Is it possible to earn passive income from a blog? Absolutely! In fact, it’s possible to earn a really good full-time income passively from a blog. Here’s how…
Imagine a life where you earn money while you sleep, a life where you can take time off whenever you want and still earn a really decent monthly income, a life where you have the freedom to work whenever and wherever you want…
…sounds like a fantasy, right?
Except it isn’t.
All of this is possible with a blog!
Earning a really good passive income is something I have achieved with my blog and something I have dedicated my life to helping others achieve.
As you might well guess from the name of this blog. I am crazy passionate – not just about blogging – but about PRODUCTIVE blogging… blogging in a way that helps you get the best results from your blog, with the least amount of input.
Too often I see bloggers slogging away… working all the hours they have available on their blogs and not seeing enough (if anything) in terms of financial reward. And that makes me sad… and it’s something I really want to fix.
Because it doesn’t have to be that way.
With the right strategies it is totally possible – not just to earn passive income from a blog – but to earn a really good full-time income passively from a blog.
In this article I share the exact steps you need to take to earn a really good passive income from a blog. (And how to turn an existing blog into a passive income blog.)
How do blogs create passive income?
There are 3 main ways to earn money passively from a blog: ads, affiliate links and digital products. There are other ways to earn money from a blog, such as selling sponsored posts and offering services, but these are not passive.
Bloggers can sign up to an ad management company, such as Mediavine, Ezoic or AdThrive, and that company will place display ads in various places on your blog. You earn money depending on the number of people who visit your blog. The more visitors you get, the more money you earn.
2. Affiliate links
These are a type of advert, the difference here is that you are given a special link which you can embed on your website. If a visitor to your blog clicks on that special link and goes on to buy the product you have recommended, you get a percentage of the sale price.
There is obviously a little bit of a correlation between the number of visitors a site gets and the amount of income you can earn, but it is possible to earn good money from affiliate links without a huge audience.
READ MORE >>> How to make money on your blog…with affiliate links
READ MORE >>> 19 easy ways to increase your affiliate income from your blog
3. Digital Products
To earn money from digital products, you must first create your digital product: for example, an ebook or an online course. But once the digital product has been created, you can sell it over and over again without having to do anything else.
To earn good money from digital products, you don’t need a huge audience, but you do need to focus on building your email list, since this is where the majority of your sales will come from.
Is blogging truly passive income?
It depends on what you mean by passive income. If by ‘passive income’ you mean you do literally nothing and money will just land in your lap, then, no, it is not. But, by that definition, no income is truly passive.
However, if by ‘passive income’ you mean you putting in some work up front, but then being able to step back and do almost nothing and the money will keep on coming, then yes, blogging can be an excellent source of passive income.
You will obviously have to put in some work up front: building your blog, creating content, applying to affiliate schemes, creating affiliate posts, learning SEO, registering with an ad management company and creating digital products, for example.
But once you’ve done the upfront work and your blog is earning you an income, you can take time off, work flexibly and even ignore your blog for weeks at a time and it will continue to make an income day in day out – even when you are sleeping. (Though there will of course be a little routine maintenance you will need to do, to keep that income ticking over in the long term.)
How to earn passive income from a blog: a step-by-step guide
All this is good in theory, but how do you actually do it? How do you earn passive income from a blog? Here’s how…
Step 1: Start your blog
Of course, it is impossible to make passive income from a blog without a blog! So, the first step in the process is to start your blog.
READ MORE >>> 9 essential things to do before starting a blog
READ MORE >>> How to start a PROFITABLE blog (plus FREE 7 week blog plan!)
Step 2: Create content for your blog
The next step in the process is to create content for your blog. You will need to write high quality blog posts on topics your target audience want to read about. You will also need to do keyword research to ensure you are writing blog posts that you can rank for on Google and which plenty of people are searching for.
Step 3: Optimise your blog for search engines (SEO)
If you want to earn money from your blog passively, you are going to want the majority of your traffic to come from search engines. There are other ways to get traffic, such as social media and Pinterest, but they require a lot of effort each week to get even a fraction of the traffic you can get passively from search engines.
To get the maximum traffic possible from search engines, you will need to optimise your blog for search engine traffic. This is called search engine optimisation or SEO.
Step 4: Build an email list
Another brilliant way to grow your blog passively is by converting casual readers who stumble upon your site from search engines into subscribers. This turns one off visitors into repeat visitors and, as you build up trust through your emails, your subscribers will become passionate fans of and advocates for your blog: sharing your blog with friends and family and creating a snowball effect.
Building an email list is also very much a pre-requisite to selling digital products, such as ebooks and online courses. It is virtually impossible to sell a digital product directly from your blog – you will find the vast majority of your sales come from your email list.
You can make your email marketing very passive by building out welcome sequences, newsletter sequences and sales funnels which fire automatically, based on time or subscriber behaviour. You can also set things up so your subscribers automatically get emailed when you publish a new blog post.
Step 5: Create affiliate posts
The easiest way to start earning money with a new blog is via affiliate posts. These are blog posts specifically designed to encourage a reader to purchase a product through your affiliate link. These posts typically take the form of a review of the product OR a roundup of products on a theme… for example, ‘The 10 best baby monitors under $100’ or ‘Essential running kit for your first 5K race’.
As with all blog posts, it’s important to do good keyword research to ensure there is sufficient traffic on your chosen topic and that the competition is not too fierce. It is also very important to write a blog post that first and foremost helps your target audience with a problem they are experiencing, rather than a blog post which comes across as a ‘hard sell’.
READ MORE >>> How to make money on your blog…with affiliate links
READ MORE >>> 19 easy ways to increase your affiliate income from your blog
Step 6: Create your first digital product
Once you have created a good mix of regular blog posts and affiliate blog posts and have started to grow your traffic and email list, you can turn your attention to creating your first digital product.
Many new bloggers will create an ebook as their first digital product, as they perceive this to be ‘easier’ than building an online course. However, I would strongly recommend you build a course as your first product.
It is actually far easier to create a course, as you need fewer design skills and, if you host your course with a platform like Teachable*, delivering the course can be automated and accepting payments (including charging the correct VAT/sales tax for the appropriate country/state) is all taken care for you – making things much more passive!
Better still, you can charge far more for a course than you can for an ebook as courses are perceived as far more valuable.
Step 7: Apply to an ad management company
Whilst you can technically get ads on your site from Day 1, I don’t recommend you do this until you have sufficient pageviews to qualify for a high paying ad company, such as Mediavine.
Lower paying ad companies will slow your site down and are likely to compromise your SEO efforts, meaning it will take even longer to reach the threshold for a high paying ad company.
However, once you hit the threshold (currently 50,000 pageviews per month with Mediavine), you should apply straight away.
Step 8: Enjoy your passive income – but continue to maintain your blog
Once you have affiliate posts, digital products and ads on your blog, you should be seeing a steady passive income every month, with very little effort on your part.
However, you shouldn’t think you can ignore your blog completely when you get to this stage. Even though your blogging income is passive, you will still need to maintain your blog each month in order to ensure that passive income continues to flow.
At the very least, you should be regularly checking in to do site maintenance tasks, such as plugin and theme updates, fixing broken links and updating any blog posts which become out of date. But this need only take a day or two per month.
However, if you want to see your passive income increase, you will need to be more proactive: publishing more new content, creating new digital products and generally optimising your blog and email marketing activities to maximise revenue.
How to pivot an existing blog to make passive income
I have written this guide assuming you are starting from scratch, but what if you already have a blog? How can you turn an existing blog into a passive income blog? Here are a few tips:
- Focus on SEO and email marketing as your primary traffic drivers
- Automate your social media using a tool like CoSchedule
- Automate Pinterest using a tool like Tailwind
- Monetize via a mix of ads, affiliate links and digital products
- Stop doing non-passive forms of monetization, such as sponsored posts and services
- Continue publishing new blog posts from time to time, but reduce the frequency – maybe down to once a fortnight or once a month
- Spend some time each month on site maintenance jobs, such as plugin and theme updates, updating out-of-date content and fixing broken links, to ensure you maintain your passive income
How much passive income can you make from a blog?
This varies, depending on how much work you are willing to put in up front and how much maintenance work you are willing to do long-term, but it is possible to make a very good full time passive income from blogging.
Bloggers who have a good mix of ad income, affiliate income and digital product income can make thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars per month. And, once you have done the initial setup work, you can keep things ticking over working just 2-3 days per month on your blog.
As an illustration of this, I work only 2-3 days per month on my food blog, Easy Peasy Foodie, and that site generates a five-figure income every month.
Need more help?
Want the secret to jumping the queue and getting results much faster? Take courses!
I offer 3 courses to help you start and grow a blog which generates a passive income each month.
I often read stories of other bloggers really struggling… struggling to set up their blogs the right way, struggling with super slow blog growth, struggling with how to make email marketing work, struggling to make money from their blogs…
And it makes me want to cry… partly because I hate to see people struggling, but mostly because I know they don’t need to struggle – I literally have the solutions to their problems!
I have made 3 courses to help bloggers out who are struggling with these exact problems.
Profitable Blogging Jumpstart teaches you exactly how to set up your blog the right way for success. It takes you step by step through everything you need to do in the first 10 weeks of blogging and it then gives you a month-by-month plan for the rest of the year!
SEO Jumpstart teaches you exactly how to optimise your blog to get incredible blog traffic from search engines! Not flash in the pan, occasional spikes, but regular, consistent, good traffic month in month out.
Email Marketing Jumpstart teaches you exactly how to harness the power of email marketing to turn casual readers into subscribers, subscribers into buyers, and buyers into raving super fans who excitedly tell all their friends about your blog!
Each of these courses helps you actually make money (and, in particular, passive income) from your blog too, each with a slightly different emphasis. Profitable Blogging Jumpstart shows you how to make money from affiliate links, SEO Jumpstart helps you get the kind of traffic you need to sign up for a high-paying ad company like Mediavine and earn good money from ads… and Email Marketing Jumpstart shows you how to create sales funnels so you can start selling your own digital products.
See all my courses and course bundles here >>> Productive Blogging Courses
Over to you…
Has this blog post helped you? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below.
I’d also love to hear from you if you have any extra tips for earning passive income from a blog.
And don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, if you have any questions about this topic!
- How do blogs make money?
- How to make money from your email list
- 14 reasons why your blog isn’t making money (and what to do about it!)
- How to turn your blog into a profitable business
- 21 reasons why bloggers should stop working for free
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*This blog post contains affiliate links, this means if you click on a link and go on to buy the product I recommend, I will get a small commission, but you will not be charged a penny more – thanks in advance!