I wrote a blog post about making money on your blog previously, but as I lost years of blog content when the person I was hosting my blog through decided to book without warning, that post is no longer on the blog. [This was a pretty devastating experience; you can read more about it here.]
There are a few ways to make money from your blog, I am going to list them below in the order that I find them most profitable.
First, there are programs you can join that will give you opportunities to write sponsored content. The company I use to help me get some sponsored content is Social Spark, I highly recommend working with them.
You can also reach out to brands on your own and inquire about opportunities, you will find that many brands welcome your interest and often will want to work with you! Doing all the work that leads to collaboration with the brand is very rewarding.
You can sell your own ads on the blog and charge a monthly fee for placement.
There are several affiliate programs out there and they all pay differently. You can receive a percentage for a product you sell on your blog. Some companies pay per click. I have both types of relationships and run both kinds of banners on the blog. I really haven’t had much luck with affiliate programs. Actually, I wasn’t running affiliate ads on the blog until about 8 months ago. In those 8 months I have made just 3 sales (sad, I know). These programs do not pay out until you reach a minimum amount, so you will not see payments until you make that amount (I will not be receiving a payment anytime soon from my affiliate programs).
Currently I am using LinkShare.
I get paid to Tweet, this is super easy and I have received, and taken, a good number of opportunities. You can withdraw the money you make on this program, however you are charged a fee if you take out money before you reach the minimum recommended balance. I withdrew funds sometime ago and was charged a small fee for taking money out prematurely. I now have a decent balance and this time I intend to wait until I reach the recommended balance before I withdraw any money, so that I won’t be charged a fee.
A combination of the above have worked for me. I really don’t make that much money from my blog. I started the blog shortly after I had my daughter in February of 2010; I have been blogging for 4 years, and there are months when I have made a nice amount ($500) but most months I make between $10-$50. I have charged as much as $250 for sponsored posts, and have sold yearly advertisement placement for $600. It’s a nice feeling when you receive pay for something you worked for, that’s why I love blogging and intend to stick with it.
If you want to make money from your blog you have to be patient, you have to stick with it. I still don’t have the amount of traffic I would like to have, but I don’t necessarily think everything is about your traffic. A huge amount of traffic certainly helps, and you will make more money from affiliate programs with a lot of traffic, but don’t let less traffic stop you. When I first started my blog it took a very long time for people to find it. I sometimes had 1 visitor per day. It takes time to develop a following. You will also want to develop a reputation with your community of bloggers and with brands. Be considerate, be helpful should another blogger approach you for advice. I like to help other bloggers and don’t really see the point in not being helpful. Also, be available and be responsive when working with brands; make sure you are providing them with the best service as you want them to have a positive experience of working with you. They may convey their experience to other brands, also providing the best service will give you an opportunity to work with brands repeatedly should the opportunity arise.
A fun part of blogging is the opportunity to reach out to brands that you admire and request the opportunity to write content for them, review their product, etc. I work full time, so I don’t as much put time as I would like in to blogging, often I will not update for weeks at a time, which I am sure is costing me visitors, but I do what I can.
One thing I strongly recommend to help you grow your blog, and the best place I have found to reach out to brands directly is Twitter. Everyone is on Twitter, and brands are within reach on there. I can’t tell you how many times I have reached out to a brand on Twitter, conveyed my interest in working with them, and gotten the chance to do so.
One last thing. Persistence pays off. Don’t give up. It took me 6 months too see any money from this blog, and the first post I wrote paid $12, the first advertisement I placed paid $9. I really don’t mind sharing these things because I think it’s helpful to others starting out. It’s possible to make a healthy side income from blogging if you put in the effort. There are some bloggers who make more and plenty who make less. It’s up to you how you approach it. Just remember to be reasonable in what you charge, if you have a large following, your readers are responsive, and you know you can deliver, ask the brand for what you are worth. If they don’t want to pay what you are asking you can chose to not work with them. When you are starting out you may not be able to turn down many opportunities (it may not be wise to do so) but as you blog grows, know your worth and charge what you are worth.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, if you sign up with any of the programs I discuss I will get credit for it. Nonetheless, I recommend these programs and use them myself, they have helped me get to this point.