When I first got started building websites for my consulting businesses, there was a lot of talk about passive income blogging. People didn’t say “passive income blogging,” they said, “make money from your blog” usually followed by a couple of exclamation points.
There were (and still are) a lot of websites, books, and training programs aimed at teaching you how to make money from your blog. I originally created my websites to sell consulting services (which is active income, not passive income) but as my sites grew, I began to focus more on passive income opportunities like selling classes and webinars… and found great success.
Like me, many consultants and freelancers start blogs as a way to bring in new consulting clients. After a while, they come across articles and webinars talking about making money blogging, and they wonder whether or not they can make passive income blogging, in addition to (or instead of) just selling consulting services on their websites.
In this article, I’m going to show you the truth about passive income blogging and teach you how to get maximum return on investment for the time you invest in building your website.
A Blog is Not a Business Model
Before we launch into passive income blogging opportunities, it’s important to remember that a blog is not a business model. I learned this very early on in my online career (I can’t remember where I first saw it, but it is very true). You can’t just put up a website, write articles, and expect to generate income.
As you seek to earn income from your website, you need to be deliberate about the business model you want to use to create revenue. If you’re like me, you first created your website to generate consulting leads… that’s a business model. Your blog is being used to attract potential clients, show your worth, and get them into your funnel so that you can turn them into paying customers.
The same thing holds true for passive income opportunities. We’ll discuss some of the most common ways to build passive income on your website below, but remember that you need to be deliberate about selecting a business model if you want to be successful.
Low ROI Passive Income Blogging Opportunities
In my experience, there is one passive income blogging revenue stream that has a much lower return on investment (or ROI) than the others: selling advertising.
I have been very successful in selling advertising on some of my sites, but never as my primary revenue stream, and never as the first income stream I build. This is because it takes lots of visitors to your website (or subscribers to your e-mail newsletter) before you can make serious profit by selling advertising.
No one is going to pay you top dollar to advertise on your site if you only get 1,000 visitors to your site per month… and growing your site up to the point where you are getting tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of visitors per month takes lots of time. You’ll need to generate content, build links, and market your site on a consistent basis. It is a huge investment of time, and even after you do, you will almost certainly be able to generate far more income by selling classes, webinars, and other training programs than you can generate via advertising.
That being said, selling advertising can still be a great add-on income stream to your other passive income blogging revenue.
High ROI Passive Income Blogging Opportunities
As you may have guessed, the passive income blogging revenue streams with the highest ROI are classes, webinars, and other training programs. This group also includes membership programs that bring in recurring revenue for your business.
You probably can’t earn significant income from advertisers if your e-mail list only has 1,000 subscribers… but you can (and I have) made good money selling online courses and webinars to a similarly sized e-mail list. Offering online training programs is super high ROI… you can create these products once, and then sell them over again, year after year.
These are your best bet for building sustained passive income on your website, and make a great complement to your consulting, coaching, and other active income streams.
What About E-Books and Affiliate Marketing?
There are two passive income blogging opportunities that I didn’t mention above: e-books and affiliate marketing.
E-books are fantastic ways to generate passive income, but they are generally low dollar, selling for $20 or less. Because of this, you will need a huge number of visitors, a large e-mail list, and / or a massive marketing effort in order to sell tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of e-books.
That being said, I still recommend writing and selling e-books, both because they can provide you with $1,000 or more per month in extra income (per book) and also because they are great lead generators for people who will buy other, higher-dollar products from you as well.
Affiliate marketing can also a great passive income blogging opportunity. I generally find affiliate marketing to be a higher ROI revenue stream, provided you are promoting higher dollar products and that the product creator has build a good sales page for you to refer people to.
If you’re an affiliate referring people to a $17 e-book and you are getting 50% of the sale, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to build up a significant income stream from that affiliate program. If, on the other hand, you’re referring people to a $97 webinar (and the webinar creator has also upsells people to a $499 online class) you’ll likely have a much higher ROI for your investment of time and energy in promoting the program.
Affiliate marketing is a good passive income blogging revenue stream, either as an add-on to selling your own classes and webinars, or as a stand-alone business model.