Can you really make money blogging? Yes, you totally can! In this post, I’m sharing 5 tried and tested ways to start making an income from your blog.
‘So what is it you do again?’
‘I’m a blogger.’
‘Oh . . I see. What does that involve then?’
‘Lots of things but I mainly create content!’
‘OK … and you can make money doing that?’
Well that’s what I’m answering today – how I make money blogging, or rather how you can make money from blogging should you ever decide you want to give this career a go too (it might be a good idea to start here first if you don’t already have a blog and want to know how to set one up).
I am currently making a living wage from my blog, but it’s important to note that that didn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build authority and an audience who trust you before you start to see any kind of monetary results . You also have to be willing to accept the roller coaster that is blogging income, some months will be really good while others not so good. The best thing about having a blog though is knowing that YOU are the one in control. YOU set your own hours and make your own decisions. YOU are the boss . . . the CEO of your brand.
Before I even get started with sharing ways to monetise your blog, I want to touch on the importance of creating good quality content around your blog niche. Quality, content that not only stands the test of time but is also what people actually want to read. In order to make money, your blog posts need to be written in a way that drives traffic and adds value to your readers.
These are text-based, image or video advertisements etc that encourage readers to click-through to a landing page and take action. They can be displayed in various places on your blog, such as in your side bar, your header and footer or in between text. The two most popular kind of ads are :
- CPC Ads (Cost per click): Each time a reader clicks on the ad, you are paid for that click.
- CPM Ads (cost per 1,000 impressions): you are paid a fixed amount of money based on how many people view your ad.
Naturally, the higher your traffic is, the more money you will make. This kind of advertising on your blog is an easy way to make a passive income (this is how I funded my recent social media break) if you have a decent following. When I first started blogging I had quite a few of my posts go viral which kick started high volumes of traffic for me (as a result my ad revenue now makes up about 40% of my income). However, this may not be the case for everyone. Chasing page views can become quite tiresome, therefore this method of monetisation shouldn’t be your only source of income.
HOW TO START DISPLAYING ADS ON YOUR BLOG?
Join an Ad network!
Ad networks act as the middle man between yourself and the advertisers . How it works is that you place an ad banner on your blog and the ad network will then choose the most relevant ads to put there. You can also filter out certain types of ads you don’t want to show on your blog during the application phase – for example I decided I didn’t want to advertise gambling or banking ads on my blog for personal reasons.
The amount of money you can make from display ads depends on three things:
- Your traffic
- Placement of your ads
- The number of available advertisers for your niche.
Google AdSence is the most popular and largest Ad network to date (click here to apply now), but of course there are others like Media.net and Infolinks that are free to join and don’t require a minimum traffic in order for you to join.
There are also advertisement management companies, such as Mediavine or Adthrive who will help you optimise your Ad positions, manage your advertiser relationships and generally get you better CPM rates. However, they both require a minimum amount of traffic per month in order for you to apply. I am currently with Adthrive who require at least 100k page views per month. For Mediavine, I believe their traffic threshold is 30k page views per month.
Sell private Ad space
If you don’t want to work with advertisement networks (or just want to try a mixture of both), you can also offer up private ad spaces on your blog to companies (or even in your newsletter) in the form of banners, buttons and/or links. As there is no middle man, you are free to set your own rates (charged monthly or on a one off basis)
2. AFFILIATE MARKETING
This is the most common way to make money and is especially good if you are a new blogger and/or have a blog that doesn’t have very high traffic because your page views have nothing to do with your earnings!
Put simply, affiliate marketing is when you link to a product or service that is for sale on another site and if someone follows that link and ends up buying that product you earn a small commission on that sale. Affiliate links can be placed in your blog posts, social media and/or newsletters, but of course you must always declare whenever you do! How you do that, will depend on the advertising laws of the country you reside in.
HOW TO START SHARING AFFILIATE LINKS?
Sign up to an affiliate marketing network
First steps is signing up to an affiliate marketing network. These networks have a wide variety of brands to choose from on one centralised platform.
Or you can create private partnerships with individual advertisers and/or businesses with an affiliate program. Most large companies likes Etsy, or Ebay for example will have their own programs for you to join.
Once you’ve become an affiliate, all you need to do is create relevant content where you can share links to products or services.. For example, product reviews, style look books or helpful tutorials that give value to your readers.
Things to remember:
- Try not to promote products or services you don’t’ personally use.
- Don’t overdo it. It’s OK to suggest products in your blog’s content but don’t just do it for the sake of it
Check out this e-book by my friend Tasha – it teaches you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing. It’s worth every penny!
3. WORKING WITH BRANDS (SPONSORED POSTS)
This works just like it does in sports, TV shows, radios shows or other industries. Essentially a company may be looking for a way to get their service or product in front of a targeted new audience and so will pay a blogger that aligns with their brand values to do that. There are several different types of sponsored posts including:
- Blog posts written by the sponsor and posted on the blog: I don’t collaborate in this way as I prefer to write about something in my own voice. Emails I get that ask for things like this often look like this.
- Post written by the blogger showcasing a product or service. Brands may provide certain guidelines (or briefs) , but the creative freedom is usually in your hands. In most cases, content has to be approved before you are allowed to publish.
- Reviews of products
- Hosting a giveaway
- Social media promotions: Sharing content exclusively on social media platforms like Instagram for example (a reason for the rise of The Influencer)
Here is a great post on how to approach brands for sponsored content, as most often than not, pitching is best way to get yourself in front of brands you want to work with. It’s also a good idea to put together a one-page media kit that details your traffic stats, social media following, and any other relevant data that will make your blog more appealing to advertisers. You can do this very easily using pre-made templates on Canva!
WHAT TO CHARGE?
What you charge will depend on the amount of traffic, domain authority, and influence you have, as well as some other considerations, such as what exactly the sponsoring company wants and how much work it will involve for you to do the post. Below is a really helpful insight into quoting prices by No Bull Blog School.
Things to remember:
These days working with brands makes up about 40 % of my income – but it wasn’t always that way. I didn’t work with brands until I hit my second year of blogging. Before that I relied solely on ad and affiliate revenue to make money.
I’m highly selective with the sponsors I accept on this blog. I always feel it needs to either be a product that I use, would use (if I hadnt already) and could incorporate authentically into a post before I accept, which I guess brings me to my first point:
- Value: Ask yourself, will collaborating with this brand add value to your readers? It needs to be more than the idea of getting something gifted.
- Relevance: Is the brand in your niche? If not, but you love the product/service can you still incorporate it naturally into your content? I mainly write about DIY, Interiors and occasionally lifestyle on this blog so I don’t tend to take on fashion, beauty, parenting collaborations as that is just not what my readers are here for.
- Google Ranking – Links on your blog are all subject to consideration when Google decides how to rank your blog. It doesn’t like paid follow links and will penalise blogs that have them. To avoid this, make sure paid links are no follow.
- Disclosure – The ASA, and FTC are clear that you need to disclose any compensation (even if gifted) at the start of your posts.
4.SELLING A PRODUCT
This involves selling a product that your customers can buy directly from you. There are some very successful bloggers who make most of their money this way, so don’t sell this idea short. Perks; you get to keep all the profits. You can either sell a physical product online through platforms such as Wix, Shopify, & Etsy, or sell something digital, as below
- Digital prints
- Online courses
- Blog themes
- Photo presets
PHYSICAL VS VIRTUAL PRODUCTS?
There are lots of advantages to selling digital products as opposed to selling a physical product. The biggest being zero shopping cost which means you’ll be able to reach a much larger audience. Also, you don’t need to worry about start up costs or stock levels as your product will always be readily available and accessible to whoever makes a purchase.
At the moment, the only physical product I have is my book ‘Home Sweet Rented Home’ (which is sold via my publishers and third company sites ), but I hope to launch a digital product soon! If you haven’t already – check out this eBook about Money from The Frugality blog
5. SELLING A SERVICE
Everyone has a skill that others may find useful, and offering up that skill is another way to make an income from your blog. Whether you’re an Excel guru, a marketing whiz or a Pinterest master, building up your online profile and promoting it via your blog, is the key to picking up new clients.
Examples of services you can offer include:
- Consultations and training: This can be done in person or online and can be a way for you to offer advice and strategies to clients in your industry.
- Workshops: Create custom events/days for creative activities in your niche.
- Panel/speaking at events: Charge businesses a fee to deliver sessions around your field of expertise
- Writing: There will always be a huge demand for competent writers and bloggers. Offer up your writing services to other blogs, or online businesses
- Design –if you are good at illustration or design then there are lots of ways you can offer your services to businesses or other bloggers. That can be creating infographics, logos or photo-editing. Or it can be something quite niche specific like interior styling or mood board creation
And there you have it . . 5 ways you can make money blogging today! Has anything in this post surprised you at all? Have you already implemented any of these methods on your own blog? Let me know in the comments below!