31 Ways to Make Money Online using WordPress
Everyone wants and it never seems enough. What is it? Money. In today’s materialistic world money has value like none other and that is perhaps the reason you have chosen to make money online. There is no dearth of information on how to make money online but most of it isn’t legit.
Here we review top 31 legit ways to make money online using WordPress. These are not get rich quick scams. These methods require hard work, patience, and actual input. You can definitely earn legit money using these methods. All you need to have is a WordPress website or blog or store. Have a quick glance at what we cover in this article:
A) Make Money Using Your Blog Content
Your blog can be the primary source of income. A well-written blog that caters to a particular group of people can drive traffic. The more people read your blog more will be the traffic to your website. But for this to happen (i.e. more people to read your blog) you should have knowledge in your subject area, a good writing style always helps and there should be interaction the community you develop through your blog. Thus, you can increase traffic to your blog. Once the traffic sufficient enough, you can monetize your blog in the following ways:
1. WordPress Affiliate Marketing
This is the age of Affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing simply means recommending products and services to your audience through affiliate links and earn a commission from it.
What can you use affiliate links for?
You can review certain products on Amazon, Walmart or any other online store. Every major store has an Affiliate program nowadays. Sign up for it. You will receive affiliate links for that particular products. You can place these links on your blog where you review the product. Once a customer buys that product through your affiliate link, you get a commission. Most of the companies offer lucrative commissions.
How can you manage Affiliate links on your WordPress site?
There are many free plugins available in the repository of WordPress.org.
You can choose any of them according to your preference and need. Some of these plugins offer extra features. ThirstyAffiliates, AdSanity, Constant Contact are some of the examples of such plugins.
2. Google Adsense
Google Adsense is a reliable and trusted way to make money online. It does not hamper your blog and still, you are able to make money. Google Adsense is an advertising program operated by Google.
Once you sign up for the Adsense program, you will receive a script (a code) and you will be directed where to put it. With this simple insertion, your blog will be ready to host ads by Google. Google uses a smart algorithm to show only the most relevant ads.
You get paid for each instance the customer clicks on your Adsense links. This is called “cost per click” or CPC in short. Many bloggers have used Google Adsense to cover the costs of running the blog. There are many who earn a fixed monthly revenue through ads alone. It all depends on the performance of your blog and proper practices when it comes to Google Adsense.
Overall, Google Adsense is a great way to monetize your blog content on WordPress. The Adsense program works really well with WordPress and there are always some free plugins available if you want to make the task even easier.
3. WordPress Advertising Plugin
Instead of opting for Google Adsense, you can sell ads directly to third parties directly. This way you can earn money without a third party involved. Give some space on your website on rent, where the advertiser can put his ad. You get money for this place.
This is a bit of a hassle though. You need to find a buyer who wants to sell ads on your website. You need to put forth terms and conditions, make the contract, manage the ad space and come to an agreement upon the pricing. Most bloggers charge a flat rate. This is convenient because it saves you tracking clicks and impressions.
There are advertising plugins available on WordPress that are dedicated to this purpose, for example, BuySellAds. These plugins help you manage your advertising process.
4. Paid Reviews
Have you ever read a movie review? Felt that it was more on the side of a bias? There must be many reviews you have seen that seem to be promoting the product. In most cases, these are paid reviews.
What is a Paid Review?
It is a review of the product or service for which you get paid. There are infinite products available out there. You can pick up niche you like and start reviewing products related to it. For example, you can review smartphones, kitchen equipment, DIY tools. You can start for free. Once you build an audience, you can monetize your reviews.
There are sites like SponsoredReviews who match businesses with bloggers. Those who are interested in a paid review can contact you or you can directly contact companies asking for doing a paid review for them.
In a paid review, you get the product free for trying it out. You need not invest in the product. Your job is only to review the product. Unbiased products are popular among the readers and give you credibility. You can even become an authority in your niche by your honest paid reviews. So choose to review the products honestly.
This is little different than affiliate marketing. In affiliate marketing, you straightaway recommend the product. In Paid reviews, however, you just need to review the product. Of course, you can make your review as biased as you can. It totally depends whether you want short term gain or long term gain. Biased reviews pay of only in short term.
5. Flip Websites
One other way of earning money that is different than the ones mentioned earlier is Flipping website. Now, What is flipping a website? Flipping simply means selling your already established website.
Not everyone knows how to build a website. Fewer have a type of website that is in trend. If you have one such site with you, you can sell it and earn money from it. Most entrepreneurs don’t have time to build their own site. So they buy an already existing site and build on that.
You know how to build a website. You can use this knowledge to build websites that are in demand. If you could get a traffic to your site, then it is a big plus! You can subscribe to auction sites where you can sell your site for a bid.
6. Sell Sponsored Blog Posts
Just like you review products and get money for your site, you get paid to write about sponsored blog posts.
What are the sponsored blog posts?
These are the blog posts that talk about the specific product or a service of a company and the company sponsors this post (you are paid for your blog post).
With sponsorship, you represent a product, talk about it and promote it to your audience.
For this to work, you need to build an audience first. You need to have statistics about your followers, traffic on your website, target audience etc. so that you can present it to a company and negotiate a sponsorship deal.
This is a very good way of earning money. Some bloggers hate placing ads on your blog. Interestingly, by writing a sponsored blog post, you are doing a full-fledged ad about the sponsored product. So, there is no logic behind saying that you don’t like ads.
7. Sell Members-only content:
You can restrict access to certain content on your blog and make it “members only”.
You can ask money for membership. This is a very reliable way of making money.
There are lots of membership websites in the world. You can keep certain part of your website free for the world and keep certain content specifically for the members. You give special access to the members for your exclusive content.
This members only content can be anything; an ebook, a series of tutorial, a series of blog posts about a particular topic. It can be anything your members are interested to access.
Membership sites are most often niche sites. There are always special offerings for the members. There is usually a community built around your members and there can be community interaction beyond the site itself. You can host interaction events in your locality for the members. You can offer discount coupons to your members. If you are a writer and have a members only community, then you can give exclusive access to your pre-release version of your new book.
There are so many things you can do with your membership site. This is a truly versatile way of earning income and quite reliable also. There are so many WordPress plugins to help you manage your members community. Two most popular ones are: bbPress and BuddyPress.
8. Private Forum
Just like a membership site, a private forum is a forum exclusive to certain people. In private forums, the discussions are not accessible to non-members.
You can start private forums about any niche you want. For example, you can start a private forum about ethical hacking. Other ethical hackers both experts and newbies can join you. You will host topics in these forums. Once people benefit by participating in your forum, word will spread and you will earn more day by day.
The key here is to charge a reasonable amount to participate in your private forum. The contributors to the forum and the topics discussed add to the enigma of your forum.
There are many plugins that can help you set up a private forum. One of the most popular and community supported plugins is bbPress.
9. Job Board
You can create a job board. If you have access to specific audience companies are looking for they will pay you to display their vacancies at your job board. This is especially true for a niche or a locality. There are so many job portals but they do not cover every locality and niche. You can bridge this gap and offer companies access to particular talent.
You just need to curate and update the list from time to time. You need to make sure job seekers find it easy to access your website. Your income largely depends on how beneficial your job board is for the companies that pay you to get listed on your job board.
A niche is something that you should focus on. It minimizes your competition and proves fruitful to both the job seekers and job providers.
Creating a job board with WordPress is easy. There are so many plugins available for that. There are specific add-ons in WooCommerce that can help you create a job board.
10. Paid Business Directory
This is similar to job boards. The only difference is that earlier you were focusing on vacancies, now in this you focus on businesses. Users come to you to find specific businesses they need. You can categorize businesses in different categories or you can choose a niche.
Choosing a niche is a better option in today’s world where bots do the indexing. Still, there is a great demand for a business directory that caters to a specific niche. Choose your niche wisely, update it constantly and the related businesses will approach you for getting listed. You can charge a certain amount of fee for listing the business in your directory.
Alternatively, you can advertise your directory, reach out to potential customers and ask users to add the businesses they know. There are plenty of plugins available on WordPress that can help you create a directory.
A paid business directory is a lucrative source of income as it ensures a fixed and recurring income. You just have to keep your directory updated.
11. Event Calendar With Paid Submissions
There is no scarcity of opportunity for you if you run a blog that has a good number of audience. With your following you can provide certain services, Event calendar is one such cool thing!
There are so many events taking place at all the times. Companies, organizations need to reach out to people in order to make their event successful. Here you can spread the word among your followers and they will get an audience for their event. You just charge a fee for this simple favor. It’s that simple!
There are so many types of events going on: promotional events, launch events, Award ceremonies, seminars, webinars, functions, conferences, live streaming events etc.
You can identify events in your locality. You can subscribe to online event calendars to get updated about the events. You can go through business directories and reach out to companies who would be interested to post their events with your event calendar.
You can easily get paid for event calendar. This is a service that is useful for both the organizers and their participants.
You can add functions like an email reminder, event booking, event location, etc. There are lots of WordPress plugins that can help you with an event calendar.
B) Sell Digital Products:
This is the digital age of human existence where the digital world has taken over the physical to a large extent. There are innumerable digital products available. Every day, billions of people consume these digital products. Don’t believe me? Just check the stats of online interaction of people, the number of downloads that happen every day and also the number of uploads. You can sell any digital product you want on your WordPress website. Following are some of the examples:
12. Sell Ebooks:
There is a great demand to ebooks. Trust me. People are hungry for information and if you can provide that information in the form of an ebook, then they will willingly buy it. Not everyone reads on Kindle and sometimes the authors prefer to sell their books themselves.
Selling Ebooks then seems a lucrative idea. There are a number of tools available to convert your Word file into epub, pdf and what not. You can simply choose a topic. Write a novel, how-to guide, a tutorial, a secret recipe, a new theory of your favorite movie franchise, it can be anything that interests people.
There is no one way to write an ebook. It depends on the style of the author. Setting up your website as a store for ebooks is easy. You can do this even with WooCommerce. Just select “Digital Products” in the menu.
One advantage of selling ebooks is that there is no shipping involved. Also, you get to earn all the money for yourself, no commission for publishers or the cost of physically printing the book.
Selling ebooks is a form of passive income where you do the work once and earn for the rest of your life. You can sell as many ebooks as you want on the store. To focus on quality or quantity is completely your choice.
13. Sell Music
Music is something that has no death. There is no dearth of talent in the music industry but this doesn’t mean you cannot stand out in the competition. People always look out for new talent. And if you are good at music, you can showcase it on your WordPress website.
Selling music isn’t a bad idea. People love it. There are those who appreciate music and the artist. People are willing to pay for a piece of good music. The best thing about selling your music on your website is that you don’t have to wait. You record it, edit it and post it on the website whenever you are ready to do so.
Make sure to give some pieces of your music free for the audience. This will arouse interest in your music. You need to convert your visitors into potential buyers. This means creating a good website that attracts leads. There are many WordPress plugins available that can help you convert your prospective audience into die-hard fans. You need a combination of plugins. You may need to build up an email list. You may need to connect with your audience. You may need to give some free offerings. WordPress can do all of that, and more!
Selling music is also a form of passive income. It will be there as long as you want it to be there.
You can also opt for embedding YouTube videos in your site.
14. Sell Videos
This is a crazy, entertainment-hungry world. It feeds on whatever comes its way. One of the most popular ways of entertainment is: Video. A picture is worth a thousand words. A Video is worth millions. At least that is what the craze says. You can imagine the amount of money you can earn just by selling videos.
Your videos may be satire, comedy, commentary on politics, sports, philosophy or whatever your audience demands. With so many video editing software out there, it has become easier to create a good quality video.
You don’t have to sell your videos directly to your audience. Of course, you can do that. There is no problem with that. But a more flexible way is to upload it to Youtube and embed the YouTube feed to your website. This way you not only save the storage space on your website but you also get to earn from YouTube. With Youtube Adsense account you can earn based on the number of views.
This is a good source of income.
15. Stock Photography:
Photography is in great demand. If you have the skill of photography then you are set for both online as well as offline income. The opportunities for photographers are like none other. For every event from a child’s birth to his growing up, high school, college, travel, wedding, kids again, and the cycle continues again. You get the idea! There is no end to opportunities for photographers.
In the world of internet, users constantly need images; either to represent themselves, their company, their presentation or their website. But they are not good at photography. Here comes the stock photographer. These photographers have a huge collection of photos on different themes. This they sell through websites like Shutterstock.
You can sell your photos on own website and earn some extra money. You can specialize in a niche or choose to photograph everything and make it available in different categories.
Earning through a photography website is like earning through artwork. A photographer is an artist after all. You need to present your art to your audience in an effective manner. Thankfully, there are so many photography related themes on WordPress that can make a stunning site for your photography business.
Numerous renowned photographers run their own WordPress site. It is a very impactful way to leave your mark in the industry. Photography has a lot of online earning potential. You just need to tap on the right buttons.
There are innumerable plugins to help you manage your photography website. With WordPress, photography becomes what it truly is: an art!
16. Online Courses
Can you teach web design? Can you teach a language? Can you teach cooking? Can you teach anything at all? Teaching is no longer just an offline business. You can tutor online too. You can teach whatever you want on your WordPress site without sharing your income with anyone.
There are many sites that offer a platform for teaching and charge you for teaching. You can avoid this if you teach on your own website. You can set up your online course and completely automate it with plugins available on WordPress. For example, LearnDash and MemberPress are two of such plugins that help you manage your Learning Management System (LMS).
Making online courses can be a bit overwhelming. You will need to create video lessons, worksheets, PDFs, set milestones, design the framework for your course. But it pays a lot too! You earn much more than you would earn through ebooks. Plus, there is never a lack of students who do not want to learn. You need to build that reputation.
17. Paid Webinar
A webinar is an online session that participants can join and view online. There is usually a section for question and answers. Through webinar, you get to connect to your audience, have a live interaction, spread your message and help your audience. Who would not pay for such an opportunity? This is where you come in.
You can host a paid webinar on any topic you are expert in. You can even invite an expert to do the talking. You can easily host webinars on your WordPress website with the help of some plugins that manage your webinar session.
Paid webinars are like recurring income. You can charge for your past webinars and make them available for viewing. There are various platforms available for hosting a webinar and manage its content. You can create a website for such curated webinars.
C) Sell Physical Products
Online shopping has made it easier to sell physical products online. Amazon, for example, maintains a massive directory of the products sold on their platform. Selling a physical product has never been easier. There are lots of options available for shipping and now you are not limited to your locality. If you have physical products, you can showcase them on your website and earn income. These are some of the ways:
18. Online Store Using WooCommerce:
Creating an online store isn’t much of a hassle on WordPress. Thanks to WooCommerce, the most trusted eCommerce plugin for WordPress. You can set up your online store in minutes using WooCommerce. What’s more, it is free! If you are new to WooCommerce,
The plugin helps to create a product listing, determine payment methods and define the interface of your online store.
19. A T Shirt Store
You can sell T-shirts online! It’s very popular. There are always new trends in T-shirts and you can stand out if you can catch up with these latest trends. A T-shirt is cool product and people love it.
You can pair up with a T shirt printing service and sell T-shirts with custom prints on them. You can then sell it to anywhere you want using your online store.
This is indeed a guaranteed source of income since T-shirts are never out of style and there are multiple customizations available in it.
You can also choose to sell add-ons like cap, bandana etc. With time, you can expand your niche and grow your business or become an exclusive store for the certain type of T-shirts. All depends on your choice.
20. Dropshipping store
You should first understand what is dropshipping and how does it work in practice. Through dropshipping you can provide the goods to the customer by direct delivery from the manufacturer. You don’t need to store the goods yourself. You take the order from the customer, charge him the retail price, forward the order to the manufacturer, pay him the wholesale price, the manufacturer then ship the requested item to the customer. It’s that simple.
Dropshipping saves you the cost of inventory since you do not maintain the inventory of goods you advertise on your e-store. This is a major advantage of dropshipping.
With WordPress, dropshipping can be completely automated. You can set up your online store using WooCommerce. There are add-ons available for dropshipping which can make the whole process hassle-free.
You just need to list products in your eCommerce store. Find partners who can supply these products on demand and you are ready in the dropshipping business. Like any other business, you will have to put in the effort to keep the business running.
This is a reliable and fixed source of income. You can expect to earn a decent amount of money through your dropshipping store.
21. Amazon Affiliate Shop
Amazon Affiliate program is one of the most popular affiliate programs. There is a reason for that. One, they offer a lucrative commission. Second, they have a huge list of products available. You can join the Amazon Affiliate Program and set up your eCommerce store where you will sell the affiliate products. When the customer buys through your affiliate link, you earn a certain commission.
There is no limit to how many products you can list on your eCommerce store. As we have seen in the case of an online store, you can easily set up one with WooCommerce.
You can choose a niche and sell only those products that are related to your niche. For example, you can choose photography and sell cameras, photo frames and the like. By focusing on a niche, there is a better chance of having niche-oriented traffic to your site. This increases the conversion rate. When you are selling all items, then Amazon itself becomes your competitor. And you definitely don’t want that!
Some choose to write helpful articles besides selling affiliate links. This is a value addition and people respond to it. This can be tutorials, how-to guides, reviews, recommendations. This establishes the credibility of your store and people trust you. Once this is achieved, selling affiliate products is not that hard. Many have used this as the only source of their income. There is good earning potential in this business.
D) Sell Services Online
Just like you sell products online, you can sell services online. There are so many services that can be sold online, there is no limit to the opportunities available for the service sector. Virtually, all offline services can be sold online. There is a good amount of income possible by providing services online. The potential for your business to grow is tremendous. Here are some of the way to sell services online. Following are some of the few examples to give you an idea about services you can offer on WordPress. Once you understand the potential of the particular service you are offering, you will not hesitate to start your business. There are so many attractive themes and useful plugins offered by WordPress that you can stand out from the competition easily. All the best for selling your services online.
22. Offer Freelance Services
One of the best ways to earn money online is to offer freelance services. There are so many freelance services you can offer. If you good at creating websites, you can offer your services to your clients. If you are good at writing, offer content writing services. Find out what you are good at and offer that as a freelance service.
In freelancing, you are in charge of your own time and work. You choose what projects to work on and for how much duration. You can also decide the amount you will charge for your work. There are a few reliable platforms available that offer work for freelancers in exchange for a certain percentage of your income. You can bypass this by using your WordPress website as a platform for your freelancing services.
You can add payment options to your site. There are many plugins available for that to make the payment gateway integration easy. You can choose how to present your offerings. You can add testimonials of your clients. You can showcase the samples of your work. You can start a newsletter to help out your readers. You can choose to market your services the way you want. WordPress is there to power your efforts.
There is so much potential in freelancing business. You get the freedom of choosing your work hours. You don’t need to go to an office. You can work from home. You have creative freedom. You get paid for the work you do. It is a fulfilling experience.
23. Consulting Business
If you are good at solving problems, giving advice and consult people, then consulting is a business to look up to. As with offline consulting, in online consulting you need to help people with their problems, offer advice in their subject area and help them strategize better.
There is no initial investment apart from running the website. There is no restriction as to what you choose to consult about. Your consulting business can be anything. It can be related to self- development, legal matters, health issues, financial services etc.
There are so many themes available on WordPress that can create a beautiful website for your consulting business. In online consulting, you charge a fixed fee either for your time or your service. WordPress plugins can help you charge money through various payment gateways.
You can add forms to your website where you can gather information from your client to help you understand their problem better. You can also offer email support or live chat support as per your availability.
24. Coaching Business
There is never a time when someone does not need coaching. There are people who stumble at something and they need someone to help them. A coach helps his client to overcome the problem and help him progress on his or her goals.
Coaching can be for anything. You can have a language coaching business. You can have a maths coaching business. You can have a web design coaching business. You can coach whatever you are proficient at.
A coach needs to constantly update himself. He needs to have a good relationship with his clients.
He needs to be easily approachable to his clients. You constantly need to track their progress.
WordPress can help you with all of that. You can create a WordPress website that is easy to access, has features like a forum or a community, there is progress tracking. There are a couple of plugins available to help you in your coaching business.
25. Subscription Service
If you do not have time for freelancing, consulting or coaching, then you can consider a subscription service as a source of income. In a subscription service, you offer certain services on a subscription service on a monthly, bi-monthly or yearly basis. For example, if you are good at mathematics but do not have time to teach, then you can offer a subscription to your math tutorials. These tutorials are pre-recorded and people can access that throughout their subscription period. You charge for this subscription. You can start a subscription service for almost anything under the Sun.
Subscription services provide a recurring and reliable source of income. It can be completely automated and you do not need to redo your work. You can always add new modules to your subscription service. You can offer it in stages like basic, professional and advance.
This is a good source of income. There are some cool plugins available for WordPress that make this an easy task. You can choose your design, you can pick up a theme that best represents your subscription service and add plugins that make your job easier.
26. Develop Plugins For WordPress
If you are a developer who can create plugins for WordPress, then you can monetize your skill and make custom plugins. There are so many paid plugins are available on WordPress, it is almost a multi-billion dollar industry. There is always a demand for good plugins.
You can research which functionalities are demanded by users and create a plugin accordingly. Plugins add to the functionality of WordPress website. They can be developed if you are having knowledge of WordPress environment.
There are a couple of ways to distribute your plugin. You can always submit it to the WordPress.org plugin directory. You just need to follow certain guidelines.
You can sell premium plugins on your own WordPress website. This is a good source of passive income.
The payment procedure is the same as selling digital products. You can make your plugins available for download for the exchange of money. You can also choose to provide ongoing support for your plugins. Updating them regularly is a good idea.
Plugins can become hugely popular and might not need to worry about finding another source of income if the community likes your plugin. Once you get good at developing plugins, you can come up with multiple plugins.
27. Sell WordPress Themes
A step ahead to selling plugins is selling WordPress themes. Themes provide the overall outlook of the website. A theme is the heart of a WordPress website. It incorporates the style and functionality of the website. There is a lot a theme can do besides the look. It can support certain plugins, add certain features and are suitable for certain purposes. There are numerous WordPress themes, both free and premium, available for WordPress. People like different themes for different purposes. There are ample amount of customizations that are needed by the users. You can offer a theme that provides particular customizations.
Depending on the design and functionality of your WordPress theme, your theme will gain popularity. The more people download it, more you earn. You also choose to make the theme freely available and provide certain features for a charge, like a freemium model.
There are different WordPress developer communities that you can become a part of. These can help you understand things and provide you knowledge about developing WordPress themes. There is a huge community behind WordPress and that is one of the advantages of WordPress that you can leverage upon.
Themes are always in demand. Newer themes keep coming up. You can choose to update your themes, in fact, it is necessary otherwise your themes will become obsolete. You must keep them compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Try taking feedback from your customers. Keep on adding new features. Provide good support. If you do this, you will never be out of business.
You can sell these themes through online forums or you can do so using your own WordPress website. This is same as selling digital products. You can use a suitable plugin to set up your payment method.
28. Sell Graphics
Graphics are in great demand in today’s age of digital design. Every field requires good graphics. Right from brand building to automobiles, graphics is the key to aesthetics.
If you are good at creating computer graphics, then you can sell your products online just like you sell a digital product. A graphic is a digital product after all. There is no upfront cost. You can showcase as many as you want.
This is totally a business of art. You will earn based on how good your graphics are (at least from the point of view of your prospective customers). You need to create a collection of graphics. You can select a niche or choose multiple categories to focus on.
You should create a good online store for this by using WooCommerce. You can take advantage of different plugins. You should keep a record of your downloads and rank which graphics were downloaded the most. In this way, you can gain insight into your own business that you can use to develop your business model further. You can choose to focus on a particular category depending on your understanding.
If you are good at troubleshooting problems, there is a business waiting for you. In today’s, technical age, there are many times when things go wrong and many people do not know what to do. This is where you come in. The expert, the solution provider, the help in times of trouble.
People respect you, they thank you for your service, they are grateful to you.
What do you need for this? The ability to understand technical problems and their solutions and the ability to explain these solutions in simple words. The main thing you need to have is the willingness and the ability to help people through their technical problems.
These technical problems can be anything. It can be related to the new Mac they just bought, about their code which is no longer working or it could be that their Android phone isn’t functioning. People have all sorts of problems. It is better if you choose a particular niche. This way you will be able to help people more reliably and this will also reduce your competition.
Troubleshooting is a service and a well paying one if you are good at it.
30. Digital Marketing
This is the age of social media and digital marketing is booming. It’s not just limited to email marketing, but overall internet in general, this includes Facebook, Instagram, Blogging platforms, Quora, and the list goes on.
If you know how to create posts that get good views, if you know how to run viral campaigns, then you are the one who is needed by marketing companies. There are individuals who have earned a lot of money doing digital marketing.
You can build your own digital marketing brand using your WordPress website. You can advertise your services on your site.
Digital marketing has become the buzzword in the marketing industry. It is the right time to get started in the business. You can offer your services in different packages. Maintaining a community through your blog is always recommended. You can develop the community of followers. As it is said, build a community of 1000 loyal followers and you are set in business.
Within years you can become a digital marketing magnet if you keep updating yourself continuously. This is a high paying service.
Donation is perhaps the oldest way of getting money. Right from a monk asking for alms to the beggar begging for some money, donation has never ceased to exists. There is nothing wrong in asking donation for your cause. There are no many non-profit organizations, NGOs that run totally on donations. And it can be a good source of revenue to if your contribution is valued.
Most open source projects ask for donation to keep running. Websites like wikipedia regularly run donation campaigns. You too can start with donations. You just need to install a donation plugin on your WordPress site that helps you with different modes of payment, donation forms and automated record of donations. There are numerous donation plugins available on WordPress.org.
Adding a donation button on your website is the first step. You need to be clear about why people should donate to you. Is there a particular you advocate? What do you use donation money for? What does the community get in return by investing in you?
Be clear about these answers and you are well set to accept donations.
So these were some of the legit ways of earning money using WordPress. You can choose to implement two or three of them simultaneously or you can focus on just one. This is a lengthy list. Did it help you decide your own income stream? Liked a particular idea? Have a new idea in mind? Please share with us in the comments.