How to make money with a blog?

This is a question that bothers every blog owner who at some point hits the bar of 500 daily visitors - the essential amount of traffic that opens the door to the world of profitable online advertising.

Blog monetization is something hard to think of in terms of the variety of choices, especially if your blog has not reached that solid traffic bar so far.

A robust monetization strategy is a magic button that holds power to convert the visitors into money, however, no matter how resourceful you think you are, time and money are both limited luxuries. Apart from traffic monetization, a blogger needs to think of writing blog posts, creating own products, attending online courses, and doing other energy-consuming things.

How to monetize your blog and manage to deal with all these daily routines simultaneously? Focus on the core passive income monetizing blog strategies that were proved to be effective in the long run. We'll tell you how. 

Know what you reach monetizing your blog

Monetizing your blog has never been a piece of cake, it is impossible to achieve the goal if you don’t know what it is. Creating best blog monetization strategies will be a good practice to follow. Such strategies should not be abstract, they need to comprise certain indicators you are intended to use in order to define effectiveness: should it be measured in traffic, clicks or the number of your email list subscribers, - depends on the blog monetization methods.

For example, the goal is to attract additional 1000 subscribers to your email list in a month. If you create the blog posts 8 hours a day that takes 168 hours (in 21 days) and it brings you 48 new subscribers daily. That’s perfect, you’ll keep up getting 1000 subscribers monthly. If not, you need to increase the time span for blog posts creation or try different ways to monetize your blog.

Work it that way - define the necessary amount of subscribers or daily/monthly amount of traffic you want to achieve, draft step-by-step implementation plan, and only after that engage in blog monetization. Try to think about the development of the resource.

Let’s imagine, trying email marketing. You decided to obtain an output from creating own digital product, presentation or expert coaching. It took you 47 hours per month to work with but as a result, you got same 1000 subscribers, bingo, you got the same results by doing less. 

Now it’s up to you to decide which ways to monetize blog will suit you better. Doing the analysis, consider each important activity indicator so that you could see the whole picture. 

Blog monetization and amount of traffic

For many people, money from blogging is a single source of the income but in order to achieve stunning results you need to know: it is a perfect combination of hard work, successful blog monetization strategy, and a little bit of luck. 

Speaking of luck, several hundred visitors per day can provide you with decent revenue in case your blog is in the rare luxury commercial niche, while entertainment niche will not drive money online easily. In this case, a few thousand minion visitors a day may not be enough to make earnings from your product or service.

Even the best ways to monetize a blog may not be working if you just decided to start a blog. On average, it takes at least one year to achieve a good amount of traffic, sufficient attendance, and a substantial number of subscribers. After you achieve the goal, you will be able to earn money from your blogging gathering email address of your visitors via email marketing. Even better opportunity will be there - blog monetization through online advertising!

In order to drive $100000 income in the majority of consumer niches with single blogging, you will have to achieve around 1500000 amount of traffic monthly. Sure thing, it takes time but after managing this number you can earn money in any niche quickly. Afterward, you can also showcase your product or service on YouTube as an authoritative expert.

Some blog owners may be unaware that even the best way to monetize blog may not drive the essential amount of traffic and that even with the stunning traffic figures the blog may not provide you with more than 1% or even 0.5% conversion. Why? Because your visitors may be interested purely in reading while purchasing a product somewhere else for a smaller price. 

Blog monetization sites that managed to nail it, achieve great daily and monthly page views, revenues and the overall website worth. Nevertheless, their owners achieved it slowly. They had tried different approaches and blog monetization program combinations that allowed them to gain good amounts of money online.

Here is the list of these blogs, which according to Forbes now gain outlandish amounts of revenues. All of them are going their own way. For instance, the owner of the “Mashable” Pete Cashmore gets $2,000,000 in revenue per month. He started gaining money from blogging a few years after the blog was founded in 2005. 

The blog is devoted to social media, reviews of various web products and services, Internet technologies, and news. His daily website traffic now reaches around 273,137 daily visitors only from the US. The traffic from this renown blog is getting monetized with different types of on-site advertisements, like banners, video or native kinds. 

Mario Armando, the owner of the Perezhilton source decided to monetize a blog that brings 400000 daily visits via sponsored advertisement, for now, blog posts full of celebrity gossip bring the owner $575,000 income monthly. 

Here is a bunch of blog monetization sites that are among those gained highest blog revenues in 2017 and those that keep attracting the stunning amount of traffic in 2018. (The data valid for June 2018 gathered via

Blog’s name Daily visitors Monthly Income Blog monetization applied
Huffington Post 2,776,710 $14,000,000 digital ads, banners sponsored advertising and content
Gizmodo 530,116 $325,000 digital ads, native ads, banners, etc.
Mashable 566,675 $2,000,00 social media, (Facebook and Twitter), banners, video, native ads, etc.
Perezhilton 400000 $575,000 sponsored content and ads

How to monetize your blog: 6 ways that work

If you’re ready to monetize your blog traffic, there are a variety of different approaches, each one featuring own pros and cons. What are their specifics and what can you expect from them?

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a blog monetization strategy that helps to achieve spectacular revenues without demanding big efforts. If the traffic amount to your blog is already substantial, you can place affiliate links on your blog so that your business partner (the owner of the affiliate program) could submit you a fee for every click on the link placed on their blog.

Affiliate marketing programs can be different, they’re not only measured in the number of clicks. Sometimes the target action will be purchasing product or service from your site. In such cases, your fees will also be higher meaning you can monetize your blog more effectively.

According to various sources, best affiliate programs for bloggers in 2017 were Amazon, eBay, Target, ClickBank, and others with the Amazon approach considered to be the true alternative to AdSense.

The principle behind blog monetization is simple: your blog’s topic should be somehow relevant to the affiliate program’s subject. The commission fee generally varies from 1 to 5%. If the commission is paid for such action as sale, the fee will normally reach around 30% from the overall cost of the product.

2. Pay per click (contextual advertising)

Contextual advertising is a type of digital advertising that allows monetizing blogs with high click-through-rates. The logic behind the strategy is the following: the advertisers place their ads in the designated ad slots on the blog posts. The impressions are served to the users when they visit websites. 

For instance, if the visitor reads the post called “how to monetize my blog?” the odds are very high they will spot related ad at the top, left or right sidebar of the blog featuring popular affiliate offers or 'drive traffic' service offers from SEO companies.

Google AdSense is the core contextual advertising blog monetization method that allows placing ad units right after the blog has been created, it has no solid formal restrictions considering traffic.

The AdSense places the strips of own code on your website so that it could scan the contents of your website, and display ads to the visitors.

The average good level CTRs can reach from 1 to 5 cents per click in entertaining blog niches to 1-10 in commercial ones. This blog monetization idea will perform as good as your traffic currently is. This way, while some bloggers gain $10,000 monthly the others may barely get by $100.

3. Online courses, products or services

This is about how to monetize a blog and not let your talents die if you have some. If you’re a natural-born writer, baker or builder, why not to share your experience with the rest of the world?

If you already have an essential amount of traffic with relevant users or just purchased such a blog, you think about traffic monetization. You can start offering your own products or services on the spot. Those can be: online courses, paid additional content, the books, and brochures of your own authorship.

If you gained pretty much expertise, the task will not be a tough one. Using Google Analytics you can see how your method of monetization works, assess the number of purchases, channels that bring the most sales and find out more about your audience.

The income from monetizing a blog with your own products will directly depend on the audience and their trust and willingness to purchase the service or product from you. As well, it will depend on what you actually intended to sell, for example, a selling course is a thing that brought the Honkey Handbook author $1,000 during the first month.

4. Sponsored content

Sponsored content is one of those ways to monetize a blog that is usually paired up with native ads that blend with the rest of your blog’s content.

Here is how it works: You decided to start a blog about technologies, namely about your favorite iPhones that you change every year and AppStore applications that you like. In such circumstances, Apple sees great potential in your blog as it gathers many IOS fans.

The advertiser asks you to write a review to their newly launched product and here you go - that’s a win-win monetization of blog and product advertising for both parties. Some digital marketers advice to do it through advertising review forms like PayPerPost.

5. Direct advertising

In case you use Google AdSense to monetize blog traffic or other related systems, part of your income you need to share with intermediaries for their services. In case you want to keep all revenue to yourself you can venture out to contact advertisers directly.

Direct advertising is probably the best blog monetization method for news portals and large narrowly-themed blogs.

While the benefits from the direct interaction are obvious - you don’t have to share your blog revenue with the third parties - the problems hide in the dark corner of the room: the topic of the advertisement coming from your direct advertiser may not match with the blog posts you create. That may drive your visitors away.

If you decided to monetize your blog with direct ads that don’t resonate to your visitor’s interests, in the best case scenario they will ignore it instead of clicking, that means you’re losing money from your blogging.

Another nuance related to this is that your blog will only be regarded by direct advertisers if it is able to drive traffic starting from 500-1000 visitors, dealing with blog monetization services (intermediaries) usually doesn’t bound the publishers with such restrictions.

6. Programmatic monetization

Widely used and approved by digital marketers worldwide, programmatic advertising is considered to be among the best blog monetization strategies due to the high level of flexibility it provides to the publisher.

Programmatic technology helps to deliver the most targeted and relevant to the user advertisements due to the variety of available targeting options it features. For instance, the geomarketing tool within the system allows displaying ads to the users in the vicinity of several hundred meters. Nevertheless, the greatest benefit of such blog monetization is that the process of selling your blog space will become a matter of microseconds.

How do you monetize a blog via SSP?

First of all, it is important to understand how programmatic monetization works for publishers (blog owners). The system creates a real-time market where advertisers and publishers meet in order to purchase and sell website inventory on conditions most beneficial for them.

The blog owner can monetize the blog by joining the system as a publisher through SSP that opens access to automatic inventory selling, interacting with DSPs, ad networks, and ad exchanges.

Monetizing a blog can be different for every website owner but advertisers are different as well. Some set demands and priorities considering placement, the others considering price and the deal conditions. That’s why displaying ads is a thing that should be individually adjusted and SmartyAds programmatic platforms for publishers and advertisers enable this customization. 

Real-time bidding

Here’s how real-time bidding monetization works in a nutshell: when the users visit the site, the browser collects their information (IP, Browser type, etc) automatically and submits to the SSP that processes the data and passes them to ad networks where the real-time bidding is happening. The advertisers make bids through DSP, the highest bid wins, and the ad is displayed on the user’s screen while the page is loading. Such sources like Forbes successfully use RTB blog monetization setting the floor price for inventory selling for avoiding potentially disadvantageous deals.

Header bidding

Header bidding is a programmatic monetization solution that allows many people, including advertisers and publishers, raise their revenue on 20-30% due to the simultaneous bidding that replaced the “waterfall” - when advertisers get the only right to bid in turns. The bigger competition causes the elevation of the price so the blog owner gets more money online and knows the real value of the inventory. Much more information about what header bidding is you can find here.

Programmatic direct

Blog monetization with programmatic direct is beneficial for publishers and advertisers as well. Using this technology the publishers don’t lose the active cooperation with advertisers they collaborated with previously, the deals are happening faster through programmatic algorithms. The whole process is taking place on private auctions and is highly valued by advertisers who care about deal safety.

Why you should try programmatic

Monetizing your blog with programmatic brings a blog owner essential benefits by removing unnecessary intermediaries, emptying time from negotiations with advertisers and automating the process of selling.

Sure thing, programmatic monetization strategy should be individual for every publisher and focus on those factors that will prove to be the most important. Advanced SSPs like SmartyAds SSP enables the blog owners to work only with reputable advertisers.

The publishers can gain the money from blogging and protect own brand by selecting preferrable ad types, restricting the list of ads and advertisers, setting the price floors below which the deals will not be regarded.

Blog website monetization with programmatic has proven to bring essentially better yield for publishers than other monetizing blog types, in case technology and the scheme of collaboration with advertisers has been picked correctly. SmartyAds features the best programmatic technologies and top-notch specialists with great expertise in the programmatic industry always happy to consult, assist, and support publishers who’re searching for the best way to monetize a blog.

Register at SmartyAds SSP, gain more money online utilizing the best programmatic system!

Written by
Irina Kovalenko, CMO of SmartyAds
June 2018