Affiliate Marketing

8 Ways to Earn Passive vs. Nonpassive Income Online

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It’s a good time for bloggers like you and me to study how to earn passive vs nonpassive income online. Passive income in the blogging and affiliate marketing space means earning more money from your writing efforts over a longer period of time.

But is passive income REALLY passive? There’s no free lunch, y’all. Passive income streams still require that you work hard. You put in a lot of work on the front end then you focus on support on the back end. You have to provide value in the beginning, middle, and end.

My goal is to inspire you to blog with a passion for helping others learn and make informed decisions on products, services and places. Are you ready to get started?

What is passive income in an online context?

Passive income is money earned from an asset that you put time, work and money into purchasing, building, or creating.

Like any entrepreneur you will take a risk when investing time, talent, and money into your niche blog, authority blog or authority blog.

Here is a list of online passive income assets/revenue streams to inspire you:

  • Affiliate marketing content
  • Self-guided online courses
  • eBooks
  • Affiliate products
  • Digital ads

Power tip: Outsource as many functions of your online business as realistically possible. This will free you up to take on other aspects of your business or simply oversee the business. Proper outsourcing can turn your entire online business into a passive income stream.

The Value of Online Businesses

This article focuses on creating passive revenue streams through an online business. Online businesses are often more efficient to operate and require less overhead than brick-and-mortar businesses.

For me, I enjoy online businesses and other passive income streams such as money earning games for the reason that it allows me to work from home and spend more time with my wife and kids. This was one of my biggest motivations behind starting InspireFirst – besides the desire to produce a financial asset by investing in the edification of other bloggers.

Which online business idea will you put into action for your business portfolio?

#1 – Plan, develop and work toward your goals

The first way or step for earning passive vs nonpassive income online is setting clear goals. And after you set those goals, prayerfully establish plans for achieving them. The key here is to be thorough in planning your goals and intentional about taking action.

I wrote about a powerful goal-setting theory that will inspire you to set challenging SMART goals for your business. Setting positive and challenging goals, according to Locke’s goal-setting theory, will:

1. Improve your choices or decisions.

2. Increase your level of effort.

3. Help you become more persistent in achieving your goals.

4. Improve your thinking and mindset for achievement.

#2-4 – Write helpful, compelling blog content

Blogging is the second way to earn passive vs nonpassive income online.

You have probably heard that content is king. It sounds cliche, but it’s really true. Write content that educates your readers, keeps them interested and inspires them.

Blogging yields the best results when you write deeply on a subject (1200+ words), answer your readers’ important questions, conduct keyword research for long-tail keywords, and get other reputable websites to link back to your blog.  

There are two ways to approach content writing for passive income — the niche site approach and the authority site approach.

Niche site approach

Let’s study the niche website or blog first. A niche site is a smaller website or blog that publishes content that’s focused on one product or service. Keyword research (and writing on said keywords) is absolutely key for increasing topic authority and domain authority for niche sites.

A great niche site example is Pro Church Tools.

Pro Church Tools offers digital marketing tips for churches — covering everything from web design to welcome card design. Their site’s design is immaculate and their content is super helpful.

Pro Church Tools Key Stats

Organic traffic: 7,400

Moz domain authority: 39

Backlinks: 14,100

Facebook fans: 24,000

Authority site approach

Now, let’s look at an authority website or blog. An authority site is a larger website (in pages) that has many articles (typically long-form) that covers a wide array of topics in a given area.

A great authority site example is Wirecutter (which was acquired by The New York Times in 2016).

Wirecutter is an authority site that mostly focuses on reviewing tech and electronic gear and gadgets. Wirecutter has a heavy affiliate marketing revenue model (more on this later). But it’s the great amount of deeply researched content on Wirecutter that impresses me the most.

Wirecutter Key Stats

Organic traffic: 2,900,000

Moz domain authority: 75

Backlinks: 2,500,000

Facebook fans: 121,367

Affiliate Marketing Content

Do you have domain knowledge and authority on a specific subject? If so, you can put that knowledge to use by writing helpful product/service review posts and tutorials (like we did on SEMrush). Your goal should be to write content that helps people make informed buying decisions.

The links that you provide in your affiliate marketing content will be affiliate links that will earn you passive income if one of your readers becomes a customer of your affiliate after clicking your link. Sweet deal, right?

Here are some content ideas for offering affiliate products and services to your community:

  • Blog articles
  • Podcasts
  • YouTube videos
  • Webinars
  • eBooks (not allowed for Amazon Associates)
  • Email newsletters (not allowed for Amazon Associates)

Be sure to provide an affiliate relationship disclosure toward the top of your affiliate marketing content to satisfy FTC rules.

#5-7 – Sell good products and services

Your online business needs something of value to offer. Therefore, the next step for making passive income is to develop killer products and services.

A good product or service is much easier to market than a subpar one. Subpar products and services bring on negative reviews and feedback. This added headache will throw a monkey wrench in your passive income plans.

Here is a list of passive income products and services for you to consider:


Research, write, edit, and publish an eBook that helps your audience improve in a specific area. Get some quality cover design and layout and promote it to the world.

You can either sell your eBook on Amazon or directly from your website. Either way, you will cut out the middleman publishers and reduce the overhead via this self-publishing model.

Power Tip: Combine and repurpose your blog content into a helpful eBook that you can sell to your community of readers.

Self-guided online courses

Imagine producing educational content for students who can learn at their own pace. Imagine teaching a number of people through videos, audio, and/or articles that you produce beforehand. You can be sick or on vacation while your students consume your content. What a freeing model!

Develop a self-guided course to offer from your website or blog and get some passive income flowing. In-person live coaching is good and has its place, but it’s definitely considered nonpassive income in the passive vs nonpassive income comparison.

Amazon FBA

Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) allows you to market and sell products that Amazon stores and ships. This is a hot business model these days. Though operations aren’t totally passive, having your storage and shipping handled definitely relieves a big burden. Also, Amazon handles some of the customer service communication for your FBA business.

Check out this helpful video that describes Amazon FBA:

#8 Digital ads

Displaying digital ads is another great way to earn passive income online. The more popular your content becomes the more ad revenue that you can expect to earn. All this monetary magic happens while you’re asleep. But don’t sleep on creating excellent content first!

Google AdSense is the most popular ad platform for bloggers. If you’re interested in AdSense, be sure to follow their rules and policies so that you can remain in compliance.

Once your web traffic reaches 25,000 sessions per month, you can consider applying for Mediavine for ads. Mediavine is an ad partner that will represent your blog for serving ad inventory. They will optimize your positions, run your ad server, and manage your advertiser relationships. Sounds good, right? I know it motivates me!

Are you inspired to go launch your passive income business online now? Mastering passive vs nonpassive income online can be a game-changer for your career and finances.

The Internet makes starting a business really easy these days, but remember that you’re going to have to put in some hard work and time in order for your venture to be successful.

Almost every online business venture will require that you have your own website. Therefore, you will need to get quality web hosting for your new website. Check out our SiteGround vs Bluehost review to help you make a good decision.

This post was proofread by Grammarly Premium.

Chris Craft

Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Founder of InspireFirst and Nao Media.