After creating valuable blog posts and getting traffic to them, you can use your blog to make money! Isn’t this the most exciting part you’ve been waiting for?
As a blogger, there are tons of ways you can make money. Ask 10 different bloggers how they make money, and you’ll see that everyone has different answers because there are multiple ways to go about it!
You just have to pick a combination of what’s best for you.
I challenge you today to finish today’s lesson and get one step closer to an additional income stream in your life!
Today you will learn how to:
- two types of income from blogging,
- specific ways to make money,
- making a media kit to work with sponsors,
- how to avoid being undervalued by brands and “guest bloggers”,
- what to charge brands for advertising on your blog,
- and what the best monetization strategy is for you.
Remember, if you need help with anything at all, ask away in our Facebook community, and tag your question with #challengeday5.
New to this challenge?
Did you somehow find your way to this roadmap before even learning about what this challenge is about? Well, let’s get you started the right way.
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TWO TYPES OF INCOME FROM BLOGGING
Income that comes directly from your blog is called direct income.
A few examples of direct income come from:
- affiliate links within your posts,
- ads on your blog,
- sponsored posts on your blog and related social media accounts,
- and selling products or services through your blog.
Indirect income is the opposite of direct income. You make money because of your blog but not directly from it.
For example, because you’re a blogger in the fashion industry, you might get invited to speak at events and get paid for it.
Another example is because you’ve done so well with your own blog and its social media, you might become a social media consultant.
From personal experience, I started out with a lot of indirect income first.
When I first started blogging, a travel company noticed my writing and really liked it. So they asked me to write for them at $100 a blog post.
I wrote for them and other travel brands using my own travel blog as a portfolio.
I did things like these until my blog started making good direct income on its own.
SPECIFIC WAYS TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING
ADVERTISING (DIRECT INCOME)
Companies will pay you money for putting advertisement on your site.
These advertisements can come in different forms such as banners placed around your blog, text ads, and contextual ads, which scan your post to see what relevant ads it can automatically place there.
You either get paid for them one time such as when you place a paid banner into your blog, or you get paid-per-click or impression meaning you get paid either when someone clicks on your ad or scrolls by it.
Brands may reach out to you to place these banners around your site, but mostly bloggers do this through ad networks where they automatically place ads throughout your site.
I do NOT recommend signing up for advertising network (i.e. Google Adsense) until you have enough page views to get into premium ad networks such as Mediavine, which is the program I’m signed up with on my travel blog.
To get accepted into Mediavine, you need 50,000 sessions a month, which is about 60,000 page views.
So keep creating awesome SEO content people want to read and marketing your posts on social until you’re able to apply to Mediavine. IT IS WORTH THE WAIT!
There are other premium ad networks you can get into with only 10k page views. My SEO course has a bonus module on various premium ad networks and how to get in.
SPONSORED POSTS (DIRECT INCOME)
When a company pays you money or gives you something of value (i.e. product, experience, etc.) to write a post about or publish a pre-written post that they give you for your blog, this is a sponsored post!
Sponsored posts may be directly about the product or company or could be about something related that the company’s potential customer would find useful.
For example, Leggings Company wants me to write a sponsored post for them. I can either write a post entirely about the leggings, or I can write a post about yoga or running, something my audience aligns with, then include how I like to wear these specific leggings while exercising.
To get sponsored posts, you can:
- apply to sponsored jobs on websites such as IZEA, Linqia or MassiveSway,
- keep an eye out on your inbox because as you get bigger, brands will email you,
- and actively pitch to brands.
My best advice for you is don’t go crazy constantly applying for projects and products on these influencer networks. It can be time-consuming.
The amount of time you spend on hoping to get a sponsored post may not be worth the amount of money you actually get paid for doing one.
Keep focusing on creating quality content so you can build up page views and get one step closer to applying to a premium ad network.
Also, when you pitch to companies, make sure to send them your media kit so they can easily learn about you, your blog, and your audience. Learn how to make a media kit below.
Part of your media kit will be information about your blog from Google Analytics. Learn what more about Google Analytics for bloggers here.
It’s important to tell your readers that your post is sponsored. Best practice is to put the disclaimer at the top before the post starts or in the intro paragraph. You can write something like the following:
- Thanks X Company for sponsoring this post.
- This post is sponsored by ABC Company but all opinions are my own.
- This is a sponsored post. Head to our site disclosure to learn more.
AFFILIATE MARKETING (DIRECT INCOME)
Affiliate income is when you receive a commission for referring your readers to purchase a product or service from a company.
You’re like a middle man connecting the reader to the brand.
It’s great because your reader gets your personal recommendation while you get commission.
Of course, this is at no extra cost to your reader! They still get the same price or even cheaper one since they came from your blog.
A great affiliate company to start out with is Amazon because they sell so many products that you’ll be able to find something in your niche.
Plus 60% of Americans shop at Amazon so you’re bound to find someone who’ll buy something from Amazon.
I do not have to sign up to individual programs but since my information and blog is already in their system, I can easily sign up to new programs.
*For RewardStyle, you need to apply to it and many people are rejected the first time like me. You might find that ShopStyle is easier to sign up with.
For posts with affiliate links in it, you need to write a disclaimer at the top of your post. This is both the USA FTC’s requirement and also each affiliate programs’ requirement.
Amazon is very strict about this.
Make sure to mention that your links are Amazon affiliate links and that you are part of their program in your disclaimer page too.
They are known to cut people off from their affiliate program without warning!
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing has become one of my all-time favorite ways to make money.
I love that I don’t have to only depend on brands to make money and that make money is all on my own terms.
In 2019, I made $18,000 in affiliate sales!
Plus, having multiple income streams (from ads, affiliate marketing and sponsorships) has really helped during covid-19 when a lot of travel bloggers got hit hard with a decrease in page views.
Although my ad revenue went down, my affiliate income and sponsorships stayed strong!
The most helpful marketing tactic to learn for affiliate income is search engine optimization (SEO). That’s because you can target people who are searching for the exact product or service that you are promoting on your site.
For example, I share my story about acne and food allergies on my travel and lifestyle blog. When someone searches for acne and food allergies on Google, they’re able to find my blog post. Then because of my blog post, they buy the same food allergy test that I use, and I get a commission from the food allergy company!
I also promote this blog post on Pinterest, but it’s not as effective. That’s because my followers or the general Pinterest audience might see my post on acne/food allergies, but not all of them have this problem or even care about this topic.
Using SEO to specifically target people looking for information on acne/food allergies is a much better way to promote products and services as those people tend to convert aka willing to buy more. SEO for Beginners post is here.
My SEO course has a bonus module on doing keyword research for affiliate marketing.
Good to Know
Affiliate income is the main reason why I’m able to give out free information here, on my TikTok and in my free blogging help group where I answer everyone’s questions because of affiliate income!
It’s also why I’m able to keep my SEO course at such a low price (other SEO courses are over $300).
I very much appreciate you using my links to buy products/services you were already going to buy because it allows my time to be paid for by companies and give you free or inexpensive advice. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
SERVICES AND PRODUCTS (DIRECT AND INDIRECT)
Selling services and products is a great way to make money because 100% of revenue goes to you; not just a fraction like with affiliate or advertising income.
You have complete control of what to offer and what people pay you!
Services and products can be directly or indirectly related to your blog.
For example, if you have a travel blog and offer travel consulting services, then this could be directly related.
On the other hand, if you have social media strategy services because of the experience you gained from your own social media but you write about travel, this is indirect.
Things you can sell through your blog include but are not limited to:
- travel guides,
- virtual assistant help,
- content writing,
- consulting sessions,
- brand products
- and more.
SENDING BRANDS A MEDIA KIT
When you reach out to a company to collaborate with them on a sponsored post, you should send them a media kit.
A media kit has all the basics about your blog. A good media kit should be one or two pages maximum and will have:
- a short blurb about you,
- a short blurb about your blog,
- who your audience is,
- blog stats,
- and links to your website, e-mail and social media accounts.
Remember– time is money! Save time where you can, especially if it doesn’t cost you much, and use that time on creating valuable content to connect with readers.
You may or may not need to get a media kit now. I would wait until having about 1,000 page views/month or 1,000+ social media followers on a platform.
Focus on creating quality content first so that you can pitch to brands even if you don’t have that many page views or followers! The content will speak for itself.
AVOID BEING UNDERVALUED BY BRANDS AND “GUEST BLOGGERS”
Sponsorships through bloggers are a great way of marketing for brands.
Bloggers have direct relationships with their readers, which make them more inclined to buy than when targeted directly by companies, and it’s a pretty cheap method of marketing for companies relative to traditional methods of marketing.
However, brands can take advantage of the unassuming new blogger who is excited about receiving a free product in exchange for a blog post. Don’t get caught in this mindset!
Your Time is Valuable
A free product is NEVER free.
You are paying in time:
- time to write a post,
- take photos and edit them,
- source links,
- and then market it on social media.
You also put in a ton of time before the collaboration to even build up your blog and following. Don’t forget about the time it took for you to get to this point.
TIME IS MONEY, and your time is precious.
Know your worth, and know how much goes into writing a post for a “free” product.
Only accept a product or service to advertise if you really love it and it’s of high value because whether it feels like it or not, you are paying for that product with your time and reach.
For example, I traded the latest Dyson vacuum for an Instagram post and blog post because it was expensive and I wanted it so bad. I use it daily so it was a great trade.
There are exceptions to when you would do a sponsored post for an inexpensive product or service such as if you know that there are long-term monetary opportunities coming with them or you want to build a long-term relationship.
You are aware of your situation the best so whatever you do, remember that your time is valuable.
Beware of “Guest Bloggers”
A guest post is when someone else besides you writes for your blog so that they can get a do-follow link back to their site or get more publicity knowing that you have a similar audience as theirs.
Lately, a lot of companies or influencer marketers (middle men between bloggers and companies) have been asking if they can post a “guest post” on your site.
When you get an e-mail to guest post on your site, do your research.
If they have a website URL in their e-mail, go look at it. Does it look like a blog or is it a company that sells consumer products or services?
If they don’t have a website, ask them for one, or ask them what links they will be placing inside the “guest post”.
If they want to place do-follow links to a commercial website, then tell them you view that as a sponsored post and will have to charge them.
When they hear this, they’ll probably move on, or tell you they’ll get back to you when they can pay you properly… then never get back to you again.
Anyways, as a new blogger, you want to establish your voice and brand so accepting guest blog posts in the beginning may not be beneficial.
WHAT TO CHARGE BRANDS FOR SPONSORSHIPS
Knowing what to charge companies for advertising on your site can be tricky. It depends on your page view, audience, and even who’s asking you.
No matter what you’ll want to take into account the time it takes you to write a post because again, your time is money and valuable, and your social media influence.
To figure out your rate:
- Take your monthly page views from Google Analytics and divide it by 1000.
- Then multiple that by $3-6
- Then add on extra fees for marketing it on social, adding photos you’ve taken, doing SEO research (yes you can charge way more if you’ve done SEO research on a blog post; I bumped up my rate by $500 when I started adding SEO research) and more.
Do not charge any less than $200! If your calculation is below $200, then ignore it and charge $200.
Personally, I am an open person and think that bloggers should share their rates more so we altogether can make sure we’re being paid properly for our time and influence.
Because of this, I usually go ahead and ask people with a similar amount of influence as me around what amount they charge.
Most people are receptive and share, and when they do, I make sure to share something of value with them too.
If you do get a sponsored post request, feel free to ask us in our group what you should charge.
BEST MONETIZATION STRATEGY FOR YOU
All the bloggers I know make money in different ways.
My advice for you is to focus on a couple of avenues of making money at a time.
As a new blogger, you can start with selling your own products/services, freelancing and affiliate marketing right away depending on the program, and as you get more page views, you can get sponsorships and sign up for ad networks.
Don’t spread yourself too thin though, and give each income stream to flourish until you decide to add a new one or move on.
Whatever you decide on, do not lose focus on making content!
The better your content, the more page views you’ll have and the more page views you have, the more opportunities you’ll have.
When you spend too much time applying to sponsorships and not enough time on your content, it will take longer to make better money.
I am so proud of you. You’ve finished this five day challenge, and now have a blog ready to make you money!
Hooray for your additional income stream!
Now you can:
If you have any questions, feel free to ask anything in our Facebook group!
SHARE THE COURSE
Know someone else who would want to go on this blogging journey with you, or perhaps you just want to spread the news about this free course that could help someone start their blog?
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