Top 10 Passive Income Streams for Bloggers to Earn More Money
Let me ask you a simple question: why did you start blogging?
To make money? To build your brand online? To build relationships with other influencers?
Whatever your reasons are, making passive income from your sites can give you immense joy, isn’t it?
But here’s a fun fact: 81% of blogs NEVER make even $100.
If you’re struggling to make money online, I’ve a good news for you. This detailed post will mostly talk about top passive income streams for bloggers along with some incredible tips to grow your passive income.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- What is passive income?
- Top 10 income streams for bloggers in 2017
- #1. Affiliate marketing
- #2. Sell eBooks
- #3. Google AdSense
- #4. Create YouTube video tutorials
- #5. Create an app
- #6. Create a membership site
- #7. Banner ads
- #8. Sell professional photos online
- #9. Build a niche website to monetize
- #10. Create online courses
What is passive income?
Passive income is all about making money even while you sleep. Simply to put, you earn money without taking any active part in it. Or I could say it is the revenue you earn even when you aren’t actively working. Passive income is also called residual income.
In the case of active income, when you stop working, the money stops coming. If you quit your job, it’s most likely that you will stop getting paid. Your boss won’t keep paying your salary unless you keep showing up for work.
There is yet another case of active income. If you do contract work for clients who pay you and if you stop doing this work, then you will stop getting paid. Yes, you may have more flexibility with contract work, but you still have to do the work to receive your payments.
Why should you focus on passive income streams?
Usually when someone needs additional income, they get the stereotypical suggestion to “get a part-time job.” Let’s say you don’t have time and energy to work on that. With passive income, you would keep getting paid whether or not you do any meaningful work. You may do a lot of work up front during the initial days, but eventually you reach a point where the passive income stream gets activated.
If you want, you can essentially stop working on this income stream. But, more money will keep flowing to you through this stream regardless what you do or don’t do. So without further ado, let’s talk about some of the top passive income streams for bloggers.
Top 10 income streams for bloggers in 2017
#1. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most powerful ways that you can produce multiple passive income streams. If you have a blog which is very active then this is a passive income technique that suits better.
Sign up to promote certain products or services on your site, for which you will be paid either a flat fee or a percentage of the amount of the sale completed. It’s recommended to opt for the product or service that you are either very interested in or is highly relevant to your website.
Whenever a consumer clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase, you earn a commission between 15% and 20% of the total price. Some companies, such as Amazon and eBay, make affiliate marketing deals directly with publishers.
Have a look at the screenshot below to easily understand how affiliate marketing works.
You can find affiliate offers either by contacting vendors directly, or on dedicated websites, such as ClickBank. However, to succeed at affiliate marketing, you need a large following of users. Unless your site gets a fair amount of traffic, affiliate marketing deals don’t bring in much money.
So, build and maintain a site to attract plenty of readers. For this, you can write posts specifically related to the particular product that you will be linking to. So that people will have a good reason to click on it.
Here are the few tips you should follow while doing affiliate marketing:
- Let your readers know that it is affiliate link: You should always disclose if the mentioned links in the posts are affiliate links. It is to make sure business is conducted fairly. Place towards the triggering item of your post.
- It’s all about trust: Focus on relationships more. If your friend recommends any product then you will listen right? And if any stranger recommends, will you try? Obviously no. So, always focus on building trust. This is very important if you want to succeed in affiliate marketing.
- Build your traffic: when your website gets more traffic, more people will look at your products. If you gain potential readers who really love to read your stuff then they will buy your products. So, focus on gaining potential readers by providing really really useful content.
- Promote the one’s you are already using: If you are into SEO or marketing niche and if you open such niche sites, you will see they offering try bluehost banners etc.. whether you are a food blogger or yoga blogger or fashion blogger, if you are using that product then write a post on it and promote it.
- Be genuine while promoting: Just because you want to earn money, never recommend useless products. Be genuine while promoting.
- Always be honest: Be fair and build trust. Talk about what you like and don’t like.
- Know your audience: If your blog is about clothing and fashion products then they won’t be interested in spiritual stuff. So, think what your readers will buy in real.
- Review your old posts: Find your most popular posts and update those posts with your affiliate links. To find such posts, go to Google Analytics dashboard, under behaviour, click on site content and you see “All Pages”. There you will find your popular posts.
- Promote products within your posts: Instead of including in your sidebar, promote products within a post. Make sure you include your personal experience with the product. It will be good if you can post your own photos or videos of yourself using the product.
- Add bonus: When promoting a particular affiliate product, offer something of your own as a bonus. For example, if you are promoting an online training as an affiliate, then offer your own ebook as a bonus.
#2. Sell eBooks
For generating a respectable amount of passive income, write and publish an ebook. If you are not an established writer with an existing following then make the best use of Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform and publish ebooks.
You can either sell the ebook on your own website or offer it as an affiliate arrangement with other websites that provide content related to your ebook. Don’t expect instant success as it takes a lot of work upfront, but once you create ebook and does enough marketing then it can provide you with a passive revenue stream for years.
That being said, here are the 5 tips to sell your eBooks online successfully to your audience.
#1. Fix a reasonable price: Well, you have put a really great hard work and it is difficult when it comes to putting a price on your work. If your is a first ebook then probably you are unknown writer. In that case, don’t take risks by keeping heavy prices.
Pricing between $2.99 to $4.99 is okay or else you can just let you buyers decide like ‘Pay What You Want’. Check out what other writers are selling.
#2. Offer discounts: Approach bloggers in your niche and send them a copy of your book. Most Instagrammers love to receive anything that’s going to make it easy for them to create fresh content. Be sure to send them a good quality image of your book cover. Offer discounts on your ebook. Writing about business or marketing? Using case studies, or other entrepreneurs as examples in your work give you the chance to reach out to those people.
#3. Send to your mailing list: If you have already one mailing list that’s great as it is the most valuable marketing tool. Email is the most effective way to make sales for your online products and eBooks.. .
If you don’t have a mailing list, then build your list pre-launch. Create a way to capture email addresses on your site and social media accounts and promise that anyone signed up to the mailing list gets first dibs on the book or perhaps a special deal. It’s also important to collect email addresses, so that you can promote future books to existing readers.
#4. Offer free download: Before you even sell, ask yourself, “What is the purpose of my book?”. If you are using your book as a way to establish authority in your niche then giving away your book as a free download. If you don’t want to give away your whole eBook for free, then give a few chapters to them Again, make sure you are collecting those email addresses in exchange, so that you can follow up with a friendly email to close the sale.
#5. Reach out to many people: Do post-launch promotion like regular emails, social media campaigns, webinars or interviews and guest blogging. Reach out to relevant people for your ebook.
#3. Google AdSense
Google AdSense is a free service offered by Google that helps publishers to monetize their web content. It is the most popular ways to monetize the content for people who want to earn online. Once you are done with initial configuration, you can just sit back and see money coming into your account.
You need either a blog or YouTube channel to get started with Google AdSense. You also need to get approval for AdSense account. Create ads and place the AdSense code on your blog using free plugins and it will automatically display ads.
Now, When a reader clicks on those ads, you will earn money from it. But if you use any illegal methods to get more clicks, then it will cost you more. Google will just disable your AdSense account. So, get organic and legal traffic.
Here’s how AdSense works.
Firstly, you need to have a blog or website that gets good traffic. Choose a niche and create a website using WordPress and start writing useful content. Promote it on all social media platforms. Once you see good amount of traffic then follow these steps to create AdSense account to enjoy passive income.
Steps to create Adsense account:
- Go to Google AdSense and sign up. If you have a custom domain email address, use that. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org. The chances of getting your AdSense application approved is very high. If you don’t have one, the you can use your gmail address too.
- Enter your website address and select the content language. Add your website address without http://
- Use the same name whatever the name you have in your bank account for your payee name too. That means your bank account name and payee name should be same. AdSense sends you checks or EFT payment under that name.
- Read the AdSense policies and checkmark all three boxes. Then click on “Submit”.
- Once the signup process is complete, add AdSense codes to your blog. The AdSense team will review your application again after you add the codes.
- Your account will be activated with an Adsense Pin that will be sent to you.
It is not an easy go. It takes approximately 1-2 months depending upon your geographical location.
In order to get paid from AdSense, submit your tax information and enter your pin. Once you reach the threshold of $10, you will be mailed AdSense pin and you will start receiving payment once your AdSense account reaches the $100 threshold.
#4. Create YouTube video tutorials
Hands down, YouTube is the ultimate passive income stream.
These days I see some YouTube revolution. People in and around the world makes awesome videos especially the college students share short films, flash mobs, comedy pranks etc..
You too can do that. Create videos in just about any area that you like. For example, music, tutorials, opinions, comedy, movie reviews and anything you want, then upload on YouTube. Then attach Google AdSense to the videos. So that, it will overlay your videos with automatic ads. When viewers click on those ads, you will earn money from AdSense.
Just creating videos will not fetch you anything. Promote those videos on social media websites. Once a video is done, it can become a completely passive cash flow source for a very long time.
Research what the most popular YouTubers are doing and get ideas. There are lot of people who took their passion to YouTube and achieved massive success. So, give a try. The process is slow but surely it works. Here are few quick tips to use YouTube tutorials to make some passive income online.
- Making money from YouTube works almost similar like AdSense. You need to have a YouTube channel and you also need to get registered to Google AdSense account in order to start making money from YouTube. Once your AdSense account gets approved, you can start showing relevant ads on your videos to monetize your channel.
- Focus on using the right ad formats to maximize your YouTube channel earnings.
- The more subscribers you have the more views your videos will get and hence you can make more money from your YouTube videos. So focus on increasing your views, subscribers and likes.
- Ask people to share your videos with their friends. That way your videos get maximum exposure. The more exposure you get the more people will click on your videos. It’s as simple as that.
#5. Create an app
Most of the people today uses smartphones. So, apps are a lucrative source of income. Now, you may think it’s not everyone business to create app. It needs lot of coding and other technical stuff. But if you are into technical field and can understand the dynamics of business and smartphone applications, then this is definitely worth your while.
But if you have creative ideas that will win, then create app while learning code. And there are plenty of tutorials and online free courses available. If you think, you can’t then check out Nathan Barry’s success in his article, How I Made $19,000 on the App Store While Learning to Code.
If you still think, it’s not possible then you can hire a developer to build your app based on your idea. This is bit an expensive option, but it is worth if you have really killer app idea.
If either of the options won’t work, then use the tool Bubble for creating simple web or mobile apps. You can do a lot without knowing how to code or hiring a developer. You can create a simple app that makes you a few thousand dollars a month.
#6. Create a membership site
If you are wondering how to run a successful online business then one of the best ways to do so is creating membership site. Now, you may think what is this membership site?
It is a gated part of your online business where only members who subscribe can access the content you have placed behind the gates. Here the gates means a barrier you build into your website using a plugin. Only those members can login and access exclusive content, special offers, and even be part of a community of other members.
Here again content means digital products like ebooks, webinars, online courses and podcasts rather than physical goods that require shipping.
Simply to put, if you are subscribed to that website, then only you can access offers provided by it.
A membership site is a great source of recurring income on your own terms. The amount of work involved in your membership site depends entirely on what you are offering.
Benefits of membership site:
- You can increase revenue: You need not worry about driving more traffic to your site as the financial benefits of membership sites are massive. Imagine you have just 100 members who pays you $30 a month!…. Yes, that’s $3000 a month. It’s like you sell a product and then get paid again and again each and every month!
- Builds relationship with customer: If a customer becomes a member then you will be providing a service and new information to that member on a daily, weekly or monthly basis which builds loyalty and respect.
- Lots of free traffic: You will get a consistent flow of traffic.
Install free membership site software
If you are using a WordPress platform then use a membership plugin to take care of all of the back end stuff that is required for the running of membership sites. Go to your WordPress dashboard. In that click on ‘Plugins’. Under that you will find ‘Add new’. In the search box type, ‘S2member’ and click search.
Now select the S2member plugin and Install it on your site. They offer completely free version and paid version too. This plugin comes with easy payment integration with the leading payment gateways.
Set up your membership site
- Create 2 new pages called, ‘Subscribe’ and ‘Members’. Where ‘Subscribe’ page is your membership options page and the other one is the first page that new members will see.
- Go to dashboard, click the ‘S2member’ tab. There you will see ‘General Options’. Click on that and you will be presented with lot of options. Configure each settings.
- Under ‘Email Configuration’, enter the email address that you want to associate with your membership site.
- Under ‘Login welcome page’, select ‘Members’ page. This is to make sure that your site is protected and it redirects all members to this page after they login.
- Next you will see a ‘Membership Option page’. Here select the ‘subscribe’ page that you created earlier. It displays payment buttons and ‘non members’ are directed to when trying to access a protected members page.
Save all the changes and set up payment options. If you are operating a more advanced membership site, then you can integrate an affiliate program too.
#7. Banner ads
Banner advertising is also called display advertising and the main purpose of banner advertising is to promote a brand. The banner ad can take the visitor from the host website to the advertiser’s website or a specific landing page. These are intended to generate traffic to a website by linking to it.
Banned ads are mainly used to increase brand awareness, generate leads, retarget your audience. The main indicator is Click -Through-Rate (CTR). Higher the CTR is, the more effective the advertisement is.
If you have a blog that receives huge amount of traffic and awesome content, you can use these banner ads. You don’t have to be a professional designer to design a banner ad. With Bannersnack, you can create static or animated banner ads.
Before you create banner ad, keep these in mind.
- Know who is your core audience and what you want from them. Click on your website, or to buy your limited sale product or to try your service for free.
- Choose a standard web banner ad size. 728×90, 160×600 or 300×250 banner ad holds one of the keys to your online advertising campaign’s success
- Use readable fonts and your brand color.
Once you create the banner, you need to buy ad space on websites. Usually, contacting blog and website owners and negotiating with them individually is time consuming, so most of the people choose an advertising network to help them distribute their ads. Some of these advertising networks are: Google Adwords, Aol Advertising, BuyAds.com, OpenX.
Now, start banner advertising.
Visual advertising is always effective. You can use buttons, colors, images, text or even animations to create an understandable message. Think about your product or service and see what’s the specific idea you can build your campaign on. Get a clear picture on how much money you want to invest in this banner ad campaign.
Banner ads helps a lot in increasing your business. You can get the best out of it.
#8. Sell professional photos online
If you love photography, why not use that to earn passive income. Check the photo-selling websites such as iStockPhoto and ShutterStock. If you enjoy photography you can submit your photos to stock photo sites and receive a commission every time someone purchases one of them.
In this way, a single image generates a passive income since it can be sold again and again.
These are the kind of photos that are in demand:
- Photos of work situations
- Photos of nature
- Photos of animals
- Photos of travel
- Photos of cities
- Photos of things like table, box, medication, signs, books, computers, tools, bags, cables etc.
- Photos of people.
If you still want to know what kind of images are more popular, take a look into each category. That will give an idea what category is most wanted. Now, you may be wondering how to create best images. Here are the few tips:
- With your smartphone, you will never get a good quality of images. If you want to do online business then, buy a DSLR camera.
- Get a tripod to keep your camera steady while you are shooting. Store your photos online for free to avoid losing your photos
- To create a perfect picture, get a light tent to create awesome styled stock photos.
Websites to sell images online
There are several websites that sell stock photos and these photos can be sold over and over again providing long-term residual income.
- Fotolia: As a contributor, you can earn 20-63% and payment is made via Moneybookers or PayPal.
- Alamy: It offers a 50% royalty and no exclusivity clause.
- Shutterstock: Contributors earn 20-30%. Payments are made monthly with a $75 minimum. You are free to sell your stock elsewhere.
- FreeDigitalPhotos.net: You can keep 70% of your sales revenue. Payments are made via PayPal with a $10 minimum.
- Istockphoto: As a contributor, you will earn 15% from each download. Exclusive Contributors earn 22-45%. Payments can be requested up to twice per week by PayPal, Moneybookers or Payoneer Mastercard with a $100 minimum balance.
There are some themes and software like PhotoShelter where you can sell your photos without any ongoing fees or giving up a percentage of each sale.
Finally, market your available photos. Get active in photography forums, social networks, guest posting about photography will help you a lot. You probably aren’t going to get rich selling photos online, but you can earn some extra cash passively. Say you earn $1 per month for every image listed and if you have 50 images available for sale, you may be earning around $50 per month.
#9. Build a niche website to monetize
If you have an understanding of SEO and online marketing, you can start building niche or guide websites to help generate leads and referral income. Once you start your website and drive massive traffic, here is how you can monetize your niche blog.
- Google Adsense: Yes, it is the most popular option. Just sign up, build an ad and paste the code into your website. When people click the ad, you get paid. However, there are rules like no more than 3 ads per page and you cannot manipulate it to trick your audience to click.
- Amazon affiliates: If your niche blog includes actual products that one is looking to purchase, then you can earn from this too. For example, if you refer someone to Amazon to purchase shoes. If they purchase other than shoes also you will get commission.
- Buysellads: You can sell your own ads on your niche Site. Once you get a significant amount of traffic and your niche fits in line with what they offer.
- Clickbank and Shareasale: They offer products that you can sell on your website. If you have the right niche then they have a lot of high payouts option too.
- Job boards: If it makes sense for your niche, then try Indeed and other job websites which will allow you to place job boards on your website.
When creating ads, make sure you follow these to increase better click through rates with link ads.
- Give a specific title: When you create an ad, make sure you title it. Title it with your site name then position. This will allow you to analyze what individual ads are receiving the most clicks.
- Use Colors Wisely: Don’t trick your visitors with colors like red and blue. Instead try to make your niche site look good.
- Sizes and Positioning: Different themes perform better with different sizes. If the ad naturally fits in that space, it will perform better. Don’t waste your time reading about the thousands of articles discussing ad sizes. Test it out yourself.
- Test your ads: Start testing your ads when you start receiving some consistent traffic. Test out a changed ad for two weeks and compare it to the previous ad. If it performs better, then keep it.
These are just some of the issues you need to keep in mind when creating your ads.
#10. Create online courses
Well, everyone is good at something. Whatever the skill or passion you have, turn that to an online course.There are a number of ways that you can produce and host your own online course.
You can create an online course on Udemy. It is a great way to automate some of your cash flow. You will earn money when users register for them. Now you may be wondering what to put in the online course!
You can add audio files for people to listen while they are travelling or video lessons or animation, small ebooks that supports the lessons, informative interviews and so on. You can create several packages at different price points.
Tips to create and sell your first online course:
- It’s good to have competition: When you come up with an online course idea that has never been done before, that means no one is interested in buying it. So, if someone already created the course you want to create, that’s good!
- Your first course may not be up to the mark: Always compare where you are now to where we were in the beginning. But remember, even if the videos are of low quality, if the content inside the video looks great, it generates six figures.
- Find an idea for your online course: Before this, let’s analyze why do people buy online courses? One simple answer is they have got a problem and they are looking for a solution. So, find a problem and eliminate it with an online course.
- Create small online course: You need not create big and in-depth online courses. If you are just getting started, create just 3 little videos and some worksheets.
- Always learn: If you don’t know anything, then learn what makes you feel good and then create video about it. Also always learn from people who already did and succeed. Turn your idea into an online course and start selling it.
Final thoughts about top passive income streams for bloggers
There are literally thousands of passive income streams to earn money while you sleep.
The key here is to know your skills and be passionate about what you do. It takes a while to build a strong passive income source online but once you start generating money, it keeps rolling in. That’s the beauty of passive income streams for bloggers.
So what are you waiting for? Stop wasting your time and start utilising your time to build a better blog, YouTube channel or a Udemy course to start making money in your spare time. Which passive income streams for bloggers did you like most? Share your thoughts in the comments.