how to monetize a blog in 2023

Want to make money from all the effort you pour into your blog? I’m going to show you how to monetize a blog with 13 proven tactics.

Whether you’re looking to add some side revenue or take your blogging full-time, this guide will show you the way. I’ve broken down these 13 monetization methods that are working right now for blogs of all sizes and niches.

These aren’t theoretical ideas – they’re battle-tested and blogger-approved. I’ve included options for beginners with lower traffic, as well as advanced tactics to scale up your earnings once your blog matures.

I’ve been blogging for 10 years and have experimented with many of these methods myself, so you can be sure I’m speaking from first-hand experience.

Follow my advice, and by the end of 2024, your blog could be generating $1,000+ per month (or more!).

Affiliate disclaimer: I sometimes link to products and services to help cover the costs of running this blog. There’s no extra cost to you – and I only recommend products that I’ve both used personally and think are awesome. Thanks for your support! ❤️

How To Monetize a Blog For Beginners (6 Easy Tactics)

  1. Sell coaching or consulting services
  2. Sell freelance writing services
  3. Set up referral partnerships
  4. Ask your readers for donations
  5. Get started with affiliate marketing
  6. Sell digital products
  7. Run display ads on your blog posts

#1. Sell coaching or consulting services

Selling your services is probably the easiest way to make money from your blog in its early days.

If you already have a certain level of expertise in your niche, selling coaching or consulting services is a natural next step.

And the good news is, it’s really easy to get started.

Simply set up a landing page on your blog that includes basic information about what you do, the benefits for your client, plus a way for interested clients to book a consultation session with you.

I like using Calendly for scheduling, integrated with Stripe so clients can book and pay in one simple process.

Once they’ve booked, the new appointment automatically shows up on your calendar. You can then deliver the session via Zoom video call.

After the session, ask them to give you a testimonial. You can then include several testimonials on your landing page, to encourage more clients to book your services.

#2. Sell freelance writing services

One of my favorite things about blogging is the many new opportunities it creates – such as job opportunities you may never have thought of.

A great way to monetize your blog in the early days is by offering your services as a freelance writer.

You’ve already got proof of your writing skills, in the form of your blog posts. So you could use your blog as your portfolio to pitch your writing services to potential clients.

A good place to start is with small businesses in your area of expertise.

For example, if your previous career was as a real estate agent, you could pitch estate agencies to offer them freelance writing services for their websites. In this way, you can combine your existing expertise with your newly developed skills in writing online.

LinkedIn is an excellent place to find potential clients and pitch your services. Try searching for people with Marketing Manager or Content Manager job titles in your niche.

Then write them a short friendly message asking if they need help with freelance writing.

Don’t be afraid to follow up a couple of times if you don’t hear back immediately. If they respond positively, invite them to book a quick Zoom call to discuss how you can help.

Read my guide on how to post on LinkedIn to build your personal brand, get leads, and make money.

#3. Set up referral partnerships

Referral partnerships involve an agreement between you and another business. You send them new leads in exchange for commission payments.

Having a successful blog is a great way to attract new leads, which you can then funnel to other businesses.

The first step in establishing referral partnerships involves identifying businesses in your niche, or related niches, who can benefit from being mentioned on your blog.

These shouldn’t be direct competitors, but instead businesses that offer services that complement your own.

For example, if you’re blogging about strength training tips, you could establish referral partnerships with local gyms. Each time you send a new client their way, they pay you a percentage of the membership fee.

Your readers take a logical next step to put your blog post advice into practice, then other businesses deliver the service. And you get paid for it. That’s the beauty of referral partnerships.

And the best part is, you don’t need a lot of traffic to reach out to businesses and suggest a partnership.

#4. Ask your readers for donations

One straightforward way to monetize your blog is by directly asking your readers for financial support. This allows you to get paid for providing value through your content, without having to rely solely on 3rd party platforms.

You don’t need huge amounts of traffic to start asking for donations. Even if you only have a few dozen loyal readers, some percentage of them may be willing to chip in a few dollars per month. The key is communicating the value you provide and making the donation process extremely simple.

The best way is to set up donation buttons through PayPal or Buy Me a Coffee. These services allow readers to quickly send over a donation with just a couple of clicks. You’ll want to prominently display the buttons in your sidebar or footer (or in the body of your blog post).

It also helps to write dedicated posts explaining your situation. Let readers know why you need donations and what their money allows you to do. Be transparent that this helps support your ability to keep creating helpful content. But don’t overdo these posts – one is probably enough.

Asking for donations requires some vulnerability, but can be quite lucrative if done properly. And remember, the worst that happens is readers say no.

#5. Get started with affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a similar concept to referral partnerships but typically delivered in a more formalized way. The starting point is usually affiliate marketing platforms, such as Impact, Commission Junction, or Awin.

Here you can find a whole host of products and services in different categories, all of them offering commission payments if you send them new clients.

Unlike referral partnerships, affiliate marketing programs often want you to have a certain amount of traffic before they’ll accept your site onto the program.

You can monetize with affiliate marketing through several different kinds of blog posts.

Most affiliate blog posts target commercial intent keywords – including product comparisons (e.g. “mailchimp vs convertkit” single product reviews (e.g. “mailchimp review”), or multiple product roundups (e.g. best laptops for digital nomads”).

You can also monetize informational blog posts by providing your affiliate link as a potential solution to the user’s problem. For example, someone comes to your page with the keyword “how to learn French online”.

Although the intent is primarily informational, there’s also commercial intent potential here. After providing them with a set of steps to help the reader find out how to learn French online, you could also invite them to check out some French learning resources, using your affiliate links.

Good keyword research skills are the key to success here!

#6. Sell digital products

With the online learning industry predicted to reach around $325 billion by 2025, there’s never been a better time to create and sell your own digital product.

Common types of products include e-books or video courses.

Many people think you have to be an expert in a certain area before you can create a digital product. But that’s not necessarily the case.

You simply need to know more about the topic than your audience and be able to present the information in a clear and actionable way for them.

Most importantly, you need to identify a pressing pain point among your audience. Your digital product will help them solve this. Think of it as helping them to make a transformation that will take away their pain point.

When creating digital products, it’s important to have an existing audience. And it doesn’t need to be huge. Even an audience of 50 people can be extremely valuable – if they’re engaged with your content.

You can use your audience for market research, to identify those pain points, and to find out what sort of messaging resonates best with them.

This is essential intelligence to help you create the right digital product.

But perhaps you’re not yet ready to create a digital product. Another great way to monetize your blog is by becoming an affiliate for someone else’s digital product. This method works best if you’ve already bought their product and had success with it yourself. That way, it’s easier to be authentic in your content.

#7. Run display ads on your blog posts

Some bloggers think display ads don’t pay well and are a waste of time. I had the same opinion for ages.

But now, I’m making enough from advertising to cover all my expenses every month, including my housing costs and bills.

So I can confidently say that including ads on your blog is an excellent monetization strategy.

Where many bloggers go wrong is by using only Google AdSense. In the early stages, without much traffic, you’ll hardly make any money at all from AdSense.

My advice is to skip Google AdSense altogether and go straight to Ezoic.

Ezoic is an ad provider that enables different advertisers to bid against one another for space on your website.

This includes Google AdSense but isn’t limited to it. As a result, you’ll typically make more money from Ezoic ads compared to just using Google AdSense.

Check out my Ezoic review for an overview of my first few months with the platform.

Once your blog reaches a healthy amount of traffic, you can look at other ad providers with more stringent eligibility requirements and better payouts.

Mediavine and Raptive are popular choices for larger blogs. Mediavine needs a minimum of 50,000 visits per month, while for Raptive it’s 100,000 visits minimum.

Once you’ve got display ads set up, you just need to keep publishing content (targeting high-volume keywords) and growing your traffic over time.

How To Monetize Your Blog Over the Long Term (6 Advanced Techniques)

  1. Create a membership site
  2. Start a podcast
  3. Start a YouTube channel
  4. Sell physical products
  5. Sell banner ad space directly to brands
  6. Flip your site

#1. Create a membership site

A membership site is a special area of your website where subscribers pay a monthly or yearly fee to access premium content and training. Membership sites can be a great way to generate recurring income every month.

It’s part of human nature to join groups. People not only want access to VIP products and services, but they also enjoy being around others who share their interests and goals.

So with the right promotional strategy, you can attract a lot of like-minded people to join your community.

With a bit of imagination, you can create a membership site for almost any topic. Most importantly, you should aim to find a motivated audience with money to spend on pursuing their goal.

For example, your membership site could provide ongoing training for people who want to improve a particular skill. This could be anything from cooking Mexican food to learning to sail a yacht.

Membership sites typically charge modest fees for each user, such as $25 per month. But this soon adds up when you reach a large volume of members.

The main downside is the amount of work involved, which can feel like high pressure. To build a successful membership site, you have to be prepared to engage regularly with the group.

You’ll have to provide them with plenty of valuable content to make their membership worthwhile. Otherwise, you risk people canceling their subscriptions and leaving the group.

#2. Start a podcast

Launching a podcast represents a logical next step to expand your blog’s audience reach and revenue.

Repurposing your library of written posts into audio episodes streamlines the content creation process and makes it much faster.

Each blog article likely contains enough insight and commentary to power a 10-20-minute podcast episode. With AI assistance, converting your blog posts into script frameworks saves you massive amounts of time.

Here’s a simple workflow to repurpose your blog posts:

  1. Identify a relevant, high-performing blog post with plenty of traction.
  2. Use an AI content tool (e.g. ChatGPT, Claude, or Jasper) to condense the post into a short outline structure, establishing topics and talking points.
  3. Expand the outline into a conversational script format, adding introductions, segues, and personal commentary for a podcast vibe.
  4. Record directly from the script, editing out any imperfections. Add intro/outro music.
  5. Upload the polished episode to hosting platforms like Buzzsprout.
  6. Promote new episodes to blog readers and on social channels to drive listenership.

Repurposing successful articles allows you to leverage the existing traction of your blog to fuel a new podcast, instead of starting from scratch. The goal is to save hours of work thanks to AI, not automate the process completely.

#3. Start a YouTube channel

Turning your blog content into videos on YouTube is a highly effective way to expand your audience and generate additional revenue streams. The platforms also complement each other perfectly.

Repurposing articles into video scripts is simple with the help of AI tools like Claude. Here’s a streamlined process:

  1. Identify a high-quality blog article with demonstrated reader interest.
  2. Use an AI writing tool like Claude to condense the key points into a tight outline structure.
  3. Expand the outline into a full script format, adding introductions, transitions, commentary etc, to shape the video flow.
  4. Record directly from the script, editing out bloopers or imperfections after (tip: use a teleprompter app to keep your eyes on the camera)
  5. Upload polished video to YouTube with compelling title and description, making use of SEO keywords. Then you can embed the video in your blog post and promote it to your email list.

The AI transformation saves hours of intensive writing that a full video script would normally require. And launching videos on YouTube allows you to tap into a new form of traffic, subscribers, and monetization like ad revenue share.

#4. Sell physical products

It might not be the most obvious choice, but selling physical products from your blog can be a great way to monetize. Some bloggers have even gone on to launch proper e-commerce businesses after starting this way.

Just as with digital products, the key to success with physical products is to find an engaged audience and offer them a product to solve one of their most pressing problems.

For example, let’s say you start a blog about saving the environment and living a more sustainable lifestyle. One of your content topics could be how to create healthier drinking water. You could then monetize this by selling a range of toxin-free reusable water bottles from your blog.

Once you’ve grown your blog traffic to thousands of visitors per month, you can generate substantial income by selling banner ad space directly to brands. This involves reserving sections of your site for paid banner ads targeting your audience.

When determining placement, identify sections of your pages that could accommodate graphical ads without feeling overly intrusive. This may include the header, sidebar, content breaks, or footer on posts and pages.

Craft specific ad packages around these placements, establishing monthly or annual pricing in each spot based on traffic levels and audience relevance. Offer tiered options such as premium header spots vs sidebar blocks to capture higher rates.

Research advertiser-focused forums to identify ideal starting rates for sites with your levels of monthly views, bounce rates, reader demographics, and so on. Take into account seasonality and be willing to negotiate – especially when you’re just getting started.

Actively build a prospect list of 20-50 brands who may want exposure to your audience. Leverage multiple outreach channels and customize messaging to convey partnership potential.

Highlight visitor statistics and metrics that resonate with each brand, speaking to their target customer and business goals. Provide past examples of successful campaigns from partners.

#6. Flip your site

Flipping a website is kind of similar to flipping a property. You find an existing site, build up its traffic, and add monetization streams so it’s earning a decent monthly revenue. Then you sell on to the highest bidder for a nice wad of cash.

Sounds interesting, right? So how much money can you make from flipping a website?

Well, you can typically sell a website for 24× to 30x its average monthly profit. That’s a general rule of thumb – valuations may vary across different industries.

You can either flip your own site, or purchase abandoned sites specifically for flipping. With any website flipping project, your primary goal is to generate as much monthly revenue as possible before selling.

You can use a wide range of monetization methods to achieve that, including ads, affiliates, referral partnerships, and digital products.

If you’re keen to learn more about website flipping, check out one of these specialist marketplaces:

When is the Right Time to Monetize Your Blog?

Finding the right time to monetize your blog depends on several factors. In my experience, the most important ones are:

  • Your audience size
  • Your desired blog business model
  • Your long-term blogging goals

It’s not simply a question of “when’s the right time” to monetize. Instead, you should decide when it’s the right time to bring in a specific monetization strategy.

#1. Your audience size

One part of successful blog monetization depends on the size of your audience. For example, if your blog receives 250,000 visitors a month, you could easily make decent money from running display ads on informational content.

But for smaller audience sizes, display ads might not be the right strategy. You’ll probably have better results targeting longtail keywords for high-value affiliate search terms. That way, you can still make healthy revenue, but with a smaller audience.

Alternatively, you could monetize by selling consulting services. In that case, you could drive the majority of traffic from a social platform, such as LinkedIn.

This is a useful approach that you can take while also publishing content on your site itself, to ramp up organic traffic with SEO (which normally takes a few months to kick in).

#2. Your desired blog business model

Your desired blog business model also plays a key role in deciding when to monetize.

For example, if your primary goal is to monetize with affiliate marketing, then you should start targeting commercial search terms from day one of your blog. If you do keyword research strategically, your content can start driving valuable affiliate traffic within the first few months.

As another example, if your main goal is to sell coaching or consulting services from your blog, then you might want to avoid monetizing with display ads. They may create the wrong impression and distract your audience from your core service. The choice is yours, but it’s something to keep in mind.

#3. Your long-term blogging goals

Finally, you should keep your long-term blogging goals in mind when deciding when to monetize.

For example, if your long-term goal is to eventually flip your blog, then you should focus on ramping up to achieve as much monthly revenue as possible to boost the asset’s overall value.

Your goal for that could look like targeting high-volume informational keywords and monetizing with display ads. Or it could look like targeting commercial intent keywords and monetizing your content with valuable affiliate links.

Alternatively, you might aim to start a paid newsletter or go after brand sponsorships.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been wondering how to monetize a blog, I hope this article has given you some actionable ideas.

We’ve looked at 13 effective tactics for monetizing your website, from selling coaching and consulting services in the early days, all the way through to flipping your site – once it builds some significant revenue.

Blogging is a great way to boost your income, as it has tremendous money-making potential combined with modest startup and running costs.

Ready to get started with your own blog?

Check out my free guide on how to start a blog in just 7 easy steps – and get on the path to a bigger income in 2024!

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