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So, you want to actually make money blogging in 2021.
I feel you.
Whether you’re starting up a blog for the first time, or you’ve been blogging for years, you’ll find an idea (or 27) here.
Personally, I’ve been blogging for six years. I run a creative self-care and ethical lifestyle blog, and decided to start sharing my money-making tips here in 2020.
Blogging is my side hustle, a way to diversify my income, and earn extra money from a hobby I enjoy! I love it.
Keep reading to find out how to actually make money blogging in 2021!
A friendly warning: it will take work. There’s no way to make instant money from blogging, and it will take time. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying. You need to build up your traffic, write content, build an audience, and work on SEO.
How To Actually Make Money Blogging in 2021: 27 Ideas
- Sponsored Blog Posts. This is the majority of my income. Some advertisers are looking for traffic, others want a link from a high domain authority (DA is a metric designated by MOZ). Sponsored post opportunities land in my email inbox, and I also use some platforms like Get Blogged to find more opportunities. I’ll write a blog post all about how I find sponsored blog post opportunities soon!
- Display Ads. Join Adsense, Ezoic (10K+ monthly sessions), or MediaVine (50K+ monthly sessions). My main blog currently reaches 30,000 monthly sessions on average. My aim is to apply for Mediavine when I reach 50,000. I’m currently using Ezoic, which has significantly increased my earnings compared to Adsense!
- Selling your own ad space. This is a great way to make a bit of extra income, especially if you don’t want to use Adsense. You could sell ad space on Fiverr, or set up an advertising page on your own blog. Some bloggers only offer ad space to fellow bloggers, which is a lovely way to help support the community! Plus, it can improve your domain authority to advertise on a high DA blog.
- Affiliate Marketing. You can find affiliate programs to join in pretty much any niche! Whether you’re a DIY and crafts blogger, a food blogger, travel blogger, or ‘blogging about blogging’ blogger! Yes, I may have used the word blogger too much in that sentence. If you’re completely new to affiliate marketing, I suggest checking out this guide for beginners. If you’re focusing on Amazon Associates (which can be very lucrative!), here’s an ebook for you. Or you could pick up this list of 500+ affiliate marketing programs to save some searching time.
- Referral Links (e.g. free trials). I make money from promoting several free trials. These include Audible, Amazon Prime Video, and Skillshare. I wrote all about my favourite Skillshare courses to improve your side hustle, they have lots of blogging resources to check out!
- Link Insertion. Ever received an email along the lines of ‘I loved this post “insert post title here”, would you consider linking to “insert link here”‘? This is a tactic used by many marketers looking to boost their SEO. Why? Your content may be highly relevant to their product, or it’s ranking highly for the keywords they are targeting. If you want to, you can charge for inserting links. This is a quick way to earn money from your old content. However, please remember that it’s against Google’s guidelines to sell do-follow links.
- Commercial Use of Blog Photography. I started charging for commercial use of my blog photography. Why? Because my photos got stolen by companies I’d previously worked with. Make it clear that a sponsored post collaboration does not include free reign over your photos! If a company wishes to use your photos in any marketing campaigns, charge them for it. You could also sell stock photos on sites like Adobe Stock or Shutterstock. I’ve shared a few free stock photos on Unsplash… because I’m nice… but you can definitely make money from selling your blog photos!
- Publishing Guest Posts / Pre-written content. When I’ve chatted with other bloggers about publishing guest posts, many of them were surprised when I said I charge. Well, I don’t charge everyone. If a blogger or freelance writer wants to share a relevant blog post with my audience, of course, I’m happy to publish for free. BUT if a PR agency or a company want to publish a guest post? Charge for it. Why should you let them advertise to your audience for free? Especially if the blog post includes links!
- Sell your blog, or create a new one to sell. Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic. Maybe you started a blog a few years ago but decided that you want to start again. Perhaps the niche wasn’t right for you. Instead of letting it die away, you can sell it. Especially if the blog is ranking on Google, making any kind of consistent income, or comes with a lot of content. Flippa is the go-to website for selling blogs, or you can check out Blogs For Sale by Her Paper Route. Sometimes I browse it just because I’m nosy. If you don’t want to sell your blog, you could also set up and sell a new blog. Why would someone buy it? Not everyone has the time or technical skills to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog, write some content, and create consistent branding.
- Write an ebook. Sell on Gumroad or Sendowl. What are you good at? What is your blog niche? Brainstorm some ideas, and create an ebook! I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve got ideas brewing.
- Write an ebook to sell on Amazon Kindle. Yes, you can self-publish on Amazon Kindle. If you’re writing fiction, this is the place to go. Plus, you’ll have access to the huge audience already using Kindle. If you don’t have much blog traffic or an engaged audience, this might be a better choice than selling an ebook on Gumroad.
- Create a course with Teachable, Udemy or Skillshare. This is definitely more effort than creating an ebook, especially as most course consumers expect video content. If you have the motivation and expertise, course creation can be a great way to earn passive income once you put in the initial work.
- Turn your blog posts into YouTube videos. Then make money from Adsense (once you reach 1000 subscribers). Plus, if you get discovered on YouTube, you’ll drive traffic back to your blog in turn. Surprisingly, I gained 600 YouTube subscribers in 2020, just from uploading 3 videos that were 2-5 minutes long! It’s not as hard as you think.
- Sell a service. Become a VA (virtual assistant). Sell SEO services if you’re good at it. Are you a pro at Pinterest? Sell management / board optimisation / pin scheduling. Or you can sell something as simple as broken link removal!
- Charge separately for Instagram. Trust me! I used to include Instagram posts for free with my sponsored blog posts. Until a company offered me £300 for an Instagram post, no blog post necessary. Now I let brands know that I manage my Instagram separately. It’s a great little side hustle for me! You might think I have a huge Instagram following, but I actually have less than 2000 followers. Engagement is more important!
- Sell Lightroom presets. Are you great at photo editing? Do your Instagram photos always look beautiful and fit a coherent theme? Sell your lightroom presets! Presets by Lisa are my favourites, but I need to work on creating my own.
- Paid shoutouts on Instagram stories or Twitter. Many creators do this, particularly if they have a large following. I’ve not seen anyone offer paid shoutouts with less than 10,000 followers, and I’m not clued-up on what they charge. However, I do know that people with huge accounts can make a lucrative income from this.
- Print-on-Demand. Setting up a shop on Redbubble, or a similar print-on-demand service is an easy way to make money blogging in 2021. You can sell prints of your photography, or have them placed on t-shirts, mugs and more. Then advertise on your blog. I create digital stickers on GIPHY for fun, then I sell physical versions on Redbubble.
- Create printables. Sell on Etsy, Gumroad or Sendowl. Printables are huge, especially on Etsy. You can create printables for any niche. Consider creating planners, checklists, cheat-sheets, motivational quotes, or colouring pages as a starting point. I created several printables based on my Self-Care blog posts, uploaded them to my Gumroad for free (although you can charge for them), and several people have left me tips. Side-note: this is my favourite blog planner!
- Copywriting. Use your blogging skills to write for someone else! Find jobs on ProBlogger and Freelance Writing. You can also find many freelance writing opportunities on Twitter. You can also create a profile on Fiverr or Upwork, but they won’t pay as well.
- Sell templates for social media, ad banners, or pin templates. This is a really popular way to make money blogging at the moment, especially pin templates for Canva! Why do people buy them? They might not have the graphic design skills you have, or simply want to save time. I use Entrepreneur Templates for everything I could ever need for marketing and branding, it’s amazing. If you’re stuck for ideas, I wrote a post featuring 15 easy-to-make digital products.
- Are you an expert at writing, marketing, design or something else? Consider a consulting, coaching, or auditing service. Some bloggers make a lot of money from these services and charge by the hour.
- Collaborate with another blogger and sell a product or ebook bundle together. This way, both of your audiences will be interested in the product.
- Do you have an email list? If so, you could sell ad space on there too, if you have a large subscriber base!
- Write some personal essays on Medium. Did you know that Medium writers get paid? I’ve decided to share personal essays on Medium because there’s a huge audience for that kind of content. As a disabled, neurodivergent woman, I have a lot of stories to share! These types of blog posts don’t perform very well on my lifestyle blog, which makes sense. Most of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest and Google Search… people are generally looking for how-to posts, ideas, and answers to their questions. I do enjoy writing ‘personal posts’, so Medium is a great place for that!
- Write about money on Medium. It’s a very popular topic. If you’ve got some tips to share, whether that’s about making money from a blog, freelancing etc, it’s perfect for Medium. I set up this blog solely to write about making money online, to share my six years of experience with other bloggers and freelancers. Why? I didn’t want my creative lifestyle blog to turn into a ‘blogging about blogging’ blog. I love creating that content, and I wanted to keep it separate. If you don’t want to set up another blog (I feel you, it’s a lot of effort), you could always write on Medium.
- For the techy folk: create and sell WordPress themes. This can be very lucrative, just take a look at all the themes available on Creative Market! This will take a lot of work, and you’ll need to provide support for technical issues. Don’t do it if you’re not a pro!
I hope you found some useful ideas here about how to actually make money blogging in 2021! It’s never too late to get started: internet usage is increasing daily! Once you make your first few pounds (or dollars) online, you’ll be motivated to continue.
Remember that it’s not a race, don’t compare yourself to other bloggers who may already be making thousands online. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right for you!
Your goal by making money blogging in 2021 may be to create a full-time job, or maybe you’re looking for a side hustle. At the moment, blogging is my side hustle and hobby: I enjoy it, and I make some extra money from it!
All the best, Em.
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P.S. Did you find my blog through Pinterest? I bet you did! Big Pin Energy is the ebook I studied to skyrocket my blog in 2020, it's the best investment I've made in my 6 years of blogging.