One of the things I’m often asked about is making money blogging. Some are surprised that I can earn an income from my blog, while others start blogging in the hopes of doing just that. There are multiple ways of using your blog to generate revenue. Here are a few of them.
Before You Start Making Money Blogging…
Know that blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. I blogged for over five years before I started making money blogging. Other bloggers are able to monetize much more quickly. While I do know bloggers who are paying their mortgages from their blogs, I know many more who can barely maintain their Starbucks habit by blogging. If you do want start making money blogging, it’s going to take time and work—like any job.
While you can monetize your blog from day 1, you likely won’t make money from day 1. Earning any revenue from your blog depends mostly upon one thing: traffic. If you don’t have readers, you won’t have an income. Thus, before you start working on monetizing your blog, you should be working on getting traffic to your blog. Invest in your readers and your audience first.
Any sort of advertising on your site should also fit with your overall mission and vision for blogging. For example, I don’t accept ads for casinos or bingo sites because I have a family-friendly focus. Your readers need to be able to trust you and the content you are providing. If you break that trust, they will stop visiting your site.
Ways of Making Money Blogging
Ad networks function as a go-between for bloggers and brands. Ad networks provide a code for bloggers to place on their sites, which displays ads to the bloggers’ readers. Payment is based upon impressions or how many people visit the site while the ad is being displayed there. The ad network may also coordinate blogger campaigns, where the blogger provides posts or social media support as well as site ads.
Ad networks are an easy way for bloggers to earn revenue because they do the work of finding advertisers, creating code, and running ads. However, most ad networks require a minimum level of traffic before they’ll accept a blogger to their network. I run ads and make about enough there to cover my blog hosting.
Affiliate links let bloggers earn revenue without needing lots of traffic first. There are a variety of places you can sign up to become an affiliate, from small bloggers selling ebooks and courses to big companies like Amazon.
Affiliate links are fairly easy to use, as you simply put a link in a post (and a disclosure policy) and wait for readers to click through to buy the product. Even small bloggers can make money this way, if they have a dedicated, loyal following who trusts their recommendations.
Because I do a lot of book reviews, I include an Amazon affiliate link in every review. If you like the book, it’s easy for you to purchase the book using my link. Of course, because commissions are a percentage of the price of the product, I don’t make much off books. Affiliate links work better if you are linking to larger products or the commission is larger.
Another way to make money from affiliate links is to create gift guides. These are curated collections of gift ideas on specific topics. The more unique or specific your topic, the more likely it is to be found by those interested in the items (and therefore likely to purchase via your links). Discover the secret to creating gift guides that make money!
Book and Product Reviews
This is likely the easiest way to get work as a blogger. In exchange for writing a post about how much you liked a book or product, the company will send it to you. I started out by reviewing books and then gradually began working with bigger brands on bigger product reviews.
Before you start thinking “FREE STUFF!” however, think about the work required to do the review. You need to use the product (or read the book), write the review, choose and edit graphics, insert links, promote it across your social media platforms, and more. I spend up to two hours writing a post—after reading the book or trying the product. I’ve started reminding myself not to say “I got that for free” but to say “I got that for writing about it.” Product reviews can be a great way to start monetizing your blog by working in exchange for product.
Guest and Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are paid posts written on a specific topic or promoting a specific product or event. An ad network may provide opportunities to write sponsored posts as part of a larger campaign, or you may work with a PR company or brand directly. Rates are usually based upon your traffic, but if you can offer a brand something unique, you can charge more. These posts should have a disclosure statement so that your readers know that you are being paid to write about the topic.
Guest posts are posts written by a third party, including a link to a website or company, which you are paid to publish on your site. You’ll know you’ve “made it” as a blogger when you start getting pitched by miscellaneous companies for posts like this. Not all will want to pay for their advertising, however; some will attempt to convince you that they’re doing you a favour by providing you with content so you should publish their post. If you are advertising for them, charge for it.
You can also sell your own sidebar ads, without working with an ad network. A sidebar ad may be used in conjunction with a sponsored post. Or you could create a sidebar ad to promote an affiliate link. Realize that your sidebar is valuable real estate and consider carefully what you put there.
A brand ambassador is a blogger who promotes a brand (or event) in exchange for various perks. The ambassador’s work will likely involve a combination of things, such as social media shout-outs, sidebar ads, posts and/or reviews. In exchange, they will receive product, passes to events, links from the brand’s site or social media pages, and/or compensation.
This is a great way to develop ongoing relationships with brands you love and to really share their product with your audience. I’ve been a brand ambassador for the Healthy Family Expo and Bright Ideas Press in the past, and am currently a blog ambassador for Mountain Buggy’s new Juno carrier; every time, it’s been a lot of fun to work with the brand and a big honour to be chosen by them to share their product or event.
Social Media Campaigns
Blogging is heavily dependent upon social media today. As a blogger, you’ll likely work on driving traffic to your blog by growing your followers on various social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Brands may pay just for a social media campaign, without a blog post, because they recognize your influence there.
Selling Products and Services
Many bloggers use their blogs as a means to earn money by selling products. Maybe blogging is a way to promote your Norwex, Tupperware, Arbonne, Usborne or Mary Kay business. Many of my author friends blog to promote their books.
You might also develop other products, like printables, e-courses, videos, or more that you can sell via your blog and social media channels. There are lots of resources available on how to create online courses. Think about something you’re good at doing and teach others to do it as well.
Or you can offer your blogging and social media skills to other bloggers and brands as a virtual assistant or campaign manager.
Final Thoughts on Making Money Blogging
If you do want to earn an income by blogging, you’ll want to diversify your income streams. Just as you cannot rely upon one social media network for all your traffic, you also can’t rely upon one source of revenue. Consider your monetization options and what fits with your blog and your audience, and do as many as you can.
Finally, don’t blog just to make money. I started blogging because I love writing and that’s why I am still blogging. If I did this for the love of money, I would have quit a long time ago and found a better job. 🙂 I’m happy that I can make money doing something I love and that blogging allows me to work from home.
- Make Money Blogging
- 10 Steps to a Blogging Business
- 3 Ways to Know if Joining an Ad Network is Right For You
- The Smart Way to Affiliate
- 6 Canadian Bloggers Talk about Blogging
Are you making money blogging? What tips would you offer to others who want to monetize their blogs? Have I missed an income source in this list?