Article Updated Nov 2017
Did you know some people make full-time income as bloggers? My website is still on the small side, but each month (and each year) my numbers increase which translates into different kinds of opportunities for income.
Friends and family occasionally ask how I earn money through Tag & Tibby. So I thought it could be useful to share a few ways bloggers make income! Blogging isn't a quick "get-rich" scheme. It has taken me over 3 years of hard work to learn the industry and what readers want. Most days I sit behind a computer in yoga pants answering emails, scheduling content to social media, and editing photos. It isn't glamorous. But I love using a mix of creativity & analytics on a daily basis, and I love that each day is different.
Okay, so lets jump into it! Scroll down for 6 ways bloggers and social media influencers can earn money.
1. Using Affiliate Links
What are affiliate sales and how do they work? (Disclaimer: this is my non-technical interpretation!!) I recommend products within some of my blog posts--this ceiling fan article is a good example, to a product on Amazon or Home Depot, and when readers click through and make a purchase within a certain window of time I earn a small percentage of the sale. I currently earn $150-250 a month in affiliate sales. Last year I earned $20-40 per month. I have a few friends earning around $1,000 a month in affiliate sales.
A few housekeeping things. All bloggers are required to disclose affiliate marketing within each blog post when the article includes an affiliate link, and the link does not affect the price of the product at all. Tip: as a blogger be sure to pick products that relate to your content and select things your readers would be interested in. Over 100 orders of marble contact paper have been purchased this year through this blog post!
2. Develop Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are articles written by bloggers highlighting a service or product on behalf of the company. Successful sponsored blog posts have strong original content, photography, storytelling, meet the brand's goals, and perhaps most importantly: the product should be a good fit for their readers. This pot roast recipe is a good example of a sponsored post. I developed and shared a step by step recipe, recommended products readers can purchase, and shared the article across my social media channels.
When I wrote my first sponsored post 3 summers ago, I was paid around $125 plus product. Payment is typically a reflection of the size of the blogger's website (how many pageviews/sessions per month), engagement of readers, and size of social following. I currently get paid $300-500 per sponsored post. Some of my sponsored posts come through agencies, and some opportunities come directly from collaborations with companies.
If you have a website or social following, Social Bluebook is a good resource for checking your value. Also worth mentioning: sponsored content isn't just on blogs anymore. Bloggers can get paid to share social content (for example, a paid post on Instagram). And some bloggers get paid to do live videos on Facebook.
3. Freelance Write for Others
Freelance article writing can be a great way to gain experience in the blogging world. Bloggers with a large following often hire guest writers, and websites sometimes hire too. My first few articles on a friend's website 3 years ago were paid about $50. It was a good experience and I learned a lot about keywords, marketing, and content development.
I also spent time last year developing content for eHow. They were easy to work with and payment was good and prompt. On the flip side, 6-8 content deadlines within a few weeks of each other can be stressful.
If you are looking to gain article writing experience also consider pitching article ideas to local magazines. This would especially be a good fit for bloggers with a copywriting background. I used to write for Charlotte Home & Garden's blog, and contributed to a few print articles. I found the experience helpful, and gained insight into editorial writing and what home & garden readers want.
4. Add Ads to Your Site
We have all been to websites with one too many ads. No one wants to click though several ads just to get to the content! But ads can be a great resource for bloggers, and they can be added tastefully. So I've recently added ads to my site, and I am paid by the amount of page views I receive to my website a month (in simple terms!) Some ad networks my blogging friends use include GourmetAds, AdThrive, and Mediavine.
5. Lead Classes and Workshops
Are you an experienced photographer? An illustrator? Or crafter? You can teach a class! People love to learn and be inspired.
Classes and workshops can be a great way to gain new blog followers and earn extra income. Workshops can be self-hosted (you pick a location, estimate cost, ect) or can managed by a local network (SkillPop is popular in Charlotte).
I haven't self-hosted private classes yet, but I have been paid to host several craft workshops through World Market and they were so much fun! If you would prefer not to host an in-person local class, check out online options like Skillshare.
6. Apply Blogging Skills to Freelance Work
Technically this isn't direct blogger-income. But blogging can lead to other freelance work. Designing my own website has led to me designing a few Squarespace sites for clients, and I have coached a few friends on making their own. If you have experience growing social media for your brand, you could manage other blogger or non-profit social media channels. Or perhaps by taking photos for your own blog, you realize you have a passion for photography--you could do photography for others on the side. If you write about interior design, you could help neighbors decorate their homes.
Freelancing can be a great way to supplement income, especially while growing a small blog website into a larger brand.
Did I miss anything? There are so many ways to earn money as a blogger! And each blogger has a different "ratio" of what they like to do to earn money. Some may prefer to do a lot of sponsored posts without ads, others may prefer ads & affiliate sales without many sponsored posts. In general we bloggers piece together our income from a variety of sources.
It involves hard work, an entrepreneurial spirit, and an aptitude for technology and trends. It definitely hasn't been a quick growth scheme (at least for me!) but I love working for myself and having the flexibility of working from home. Oh! And if you pursue blogging as a business, be sure to talk to your accountant for advice. I have separate bank accounts for Tag&Tibby and save at least 25% for taxes.