Did you know you can make money blogging? That’s right, blogging is so much more than just a hobby my friend. It can quickly become an additional source of income for you. The best part is that it’s almost entirely passive income! That means you can make money while you sleep….or travel…or are in class…or at your day job…or anything else really. You put in the work writing and promoting your website/blog and make money because of the systems you’ve put in place. What are those systems exactly? Read on my friend.
Before we dive in, please hear this: NOW is the time to start making money on your blog.
For real. I don’t care how small or new to this blogging thing you are, the only thing you’ll regret is not having started sooner. Don’t limit yourself by thinking you need a certain amount of followers or page views or a certain amount of experience to get started. The sooner you dive in, the sooner you’ll learn and fail and change and grow and have the systems in place so that when you DO have those numbers, you’ve already got the money making thing figured out.
I began my blogging journey with a modest following but started using affiliate links right away. I thought it would be MOOOONTHS until I made my first dime but after just 2 months, I made my first $0.36! Yep, I made literal cents in the beginning but I've been able to build off of that and make a little bit more each month!
I also started selling a physical product (our hats!) after just 2 months and it exceeded every single one of my expectations. Do you see it? If I had waited until I had a certain number of followers, or page views, or a certain amount of time, I’d still be waiting to make my first dollar. Instead, I’ve learned what works and even more what doesn’t and have been able to learn and grow as I go.
That being said remember this, you don’t need thousands of page views and followers to start making money. But you DO need to:
Create quality content
Promote the content you create
Also, blogging isn’t all about the money but I figure if you’re putting in the time to create something, it’s just a bonus that you can make money from it!
And most importantly please, please, please be mindful. Know that as a blogger, or an influencer, or someone who has any kind of following at all that people are listening. Promote products and services that YOU believe in. Work with companies that align with your values. As you build trust with your audience, they are going to look into the suggestions you have for them. Make sure you use the product, would use the product, or think it’s in their best interest if they use the product.
Ok, let’s get started!
1. AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing is when you refer people to a product or service and get a commission if they purchase because of you. They don't cost your audience any additional money and are a simple way to promote the product and services you use to others and get paid for them!
Affiliate marketing might look like a special discount code people use when they check out, that is specific to you. For example: Hey guys I am lloooooving this new sweater and bonus, have a special deal for you! Get 15% off your purchase by using SCASTELEIN15 at checkout.
Or affiliate marketing might be a link that is unique to you and when people click on it and purchase, you get a commission.
I use Amazon Affiliates as a quick and easy way to share the products I love with others. Maybe you’ve noticed them, maybe you haven’t but I have them linked in almost every single post. My blog 21 Gift Ideas for the Ultimate Adventure is an example of a blog with lots and lots of affiliate links. Also, 9 Things I ALWAYS Take When I Travel. Sometimes I just have one link at the end of the post with something related to the blog or something I’m really into right now (you can see this on The Secret to Making it Happen).
So how does it work? When someone clicks on a link, they are directed to the product on Amazon. If they then buy ANYTHING on Amazon within the next 24 hours, no matter what it is, I get a small commission.
Again, the best part about using affiliate marketing is that it’s PASSIVE INCOME! You put in the work creating blogs with affiliate links and when people make purchases through your special codes or links YOU. GET, MONEY. It’s that simple! If you can make money with just a small following, imagine what will happen when you have a larger audience and are getting more people to see your content!
2. SPONSORSHIPS AND PARTNERS
As an influencer, you can get paid by companies to write about and promote their products or services! This is called influencer marketing. You can get paid with money, free goods, or an experience from the business.
A business will pay you to write a certain number of social media and/or blog posts about that business, their products, or services. You can see examples of this when people use #sponsored or #ad in their posts. They are getting paid to promote the product.
Writing reviews is another way to get free gear and products from businesses. You might not be getting paid with money, but who doesn't like free stuff? A business might ask you to write a post about one of their new products and you get to keep it. Or, if you're doing a giveaway they might give you two of said product and you keep one and do a giveaway for your followers with the other.
Finally, you can partner with a business to sponsor a trip or experience with them. You then write about your experience and share it with your followers and in return, the business is hoping your followers see that and become new customers. I know a blogger who got asked to partner with a hotel and bring her family up for a weekend getaway and then write about it. The hotel got 36 reservations because of that blogger. That's 36 families who, hopefully aren't just repeat customers, but tell their friends and family about their experience and they tell their friends and family and so on. The hotel will continue to get customers all because of the blogger's one experience.
What's the difference between influencer marketing and affiliate marketing? Influencer marketing you are getting paid per post or a flat fee to promote products. You don't rely on any purchases. With affiliate marketing, you're relying on your followers to click and make a purchase.
Here's a great blog by Jenna Kutcher on all things influencer marketing that you should read if you're interested in learning more.
3. SELL DIGITAL PRODUCTS
In addition to promoting other people’s products, why not sell your own?! You can create simple guides, workbooks, ebooks, or full on courses and sell them to your audience.
I will forever say it but YOU are an expert in something. What can you create to help others become an expert too?
I’ve seen people sell a simple guide for $10 and a full-fledged online course for $1500. The point is, you can create something of value, RIGHT NOW, and sell it to your audience. Digital products are another example of passive income (seriously, passive income is a game changer my friend). You put in the work creating these products, have them for sale to your audience online, and each time they make a purchase it's fully automated to deliver the goods with NO ADDITIONAL WORK FROM YOU. How nice does that sound?
So what does this look like? Most of the time they are downloadable pdf's and varies with how much content is packed in them.
Guide: Generally a shorter document meant to talk about ONE topic. Examples: Pricing guide for weddings, Beginners guide to online marketing, etc.
Workbook: Usually a little more in-depth than a guide and is meant to be filled out by the customer. This could look like: Customizable content calendar for an entire year, Workout plan for 60 days, etc.
Ebook: This is typically a comprehensive online "book"complete with stories, suggestions, guides, and worksheets. An example would be: How to eat vegan for beginners (includes 15 of my favorite recipes!)
Courses: Courses include EVERYTHING. Theses babies are filled to the brim with information and resources on your topic. They might include pdf's, podcasts, YouTube videos, worksheets, guides, and Ebooks. Often times there are different lessons in each course (Lesson 1, Lesson 2, etc.) and within each lesson the different topics are broken down. Courses are A LOT of work but you can make a lot of money by offering them.
One of the best things you can do is create digital guides at different price points for your audience. Offer something more in-depth but more expensive as well as something at a lower price point but pretty simple. This will allow them to "try out" your products with a smaller purchase before they dive into a larger purchase.
I've seen people who have created in-depth courses and in addition, sell each of their workbooks and guides as individual purchase items in their store. Many people will buy the lower priced workbook first, realize they love it and buy the entire course!
The Family Freezer is my favorite example of selling digital products online. This husband and wife team make their living by selling ebook freezer recipes….while RAISING 7 KIDS!!! It’s all online, it’s all automated (passive income). They do the work, post the goods, and get paid every everytime someone makes a purchase! You can listen to their story on this Podcast.
4. SELL PHYSICAL PRODUCTS
Did you know that I sell a physical product? I started selling these hats just 2 months after getting the blog started. We wanted to create something for our audience that we were excited about and we thought (obviously) that they would be too!
I remember having a conversation with Scott and we were saying maybe we should wait until we have more of a following, maybe we should see what the brand turns into, maybe we should wait to see if people even want hats.
I’ll tell you this, I’m so glad we didn’t wait. We’ve learned so much and had so much fun getting to share these with others. We never thought in a million years that so many people would be interested in a product we had to sell but don’t underestimate the things you believe in my friend. If you’re excited and believe in something, your followers will respond to that.
Think of something that pertains to your brand and you could sell to your audience. Look at what other bloggers and influencers are selling and start brainstorming some of your own ideas.
I'll admit, I don't know much about digital ads. I don't use them because I think they're a distraction for my audience.
What I do know is this: You can put display ads on your website and blog and get paid each time someone clicks on them. They call this pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and is the only one on this list that truly DOES take a large audience to start making significant money. The more people visiting your site, the more likely someone is to click.
There are a variety of digital ad companies out there but the most common one you might see is Google AdSense. Everything I read seems to say they're only worth it in very specific blogging situations. I'm not trying to discourage you from getting into digital ads, I just don't know how to encourage you.
Blogging can be a money maker for you. What might start as a fun hobby can quickly turn into a full on career. I hope you've seen how you can start applying this to your own blog and if you're not into blogging yet, the benefits of getting started. The two big things I want you to remember are: 1. Start sooner rather than later. Don't wait for a significant following or a certain amount of time, begin today! and 2. Only promote products and services and businesses you believe in. Your audience is trusting and believing in YOU. That's a big responsibly and one you shouldn't take lightly.
I'd love to hear any questions or comments you have on ways to make money blogging. Leave me a comment below!