A blog is a web page with entries or articles published periodically. When we google something, most of the entries displayed by the search engine correspond to a blog.
Passive income is the money income that we can earn without exchanging our time for resources. Most passive income sources need time or money to build up, but once they are created they do not require a great deal of dedication to maintain.
Making passive income with a blog can be done if it has enough traffic (~10,000+ visits/month) and automated business models, such as selling advertising space, affiliate marketing, and selling info products.
We say that a blog can be a source of passive income because it is not necessarily so. In fact, according to techjury.net, only 33% of blogs generate some kind of income.
There are many types of blogs, among which are personal, corporate, and professional blogs. The latter has the main purpose of generating money.
Professional vs. personal blogs
If your purpose is to generate money from your blog, a professional blog is for you. In case you want to express your ideas and emotions to the world, a personal blog may be more suitable.
If that is your case, we recommend also reading our article about how to find a niche for your blog.
A professional blog has a structure and a method designed from the beginning to receive some of the traffic from search engines, Google is the most important one.
How to generate traffic to a blog
The Internet is buzzing with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tricks, ploys, and clever tactics to try to tip the balance of traffic to your site.
For a moment let’s forget all this noise and get down to basics.
What is Google and what is its function
Google’s main function is to present each information seeker with a collection of articles and pages that most accurately match the intent behind the search term.
For example, if you search for “sailing lessons”, Google will present you with a list of sites on the Internet with information on sailing courses. Google is VERY smart. If we the users if typed in “candle types” and it presented us with topics about musical instruments or motorcycles, we would stop using Google in minutes.
Google serves us accurately in search and we repay it faithfully.
Google does not search the Internet but its own database.
When you type in “sailing lessons” because you want to learn how to sail, Google doesn’t come out of the blue searching all over cyberspace for pages about sailing courses. Google already did that job hours, days, or weeks before.
Google pulled out its search spiders and fed its internal database, which sorts through billions of articles in a way that presents you with the results instantly, as you type in your search term (attention: important point!). This feature is called autocomplete.
Take note: The blogger who wants to appear in the Google search engine must be in the Google database (indexed) and write articles that respond in the most accurate way to the search intent of the google user on a specific term.
So: for your blog to receive traffic from Google you must create the best possible content to respond to the intention that motivates a query.
This way Google will be happy because it will present very relevant results to the users’ search. The google user will be happy because we will find articles tailored to what they need. And finally, the blogger will be happy because he gets seas of traffic to his articles.
This is called a Win-Win-Win-Win negotiation.
Paid traffic vs. organic traffic
Every time a searcher makes a query in the Google search bar, an auction takes place.
It is a scene similar to the auction of a work by Picasso, in which many bidders bid to keep the valuable painting.
In the case at hand, thousands of items bid simultaneously to appear in first, second, and third… place. In recent years there is a position above the first place on the first page of Google: a “snippet” of information that promptly answers the question.
The snippet gets much more traffic than in the first place. The first place has much more traffic than the second place and so on. The fifth gets almost no traffic. There are more forests in the Sahara desert than there is traffic on the second page of Google.
How do you win the auction?
The auction is won by the articles that best answer the intent of the searcher’s question, that come from the most authoritative blog, and whose information is the most current, relevant, and fast.
Actually, there are about 200 criteria that Google uses to rank the articles, but most of them are aimed at providing the user with the most relevant listing possible.
There is one criterion with which you can force the result of the bidding: paying. If the article has the minimum quality to appear, by paying AdWords you can appear in the sponsored results section.
If the article or the blog does not have the minimum quality to appear, even if you pay, it will not appear.
But if there are two articles with good quality bidding to appear, the one that pays will be higher.
The problem with payment is very clear: If you pay more than you get in return, paying makes no sense. If you get more, it makes all the sense in the world. In conclusion: paying to appear on the first page of Google makes sense if the result obtained is higher than the cost (positive ROI).
We call organic traffic when the search engine does not get paid for displaying an article.
How to convert traffic into passive income: monetization
We already know that to appear at the top of the search engine, the blogger must win the auction with articles of high quality and relevance, pay, or both.
If you do well in quality and quantity, you will be rewarded with traffic. Ergo, your blog will receive visits from many people. They find in your blog the answer to their needs.
Here are 4 common ways to monetize a blog:
In the World Cup in Qatar, the big brands pay exorbitant amounts of money (from 700 to 1,000 million dollars to appear as a “partner” of Fifa. This privilege gives you access to a traffic of 1 billion people seeing your logo during the whole event. Contact with your logo increases your reputation and sales volume.
Keeping the proportions in mind, if you have 100,000 entries to your site per month, there are brands that will want to take advantage of that traffic to show themselves.
In the case of blogs, something very interesting happens: The products or services that are advertised are (must be!) closely related to the topic of the blog and the article.
It makes a lot of sense to promote financial information services on a personal finance blog. It makes less sense to promote boxing articles on a maternity page (although there will be those who are interested…).
Also, it is possible to generate passive income with a blog by selling advertising space and leveraging the traffic your site receives. Once you have set up your network of advertisers and optimized your spaces, your intervention is minimal: the income generated is truly passive.
The key indicator is RPM or revenue (USD or EUR) per thousand visits. This indicator can be very low (0 to 5 USD) for very new blogs or with little traffic, (5 to 20 USD) for more established blogs with the content of great interest to advertisers. An RPM higher than 20 is possible if the right conditions are met.
Do your math with the number of visits you currently receive. Check the conditions of advertising networks, such as AdSense, Ezoic, Mediavine, or AdThrive to know their conditions, requirements, and monetization options.
It consists of advertising the product of third parties so that you get a commission for each sale that produces the mention of the product or service on your blog.
One of the big differences with advertising is that affiliate marketing is linked to sales, while advertising is linked to ad views.
The process is as follows: You make an agreement with a service provider that has an affiliate program. You install the product hypertext within the text of your blog posts. Every time someone clicks on this hypertext and buys the related product a commission is assigned to the blog.
Income-blog has an article on the “Best Financial Education Books”. I can install hyperlinks from each title to the corresponding Amazon page so that if someone interested in them actually buys them, I receive a commission.
Affiliate marketing can be an excellent source of income, especially, if your blog has authority and there is a close relationship between the topic of your article and the associated product.
Simply sprinkling some affiliate hyperlinks in a random article is clearly not the way to go.
Promote only the products you use and are convinced about. The person who buys a product through an affiliate link does so because he trusts the seriousness and experience of the influencer who recommends it.
I personally consider that using affiliate marketing implies a lot of responsibility. It’s like recommending a person for a job. If everything goes wonderfully, your authority will be reaffirmed. But if it doesn’t go well, you will lose authority, the employee will suffer and the employer will distrust you.
Commission percentages in affiliate programs.
The following is the list of commissions offered by Amazon in its affiliate program:
As you can see, the percentages are very low, although Amazon has a very high conversion rate, because we all shop there and trust them.
Other affiliate programs have much higher commissions: 30%, 50%, and even 60% are not uncommon.
Digital products are the holy grail of online business.
With advertising, you earn a small value for every 1,000 impressions of your page, but you don’t enjoy any share of the sale of the promoted products.
In affiliate marketing, you earn a percentage of the sale, as we saw in the Amazon commissions table. You have absolutely no influence on the price of the products, the commission percentage, or the commercial tools available.
When selling your own products, most of the sale is profit. You decide the product, the price, the commercial conditions, the sales tools, and the appearance of the product. In short: you have total control.
In my opinion as a Blogger, info-products have two absolutely wonderful features:
1 The possibility of creating products tailored to your audience.
A Blogger knows which are the most read articles and which are not. He knows which topics “hit” and which don’t. The blogger can hear his readers because he knows them.
This information allows him to know their needs, wants, and desires. It puts you in the best place to create products that respond exactly to what your audience is looking for.
You have everything an entrepreneur wants:
- A group of people you can reach and know the tastes and needs of qualified customers and prospects.
- A product portfolio that satisfies the tastes and needs of qualified customers and prospects.
- The direct communication channel to inform your audience about the products.
- A channel to distribute products to your customers. Direct, without intermediaries.
In short, it’s every marketer’s dream.
It’s simple but not easy
Everything I’ve written so far sounds great, and it really IS great. I don’t want you to think it’s easy.
When designing and manufacturing digital products you have to decide everything.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is guiding the audience through the buying process. One of the most popular tools is sales funnels.
2 Sales without borders and without timetables
The second characteristic of digital products is the absence of all the obstacles and requirements of physical products:
- Tariffs (for international sales)
- Insurance during transportation
- Transport time from the manufacturer to the distribution chain and finally to the final customer.
- Risk of damage, theft, robbery, etc.
- Capital cost
- Cost to manufacture each additional unit
- A digital product has none of this. That’s why I like the phrase “I’d rather sell bits than atoms” by Andres Monsegny.
Info product sales have some incredible features vs. physical products:
- Immediate delivery, regardless of geographic location.
- Sale and delivery 24 hours a day, 365 hours a year.
- It crosses borders legally without paying tariffs.
- Warehousing has zero (or negligible) costs
- Inventory cost is zero
- No physical transportation, therefore, no associated risk
- No distributors or a commercial chain are required
Selling physical products: print on demand
This is probably the least used monetization option by bloggers. However, it is still a huge opportunity to earn passive income with your blog and the traffic it generates.
The products that can be sold under print-on-demand are practically all those that can be printed. Some examples:
- Duvet covers
- Shower curtains
I’m not continuing the list for lack of space; the options are almost limitless.
The process works like this:
The creator (you) opens an online store with designs appropriate for your target audience.
The store has a link to the printing and logistics provider. Among the best-known are Printify and Printful.
Each time a sale is generated, the online store receives the payment and sends an order to the supplier, which supplies the materials, the printing according to the previously defined design and the logistics process until it reaches the user.
The online store pays the printing and logistics provider for its services in a given period.
For the income derived from this business model to be passive, the sales process and the communication between the store and the supplier must be automated.
We have listed 4 business models for monetizing a blog, but they are not the only ones; I encourage you to continue exploring other options!
Passive Income vs Active Income on a blog
Having a pile of passive income streams producing money while you sleep is a dream of many. However, these are not the only types of passive income out there. There are more conventional ones such as:
- Talks and seminars
Don’t underestimate non-passive products, because in addition to income they give you very direct contact with your customers and invaluable feedback on your products.
Conclusion on generating Passive Income with a blog
A blog can become a source of passive income if it has enough traffic (~10,000+ visits/month) and automated business models, such as selling advertising space, affiliate marketing, selling info products, or print-on-demand.
A professional blog is one that aims to generate money, as opposed to a personal blog, which aims to spread the ideas of its creator.
To generate traffic to a blog, the articles must be indexed in Google and be written in such a way that they are the best articles available on the Internet on a specific search term (which can be expressed in many different ways).
Paying to appear on the first page of Google makes sense if the result obtained is greater than the cost (positive ROI).
A blog needs a significant amount of good articles to generate enough traffic: quality and quantity.
The most commonly used passive monetization models for blogs are:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sale of own products
- Print on demand
For product sales to produce passive income, the sales and post-sales processes must be automated by software.
In addition to passive income, through a blog, it is possible to sell active services, such as coaching and consulting.