Welcome back to my Blogging Tips series!
Today I wanted to talk about how you can monetize your blog.
I know many of you have wanted to learn how to monetize your blog, and I’ve been putting this post off for awhile now because I feel that there are more important aspects of blogging.
If you’re looking to make quick money off of blogging, you’ll be disappointed. I’m not saying that to be discouraging. You really won’t see success overnight.
What it takes is time, quality content, and a little investment before you actually start making money off of your blog. And when you do, it’s not a lot. At least, not when you first start. In general, the larger your audience, the more money you’ll make. This means that you have to really enjoy blogging and be prepared to dedicate your time to growing your blog before you can really see extra money coming in.
But let’s finally get started.
There are a number of ways you can earn money through blogging: advertisements, ad swaps, sponsored posts, blog contributions, syndications, and affiliate links. I’ll talk about them all.
In order to have ads on your site, you’re going to have to self-host your blog, or use Blogger. WordPress.com doesn’t allow for third party ads. You can apply for WordAds, but I don’t know much about it since I never applied for it. You can find out more about it here.
I think if you have a little bit of money to invest into your blog, you’ll have more flexibility in regards to what ads you get to run on your site and what you can and can’t do to earn money.
There are tons of advertising agencies out there. Some of the popular ones include: Google Adsense and BlogHer Publishing Network, both of which I run on my blog. Both require that you either use Blogger or are self-hosted. Google Adsense allows you create as many ads as you want. But you have to keep in mind that you want to limit the amount of advertising that you have on your site. Too many ads can hurt your blog. BlogHer Publishing Network is oriented towards female bloggers or a blog with a large female audience. They do have some requirements and restrictions that you have to follow, and they require that you place their ad about the fold. In other words, the top part of your blog.
There are a number of ad companies out there. Some of them will approach you, especially as you’re improving your content, improving your photos, and gaining a large audience. Please please please do your research before you sign up. Don’t sign up because they’re the first company to approach you.
The reason for this is because you’re going to provide these companies with your personal info. For instance, where you live, your social security number, and occasionally your bank account. You want to make sure that these companies are legitimate, that they are who they say they are before you provide them with any info.
All the companies I work with are companies that other bloggers have worked with. So I know that I don’t have to worry about giving out my info.
Another ad company I work with is Swoop. If you’ve noticed random small text ads in the middle of my posts or recipes, that’s Swoop. I have no control over the placement of the ad.
Have you heard of ad swaps? Sometimes bloggers sell ad spots on their sidebar for a certain price. For instance, if you want a spot for a banner of your blog, it could be $3 for an entire month. Or more, depending on where the ad is placed. The higher it is up in the sidebar, the more pricy the spot will be. That’s because the higher your ad is, the more people will see it.
Sometimes bloggers choose to exchange ads instead of selling/buying.
Ad swaps are helpful in getting new traffic to your site.
Sponsored posts are posts where you are paid to write about or to use a certain product. I think WordPress.com allows for some sponsored posts, but you’ll have to look into it.
There are third party companies that you can sign up for. These companies talk to brands and negotiate a price for posts and social media syndication.
When you apply to these companies, they look at your posts and stats and determine whether you meet the requirements that they set for bloggers.
Once you qualify, they’ll give you an access name/password. Each company varies. You’ll see a main dashboard which lists whatever campaign is going at the time. Different brands will ask you to do different tasks and have a different pay rate.
If you see something you like, you’ll have to write a little bit about yourself and convince them why you’re the perfect fit for that campaign and that particular brand.
Then you’ll have to wait to see if you’re accepted. If you are, then you’ll sign a contract and fulfill the tasks asked of you.
When working on sponsored post, don’t apply for every campaign there is. I know how tempting it is, especially when you see that they’ll pay you over a hundred dollars just for the post. But you have to remember to stay true to your blog and your ideals. You should not write about whatever pays well. Your readers will notice, and you’ll lose that trust and connection that you’ve worked so hard to develop with your readers because they’ll know that you’re writing only for the money.
Try to space out your sponsored spots. You do not want to have only sponsored posts on your blog.
Sometimes bloggers pay other bloggers to write posts for them. It’s similar to guest posting. When you contribute to a blog, you’re usually paid a small amount of money. It’s a great way to earn a little bit of money and to get your name out there.
Oftentimes, you’ll randomly stumble across a post on Facebook where a blogger is looking for a contributor.
Syndications are posts that a publisher might like and want to pay you to republish it on their own site.
You can submit blog posts that you think would be interesting to the community for syndication on BlogHer. If your post is met with approval, they will pay you $50 for syndication.
With SheKnows Media, you have to submit original posts that have not been published anywhere before.
One of the easiest ways to make money is by becoming affiliates. Affiliations are when you’re recommending products that you’ve used to your audience. If they buy through your affiliate link, you make a percentage. You can sign up for an affiliate account with that company and earn a percentage every time someone buys a product you recommend.
A few examples: Your host server, Amazon, companies through Share-a-Sale (Shutterfly), ebooks from other bloggers.
Companies also pay bloggers to make announcements through their social media accounts. Most of the time, it’s through Facebook or Twitter.
BlogHer has such a program.
If you’re a food blogger, consider submitting recipes to My Recipe Magic. They post photos of your recipe and a list of ingredients and a link to your site. The more people visit your page on Recipe Magic, the more money you make. It’s not a lot. But every little penny adds up, right?
Don’t Be Discouraged
Don’t feel discouraged when you get rejected, or if you’re not making a lot of money. It’s all part of the process.
I’ve been rejected a few times.
When I first moved my blog to self-hosting (end of June), I became overexcited and applied to all these companies, eager to start making money. And well, I got rejected. And I knew why. I understood that I needed to improve on styling my photos. I knew that I had to work on the layout of my blog. There were still a lot that I needed to work on. There’s always something I could improve. So I worked hard on the areas that I knew I had to improve.
By August, I began applying again to a few companies that I knew I met the qualifications for and waited. And I received emails a few weeks later saying that I was approved.
By November, a year after I first started my blog, I was approached by different companies that wanted to work with me and my blog. I no longer had to apply.
But even when you start earning money, you’ll notice that it’s not much. And it takes awhile before you’re paid. So if you’re hoping that blogging is a quick and easy way to earn money, it’s really not. That’s not to say that you won’t earn a lot in the long run. You’ll just have to be patient.
Just stay true to your ideals and your purpose for writing your posts.
Don’t feel discouraged or lose your passion. You’ll get there. =)
Did you miss any of my previous posts in the Blogging Tips series?