Generating passive income from blogging is something like the holy grail of online entrepreneurship.

Imagine a life in which you are able to spend your time doing what you want, taking vacations when you feel like it, sleeping and working on your own schedule. No office to go to, no boss, no meetings to take.

All the while, your blog generates a full-time income 24/7, whether you are at your computer or sipping colorful drinks at the beach.

What sounds like a fantasy for the average person, is a reality for many. With a large enough audience, it’s absolutely possible to earn a living from blogging and do so mainly on autopilot.

To show you how, in this post, we will talk about a number of ways to make passive income from blogging, show examples of people who have done so and useful tools for creating your own passive income stream.

1. Try Affiliate Marketing

We have talked about affiliate marketing on this site before:

It basically means that you promote products and services on your website or blog and refer others to them with a special link. If one of your visitors clicks on it and makes a purchase, you get a share of the sales price.

The cool thing is that, as an active blogger, you probably already know and use a number of products in your niche. Now all you have to do is find out if they come with an affiliate program (and many do) or find the product in other places that do, such as Amazon.

Sign up, create affiliate links and add them to your site. You can do so in the form of a resource page or sprinkle them into your content.

Passive Income Examples

Darren Rowse is a household name in the blogging sphere. Most people know him as the founder of ProBlogger, one of the longest-running websites on blogging.

darren rowse of problogger

However, not everyone knows that he also owns a blog on digital photography called Digital Photography School. Here, he is successfully using affiliate marketing to create passive income.

According to his income reports, it actually generates significantly more revenue than the site he is mostly known for.

Passive Income Tools

The articles mentioned at the top will get you started with tools and tips on creating an affiliate site. However, in order to make this whole thing work, you need to get good at generating targeted traffic. For that, I recommend these posts:

2. Sell Items via Dropshipping

The first online business that I ever started selling was a physical product (a vegan protein powder, if you must know).

passive income from blogging dropshipping example

While I loved learning about online business and marketing, I ended up hating all the effort that comes with getting real-life goods to your customers: fulfillment.

Trust me, there is nothing passive about preparing packages of sports nutrition, printing shipping labels and running to the post office every day. And don’t even get me started on returns!

However, if you want to generate passive income from your blog through physical products, there is an alternative to the above scenario: dropshipping.

This simply means that you only generate the sales and pass them on to the manufacturer who takes care of production, storage, shipping, returns, the works.

Passive Income Examples

There are far more of these types of businesses than you would think. Chances are good that you yourself have purchased a dropshipped item at some point without realizing it.

For example, the Shopify blog has a whole list of successful online stores all built on dropshipping. They sell anything from coffee over art to swimwear, paper, and temporary tattoos.

If that doesn’t convince you that dropshipping is a valid business practice (including from your blog), I don’t know what will.

Passive Income Tools

If you want to give dropshipping a try, you find companies that offer this kind of arrangement here:

Besides that, as a WordPress user, you already have tools at hand that support dropshipping. This includes WooCommerce, the most popular e-commerce solution, which has special extensions for this type of business.

Plus, here is a guide how to dropship with WordPress.

3. Sell Personal Resources

Many people start blogging to share how they solved difficulties in their life and help others do the same. This can be anything from losing weight over getting rid of a skin condition to freeing yourself from crippling debt.

If you have overcome a major problem in your life, chances are good that in the course of doing so you have developed resources, tools, and recipes that others could benefit from.

In other words, you accidentally created your first product!

If there is something that has been super helpful to you on your journey, others will likely get a lot of value out of it as well. If so, they will be happy to pay for it! Plus, if it’s in digital format, this makes it really easy to offer on your website for sale.

Passive Income Examples

One such example is Brett Kelly. He used the popular program Evernote to get some organization into his life.

Peeved by the fact that there was no proper handbook, he created one for himself. When it was finished, he decided to post it on his website so others could benefit from it as well – and found instant success.

Today, Evernote Essentials is a thriving business with over 80k customers to date. Evernote even reached out to Brett to work on their documentation! It goes to show that if you can create something useful for yourself, it’s likely useful for other people as well.

Passive Income Tools

If you want to sell digital products on your WordPress website, you first and foremost need an e-commerce solution. You can find a list of them in this article. If you are planning to sell a digital product, be sure to pick a solution that supports it.

In addition to that, you should probably learn how to create landing pages.

4. Publish E-books

If you are knowledgeable enough in your area of expertise, you can take this approach to a whole new level and try yourself at writing a book.

Sure, doing so takes a lot of work. However, once the book exists, it can produce passive income for a long time.

You can sell it on your site or other places like Amazon. A website or online shops are always open so the book can make money no matter what you are up to. Plus, with a digital book, there is no storage or fulfillment.

Yet, even if you prefer to sell physical copies, with print on demand, there’s that possibility as well.

Passive Income Examples

One of my favorite bloggers Chris Guillebeau got his start publishing a number of e-books, called Unconventional Guides. They were on different topics such as building a business, travel hacking and working on the road.

chris guillebeau unconventional guides ebooks

He later translated his blogging success into a book deal and has by now published six different books including The $100 Startup, The Happiness of Pursuit, and Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days. I’m sure some of these still produce passive income for him.

Passive Income Tools

Here are a few good resources on writing an e-book and self-publishing:

For print on demand, I hear a lot of good things about Lulu.

5. Prepare an Online Course

As already mentioned earlier, most bloggers are in the problem-solving business. One way of turning this fact into passive income is to formalize what you have to teach into an online course.

You can sell this course on your site and email newsletter, mention it on your social platforms and more. Just like an e-book or another resource, once it is finished, an online course can continue generating income for a long time. Especially if you periodically update it.

Passive Income Examples

Marie Forleo is another well-known name in the blogosphere. She is a very successful online entrepreneur and host of MarieTV.

Marie also has several online courses out there, including her B-School flagship course. In it, she teaches other would-be entrepreneurs how to start businesses and market what they have to offer.

marie forleo b school online course example for passive income from blogging

These and other offerings have helped her build an eight-figure business. Maybe you don’t have to achieve the same in the first try but it’s good to know there is money in it, isn’t it?

Passive Income Tools

In the WordPress sphere, there are a number of plugin solutions to create and sell online courses. In addition, if you don’t want to host the course yourself, there are platforms like Skillshare, and Lynda.

By the way, a membership site can be a viable alternative to a full online course.

6. Create Software

Another digital product you can use to produce passive income from your blog is software. This can be anything from programs over web applications to mobile apps. Classic examples in the WordPress sphere are themes and plugins.

The cool thing is that you don’t even have to be a developer yourself in order to create a product like that. You simply need a concept and can then hire others to create it for you.

Once in existence, like an e-book, you can continue selling your software for a long time. Sure, there may be updates necessary every now and then but you can outsource that as well.

Passive Income Examples

One example of someone who took this approach to the extreme is John Hayward-Mayhew. He earned close to $1 million with 600 apps in the iOS store, none of which he programmed himself. Instead, he outsourced the development to someone who, in contrast to him, knows how to code.

Passive Income Tools

For those wanting to get into the software game for passive income, there are many roads to go. Here are a few articles to get started:

In addition, tools like Bubble are becoming more commonly available. So, in the future, you might even be able to program your software yourself.

Final Thoughts on Passive Income from Blogging

Making passive income from your blog is the goal for many online entrepreneurs and marketers out there. Having the freedom to pursue your life in the way you want while money is coming in automatically sounds too good to be true.

However, there are real-life, tangible ways to achieve this. Above, we have listed a number of them:

  1. Affiliate Marketing
  2. Dropshipping
  3. Personal Resources
  4. E-books
  5. Online Courses
  6. Software

Of course, in order for any of this to make sense, you have to have a sufficient audience, which takes work to generate.

Creating your passive-income source also doesn’t come for free. However, once you have it in place, that’s when the real fun begins.

Do you have additional ideas for creating passive income from blogging? Any experience to share? Let us know in the comments section below!

Nick Schäferhoff is an entrepreneur, online marketer, and professional blogger from Germany. He found WordPress when he needed a website for his first business and instantly fell in love. When not building websites, creating content or helping his clients improve their online business, he can most often be found at the gym, the dojo or traveling the world with his wife. If you want to get in touch with him, you can do so via Twitter or through his website.

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