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Sunday, 31 August 2014

How to - Earn Money Blogging

"If you're good at something, never do it for free" - The Joker, Batman 
Last night there was a great twitter chat by @bloggerforums for #socialbloggers (on every Saturday 6-7pm). The topic for last night was on how to earn money through blogging. It was a fab topic as it is a common misconception that bloggers get very rich, very easily, from what they do. Sadly blogging is not a get rich quick scheme but it is possible to get a little back from it. 

The first question of the night was:



From this I said how I've earned some from advertising and affiliate programmes and I had a great response from this:













So, due to popular demand here are the ways I've found best to earn money from blogging. If you would like to see a list of the brand's I've worked with and those that I am an affiliate for, you can find it on my PR page HERE.

Adsense:
This is one of the easiest ways to earn money at the beginning. You will probably find the option on your blog edit page (I know there is with Blogger) but if you can't find it just search 'Google Adsense' (not 'Google Adwords'!). Here you can apply to show google's banner ads on your blog. You have to be approved but I think it's more about checking your blog is real and not showing anything illegal, so you need very little content and it of course don't look at followers etc. therefore it's a good one to start off with.

Thankfully, the ads will not make your blog/website look tacky! When you add the banners to your page the example looks really bad and it can be off putting but Google have made them look really good now and they create ads your viewers want to see.

It works by giving you a set amount per click. This sounds great but it's only pennies so it takes a while to add up. Furthermore, they have a very large threshold before they pay out. In the whole year I've only earned around 80p or something silly and the threshold is £60...so you really won't be seeing that for a long time! Having said that, I'd still recommend it, particularly to new bloggers. It's great at the beginning to have that feeling that you're earning at least something before you're big enough to earn real money with affiliate programmes. Plus, if you position them well and have a few you'll probably do better than me so don't be completely disheartened.




Affiliate programmes:
An affiliate programme is where you work with specific companies and are given links such as banner ads to drive traffic to their site. They track the amount of clicks you get so you can see which ones work well, where and when, and they also track how much is bought by the people you sent over. Most of all, you earn commission on this. Some are nice and let you earn from the amount of clicks like Adsense but most just give a percentage of what a customer bought after coming to them from your site. The percentage is at the company's discretion so it could be a lot or it could be a little, there's no set amount. But they do usually have a '30 day cookie policy' that means that even if they don't buy something on the site straight after coming from your blog, it doesn't matter, as long as they buy something within 30 days.

This works best if you blog about things, such as a fashion blogger or beauty blogger, rather than just your thoughts, but even if you just have a general chat on your blog there may be companies you could work with. I say that because as well as having banners they can also give you specific links etc. that can also be tracked and earn you commission, therefore if you want to talk about specific products you can link directly to them as well and earn if they buy the product or anything else from the brand's site.

You cannot apply straight after creating your blog, they need you to have enough content to check you're real and fit their brand's image. Also, I waited a year before I started applying because you need to have a following base. Even after a year and the following I have, I was not accepted by one brand solely because I didn't have a large enough following, so some companies are very particular.

If you think you have a reasonable collective following (blog, bloglovin, social media, etc. combined) and want to sign up to work with brands there are many ways to go about it.
First, go to your favourite sites and scroll to the bottom of the page. They often have options to find out about shipping costs and working with them etc. and one of the options may be 'Affiliates'. This is where you can find out that company's specific affiliate scheme. For example, I'm an affiliate with Amazon from this option (though they call it Associates, but it's the same thing).
Some companies work one to one with their affiliates and you can apply to work with them directly from the aforementioned option. However others work through an agency. This may be mentioned on their 'Affiliates' page on their website or it might mean that the page is not on their website at all, so do not worry if you cannot see an affiliate option on the website of your dream brand to work with.

Rakuten Linkshare and Affiliate Window are the two agencies I know of. You have to apply to be an affiliate with them first and once approved you can apply to work with the companies you want on their listings. You will be absolutely amazed at the amount of companies they work with so you'll be really spoilt for choice. Affiliate Window ask for a £5 deposit when you sign up just to make sure you're a real person etc. but it's totally safe and you get it straight back. Not only can you apply to work with them but brands are able to see your profile and apply to work with you too if they think you fit their brand. The prestigious brand Baukjen applied to work with me through this for example.
From working with brands through this you receive regular e-mails about the latest deals they're offering or going to offer, as well as lots of specific affiliate offers and extras, such as invites to events. It really helps build a closer relationship with the brands you want to promote.

Advertising:
Another option is offering advertising space on your blog to other bloggers but maybe to small businesses etc. too. This is where you allocate a set amount, whether it be a square, rectangle or long banner to that person/business. This can work really well for helping smaller bloggers get more exposure so it has a real 'feel good' factor to it too. You can just show their "blog button" or maybe their own advert creation.
This can also work really well if you want to run a giveaway but are struggling about what to give as a prize. I offered this in my very first giveaway and it went down really well.


This is completely up to you how you do this and what you charge. Corinne from @bloggerforums recommends calculating it as £1 per every 1000 month views but there is no formal requirements or rules so if you feel the advert space is worth more or less then that's up to you and you have the freedom to choose, particularly if you're offering more than one size or offering extras. Just remember, you have to price it low enough for people to actually want to pay, don't price yourself out of the market.
If your space is selling out fast and there is a lot of demand to be on your site then you can shift to basing it more on the business construct of "supply and demand". 

It's also up to you how you get payment but the general consensus and probably safest way is with Paypal. Whether you send an invoice to them or they just send the set amount to your account.
Plus, using Paypal solves this problem as it can convert the currencies for you.



Sally from @makeupdirectory has some great ideas here! You could offer '#FF' twitter posts on Fridays, collaboration posts or guest posts etc. as other advertising options or included in you advertising packages to build up a better, mutually rewarding relationship with them.

Blogger Networks:
I'm a member of e-tailPR, the Next Blogger Network and the Blogger Programme these are similar to affiliate agencies because they work with brands and bloggers but it is aimed at bloggers specifically and has extras such as competitions. It is really worth applying to these as getting approval can look good on your blog and connect you with brands, however you won't earn a huge amount from these either as they are very strict on who can work with which brands, often requiring a huge amount of followers.

Sponsorship:
A company may want to work with you for a specific post. Even though they're unlikely to actually pay you, they may send you an item to review/write about and/or give you something you can use as a prize in a giveaway. Even though you're not exactly earning money this way, it certainly saves you money. If you have a good social media presence then these brands will find and approach you. Therefore, again, you won't be receiving freebies straight away, you need good views and amount of following so don't be surprised if after the first 6 months you still haven't heard from anyone, you will eventually.

Sales:
You could also sell items, whether they be your unwanted samples or just clearing out your wardrobe. Particularly if you've written a post about that item where you've shown off all it's best qualities! You can sell your items through your blog by writing a post on all the items available and asking them to comment or message you for purchase with paypal, create a page on your website such as I have done HERE or sell through a great new app called Depop as I am HERE (or search @sweetheartfashion on your Depop app). This isn't a quick money earner either, people won't rush to buy your stuff, but you may be able to sell a few things and earn a little this way.

Design:
If you're a dab hand at HTML coding or are an artist, then this could really be for you. My blog (http://sweetheartfashionx.blogspot.co.uk) and my blog's website (www.sweetheartfashion.co.uk) were both made by me (I am currently designing websites for a blogger friend and a company, if you have any questions or like my work and would like me to design something for you, please feel free to e-mail me info@sweetheartfashion.com or contact me HERE).
Depending on your skill level or if you have any formal qualifications, you could charge to create blogger templates or website designs for people. I've seen some blogger templates go for around £30 and blog website designs for at least £50! And for custom designs this would be even more!
If however you can just draw etc. you could sell art work for people's blogs, such as headers, social media buttons, borders or backgrounds etc.. The pricing of these are totally dependent on the artist's wishes but again custom designs could cost a lot more so it's up to you how you price your art.


Overall, the main things you need to earn money from blogging is time and good content. If you create good quality posts people like to read and stick with it, eventually you'll get more and more recognised and money will come your way. So don't give up! Blog as a hobby, for enjoyment and view any money as a bonus.

This is not an exhaustive list, there are many different options out there, these are just my tips from my experiences and are the best ways I've come across. I know there are more out there so if you know of any other ways I've not mentioned, please comment what you find works for you! 
How do you earn money?
I hope this helps you!

xoxo

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8 comments:

  1. This is a great post and thanks for the mention. I will be using this as a reference post :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! So glad you find this useful :)
      And that's ok, would never have written it if you hadn't requested it so you deserve a mention xoxo

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed reading this!

    You should check the placement of your adverts on adsense if you've only made 80p in a year!

    I always do a roundup post that will be up tomorrow at 9am, it's nice to see somebody else do one too :)

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much :)
      And haha! Yeah, it's because I basically stopped using them, just having my affiliate adverts instead because I thought it would be impossible to reach the threshold. But maybe it would be worth me using them again if you did actually reach it. Thanks :)
      Look forward to reading your whole round-up post! xoxo

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  3. This was a fantastic post to read, especially with the extra input included from other bloggers' tweets! I haven't thought much about income before, however at some point in the future I'm sure I'll become curious so I've saved this post to my favourites! :)

    http://aglassofice.blogspot.co.uk/

    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw that's so sweet :) Thank you so much! Glad I can be of some help to you xoxo

      Delete
  4. Great post dear. Thanks for sharing. This has been very informative. :)

    Lilly. xx
    http://heyhellolilly.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on my post. I really enjoy reading them and always reply! Do not forget to link back to your blog, I love reading them and following xoxo

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