How Bloggers Get Paid – An Introduction to Monetization

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How Bloggers Get Paid

This is an easy question to answer if you blog for someone as an employee… you get paid by your finance department! However, if you’re considering blogging as a career outside of the employer / employee structure, the answer to how bloggers get paid is a little more nebulous.

My intention in this post is to touch upon and explain the following:

  • How bloggers get paid through monetizing.
  • The ways in which bloggers get paid.
  • How much bloggers get paid.

At the end of this post I’ll summarize the main points of the post to highlight the most pertinent relating to bloggers and their pay.

How Bloggers Get Paid Through Monetizing

What do I mean by monetizing? Monetizing your blog is the process whereby you add elements in your posts and pages that result in you as the blogger receiving a payment. Such elements might be:

  1. Sponsored posts.
  2. Links to products or services (Affiliate Programs).
  3. Advertisements.

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are articles you post on your blog, written by someone else for which you get paid. The main reason someone would be prepared to pay you for allowing them to post on your blog is they perceive there will be some value for them in doing so. That value might be:

  • Traffic – If your blog receive limits of visitors, they might feel that your blog will generate visits to their domain through clicks on their links to it.
  • Warm leads – They might believe that a post on your blog is an endorsement from you, through which your loyal readers may be more likely to purchase from them.
  • SEO – If your blog domain has a high domain authority, they might perceive that any outbound links from your site to theirs will help their pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPS).

Well-established blogs with a high domain score can earn hundreds of dollars for an individual sponsored post: such bloggers can get paid a small fortune each month through a sponsored post revenue stream.

Links to Products or Services (Affiliate programs)

How do bloggers get paid through links? If you’ve never heard of affiliate marketing, it’s a process whereby you (an affiliate) promote the products and services of a business (a merchant). The merchant pays you a commission if your visitors click on special links to their site, which result in some type of transaction (a conversion) on their domain. The transaction could be:

  • Purchases, where the visitor buys something.
  • Leads, where the visitor provides personal information.

The special links (affiliate links) you use track the visitors you send to merchants and connect any conversions to your affiliate account. Hence you always know when you’ve earned affiliate commissions.

Bloggers sign up to an affiliate network, which advertises the affiliate program and manages the relationship between merchants and their affiliates. Once a member, you can apply for affiliate programs offered by the network.

If a merchant accepts your application to join their affiliate program, you can proceed to use the special links to their offers and expect to receive payment for any sales or leads you generate for them.

Here are links to some affiliate networks I use:

How Much Can Affiliate Bloggers Expect to Get Paid?

It varies… and quite considerably so depending upon the merchant and the value of the product or service. You might expect:

  • A percentage of the total value of the conversion, which might be anything between 1% to 50%.
  • A fixed amount per item or service sold, which again varies according to the product or service.

Some bloggers get paid fabulous amounts each month through affiliate marketing alone. As a rule though you have to send lots of traffic to a product that converts at a reasonably high rate to make a decent income.

Advertisements

This is perhaps the easiest way bloggers get paid, and likely the reason why most bloggers start monetising their blogs with it before any other method.

You can earn money either by:

  • Selling advertising space directly to an advertiser.
  • Joining ad networks that deliver advertisements directly to your site wherever you specify.

Selling Advertising Space on Your Blog

This can be a reasonably lucrative way to earn money from your blog… but there are caveats.

In order to get paid for selling ad space on your blog you’ll need to be well-established, with lots of traffic and a high number of page views each month. Nobody is going to pay you top-dolllar to take an ad slot on your blog if no-one is likely to see it. Advertisers want to know their ad spend is going to get impressions for brand reach or clicks to drive visits.

So how do you get paid top-dollar for selling advertising space?

You can be paid higher amounts for ad space on your blog if:

  • You receive substantial traffic and generate high page views.
  • Your domain has a high ranking in search engines.
  • You have tens of thousands of followers.

Advertisers want to know they are going to get good bang for their buck, so if you’re meeting the above criteria, you may be able to sell ad space on your blog and get paid well for doing so.

The downside is you have to manage the relationship yourself.

Ad Networks

A simpler way to get paid for advertising on your blog is to join an ad network. It’s easier than selling ad space directly to advertisers because:

  • It’s not necessary to put yourself out there to find advertisers willing to purchase your ad space.
  • You don’t necessarily need to have a minimum number of page visits / page views before you can apply to join their network.

Ad networks require small pieces of code installed on your blog, to which they are able to send ads. It’s as simple as that. No need to solicit advertisers or advertising creative… you just plug in the code and go.

There are a variety of ad networks to which you can apply:

N.B. There are many others!

Google Adsense and Media.net are the easiest ad networks to join, since there is very little in the way of qualifying criteria to sign up with them.

Media.net is really easy to join but pays less than other networks for ad engagement. With Google Adsense you have to have a blog with content (probably around 20 posts – but unique and high quality content is a must).

In general, Google Adsense is probably one of the most commonly used ad networks for bloggers to be paid out of the gate.

Mediavine and Adthrive are perhaps the most desirable ad networks because they pay much higher rates for ad engagement. However there is a price for this. You have to be getting a LOT of traffic to your blog:

  • Mediavine > 25K sessions each month
  • Adthrive > 100K page views each month.

It will take time to hit these numbers, so Media.net and Adsense will be your best bet to begin with.

Find out more about monetizing your blog here: How to Start a Blog

Ad Network Payment Structure for Engagement: CPC and CPM

As networks generally work on a payment model of either CPC or CPM:

CPC stands for cost per click. In the cost per click model, the blogger gets paid each time an ad receives a click. The amount paid varies depending upon how much the advertiser pays the ad network for advertising.

CPM is an acronym meaning cost per thousand impressions. Advertiser agree a price with the ad network regarding how much it pays per every thousand times their ads get shown.

In both models the advertiser pays the ad network. The ad network pays the blogger a share in this revenue.

Courses & Digital Products

We’re getting into the potentially more profitable methods for bloggers. Digital products can have a significant bearing on his much bloggers get paid each month.

A digital product is an asset that you create once but that you can sell over and over again as many times as you possibly can. Examples of digital products are:

  • Courses.
  • Ebooks.
  • Webinars.
  • Templates.
  • Images.
  • Tutorials.

You get paid whatever you want to charge for each digital product, less the cost of producing it and the transaction processing fees.

Creating digital assets that add value in a blog generating thousands of visitors can create a very healthy side income. So one bloggers even earn exclusively from their digital courses.

Physical Products

Not not creating digital products? Bloggers can earn money as a retailer by either drop-shipping or holding stock inventory themselves. You might just have a small range of branded t-shirts or a perhaps a full-on collection of tableware!

There are drawbacks to holding your own inventory since you need physical space to do so. You also have to get to grips with cashflow and retailer margins when selling physical stock… as well as dispatch and after sales support, so it’s not something for me: I’ve been there and it’s hard work!

Membership Subscriptions

If you offer amazing content and have a loyal following, bloggers can get paid for opening up a Membership area of their blogs. This generally offers more valuable insights and information than the content in the free zones of your blog, hence people have to pay for it.

This is a great model in many ways since assuming you have enough subscribers and consistently produce awesome content in your membership area, loyal subscribers will keep paying their monthly fees. Think about this… 100 members each paying you $20 per month to access your membership area. That’s $2,000 a month… and every 100 followers you add to this adds another $2,000.

Membership subscriptions can be an incredible way to really increase blogger income but your gated content has to be A-grade to encourage repeat subscriptions…. that’s no mean feat and takes a lot of work!

The Ways in Which Bloggers Get Paid

Affiliate program payments depend upon the affiliate network. You have to add your payment preferences into your account set up before you can be a fully active member of the affiliate network programs. Normally payment is by bank transfer.

Payment for sponsored posts usually takes place directly between the payee and the blogger: the blogger gets paid by the person making the sponsored post solicitation. The way in which you get paid is down to you (PayPal, bank transfer, etc.).

If you’re selling digital products, physical products or membership subscriptions you either have to have to have a function to capture payments on your blog or sell via a third-party.

If you use a payment gateway on your blog for processing payments, you’ll be able to accept most online payment forms (there will of course be charges for this). A third-party seller will likely pay via your preferred method, depending upon their terms (they will most certainly take a cut).

How Much Bloggers Get Paid

I’ve covered this in some detail in a recent article, which looks at the 21 bloggers and How much they get paid. You can read it here: How Much Money Can You Make Blogging?

How much bloggers get paid varies enormously. Some bloggers earn a nice side income. Others earn sums that would make traditional business leaders scratch their heads in wonder!

Sometimes people get lucky, but more often than not, those bloggers who work hard, smart and remain committed over the long term tend to be the bloggers who get paid the most.

Summary

  • Bloggers get paid by monetizing their blogs through advertising, affiliate marketing and direct selling.
  • The amount bloggers get paid has a direct relationship with the number of visitors their blogs receive and how engaged those visitors are.
  • Some niches are more profitable than others.
  • There are many bloggers getting paid 5 figure sums upwards.
  • Is blogging hard work? You betcha! It takes time to build sufficient visitor numbers to make a full-time income, but blogging is a way to make a decent side income for anyone with time, commitment and effort.

That’s it for now.

Paul

Are you a blogger earning money from your blog? How do you get paid? Drop a comment below and share your experiences.

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