This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
Let’s talk: M O N E T I Z I N G
AKA, making money and supplementing your family’s income. It’s never too early to start monetizing your blog! Yes, the more you grow and increase in traffic, the higher your ability to generate income will be, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
Repeat after me,
Turning my blog into a source of income does NOT mean I’m selling out!
If you’re like me and you’ve put considerable time and/or money into projects that you’ve blogged about, you take pride in what you’ve done. Countless people may be inspired by your DIY tutorial or reap the benefits of a free printable you’ve created. Chances are, you wont be able to continue providing those resource unless you receive something in return. Eventually, you will burn out, lose interest or find you’re pouring too much money into something to justify continuing it.
How I started…
Years ago, I found myself swooning over the sites of several craft, home and lifestyle bloggers. I loved following their day to day posts on instagram and facebook, I loved peeking into their daily lives and going on their home tours. I appreciated their free printables and the tips and tricks they shared with each craft, recipe and home improvement project.
I thought to myself… I should do this! But these women seemed to put a lot of time into what they were doing, almost like it was a business. Could it be that they were running their blogs like a business and maybe even getting paid for it?!
Yes, yes they were.
And I wanted in on it.
Some people grow their blogs faster than others. For some, it seems to explode over night. Their content is great, their pictures are professional, their personalities are infectious and they have one post that just goes viral for some unknown reason. Others grow slow and steady. I have to say, my site has definitely not exploded over night. It has taken a lot of time and I’m constantly learning and trying to keep up. Only recently do I feel like I’m seeing real growth and I’m beginning to make decent money.
4 Ways I Generate Income
Advertisements & Ad Networks
The quickest and easiest way to add advertisements to your blog is by signing up for Google Adsense. Adsense is a good place to start, but your goal is to be accepted by some more specific ad networks. There are several major networks that work closely with bloggers to place relevant content on their blogs. You have to decide where and how many ads you want on your blog. Some people prefer a cleaner look and really don’t like ads cluttering up their space. I definitely have my limits, but I’m currently seeing great results with the image and side bar ads I have through the Blogger Network. At first, I was not sure about the ads that pop up over top of my own images, but they are generating an income, so in this case, money is winning out. #sorrynotsorry
Here are a few examples of ad networks you may want to try (some are better than others, but if your numbers aren’t high enough for the big networks, start where you can!):
– The Blogger Network
– Cleaver Girls Collective
I was making $20 to $100 a month with adsense while averaging 100,000 to 200,000 views a month. Once switching to the Blogger Network I started making $500 to $1,000+ a month! Getting in with a good ad network makes a huge difference…
I HIGHLY recommend the book: Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers by Tasha of Designer Trapped in a Lawyers Body. It is a great place to start and Tasha has an awesome support group that you can be a part of by purchasing the book. She is an actual lawyer and offers great legal advice as well.
Affiliate links are links you generate for an item that has your own special tracking code attached to it. Your readers click on a link you have shared on facebook or in a gift guide post, and you earn a commission off of any products they purchase, at no added expense to them!
It’s a win, win.
Your readers WANT to know what products you use and recommend, they WANT to support you and see your blog continue, so why not use an affiliate link? The best part is, many affiliate links work so that even if a reader doesn’t purchase that exact product, anything they buy within a certain window of time counts towards your commission.
Affiliate programs You May Want to Join Include:
a. Impact Radius (Target)
b. Reward Style (very hard to be accepted)
e. Affiliate Window
f. Amazon (my biggest earner)
g. CJ Affiliates
I’ve been making just over $100 each month through affiliate sales. Amazon is by far my biggest earner and arguably my only real earner so far. Time will tell! I just started getting this down only a few months ago…
Not everyone will have something right away that is worth selling. You may have to put some time and thought into this. Do you want to sell craft projects, pictures, printables or doll clothes? You will need to consider the cost of shipping your items and the time it will take to run things to the post office.
If you have a mixture of physical items and digital downloads, you will want to use a child theme that is ecommerce ready and install the WooCommerce plugin. If you would rather stick with digital downloads and skip the hassle of shipping things out, use the Easy Digital Downloads plugin.
In my experience, digital downloads have to be substantial enough and professional looking for anyone to justify spending money on them. The going price for a digital download will be anywhere from 99 cents to 10.99 depending on what it is. Ebooks that are lengthy enough can make even more!
I honestly haven’t made much through product sales. I have tried selling digital planners, images, doll patterns and tshirts. My tshirts did well, and they were fun to sell for a while there, but after the cost of supplies and shipping, I didn’t make enough to justify doing it again. I grew tired of watching for notifications and constantly packaging things up and running to the post office or printing labels. I would love to off more digital downloads for purchase and/or an ebook. If I was going to guess, my product sales have averaged around $10 a month. BUT I know lots of people with successful ebooks for example, that are making their main source of income through product sales!
I have not had huge success with sponsored posts, but I know many people have. The few times I have done a sponsored post it was because of going out on a limb and responding to an inquiry I received through email. So, in a sense, the only sponsored posts I’ve done are because people/companies have sought me out.
Again, like sponsored posts, the only times I have really done product reviews have been when companies have sought me out. For sponsored posts and product reviews, my key has been with having a good media kit and advertising page.
See mine here: Media Kit
The Legal Stuff
*I am not a lawyer and do not intend to provide actual legal counsel on any of these matters, I’m simply sharing what I have learned and will be providing links to official sites that host all the documents on official laws and requirements.
Affiliate links MUST be clearly marked at the beginning of every post that includes affiliate links and in every social media post that includes an affiliate link. You can read more about the requirements here. I also encourage you to have a disclosure page. I have a small disclaimer at the footer on my site, you can scroll down and find it there. I also have a page, find it here: Disclosure
This is something I have had a hard time hunting down. I have always done my own taxes through TurboTax. Once I began making actual money, blogging, I realized I was going to have to do something else. Now, depending on your situation, filing for an LLC maybe in your near future. I haven’t done so yet, but am considering it. Until then, I have been using the TurboTax home and business edition. Check with your accountant for professional legal advice.
- Just a Girl and Her Blog: Income Reports
Abby is my go-to inspirational blogger when it comes to making an income. She shares a breakdown every month to encourage you and give you tips on where you could be making money.
- Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers This book is well worth your money. Purchase it and go with the ADVANCED package. The tutorial videos Tasha includes are pure gold and the facebook support group is soooo helpful for bouncing ideas and getting quick help on specific questions.
- Just a Girl and Her Blog: Income Reports