3 Clever Ways To Make Money Blogging Online

Content may contain affiliate links
You’ve probably already heard about all the mundane ways to make money blogging, like Google Adsense, lksdjfklsdfj, and blah blah blah. But is that what’s really going to work for most aspiring bloggers starting from nothing? In this article, we’re going to go over what’s worked for me to start earning income from my blog right away in my first month, and what you can easily apply your own spin on and recreate for yourself. We’ll cover things like writing about ailment solutions, product testing and reviews, and even screencast tutorials. By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea of which ways to make money with your own blog, feel like a good fit for you!

How Do You Make Money Blogging?

13 Popular Ways To Make Money With A Blog

  1. Display Advertising (cpm)
  2. Direct Advertising / Sponsored Content
  3. Digital Product Sales
  4. Physical Product Sales
  5. Affiliate Marketing (cpa, cps)
  6. Training Seminars / Speaking Engagements
  7. Tools & Software (SAAS or Downloadable)
  8. Memberships Or Content Lockers/Paid Upgrades
  9. Web Services
  10. Coaching / Training
  11. eCourses
  12. Freemium Email Marketing
  13. Tell me a new one in the comments below!

Just like anything, there’s different strokes for different folks. Some bloggers choose to try and drive as much traffic as they can do their blog and monetize those views with display ads. I’m sure you’ve seen the different types of banner ads that pop up all over the sidebar of popular news sites and such… That’s exactly what I mean. This method is primarily CPM based, whereby the advertiser pays a third party ad placement network (or goes direct to the blogger on high traffic sites) a certain few per thousand impressions. Personally I don’t follow this model, as you’re getting paid for users to LEAVE your site. If you ever want to get into the product game, sell a training, or anything for that matter, this is not the way to go.

The main reason I don’t allow adsense and other display advertisements here on Clever Leverage, is because I can’t control the ads shown to you guys without spending every hour of my day policing them. That last thing I want is for someone to sign up to some bullshit pyramid scheme or shady MLM business from my site!

What I do like however, is recommending products and services I use and like myself, and earning a commission on things you were going to buy anyway. That is called affiliate marketing, as is essentially just commission sales where a merchant is willing to pay a small percentage of the sale to the referrer… All at no extra cost to the buyer.

I prefer to make money with my blog this way instead, that way it keeps my content higher quality (so I’m not just trying to churn out more words to get more views on ads) gives me flexibility on what topics I can cover, and I’m not at the disposal of any other company telling what I can and can’t write about. Like I mentioned earlier, I really resonate with profiting off of items people were going to buy anyway (Amazon affiliate for instance), and earning commission from recommending products and services I use myself/have already vetted.

Here’s How I Make Money Through Blogging & Vlogging On YouTube

Right now I’m still finding my wings with my blog so to speak. My long term vision is to have a huge value bank of free tutorials (100-150), that leverage my time and experience in the web services industry, as well as sections for a solid lifestyle covering income, investing, maintaining quality health, and all things blogging/internet businesses. These are things I like, and I want to build more of a lifestyle business that I can operate from anywhere. But that will take time, and until then, this is what has worked for me so far.

Thus far, I blog about products I buy, both good and bad, and am even starting to get offers from Amazon merchants to send me free products in exchange for comparing them to products I’ve already purchased/didn’t like. Cool deal! I make review videos in addition to written content that gets uploaded to my youtube channel, so there’s more than one way for consumers to find and consume my material.

How To Make Money Off YouTube When Your Blog Has No Traction

When your blog is in it’s infancy, it’ll be harder to garner traffic from what would normally work very well. There’s typically a period of time when you first start your blog, that things need to “marinate” shall we say. During this time period, you can easily make up for it with a little YouTube traffic.

An easy way to do this, is each time you publish a blog post, make a YouTube video to go along with it. This will do two things: 1) it’ll give you another piece of media to embed in your blog posts (which gives readers options to consume your content), and 2) you can get traffic to your videos through YouTube on it’s own. If you’re linking up your descriptions of each video like you should be, some percentage of those watchers will come back to your blog to see what else you’ve got if you’re putting out good stuff.

You can also monetize your YouTube videos with the built in ad platform, Adsense. Don’t expect to get rich off those ads however, they usually pay something like $.03 cents per view which is hardly anything. BUT, if you put up around 100 videos or so, you should be making $10 – $20 dollars per month, and that can pay for other tools you may need on your blog like keyword research tools. It all adds up ya know!

How To Take Your Youtube Income To The Next Level With Affiliate Marketing?

It’s no secret I make way more money from the products I review and recommend in my YouTube videos than I do on the YouTube ads themselves. Pretty much every other YouTuber that doesn’t have millions of followers is in the same boat, since every million views will typically pay between $1,000 and $3000 dollars depending on  your reach.

Most of the gear reviewers make bank from reviewing cameras, tech gear, laptops, computer accessories, etc… NOT from the ads themselves. Those are just kind of like a little bonus icing on the cake if you know what I mean. Simply putting out good content that either saves people time, money, or frustration, and adding your affiliate links in the YouTube description will make far more income in the short term than just relying on ads alone.

Are There Any Top Secret Tools You Used To Help With This Success?

There’s tons of youtubers that never get any traction whatsoever, and I was in the same boat in the beginning. I wasn’t using any tools, but then stumbled upon a youtube marketing tool that helps tremendously when uploading new videos and managing the tags and descriptions of hundreds of videos.

So yes there’s one, it’s a service called Tubebuddy and it helps me optimize my videos to get more views, more related video exposure, and rank higher in search. It REALLY helps with tagging, because it can be a monotonous task at best, and the interface automatically shows you what the most popular videos for that topic are using so you can model them.

How Can You Replicate This With Your Own Blog?

1) Blog About What You Already Buy

I don’t know why more people don’t recommend this! I think everyone should be doing it since it’s so simple. We are all consumers in one way or another right? We’re already buying things on the regular, even if they’re ordinary toiletries like deodorants and toothpaste, with the occasional fun item in between. Well I don’t think a lot of people realize, it’s fairly simple to setup your own blog and starts talking about these things we use in our everyday lives. And best of all, there’s free mass market affiliate programs like Amazon Associates Program you can monetize with simply by going back and adding your affiliate links.

If you take a look at my income reports, you’ll see I’ve just started blogging here at Clever Leverage, but I didn’t just get started online. I’m still learning and this blog is in it’s infancy, but if you notice the small traction I am getting, most of it is coming from me blogging about products and services I purchase or use in my everyday daily life.

Review Products And Make Them Pay For Themselves
(it doesn’t work every time, but sometimes you end up getting things for free!)

For instance, the Merax Finiss mountian bike I bought last November cost me $199 when I bought it on sale, and I was hesitant to buy it because there were only like 6 reviews on Amazon. It was a Prime item, so I knew I could return it if it was shit so I pulled the trigger. It turned out to be awesome looking, and I’m still riding it today.

All I did was leverage that experience into two platforms that leverage my time: my blog and my Youtube channel. Now when people search for reviews of the Merax Finiss, they come across mine and sometimes purchase through my amazon affiliate link. I normally earn 4 – 6% commissions on those purchases through the Amazon affiliate program (which is free btw, anyone can signup), so a $200 item will net me $8 – $15 dollars. If that happens a few times a month, it starts to add up, and over the course of the next year or so, that bike will pay for itself many times over.

Now compound that with everything else you’ve bought that was awesome in the past year, and you’re well on your way to some decent passive income. It’s not super easy, but it’s not super hard either… Just takes a little effort. There’s nothing stopping you from doing the same thing, and stumbling onto products MUCH more popular than the one’s I’ve reviewed!

If you need help getting your first blog setup in less than an hour, these free resources will help you:

P.S. – if you need more inspiration for items you can do this around, check out my eye mask reviews for more real world ideas, people buy them every day. (finding one that fit was a real problem for me, and all the reviews sucked so I bought them all and tested them out. I didn’t set out to do that, just documented the problem I had by making videos and uploading them to YouTube afterward… which make me pennies each day from the ads, but it’ll ramp up in the future.) While the youtube ads don’t make much, I earn $1 or $2 every time someone buys an eye mask through my Amazon affiliate link in the description of the video, or in my blog post. Another good example is when I used to do more local lead gen – – we’d have trouble finding good call tracking providers, so I put together a post covering the best 800 number services for businesses, and answered common questions like how to buy vanity business phone numbers and whatnot. Any of these ideas can make money, and it’s highly likely you have experience with some product or service that’s a lot more popular than my examples here. Generally, the more popular, the more income you can earn.

2) Teaching (virtual online courses)

Is there a popular skill you have, or maybe some type of technologically oriented problem you’ve solved in your own life and can teach others how to do it?

A new wave of passive income seekers have been earning extra income (and some even full time income) from a platform called Udemy. Udemy is a platform that hosts your videos and content that makes up the bulk of your course. People pay to watch the course, and learn how to do whatever you’re teaching. What makes this unique, is that Udemy markets all the courses on it’s platform for you, and takes a cut of the profits for doing so.

Where I see the ability to create extra leverage for yourself here, is building a persona with your blog, and integrate the two. (I’m working on doing this for myself as we speak!) I see a lot of course providers leaving money on the table by not doing this, and it makes complete sense to integrate paid courses with your blog where the topics overlap… Instead of people paying you for consulting or other direct exchanges for your time for dollars, you can record whatever you’re teaching once, and get paid over and over for it!

So how is this any different than the freemium blogging/youtube model that you’ve been doing Matt? Well, most bloggers get to a certain level of success, and they offer consulting and or coaching usually. But again, this ties them to a direct exchange of time for money, which is the exact opposite of the whole allure of getting into blogging in the first place! (well for me anyway… I wanted location and time independence) So, instead of expanding your value ladder in that way (thanks Elliot), add rungs or tiers that leverage your time instead. Udemy is the perfect blend to do that with, but I don’t see a lot of bloggers doing it yet. I plan to leverage this more to grow my passive income sector that you see in my blog income reports.

3) Free Tutorials (software, SAAS platforms, tech skills, etc… “affiliate marketing”)

Much like the above, whereby you teach others a particular skill and charge for it, this is very similar in nature. Except, you do it for free, and monetize on the backend which is essentially what I do right now.

By picking a niche and developing a youtube channel, you can easily build a following of people who want to learn how to do something. For instance, you could make Microsoft Excel tips and tutorial videos, and monetize by recommending plugins and addons as an affiliate. Or you could even combine the above idea, and recommend more advanced tutorials on Udemy as an affiliate instead of a course provider. (I do this right now)

This same model applies to almost any industry you could think of. Maybe you know how to work on engines, and can put together tutorials of you in your shop or garage and upload those videos to youtube that show wanna-be garage mechanics how to change the front control arm on a Toyota 4runner. (I made that up, but it’s something I may need to do in real life 😉 )  You would earn extra income from the youtube ads if you’re running them, but the main way you’d monetize is by recommending stock OEM VS aftermarket parts brands in your video descriptions and on your blog if you have one. All the popular parts houses (Jeggs, JC Whitney, etc…) all have affiliate programs you can sign up for for free, and earn anywhere from 5% – 25% on each sale without having to anything else. (they take care of all the fulfillment, and all this at no extra cost to the customer. I.E. – they’re willing to take a reduction in profits per item, in exchange for acquiring new customers. They’ll make this up through lifetime value, emailing them coupons, reintroducing them into the buying cycle in various ways, direct mail, etc… It’s cheaper to let you market for them in this way, than acquiring each customer through a direct pay per lead. Plus they cast a much wider net.)

So we’re getting off topic a bit here. The sub title specifically states SAAS tutorials, which is my blanket statement for server side software services, and also downloadable software programs. (most all communicate with a homebase and call home for updates anyway these days, so I lump them together)

Let’s look at blogging tools for example: there are tons of keyword tools that help you refine blog post ideas and make more money, there is blog template creation software that lets you easily customize the look and fell of your blog with no coding experience, and even fee and paid blogging platforms themselves that run each blog. There’s always an opportunity here to teach people how to operate them in your own unique way, as many times the software companies themselves don’t organize their user manuals in an easy to digest manner.

Anyone who gets familiar with these platforms can easily create tutorials on how to use a certain tool or software. You would teach people for free, and then encourage any new users to sign up using your referral link/code. In many cases, just being an affiliate for a company gives you access to special pricing and you get to offer your viewers a discount on what they’d normally pay if they went directly to the website to order without seeing your tutorial. Win Win!

Another direct example from the blogging niche, is the sub niche of food blogging. Recipes and all things food are super popular, and it’s easy to garner pinterest traffic if you’re good at taking food photography. But what about all those little food blogs less than a year old that are making over $1,000 a month? Most of them don’t have much traffic, but they supplement by recommending kitchen appliances and equipment used to make the recipes (that real traffic driver). Sure it’s not anything to retire on, but it gets them by while they gain popularity and the same process can work for you in other industries as well.

– Bonus

Let’s not forget all the physical products you use alongside all these virtual items, software, etc… When you talk about apps on your phone, reading ebooks, using software or SAAS services, normally they’re are physical goods associated with those you already use. Simply recommending a particular model to use for a certain task, can help people who may want to do what you’re showing them but haven’t started yet. (great example is someone wanting to learn graphic design, finds your graphic design tutorials, but hasn’t bought a laptop with enough RAM to run the right programs yet. Now you’ve inspired them and trained them how to do whatever it is they want to do, and they’re ready to get that piece of equipment and execute. If you have another video where you cover that, or even include those recommendations with your tutorial, BAM you can earn a commission on something semi related that they were going to buy anyway. You’ve also helped them twice, without even intending to… It’s simply good practice to cover all the bases someone might want to know, and be as helpful as possible. That mentality will reward you ten fold.

P.S. – this can be as simple as setting something up like My Setup. People are often wondering what equipment I use to produce certain videos, blog posts, graphics, etc… So I put together a cool page that shows what’s in my office. Next time they want to upgrade their mic for example, they might check my setup and see if I’ve added any new cool equipment that would help them out better. (I usually link to my reviews in those product descriptions, often comparing a couple models of something I’ve bought in the past… So they can be super helpful if they’re trying to do something similar)

Things I Could Do But Don’t

Here are a few more common ways blogger monetize their sites. I don’t personally indulge in these, but just because they’re not a good fit for me, doesn’t mean they’re not right for you.

  1. sponsored campaigns/posts
  2. selling digital products
    • ebooks
    • software – wordpress plugins, themes, etc…
  3. selling physical products
  4. SAAS (selling software as a service)
  5. teaching (courses)
  6. direct ad placement
  7. consulting/coaching

How Other Successful Bloggers Make Money

coming soon…

If you need help setting up your first blog:


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