Every now and then I like to write a blog post with tips for other bloggers, because this is easily what a vast majority of the emails I receive are about. Lately, it seems like the emails focus on asking how I make an income off my blog. Let’s get things straight first: I’m not a millionaire and I’m not a huge blogger – I make a decent amount off my blog though for the time I put into it, but I’m really more focused on the community I’m building. The amount I earn varies month to month though so I would never rely on my earnings as a salary, but it has helped me to pay off my credit card bills, buy clothes for my family, take vacations etc.
I would like to point out that I did not start a blog and the next day start making money. I was blogging seriously (I don’t consider any blogging I did prior to having my baby to be “serious” as it was sporadic) for around 6 months before making a dime, although I did enjoy blogging privileges like complimentary products to review. During that time I was blogging 3-4 times a week, constantly googling about how to run a blog, soaking it all in, and growing my readership. I recommend a period of time like this (although it certainly doesn’t have to be as long) for all bloggers to learn the ropes of blogging and understand what they are doing before jumping in expecting to make money. There are 3 main ways to monetize your blog that I’m going to discuss, and for each one a blogger must have a decent following and readership, as well as reader engagement – and that is something that just comes with time. Before monetization focus on growing your blog organically, forming real relationships with other bloggers and focusing on creating quality content.
As I mentioned above there are 3 main ways to monetize your blog: sponsored posts, advertisements, and affiliate links. I’m going to go through each one by one, and keep in mind different ways of earning income work better for different bloggers depending on a variety of factors.
Sponsored posts are posts that you are paid to write by the company/brand/service that you are writing about. This is where I make the most income from blogging. There are multiple ways to get these posts. There are numerous agencies that serve as a middle man between bloggers and brands. Each agency has different requirements as far as page view minimums and social media followings to be accepted into the agency, and each one works differently too as far as how you get sponsored posts once you are a member. I’ve pretty much looked into every agency and can give you a run down of which ones work for me, but keep in mind everyone is different so what works for me may not work as well for you.
One of my favorite agencies to work with is Social Fabric. On their system the post “shoppertunities” which bloggers can apply to and then are either accepted or denied. I’ve heard other bloggers complain that they don’t pay as well as other agencies, but I have no complaints about the amount they pay. I also use Linqia ocassionally. Linqia is different in that they email you when they’ve matched you to a campaign, which means no having to fill out an application, and they pay based on how many clicks you can get on links. I don’t really like doing these campaigns unless there is an incentive for readers to click on the link (ie coupon, giveaway, etc). It’s stressful to worry about getting the requisite number of clicks and really annoying to have to promote the links on social media often to get the clicks. Some Linqia campaigns I’ve done okay on and others I’ve hardly made anything, although I’ve heard stories of big bloggers making $800-$1000 per campaign that they do with them.
Another one of my favorites is Izea, although I use it less for blog posts and more for sponsored Twitter/Instagram/Facebook posts. They have a system where certain campaigns they think you would be a fit for pop up and you bid on them, and then the advertiser either counters your bid or accepts or rejects it. I’m also a member of Pollinate Media who I really enjoy working with, but I don’t get many campaigns from them. I’ve just joined Clever Girls Collective which I’ve heard great things about from my blogger friends, but am yet to do a campaign with them. There are probably 100 more similar agencies out there for bloggers who want to work with brands, these ones are just the ones I’ve used regularly and had success with as a mommy/lifestyle blogger. I would recommend reaching out to blogger friends you’ve made in your niche and finding out what networks/agencies have worked out well for them!
Another way to get sponsored posts is to pitch ideas directly to brands via email (always try to find the company’s PR rep to email when you do this), or sit around and wait for them to email you. Whereas I have been emailed directly a few times to do sponsored posts, it doesn’t happen often so if you are proactively wanting to monetize I recommend reaching out to them yourself.
I don’t think these take much explaining. Advertisements are the ads that might appear on your sidebar, at the bottom of a post, or when someone looks at your website from a mobile browser. Typically these are run through an advertisement agency/network as well. Some of the agencies that have sponsored posts also have programs to run ads on your blog. I still haven’t fully figured out ads and only run Google Adsense on my blog, because it was the easiest for me to figure out. I don’t make much money this way at all. Typically I make around $0.25 a day. Bloggers with huge readership bases that are getting over 100,000 pageviews a day do much better with making money from ads, particularly mobile ads. Once again – reach out to bloggers you admire, find out what network they are running ads through, and see if you meet the minimum requirements to apply to those programs if this is a course you are interested in.
Oh affiliate links. Some bloggers do really well with these. If you are a big influencer with a community who wants to buy any product you wear or use affiliate links are going to be great for you. I do okay with affiliate links, but not great. Basically affiliate links are links to products that you talk about on your blog, and you earn a commission if anyone clicks through and purchases that product. I use Link Share, which allows you to apply for affiliate programs with several stores, and Amazon Affiliates. So far I’m a lot happier with Link Share and use it frequently to post products available for purchase at Nordstrom. I know a lot of fashion bloggers do well with Reward Style and other similar networks through which readers can buy the whole outfit the blogger is wearing.
So here I’ve gone over making money off your blog. How have you monetized your blog? Or have questions about any of this? Let me know below or send me an email!