We are (literally) asked dozens of time every week questions about how to make money on WordPress. Since WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms, it comes as no suprise that this is what we are being asked.
The problem is, it’s not a simple question to answer.
The best way for you to make moneyon WordPress depends on your blog and your personal goals.
Does your website have lots of traffic? Or just a little?
Do you have time to invest in building and selling digitial products? Or do you just want to set-and-forget display ads?
Are you willing to do cold outreach to brands and potential advertisers?
Do you have the patience to create a mediakit and rate card, then distribute these?
Are you wanting a little side income, or do you want to replace your day job?
I need to know the answer to all of these questions before I can tell you how to make money on WordPress, in a manner which works best for you.
(Email me your answer’s if you want a proper reply: firstname.lastname@example.org)
How to make money on WordPress
There are many ways to make money on WordPress, just like there is on any blogging platform. You can do display banners, affiliate links, digital downloads, create courses, sell sponsored posts, sell sponsored links, or see real physical products.
However, things get a bit more complicated because once you choose what monetization method you want to pursue, you need to go a layer deeper and understand how to best use it. For example, if you choose to use display ads, will you sell them directly to brands, or will you use an ad network? If you use an ad network, which one should you pick? Ezoic, Mediavine, Adsense, or something else?
Browse through the scenarios below, and read our recommendation for how to make money on WordPress. You might find more than one of these scenarios applies to your blog.
My blog has very little traffic
Firstly, that’s ok. Continue to work on your blog, post new content, and eventually you will get more traffic.
However to monetize a bog that has low traffic levels you need to think outside of banner ads. Banner ads pay a pittance, and you need tens of thousands of monthly pageviews at minimum to make any amount of money that will get you slightly excited.
So what can you do? The answer is sell something.
I bet half of you reading this rolled your eyes just then. It sounds like a lot of effort, right?
But look at the maths. If your website gets just 1000 visitors per month, you’ll make about $15 if you had banner ads on your site.
Now, what if you sold a $50 digital product you created, and 20 people purchased it per month? That’ll make you $1000 per month, from the same number of visitors.
That’s better, right?!
Imagine if you sold a $300 product instead, and still made 20 sales per month. That’s $6,000 in revenue!
There are many types of digital products you can sell.
I personally sell 3D models for game developers (via TurboSquid), stock photos, forms, checklists, and digital courses like my Monetization Method course which teaches exactly how to make money on WordPress. Some of these items sell for $3.50, and others still for over $500.
My blog has lots of traffic
That’s great! Your blogs income potential just got much bigger.
With lots of traffic, you can choose literally any monetization method. You can also do the lazy approach (put an ad network on your website to show banner ads) and still make good about of money.
I’d personally treat your website like a pyramid. Do the easy-wins first, then build into the highly profitable monetization methods, and then decide if you want to remove the least profitable streams of revenue.
Here’s and example on what the process might look like:
Start earning immediately: Sign up for Google Adsense and add banners across your site. The pay will be low, but you’ll get in the habit of thinking about where to best place ads to maximize revenue. You might even do a sticky sidebar widget to get a nice high CTR on that particular ad slot. Putting a low paying ad network like Adsense on your website will also let you begin gathering data on what CPMs and CPCs you are achieving.
If you can’t get into Adsense, there are a number of Adsense alternatives worth trying too.
Explore monetization methods: Start to learn more about sponsored posts and sponsored links, and whether this is something you’d be open to selling. Many bloggers are against sponsored posts, and more so sponsored links. I feel there are ways to sell these ethically and honestly without harming your sites reputation or ranking.
Also think about whether you are willing to sell advertising on your website directly to brands, without the use of an intermediary such as an ad network. It’s tough work, but you’ll more than likely double your earning potential through banner ads if you decide to take this route.
One of the most profitable ways to monetize a WordPress blog is to sell digital products. Ideally something over $100. The cost to sell one of these products is about the same as the cost to sell 50 of them, and your can deliver them instantly online. I’ve been in the digital marketing and online advertising industry for over 15 years and sold millions of dollars worth of ads and sponsorships on a handful of blogs, so it made sense for me to turn this knowledge into the Monetization Method course.
What unique skills do you have, or what topic can you teach others with confidence? Can you turn it into a thorough online course to help others achieve success?
If not, that’s ok, you might discover an opportunity further along your blogging journey. Perhaps you are skilled in Photoshop, Lightroom, 3Ds Max, Excel, Word, InDesign, or can code. Each of these skills allows you to create digital products you can sell on your website. There is a big demand for templates, themes, checklists, forms, etc which will help your customers save time.
Build a strong foundation: Start to plan what you need to generate more revenue from these same ad positions. You’ll want to create a media kit, rate card, and a new page on your website where potential advertisers can find these files. If you are a member of our Monetization Method course and community, use the spreadsheet provided to discover what level of traffic is required to hit your income goals.
I’m too shy and nervous to do outreach / be public
That’s going to limit your income potential, but it is fully understandable!
Cold outreach is nerve-racking! You’re going to get denied over and over, but eventually you’ll start making sales.
However if this is something you definately want to avoid, then thats fine, you’ll just need to focus on WordPress monetization methods that don’t require you to put on your sales hat.
Here’s your options:
Networks like Mediavine will literally find the advertisers for you, and you don’t need to do any sales at all. The problem with this is that the ad network will take a portion of the revenue.
My blog has no traffic yet
Yikes! I can’t teach you how to make money on a WordPress blog with no traffic. That means, step #1 is going to be getting traffic.
This can take weeks, months, or even years (to be honest, it’s more likely in the years category), and you’ll need to understand a number of skills such as SEO and getting the most out of social media.
So my advice is the following, in this particular order:
Step 1: You are in a privileged position, despite having no traffic. Having no traffic means you have yet to start your blog, or are in the early days of the process. This means you can make some good decisions now which will set you down the right path in the coming months.
This is going to sound horribly self-promotional, but I strongly recommend you have a good understanding of how to monetize a blog before going too much further. If your goal is monetization, then the topics you write about, and your blogs structure, will play a big role in your success.
Either read all my other blog posts or sign up for my Monetization Method course to get a thorough understanding of how to make money on WordPress. This will get you off on the right foot for maximum earning potential!
I literally don’t know where to start
Email me. I love helping new bloggers learn how to make money on WordPress. My email address is email@example.com. But please include information about yourself, your website, and your goals. I get a lot of emails and I try to respond to them all, but I put one and two liners to the bottom of the pile.