So you want to make money blogging.
You might be one of the rare people who started a blog as a work at home business – but if you’re like most people, you started a blog because it seemed like fun, and you figured it might make a few dollars.
You thought it would be easy 🙂
And now, you’re spending a LOT of time every day working on your blog, and you’ve realized – you really want it to make enough money to be worth all the time you spend on it.
And you need to know how to effectively monetize your blog – what you can do to actually earn an income from all your work.
So what I’ve done for you in this post is listed 5 proven ways to earn money blogging. Ideally, you wouldn’t just use one – most of the best blogs use a combination. For example, I have links to affiliate products, and I also sell my own products and service.
But before I get to the nitty gritty of the list, I want to talk just a little bit about this fear that a lot of moms who blog seem to have.
There’s this idea floating around that just having a blog is enough to start making money. But that’s really not true. Your blog won’t make money if you aren’t selling something.
You might sell ad space, you might sell products – but you have to sell something.
And a lot of us feel weird about selling things.
Some of us – especially mom bloggers whose blogs are an extension of our lives – get a little freaked out at the idea of asking our readers for money.
We want to be nice! We want to give people things that help them! We don’t want people to look at our blog and think we’re some kind of creepy creep asking for money.
So answer me this: Would you open a store in the mall and then be embarrassed about asking people to pay for the items before they walked out with them?
Of course not!
So why would you be ok with people taking everything for free from your blog?
You work really hard to provide the best content you can, you sacrifice precious time that you could be spending with your kids, your husband – why should you feel bad about being compensated for that in some way?
And point 2 – Some blogging experts recommend that you wait until you’ve got a good number of blog posts up before you start to monetize; that your goal at the beginning should be to build traffic and not worry about earning money.
Well, I agree that you shouldn’t be worried about making money from the beginning, BUT I think you absolutely should start monetizing your blog as soon as possible. (Let me say that more clearly: Monetize from the beginning, just don’t stress out about whether or not you start earning right away.)
If you’ve followed my advice about choosing a niche, then you should already know whether or not you have the potential to earn money and there’s no reason not to monetize from the beginning. And you never know – the thing you’re selling may be just the thing that your very first reader is looking for.
But the big reason to monetize from the start is that it let’s your readers know what the deal is right from the get-go. If not, it can come as a bit of a shock when you suddenly start putting ads on the blog where there weren’t any before. I know bloggers who have had readers email and complain! If you get people in the habit of getting everything for free, they will be very bitter when you suddenly start asking for money.
The same thing goes with building your list – don’t wait, start it from day one and let them know from the first email that you will occasionally be sending links to things they can buy.
If you haven’t monetized your blog yet – don’t freak out. It’s ok! You can start when you’re ready. But do me a favor – don’t be one of those bloggers who feels so guilty about putting an ad on their blog that they write a blog post about how you hope no one is offended, but “I just can’t keep spending so much time doing something that doesn’t make money, so I’m going to put some tiny unobtrusive ads on the blog”. Just don’t.
Your blog is a business. Treat it like one.
Be proud of the work you do, and don’t be ashamed to get paid for it.
And that brings us to the whole point of this article –
How do you monetize your blog? Here are 5 proven, effective ways of earning money on your blog.
Advertising is possibly the most common way of monetizing a blog. What you’re doing is renting space on your blog, and sharing your traffic with them in return for money.
How much you can earn very much depends on your traffic. Some ad networks won’t accept you if you don’t have a certain amount of traffic, it’s just not worth their time. The easiest network to join – and the most popular by far – is Google AdSense. But there are may others out there. If you decide to go with advertising, do your research and find what will work best with your audience and your niche. And read the fine print!
Some networks are very specific about how many ads you can put on your page and the exact location. Some pay by click, some pay by view. Make sure you get the deets before your sign on the bottom line. (Deets = details. Are the kids still saying that? Am I old? Don’t answer that.)
Of course, like everything, there is a down side. When you put other people’s ads on your blog, you might make money from them, but what you’re really doing is sending your hard earned traffic to someone else to buy things, and it’s a one time transaction. You can earn a lot more money by having someone click to join your email list.
If you follow my blog at all, then you’re probably aware I love affiliate marketing. It’s how I’ve made most of my money in my years of blogging. Affiliate marketing works like this: You join an affiliate program or network. They give you personalized links to their products – anytime someone clicks on that link, the network knows that the click came from you. If the person buys something, you get a commission. Depending on the network and the product, those commissions can be pretty kick-ass.
The key to successful affiliate marketing is this: Know Thy Niche.
If you’re a recipe blogger, what are the most popular recipes on your blog? Are they quick and easy? Are they all organic or gluten free? Are they kid friendly? This tells you why people are coming to your blog. And when you know that, you can figure out what products they will be interested in buying.
For example, if you get a lot of moms looking for kid friendly, 30 minute or less recipes, then you may want to be an affiliate to Meal Plan Central, a site that provides a monthly menu plan with recipes and shopping lists. It’s a perfect solution to the problems that your readers are having.
Even lifestyle bloggers can do very well with affiliate sales. Going camping? Take a few pictures of your tent, mention how roomy it was, or how well it held up to wind and rain – whatever stood out for your family – and then provide an affiliate link to that product.
Look for the problems and questions that your readers have when they come to your blog – then solve/answer with an affiliate product.
Here are some popular affiliate programs:
Once you’ve got enough traffic (and that may be less than you think!), you can start doing sponsored posts. Brands love to work with moms who blog, because they understand the unique type of relationship we build with our readers. A recommendation from a popular blogger can be much more powerful than an ad in the sidebar of a website.
A few things to keep in mind – a very narrowly focused blog with a smaller audience can be just as valuable to a brand as a large audience with a wider focus. What do I mean by that?
If you have a lifestyle blog where you write about crafts, homeschooling ideas, recipes and so on, and you have a very large audience, you may do alright with sponsored post from a yarn company.
But if you only blog about knitting and crocheting, you could have 10% of the audience of the larger blog and still do extremely well for the brand – because you are speaking to all your followers, not just a few.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that once again, knowledge of your niche is vital. You want to work with brands that provide value to your readers, and you want your blog to provide value to the brand.
Usually, a sponsorship deal will involve more than just writing a post. You may do a certain number of social media posts, there may be photography involved and so on. If you’re eager to get started working with brands, Shannon Etcheson has written an excellent ebook with everything you need to know – Bloggers and Brands. I highly recommend it.
Writing a good product review is a great way to earn money from your blog. There are different ways you can do it – it can be a product you use all the time, a product you purchase just to review, or a product that you receive as a sample from a company specifically because they want you to review it.
There are quite a few networks that connect bloggers with companies who are looking for product reviews. Your Alexa Ranking, Google Analytics, and social media following are all often taken into account. If you want to learn more about doing product reviews, check out this excellent post from Louida, the Product Review Mom, which also includes a big list of companies that work with bloggers.
Of course, like any other type of post where you receive payment, you should disclose that upfront. And if you do get free product, don’t feel obliged to only give a positive review. Always give your honest opinion.
Sell Your Own Services and Products
Selling your own products is one of the quickest ways to earn an income, even from a new blog.
No matter what your niche, you can create a product that interests your readers. It can be an ebook, printables, charts and checklists… think of things that solve their problems.
You can offer the product to sell on your blog and you can also promote it through your social media channels. If you write an ebook, you can put it up on Amazon in Kindle form to sell. All you need is a good idea and a word processing program to write an ebook. There is definitely something in your niche that you know how to do that you can write about and tell other people how to do it. Make an ebook cover (or hire me to design one for you) and start selling.
The same goes with services. What kind of service can you provide that will help people in your niche? Can you provide some sort of coaching? Can you create something for them? If you like to write, you can use your blog as a showcase and sell your writing skills as we discussed in last week’s post How to Become a Highly Paid Freelance Writer.
I hope these ideas have got your brain working overtime on all sorts of fantastic ideas! There’s no reason that you shouldn’t be earning an income from your blog. Start taking action and make it happen!