People are always surprised when I say I’ve been making money blogging for over a decade. One reason my blogs are profitable (and have been ever since I was a beginner blogger) is because I experiment with different ways to make money. The second reason is that I treat my blogs like a full-time business. The third way I make my blogs profitable is by writing articles that are problem-focused, evergreen, and painful if left unsolved.

The tips in this article are from a workshop called How to Make Money From the Most Profitable Blog Niches, which I taught at a WordPress for Bloggers MeetUp in Vancouver. Of course, the first and most important topic I covered is whether or not you have readers! No blog readers, no profit. If you don’t have enough traffic, read Will People Read Your Blog? It Depends.

Is blogging a profitable business for writers? Definitely – and blogging is a creative, interesting, challenging, exciting way to write! Do all bloggers make money from their blogs? Nope. In fact, very few online writers or content creators have profitable blogs. Why not?

How to Make a Profit From Your Blog

“One problem that I see a lot of bloggers do is simply writing what everyone else is writing about on their blog – and doing it in the same way everyone else is,” says professional blogger Darren Rowse, author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. “The term ‘echo chamber’ comes to mind.”

How do you make money writing for your own blog? The same way you get a book published in an overcrowded niche. You set yourself apart by finding your blogger’s voice, and you write the blog posts you want to read. Blogging – just like writing a book – requires discipline and commitment.

Making money blogging is like starting a small business. You are the entrepreneur, the product, and the service. Don’t cheat, don’t cut corners, and don’t be lazy. You’ll make money writing articles for your blog if you actually do the work that counts. No need to practice for 10,000 hours! Just start blogging today.

How to Make a Profit From Your Blog

I don’t know why so many professional bloggers and SEO “experts” say you can’t make money just writing for a blog. It took me about 10 years of profitable blogging to realize they are wrong. I sell nothing but an ebook about letting go of someone you love – though I have written several ebooks. None of them sold as well How to Let Go of Someone You Love.

Don’t believe everything you read. Or write. Or think. Do a little research, a lot of blogging, and a little accounting. Is your blog profitable? If not, try different strategies. If you are making money, do more of what works.

1. Write solid content in a specific niche

Step out of the online “echo chamber” by not blogging about your year of cooking with Julia Child or your decade of doing everything Oprah Winfrey says. Instead, find a blog topic or niche that interests you, learn about it, and share what you learn in a unique, creative way. Solve problems, using your writer’s voice! Remember that making money as a blogger is a long-term process. The money you earn grows slowly, like compound investment.

What are the most profitable blogging niches? Read 10 Types of Blogs That Do – and Do Not – Make Money.

2. Be patient – but proactive – as your blog traffic s-l-o-w-l-y increases

Different bloggers find different ways to build traffic effective; what works for the blogger next door may not work for you! For instance, I find the usual tips for increasing blog traffic time-consuming and boring. Posting comments on forums, commenting on other blogs, staying active on StumbleUpon, participating in comment exchanges, and writing guest posts just doesn’t work for me! Instead, I focus on Search Engine Optimization, Twitter, and Yahoo Shine.

3. Find advertisements that appeal to your readers

What search terms do your readers use to find your blog? For example, readers often find Quips and Tips for Successful Writers by searching for “feature article ideas”, “how to write a blog post, and “how bloggers make money.” So, my advertisements should focus on freelance writing, magazine articles, and blogging tips. I also feature books, books, and more books because I love books! Plus, I like being an Amazon affiliate.

4. Explore different types of affiliate programs for bloggers

There is no “best” affiliate program to make your blog profitable. It depends on your type of blog and niche. The only way to find the best affiliate advertising network for your blog (eg, Commission Junction, LinkShare, AdBrite, Chikita, Google Affiliate Network, Kontera, ClickBank, etc) is to experiment with different ones! I just introduced ClickBank to Quips and Tips for Successful Writers, and one eBook in particular is earning me hundreds of dollars a month. I earn $26 each, and sell about five a week. A. It takes time to figure out what the best ads are – and whether they represent reputable, worthwhile products. But if you want to make money blogging, you need to put in the time.

5. Approach companies directly about becoming an affiliate

I advertised products on my Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility blog, until I realized they’re a middleman for a bigger pregnancy website. So I applied to be a direct affiliate for that bigger website, and now earn more money when a reader buys a product. If you can cut out the middleman (an affiliate advertising network), your blog will be much more profitable. You’ll make make more money because you’re working directly with the advertiser.

6. Apply to different types of profitable blog affiliate networks

Two of my blogs are with the BlogHer advertising network – I applied a few months before they actually accepted me (they had a waitlist). BlogHer isn’t my biggest source of income, but I like being part of the network. Monetizing your site isn’t just about slapping up some Google Adsense ads and putting big banners everywhere; it’s also about finding quality advertising that you’re proud to be a part of.

7. Experiment with different types and sizes of ads

So many choices! Banner ads, product images, text ads, in-text link ads, pixel/favicon ads, contextual links, eBook ads, exit ads, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Start with the ad types and sizes that you dislike the least, let them run for a couple of months, and see if your blog gets more profitable. Keep in mind that you probably need over 1,000 page views a day before you earn $100 or even $50 a day with your blog. It depends on your niche and products, but you will learn that blogging is still profitable. Now more than ever.

8. Experiment with ad placement on your blog

The experts at Google Adsense say that the most profitable ads are “above the fold” and within the post itself. Find a balance between making your ads obvious, but not too distracting or annoying. I don’t love advertising in the middle of my articles, but I want to earn more than $50,000 this year from my blogs…so the ads stay where they are. Now I’m experimenting with auto ads, which lets Google Adsense place advertisements wherever they want. In the comments, widgets, header. Anywhere. I love this even less than the big ad in the middle of the blog posts, but Google helps make my blogs profitable. And that allows me to keep blogging.

9. Consider selling ad space on your blog to profitable companies

Advertisers have asked me for my “rate card” (a summary of how much different ad spaces sell for on Quips and Tips). I created one, but haven’t taken the time to pursue selling ad space. Many bloggers sell a 125×125 spot on their blog for X dollars per month (the “X” depends on how much traffic the blog gets, the type of blog it is, the number of pages it runs on, etc). Some bloggers also sell ad space in their newsletters. I’ve never sold advertising space on my blogs, and believe it’ll be more trouble than it’s worth. I want my blog to earn a profit but don’t want to do anything but write 🙂

10. Pay attention to readers’ comments and emails

I created my fifth blog — How Love Blossoms — because so many readers on Quips and Tips for Love and Relationships were asking about marriage, infidelity, breaking up, making up, etc. My readers told me what the needed: a whole separate blog about love. When you’re monetizing your blog, listen to what your readers want.

Above all, treat your blogging like a job. If you want your blog make a profit, you have to treat it like a business. For instance, post your articles consistently. For example, I write a post for Successful Writers every Tuesday and Thursday – unless there’s a special occasion like today, when I’m working on course content for a “make money blogging” class that I know my readers would benefit from.

Discouragement is one of the biggest obstacles to profiting from your blog. Read How to Stay Motivated When You’re Starting a Blog.

An Option for Bloggers Who Aren’t Profitable Yet

If your blog isn’t profitable, consider blogging or creating content for other websites. I’m not talking about guest posting; I’m talking about getting paid to blog.

Here’s the question: is it more profitable for online writers to get paid per blog post, or earn money per reader click? Here are the pros and cons, plus the reasons I stopped blogging for Suite101 – an online e-zine that folded after it was no longer profitable 🙁 .

First, a question from a reader:

10 Ways to Make Your Blog Profitable

“Could you elaborate on why you are no longer writing articles for Suite101?” asks S.B. on Is Writing for Suite101 Worthwhile? It Depends. “I’m a freelance writer with a couple of regular gigs, but want to make a few more hundred dollars per month. I would write mainly about pregnancy and parenting. Do you think that could be a profitable blog? How many articles (or in how much time) would be necessary to achieve this? (I realize this is totally variable, but if you have any general thoughts that would be so helpful). As a stay-at-home mom with not a lot of extra time, I’m wondering if this is worth it, or if I should continue to pursue other outlets.”

Regardless of whether you get paid per blog post or per click, learn how to use social media to grow your online business. Even if you get paid per post, you should try to bring traffic to your posts on other blogs and websites. You’ll benefit from the exposure, your editor will love you for your efforts, and you’ll gain new readers. And that’s how bloggers make an online profit!

If you earn money per click (not per blog post), how many articles do you need to write to make it profitable?

It’s impossible to say how many articles you’d need to write to make blogging worthwhile. It depends on the topic of your post and how well optimized it is. I write Psychology articles, which don’t pay well per click. But articles about money, mortgages, debt, employment, plastic surgery, etc earn lots of money per click. So, yes, blogs can still be profitable depending on what you write about.

Profitable blogs rely on traffic. The more readers you have, the more money you’ll make. People say they don’t click Google ads, but lots of readers click on banners and links. Last week, I made $140 in one day from Google Adsense on my Quips and Tips blogs (I’m on a “earn money per click” revenue share model).

Earning money per click is a long-term investment of your time

Writing for blogs that pay based on readers’ click behavior can take years to pay off. Writing for your own blog is better because it’s a long-term investment you can control. But writing for other websites, organizations, businesses and blogs leaves you vulnerable to their decisions. If you need to make money right now, it’s more profitable to find blogging or writing gigs that pay per post. But if you’re willing to treat blogging like a long-term investment or business, then create your own blog and learn how to make it profitable!

I write articles for BC Women’s Hospital and Know Your Advisor.com, and I charge $50 per hour. That’s my favorite way to make money as a freelance writer because I’m compensated for every minute I spend researching, writing, and editing. I don’t think I’d go back to a pay per click revenue share model.

Benefits of Getting Paid Per Blog Post

  • Predictable income; you know that you’ll make $5,000 this month (instead of getting paid per click, which is unknown until you actually get paid)
  • No worries about the website disappearing overnight or editors deleting your posts. You’ve already profited from your blog post!
  • Um…I can’t think of any other benefits of payment per post. If you have ideas, please share below.

Benefits of Earning Money Per Click

  • Passive, long-term income (my favorite way to be a profitable blogger).
  • Some control over how much money you earn (eg, if you share your post, you could potentially earn hundreds of dollars).
  • Getting paid while you learn how to blog. I’m forever grateful to Suite for teaching me how to write online and build a profitable series of blogs.

What are the most profitable blogs in your niche? Find your niche, explore the blogs that are earning good profits, and watch how the bloggers run their business. Don’t copy them; study and experiment with your own style.

If you’re a blogger who wants to write faith-based articles, read 8 Things You Need to Know About Starting a Christian Blog.

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16 thoughts on “10 Ways to Make Your Blog Profitable”

  1. SHARON HURLEY HALL

    Laurie, pay for click and revenue share require so much input before they pay off that they are rarely worth it, in my opinion. Unless you’re writing in a popular niche, it can take a long time to make a decent income. Far more profitable for bloggers to get the money up front.

  2. Laurie,

    I wrote for the Examiner for a while. I found that to ensure any kind of income, I had to post timely, newsworthy articles on nearly a daily basis. Slacking off for even a few days drastically affected traffic. With that said, I ran out of gas. It is much more profitable to be paid per blog post.

    George

  3. I’d go for for pay per click, because I enjoy the challenge of SEO (search engine optimization) writing. I also think it’s a better long-term financial choice, if the website sticks around for a long time. Suite101 was around for 15 years or something like that. It was a business. A profitable website for many years.

  4. Laurie, I used to freelance in the nineties when the web was just starting to take off. I have little nubs where my fingers used to be. I’m here to encourage your readers that while its fine to write for others, its even finer to write for yourself. Learn how to make your blog profitable, and keep writing!

    After 6 books and more than 100 of my own websites, I’m here to tell everyone that the rewards are worth the effort. I never thought 15 years would pass as quickly as it did. I write 1000 words for myself every morning before breakfast, and it has paid off over the years as it added up. Especially if you research the most profitable blogging niches.

  5. Affiliate programs and ad networks are great in many ways, but both affiliates (bloggers) and merchants pay for the service. Affiliate networks take a chunk of the revenues, leaving bloggers with a small percentage of the earnings. You can still be profitable, but it takes lots of traffic!

  6. If the niche you are in is popular, you will have a profitable blog. About pay per post vs per click: Some bloggers say pay per post is a better option but others may find it a heavier work load. It really depends on what suits your ability and it may make a difference if you have just started or have been blogging for long and may want to write in another area.

  7. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    You’re welcome — I hope these tips for making money blogging help you! It’s not easy, but when the ball gets rolling, it’s amazing 🙂

  8. thanks for sharing this tips.. I think I have to try this cause I want monetize my blog and site .. For others to see it easily in searching.. I just want to share what my company can offer.. just earning money online.. or part time jobs online.. thanks for the great tips then..

  9. Laurie

    I heard you’re writing an ebook about how to make money blogging. Can you send me the info when it’s ready? I want to monetize my blog.

    Cheers,
    Abi

  10. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comments!

    I’ve heard both sides of the tip not to put ads on your blog until you have a steady stream of traffic. I think the problem with not putting ads on from the beginning is that your established readers, who aren’t used to seeing ads on your blog, might get annoyed and leave. But if the ads were there all along, they’d be used to it.
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post ..The Most Important Job for Writers – Being Sticky, Concrete, Memorable =-.

  11. Top Wordpress Themes

    Wow. I haven’t seen so many awesome tips in one post! You did a great job with this.

    I would have to say that you nailed it when you say to “have patience”. I see a lot of people that think they will make a ton of money the same day they start blogging. But really it can take months until you see any profit.

    I would also recommend that you do not try and make any money for the first few months until you have a constant stream of traffic. Than slowly start implementing some money-making into your blog.

    I find that this way you do not scare people away with all the adsense…

    thanks for the great tips!
    .-= Top WordPress Themes´s last blog post ..Mighty WP WordPress Theme =-.

  12. Great post, as always, Laurie! I’m just starting to think about this more seriously as I get in the groove of finding out the voice of my blog. This gave me a kick in the butt to start thinking of more than GOogle Adsense 🙂
    .-= Lori H´s last blog post ..The Beddgelert Story in Snowdonia National Park, Wales, UK =-.

  13. Thanks for the tips, Laurie! I see it basically boils down to advertising: being smart about your ad/affiliate choices and placement. It was good to get specifics on the number of page views needed in order to make money off those ads.

    I’m not there… yet; still building a readership, so to begin with I will take your advice to do with SEO and slowly grow from there.

    Most importantly, it’s good to know that if you can do it well, there is the hope for passive income. Thanks to posts like these, I’ll (we’ll) get there!!