If I got a dollar for every time someone asked me how I make money blogging, I’d be SO rich! haha
I’ve blogged on and off for a while but was first introduced to blogging as a career 3 years ago. It’s not a completely new world to me, but I’m still learning as I go every day.
Before I get started, I want to mention that you can easily Google “how to make money blogging,” and you’ll find a ton of sites, e-books, webinars, etc. We don’t have any get rich fast tricks, but we have been steadily increasing our income over time. My first month trying to earn money gave me a payout of a whopping $14. Fast forward two years (last month) we made just shy of $2700. It isn’t a great salary, but maybe one day we’ll be able to pay our all bills through blogging.
We decided last year that both of us will dedicate all our energy into blogging for the year. If it pans out, great! If not, we’ll abandon ship and find another job. But we wanted to give it our all, so that we’re not left wondering what if.
Now, on to the good stuff!
HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING:
1. AFFILIATE SALES (~60%)
Affiliate sales means that when someone clicks through from your blog to another website and makes a purchase, you get a percentage of that purchase. Not all brands do affiliate marketing, but a vast majority of them do. Typically, it ranges from 4-8%, but some companies offer as much as a 50% split! If you’ve clicked on one of our affiliate links and purchased something, thank you so much! You’re what makes this blog even possible.
Some companies have their own affiliate program, where you work with them directly one-on-one. There are also several aggregate websites where you can sign up to access their catalogue of affiliate websites. Here are the ones I would most recommend most and the brands that I have affiliate programs with in parentheses:
- Skimlinks (They have a huge database and they’re competitive and easy to use)
- Avantlink (Most outdoors brands including REI, Patagonia, etc)
- Share-a-sale (GlobeIn, FitBit, CraftBeerClub, KitNipBox, Craftsy)
- Shopstyle Collective (mostly Fashion / Beauty, pays for organic click throughs)
- Rakuten Linkshare (Honest Company, New Balance, Microsoft Store)
- Ebay Partner Network
- Affiliate Window
2. SPONSORED CONTENT (~30%)
APPLYING FOR SPONSORSHIPS THROUGH NETWORKS: If you join a network, they already have existing relationships with brands that they can connect you with. If you’re just starting out, it’s easiest if you build your “portfolio” with a network first. They of course take a percentage of what you earn as a finder’s fee. Here are the networks that we’re part of that we’ve had the best experience with:
- Clever Girls Collective
- Collective Bias
- BlogHer (It may take you a while to get accepted. It did for me.)
- Linqia (Most amount of work because you have to encourage click throughs.)
REACHING OUT TO BRANDS YOU LOVE: In the past year, we’ve been actively reaching out to companies that we love in hopes to work with them and grow long term relationships. Some of our recent favorites include Carnival and Contiki!
BRANDS REACHING OUT TO YOU DIRECTLY: As your audience grows, you will start attracting companies that want you to get the word out about their products or services. Confession: When I first started doing sponsored posts, I did a post for a brand that was not the best fit for our blog, because I was just so ecstatic that someone was willing to pay me for a post. I later realized this was a huge mistake. I hope you guys can forgive me. Ultimately, it’s not about making a quick buck. It’s better to think long term and gain your readers’ trust.
BLOGGERS: Other bloggers may also want to pay you to do sponsored posts on your site. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers do a great job with this, and I’ve even sponsored bloggers before. However, this is not something I’ve tried, because I know it takes a lot of work to do it well.
3. ADS (~10%)
You can have banners on your side bar, other times in the middle of the post, and sometimes even pop-ups. Pro Tip: Keep the user experience in mind. The more annoying ads tend to generate more money, but we don’t do them, because I know when I see them on other sites, I immediately click away.
It’s hard to generate enough income with just ads unless you get millions of views.
Our Thoughts: We try to keep our site minimal with ads, so it’s the smallest percentage of our monthly income. We have considered having sponsored banners from other bloggers so that our readers can be introduced to other great blogs. We just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Would that be something that interests you?
- Google Ads (easy setup)
- BlogHer (they take a huge percentage, but they run premium ads making it worth it.)
- Banner Ads from any of the above affiliate programs above.
BONUS: Comped Experiences, Products, & Meals
Just this past year, we’ve been reaching out to companies, hotels, and restaurants to get more experiences, products, and meals comped in exchange for an honest review. This allows us to build way more content for the site that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford ourselves.
We know this doesn’t pay our rent, but we don’t want to completely discount it either. We’ve been able to do so many more Local Adventures in partnership with these companies. We’re working on putting together the value of everything we’ve gotten comped this year if that’s something you want to see.
Would you also be interested in seeing income reports? I know I enjoy reading Pinch of Yum’s.
How else do you make money on your blog?
Do you have any other questions?