There are two types of blog owners– one who maintains a blog for the sole purpose of earning money, others who want to share their random musing, ideas, and experiences.
It doesn't matter which category of blogger you are, maintaining a blog requires some money…you need to renew web hosting, and domain name annually.
So, whether you are planning to make a living from a blog or want to earn money enough for the blogging expenses, I am here to help you make money with these top 5 free ways to monetize a WordPress blog.
These methods that I am going to talk about for monetizing WordPress blog are very effective and free! But, you have to be patient.
Some bloggers make six figures blogging. But, you shouldn't expect that much as a beginner. Also, there are many websites that might mislead you into believing that you can actually make 10k overnight online. They are scams, better stay away from them.
All the website monetizing techniques that I will teach you here needs you to have a decent amount of traffic on your blog. You can bring in a huge amount of traffic to your website by following these On-Page SEO techniques and reading our guide to effectively increase traffic to your WordPress website/blog. So, if you are serious about making money with blogging, you need to write quality content and increase blog traffic.
If you are determined to make money and if you are ready, let’s monetize your WordPress blog!
Note: WordPress.com does not allow some of the monetizing methods mentioned here. So, I suggest you use self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org).
Table of Contents
- 1. Google AdSense: Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements
- 2. Google AdSense for Search: Custom Search Engines
- 3. Sponsored Posts
- 4. Affiliate Links (Amazon, CJ affiliate, Clickbank)
- 5. Your own products
- Which one’s the best option?
1. Google AdSense: Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements
Have you ever wondered how Google makes money despite all the free services they give you? It’s through Adwords (PPC advertising).
Pay Per Click (PPC), also called Cost Per Click (CPC), is the easiest form of monetization for a website/blog. PPC, as the name says, is pay per click advertising. You post the ads on your blog and get paid if someone clicks on it.
How does it work?
People advertise their products/services through a PPC company (Adwords in case of Google). PPC companies display ads on various platforms. The advertisers are charged only when the ads are clicked and websites/blogs that display the ads are paid only when someone clicks the ads. Some PPC companies even pay you for page impressions (number of visits on the page where there is an ad).
There are many PPC companies, but Google AdSense is the most popular one (Imagine how much money there is in PPC that a company like Google survives on it).
PPC is an easy way to make money with a blog. But, to place ads on your website, you must first apply for it.
I would recommend you to apply for Google AdSense. But many people get rejected because of their strict policy. In case, you didn’t get approved for Google AdSense, here are the alternatives.
Check Ad Network reviews before you apply for them.
You can apply for Google AdSense here.
Before you apply, make sure your website/blog has enough original content. Follow this official blog for everything about AdSense.
Once your AdSense is approved, you need to place the ad code on your website.
If you are not familiar with codes, this task can be daunting.
However, since you are on a WordPress blog, you can use plugins like Ad Inserter to place ads.
If you are using our Premium WordPress themes, you can easily place ads from the customizer.
Many people make a living with PPC on their website/blog. But, to make a good amount of money through PPC, your website needs to have a decent number of visitors.
But, there’s a bigger bummer– Ad Blockers.
According to stats, about 26% of the Internet users use Ad Blockers so you are losing an average of 26% of your PPC revenue.
But, don’t worry, there’s a way!
Our WordPress themes, Numinous Pro and Metro Magazine Pro, have an in-built Ad Blockers detector. So, if you use one of those themes and your visitors have Ad Blocker enabled, the user will get a customized message asking them to disable Ad Blocker. Hence, increasing your PPC revenue. You can try our free WordPress themes and if you need more features, you can always upgrade to the premium version.
You can display Ad Blocker notifications (with your own custom message) in three different formats: completely blocking the content of your website unless the user disables Ad Blocker, Pop-Up notification and floating notice.
Advantages of PPC:
- Good and easy passive income. Once you put the ad codes on your blog, you don’t need to do anything else. Relevant ads will be shown automatically.
Disadvantages of PPC
- No clicks on the ad, no money. You won’t earn much only with page impressions.
2. Google AdSense for Search: Custom Search Engines
Do you have a website with lots of information? People use your search form to find contents on your WordPress blog/website?
Then, you might want to replace your normal search bar with Google's Custom Search Engine (CSE).
Why? Because you can earn money with Google’s custom search form.
How? Every time someone searches through the CSE, some ads are also displayed along with the search results. What better place to place ads than the search results!
You can get Google’s Custom Search Engine here. But, to display the ads on the result page, you need to connect the search form with your AdSense account.
How to create Google's Custom Search Engines and earn money
Then, log in to your Google Account if you haven’t already.
Enter the URL of your blog/website that you want your user to be able to search. Enter “*.yourwebsite.com” if you want visitors to search the entire domain.
After that, select the language of the search. Give the name for the search engine. Click on “Create”.
You can even create different search engines for different pages of your WordPress website.
Click on “Get Code”. Copy the code and paste it on your website. You can use WordPress plugins to enter the code to ease your task.
Now, from the “Edit search engine” menu, select the search engine you want to monetize.
Go to “Make money” tab and turn on the Search Engine Monetization button.
You must use the same google account for search engines and AdSense to enable monetization.
Advantages of Google’s Custom Search Engines
- The click rates are high. So, more money!
Disadvantages of Google’s Custom Search Engines
- If your competitor uses Adwords to advertise, their ads might be shown in your search results because Google shows relevant advertisements. And, you might lose your potential customer. If you are an e-commerce site, I don’t recommend using this method.
3. Sponsored Posts
You write articles about some services/products related to your niche and the companies pay you.
Companies will approach you for sponsored posts if you are already famous. But, if you are a beginner, you need to make a plan and approach related companies with good proposals.
This method might need a little bit of people skill.
Some companies might even ask you to post a certain number of articles per month. Or, even ask you to place a custom ad on your website.
The benefit of this type of monetization is that you can charge your own rates. And, if you have yearly contracts, you know how much you earn.
You can earn by posting a sponsored post on your social media pages as well.
However, do not write biased posts because it might affect your credibility in the long run.
Just because companies are paying you doesn’t mean you have to write only the positive aspects of the service. Write genuine experiences about the products because what matters more is the trust of your visitors.
Advantages of Sponsored Post:
- You can set your own terms and conditions and rates.
Disadvantages of Sponsored Post:
- It is a little bit hard to find companies if you are a beginner. Also, sometimes you might be a little bit biased towards “your companies” while writing about their services.
4. Affiliate Links (Amazon, CJ affiliate, Clickbank)
This method is popular by the name Affiliate Marketing (or Amazon Associates).
The term “Affiliate Marketing” looks like a BIG and COMPLEX concept, but if you look at the basics, it’s a pretty easy thing to do.
When you learn about the benefits and the amount of money you can earn through affiliate links, I guarantee you will say something like this aloud (in your head at least): WHY DIDN’T I FIND OUT ABOUT THIS SOON!
In simple terms, affiliate marketing is a process in which you promote others products through your WordPress website and you get a commission if your visitors buy the product.
You choose the products you want to promote. You place the affiliate links to the products on your website/blog. And, you get a commission if someone buys the product through you. Simple as that.
Here’s how much commission Amazon pays for different categories of products (source).
Some people even create a whole website dedicated to Amazon affiliate program. They select a product category and write reviews about the products. They write articles like “Top 10 Books you should read” and place affiliate links to the books in the description.
Go ahead, apply for the one that you like the most.
You don’t need a separate blog/website to get the benefit of affiliate marketing. You can always find products related to your current niche.
You can also find independent companies that are looking for affiliate marketers like you. For example, here’s our affiliate link to SiteGround Hosting and Grammarly. We earn a commission if you buy products from those links.
Visit the big companies’ website of your niche and look for “Affiliate Program” section. Most of the companies have a link on the footer.
If you want to choose this method for monetizing your WordPress blog, here’s a good read. If you want more latest details and a complete guide on this method of making money, you will find this article about affiliate marketing very useful.
Important Things to Remember in Affiliate Marketing
- Affiliate Programs have strict terms and conditions. So, please read them carefully so that you don’t get banned.
- Always tell your users that you are using affiliate links. You could also create a separate disclaimer page telling that you use affiliate links on your website. This is required by law in some countries. Plus, Google might also remove your website from search results if you do not disclose.
- Use Affiliate link only where appropriate (in the context). You don’t want to lose your visitors with a bad user experience.
Advantages of Affiliate Links
- Highest paying passive income. Better than PPC if customers buy products.
Disadvantages of Affiliate Links
- No income if the visitors don’t buy products. And, good affiliate companies have policies that prioritize the latest referrals i.e. if your visitor clicks a product link from your website, didn’t buy the product then, but later bought the same product from a link on a different website, the other website will get the commission, not you.
5. Your own products
You can earn money online by selling your own products.
But, you must first establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
As a beginner, this method might not work out. Unless you are already popular offline.
Create a product (ebook, photographs) and sell them on your website. If you are popular, you can also sell your services like counseling, speaking in conferences and specialized training.
You can also make an e-commerce website with proper shopping experience to sell your products.
Basically, you will be using your website/blog as a promotional tool for selling yourself and your products. If you use right marketing techniques and if your products are good, you will earn a lot!
This method requires a lot of hard work from your side but, trust me, it is worth it.
Advantages of selling your own products
- You set your own rates. And, you don’t need to worry about getting banned like PPC or Affiliate Marketing.
Disadvantages of selling your own products
- Might take some time to establish yourself. Requires your full-time efforts (this is not a passive income source).
Which one’s the best option?
It depends on you.
You should consider things like how much time you can put into your blog.
Do you want to use your blog just for some extra pocket money? Or, do you want to make a career out of it?
If you are just looking for passive income with little effort use PPC and Custom Search Engines.
You can use affiliate marketing if you can dedicate at least 1/2 hours daily to search products and read products reviews.
If you are one of those guys who want to make blogging a full-time job in the future but can’t take a risk, here’s a strategy for you.
Apply for PPC and use them on your blog at the beginning. When you get hang of online monetization and start getting visitors, use affiliate links in your articles. Or, create a different blog just to do product reviews. You might also land some sponsored posts since you will be famous in your niche. Finally, create your own products with your brand when you are ready and have loyal followers.