5 Legit Ways To Make Money On Non-Self Hosted Blogs

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When I started this blog a few years ago, I started on the WordPress.com platform. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about designing my blog, how to build a community and how to generate traffic.

I, personally, wanted to take my blog to the next level and eventually went self-hosted. However, I know tons of bloggers that for many personal reasons or monetary ones, have decided to remain on or in fact I have seen a few return to, the free blogging site.

The content of blogs on WordPress.com are outstanding and I know that sometimes they are over-looked or seen as “not professional” but I assure you that some bloggers have been able to acquire huge followings. Tools like Freshly Pressed, the “Reader” and the “reblog” features are just a few of the great reasons that make the free WordPress platform the best blogging site bar none.

If you have been able to proffer yourself decent traffic stats and followers, this post is for you. I wanted you to know that you can make money on WordPress.com. If you have any questions about the rules of making money on WordPress.com, please check out their Advertising Policies and their User Guidelines.


1. Word Ads

Many of you have probably noticed that WordPress.com does in fact sometimes show ads on your blogs. They do this to be able to continue to provide their blogging platform for free to bloggers.

And while most of you know that you can not host Google Ads on your blogs, did you know there is an ad platform that WordPress offers that you can make passive income from? It is called Word Ads.

You must own your own domain name (no wordpress in your URL) and have a PayPal account. All you have to do is apply. Word Ads does say that you must have a minimum traffic requirement but they do not publish what it is. I know several bloggers that were immediately accepted when they applied.

Check out their FAQ’s for more information.

2. Affiliate links 

WordPress.com encourages you to write original content and share links to directly related products or services you find but only within the body of your posts. You may not put affiliate links anywhere else on your blog.

For example, if you are an author blogger and review books, you may share affiliate links as image or text in your blog post.

For more information, read the Affiliate Links Guidelines.

3. Sponsored Posts

WordPress is all about creating and sharing original content. If you have been approached to do a review or a sponsored post, rest assured, you can accept proposals to do so. Whether you do them for free or you are paid in goods or money for review/sponsored posts, WordPress does allow them. They do have Sponsored Posts Guidelines and I would check them out before you begin.

4. Sell Product

WordPress.com does allow you to sell individual products and add a PayPal “Buy Now” button on your posts, pages and your sidebar.  Customers would be able to click straight through to your payment gateway. Find out how to add a PayPal button to your blog here.

5. Donation Button

If you don’t feel too icky about it, you are also allowed to add a Donation Button to your blog. A few bloggers have been very successful using this. They have huge followings and continuously produce great content that their readers enjoy. If you wish to add one, click on the link in #4, and follow the same instructions to get your button widget from PayPal.

I must also mention that I have seen two other methods for making money on WordPress.com but I can not verify their validity. Some bloggers sell sidebar ad space and charge for reblogs. If you are thinking about these types of monetization, I strongly suggest you do your research and contact WordPress Support for confirmation.

If you find all the guidelines too restrictive and want to take your blog to the next level, you can check out my post on how I migrated my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

You may also be interested in the tools and resources I use on this blog.

You write consistent great content and put a lot of work into your blog. There is nothing wrong with looking for some compensation. I encourage you all to try out the above monetization methods if you are looking to generate income from your blog. Good Luck!

***Disclaimer: I do not endorse or verify any of the methods shown above. It is up to the reader to do their due diligence before implementing any monetization program on their blog. I can not be liable or responsible for the cancellation of a WordPress blog that does not follow the guidelines as outlined in the WordPress Terms of Service.

Thank you for reading!

I would love to connect with you!

You can find me on PINTERESTFACEBOOKTWITTER, or INSTAGRAM. Or you can follow me on Bloglovin here.

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This post may contain affiliate links - which means if you click on them and buy something, I'll earn a small commission. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

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  1. For so long we are told that WordPress.com isn’t worth it or you can’t monetize it. However, I’ve been one to like the ease of WordPress.com. There’s no backend to mess with nor all the tedious work that goes along with a self-hosted website. Knowing we can monetize it and earn an income makes it that much more appealing. I know when I promote wp.com, I generally get slammed for it. But that doesn’t deter me. When asked about blogging platforms, I general blurt out my 3 favs: WordPress.com, Blogger, and WordPress.org.

    Thanks for sharing this Elena! You rock, girl!

    1. It is all about the comfort zone of the blogger and their needs. I am glad that I am not the only one that knows that. You rock too girl!

  2. Really interesting stuff Elena – I don’t feel the need to try to generate income from my blog – it’s enough for me just to have people visit and engage. I started on Blogger and haven’t been compelled to move to self-hosted (probably because I’ve never had an issue with anything and I read about people’s hassles with self-hosted stuff regularly – sites going down for days etc) I love my little blog and it’s nice to know I could make money if I wanted to go down that path – Happy New Year!

    1. Self hosted can be a huge hassle and I feel like too many people are bullied into going that route. I want people to know they don’t have to. You are an inspiration and show that success does not have to be defined by income.

  3. Elena, thank you for posting this and taking the time to gather the info. My consulting website is a WP dot org, so I know the amount of work needed. I am going to look into these options for my blog. WP dot org is in this blog’s future! Awesome info!

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