When I started my blog in June of 2014, I never realized that I would one day make a living off of my work and posts! It’s been an exciting ride, but full of blood, sweat, and tears. I often got emails and messages asking for tips on starting a blog and making money. My #1 tip is this: Don’t start a blog for the money or “free stuff”, because blogging is about much more than that. If you start for those reasons, you will not succeed and you’ll soon be frustrated at how hard blogging really is.
Once you get to a point where brands are interested in working with you and your pageviews are high enough, these are my top tips for monetizing your blog:
Join Influencer Networks
Influencer networks are companies that connect bloggers and influencers with brands. You apply for campaigns with specific requirements and due dates and then you get PAID for your work. These are called sponsored posts.
Everywhere Agency (say that “Bethanie Johnson” referred you!)
Popular Pays (this one has an iPhone app)
Collabor8 (another iPhone app)
Utilize Affiliate Links
Affiliate links are special links that insert cookies onto the phone or computer of whoever clicks. If they make a purchase after clicking your link, you’ll make a commission.
RewardStyle (email me if you want a referral)
ShopStyle Collective (ShopStyle is unique in that you get paid per click)
Amazon Associates (this one is major because everyone purchases from Amazon)
Using an ad network to monetize is something even the newest bloggers can do. I started using Google Adsense when my blog was a year old and once I surpassed 100k page views a month, I signed on with Monumetric.
Mediavine (I don’t have any experience with them but have heard wonderful things from friends)
Another way to monetize your blog? Do sponsored collaborations.
Any time a company or brand emails you asking to send you product, reply with your media kit. Have your rates set and know your worth. A lot of bloggers work for free and they shouldn’t. Blogging takes a LOT of work. We shouldn’t advertise brands for free. (Side note: There are some instances where I collaborate in trade of product. Such as, small shops that don’t have advertising budgets. But only if I really like the product!)
A lot of influencer networks require a minimum amount of pageviews before you’ll be accepted. So, a question I get a lot is: “How do I get more pageviews on my blog?”
Social media is key to building a loyal following and sending traffic to your blog. Some influencer networks don’t have a set number and some networks require 10,000 or 25,000 monthly views before you’ll be accepted. Here are my top tips for gaining PVs:
Pinterest – Having pinnable images in your blog posts (aesthetically pleasing vertical graphics) is a great way to get traffic on your blog. Make sure you’re pinning all the time. I use Tailwind and schedule 100+ pins a day (of my own content). I have several viral pins that bring me traffic every day (sometimes up to 20,000 views in a single day).
StumbleUpon – Make sure you’re liking and stumbling more content than just your own (there are great FB groups for this, see below). Edit 7/28/17: I haven’t used SU in several months, because I wasn’t seeing a ton of referral traffic.
Instagram – For Instagram, make sure your bio has your email and your blog URL listed. Building and growing a loyal following helps your pageviews because you can direct your followers to your blog! I love Instagram and it’s easily my favorite platform to connect with my readers. As far as tips on growing… That’s a whole other blog post. My number one tip is that it takes time. Don’t look for an easy way to grow (i.e. buying followers) because the best growth will happen over time organically as you’re pushing out great content. Pro tip for beginners: Collaborating with brands and shops that will repost your IG photos can help to grow an engaged following!
Facebook groups – I’ve learned so much from FB groups! I’m a member of 20+ and have even started my own groups. Some groups are great for asking questions and for support and other groups are great for promoting your content! Make sure you read the rules of each group before participating because each group has a different set of rules and policies. Here are the best ones: I’m So Blogging This! (a community of support for bloggers + engagement threads every week), RewardStyle Bloggers (support group for bloggers active on rS), The Best Mommy Blog Posts (for promoting blog content), Instagram Posse (for Instagram growth), LUXE Access (for photographers, bloggers, and shops), The Rising Tide Society (for creatives).
PLEASE keep in mind that blogging is hard work and it may take a while before you see results. DON’T GIVE UP! I had been blogging for a year before I realized I could make money off of my hobby/passion. And then it took about 5 months until I made my first buck! Now I help support my family. It’s an amazing feeling!