7 Totally Legitimate Ways to Make Passive Income from Your Blog

7 Totally Legitimate Ways to Make Passive Income from Your Blog

by Sarah Peterson


You’re skeptical.

You hear about bloggers who learned how to start a blog and now make money while they sleep — bloggers who take epic vacations or spend all their time with their families, and at the end of each month, they still have money coming in.

It sounds too good to be true. Especially when you’re slaving away every day and can barely make ends meet.

But it’s not just an urban legend. Once your blog draws a steady stream of traffic, you can turn it into a passive income machine. You can make money on autopilot and you won’t have to resort to any shady tactics to do so.

Check out these seven totally legitimate ways to make passive income from your blog.

#1. Sell Resources and Templates You Created for Personal Use

Sherry, the Canadian blogger behind the blog Save Spend Splurge, found herself in $60,000 worth of debt after college.

This is a predicament shared by many millennials today. But instead of paying her debt back slowly with minimum payments, Sherry created a budgeting template in Excel that helped her get that entire debt load off of her back just 18 months later.

After starting her personal finance blog, Sherry realized something. If her Excel template was powerful enough to clear her debt in 18 months, it could help her readers too.

So she called it “the Budgeting Tool” and listed it for sale on her blog for $50:

The Budgeting Tool

She then made it easy to find by adding a link in her top menu and sidebar:

link to resources from top menu
link to resources from sidebar

You may have created some resources for your personal use that would be useful for your readers, too. In fact, maybe you’ve created a resource that they’d be happy to pay for.

For example, if you blog about weddings and you’ve created your own invitations, you can sell them as printables. If you blog about graphic design, you have probably created Photoshop templates that you could sell. Or if you’re a travel blogger, you could sell bag-packing checklists or trip-planning worksheets.

Whatever niche you’re in, chances are there’s plenty of opportunity for selling such resources and templates.

#2. Ship Physical Products (Without the Inventory Headaches)

When you think of selling physical products on your blog, it might seem like a nightmare. You imagine yourself in your living room, surrounded by products and empty boxes, with dozens of printed-out orders in hand, and you’re trying to make sure everybody gets exactly what they ordered.

But these days, you can sell products without needing to store, package, and send them yourself. You can use dropshipping companies that do it for you.

Dropshipping is a method of ecommerce that lets you transmit orders directly to the supplier. The supplier will then take care of the packaging and ship the product directly to the customer.

You don’t have to lift a finger, your spare bedroom doesn’t have to turn into a stockroom, and the USPS guy won’t come knocking on your door every day.

Benny Hsu from Get Busy Living sells his own t-shirts through one of these companies:


Benny uses Teespring, a shirt and apparel dropshipping and manufacturing company that allows you to design your own products and sell them via its platform.

He earned $100,000 in five months through selling t-shirts. He tested several designs and after he found which ones sold well, he could sit back and watch the sales come in.

Offering a physical product on your blog doesn’t have to mean constant inventory management. It can mean dropshipping and selling your products passively for years to come.

If you’re interested in pursuing dropshipping, you can find a list of dropshipping companies here.

#3. Become Your Own Book Publisher

Given that you’re a blogger, I assume you love writing. So publishing an ebook is a perfect way to generate passive income. It offers a way to get recurring payments for the powerful words you write down.

This is what Tracy Gillett does on her blog, Raised Good:

publish your own books

She sells The Lost Art of Natural Parenting for $17. She’s set up a sales page on her blog, and also sells it to her subscribers through an email autoresponder series, allowing her to sell her ebook on autopilot:

publish your own books - 2

The beauty of publishing ebooks is that you can offer them to your readers as a digital download, wiping your hands clean of having to handle and ship a physical book. Once you write it, it can truly be passive.

Having written the 129-page ebook in 2016, Tracy can now earn money from selling it for years to come, no matter whether she’s traveling, working in her day job, exploring, or spending time with her son.

#4. Promote Other People’s Products and Earn Steady Commissions

You probably use several products related to your blog niche, right?

I might even guess that you love some of those products. If you nodded yes, then you can probably reap the benefits of this “holy grail” of passive blogging income: affiliate marketing.

Leanne Vogel, a nutrition educator and the blogger behind the keto blog Healthful Pursuit, uses many supplements in her own diet. So when she’s writing blog posts or recording podcast episodes, mentioning those products is natural.

When one of her audience members buys from her referral link, she makes an affiliate commission. And that, my friends, is “passive income”: referring your audience to products you know and love and getting paid for it, too.

For example, check out how Leanne places an affiliate link for Perfect Keto products in her blog post:

promote others products

She incorporated the link naturally within an article, giving her audience a discount just for them.

Leanne gets a commission for referring sales to Perfect Keto, and her audience finds out about a product that she loves and uses. It’s a win-win.

#5. Sell Courses That Teach Highly Desired Skills

Your audience wants to develop skills that will help them fulfill their goals. You can get paid teaching them those skills. And you don’t even have to do it in person. (Wouldn’t be passive if you did, now would it?)

Blogger Sarah Lambert writes a photography blog for moms, and she gets to do just that by selling online courses to her audience, teaching them how to do what she loves to do.

She first offers a free email challenge to grow her email list and prove the value of her courses:

sell niche courses

She then sells a course that teaches her audience how to use their cameras to take great pictures of their children.

sell niche courses - 2

All you need is the course content, and a course-creation platform like Teachable or ClickFunnels.

You can sell the courses on your website like Sarah does, through your email list, and by mentioning it in articles where it fits.

This can make you a lot of money as courses can sell for high dollar amounts. Many bloggers charge anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for their courses. When it comes to pricing your course, you should keep this in mind:

If you want to charge high prices, you absolutely can, but you must make big promises. Similarly, if you want to charge low prices, you absolutely can, but you must make small promises. In either case, though, the value of the promise should be at least 10X the price.
— Jon Morrow

Online education is a $107 billion industry. A lot of that profit comes from bloggers selling courses around their topics. They organize their content into a learning system and add immense value to their readers’ lives.

What can you teach your readers that would add value to their lives?

#6. Create Software That Fills a Desperate Need (Even if You’re Not a Developer)

When Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income launched his podcast, he couldn’t find the perfect podcast player. He wanted one that looked good on his site, but also had the capabilities that the established podcast players had.

Instead of waiting for somebody else to make a better program, he hired people to create the player he wanted: The Smart Podcast Player.

Pat sells the podcast player on his blog and in his online courses about podcasting.

create software to sell

He reports earning over $14,000 from the player in September:

create software to sell - 2

Not too shabby, right?

Ever use software and wish it were better? Does your audience desperately need an app that doesn’t even exist yet? Consider making it (of having it made) yourself.

Admittedly, this requires you to either be a developer or be able to hire one. But if you can swing it, you can profit.

#7. Offer a Challenge That Will Change Your Readers’  Lives

In 2014, I began to enact dozens of tiny changes in my life (like waking up earlier, making time for fitness every day, and journaling). I blogged about many of these changes as I saw them make a positive impact on my life.

As these small changes turned into habits, I realized something:

Every small, positive change we make in our lives pays compound interest.

Enter The Unsettle Challenge: one of the ways my blog makes passive income.

offer a challenge

The Unsettle Challenge is a paid email series that delivers one email a day for 30 days, each challenging the reader to make a positive change in their lives, like eliminate wasted time or drink a green smoothie every day.

I charge $30 for it — one dollar for each day of the challenge — and sell it to my subscribers through an automated email:

offer a challenge - 2

The challenge still sells, even two years after I launched it.

And I haven’t touched the sales email, the challenge, or the sales page at all since it launched.

In an online world full of free challenges, you might doubt that you can charge for a challenge, but I’m proof that you can — as long as the challenge offers value.

Turn Your Blog into a Passive Income Machine and Start Living the Dream

You started blogging because you love your topic.

You want to share your passion with the world, add value to your reader’s lives, and do what you love.

But you also want to earn a bit of money from your blog. And what better way to do that than to earn passive income — so you can do what professional bloggers are known for: travel the world, make money at home in your pajamas, and spend more time with your family.

The good news: There are plenty of opportunities to earn passive income from your blog, from affiliate marketing to creating your own physical products. You just have to figure out which method suits you best.

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Sarah Peterson

Sarah Peterson is a co-founder & CMO at FLIGHTFUD, and an executive marketing consultant with a proven track record of driving rapid growth for eCommerce and SaaS clients.


Make 2-5K per month, even if you're a beginner. We're seeking writers of any skill level.
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Written by Sarah Peterson

Sarah Peterson is a co-founder & CMO at FLIGHTFUD, and an executive marketing consultant with a proven track record of driving rapid growth for eCommerce and SaaS clients.

83 thoughts on “7 Totally Legitimate Ways to Make Passive Income from Your Blog”

  1. Hey Sarah!

    That is the best type of income hands down!

    I love passive income and one of the best ways to build it, I believe, is with affiliate marketing and your own digital products.

    I love affiliate marketing because I don’t have to deal with any customer support or any technical issues the buyer might encounter and so on. You can just focus on driving traffic, the right type of traffic, and you can build a nice income that way.

    The conversions of your blog really matter, as well as the quality of the traffic, of course.

    Thank you for sharing your awesome tips here!

    Best regards! 😀

    • Freddy,

      Affiliate marketing is the same you look at it. I think that way too. Thing is, people have to be dedicated to this line of work because the affiliate marketing industry is untapped financial potential and leaves you wondering how you can grow your business, stay away from narcissist employers, and make all the money you want.

    • Hey Freddy – totally agree, passive income via affiliate is sort of like the holy grail of passive blog income 🙂 It’s a bit more difficult/a long term play but worthwhile.

    • I totally agree with this blog! It takes time, dedication, the ability to think logically and focus on many components, to enjoy the wonderful benefits of passive income through affiliate 🙂 It is not easy starting out but with patience, and a vision in mind, it can be done!!

  2. Hey Sarah great blog post! i have tried to create a paid email series through my blog before using MailChimp but it was logistically quite difficult to collect payments and have them automatically signed up to the list. Can you tell me what tools you used to accomplish this task. I have a couple ideas for a paid series but not sure where to start.

    Thanks so much!!

    • Hey Stephen,

      I have just used my email service provider (ConvertKit right now, but it was Aweber) and PayPal. It integrates and you can automatically have them signed up once they pay.

  3. Thanks for sharing amazing article for being self earner.

    In today’s world, everyone wants to be earn in short term of period but the way you suggested, I think is the best for me.

    I will definitely try this out.

    • Parth,

      This is very true what you said. Many people are disillusioned mentally thinking that they can setup a single squeeze page affiliate site and drive insane amounts of traffic to it and get sales in a 1 button push operation. People fail to realize they still have to write content such as blogs, reviews, articles, press releases, and engage personally on blogs and social networks to engage and retain their target audience in longevity. No such thing as instant profits.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    I think promoting affiliate products that solve your target audience problem is the best way to generate passive income online. But yea, it takes a lot of time, trial and errors before you really start generating commission from affiliate marketing.

    That’s where most people quit and they often consider it as a get rich quick scheme. When they treat it like a marathon, they spend more time and aim for long term results.

    Thanks for the great tips about making money online. Keep sharing such awesome content.

    Anil Agarwal

    • Totally agree. None of this is a get rich quick scheme. I always think of it as building a career; you don’t get a degree in a few weeks, how can you build a business or career in a few weeks?

  5. Hi Sarah,

    I’m a professional blogger who earns money from one or more sources you mentioned in this blog post.

    I really want to appreciate you for putting it out so clearly and precisely. I loved your writing style and everything felt easy coming.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Patreon is asking for donations, right? I guess that’s passive, but it’s not reliable and I think you’re probably better off building a product/becoming an affiliate instead.

  6. These are all awesome ways to make more money from your blog. Affiliate marketing is my favorite; no handling customer support or shipping woes, just find and promote awesome goods and services 🙂

  7. Hello Sarah, your article was very helpful! It opened my ideas to combinations of ideas I had never ever thought of… Like the ebook route; I already loved writing and I’m currently writing a book now, so the idea of combining that with my blog is perfect. Thanks again for all your help!!!


  8. Great post, definitely helped to get the cogs turning and am thinking about some different ways to monetise my blog as the traffic picks up.

    The beauty is that most of these methods can be combined as well!

  9. Good morning. It’s a really good thing you wrote this post about legitimate ways to earn passive income by blogging as a side hustle. I personally don’t think it’s too good to be true although everyone has not adapted to the concept that the internet can make them more money than traditional employment. Traditional employment has been around literally forever and narcissistic employers continue to earn money hand-over-fist off of the hard work of others without giving them a pay raise or additional benefits. This is where the beauty of side hustle blogging comes in because with the internet, there is unlimited earning potential and you can do it from the comfort of your smartphone, home computer, or laptop from anywhere as long as you have access to the internet and a speech recognition program where you can use your voice to write lots and lots of content.

    The one thing I really love about blogging is having the ability to do it in your spare time without someone standing over your shoulder pressuring you to meet a sales monthly quota. You can also do it from the comfort of your phone as long as you have access to your WordPress blog or website credentials from your phone and connected to the internet through Wi-Fi. Long gone are those days of people just relying on one source of income working for a narcissist employer and having to be financially constrained to a hourly pay. Blogging opens up Financial opportunities for people to receive paid sponsorships from billion dollar companies to write and publish blogs about their favorite products and services and recommend them to their target blog reading and social networking audience. Why wouldn’t anyone want to take side hustle blogging serious today in the information technology age and an error of traditional employment uncertainty?

    • Hi there!

      I hear you. Some people really hate their jobs or the idea of traditional employment. But there are a lot of people who truly love it, really like their jobs and just want to make money on the side too (which is totally possible with a blog).

  10. I liked the different ways of making income, and to ultimately fire your boss. This is good read. Will surely apply these and fire my boss. Thanks once more for the comprehensive post.

  11. Hi Sarah, thanks for this nice post. I had only been depending on Google AdSense as my major blog source of income. Now I really have to work harder and follow some of the other beautiful ways you listed out

  12. Hey, I read some your post and I found that really helpful to me thanks for sharing such a wonderful content and I also bookmarked your blog. So, from today I will be your regular reader. And I really appreciate your writing skills and really enjoyed your content keep up the good work and have a good day.

  13. Sarah, thank you so much for this amazing piece.

    I’m in the school of thought of those that don’t just blog for the sake of the passion. Though I started from scratch but I knew I will make big money blogging, so I continued and I’m glad it’s working very well for me till date.

    These means of making money passively aren’t new to me, but as I read this, an idea just dropped on me. It’s making me smile here. Now is time to go implement it.

    Keep it up here.


  14. Hi Sarah,

    What happens if you are running a blog in a niche you don’t really know much about.

    We started an insurance blog but it’s not making as much money as we had expected. In fact, it’s difficult to rank. It’s up to 6 months now but we’ve not made up to $1,000.

    We tried using affiliate marketing but somehow, it seems the insurance companies we are promoting don’t track it.

    I look forward to getting a response from you.

    • Fisayo,

      Then you change the niche of your blog to either something general or something you were passionate about as a child. Lets say for example comic books or CB radios. Did you own 1 or the 2 or both? What did you like most about them? That’s what you can create a blog around. And when you do using WordPress on a dedicated server, be mindful to create categories on your WP blog so you can discuss everything associated with those topics. You get better SEO in longevity doing so.

  15. Hey Sarah,

    I’m an expert blogger who procures cash from at least one sources you said in this blog entry.

    I truly need to value you for putting it out so unmistakably and exactly. I cherished your composition style and everything felt simple coming.
    you can check my website:
    A debt of gratitude is in order for the article.

    • Kapil,

      A debt of what in in what for the what now? That last sentence you wrote in your blog post virtually has my head scratching in awe and wonder. In other words good brother, I’m wondering what you meant by that. Additionally, you mentioned you’re an “expert blogger.” I was wondering if you truly are what you say. I ran your blog traffic rank on Alexa and your rank says “no data.” What’s up with that my friend? Your last blog posts I see posted on your technical blog homepage says the year of 2017. 🙂

    • Bahaudeen,

      What’s there to be so scared about when it comes to affiliate marketing? Are you scared of success my friend? Or do you have traditional job security? If you personally ask me, I’d rather swim away from safe waters and try affiliate marketing and here’s why. First, no one is standing over your shoulder pressing you to meet a monthly quota. Second, this is all about effort. What you get out of affiliate marketing is what you put into it. There is no such thing as get rich quick. There’s “get rich slow.” And unlike rapper 50Cent, you don’t have to die trying. Affiliate marketing is about to be an trillion dollar annually industry. There’s all kind of $ gUaP $ to be made. You mean to tell me you’re so scared of affiliate marketing that you don’t want to make money 24 hours a day by promoting affiliate programs? My guess is you’re content being virtually enslaved by your narcissist employer who wants you to stay on your cushy day job so they can continue getting rich off of your hard work without giving you a rightful raise. Now let’s hear what you have to say 🙂

  16. Being skeptical is natural, but they may think that it’s all about easy work. They’re wrong, it’s all about hard work and a lot of effort. After reaching a good point, it may be different but getting there will never be easy or simple.

    Creating resources or templates could work very well but the hard thing is to think what can you create to help other people. It must be super helpful, otherwise, it won’t work.

    Being your own book publisher is great, you can make money out of it but also make a name for yourself. Great for promotion and stand out.

    The challenge is something new for me and sounds very cool, I may do something similar in the future, always learning something new out of Smart Blogger.

    Thanks for the content!

    • You’re right, none of these are get-rich-quick schemes at all. But if you can build up a blog readership and a good relationship with your audience it can be a good supplement to your income!

  17. Hi Sarah, thanks for this nice post. With the help of you, I began to analyze well google adsense and now it’s easier for me to navigate the market. Write more such posts. You are talented and you will learn a lot.

  18. Thank you for taking the time to share all of this information. I’ve had a blog for years but I’ve been trying to get more serious about it recently and it’s fascinating to see all the different possibilities/opportunities.

  19. Nicolas good brother,

    Everything you said is right on the $ gUaP $. Helping other people goes above and beyond just creating templates. Yes, that’s a quick way to make money and build natural SEO backlinks, but people want real human responses. That want to know you’re 100% humanized. Thanks so much for your valuable input. 🙂

  20. Wow, These tips are really interesting and useful. Watching other people make money from their experiences, their passion also makes me want to start right away.
    Making dropshipping is really hard for novices … what do you think is the easiest method in these methods, Sarah?

    • None of these methods is “easy”, Andrew. You have to work at all of them. It’s probably “easiest” to throw some affiliate links into your articles, but that doesn’t mean you’ll make a decent amount of money through them – after all, you need to work at building your readership, traffic, email list and the trust with your audience.

  21. It’s really awesome information.Nice blog.I’d suggest you about Webcrayons. Webcrayon SG is Leading Web Marketing Company with best SEO and Website Development Services in Singapore with 100% customer satisfaction.

  22. The LORD sees your heart when you do good to others.

    It’s humbling when anyone can get their blog to thew point of making money 24 hours a day. My word of advice to all millionaire bloggers and those making good money from your side hustle blog is to be giving to the poor and even the working class who are less fortunate. If you want to be residually blessed in all ways beyond the financial aspect, give some money away to those genuinely in need and give to charities.

  23. This is a great post! I’m still working on monetizing my blog and growing it but I’m already starting to see results. I might have to look at dropshipping at some point, perhaps for some type of art supply that I really like, since I’m an artist and my readers are mostly art enthusiasts. I’d love to see an article on dropshipping!

    Regarding passive income. You rarely get something for nothing. However, having a job that is enjoyable to do and where I get to set my own schedule and terms is more valuable to me than a job that is entirely passive. I like to be engaged and have a purpose. Purely passive income would make me feel like a parasite. I like to produce.

    Again, thanks for being here!

  24. Yes, I thought this post was well written and I appreciate the content. Also, I have found that when you have help from proven professionals that have a system you can skip mistakes and stay ahead of the learning curve.

  25. Wonderful Post!

    I really enjoyed reading this article and anyone who wants to increase income through their blog should read this post. Thanks for sharing this tips. Keep up the good work.

  26. Great tips here – nice work!

    What has really helped me are plugins that send people to another page or offer as they intend to leave. I’ve been able to use that traffic to make one, last, great offer to them and it converts pretty well.

    It can be something on your page or a well-converting affiliate offer. If you have an offer that matches your audience well, it can be lucrative and it can add revenue to the traffic you already have. What’s better than that, right?

  27. Hi Sarah,

    Great post, I personally like Affiliate marketing because of the less risk and work it involved; It’s also easy to recommend products that I personally use.

    Also, creating a software like Pat did is a brilliant strategy.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes, I also agree with you that affiliate marketing is one of the best sources to earn money.
      Yeah, Sarah, You had written a nice post. Also, include more ways of making passive income.

  28. Hey Sarah, excellent article. The seven ways you’ve presented all look solid and this was eye-opening for me to read. I’m already convinced that affiliate marketing is worth putting the time into (and I’m gradually adding some to my site), but I never thought of T-Shirts or offering my own 30-day challenge. I do have an online course but the challenge (with any of this) is getting enough traffic. I hope to build my web traffic to the point where I can implement a few of the other things you’ve outlined in your article. I’ve bookmarked it to use as one of my motivators.

  29. Excellent techniques Sarah!

    I’ll be implementing a few of these on my blog.

    Promoting quality products via affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to make money online

  30. Good post. I find out something new and challenging on articles I stumbleupon day-to-day. It will always be exciting to study content material from all other editors and practice a little something from other online websites.

  31. Great post as always Sarah,

    Blogging is indeed sweet and fun, even though it’s also not an easy way of making money as its never for lazy people, but I guess that’s exactly what made it even more sweet and fun. This is because if it were to be easy, everyone will be doing it which will end up leading to it loosing it’s awesome value.

    Indeed, there are a good number of different ways one can make passive income from blogging, you just have to be a little bit creative and figure out what works for your blog. For one, affiliate marketing is usually the best because it’s quite simple and effortless. Once you are able to send people to someone’s product or service, and they buy, you will make some cool cash for yourself, and if it’s a product that requires reoccurring payment, you’ll be getting paid for a long time, if you ask me, that is soooooooo amazing, and this type of blog monetization has made a lot of marketers and bloggers very rich.

    But overall, nothing beats creating and selling your own product and services. It’s usually one of the hardest ways of making money online, but in the end, the reward far outweighs the efforts.

    Thanks for sharing Sarah.

  32. Hi Sarah, your idea about the challenge caught my eyes. I see many bloggers doing this today but I get tired of seeing the repetition of emails. What is the conversion rate of a program like that?
    I love your idea of making your OWN book verses using Amazon who take a commission from your book.
    Awesome ideas Sarah! Thank you.

  33. Thanks for taking the time to share all of this info. Good tips. I liked the 7th the most. When start thinking of making money from blog don’t forget about own promotion. Without it business will not run.

  34. All these 7 are awesome but I would like to add one more in it.

    Allow Others to Post a Content: Allow other users to post their content on our blog and get a commission from them. Give one or two links of their website as a return.

    This will help you in two ways.
    1. You will earn money
    2. Your blog will get content without writing it.

    I don’t think that adding others’ website link in your blog may harm your own blog reputation.

  35. There are some awesome ideas here.

    However, they aren’t immediately passive. You have to put a bunch of time and effort into creating valuable content, products or services before any passive income starts rolling in.

    It isn’t easy but once you put in the work, the rewards are amazing.

  36. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for sharing list. I was using Adsense as primary income source but unfortunately notice it reducing my site speed. Now I am earring via affiliate.

    I willl stat to experiment other option as listed above


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