Options to Make Money Blogging

Chronic illness, whether it’s mental or physical, can make it hard to hold down a full-time job, or even a job at all.  Over the last year I haven’t been able to work much, and while luckily I’ve still got a fairly substantial amount of savings, I’ve started looking at alternate ways of potentially bringing in a bit of money (and to give you an idea of what I’m aiming for, by “a bit” I’m thinking a few dollars).  I thought I’d share some of my research on how to make money blogging in case it’s relevant to other people.

Affiliate marketing

Amazon is the most popular, but there are multiple others.  Essentially the way these work is if someone clicks through from your blog to Amazon (for example) and buys a product, Amazon (or whoever) will give you a kickback.  This is already built into the price of the product on Amazon, so whether someone buys using your link or not, they’re paying the same price.  It’s also the basic idea behind rebate sites like Ebates.

I’ll talk a bit about the nuts and bolts of Amazon since it’s the one I’m familiar with.  First, you sign up with Amazon’s Associates.  It’s a separate sign-up depending on which domain you’re using: .com, .co.uk, .ca, etc.  Getting paid can get a bit more difficult if the majority of your readers are in a different country than you are.  For example, Amazon.com doesn’t do direct deposit into Canadian bank accounts, and they take a percentage cut as a processing fee if they mail you a cheque.  An alternative is to get payment loaded onto an Amazon gift card (although this is also not transferable among different Amazon country sites).

From the Associates Central site you’re able to get unique links for Amazon products that you can use on your site.  If you’re browsing around Amazon while logged in with your affiliate account, there will be a bar at the top of the screen that will give you a link for the particular product page you’re looking at.  Amazon requires that you explicitly state on your site that you’re using affiliate links.

Amazon also has a “bounty program”, although it’s not available for every country (.com has it, .ca doesn’t).  If someone uses your affiliate link and signs up for an Amazon service like Prime, Amazon Music, Audible, or Kindle Unlimited, then Amazon will pay you a set dollar amount (a “bounty”).  Depending on the specific bounty offer, they may pay you even if the person just signs up for a free trial.

I decided recently to incorporate Amazon affiliate marketing into my book review posts, since it seemed like a pretty natural fit, and my focus is on bounty programs that relate to books.  Will I make a dollar or two?  Maybe, maybe not, but the effort involved is pretty low, so I figured it was worth a try.

Site referrals

On some sites, if you are a member and refer someone else who becomes a member (and makes whatever is designated as a qualifying purchase), you get a bonus.  Depending on the site the person you refer may get a bonus as well.  On the rebate site Ebates, both of you get a bonus, whereas on Groupon, just the person that makes the referral gets a bonus.  You can set up referral buttons/links on your blog.  As an example, my referral buttons from Ebates are:

Ebates.ca                ebates

On-blog advertising

Advertising is another way to make money blogging, but it’s not going to be available as an option for everybody.  With the WordPress premium and business plans there are site monetization options, including advertising or setting up a Paypal button.  I have the personal plan, so I don’t actually have experience with this myself, and therefore I can’t give you any details on the logistics.  From what I’ve read it sounds like you need pretty high traffic volumes on your site to make much money with on-page ads.  An alternative to a Paypal for getting donations is the buy a coffee sites in the next section.

Buy a coffee

Buymeacoffee.com is a way for readers to donate to your blog.  The payments go through the Buymeacoffee site, and you get a link/button that you can post on your website.   There is the option for people to donate $3, $4, or $5, and there is also an option for people to support you on a monthly basis.  Payments go through Stripe, which accepts credit cards.  Buymeacoffee takes a 5% cut of any donations you receive, and Stripe takes a small amount as well.  There is also the option to create Coffeelinks, and if someone pays the price you’ve set then they will be given a link to whatever sort of premium content that you’ve created.

Ko-fi.com is similar, but with a slightly different payment model.  Just like buymeacoffee, you get a link and buttons that you can display on your website.  Ko-fi has regular and “gold” memberships.  With regular memberships, you can only collect donations via Paypal, and these are set at $3.  Ko-fi doesn’t take a cut at all.  The gold membership is $6/month, which allows you to take donations via Paypal or Stripe (credit card) and customize the donation amount.  Ko-fi doesn’t take a cut from each transaction.  The gold membership also allows you to offer premium content with no extra fees.  A new feature with the gold plan is that you can list services that people will be able to commission you for.

Premium content

Buymeacoffee.com and Ko-fi allow you to offer some premium content, but Patreon is a site that’s entirely focused on premium content.  People can sign up for a monthly subscription and get whatever content you create for them, whether that by writing, podcasts, videos, or whatever else you can come up with.  The payments go through Patreon, and they take a 5% cut.  You can set different membership tiers.  Alternately, you can charge people only when you create content, but I’m not really sure how that works.  I’ve set up an account just to poke around on the site with, but I haven’t created any content or subscribed to anyone’s content on Patreon, so there’s not that much I’m able to say about it.

Sites that pay based on post views

There are some opportunities to make money blogging by writing on sites other than your own blog.

I’ve published a number of posts on different Vocal.media platforms.  As long as you meet their standards, they’ll publish your post.  They won’t publish posts you’ve already published on your own blog, but you can spruce up old material.   I find I don’t get many views besides what I drive there myself via my blog, Pinterest, or Twitter.  Their algorithm for determining how much you get paid per view is secret, but it’s fractions of a cent.  There is also the opportunity for readers to leave you tips.  The amount of money I’m making is minimal.  I’ve received 3 tips, 2 of which have been from Vocal Media themselves, presumably as an encouragement to keep creating content.  One positive is that articles on their sites seem to do pretty well in Google search result rankings.

I’ve had a little more success with Medium.com‘s partnership program.  They will pay you based on how much site members (who pay a $5/month fee) interact with the posts that you designate for the partnership program.  If you have a post accepted by a Medium publication, such as Invisible Illness, you can get broader exposure than you otherwise would on your own.  It’s still not much money, but it’s something.  Medium allows you to repost things that you’ve published already, although specific publications on Medium have different preferences around that.  Invisible Illness doesn’t require original content.

Publishing ebooks

There’s no up-front cost to self-publish on Amazon, so you could publish even a few mini-ebooks and make a bit of money that way.  You can find out more about self-publishing on my post the bloggers guide to the basics of self-publishing or A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing mini-ebook.

 

So there you have it, this is what I’ve learned with my assorted digging around.  Being able to make money blogging (or writing) beyond really small amounts isn’t going to happen any time soon (if ever) for me, but it’s been interesting to find out some of the various ways to make a few dollars.

Are there any other possibilities to make money blogging that you’ve heard about or tried?

 

Mental Health @ Home Store: An inside look at the WordPress.com Business Plan

 

Thinking about upgrading your WordPress plan?  Check out this FREE inside look at the WordPress.com business plan, which includes plenty of screenshots so you can see what it would actually look like.  It’s available on the MH@H Store.

Share this:

35 thoughts on “Options to Make Money Blogging

  1. stoner on a rollercoaster says:

    Thanks for sharing details of every option. I looked into affiliate marketing and other options to but got overwhelmed by information overload so I am focusing on one thing at a time.

    Some survey sites pay you when you reach a certain threshold. Some sites/magazines pay for writing poetry. And there are photography apps and sites they pay too. But the catch is you have to be really patient with all of these.

  2. Luftmentsch says:

    I would like to make money blogging, but none of the options look like they would work for me, given that I’m bad at SEO and I don’t have many readers and I suspect a lot of the readers I do have are on low income because of mental health issues and/or autism (also, I hate Amazon and don’t want to go into partnership with them!).

    Tbh, I’d be a bit embarrassed to put up a “buy me a coffee” link, although I know people who’ve done it. I’m still hoping to one day sell books based on my blogs, but they require a lot of rewriting and editing, so it’s not really a case of making money straight off my blog.

  3. Revenge of Eve says:

    This is a wealth of information. I will most definitely reference when/if I decide to monetize in the future but for now, that idea is on hold. I wasn’t able to stay with the Amazon program because I didn’t have any purchases for 180 days. 🙁 I can reapply, I haven’t done so though.

  4. Meg says:

    Thanks for the wealth of information! I’ve been meaning to look into Patreon and haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe I’ll put that on the to-do list! You’ve also got me intrigued by the buy-a-coffee deal. I’m still sort of tired (I was exhausted yesterday and slept quite late), but I need to come back and reread this post once I’m more alert!! Loads of info and stuff I need to add to my to-do lists!! Great post!

  5. DV says:

    Thanks. That’s pretty much the list I came up with when I researched options for myself, to earn some money from the skills I was using in the historic re-enactment group.

    Re-enactors are very niche market who also tend to be very thrifty (and also I’d rather not interact with some of them for personal reasons), but I’m confident that there is a much larger potential market I could tap into among people who would be interested in learning to work with natural materials + traditional techniques either just because they want to try something a bit different, for ethical/environmental reasons, or for what I like to call “zombie apocalypse preparation” (off-grid living etc). Similar to what you’ve got with your blog I’m hoping that my scientific and academic background will be a marketable difference from other craft blogs/VLOGs, as I can provide a lot more than just “how to” tutorials eg technical and safety information, plus interesting historic/cultural research that goes behind the scenes of the modern interpretation of the crafts. I’m looking at a model where a WordPress blog is at the centre, with linked video content hosted offsite eg YouTube. Intially free but as I build content I’d monetise it through either a Patreon subscription service or some sort of pay per download arrangement for PDF/video/interactive tutorials plus books.

  6. MySocialGod says:

    This is an amazing share. As a new blogger, I saved your article for the future when my blog receives more traffic. I appreciate this a lot. My only problem now is getting the traffic.

Leave a Reply