Blogging 101: How to make money blogging.

Oct 5th, 2011

If you missed the first three weeks, you can find those posts below:
Week 1: How to grow your blog.
Week 2: How bloggers keep up.
Week 3: How to handle incoming e-mails.

The question this week is probably the most common question that I get asked, How do you make money blogging?” 


I have been silent during the other questions, but since this is something that I get asked a lot, I would like to give my two cents about this topic. I have a BA degree in Advertising (in fact, I have a masters in communications), so I might know a bit about what I’m talking about (or I might not…depending on the day). Ha ha.

I consider my blog a virtual billboard. Picture an actual billboard on the side of the road. A lot of cars drive past that billboard. Advertisers pay for their ads to run on that billboard. The billboard must be in a prime location in order for advertisers to want to place their ads on it, right? The billboard creates a buzz for new products, existing products, brands, shops…etc. The billboard affects the bottom line for the company who advertises. It helps to remind people to go visit their business. For example, every time I see a billboard for food, it make me want to go eat at that place. (Maybe I’m just a sucker for food!) A blog is no different. It is just another channel for businesses to promote their products or services.

In order for advertisers to want to run ads on your blog, you need to give them a prime location. You need to create content that grabs readers. You need to consistently create content that people love. Content is key when it comes to making money blogging. You can get readers from a lot of places. You can get them from SEO (search engine optimization), referral traffic (in-coming links), or from direct traffic. The longer you stay consistent with your content, the more traffic you will get. Do not get impatient. You need to work HARD to make money, but once you get the ball rolling, it gets easier, I promise.

Making money blogging has been an on-going challenge for me, and I wanted to know what the big dogs thought. (When I call them dogs, I am talking about the cutest little puppies that you LOVE and you cannot get enough of). So, I asked them. This is what they said.

Thanks again to these wonderful “Master Bloggers” for being a part of this series. They rock. What amazing timing too, Donna over at Funky Junk has started a “Blog to Biz” 31 day series that is covering some amazing stuff that you will not want to miss. Have you ever wondered how to strut your stuff in a magazine? Well, that is just one of the topics that Donna is covering. Go check it here. I will be tuning in for the entire series. I need all the help I can get!

This week’s question:
How to make Money Blogging: 

Funky Junk Interiors
Donna from Funky Junk
I personally use networks such as BlogHer, Rivit and Clever Girls Collective as well as some sidebar advertising. I do some compensated magazine features which I’m looking to grow.  Future plans are to write ebooks and sell some of my creations, but finding enough time alongside my day job is tricky although necessary if I wish to take the leap. I had a book deal approach me that went South, so I hope to get that real book published one day regardless. 



Tauni, a communications professional from Snap.
There are literally dozens of ways you can make money on your blog, but before you decide how to monetize it’s important to consider a few things…You may want to check out a couple articles I shared over on the SNAP! site “Freebies Aren’t for Free: 10 Things to Consider When Working with Brands” and “Ten Things to Consider When Monetizing Your Blog.”

Once you’ve thought that through, stop by and read, “Beyond the Google Ad: How to Monetize Your Blog.” It covers pay per click or cost per impressions, direct ad sales, sponsored posts, consulting, affiliate marketing, membership, self packaged content and selling your blog.



Court, from Money Blogger.
I made very little money in the first year I blogged. I started by monetizing with Adsense and then by selling my own ad space and joining ad networks. I personally never made enough that way to survive. People nagged me again and again to try to create my own product and when I finally did, I started to make a lot of money. On top of that, the people who bought my product were just as excited as I was. They loved it and thanked me for it all the time!

As a blogger, you may not want to create your own product. It’s pretty scary. But, if you are struggling to monetize, it can really open the floodgates. I went from making less than $2,000 per month to over $10,000 per month on one of my blogs with just this one change. I was scared to death to try to ‘sell’ but I’m really glad that I did.

Mandi from Vintage Revivals

There are SO many different ways to make money on your site.  You can sign up with ad networks, you can run sponsored posts, you can run sidebar ads, you can host giveaways, you can sell a product, and TONS of other ways.  The most important thing is that you do what you feel good about.  You have to keep the trust you have built with your readers at the fore front of your thoughts when it comes to the content that you run on your site.   For me personally I use a few different ad networks (Clever GirlsSocial Spark and Rivit) and I also have sponsored posts.  But the MOST important thing to me is to promote something that I believe in.  I dont run sidebar ads and I dont host many giveaways, (only for things that I would enter for).  No one wants to read a commercial, so be true to yourself.  I say no 10x more than I say yes because something isnt right for my site.  Be true to yourself and you will be just fine.  You can see a post that I have written that goes into a lot more detail about the ad networks that I use and why here.
Love your guts
mandi

Shelley at House of Smiths.
This is a bit of a loaded question, because for me there’s not just ONE way to have a lucrative blog.
First, let’s start off by saying that…
“In order to make money off of your blog, you need to make sure that you didn’t start blogging to make money.”
(I feel like I could pretty much end this topic with that… but I’ll keep going. ha!)
For our blog we have found that having an ad network has worked great! We were approached by a ad network last year looking to sign a few bloggers and after we did our homework we decided to go with them. Ad networks generally pay you off of CPM or (clicks per thousand) So every time you get a thousand pageviews, they will pay you a set amount of money for having their ads up. From what I’ve heard CPM’s from ad networks can rage from $.50 cents per CPM up to $30.00 per CPM.
Another great way to make a little money on your blog is to sell ad space. This means placing a store or sites “button” or logo on your blog, usually above the fold(or relatively close to it) in your blogs sidebar area or header. Knowing what to charge potential advertisers is a bit trickier then when dealing with an ad network, because every blogger sells their ad space for different prices. The reason for this is because every blogger values their ad space differently. Some bloggers give advertisers lots of ad space options, and some don’t. My advice is to look around at different blogs and how they advertise, see what you like and don’t like… and then make a decision on how you want to run YOUR blog.
Honestly there are a LOT of great ways to make money blogging. I personally feel that if your blog is great on it’s own, that you’ll never need to “look” for advertisers, because they will find you! And if you don’t know where to start with your prices, then don’t be afraid to try out a few different amounts on potential advertisers. I’ve had some companies email me back after sending add prices and say…”Oh, that’s a little high, never-mind” and then another business come back from the same email and respond with “Awesome! Sign me up for 6 months!” As my friend Heather put it best one time… “Blogging is like the wild wild West. There aren’t really any set rules. Everyone’s just runnin’ around trying to figure out what’s going on, hoping to survive in the end.”
Basically, only you can decide what will work for you, and what you will feel good about charging for advertising or taking paid jobs for, at the end of the day. Don’t undervalue yourself. Don’t assume that you know what advertisers will and will not pay. Keep your blog authentic and real, try not to stress out about who’s making what, how they’re doing it and what you can do better. For us and our blog, even though rewarding, it’s been such a small part of why we started blogging. Something that we never thought we’d have to deal with, but also in retrospect… welcome with open arms, due to the fact that our blog has now become a full time job, PLUS some!
Just try to remember, when thinking about making money and how everything will pan out, those infamous words spoken in The Field of Dreams… “If you build it, they will come.” :)
Truer words have never been spoken. I promise that if you love what you do, and focus on doing JUST that… FIRST, you won’t have to work so hard on the “money-making” part of things later.

I didn’t make money on my blog for the first year and a half that I blogged. I didn’t really realize there was the possibility to make money for awhile and I also was focused on my projects and developing content. Then people started to approach me about being sidebar advertisers. So the first thing I did was start a sponsor section on my sidebar. Then there was a company called Juicebox Jungle that started. It was the first ad network that I worked with. I would get paid according to how many people came over to my blog. Google Ads is a great way to get started with an ad network. That was the second way I started making money. I was so happy to have some money coming in to offset all of the craft supplies that my projects required. I think my husband was happy about that too. A few other ways that I have made money on my blog have been sponsored posts. There are companies like Clever Girls and Social Spark that bring advertisers and bloggers together for posts that go along with your content. My advice on sponsored posts is to take opportunities that go along with your content or posts that are meaningful to you. Don’t feel like you have to take every opportunity that comes your way. And the fourth way I make money on my blog is through giveaways. I was doing giveaways for free until recently, but then I realized that those posts take time and I give my giveaway sponsors top billing on my sidebar. So now I do charge for giveaways. Those are the four main ways that I earn money on my blog.


Beckie from Infarrantly Creative
Making money on your blog is HARD.  It takes time and effort.  I think it is especially hard for a DIY, craft or home blogger because you are constantly doing projects – who has time to deal with sponsors?  I got to the place in blogging in July of 2009 where I realized that my projects were not going to get any better or I wouldn’t become any bigger when all of the sudden people would start knocking down my door.  YOU HAVE TO MAKE OPPORTUNITIES HAPPEN.  Here are a few pieces of advice from an opinionated blogger.  Now some of the other ladies might give you specifics but I have always stood by the mantra to “tell people the what not the how.”  That means you will have to do a little work to put this advice into practice.

1.  Do not put all your eggs all in one basket.  My income comes from ad networks, private sponsors, paid posts, affiliate marketing, community participation, and brand ambassadorships.  You have to diversify your income because there are ebbs and flows with advertising.  A little bit from this and a little bit of that ads up to a full-time income for me.  Here is a great article by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger of all the different kinds of incomes.
2. Claim your worth.  Only you can determine how much your time is worth.  In the beginning you might want to blog for product.  As you grow that might not be good enough anymore.  It takes a lot of time to run giveaways, do sponsored posts, etc.  If you are spending hours writing up a giveaway post for $10 that might not be worth your time.  For me personally, I waited until my audience was large enough to charge a $20 advertising fee.  I knew I didn’t want to blog for less than that.  For me, it wasn’t worth it to have to do the tedious work of writing up a post for another company when I could post about a project that I did.  You would be WAAAAAY better off doing no giveaways and just throwing Google ads up.
3.  Reach out to companies.  If there is a product you love reach out to the company.  But be professional…you represent us all Winking smile I would make sure you have a press kit put together and you offer them something. Don’t just leave it open-ended with “I-would-love-to-work-with-you-please-contact-me-if-you-are-interested” email.  What can you do for that company? Be specific, to the point and come with confidence that you can deliver a great product.
4.  Don’t put the horse before the cart. (I am full of idioms today…wink!).  Build your blog, your community and your reputation in your niche.  Please don’t start a blog with three followers and offer advertising.  It doesn’t look professional nor does it gain any respect among the peers in your niche.  Blog because you love to blog.  Your passion will come through and when you grow you will be ready to take the plunge into offering advertising options.



Jamielyn from I heart nap time.
When I first started blogging I had no idea you could even make money blogging. It never even occurred to me. It was just a hobby and a way to share what I love doing {{creating}}.Then after about 6 months of blogging someone contacted me and asked how much I charged for advertising? Then all the sudden I thought “WOAH.. some one wants to pay me to blog?” The idea seemed kind of nice. I thought it would be nice to have money to pay for all the projects I was making. LOL! SO for those next couple months I took on a few other private sponsors. Then someone mentioned I should put on google ads. And for the first few months I think I made pennies… if that… but now a year later they’re definitely a lot nicer to me. :) Another ad network I work with is Rivet Media. Those are all the ads you will see on my blog… which averages about half of the money I make from blogging.

Then a 1/4 of the money I make comes from affiliates such as Silhouette, Parent Media, Amazon, etc. Then the other 1/4 comes from blogging campaigns. I work with a few different companies such as Collective Bias, Social Spark and Clever Girls. For these I will usually be paid to blog about a certain product or campaign they have going… but I try to be very picky with these campaigns. I could be making a lot more money if I took every campaign they gave me. But you have to remember your readers first… who wants to read a blog with just ads?!! I try to do only a couple of these posts a month. I’d say 75% of the time I turn down paid blogging opportunities because they just aren’t the right fit for my blog, and that’s okay. With the amount of hours I put into my blog I do have to make money, but it’s just a matter of finding the best ways for me and my blog. Everyone will be indifferent on this and I encourage you to try different options. If one isn’t working for you it’s okay to move on and try something new. 

Comments

  1. thanks so much for the tips! I think its great just to hear how much goes into these great blogs… they look so effortless!

  2. OK I just love this, thank you! Great timing too as my blog will be turning 1 soon and it's time to consider options. I'm keeping this post!!!

  3. Thank you so much for the insight! It's nice to know that blogging should be fun first, and then you can make money.

  4. Thank you for all the input! Blogging should be fun! It's the only way people can motivate themselves to continue the habit.

    I really appreciate all of the insights. It makes me ever so slightly more confident :)

  5. Such great advise ladies! I've really enjoyed reading this series and your shared knowledge is invaluable to us newbies! Thank-you, Thank-you, thank-you!!

  6. Great info, ladies!! I've been getting curious about this topic lately and now I have several resources to explore. Thank you!

  7. This is SO So helpful! I'm just to the point where I'd like to start looking into something that's not just Google ads.:) Thank you very much!

  8. Thank you ladies… I hadn't considered blogging for $ for myself, but I'm excited to hear how its done and your success stories.

  9. Thanks so much for the wise counsel from so many really experienced bloggers. I am paying SERIOUS attention!

  10. Thanks so much for all of this great information. It's so awesome to get all the different views at once!

    I have read a lot of blog posts about the "hows" of monetizing. I would love to see a blogger openly talk about "how much" money they are really making. I am not asking for a tax return…but a general idea would be so helpful. Wouldn't it?(i totally understand this is private & personal info that not everyone would want to share…but still, it would be awesome if someone did!) Anonymously maybe?

    I have no clue how much money blogs make-i'm sure it's a wide range. Are we talking minimum wage by the time you account for the hours upon hours it takes to do projects and write? Less? More? How much can you expect it to grow?

    It would be so beneficial to know before taking the leap. Is it worth it? :)

  11. Thanks for all the tips! I blog because I love it and I will blog with or without compensation. However, I agree with Elisabeth (comment above). I'd like to know how much a seasoned DIY blogger makes.

  12. Thank you for this post series. It is really great information. I hope to one day make money from my blog, but right now I am just gaining a following. All of the women who answer the questions are such an insparation.

  13. I agree with the comments above and I too would love to know how much a seasoned blogger can make? I blog because I love it, but am very curious.
    http://www.shabbytochicqueencreek.blogspot.com

  14. Thanks for all the tips! I don't blog for $….just a hobby but good info to know :)

  15. The Tall Chick says:

    Thanks so much for pulling all of these "masters" together and sharing their tips. I'll definitely be coming back to this page to refresh myself on all these great ideas as I start trying to figure out how to better incorporate ads into my blog. Thanks again! :)

  16. Chelsea O. says:

    Excellent post! I keep putting off figuring out how to monetize my blog but as the ladies stated above I need to get my content consistant and increase my readers and followers. I'm going to edit my blog right now!
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Chelsea
    http://www.TheArtStork.blogspot.com

  17. Amy of The Salvage Collection says:

    a fabulous series not only b/c of the tips but the format makes it a concise "go to" resource for busy bloggin' mommas! …and who doesn't love tips from such a fine group of successful women??

    love it!

    amy

  18. I've always wondered how that worked. Thanks for sharing the love. You guys are inspiring!

  19. Hello,
    About a couple of weeks ago, I left a post that commented on when it's obvious when a blogger is doing a product post primarily for the compensation. It was not posted to your blog. I would like to know what was inappropriate about the comment such that you felt you couldn't post it. Thank you.

  20. Thinking about this kinda makes me feel like I'm on a spinney… Of courrrse I'd LUV to make money, but I don't want to compromise the integrity of my blog, such as it is!!

    And though I'm not trying to make money now, (just working on some somewhat wacky, colorful content…) I think, dream, pray that maybe somehow, somewhere, someday I'll get to that place where it's at least a whispered thought in the back of my graying head…

    sOOOOOO, what I'ma tryin' to say, is thanks for the content and encouragement…

  21. I think the admin of this website is genuinely working hard in favor of his web site, for the reason that here every stuff is quality
    based information.

Speak Your Mind

*