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Where’s My Money?
“I want to make money online too!” I hear you and I have been there myself. There seems to be an endless supply of fresh ideas and platforms that anyone can turn into a side hustle or full time career. Here are some of the easiest ways to get started making money using a blog. And be sure to check out my post, How to Actually Make $1,000/Month With Your Blog, for a breakdown of an earning strategy.
1. Affiliate Marketing
What is affiliate marketing? Basically, it’s where you become a spokesperson or connection between a business and their customers, while earning a small commission from the business.
Some affiliate programs, where you get connected with businesses, have pre-requisites before they will link with you, like monthly traffic, social media following, niche, etc. Others do not, with Amazon’s Associates program being the best example.
You simply take the affiliate link that the affiliate program provides you (more on this a little further down) and people click on the link to check out the product you mention. Make sure you have the right content that people visiting your site would want. On one of my sites, the first sale was the 14th click on the 14th day that the site was live. The best part? I didn’t even promote the product that was purchased, but I was their link to Amazon when they bought that product.
How to Find Affiliate Programs
Want to know how to find your first affiliate marking program? Here are some of the most common sites when you are just getting started.
At the top of the list is Amazon Associates. Amazon’s affiliate program is the easiest to get into. You do not have to meet any requirements to started. Just search for the product you want to advertise, copy the link, and paste it onto your blog.
Also, don’t forget to crosslink the product on your Pinterest as well! See my How to Make Money with Pinterest post for more information – there’s a little trick to posting affiliate links!
One major issue with using Amazon Associates longterm is that they only pay 1-5% commission for sales, with a cap at 10%. So, for every $100 someone spends on Amazon, you’ll likely only see $1.00-$3:00. But a well established blog can earn enough to justify using Amazon for specific products you want to endorse because Amazon is great at getting sales.
One of the oldest affiliate programs out there is CJ Affiliates (Commission Junction). I have to recommend this site for more than the connections you will get with businesses because they have great articles to guide your sales strategies and training for those new to affiliate marketing.
For example, check out their blog post on Back to School marketing strategies. And once you have signed up, check out the different categories you can potentially make money with and learn more about them. I have greatly benefited from CJ’s wealth of information.
ShareASale is an affiliate network of various companies that share leads to a core group of affiliate associates, like you. One of ShareASale’s best features is that you can really get down to specific niches.
It is similar to CJ Associates in the way you apply to various programs (this is where your site traffic numbers matter) and you will be notified if you have been accepted. If you fail to be accepted by certain programs (think Chewy, ABC-Mouse, etc.), keep building up your website and apply again after another month or two has passed and you have new traffic data to submit.
This is an easy one to get started and I remember doing it for Chewy.com. You simply open up Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, etc. and search “<insert company name> affiliate program” and see if they have a program you can join. You may be sent back to CJ, ShareASite, or similar affiliate network, but you at least know you can connect with the products you are hoping to share.
Let’s Get Started
So what will your first few months look like as you start utilizing affiliate programs? Here’s a helpful guide to get you started:
1. Build Your Blog Traffic
Many affiliate programs are going to want to see a good number of site visits per day for your blog. Aim to get about 25-50 visitors each day. Once you reach this goal, you will start getting accepted into a larger number of affiliate programs. A lot of companies only want to work with busy websites, so make your blog busy with visitors!
This will probably take you a few months of consistent posting (at least 2-3 blog posts per week). And remember, your blog posts don’t have to be long. They just need to be high enough quality to retain your audience.
2. Create Your Media Kit
You will need to create your Media Kit. This can be as simple as a collection of information about you and your blog stats on a Word document, or you can create fancy graphics and promotional pitches for print.
You will need the following information in this kit:
- About Me – basic information about yourself or your business
- Headshot, Photo, or Logo
- Traffic Data, usually monthly
- Projected Growth (if applicable)
- Social Media following
- Your Niche
3. Select Affiliate Programs
Sign up for as many different affiliate programs as you like. They all take about 5-15 minutes to sign up and submit your W-9 forms. However, you may want to focus on just a handful of sites at the start. I wouldn’t use more than 3-5 (and still do not) simply because each sites adds a layer of difficulty to your tax season.
4. Make Great Content
When you are starting out, focus on writing your blogs on How-Tos/Tutorials, Product Reviews, Top Lists. These types of articles have a high change of being shared on social media or saved for later reference. This is the same strategy YouTube creators use because it works. But these types of content work out great for affiliate marketing. You can discuss tools for your niche, the newest type of ______, and your top list of items with plenty of room for affiliate links.
2. Online Consulting
You have a blog on a niche topic. So naturally, you either have or will develop the skills to do a great job in that niche. This puts you in a great position to help others out with their blogs.
1. Choose Your Niche/Specialty
Your specialty will be any area that you have more knowledge in than others. That’s all you need to engage in consulting. But you will need to research and try out any new methods or practices in your field that others may ask about. So you will certainly need a bit of time before doing this for others. No one likes a charlatan and no one likes to feel ignorant when they should know.
2. Contact Info
You will need to provide a way for people to contact you. You can do this in two ways: include your contact information in your About Me section and with contact forms on your site.
3. Make Your Services Known
To ensure you actually get individuals to consult with, you will need to make sure people know what services you office. Include your services as asides in your blog posts or send out your information in your email list.
One way to make money with your blog is to offer subscription access to all or part of your blog.
Types of Subscriptions
1. Partial Access
Partial access to your blog allows readers to read up to a certain point on a post or limits them to certain areas of your website. So a reader would need a premium access status to read past the second paragraph or in the Members section.
2. All Access
A website that is exclusively member based is difficult because it requires a well rounded community. I do not recommend this method because there are plenty of free resources that visitors will embrace if your blog is on lockdown.
4. Ad Revenue
You may be excited to start earning ad revenue from your blog, but hold up. You just built your blog. So there are two problems: 1) you need to make content to attract visitors and 2) Ad platforms (Google AdSense, Media.net, WordAds) need time to figure out what ads will work best on your site.
Many of you may be using the free version of WordPress or a similar site. If so, do not worry about ad revenue for now. You need traffic before ad platforms can determine what to recommend to your traffic. And the revenue is too little to worry about collecting. One of my sites was able to rack up a whopping $0.07 in its first month…. So yeah, don’t worry about ad revenue until you reach that 25 visitor per day mark, at earliest. For a more detailed breakdown on Ad Revenue and other blogging details, see our post, How to Actually Make $1,000/Month with Your Blog.
ALTERNATIVE NOTE: If your WordPress website has been around for a while and you have a number of good blog posts already, you may want to purchase access to ad revenue sooner than later, especially if you are going to use an ad service provider that is different from WordAds on WordPress.
1. Signup with Ad Platforms
2. Displaying the Ads
After you set up your account with one of these ad platforms, you will be instructed to copy and paste some code onto your website, in the header or in a different space. This will differ by both ad platform and your web host.
3. Draw Traffic by Promotion
The final step is to post new content and promote it on social media. The more eyes that come to your blog, the better chance of bringing in ad revenue. The goal is to get ranked near the top of search results so make sure you are on top of your SEO game. Once you have traffic, you’ll have another source of passive income.
5. Freelance Writing/Sponsored Posts
Another way to make money blogging is to do some freelance writing or sponsored posts.
Freelance writing means you get paid/supported to write for other blogs. Some blogs or websites will pay you up front. Others will do “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.” Either is okay, but the latter may be better if the pay is low. Why? Backlinks. Every time your site gets another backlink to it, your search engine relevance goes up. (Note: Not every time – there are spam sites that will not contribute if your ranking if they mention your blog.)
Sponsored posts are where you get paid to review or generally write about a product or service.
1. Find Similar Jobs
You can’t write on any topic and you know it. And if you have to do a ton of research to write on a topic, don’t. You will just spend more time on an unfamiliar post topic than you would on a familiar topic. Stick to jobs that you know something about, or better yet, excel at.
You can find freelance and sponsored work on a few sites.
I have used Upwork as an avenue to make money and hire help for various projects – and yes there is quite a lot of opportunities for bloggers. Individuals post requests for jobs and bid on opportunities to fill that need. This is a site where you will need to compete using your portfolio.
Fiverr has the opposite approach of Upwork. You get to set up your profile and list your portfolio and keep stats upfront, along with your pricing for certain jobs. You can list a flat fee for a post of, say, 1,500 words, or you can do a base pay and percentage/hourly rate.
Go to Facebook Groups and see if there are any opportunities available. A lot of communities do not like to have a newcomer join and ask for a way to make money though. So do your homework and spend some time on a group before offering your services. If there is a post requesting blogging/writing, feel free to respond or send a message to the individual.
For specified work without the hassle, you can check out ProBlogger‘s job postings. As soon as you get on the site, you can see what people are currently hiring for. Using the Keyword search, you can find topics within your specialty.
2. Update Your Portfolio
Depending on the type of blog you create, you might want to consider a Portfolio page along with your contact information. Now, some websites simply would be detracted from with this approach, so I recommend using a separate website. You can use a free site on your current platform or create a new site using a website such as Clippings.me.
Well, that’s it for the most common ways to start making money with your blog. Give it time! I know you want to make money today, but don’t fall for any gimmicks. Only good content and time will get you to a successful paycheck.
Have I missed something? Do you have some unique ideas to suggest? Comment below so we can all learn and grow together!