Blogging + passive income go hand-in-hand.
You’re blogging because you want to live a certain lifestyle and I’m guessing it’s a lifestyle of more freedom – am I right?
So of course you want to monetize your blog with practically a hands-free approach, who wouldn’t!
With passive income you really do make money while you sleep. It’s soo exciting to wake up in the morning and check your email and it says “You’ve Been Paid!”
I’ve created and ran many a blog in my time Online and in many different niches. The two main ones I’m proud of are my Anti Aging and Facial Skin Care blogs (no longer Online).
But one of the hardest aspects I found in running a blog is finding suitable monetization methods to earn me a passive, recurring income without looking like a hard-sell sleazeball! Do you find this too?
This is why I decided to embark on finding everything there is to know about earning a passive income online, and why I encourage and help female bloggers to create little streams of passive income into their business.
The main thing when running a blogging business is to keep in the forefront of your mind that you’re helping and serving your audience. If you do this with your monetization offerings and recommendations, then your blog readers will be thankful because you’ve just helped them solve their problem.
Getting Clear on Your Customer Avatar
So with this in mind, here are five ways in which you can inject passive income cash-flows into your blogging business. These monetization methods will help scope and leverage your blog whilst helping your readers at the same time!
1) Affiliate Commissions
The easiest passive income method of making money from your blog is by recommending affiliate products to your visitors. Affiliate marketing is where you earn a commission when you recommend someone else’s product and that person buys the product through your affiliate link.
Think of Avon as an example as it works in a similar way. The Avon rep recommends various products to her customers, and if they purchase any of them, then the Avon rep gets a commission from the sale.
The key to being successful with affiliate marketing is to make sure that you recommend a product, or service, which is very tightly related to your blog’s niche. It must also be something that your visitors want or need and will benefit extremely highly from it.
Best Way To Recommend Affiliate Products
The best way to earn a commission through affiliate marketing is either by writing a review or a ‘how to’ tutorial around a certain product. This tutorial should be around the 2,000 word mark for it to have any substance and be of immense value to your audience.
This will probably take you around 2-4 hours, but once the hard work is done up-front, then you have created something which has the potential of being a nice little passive income stream on your blog.
Tell a story of how you use this product and how beneficial it is to you and how it also can be really helpful for your readers too. Include pictures of the product and sprinkle text links to the product too throughout your tutorial (or review).
Make sure you have your affiliate link embedded into the links (both graphic and text links) or you won’t get any affiliate commissions.
Finding Affiliate Products to Recommend
To find affiliate products think about what you are using now, and chances are your readers would like to use that same product or service too.
For example, if you use ConvertKit, Aweber or Mailchimp as your email service provider, then sign up to their affiliate program, write a tutorial on how you use Mailchimp (for example) and include an affiliate link.
- Beauty bloggers would review and recommend beauty products.
- DIY bloggers would do tutorials and recommend various art/décor/craft products.
- Food bloggers would recommend certain cooking products.
- Travel bloggers would recommend books, travel guides, travel bags, accessories etc.
- Fitness bloggers would do tutorials/videos on exercise and recommend a piece of exercise equipment, gym clothing, fitness accessories etc.
… you get my drift I’m sure!
All you need to do is type keyword + affiliate program into Google and a list of companies with affiliate programs will pop up.
beauty products + affiliate program
travel bags + affiliate program
cross-trainer + affiliate program
wok + affiliate program
Tip: Amazon is great as an affiliate because not only do they sell everything, they are a trusted brand and website and people do buy from Amazon. This means that your conversion rate will be higher using Amazon than recommending products from a website nobody has heard of before.
Plus… If people land on Amazon through your affiliate link, they sometimes also buy non-related items too of which you also get a commission on – cool eh!
2) Create a PDF Digital Download
Affiliate commissions are great if you get the tutorial/review just right, but nothing beats selling your own digital product. You’ll get to keep 100% of the profits instead of earning a small percentage of any affiliate sales!
‘How To’ eBook
The easiest digital product to create and sell is a simple PDF ebook. If you can write blog posts which your readers enjoy, then you can create your own digital PDF download. It’s soo easy!
I’ve create twelve an ebooks over the years as I find they are so easy (but tedious at times) to create.
Quick Steps To Create Your eBook:
#1 Decide on your topic
#2 Type out your chapters
#3 Fill in each chapter and finish off your book.
#4 THEN decide on your book Title.
#5 Turn your document into a PDF document.
#6 Upload it to your hosting server or Dropbox/Amazon S3.
#7 Decide on a suitable price.
#8 Decide on an ecommerce platform. This will take your payments and automatically deliver your ebook.
#9 Put a link to a sales page on your blog.
#10 Tell everyone about it!
I also used to run a blog about blogging where I create and sell printable/interactive worksheets for bloggers. Again making me a passive income but in a different niche.
So as you can see, you don’t just have to write a ‘how to’ guide (as in my books above), you can also create and sell worksheets or printables.
Actually, printables are very popular so if you can create and sell printables in your niche then that could be a good passive income stream right there!
3) Create Your Own Course
Online courses are all the rage right now especially with the involving simplicity of creating video’s and housing your course on platforms such as Teachable and Zippy Courses.
I’ve bought two courses over the last 18 months which cost $297 each, which seems to be the norm for Online courses. Both of these courses are hosted on Teachable.
If you sell just one course per week for $297, that’s $1,188 per month!
Teachable are also giving away a ton of free resources to help first-time course creators get their course Online.
Note: Their free ebook comes up as a ‘pop up’ when you’re on their site. You might want to download this if you’re interested in creating your own course.
Planning Your Course
As you can imagine, a LOT of organizing, planning and prep work has to go into a course with a price tag of $297. But believe me, a lot of people are willing to pay this if you have something valuable to offer and share.
From the courses I’ve purchased, they normally consist of 7 Modules and each Module showing 10-20 minute short video tutorials. So you could have 6 Modules consisting of 5 mini video tutorials (10-20 minutes) within each Module. So say an average course has 30 video tutorials at 15 minutes each, this would average around just under five hours worth of video tutorials.
You would probably want to include some handouts, worksheets, checklists etc. to go along with your modules.
So yes, it’s a lot of hard work up-front but once it’s done you’ll have an amazing passive income ‘asset’ which will bring you an income for months and even years to come.
>> Learn more about online courses with Teachable.
4) Monthly Membership Subscription
How would you like to earn a passive ‘recurring’ income? You cannot get past memberships for recurring payments.
Imagine, every month you know that you’re going to have a few hundred little payments going into your bank account like clock work. This is a great way to earn a monthly passive income to an existing photography business.
What could you offer on a monthly subscription basis?
- Meal plans and shopping lists
- Photography stock images
- Monthly fitness videos
The list can go on.
For example, if you didn’t fancy the idea of writing an ebook or creating a video course, then you could package that same knowledge up and instead of offering it in an ebook or video format, you could offer it as little mini lessons which go out on a monthly basis to your subscribers.
It would be the case of writing up your lessons and saving them as PDF documents. Uploading the PDFs onto your hosting server (or Dropbox, Amazon S3) and then sending out an email (which is automated) to let your subscribers know about their latest monthly lesson to download.
For the case of stock images, you would save them into a zip file and again, upload them onto your hosting server, or something similar, and send them to your subscribers on a monthly basis.
You can do this in two ways:
- Hook up your email service provider (e.g. Aweber) and Paypal account to talk to each other about accepting payments and adding subscribers.
- Purchase a membership site software/plugin and house all of your stock images and/or photography lessons PDFs within the membership. Then let the membership software send out monthly emails to your subscribers to let them know of that month’s download (must integrate with your email service provider).
You wouldn’t charge a lot for this subscription, something along the lines of $7-$15 per month. This is loose change in most people’s pockets and they wouldn’t miss this amount per month.
So for example, say you got 200 subscribers each paying $10 per month for your meal plans, that’s $2,000 per month!
Also, most people LOVE the thought of getting a new meal plan/video/printable each month.
5) Starting Your Own Membership Site
This passive income method is probably the most in-depth and initially time-consuming, but it’s the most stable and robust passive income business model there is.
It’s sooo much easier to acquire a customer as a membership subscriber and receive a monthly payment from them for months and years to come, as opposed to a one-off sale for a single product.
With a membership site you don’t have to continuously keep marketing your membership because you would work on the retainment of your current members. As with a one-off product, such as an ebook for example, you would have to continuously keep promoting or recommending this product just to get a one-off sale.
It’s a myth that people only stay in memberships for about 3 months and then leave. If you have your membership site set up in a specific way to help and nurture your members AND guide them through a success path, then why would they want to leave after only 3 months?
By giving your members a clear path which shows clarity and a clear vision of what they are going to learn, how they are going to get there, and with added support and encouragement from you (and your team), then you have a very strong, sustainable membership business model.
Earning Potential from a Membership Site
The monthly payments for these types of membership sites typically range anywhere from $27 to $97 per month, obviously depending on the content and level of support inside the membership.
So if you took the middle range of $47 per month and times that by 1,000 members (which is not hard to achieve), then you’ll be laughing $47,000 PER MONTH all the way to the bank whilst simultaneously doing a little happy dance!
Membership Site Plugins
If you use WordPress then there are several plugins you can use to control and manage your Membership. I use WishListMember for my membership site and highly recommend it, but there are others such as MemberPress and MemberMouse.
Another thing to note is that if you do want to start your own membership site, then I would either put it on a sub-domain or on a different domain altogether. I made the mistake of uploading the WishListMember plugin on my main domain which meant that the design and layout was dictated by the theme I was already using on my blog (the one you’re reading now).
So I re-uploaded the membership plugin on a sub-domain and still used the same template (to keep brand consistency between my blog and membership) but I designed the layout differently for the members area to make it more practical.
I could go on and on about setting up a membership site, but this is a whole other blog post in itself. So for today, I’ll leave that little seed which I’ve just implanted into your mind to mull over if setting up a membership site for a passive income.
So in summary, here are the five passive income ideas for bloggers:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Digital PDF Downloads
- Video Course
- Monthly Subscription
- Monthly Membership Site
Have I given you some food for thought about creating your own passive income?
I hope so.
So if you think that you would enjoy creating and selling digital products in your blogging business, then watch my free Passive Income Blueprint workshop and start your passive income journey…
Claire is a work from home mother to two teenage sons. Claire has been creating passive income with digital products & automation since 2007 when she created her first ebook. Claire now helps other women create passive income cash-flows.