You wanted to earn money from home, so you started a blog. But so far, all you’ve done is pour a ton of time and energy into making things look good. You’ve done a great job, but you aren’t generating an income. In fact, you’re paying for some expenses like hosting, so the blog is costing you money.
This is a common story for new bloggers. If you’re feeling stuck and wondering how you really make money blogging, I’m here to help.
This post is for you if you:
- Have already started a blog on a self-hosted site
- Identified your target audience (i.e. you know who you’re writing for)
- Published some content
- Are ready to generate some income
If you aren’t to this point yet, don’t worry. Just jump on over to this post, and I’ll show you step-by-step how to start a blog, identify your audience and publish some content here instead:
Now, are you ready to start making money with your blog?
3 Great Ways to Make Money Blogging
There are tons of ways to make money as a blogger. But, having too much information can lead to information overload and keep you from moving forward I don’t want that, I want you to succeed.
So, to help you actually start making money from your blog, here are three things you can try.
- Affiliate Marketing
- Display Ads
- Write Sponsored Content
Here’s a closer look at each one, so you can take this information and put it into action.
How to Make Money Blogging with Affiliate Marketing
Is there a product or service that you know your audience would enjoy? If that company has a referral or affiliate program, you can get paid for referring people who buy it.
But, you can’t just blog about the product or service and sit back and wait for the money to come rolling in. It won’t. You have to do a few things first.
- If there’s an affiliate program, you need to apply for it. Some companies require you to make an account first. Others ask you some questions about how you’re going to share. Follow the directions precisely to improve your chances of getting approved.
- Generate a Special Link. Simply linking to the main company page from your website isn’t enough. You must use a special link, which you typically find on the dashboard once you log into your affiliate account. You have to use this link, or you won’t get paid. Most of the time, these will have some crazy looking combination of letters, numbers, and/or special characters. That weird looking string? That’s what tells the computer that you sent the referral. No special link, no paid commission.
- Share Your Link. Once you have your link, include it in your blog posts. Depending on the type of post you’re doing, you can add a couple of links to the same post. Don’t just drop one link and hope that people will click on it. Add in multiple. Experiment and see what works.
Once you’ve added the special link to your blog post, anytime someone clicks through that link AND makes a purchase, you will get a commission.
Now, there are some laws related to affiliate marketing. You have to tell your readers that you’re getting something in return for them clicking. This is known as a disclosure. So, add a disclosure to your post, before the link.
Want to learn more about affiliate marketing? Here are three of my top resources:
- 4 Great Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners
- 10 Tips to Increase Your Affiliate Sales
- 5 Superb Affiliate Marketing Examples You Can Implement Today
How to Make Money Blogging with Ads
After your blog is a bit more established, you can make money blogging by using ads. There are several places on your blog where you can put ads, but it’s important to remember that just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Have you ever visited a blog that had too many ads? It looks spammy and makes you want to click away. Don’t be that blogger. If you wouldn’t want to spend time on your blog because of all the ads, don’t make your readers.
But, there’s nothing wrong with having some well-placed ads on your site. Most readers are used to them by now and realize that they’re sort of like TV commercials. To get to the stuff you really want (like the awesome blog post you wrote), they have to deal with a little bit of advertising.
Typically with ads, the more traffic you have, the more money you earn. So, you do want to spend time focusing on marketing and getting word about your content to your ideal readers. Then, as your traffic grows, so will your income.
There are two main ways to get ads on your site:
- Apply to an ad network. Ad networks help connect advertisers with bloggers. Once you apply, you can get ads from a variety of companies on your site. Common ad networks are Google AdSense, AdThrive, Mediavine, and Monumetric.
- Sell private ads. Depending on your niche, you may find companies who want to advertise with you directly instead of going through an ad network. You can sell advertising space on your site.
There are pros and cons to both options, so you will have to decide what makes more sense for you. Many bloggers I know opt for the ad network, as it’s a lot less work. You don’t have to continually look for new advertisers or try to track down payment. But, you do get less because there’s a “middleman” involved.
Either way, once you get ads set up, they can be a great way to generate residual income. You just have to keep marketing your blog and getting viewers to your content.
Make Money Blogging with Sponsored Content
Another way you can make money blogging is with sponsored content. Sponsored means that a company compensates you for the content. When you’re just starting out, a sponsored post may involve free products. But as you gain experience and traffic, you can get paid very well for sponsored content.
If you’re interested in partnering with companies to create sponsored content, here are five key things to keep in mind:
- Always consider your audience. If the opportunity isn’t a great fit for your audience, just say no. It is not worth any amount of money to alienate your readers and make them think you ‘re only interested in money.
- Get details in writing. What does the company expect? When does your post need to go live? Are you writing a blog post, or sharing on social media? Are you doing both? Which platforms? How will you be compensated, and when will you see that compensation? How long is your content required to stay live? Always put everything in writing, so both sides know what the expectations are.
- Always disclose. Don’t try to pull the wool over your readers’ eyes. Be transparent that you have been compensated for this content.
- Don’t gush. Even if you love the product, don’t gush about it. No one wants to read a review about a “perfect” product. Your trustworthiness will increase if you write fair, honest, balanced content. Don’t ever accept a sponsored opportunity where you’re required to say only good things. That’s not fair for you or your audience.
- Don’t send readers to competitors’ sites. You’re getting paid to write about a product or service. Don’t muddy things up for your reader by having ads pointing to a competitor on this page. Or by linking to the competition.
You can find sponsored post opportunities by pitching companies directly, or by joining influencer websites like Tap Influence or Activate. As your blog grows, you may also have companies reach out to you.
Take the time to create a media kit you can share with potential sponsors. Think through your rates and remember that they may be a little lower as you first start, but that you can increase them over time.
For more information on writing sponsored content, read this post:
Now go out there and make some money with your blog. You can do this!