How to Monetize Your Blog
*This post may contain affiliate links. If you follow those links and make a purchase I may receive a small commission.*
If you've been following along with my Instagram LIVES then you know we have been talking all about building a website and blog. So far we have covered How to Start a Website and How to Create a Killer Blog Post. Now, it's time to talk about how to take all that hard work you've done and start making money.
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of how to make money from your blog, I want to tell you why I think it's important.
Whether you have been blogging for a while, have just started or are still on the fence, you must know that blogging takes a lot of hard work, energy and time.
Just think about everything that goes into one blog post. Let's say you want to post a free crochet pattern. You have to buy the materials, spend time creating a pattern, write up the pattern, take pictures, edit your content, edit your pictures, create a pinterest worthy image, post it to your blog, then promote it on pinterest and social media. That's a lot of time and in some cases quite a bit of money. You deserve to be paid for all that hard work and energy!
Another reason to monetize your blog is because it allows you to provide amazing content to your followers without having to constantly be selling them something. Wouldn't it be great to be able to do what you love and share that with the world without feeling like a sleazy sales person? When you monetize your blog you are creating a passive income for yourself and still providing a great resource for your audience. It's the best of both worlds.
Ok, now that we have covered why you should be monetizing your blog, let's talk about the how. There are three ways you can make money from your blog and I will cover each one below.
This is probably the easiest way to make money from blogging. You allow ads to be placed on your site and in turn are paid every time someone clicks or views those ads. In order to start using ads on your website you will need to join an ad network.
There are many ad networks out there, but the most popular and easiest to join is Google AdSense. That is the ad network that I currently use and so far it has been going well for me. AdSense now has auto ads available so you can add code to the header of your site and they will automatically place ads on your site where they think the will perform the best. You also have the option to manually place ads as well, which can be nice since there may be pages that you don't want ads to display such as a shop page. It also gives you a bit more control since you will know exactly where the ads will end up. Remember you can place ads in the header, footer, side bar and in your blog posts.
Before signing up with an Ad Network it's a good idea to make sure that your site is up and running with all sections complete. Make sure you have a contact page, disclosure policy and content already there.
Here are a few Ad Networks that are available:
2. Affiliate Links
Affiliate links are another relatively easy way to make money from your blog. When you become an affiliate with a company they will give you a small commission for promoting their products on your site.
Most companies have an affiliate marketing program and they are pretty easy to apply to. You can usually find the affiliate information at the bottom of a company's web page or you can join an affiliate network. Affiliate networks are great because they have tons of brands to choose from and all the money you earn from each company's link goes into your account. Most networks have a minimum payment threshold so working with many companies on one network will help you reach that threshold faster.
One of the most popular affiliate programs in Amazon. It's easy to apply and you usually have access to their network right away. They do want you to bring in at least 3 sales within the first 180 days, but if you don't reach that (I didn't), don't worry, you can reapply and gain access to the network and try again.
I did a bit of research and found some popular affiliate networks with the companies most other crochet designers or creatives would definitely want to use on their sites.
Share-A-Sale: Lion Brand Yarn, Darn Good Yarn, Knit Picks, Craftsy, Annie's and Etsy (note that if you are an Etsy Seller you will have to join the Awin network in order to use affiliate links and you will not earn commission on links to your own products)
CJ Network: Hobby Lobby (3.4%), Crayola, Michael's (1.5%)
Flex Offers: We Are Knitters, Darn Good Yarn (8%), Hobby Lobby (3.2%), Michael's (1.2%), Red Heart Yarn, Cricut
Notice that some of the companies are on more than one network, but offer different commission rates. You are free to join as many networks as you'd like, but I suggest doing some research to see which ones will pay you the best commission.
You can also place ads for these companies on your site manually, through finding code on the affiliate network and they work just like a link. This can be a great way to earn a bit more if you don't have a post that you could use a regular affiliate link with.
I do recommend limiting your affiliates to companies and brands that you personally love and use. It's a lot easier to promote a product that you actually use and love then to try to sell people on something that you have never tried.
3. Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts is relatively new to me, but I've done a bit of research and have found out some great information. Sponsored posts are when a brand/company pays you to write a blog post or post on social media to promote their products. You have probably seen some of the social media influencers post about a product and usually at the end they use the hashtags #ad or #sponsored. These influencers are being paid to promote those brands and products.
Now because this is a form of advertising keep in mind that most brands are going to be looking for people who have a large social media following and have a large number of page views on their blog each month. That doesn't mean that you can't start working with brands as a smaller account, but don't feel bad if you haven't landed a sponsored post yet. Keep working on creating great content and eventually the sponsored posts will come.
I've worked with one brand so far and they reached out to me. It was a pretty great experience and I've been wanting to work with other brands as well, but haven't quite worked up the courage to contact them. If you want to reach out to brands, by all means definitely do it! Just make sure you are approaching them in a positive service like way. I recently viewed an amazing webinar by Juile Solomon and she explained exactly how sponsored post work and gave great examples for what to say in an e-mail when you reach out to brands. I highly recommend checking out her blog before you start contacting brands.
Another way to start working with brands is to join a brand network. A brand network helps to connect bloggers with brands. You create a profile which tells them how many followers and page views you have as well as what you interests are and they either match you up with brands that would be a good fit or show you all the opportunities available at that time. You can apply to these opportunities and hopefully start working with brands that you love.
Just like with affiliate marketing, I do suggest that you stick to working with brands that fit your business and niche. It may be tempting to contact every company and apply for every opportunity, but again if you can't promote a brand that you really love, it will be apparent to your audience. If you are a crafty blogger like me try to stick to the brands that you know and love so you can help promote them with confidence.
If you are looking for brand networks here are three that I found in my research:
Even if you think that working as an influencer is way out of your league right now, I recommend at least checking out these networks to get a feel for what companies have to offer, just in case you are approached to do work. It will give you a bit more info so you can negotiate the best deal.
So there you have it! See all the ways you can make money from your blog? I know it can seem overwhelming at first. Don't worry, I felt the same way. Just take it one step at a time and you will learn as you go. If you have any questions I am here to answer them! Just comment below or send me an e-mail through my contact form. I'd love to hear from you!