Blogging is an attractive activity as it can be a creative way to share your unique perspective with the world. The best part is that the possibilities are endless.
At the same time, you want to add value to your readers (and maybe even turn your passion into income).
In this post, we'll walk through how to monetize a blog and provide examples of the most popular (and lucrative) types of blogs to help you find inspiration when you start your own blog.
How do blogs make money?
Line any work of love, blogging is still work. The good news is that there are a number of ways you can make money from this work, including:
- advertising – Ad networks like Google AdSense pay to serve ads to your visitors. You receive a commission for the clicks you earn.
- Affiliate marketing – You can get paid to promote products to your audience by joining an affiliate program like Amazon Associates. You earn a commission from sales generated by your blog.
- Lead / demand generation – You can always use your blog to promote your own business, whether you are offering a service, running an e-commerce store, selling digital products like online courses, or running a subscription / content model for exclusive content .
However, be aware that none of these can work unless you first create valuable content that will attract an audience. The last thing you need to do is turn your blog into a billboard in the middle of the desert.
Even so, there are some popular niches that, when implemented effectively, go very well with blog monetization.
Types of blogs that make money
- B2B / marketing
- health and fitness
In this category, readers will find posts like fashion obsessions, back-to-school looks, makeup tutorials, and more. It is customary to include sponsorships as shown below at Vooray. The two brands worked together on a sports bag in 2017 and published it on the LSF blog and website:
With brand partnerships, companies typically look for hits in their industry and offer the brand the opportunity to design a product for base pay and a percentage of profit only. And while this is a common occurrence in the beauty industry, it is definitely not an industry-specific idea.
As a self-proclaimed foodie, food blogs are my favorite blog types. They usually follow a similar content format of categorically organized recipes. Some have videos that can be combined with these recipes, as well as social media channels, all of which are linked to the blog in some way.
Above is an example of one of my favorite food blogs, Minimalist Baker. Notice how the title of the post contains information that could attract a foodie in "5 minutes" and "plant-based". This recipe will appeal to anyone looking for simple, straightforward cooking.
Minimalist Baker provides this value to attract readers, and they use affiliate links to monetize their blog.
There are sports blogs for every imaginable sport – even squash. If you are passionate about athletics and you love to write, this may be the perfect interface for you. Sports blogs are an important source for fans to find out what they have been missing out on.
Like this ESPN Screengrab, sports blogs also share industry news – these two stories are about the Super Bowl. So if you are thinking of running a sports blog, you have options. You can either focus on a specific sport or take a more holistic approach like ESPN.
ESPN uses their website and blog as a companion to their media exposure to attract and retain viewers. However, other sports blogs use banner ads to monetize the traffic they generate.
If you love to travel and capture the moments, a travel blog might be for you. There is something about travel blogs that is so relaxing in my opinion – seeing pictures of beautiful travel destinations is always a pleasure. If you're looking to start a travel blog, you might want to invest in a nice camera.
For example, check out this vibrant, colorful photo of the Charles River. (I'm probably a little biased considering I live in Boston and commute across this river on a daily basis). To rank high on the SERPs, you should have high quality images so that travel lovers are forced to view your posts.
Travel blogs can use a number of ways to generate income. The most common ones are banner ads, native ads, sponsored posts, and affiliate links for products like suitcases or airline tickets.
Lifestyle blogs are probably the most versatile blog types. Appropriately named lifestyle blogs are about a person's life. What they like to do, where they like to eat and shop … Think of a lifestyle blog as a website for influencers. Take a look at this lifestyle blog, Love Taza, for an example:
A number of influencers use blogs to market themselves and build a solid following. Often times, companies look to an influencer blog or website to get more information about them (as well as contact information) if they're interested in maintaining a partnership. If you are interested in becoming an influencer or just want to share more of your life with friends and family, this may be the blog for you.
You can monetize a lifestyle blog with affiliate links, native ads, and sponsored posts. Banner advertising for ad networks works well here too.
This is another type of blog of mine to be guilty largely because parenting blogs have incredible interiors (another type of blog, FYI). Parent blogs usually provide advice and share tellable stories with other parents or those who expect it.
Parent blogs can be a great resource for new parents and a way to branch out to other branches. Many parent blogs have added a YouTube channel to keep content fresh and engaging and to expand into new target markets. For example, Happily Eva After, the parenting blog shown above, now has a thriving YouTube channel.
Parenthood offers many opportunities for product purchases, so the opportunities for monetization are limitless.
Gambling has grown into an industry that typically takes place online today. Between downloadable content (DLC) and games that depend on an internet connection, it's difficult to be a gamer when you're not online. This is why gaming blogs are extremely popular.
From game announcements to corporate sponsorship, gaming blogs can go a number of ways. They can include game reports, walkthroughs, cheat codes, or content codes. Since playing YouTube channels draws a lot of fans, this type of blog can also become its own YouTube channel. Additionally, it's a good place for gamers to connect with each other, especially if you allow your readers to get involved (like in the comments section of your blog).
You can monetize the blog with banner ads, or use the blog to drive demand for streaming channels where more views mean more money.
8. B2B / Marketing
You probably guessed it – this blog you are reading is an example of the B2B / Marketing category. Since we offer marketing products as part of our CRM platform, we use our blog to help millions of people grow better, whether they use our products or not.
By creating content for marketers, a marketing blog can attract marketers, and that is the target audience for a marketing software company. By providing value, you can build your trust and authority in the industry, which can help position your goods or services in this demographic.
I want to make it clear that marketing isn't the only industry that B2B blogs represent. Instead, it's more of an example of the kind of B2B blog you can find there.
If you are in any other industry then you can definitely use this as a cross section for a B2B blog. For more information on B2B marketing and how a blog looks and feel in this industry, check out our ultimate guide here.
9. Heath and fitness
You may have heard of Fitstagrams (fitness travel Instagram accounts), but fitness blogs are a dime and a dozen too. These blogs recommend workout tips, healthy recipes, and sometimes offer full workout plans in a "how-to" format, like this post from Nerd Fitness.
Fitness blogs can be a great companion for those looking to start their fitness journey. They're usually focused on a holistic view of healthy living in general, not just exercise. Readers may be interested in perfecting their fitness routine, finding new ways to make healthy eating exciting, or looking for motivation to stick with their fitness lifestyle.
This is not an extensive list. When you have an idea, see what can become of it. The good thing about blogs is that you can take them with you anywhere. If the content is compelling to a particular readership, money and notoriety come after.
Here are some examples of high income blogs and the categories they are in.
- Love sweat fitness
- PC player
- Apartment therapy
- PS I'm on my way
- Lauren Conrad
- Nerd wallet
- Rookie moms
1. Love sweat fitness
Fitness Blog Love Sweat Fitness, started by Katie Dunlap, is a comprehensive fitness blog that features content from workouts to healthy recipes and more. The blog attracts over 7,000 organic (search) visits per month and she uses her content to also promote the products in her e-commerce shop.
Grammarly is a niche blog that offers writing tips, articles on grammar, and even advice on writing projects like resumes, professional communication, and thesis writing. Their mission is to “Make Life Better by Improving Communication” and their helpful content is generating over 14 million organic visits per month. They use the brand awareness generated by this visibility to promote their grammar app and extension, which includes a free version and a premium version (paid).
3. PC player
PC Gamer is a blog that features reviews, demos, and news updates on gaming and gamer technology. Their content generates over 13 million organic visits per month and they monetize that traffic with affiliate links.
For example, this is a post on the best PCs to buy for gaming. It has been updated for 2020. The post has reader suggestions on which computers are best for PC gaming, and almost every product has an Amazon link.
Every time a user clicks the Amazon link, the website makes a profit, as does Amazon. This allows the website to fund its extensive lists.
4. Apartment therapy
Apartment Therapy is a lifestyle blog that deals with topics such as interior design and living, and covers everything from trendy furniture to hacks to money matters. It generates over 1.6 million organic visits per month. This traffic is monetized through sponsored posts (like the one below), banner ads, and affiliate links.
5. PS I'm on my way
PS I'm on the way is a travel blog by Trisha Velarmino and while she travels around the world learning about other cultures. Her content earns over 1,400 organic visits per month (and more from social media), and she's featured in a number of publications from Cosmo to Tripadvisor. She monetizes her blog by offering travel coaching services and digital courses. In addition, the sidebar on her blog contains banner ads.
6. Lauren Conrad
Lauren Conrad's blog is a lifestyle and fashion blog and mainly reports on trends and product launches that bring in more than 57,000 organic visits per month. Lauren Conrad is considered an influencer, and that status helps her forge partnerships to monetize her content.
This piece highlights another fashion influencer, Jessi Burrone, the model for the photos in this post. LC and Burrone worked together on a lot of filming the site.
When you see Burrone wearing a brand's fashions (she's wearing LC clothing in the photos), some followers might see it and say, "Well, now I need this sweater when Jessi has it."
7. Nerd wallet
Nerdwallet is an app for comparing credit cards and making smart money movements. Almost their entire business model revolves around their content, which generates over 11 million organic visits to their website every month. Their app is free, but they make money through partnering partnerships with credit institutions and credit card companies.
8. Rookie Moms
Rookie Moms is a #MomLife advocate blog that discusses all parenting issues / issues. Her blog is a powerhouse that brings in over 22,000 organic visits per month and generates revenue from banner ads and affiliate product links.
If you are passionate about sharing and an audience is ready to take your insights, monetization is definitely on the table once you start getting real interest. The hard part is getting started and creating the value that will make people want to come. With a content management system and a little elbow grease, you are well on your way.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for completeness.