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There are many ways to make money blogging but today we are going to focus on passive income blogging strategies. The type of strategies where you put the work in now to see ongoing results for years to come. The type that makes money whilst you sleep.
That’s the dream, right?
In general, successful bloggers will use multiple passive income streams and possibly some more active methods of earning money blogging too.
Right, ready to make some money? Let’s go!
What is passive income blogging?
Passive income blogging refers to websites with a series of informational articles which use set-and-forget methods of making an income.
Usually, this is by using evergreen articles and email funnels to promote products or services. Those products may belong to the blogger or they may be promoting other peoples products for a commission.
The most common ways to earn passive income via a blog are with ad networks, affiliate marketing and selling digital products.
What are the benefits of passive income blogging?
You can set-and-forget it
The set and forget nature of passive income means that even when something unexpected happens and we have to take time off, our businesses are still earning money. It may be ill health, a major life event or maybe you just get invited on a last-minute trip away; passive income gives bloggers flexibility to take time off when needed.
You can make a lot of money
Passive income is scalable. Every time you produce evergreen content, you are introducing a new potential income stream. As you create more blog posts, more products, more email funnels and as the traffic to your site grows, so will your bank balance.
You can be your own boss
Bloggers who focus on passive income are their own bosses. There are no deadlines, no rules, no set hours, no expectations. This makes it a great business for the more independent solopreneur.
You can blog from anywhere which makes this a brilliant business for digital nomads.
It requires minimal investment
Compared to most start-ups, running a passive income blog does not require too many financial investments. Therefore, it is a low-risk investment of your time.
9 Ways to make passive income blogging
Here are some passive income ideas to get you started…
Affiliate marketing refers to promoting other people’s products in return for a commission if someone purchases through your unique affiliate link.
Affiliate links can be used in blog posts, on social media, on youtube or podcasts, via emails or on Pinterest. Obviously, not all these efforts are passive. The three best ways to earn affiliate income passively is via:
- Evergreen blog posts e.g. reviews, comparisons, roundups and how-to guides.
- Affiliate email funnels
- Pinterest affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of my preferred ways to earn passive income. It’s zero-risk as you are promoting someone else’s product, not your own. It’s also sometimes easier to sell someone else’s product rather than your own.
Affiliate marketing can be really lucrative if you promote the right products. For example, I have articles that took less than a day to write but which have made thousands of dollars.
Tips to be successful with affiliate marketing
- Be patient – it takes time to build website traffic and for your post to rank
- Prioritise SEO – people who find your blog by searching for focussed keywords on Google are far more likely to make a purchase.
- Be focussed. Instead of adding affiliate links as an afterthought, build some of your articles around your affiliate products.
- Always put authenticity and trust first.
- Stay focussed on your ideal target reader
- Focus on the problems your products solve and the before and after transformational story.
How to find popular affiliate programs
Most companies and brands that you already sue will have an affiliate program so firstly you can look on their websites.
Ask other bloggers in your niche which affiliate programs they recommend. Facebook groups are a great place to connect with other bloggers to get advice.
You can also join an affiliate network like Awin or Shareasale which are free to join. From there you can search you niche and join individual affiliate programs.
If you are creative then consider making templates to sell. Products which help to save people time are popular and templates are also fairly quick to create. They make perfect tripwires too (where you offer a one time only time-sensitive discount when someone joins your email list.)
Examples of types of templates you could create:
- Creative templates like wedding save the date cards
- Legal templates (for contracts)
- Printable planner templates
- Pinterest templates
- Email swipe templates
- Website templates
- Social media templates
- Blog post templates
If you are creating design templates, then consider using Canva Pro. You can grab a shareable link that makes a copy of the original for everyone who uses it. This allows them to edit their own copy without changing the master copy.
You can get a 30 day free trial of Canva Pro here.
Sell an ebook
If you know enough about a topic to write a blog based around it, chances you know enough to write an ebook too!
Pick a topic you know well and try to find a unique angle.
The ebook doesn’t need to have 300 pages to be successful – I’ve bought ebooks with fewer than 30 pages which have been incredibly valuable. Instead of focussing on the amount of content, focus on how it helps your reader navigate from A to B and what results will they get?
You can easily create ebooks during Canva. If graphic design is not your forte then consider purchasing a template.
Please note that you cannot use Canva’s free templates if you plan to sell your ebook for profit.
I sell an ebook template that you can use in that way. You can check out my Canva ebook template here.
If you are skilled with graphic design then consider creating printables. Again, these are easy to make using Canva.
Here are just a few ideas for printables you could make
- A printable planner
- A printable journal
- A children’s activity book
- A self-guided city walking tour
- A chores list for families
- A packing list
- Artwork that can be printed and hung on the wall
- Meal planner
- Exercise regime
Create an online course
Creating an online course is a great way to earn passive income blogging as once the content and sales funnel is created, you can earn a significant income without much maintenance work.
You may want to occasionally edit the content and you may also decide to offer a Facebook group alongside which is a little more time-consuming. But the payoff is usually worth it with online courses often selling for $200+
Create an affiliate program
If you have your own digital products and courses, you can create an affiliate program where you reward your affiliates a commission when they refer you to a new customer. It’s risk-free and doesn’t require too much ongoing input.
You can really do as much or as little as you like though the most successful affiliate programs will have managers who take a slightly more active role. This is something you could consider outsourcing.
Display ads on your website
Displaying ads on your website is a great way to earn passive income blogging. Once you’ve set the ads up, there is no on-going work involved.
Obviously, you’ll make more money if you have higher blog traffic. So you’ll need to really focus on search engine optimisation for Google traffic.
Pinterest is also a great source of traffic as it is also a visual search engine.
Make sure you choose a reputable ads network which cares about your blog’s user experience and won’t slow your website or show spammy ads.
Dropshipping is a way of selling physical products in a very hands-off way. You create the designs and set the prices but another company handles the production and shipping.
All you need to do is set up a storefront on your website and take payment and the manufacturer will do the rest. You can also write a blog post promoting your products.
If your audience is mostly based in one country, it may be best to choose a company based there to reduce shipping costs which will help you to keep your products affordable. (Or find a company with bases internationally.)
Here are a few sites you can arrange dropshipping through
- Printify (has suppliers all over the world so shipping rates vary.)
- Two Fifteen (UK based)
- Printful Has 9 global carriers which help to reduce shipping rates and keep it more consistent for your international audience.
Create workshops or evergreen paid webinars
Running live workshops definitely does not count as passive income blogging but you can now record those webinars and sell them as paid workshops or evergreen webinars, which does count!
I recommend taking Elizabeths Goddard’s Paid Live Trainings course – she has tonnes of experience and some really useful advice about getting the most from your live trainings – on an ongoing evergreen basis!
Create and sell Lightroom presets
You could consider giving one or two away as a freebie and then upselling a bundle of presets for a variety of styles or types of subjects.
To sell your presets, you will need to get the DNG file by clicking File – Export with preset – export to DNG.
Make sure you use plenty of before and after photos on your sales page and test your presets with a variety of photos.
Things to know about blogging for passive income
You Need to Work Hard in the Beginning
Passive income sometimes gets confused with easy income. Blogging is not an easy (or fast) way to get rich. It takes a lot of hard work to be successful.
But whilst it requires a lot of upfront work, you can continue to earn money on an ongoing basis. Once you have created those profitable blog posts or email funnels, they will continue to drive sales for the foreseeable future with very little upkeep required.
It requires patience
It takes time to build a profitable blog. If you are using affiliate links and ads, you will need to be able to grow your blog traffic. It can take several months for each blog post to rise up the SERPs, even for established bloggers.
Your position on Google will depend on many factors such as your website’s authority, backlink profile, how niche your site is and the quality of your content. All of these things take time.
If you are planning on selling digital products or using dropshipping as your main source of income, you will need to build an email list and a social following. Again, this takes time and patience.
Those who start a blog expecting overnight success are usually easily demoralised and quit their new business before they start to see results.
Passive income blogging is certainly not a quick way to get rich! But if you can be patient, you will reap the rewards.
Passive is rarely 100% passive
Passive doesn’t always mean no ongoing work. You will still occasionally need to update your blog post or email funnels.
You may want to focus on building some backlinks to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. You may also want to create some fresh pins to drive Pinterest traffic to your affiliate articles, sales pages or lead magnets and reach more of your target readers.
But the bulk of the work has been done and you will only have to make small tweaks to keep those income streams working for you freeing you up to create more content and products.
How to be successful with passive income blogging
Life as a blogger can get pretty hectic – there are so many hats you need to wear. There are also so many different ways you can earn a living from a blog and so it’s very easy to get distracted and feel like you have to do ‘all the things.’
But if you try to master too many skills at once, the chances are you will master none.
So don’t feel like you have to do everything just because someone else has created a successful business that way. Instead, focus on one path and once you have mastered that, you can diversify.
Diversifying your passive income streams is important but you shouldn’t diversify too quickly before you are ready.
Deliver quality over quantity
As the blogosphere expands, ranking your website on Google becomes more competitive and so your content needs to be really good. There was a time when bloggers were cranking several short posts a week and that worked for a while.
But nowadays, the quality of your work and depth of detail is critical for success. So it is now considered better to focus on publishing a super detailed post less often rather than flimsy content every day of the week!
I use the SEO AI tool, Frase, to help me create the best content possible. The tool ranks me against my competitors as I type and helps to make suggestions for improvements.
Grow the know like and trust factor
People are far more likely to buy from people they trust and like. Therefore it’s important to establish strong relationships with your audience.
Read next | How to grow the know like and trust factor
Pay attention to E.A.T- expertise, authority and trust.
E.A.T refers to expertise, authority and trust. These are all factors search engines are looking at to decide how to rank our blog posts.
E.A.T is especially important for sites where misinformation could be dangerous or damaging.
In order to demonstrate your expertise, authority and trust to the search engine Gods, you can do a few things:
- Include relevant experiences, qualifications, awards and accreditations in your ‘about me’ page and use an uptodate author bio
- Make sure your legal page and contact pages are easily accessible
- Get an SSL certificate.
- Do some link building and write some guest posts to get authority backlinks to your blog posts.
- Link out to authority trusted resources
- Create lots of content about similar topics to show that you are an expert.
Apply SEO strategies to grow your website traffic
When you write a blog post with affiliate links or advertisements, you will want it to rank as high on the search engine result pages (SERPs) as possible to reach more of your target readers.
To do this, you need to pay attention to search engine optimisation strategies.
SEO strategy is essentially the way that you leave clues for search engines to help them learn about your content.
When creating blog posts, you need to target the right search terms that people are looking for (we call those keywords.)
It’s also important to check who is already ranking for those search terms as sometimes the competition is too tough and it’s better to choose a different keyword.
For affiliate marketing, you will need to focus on purchase intent keywords – the sort of search terms people use when they are getting close to buying a product. For example
- [Product A] review
- [Product A] alternatives
- [Product A] vs [Product B]
- The best [products] for…
If you are new to the idea of search engine optimisation, check out my beginner SEO guide.
If you are familiar with this topic but want to try some new strategies, check out these advanced SEO tips.
Focus on solving problems with products
People make purchases when they find solutions to problems. Yes, occasionally people will also make spontaneous purchases but to get high conversion rates for the products you promote, you need to work out what problems they solve.
When you sell your own products, templates or online courses, your sales page should lead with the problem and then position your product as the solution.
This can also be an effective strategy for promoting affiliate links.
How-to guide blog posts can be a great way to use problem-solving as part of your strategy. Your article should take them step-by-step through the solution for their problem and your affiliate product should be part of the solution.
Choose your ad network wisely
If you choose to display ads on your site, it’s worth thinking carefully about which ad network you work with.
Some ad networks pay you barely anything whilst slowing down your site and adding lots of spammy ads.
Other more ‘premium’ ad networks will pay better, place higher quality ads, avoid slowing your website and will place ads in a way that is least disruptive to your readers.
I would personally avoid Google Adsense and wait until your site is gaining enough traffic to apply for a better ad network.
Mediavine is the ad network I use on my travel site.
I choose not to run ads on this website as it is more of an educational site and I feel ads are too distracting for that type of content.
However, I enjoy using Mediavine ads on my other sites and it contributes a significant amount to my income from blogging. Many successful bloggers also choose Mediavine or Adthrive.
However, both Adthrive and Mediavine require very high blog traffic to be accepted.
Here are a few other ad networks which require fewer page vies (around 10K per month.)
Understand your audience
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is not understanding who their audience is or seeking to understand their audiences needs.
So spend some time getting to know your ideal reader avatar. This will help you to create content they actually want to read, promote affiliate products they want to buy and create courses and ebooks they can’t wait to purchase.
So ask yourself, who is your ideal reader? How old are they? Are they married? Single? Have a family?
What do they enjoy doing? What do they NOT enjoy doing? Which social platforms do they hang out on?
What are their goals? Problems? What are their roadblocks?
The better you understand your audience, the more potential you have to earn.
If you are unsure who your target readers are, why not find out by asking subscribers to complete a quick survey?
Work harder than your competitors
No one said making passive income was easy. You still have to put a lot of work in at the start to see ongoing rewards.
Blogging has become a popular business model and so it is getting progressively more competitive.
This means that your articles need to be better than your competitors. It means you products need to meet their needs better. Even your freebies need to be better than your competitors freebies so that it is you they give their precious email address!
Prioritise your learning
Marketing strategies are constantly evolving and changing and so make sure you keep uptodate. This could mean taking online courses, reading blogs, listening to podcasts or it could mean studying your competitors and seeing what works for them.
Joining your competitors email lists can be helpful. Not to spy on them or copy them – that’s not cool! But instead, ask yourself what made you open their latest newsletter – what caught your eye about the title? What type of sales emails do they send? Are they story based? Fact based? Long? Short?
Studying what is working for others can help you try out new strategies for your own website. I keep folders of good email examples that I study to try and understand why they connected with me.
Make email marketing a priority
Growing your email list will be essential if you want to sell your own products or courses or use dropshipping. Email marketing can also be really helpful for promoting affiliate links.
Therefore having an email list opens up more passive income options.
In order to get readers to give you their email address you need to offer them something in return in the form of a freebie or lead magnet. This is some form of exclusive content they get as a thank you when they join your email list, usually delivered in the welcome email.
Even if you are not yet creating digital products or courses, it’s worth starting growing your email list anyway so that you have plenty of loyal readers in your captive audience when you are ready to launch.
If you are new to email marketing, check out this step-by step guide for starting an email list for bloggers.
Tools that help bloggers make more passive income
These are some of the tools I recommend for online business owners to help make money through affiliate marketing or selling digital products.
Thirsty Affiliates is a must-have for bloggers who do affiliate marketing. It helps you create libraries of cloaked affiliate links which are branded and easy to remember for social media. You can access these links on the go from the Gutenberg editor making it super convenient.
The best thing is that if you need to change an affiliate link, you can do so once inside the library and it will change across your entire site like magic!
There is both a free and a pro version. I recommend to pro version as it has some super useful features like keyword tagging your affiliate links so that you can essentially add an affiliate link, assign it to a keyword you’ve used in previous blog posts and the links will get added across your website in one click. This makes sure you are getting maximum visibility for your affiliate links.
Read next | Thirsty Affiliates Review
If you use Amazon Associates a lot then using a premium Amazon plugin will really help ramp up those commissions. I use Amalinks Pro on my other website. It helps me to create comparison tables and branded highlight boxes to showcase product features.
If you are creating templates, ebooks or printables then I would definitely recommend getting Canva Pro. It’s an easy drag-and-drop design tool which you do not need a degree in graphic design to have success with!
There are lots of templates to get you started – useful for freebies but not products you will sell as they have rules about that!
But it’s super easy to get started and create professional designs. You can get a free 30 day trial of the pro version here.
Podia is one of the most user friendly and affordable platforms for course creators. You can host courses, digital products, webinars and memberships all in one space.
Their fee is the same every month so they do not take a cut from your product sales.
Thrivecart is not cheap so I wouldn’t recommend it for someone just starting out with digital products but if you are selling a lot of products then it can be worth it! It is a payment processor which helps you earn more money with each sale using bumps, upsells and downsells. It’s also a great platform to host an affiliate program from.
You also need to factor in the cost of Zapier to sync Thrivecart with your course platform like Podia. If you only have 1 or 2 products, this is often free. But if you have several, it can add up!
Sendowl is a much more affordable option for anyone starting out selling digital products. It starts at just $9 a month and is very easy to use.
An element of urgency can help increase conversions significantly. That is why most people have a big launch when they release a new product usually with time sesnitive discounts or bonuses.
However, when a product is evergreen, it can be difficult to recreate this. However Deadline Funnel helps you to create offers which are time sesnitive according to when someone joins your email list.
This means that you get the benefits of a launch but without the effort – therefore it is a brilliant passive income method!
However, Deadline funnel, whilst insanely useful, it isn’t the cheapest of tools which brings me to…
Thrive Ultimatum helps you to achieve something very similar to Deadline Funnel but at half the price. The downside is that it doesn’t include integrated email countdown timers and can only be used by bloggers who host their sales pages on WordPress.
To be successful with dropshipping , email affiliate marketing or selling digital products and courses, you need a robust email service provider. One which allows you to segment your list and set up multiple email funnels.
My favourite email platform (and I’ve tried a lot) is Convertkit.
Convertkit is created for bloggers by a blogger and so it is perfectly designed for passive income blogs.
Check out these articles next:
What are the alternatives to passive income for bloggers?
Passive income is not the only route bloggers can take to make a viable business. Here are a few alternative ways to earn money blogging.
This is where a brand agrees to pay a blogger a set fee for promoting their brand on social media or via blog posts. In general, the income potential of sponsored work is dependent on the number of social media followers you have and how engaged they are.
You need to have an established audience before you can expect to earn a decent income via social media marketing.
It’s a much more active form of income as it requires you to show up on social media often enough to stay front of mind.
If you have a lot of experience or skills you can teach, then one-on-one coaching could be a good way to make additional income with your blog. However, this is time intensive s it often involves some planning and follow up after each session with an action plan.
Work as a VA
You could take the skills you learn from blogging to help a professional blogger out by becoming a virtual assistant. VA’s do the time consuming tasks which distract bloggers from money-making projects like creating digital products or writing new blog posts. Tasks might include formatting blog posts, scheduling social posts or creating graphics.
You could also use your own blog as an online portfolio to showcase your writing skills and become a freelance writer.
Host membership or Patreon
Creating memberships is a popular and lucrative way to earn a relagular, reliable income. However, it is labour intensive as you need to commit to providing a certain amount of material each month as well as spend time interacting with your members and boosting engagement.
FAQs about blogging for passive income
How much money can you make with passive income blogging?
The sky is the limit. Whilst there are many blogs that don’t make a penny, there are also many 6, 7 and even 8 figure bloggers. For example, this blog income report shows the bloggers behind Its a Lovely Life earn over $2 million a year!
I focus entirely on passive income strategies and with my travel blog (prior to the pandemic) I was earning $6000/month with around 40-50K sessions a month.
How much does it cost to get started with passive income blogging?
Getting started with passive income blogging doesn’t have to break the bank. Heres are a few of the essentials to give you an idea of how much it costs to set up your blog for success.
The number one essential you will need is a host which can cost as little as $2.99/month. I personally use Siteground.
I would also recommend investing in a premium theme (usually around $50-100 as a one-off fee) and a keyword research tool such as Keysearch.
Therefore if you plan to monetise with affiliate links and ads, you can start for around $20/month
If you want to sell digital products or templates then you will need an email marketing platform. My personal recommendation is Convertkit.
Whilst they have a free plan, you would be better off starting with their Creator plan so that you can create email funnels for passive income. Plans start at $29
To create digital products like ebook sand templates, I recommend using Canva Pro for around $15/month.
To host courses, you will need a course platform. The most affordable option that I recommend is Podia’s basic plan which starts at $39/month.
Finally, you will need a way to take money. Convertkit offers a way to do this for free and takes a small commission from each sale.
Sendowl is another very affordable alternative if you do not use Convertkit for your ESP. Plans with Sendowl starts from about $9/month.
Sales pages can be created for free with the plugin Elementor page builder.
So if you plan to monetise with digital products or dropshipping, it will set you back around $65+ a month.
As businesses go, blogging is very low risk as there are only a few essential upfront costs.
Can anyone be successful with passive income blogging?
You certainly do not need a degree in marketing or graphic design to get started with a blog but you do need fairly good writing skills.
If design isn’t your forte, you can hire designers to help you create your website or even your digital products. You can also purchase templates to make it much easier.
To be successful you should be able to
Write engaging content
If you possess these skills then you can learn the rest (or hire someone to help.)
What do you need to get started creating a blog for passive income?
For those selling digital products or using dropshipping, you will need
A self-hosted website – I recommend Siteground for hosting
An email marketing platform – I recommend Convertkit
A cart processor – like Sendowl
A graphic design tool like Canva Pro
A platform to host your products such as Podia
A shopfront plugin like Woocommerce or a page builder like Elementor to create sales pages.
How much risk is involved with passive income blogging?
Since there are low upfront costs involved with starting a blog, there is very little risk involved.
Where the risks start to occur is when your business grows enough that you start using paid ads and premium tools to help you scale faster.
What blog niches are profitable?
Some niches are more profitable than others. Here are a few which are considered very profitable
Health and fitness
Fashion and beauty
How long will it take to make a decent income with a passive income blog?
Some bloggers make money very quickly. Usually, these are experienced bloggers starting a 2nd or 3rd site. But it’s important to know this isn’t the norm so please don’t feel disillusioned if you can’t afford to quit the day job within 6 months of starting.
Realistically, I would say expect it to take 6 months to start earning some income and a minimum of 12 months to earn significant passive income. Many blogs will take 18 months-3 years before they earn a full-time income but some will achieve it much faster.
Hopefully, this bumper guide has helped to inspire some passive income ideas of your own. Let us know in the comments below, which passive income streams you have tried and been successful with!