How I Make Money From Blogging: My Top Income Sources

by Peter Anderson on February 4, 2011

I‘ve been blogging seriously for just over 3 years now. Previous to that I had written personal and family blogs since 2002 or 2003, but never on a regular basis, and never did those ventures ever generate any money.

When I started my first personal finance site in January of 2008 I had an inkling that it might be possible to make money from blogging because I was reading posts from other bloggers talking about how they were making enough to pay their mortgage, or fund a vacation. I figured I would give it a shot as well.

At the time I didn’t have much of an idea about how people make money from blogs, except maybe that they were adding Google Adsense to their sites. So I figured I would start there, with Adsense.

My site’s first day I made a grand total of $0.00 from Adsense (see below). Day two I made $0.01.  It kept improving to the point where Adsense now does in fact pay my mortgage, and quite a bit more!   (See the graphic below for the gradual increase in income over time.)

So today I want to look at some of the best sources of revenue that I’ve found for a blog, beyond just the easy start of Adsense.

How To Make An Income With Your Blog

There are a ton of different ways to make money with a blog, you’re only really limited by your creativity.  But with that said, there are several main categories of income sources.  I’ll go over several of them. The first – pay per click ad networks.

PPC Ad Networks (Pay Per Click)

Pay per click ad networks are companies that pay you when people click on the ads on your site. The most prominent example of a PPC ad network is Google Adsense.  Some PPC networks pay better than others, and depending on what your topic is, the money you get per click could be anywhere from 1 penny to $14 or $15 dollars.

  • Google Adsense:  By far my biggest income generator for my sites.   While Adsense doesn’t work great for all types of sites, it truly is one of the easiest and best ways to make income for a site right off the bat.  Even if you’re only making a few dollars every month, it is probably enough to pay for your hosting, domain name and other things.
  • Chitika:  I haven’t used them, but some people swear by them.  They seem to do better for niches outside of mine, like technology sites, etc.
  • Yahoo! Publisher Network (YPN)
  • Clicksor

CPM Banner Advertising (Cost Per Thousand)

Another great way to make money based on your traffic alone is through CPM ad networks.   CPM networks are a lot like PPC networks, except in the fact that they don’t pay you for clicks, but instead pay you each time their ad is served. CPM stands for “cost per thousand” impressions and is the standard way that CPM networks figure out how much they will pay.

Most second tier CPM networks are going to pay in the range of a few pennies up to $1.50 or so per thousand ads served.  The goal, however, is to build your traffic to the point where you can sign on with a premium ad network in your niche that pays much more.  For example, I use one now that pays closer to $8-10 CPMs.

Affiliate And Referral Networks (Pay Per Action Ads)

Companies are more than willing to pay you if you can get someone to purchase their product. They’ll either do a referral program through an affiliate network, or sometimes they’ll have their own in house referral program.  This is my third largest source of income.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Create Your Own Product

Creating your own product, like the ebook I sell on this site, is a great way to make extra income.    Here are some  ideas for things you can sell.

  • Ebook
  • Online course
  • A service
  • Membership sites
  • Premium content
  • Crafts or other homemade products

Referral And GPT Sites

You can also make money by referring people to different sites where people can make money by shopping, filling out surveys, signing up for trial offers and more.   Here are a few of the ones that have done the best for me.

Text Link Ads

I no longer sell text link ads on any of my sites because I know that Google doesn’t like them, and I don’t want to anger the big G.   After selling them I had one site drop from a page rank 5 to a page rank of 3,  and search traffic slowed as well.  At that point I stopped selling them on all my sites.  If you want to take the risk, however, there is some decent money to be made selling text links.  At my biggest point on that other site I was making about $1000/month from text links alone.  For many of these text links, once you reach a certain page rank, you’ll start getting emails from companies that are offering to buy the links.  My advice, don’t allow them to lowball you, your site’s link juice is worth more than you think. Be willing to turn the scammers down as well.

Conclusion

The list above of ways to make money is only the beginning. There are a plethora of other ways to make money with your blog, some of which work well for some blogs, but not for others.  In the end, you’re only limited by your creativity!  So get on out there and start making some extra income!

Do you have any ways of making money that you’d like to share with other readers?  Tell us about it in the comments!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

David Shww February 5, 2011 at 6:15 am

Nice roundup.

Any reason why you did not include banner ads and networks like puxee.com?

Reply

Peter Anderson February 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I think i did include banner ads, although i may have forgotten to put something about direct sold ads.

I’m not familiar with Puxee.com, which is why I didn’t include it. How does it work? Looks to be a site where people can buy and sell ad space?

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Bryan April 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

I agree with David above. This is a nice introduction to how to make money online.

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Josh @ Live Well Simply May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Great article! PPC and Affiliate links inline with blog content seems to be the most successful ways I’ve discovered.

Reply

DC @ Young Adult Money July 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm

This is a great summary of how to make money online. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

Reply

Peter Anderson August 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm

My pleasure. Just remember, it’s only a starting point. Making money online with a blog will take you as far as your imagination with how to make money will take you. Good luck!

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