Have you ever wondered if it was even possible to earn an income from a blog?
You wondered if you could actually make money?
You wondered how and why and when and where and IF.
And the answer?
It’s a wonderful, incredible, amazing, resounding YES.
Why yes….yes, my friend…..YES YOU CAN. 🙂
Let me get a few things out of the way before we get started.
1. I have a blog consulting business. I’ve done over 600 blog consults over the last three and a half years. If you ever want to talk blogging, I’m here to help and we can set up a consultation. But I also wanted you to know that if you ever have blogging questions or questions about this post or questions about making money, you can just e-mail me, too. No charge. No pressure. No worries.
I believe in blogging and how it has changed my life and if there’s anything I can ever to do help with your journey, I’m just an e-mail away.
2. Blogging is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s not for the faint of heart. It can be long hours and steep learning curves and months of not making any money. I didn’t want to misrepresent the work that goes into a blog. It’s a little like a snowball. You start small. You roll and roll and roll and feel like you’re not getting anywhere. But then, one day you get a little traction. And a little more. And a little more. And before you know you are chasing a giant blogging snowball down the hill.
3. There’s a little luck with blogging. Truth. This is the one thing no one ever talks about. There’s luck in being at the right place at the right time or getting featured because a larger site happened to notice you or networking at a conference and just happening to meet the right person for your journey at that time.
Not that hard work doesn’t matter. It does. But a little luck can make a big difference.
4. You want to be you. There are ZILLIONS of bloggers out there. Literally. I’m sure as I was typing this, that zillion became a zillion and one. But the best part? There’s only one you. There is only one of your voice and your ideas and your creativity. The key is staying true to who you are. Making money with a blog can become about decisions. You want to choose revenue streams that fit who you are and how you work. The bigger your blog grows, the more you will be pressured by brands and companies who want you to use your platform to promote their products. You have to think smart.
And be true to your voice.
WHEW. That was a lot to get out of the way. Did I talk you out of blogging already? 🙂
You’re still here.
Then let’s talk money.
I think the easiest way to discuss how to make money blogging is to break it down. There are five major revenue streams for bloggers. Most bloggers work with all of these, but typically they tend to put more of their apples in a few of the baskets. The key maximizing your income is to diversify. You don’t want to only work with only one revenue stream. What if that revenue opportunity went away? What if algorithms changed or a company went out of business or your schedule changed?
I recommend concentrating on at least three of these revenue streams for a balanced blogging income.
1. Ad Networks
This is the most obvious way that bloggers make money. Ads are everywhere. They pop up on photographs on the blog. They dance around the screen. They make noise. They pop up from the bottom of the screen. They are on sideboards and footers and headers and blog posts everywhere.
Here are a few details about those ads:
The more obnoxious they are, the more money they make. Proceed with caution.
There are actually ad networks layered in behind the ads on the screen through a process called DFP (Double Click for Publishers). It’s a great way to maximize your ad space on your blog.
One of the best ad networks to get started with is Google Ad Sense. There are dozens of other great ad networks out there including Media Vine, IZEA, Cafe Mom and many more. If you need some specific recommendations, feel free to e-mail me.
Ad placement is super important. You make money with ads with clicks or page views (eyes on the ads). However, all clicks or ads are not created equal. Typically you make more money with ads above the fold (the top part of your blog that shows up when you first pull up the screen). In addition, you make more money at different times of the year (the last quarter of the year is great for home decor bloggers, for example).
The more page views you have for your blog, the more money you will make. The good news? This is really the only revenue stream that is tied directly to page views. So, if you are still rolling your blog snowball, don’t lose heart. There are other ways to make money on your blog besides just ads.
2. Brand partnerships
This is my favorite type of income stream. I love working with brands and showcasing new products and stretching my horizons and learning new things.
I’ve worked with brands like ebay and Target and Starbucks and La-Z-Boy and Wayfair and Joss and Main and so many more. If we were making a pie chart of income, this revenue stream would probably represent about half of my blogging income.
Here are a few details about brand partnerships:
You want to work with brands that truly represent who you are (for more on this refer back to number 4 in the introduction). It’s hard to stay true to who you are. For example, I’m not a fashionista. Not even close. I like to pretend I’m one on a good day, but truthfully, I’m a home decor blogger. Therefore, I try to work with home decor companies that fit my brand. Everyone has their own journey. I know many bloggers who are amazing fashionistas and they choose companies that blend seamlessly with their brand.
Try to come up with unique ideas for brand partnerships that are a win/win for both the brand and the reader. Showcase the product in a new way. Add a giveaway. Show a before and after of the room. The key is trying to highlight the product’s features, while still providing value for the reader.
Disclose the partnership. Make sure your readers know that you have been compensated in some way (whether free product or payment).
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you are worth. Hours go into that post–photographing, writing, styling and creating content. That is time. Time that is worth money. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market, but you want to get paid for your time. There’s no hard and fast rules for charging for posts, but a good rule of thumb I once read was to charge $100 for every 10,000 monthly page views. I think this is a good place to start, but you might want to think about adjusting that cost up or down depending on how much you are going to promote the post, how much time is involved in creating the post and other opportunities from the brand.
3. Selling your own ads
The first thing I did when decided to monetize my blog was sell my own ads on my side bar.
I set my rates for an ad for one month and an ad for three months and came up with ad sizes for the sidebar of my blog. I put all this information on an advertise button on the blog. Then I sent out pitch letters to advertisers–small businesses like etsy shops and smaller shops that I had seen advertise on other blogs. I made sure it the shops and products were a good fit for the blog and were products I could get behind. Several companies that I pitched were things I had already purchased for my home. In the pitch letter I told them how I could promote their product on my blog and social media and added up all my reach and sent it to them.
I sent out six.
Guess how many said yes?
I know, right. I wish you could have seen the cartwheels in my kitchen.
I worked so hard to promote those products. I told my readers and my friends and my friends of friends and promoted and promoted and promoted (which was easy because I believed in the products).
And it worked.
Readers loved the products as much as I did and the advertisers re-booked for additional months and told their friends and before I knew it, I had a sidebar full of ads.
And slowly the blog started to pay for itself (and pay for a few craft supplies, too).
Have you ever had a teacher that was trying to teach you about something and you thought to yourself that they might need to study up on the subject a little more?
That’s me with affiliates.
I know about them.
I know they work. I have dozens of friends who are bloggers who could sail around the world twice with all the amazing income they make from adding affiliates to their blogs.
I made $59.09 last year.
That’s enough to go to Red Lobster for dinner.
However, I add affiliates here because they are a revenue stream. People use affiliates all the time super successfully. If you are interested in affiliates, I would recommend signing up to be an Amazon Affiliate or partner with Reward Style. Both have amazing programs and to use them, you simply recommend products you use and link to the products using an affiliate link (be sure and disclose you are using affiliate links).
5. Monetizing your knowledge
This revenue stream is about using your blog as a platform to educate, inform and demonstrate an idea, a product, a DIY or some skill that you are an expert at.
For example, I know blogging. I love blogging. Truly. So I started sharing my knowledge and helping other people discover the amazing that could help them to grow their blogs.
And I monetized it with blog consulting.
You might be an expert in decorating cakes or making jewelry or building things or faux finishes or turning trash into treasure.
Why not monetize that skill?
Write an e-book and sell it. Make a product and sell it online. Partner with a local business to demonstrate that skill to their customers. Teach a class on a website like Skillshare.
Your blog then becomes the platform to help you promote yourself.
That was a lot.
It’s a lot to take in and a lot to think about and a lot to digest. Just know I’m an e-mail away if you have any questions.
I’ll leave you with this.
The key to making money from your blog is to be persistent, to persevere, to work on improving your skills, to reach for opportunities and to be consistent….
….and to be true to who you are.
There’s only one you.
You have a voice. You have a purpose. You have heart and courage and talent and a unique perspective and a story to tell.
And you got this.
Here’s to being a rock star and to taking on the world….
….one blog post at a time. 🙂
PS Once a year, I host an Inspire Workshop where you sit at my dining room table and we TALK ALL THINGS MONEY AND HOW TO MAKE IT.
See when the next workshop is here.