By far, one of the most frequent questions I receive from my readers, family and friends, is “How in the heck can you make money blogging and will you show me your ways, oh wise one?”.
Okay, okay… I may be paraphrasing a bit, but that’s the general gist of what you guys are dying to know. And I don’t blame you one bit. I’ll be honest, when I first started blogging, I knew it was possible to earn money, but I thought that was reserved only for the big-timers! I think in my head, I thought you either made a lot because you were super well-known or else you made nothing because you were just doing it as a hobby. There wasn’t a lot of middle-ground in my little daydreams.
Trust me when I say, that this is still very much part-time for me! I’m not anywhere big enough that I can consider this a full-time job, and I don’t honestly know that I’ll ever get to that point. But I’m very pleased with the point that I am at, and hopefully I’ll continue to grow!
I also had such limited knowledge, that I assumed they really made money by sidebar ads alone! I had no idea about the world of affiliates and sponsored posts! I still feel like I’m learning so much, but rather than reply to everybody individually, I thought I’d share a little about what I have learned in a mass post! Here are some of the top sites I’m affiliated with, and my thoughts on them!
1. Social Spark
Social Spark was the first site I joined to get in on the world of sponsored posts! I love it because you enter your blog’s info and niche, and then they send you leads that they think you might be interested in. They tell you right off the bat what the requirements are for the post and how much they’re offering to pay you. You also, usually have the option of negotiating the price, if you choose. If you’re picked to participate in that campaign, you’ll see an “offer” show up in your dashboard and then you have a certain number of days to complete the post. It’s super straightforward and there are never any obligations to complete any of the posts. I try to be very selective so my blog doesn’t get bogged down with one sponsored post after another.
When I first signed up, I was getting leads constantly! Usually a couple a day, but most weren’t very relevant at all so I just passed on them! Now I probably get 4-6 a week, but for the most part, they really fit in with the niche I’m in. I still don’t accept them all, and try to just pick the ones I think my readers are most interested in, in addition to paying well. I’ve gotten offers anywhere from $5-$200 per post, so it varies greatly. Plus with some of them you get product sampling, which is always fun! I’m not sure what the requirements are, but you do have to provide your stats and get your blog approved based on them. If you aren’t approved right away, just grow your blog a bit and try again!
I use the Escalate Network primarily on my other blog, The Thrifty Turtle, but I have occasionally used it here as well. They have awesome communication, that is straight to the point and not spammy at all! You get paid per completed transaction and sometimes per impression. They have lots of offers you can promote to your readers… coupons, magazine deals, surveys, contests, websites that need promoting. They have a fantastic dashboard that tells you exactly which deals are popular with your readers and provides updates hourly! I visit my dashboard a couple times a day to see what new deals are being posted!
This is a great affiliate website for craft bloggers! They’re products are gorgeous and they pay well! Plus, as one of their affiliates, you’ll get advance notice for special sales they have and coupons to pass on to your readers! I bought things from them personally long before I ever became an affiliate and have loved everything I’ve bought! I have canvas wall clings, personalized journals and desk calendars. They come all wrapped up in a pretty package and you feel like you’re opening a present! They pay $10 for every new customer you refer and $15 if you refer a new affiliate.
I just joined The Blueprint Social this year and have only participated in 2 campaigns but I loved every second of them! So far I’ve done the Scribble Shop Challenge and the Martha Stewart Mother’s Day campaign. This is an awesome company run by Amy from Mod Podge Rocks and Heather from Dollar Store Crafts. These girls know how craft blogs run and will treat you right! They match up companies who are looking for bloggers to use their products in projects and then post about them. Both campaigns I’ve done, I’ve been sent a box filled with awesome products and then once I complete the post, I get paid a flat rate on top of that! Plus, unlike any of the other companies I’m a member of, with The Blueprint Social you really get a chance to connect with other bloggers and meet them. I’ve been thrilled with every part of this relationship!
I know not everybody feels this way, but I’ve had great success with the Amazon affiliate program. I’ve heard lots of other bloggers say that they’ve never earned a cent from it and it does nothing but take up space on your sidebar. That hasn’t been true for me at all. When I wrote my freezer meal post last June and it quickly went viral, I had a number of people email me telling me I should become an Amazon Affiliate. I was already linking to the cookbook I use, so why not make it an affiliate link? I was pretty upset with myself, because I had only been blogging for 5 months at the time and had no clue about this, and by the time it was recommended and I got the link up, the post had already had 150,000+ pageviews in 3 days. C’est la vie, right? I can’t tell if the traffic comes from the link in my sidebar or still from people reading this particular post, but either way, it’s been my #1 source of income almost every month since.
6. Sidebar Ads
This is an area that I haven’t actively pursued at all. Mostly just because I still work outside of the house and it’s been overwhelming enough working and running 2 blogs without having to worry about invoicing people monthly and figuring all that out. But I recently joined Passionfruit Ads, so I’m hoping to get a little more active with this. So far it’s been very easy to set up my account and I’m hopeful that it will make the back-end of monthly ads a lot easier and more manageable! And feel free to take a look at My Ad Shop if you’re interested in getting your business highlighted in my sidebar!
There are other small ways here and there that I’ve found to earn a little extra money, but these are the big ways! And please, please keep in mind that even my “big” ways to earn money are still pretty “little”. It’s enough to pay for my daughter’s piano lessons, send my son to football camp, help out with braces for 2 little kiddos who have their mom’s bad teeth…
I like to think of it like you’re supporting your local Tupperware lady. Sure you could just go to Walmart and buy your own plastic containers, but when you buy from a home party you’re actually directly impacting that person’s family and life! Same with bloggers (and I’ll leave it at that!).
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer!!
This post does contain some affiliate links but all opinions are 100% my own.