One of the biggest questions I am asked from those thinking about blogging, those who are new to blogging or those who are new to this idea is — “Do you make money from your blog?”, which is then quickly followed up with “How do you make money from your blog?” You would think that information is easy to find out — given this is all on the internet and as bloggers we kind of love to talk about ourselves, but surprisingly it’s not easy to find.
Myself and 7 amazing bloggers have worked on a series called “Lifting the Veil on Making Money in Blogging” aimed at answering the most common questions and concerns when it comes to making money through your writing. My contribution is the why’s and how-to’s when it comes to monetizing your blog and hopefully I will be able to answer a majority of your questions and let you in on why and how I monetize Accustomed Chaos.
There are two misconceptions when the discussion about monetizing a blog comes up. The first one being that you can make a lot of money off your blog. I know this isn’t the case for me and i’m certain it’s not the case for most bloggers. Unless you are racking in huge traffic numbers and (usually) are part of a well-established ad network then you won’t likely make enough to live off of. It is not unusual to bring in some income though your own blog when you begin to monetize.
The second misconception about a blog that is monetized is that once a blog decides to make money — the writer has sold out and the content will go down because of it. That’s not always the case for sure — my rule is if you transition it in slowly and creatively then it should not bother the reader. If you were writing about food before you started monetizing then all the sudden sponsored posts started appearing about cleaning supplies or you have a banner ad for cat food on your sidebar, your reader might get confused.
I started Accustomed Chaos over 2 years ago and started to monetize about 14 months ago. The reason for me is I wanted to be able to create a blog that paid for itself — not my time because this space is for me — but to pay for the things that are required to blog. I monetized to pay for my domain url, hosting costs and help with my internet and phone bill. I try to be as choosy and picky as I can when it comes to how and with who so it all still makes sense to my readers.
Ways to Monetize:
Advertising Buttons and Links:
There are 3 basic ways to sell advertising on your website and they include self sold image ads, self sold text ads and ads sold through a network.
Self-sold image ads — a variety of sizes but the most standard one is 125×125 buttons usually placed on the sidebar of your blog. The price really does vary from site to site depending on their traffic, blog genre and space (above or below fold). These would be obtained through pitching companies or if they inquire about advertising on your site. They will usually be a pay-per-month, pay-per-impression or pay-per-click method. My site hosts a few different self-sold ads on the sidebar and in my RSS feed. They are purchase-up-front ads and vary in price from $30/month to $75/month
Self-sold text ads — the difference in text ads is typically they are links on either the sidebar of a site or within a post. A company can pay for the sidebar ads the same way you would an image button, but the ones within a post are typically companies wishing to increase their page rank. I don’t accept text ads myself and if you do — make sure you use a nofollow rule so your own page rank doesn’t get dinged!
Ad network — joining an ad network is one of the more common ways to monetize your blog. The ad is responsible for finding advertisers for your site and you are responsible for having the code in place for them to rotate in and out the ads. You get paid according to the terms of which ever network you’ve joined. This is a no-think, no-hassle way for bloggers to earn some money and payout depends on the particular network. I am currently not part of an ad network, though I was for a few months.
Working with Companies:
There are other ways to make money off your blog through more of the content and not the space. Working with companies for hosting giveaways, reviews and sponsored posts are three main ways for bloggers.
Reviews — I am a strong believer that reviews should always remain unpaid posts. That said, I do also believe that a product must be supplied in order for the review to take place if the company requested the review. There are many who feel comfortable accepting a product as ‘payment’ but I think for a review to remain unbiased then the compensation should not be monetary. For me, I do accept products for review however, I do not guarantee the company that I will write about them, since they are unpaid.
Giveaways — often accompanying a review, however giveaways are different then just a review. Giveaways are often pitched to bloggers as something that will help them but in reality it helps the company more. The company wants your audience to know about their product. I charge to host reviews – the price depends on how long the giveaway is open for and will range from $30-$45. This price compensates the time it takes to keep track of the entries, make sure they are promoted and added to giveaway lists and they often require some sidebar space to quickly let your readers find your giveaway. I would like to stress though that I will not accept any giveaway that breaks any terms of service rules — such as requiring a LIKE to a Facebook page for an entry.
Sponsored Posts — these are different then reviews in that there are certain points that the company will ask you to include and are more centered around the product then just your opinion. The prices vary depending again on your audience reach, post length and who you are working with. I do the occasional sponsored post and I personally charge on how many links a company wants to include and the length of the post. Most recently the sponsored posts I do are more custom recipes — a company will contact me looking for me to create a gluten free (or also dairy free) recipe using their product. They are paid for and always disclosed that they are sponsored but their product is specifically listed in the ingredients list.
There are as many ways to earn money blogging as to blog so check out the other bloggers participating in Lifting the Veil On Making Money In Blogging:
- Katie (Sluiter Nation): Not My Business, Baby (why you do NOT want to monetize your blog)
- Kristin (What She Said): Getting Paid to Blog: So Many Questions, So Little Time.(newbie in the monetizing world)
- Tina (Life Without Pink): Tips For Building Successful Relationships With Brands and Scoring Paying Opportunities (pitching brands, sponsored events, ambassadorships)
- Gigi (Kludgy Mom): So You Want To Be A Freelancer? What You Need To Know. (freelance work)
- Natalie (Mommy of a Monster): So You Wanna Make Money Blogging? How To Get Sponsored Posts (sponsored posts)
- Alex (Late Enough): Writers Teach, Why Can’t Bloggers? (teaching blogging and social media IRL)
- Debi (The TRUTH about Motherhood): What to Charge for a Sponsored Post and Why you need a Media Kit