Over the past few years, blogging and being a social media influencer has become big business and the internet is swarming with tips on how to make money through your blog. It’s true that with a lot of hard work and a lot of passion, you can turn it into a profitable career but I know some bloggers give the impression you can start a blog, go on holiday, wear a pretty dress and boom, you’re raking in millions through brand sponsorships.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that at all (I wish it did!)
You need to be really passionate about your blog because most people won’t earn money through their blog for at least a year. And the majority of bloggers who do earn a full time income through blogging will have been doing it for a good few years before their hobby can support them financially.
This usually means working your arse off during your evenings and weekends and basically any spare moment you can find! But, if you can handle that, then blogging is the most amazing career you could wish for.
I’ve been blogging full time for five years now and the way I earn money through my blog has changed considerably. Back in 2012 I was earning the majority of my blogging income through sponsored posts, but that’s something I barely offer anymore due to Google changes and most brands wanting to work more organically. By 2013 my main income stream was more like a freelancer as I provided blogging services for brands, such as writing for their blogs or providing content for their social media feeds. In 2016 it was mostly sponsored press trips and now it’s 2018, things are changing again. In January, the majority of my income came through display ads and affiliates.
Most bloggers will have multiple income streams. This is the best strategy because you won’t be completely screwed if you lose one income stream. While you do need to be aware of them all, it can also be a good idea to focus on one at a time while you build it up to your desired target.
Here are 4 monetisation strategies to make money from your blog
This is a new one for me and it’s something I wish I’d started with a long time ago and I 100% recommend for anyone who would like to make money as a blogger. I use Mediavine for display ads and chose them thanks to the great feedback I heard from other bloggers. You need about 25,000 monthly pageviews to sign up to Mediavine and then it’s really simple to set up.
Focus: If you’re planning to focus on display advertising as an income stream for your blog then you really need to focus on increasing your pageviews. The more pageviews you have = the more you will earn. Look at which posts are currently performing well on your blog and try and replicate them. Make sure each post is optimised for SEO and you add portrait images and pin them to Pinterest as this can be a massive source of traffic.
But to put it simply, if you want to earn a lot through display advertising, you’re going to need lots of pageviews and lots and lots of fresh content.
Pros of display advertising: It has the potential to be very lucrative and your income will grow as you add more posts to your blog. You also have a lot of control over your income.
Cons of display advertising: Adverts are annoying and can put readers off.
Affiliate income is awesome for bloggers because once you’ve written blog posts that can lead to sales, you can pretty much leave them and let them do their work. You do need to be quite tactical about what you blog about as you need to be attracting readers who are looking to purchase something. There’s a great section in my e-course, The Blogger Course, about increasing your affiliate income and attracting readers with buying intent.
Focus: Become an expert at something specific so people trust your recommendations when it comes to purchases. Be friendly, likeable, personable but knowledgeable so your readers feel like you’re a trusted friend.
I follow a beauty blogger who was a make-up artist for years and she’s amazing and so knowledgeable. I always go to her for beauty advice and I’ve bought a few things she’s recommended and I’ve always been really pleased so find the thing you want to be an expert at and become the most knowledgeable blogger on the internet.
Pros of affiliates: It’s a passive income stream and will continue to generate income for years
Cons of affiliates: It can take a lot of trial and error to find what works. It also takes a long time to become a trusted authority where people come to you for buying recommendations.
Brand partnerships are one of the most lucrative income streams for a blogger. Brands are putting bigger budgets behind influencer collaborations now that it’s becoming obvious how effective they can be. If you can find a mutually beneficial collaboration with a brand you know and love then you’re living the dream.
Focus: A brand will only invest in a blogger who has a loyal and engaged following, so social media will need to be a big focus. Build relationships with your readers and give them something to keep coming back for.
Pros of brand partnerships: Potentially very lucrative and the chance to work with your favourite brands
Cons of brand partnerships: You’re very much dependent on external brands for your income and I find there’s a lot of time consuming admin involved
Selling your own products
Selling your own products as a blogger is probably the trickiest but most rewarding and potentially very profitable income stream. If you’ve become known as an expert at something then you may be able to create a product around that niche. For most bloggers it’s e-books and Nomadic Matt is a great example and probably one of the most well-known travel bloggers to product e-books.
Personally, I’ve worked with a brand to create The Travel Hack Cabin Case (version 2 will be on sale soon!) and I’ve seen other bloggers sell things from t-shirts to packing cubes.
Focus: Once again, it’s about becoming known as an expert at something in particular so people trust your recommendation to buy the product you’ve created.
Pros of selling your own products: Potentially very profitable or great for your brand and reaching new readers
Cons of selling your own products: Very time consuming and difficult to do alone without industry contacts
If you’d like more blogging tips, take a look at The Bloggers’ Retreat, a 3-day retreat I’m co-hosting with Laura and Claire from Twins that Travel. It’s set to be an incredible experience where we’ll be sharing all our tips and industry knowledge to help you make it as a blogger. We have a few remaining spaces for our April retreat!