So you’re the Kim Kardashian of bloggers—collegiettes all around the country want to know what you’re wearing, where you’re going shopping and what you’re making for dinner. Now what?
If you’re thinking about making money off of your blog, selling advertisement space isn’t the only way to go. Even if you’re new to blogging, there are a bunch of ways you can post while bringing in the extra bucks! Whether you’re looking to make a little extra money on the side or you’re hoping for a full-time career as a blogger, expert bloggers recommend these seven ways to start earning.
1. Write sponsored posts
Sponsored posts are probably the most common way bloggers can make money by expressing their own opinions. In an effort to advertise their products, companies will compensate bloggers for featuring their products or reviewing the products in a post. While the blogger shares his or her honest opinion of the products or brand, the company is gaining publicity.
Colleen Fearn, the blogger behind Dream It Up Nails, a blog where she dabbles in nail art and trends, says, “As a nail blogger, I have seen many fellow nail bloggers get compensation through free products from companies to review on their blog. The free products usually only come when you have a pretty large following, have been blogging for a while and have great substance and pictures on your blog.”
When companies or brands want to advertise with you, sometimes they’ll reach out to you themselves. “I have worked with a few brands,” says Rania Bolton, author of Excuse Denied, a beauty and fashion blog. “Angela & Roi reached out to me and asked me if I would like to feature their products on my site. I have also worked with Everlane. They sent me a credit to buy things off of their site and feature it on my blog.”
It’s also a great idea to reach out to advertisers who sell products related to your blog topics. For example, if you’re a nail blogger, you might want to reach out to your favorite nail polish retailer or an online store that sells manicure kits.
2. Sign up for advertising programs
If you’re having trouble connecting with sponsors on your own, online platforms such as IZEA or Glam Media help you find brands that are the right fit for your blog. Crystal Duncan, the director of client strategy and operations at IZEA, says bloggers can simply create an account for free on IZEA and start connecting with advertisers immediately. Bloggers, or “influencers,” are categorized based on age, location, etc., which makes it easier for advertisers to reach out to them.
Advertising programs allow you to advertise companies from their network on your blog and earn money for it. Some offer a one-time stipend, while others compensate you for every click. Fearn recommends trying Google AdSense, “where you get a small stipend for putting up advertisements on your blog from Google’s advertising network.”
Advertisers usually look for bloggers with “a decent amount of followers (usually over 2,000) on all social media sites. They also look for good content and editorial-like posts,” Bolton says. “I use ProGrids. For every click on their ad, I get compensated.”
3. Post sponsored photos, videos or tweets
Since you’re already social media savvy, why not share your likes and dislikes with the rest of your fan base? Social media sites such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are great platforms to take advantage of when connecting with sponsors. Depending on the company or advertiser, sponsored social media may reach more followers than blogging about its products.
Bloggers can also use IZEA to find advertisers to sponsor their social media accounts. “We offer campaigns for not only blogs, but Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.,” Duncan says. Collegiettes who read fashion blogs also want to see photos, and Instagram is the perfect app for that! A sponsored photo of you sporting a company’s handbag could go a long way compared to a blog post describing it. “Tweets are a great way to generate profit,” says Amy Marie, blogger at Champagne and Pearls, a blog that covers a range of topics from career to DIY.
4. Use affiliate links
You can also use affiliate links, or special URLs containing an ID specific to you, to recommend or review products. By featuring these links in blog posts or as banner ads, you’ll earn money for every reader who buys a product through your site. The advertisers use these links to track the amount of traffic that comes through your blog. “If it is a company paying you for ad space on your blog, what they usually do is when one of your readers clicks on that company’s ad and ends up buying a product from that company, the company will give you a very small percentage of the money made from that product,” Fearn says.
Popular companies that offer affiliate programs include Amazon and ShopStyle. With Amazon Associates, bloggers can choose from more than one million products to advertise on their site. There are all kinds of tools, including widgets and slideshows, to take advantage of. To start, just create an account! “My first step in generating revenue was through ShopStyle; I started to use affiliate links and ‘shop my post’ widgets, which came from ShopStyle’s affiliate program,” Bolton says.
5. Sell ad space
An easy way to monetize your blog is to sell ad space to individual companies or even other bloggers. More often than not, bloggers will support other bloggers. You can get in touch with a company’s advertising or sales department, but also be sure to create a “contact me” page on your blog where sponsors can reach you.
“On your blog, make sure you have a clear page where you can be contacted,” says Amy Marie. “Also, never be afraid to contact companies! …Provide them with information about your page views and followers, and if it seems beneficial to [them], they will be willing to work with you.”
6. Offer exclusive memberships
Once your blog has an established set of readers (around 2,000 or more per month), you might want to offer them an exclusive membership. This way, you won’t lose readers, while the ones who are willing to pay to become a member will enjoy fabulous perks. They can gain access to exclusive content or maybe even receive posts directly in their inboxes. Other perks of being a member can include access to forums, involvement in contests or giveaways—your choice! If you want your readers to become interested in a membership, give them a good reason to with great offers. To set up a membership program, you can use a payment processor like PayPal to accept money from readers.
7. Join a blogging community
Blogger networks are communities for bloggers to connect and share ideas. They also provide sponsorship opportunities by allowing brands to reach bloggers.
Becoming a part of a blogger network has tons of benefits. Other bloggers share their opinions and can help you improve your blog. “The benefits are getting opinions of others on blogger-related things,” Bolton says. “I’ve generated a lot of followers from being a part of Her Campus’s Blogger Network. We’ve had opportunities to work with bigger brands, such as Macy’s and Kohl’s.” By joining the Her Campus Blogger Network, your blog will gain exposure and you’ll have opportunities for sponsorships.
Amy Marie says that blogging networks provide you with an opportunity to meet tons of people. “They are a great source for advice and help when it comes to being a blogger,” she says. “They help you gain page views and follows.”
If you love blogging and are willing to dedicate the necessary time and effort to turn your blog into a moneymaker, it’s time to start earning with these simple steps! Whether you’re new to blogging or you’re a pro, as long as you stick with it, the profit will come your way in no time.