I have written this a post about how to make money blogging in my head about 5,327 times.

I’d start it and a story would pop into my head.

Or a DIY.

Or a dining room with a faux parquet floor and smocked burlap curtains.

And I’d get all distracted and chase rabbits and realize I needed to apply more red lipstick.

But this is a new day.

A new year.

And I thought that many of you might have added blogging to your resolution list.  Or maybe you have a hobby you want to turn into a business.  Or maybe you have created something that you want to share with the world…

…and getting paid for that blog or that hobby or that product might be fun.

But you wondered if it was even possible?

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?  🙂

Oh, good.

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.


That was a lot of information.  I didn’t mean to type that much, but I got a little carried away.  I didn’t know when I started there would be a part one and part two.  I just love blogging and talking about it and talking about money and there’s still so much more to say.

There are still three revenue streams we haven’t even discussed and a whole lot more about how to make money.

But my brain needs to rest for now.

And I need coffee.

Let’s continue this discussion next week.

Until then if you have any questions, you know I’m only an e-mail away.

Happy weekend.

PS  Be sure and read the rest of the story here:  How to make money blogging (part 2)

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.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

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  1. Image for Lisa | Shine Your Light Lisa | Shine Your Light

    KariAnne I am one of your consultation clients from way back when and I STILL think back to some of the thing we talked about. I LOVED getting your honest feedback and chatting with you about what to focus on. One of the most genuine and kind people in blogland. Thank you for sharing all about monetizing and doing what we love in a way that can actually make a living. :) XOX

  2. Image for Moriah Moriah

    Thank you for this post. I'm on the fence about starting a blog or not. It's a bit frightful as it's totally uncharted territory for me. I am not sure if God is leading me and I'm trying my best not to hear His voice saying "Go." Think of me having my hands over my ears loudly saying, "What? I cannot hear you!" OR if I am battling bad pizza and God is actually saying, "Noooooo!" Either way, I think God is using your post to speak clearly to me today. Thank you....I think. ;)

  3. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Thanks Miz karianne, for this information. It affirms one important thing to me....I know that personally, I am not nor will I ever be that dedicated to making a really successful blog! It's just too time consuming for me and I get antsy wanting to do other things....sigh, but I LOVE reading your blog!

  4. Image for Pam Pam

    Thank you Karianne for this post. I am just starting a blog and could use all the help I can get. I love your blog and the way you present it. I love your writing style and how you relay your message via your blog. I haven't started posting yet. Just getting my blog going. Would just like a second opinion on my color scheme. Not sure if it fits the message.

  5. Image for Marty Oravetz Marty Oravetz

    Great Part I. You are so right, you can make money, some make a LOT and other just a LITTLE. It is nice to help everyone reach their own potential. I do agree that Luck has a ton to do with it.

  6. Image for Nancy @ Slightly Coastal Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    I too was one of your consults and I loved every minute of talking with you. It's been a crazy, interesting journey since then but I love doing it. The best part of blogging? The friends you make. I'm hoping to step it up for 2017. Watch me go.... Have a great weekend. Nancy

  7. Image for Rowena Philbeck Rowena Philbeck

    Thanks KariAnne. Love your advice and can't wait to see the rest. I am interested somewhat when I retire in a few years to have something on the side instead of working another job. I'm pretty crafty and do a few income things on the side like feeding and taking care of dogs/cats for friends when they are on vacation. This might be what I need to do so I'm very interested in what you are telling us. Thanks and Happy New Year!!

  8. Image for Calypso in the Country Calypso in the Country

    Great advice, KariAnne! I also did a blog consult with you a few years ago and you were so helpful and kind. I think we all get overwhelmed with how many people blog nowadays but you are so right - "There is only one you"... Always love reading your blog! Shelley

  9. Image for Peg Peg

    How very kind of you to offer the trials, tribulations and expertise of your journey to those who might be considering this venture. You are definitely THE ONE to learn from, at least in my book!! Love you!! : )

  10. Image for Leslie Leslie

    Thanks, friend! You know I am listening and struggling to put my first step forward. It's in my future and trying to have the courage to take the leap of faith to dive in head first! Always love your encouragement and willingness to share. You set the bar high, my friend! I need to schedule a consult soon...Happy Friday!

  11. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I can truly say that you are completely generous with your time and advice. You are the first blog I signed up for and you were my first blog friend :-) I treasure that friendship to this day. I plodding along with my blog but I love every minute of it. Some days are easier than others but I don't feel it's a burden. It's a work of love. If I'm hesitant or slow in producing it's because I really value my readers and want to give them my best. I am constantly learning. And you, my friend, are my inspiration. Have a wonderful weekend.

  12. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I am so glad you wrote this post. There's a fine line between keeping your voice and just being a salesperson. You walk that line so well my friend. Thank you for the wisdom and inspiration you share on a daily basis. XOXO

  13. Image for Liz Volger Liz Volger

    I flirt with this idea many days. Im not really sure Im up for the commitment but I look forward to what you have to say on the subject. Thanks, and I love your "voice".

  14. Image for Catherine Catherine

    I was so happy to see your post today! I've been away from blogging for a few months due to family obligations, but love to get started again. I may be in contact later. Thanks!

  15. Image for terry terry

    Now you are singing my song girlfriend! I'm so excited to see you tackle this one, you obviously know the in's and out's and wow what a blessing that will be to so many! I'm pinning your cute graphic, I bet it goes viral! Warmest Wags & Agatha sends kisses too!

  16. Image for Lisa at celebrate creativity Lisa at celebrate creativity

    What a great post, Karianne. I was also on the other end of one of your splendid consults several years ago and your advice was truly valuable. Even after all these years of blogging, I still find there's so much to learn... not just on the creative side but on the business side of things. It's definitely a continuing journey. Thanks for your blogging friendship, generosity and wonderful tips along the way. Looking forward to reading your next installment. Have a great weekend! Lisa

  17. Image for Carole @ Garden Up Green Carole @ Garden Up Green

    Kari, this is awesome and you've caught my attention. Very helpful and I want to thank you for taking the time to share. I heard you speak last year on this topic but I think information sticks better with me through reading material. Allows me to absorb, reflect and embrace the learning in the information at hand. Was taking a different approach to 2017 and hoping to finally get on track and snowball.. as you say.. I like that...

  18. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    I get so overwhelmed by it all! (Insert deer in the headlights look). Thank you for going over all of this. I have Ad Sense but I haven't been able to figure out how to put the header Ad in...it's not allowing me to. So frustrating! Maybe I should just hire you for a consultation!

  19. Image for radhe radhe

    I can see people nowadays are more interested in blogging and from day 1 with zero traffic they are trying to get Adsense approval and also much time people meet me and tell e to teach blogging them they often tell when we start making money online like you for lifetime without doing nothing or just in some days but they are not looking at our efforts, and the years we spent to learn things and build successful blog or brand at the last if you are in any business for money then you won't survive for long but do any work or business with your passion or follow your passion money will follow you automatically that I want to tell all the Kids and newbies who are looking for the future in Internet or we can call make money online !

  20. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    KariAnne, This is very timely to me, because I have never sat on a fence so long ~ fearful of, yet tempted by, starting a blog. So thank you for generously writing these posts ~ to me you are the epitome of "successful blogger" and I know you have really important information to aid in my decision-making. For now, I'm hoping for a way to have just half as much energy as you seem to have. (Missing that is one of the things holding me back ... !) ? kj

  21. Image for Loryl Loryl

    I enjoy reading blogs but know my heart doesn't have the commitment to attempt one. I'm having too much fun being retired after 28 years of teaching. I'm glad you told people the ins and outs of it. It's HARD work to be successful. I think people get into it expecting to make tons of money. But I agree with a previous comment that you have to be passionate about it. You are the perfect person to be a blog consultant. So positive and kind. You have a true gift of storytelling, photography and creativity. Thanks for teaching me something new each day!

  22. Image for Claudine Claudine

    Dear Karianne!!! I love s this post! Well, if we can't even read a long post from someone that willing to give valuable information for FREE, then we are not cut out to be bloggers, lol I can't wait for the rest! It's great to have all this info in writing, and I appreciate you answering emails, too! But I'm going to book a consultation once my new website and blog is up. I have had two consultations with you in the past and I LOVED it. I learned so much and implemented some stuff but I was TOO BUSY. I am rebranding and starting a new website and blog - and I will be able to put your advice in practice! We will touch base once I have the blog ready. Thank you so much for writing this post! hugs!

  23. Image for diane diane

    Great and generous advice but the big question I have is how do you get to 10,000 page views a month? I am lucky to hit 100 and I know that will not interest vendors looking for partnerships etc. Looking forward to your next installment.

  24. Image for Denise Bryant Denise Bryant

    Thank you for your wisdom. It is so nice to meet a fellow blogger with a voice of reason. I started this journey following a path that wasn't authentic to me because I thought it was what I had to do but my heart has been pulling me further and further away from the competitiveness of blogging and more towards just being me and if I am "lucky" enough some of the 5 monetizing practices will reward me for my slow and steady efforts to be creative and authentic. Thanks again for the reality check.

  25. Image for Teresa Emrich Teresa Emrich

    It has truly been inspiring and encouraging to read your blog AND then to read all the comments that have followed. I am looking forward to the next installment about blogging! Right now it is very overwhelming, and I am not at all sure how or where to start, but you are a tremendous resource. I DO LOVE your blogs!

  26. Image for Claire Claire

    Someone sent me.a link to this post on Facebook. I am so glad they did, your blog is awesome and I absolutely love your writing style. I'm so glad when I find new blogs that I really really like. Looking forward to part 2.

  27. Image for Pam Clark Pam Clark

    I would absolutely love to blog, for revenue or not, but I my issue is that I don't want to deal with the logistics of blogging. I want to be the content person, no shortage of ideas here, but I do not want to learn about the nitty gritty of how to put it all on the internet, servers, wordpress, incorporating links, etc. Anybody want to be the tech side of an awesome blog??

  28. Image for Amy Amy

    Such an interesting read! I'd love to be doing collaborations with my favourite brands one day. Looking forward to the next part of this post ♥ Amy // snippetsofamy.co.uk

  29. Image for Nancy Mc Nancy Mc

    Each day you shine with a new level of awesomeness ! Your kind, thoughtful and thought provoking posts are such a breath of fresh air and inspiration! I'm not a blogger, too ocd and scattered, but I sooooo appreciate and admire the hard work, time, energy and love that you share in each and every one of your posts. You definitely are The ROCKSTAR!! Thank you

  30. Image for Michele Michele

    Karianne, This is so timely and informative. I have started and stopped my blog for a couple of years now. Took a course and am trying to restart in the new year. What I love about your blog is that it may have ads but not in an obnoxious way. It is so irritating to click on someone's blog and immediately get hit with popups and ads. You have mastered that balance of information with your own creative voice. You are such an inspiration and I look forward to Part 2!

  31. Image for Amy Smith Amy Smith

    Thank you so much for this information about blogging. Although I'm just a girl on tiptoe peeking in the window of the candy store,it is so interesting to find out how all the magic happens! I am curious....thank you for the inspiration!

  32. Image for jessica gregg jessica gregg

    Thanks for all the information. I love your stories and writing style. We are still hoping for that snowball effect. It's been a trickle, which has been ok since we have young kids at home still, but we are ready for that BIG, fluffy ball of snow to roll, roll, roll. :) The social media is what's so hard for us. We don't post our whole lives on our social media. It's hard to get those sponsored posts without increasing social media numbers. Any tips on that? Thanks for all your honesty, and sharing your creativity with the world. You're insanely talented!

  33. Image for Michele Riggsbee Michele Riggsbee

    I'm so excited to start this great adventure! And who better to be mentored by than the very best (YOU)...I can't wait to talk soon! I'm working hard and am truly excited about this! THANK YOU for all your encouragement and support, my sweet dear, KariAnne!

  34. Image for Mary - the boondocks blog Mary - the boondocks blog

    KariAnne thank you. This is great information and you are telling it in plain folk language that is understandable for us common folk who blog. I've read all this stuff before but never quite understood it quite as much as I do now. Thanks again!

  35. Image for Anne Anne

    Girl I'm still trying to roll that snowball up the hill. But after 5 years of blogging..... I don't know if it will ever get big enough...it's disappointing.

  36. Image for Linda Harris Linda Harris

    You make my heart sing. Your blog was the first blog I tuned in to. You have inspired me deeply in the past few years. Thanks for the boost and for your simplicity and humor. Linda

  37. Image for Jen Jen

    Thank you so much for this post! I just launched my blog in in January and am rolling that blog snowball along. This was wonderful advice!

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