
These (i.e. list of “best products” with minimal content) seem to rank well
|Expertise||“Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the products reviewed”|
Create quantitative measurements
Ratings measure how a product measures up in various categories of performance.
|Implied in the guidelines.|
NY Times has a good example of a page explaining their approach. good housekeeping and verywellfit also have very detailed info
Additionally, affiliate marketing has gone beyond your own site. There are more and more influencers making affiliate income through social media. So keep an eye on social media trends and make sure you expand your success to social media where you can.
This is just like affiliate marketing; the only difference is that clients contact you and pay for you to write about them (In affiliate marketing, you are paid through commissions).
In both cases, you are writing about a product (that, hopefully, you tried and experimented with). Your blog niche is very important here, as there are certain niches where sponsored posts won’t necessarily work, as a consistent method to make money.
Plus, there is not much you can do upfront (to get clients), other than building up your blog/website (which of course, should be your primary goal in the first place).
Just like with affiliate marketing, sponsored posts must be clearly disclaimed as sponsored, and all the clients’ links inside must have a rel=” sponsored” attribute.
How To Earn Money Blogging With Digital Downloads
Creating digital products is another solid monetization strategy that can drive income and recognition your way.
These products can come in many forms, including checklists, cheat sheets, ebooks, etc.
Don’t take this easy though:
- It takes time to come up with a product idea that will be in demand. Take some time researching keywords and finding an idea for a product that will be useful and helpful. Take a good look at other bloggers and what kinds of products they promote.
- Not only that but it takes time to create something really worth the money.
Text Optimizer is a great tool to help you find content topics that could be turned into digital products:
Create trustworthy content by sharing research data. It may sound difficult to collect data around a certain subject, but actually, the threshold is not as high as you might think. You can create a questionnaire that you openly share on your website and/or social channels. If you need a specific audience, send out the questionnaire by email.
However, once you have gathered enough data to make significant conclusions, you can share the results in the form of an assessment report or an infographic. This is very attractive content for bloggers and journalists to refer to. They love numbers, especially if they’re backed by thorough research.
Then, once you have your product created, make sure your site is optimized for digital sales. Shopify can be a good option here because it comes with a built-in shopping cart functionality. There are also multiple platforms to help you drive more sales to your digital downloads.
Call To Action: How You Earn Money Blogging With This Step
Make sure your blog CTAs are aligning with your monetization strategy. There are a few plugins and business phone apps that will help you set up effective conversion channels based on your goals.
Furthermore, other ways include creating your own (video) course and marketing it, creating a newsletter to push products. Remember, DON’T get carried away, and always make sure you are creating quality content to go along with this. There are also many more ideas on creating a home-based business that can be driven by your blog.
Before you over-monetize your site, consider easing up on the ads, because you need to grow your user base by creating quality content before you populate your website with ads.
Are you making your living from your blog? Do you personally know anyone who does? Please share your most successful monetization methods!
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I’m getting a little traffic to my blog from social media here and there. Haven’t put up any ads on my blog yet. I think they will only slow down my website while not making me any money.
For now, I promote selected affiliate products. Only the ones that I use or have used in the last.
What’s your take on Sponsored posts? How do brands approach a blog owner? How do I make sure that I am visible to those brands?
I know it will take good amount of traffic to be able to write sponsored posts. But it would be nice to have a guide on sponsored posts. Hope you will prepare one.
Thanks, Lisa for the amazing post.
Alif from Infoverses.
Hi Ali.Yes, great idea to wait. I do sponsored posts here from time to time. I started with a program called Valued Voice. However, I’m careful not to accept all as I want to keep them relevant. I wrote about it over on Medium but I will draft one for here too for you Ali. Thanks for the suggestion. Have a wonderful day.
Thank you Lisa!
Thanks, Lisa. My limited experience concurs with your comments. I am in my 9th month as a blogger and started out trying to use several affiliate links, plus Google Adsense. While I have made a very small amount, it is not enough for my affiliates to send a check. Amazon closed my associate account with them due to no sales conversions. I simply do not have the traffic to generate sales for any affiliate.
My conclusion? For the past couple of months, I quit using any affiliate links except for the one or two that have produced some sales, and I shut down Google AdSense. Now my focus is simply on turning out as good quality blogs as I can and working to increase traffic. This includes broadening my exposure, which now includes YouTube. Once my traffic reaches a certain threshold (I haven’t determined what that should be), I will concentrate more on affiliates again.
Hi Wayne, welcome to Inspire To Thrive. You got it Wayne – it took me years to make money from the blog as I needed more traffic to specific articles to generate money from an affiliate. Even then, there is always competition and you have to update your content frequently to stay on top of it all. I compare it to housework, it’s never done unless you find a specific niche that does not have much competition. But one day, the competitors will find out and start as well. Always be ready to pivot and grow. Good luck with yours Wayne and have patience. You can do it.
Smart post here.
I like earning through digital downloads because it is a seamless process that hinges on the content ideas I have been hashing out for years, developing my skills. For example, a high volume of my readers asked me how to get featured on Forbes and Entrepreneur since both sites linked to me. I wrote a blog post but as the questions mounted, I created a course through Gumroad, sold it, and now folks who want to get featured on world famous blogs get what they want, and I monetize my blog without ads thru this digital download channel.
The trick is to diversify a bit as you note, with sponsored posts, affiliate reviews, digital downloads and even a few more, if bloggers wish. This allows income to flow to you seamlessly over the long haul.
Good blogging job as always my friend.
Hi Ryan, That’s a great way, Ryan. I did some courses on Udemy and Skillshare but they changed their programs and my earnings went down. I’d love to find a way to do it directly on-site. Diversification is key for sure Ryan. I’m always ready to pivot because things change rapidly today. Some ways of earning money 2 years ago no longer work today. Thnks for your input Ryan. Have a great rest of your day as you are hours ahead now 🙂