The Canadian blogger community has grown exponentially in recent years, as Canadians look for legitimate ways to make money online from home. Many of these blogs are profitable, some more than others. We wanted to know how the most successful Canadian bloggers are monetizing their blogs these days, so we conducted an informal study.
It’s simple to determine how a blog is making money, just visit their website. By nature, virtually all monetization is fully visible on each blog. You can see their ads, products, services, and whatever else they’re using to make money online.
I’ve been creating revenue-generating content for websites for over two decades, and naturally moved into blogging when it came on the scene. I’m experienced and trained in just about every type of website monetization.
One thing my experience has taught me, is making money with a blog differs from generating revenue on other types of sites. Part of the reason for that is bloggers gravitate towards the most basic online income opportunities. Their main focus is providing information of some kind. While they want to make money blogging, they typically aren’t interested in learning complex systems for doing so.
More recently, people began publishing blogs for the sole purpose of making money, such as those built entirely around affiliate marketing. More often than not, the content consists of poorly written, fake reviews or mash-ups of bot-generated or stolen content. A high quality blog can certainly be built for this purpose, but the creators often aren’t interested in putting in any effort at all to be unique. In fact, it’s usually blatantly obvious that they don’t know their niche at all. Google can detect this low quality or stolen content, so they’re finished before they start.
The most successful, profitable blogs that make money over the long term will produce helpful content based on their own knowledge. Their posts are well-researched and their sources are credited. They would never consider stealing content from other sites, or mixing it up and regurgitating it as their own work. They serve their audience so their readers trust them, and naturally want to support them in return.
Top 5 Ways Successful Canadian Bloggers Earn Money
We reviewed 105 of the most popular Canadian blogs in a broad range of niches. Many of those blogs are listed in our post, Popular Canadian Blogs for Blogger Outreach and Influencer Marketing, if you’d like to check them out yourself.
Some of these methods of blog monetization will be more suitable for your blog than others. I recommend you choose one, test and master it before adding another. Ultimately, you’ll combine more than one revenue stream to further ensure profitability.
Following are five legitimate revenue streams that top bloggers in Canada use to generate income:
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways to monetize blogs. It has consistently generated the most income for us and our clients over the past 20+ years, long before blogging was even a thing. All you have to do is join an affiliate program and they’ll pay you a certain percentage of the sales you bring them through a custom link on your website. These links may be banner ads or text.
It’s one of the most passive ways to generate revenue with your blog, but it isn’t fully passive. In reality, bloggers who make the most money with affiliate marketing put in a lot of time & effort to promote their affiliates and increase conversions. However, you don’t have to worry about anything except generating a sale or lead. The follow-through is up to the merchant, from payment processing to customer support.
Products or services can be promoted from various angles, such as reviews, gift guides or recommendations within an article. As you gain more experience, you may find some affiliate programs are worth more concentrated effort, inspiring you to create landing pages, webinars, tutorials and so on. You can also take affiliate marketing outside of your blog and into email or social media.
Check out our guide to starting affiliate marketing in Canada for details.
2. Direct Advertising
From banner (display) ads to sponsored content, selling advertising directly to businesses can be a significant source of revenue for bloggers.
Once your traffic has reached a level high enough to catch the eye of advertisers, you will have the opportunity to make private deals for ad placement on your blog (direct advertising). The more you grow, the more you can charge. Most private advertising is paid by the month or annually. If your traffic volume isn’t high enough yet, you can use affiliate advertising in the meantime.
Bloggers will also have the opportunity to take advantage of the wildly popular content marketing trend. Sponsors (brands) or their agency representatives will approach you eventually, looking for guest posts, reviews and a variety of other content.
Add an advertising page to your website with a summary of options available. Have a media kit ready to send to those who inquire, and/or offer it as a download on your site.
3. Email Marketing
The email list you build in association with your blog can become a source of additional revenue. Several of the website monetization methods mentioned here can be applied to your email list, including affiliate marketing, sponsored advertising and solo ads, and email courses. Familiarize yourself with CASL and the anti-spam laws of any country your subscribers might be from.
4. Digital Products
Digital information products or downloads are often what takes a blog to a whole new level of revenue. You could share your expertise with an ebook or teach through an online course. Read How to Create and Develop Your Own Digital Learning Products for detailed information about this method of monetizing your blog.
Downloadable products include apps, software, website themes, WordPress plugins, photos, printables, etc. The beauty of digital downloads is they take time to create, but after that they require little direct effort to make money again and again. Even marketing these products can be largely automated. When you have your product ready to go, check out the Top 8 Ecommerce Platforms for Digital Product Downloads.
Once you have your digital products, you can use one to sell the other and considerably boost your sales. For example, many marketers use a “sales funnel” that takes the buyer through an automated sales cycle, from a lead magnet or first sale, on through several offers (often leading up to more expensive products, such as a course). You can even feed affiliate products into your sales funnel. Thrive Themes Funnels offers lots of funnel functionality for small businesses on a tight budget, and the Systeme suite of tools has a free level.
5. Online Consulting/Coaching
One of the benefits of having a blog, is you can demonstrate your expertise on a topic or show off your online business, marketing or design/developer skills. That can lead to opportunities to contract out your services, provide individual consulting/coaching, or even book speaking gigs if that interests you.
Get Started With Blogging for Money
For more information, please read:
How do you make money with your blog in Canada? Please share in the comments below or join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.