I have been blogging in some form or another since 2009, but it has always been a hobby until this year. With my third child on the way, I decided I really wanted to make my blog a source of income for our family, so I could scale back on my work outside the home and spend more time with my kids. We are so blessed to live in a time and place where we can use the internet to make money from anywhere! There are countless websites, articles, and blogs dedicated to helping others learn how to harness the power of the internet to make money, so I dove in and started researching.
I still have a lot of learning to do, but I wanted to share what I've learned in my first 4 months of blogging with the intention of making money. I'm blown away by how quickly I've started seeing results in relationships with brands, friendships with other bloggers, and yes, even income.
Here are 4 ways I've used my blog to earn an income as a new blogger.
1. Affiliate Programs
One of the first things I did when I made the decision to start monetizing my blog was to apply for affiliate programs. This means that you are helping a larger company generate sales in exchange for a small commission. I love the idea of affiliate marketing, because when done correctly, it is a way for you to genuinely share your favorite products that you would be talking about anyway, resulting in passive residual income for work you did once!
Some affiliate programs are pay-per-sale, which means you only get paid a commission when someone clicks your link and makes a purchase. Other affiliate programs are pay-per-click, which means you receive a super small commission each time someone clicks your link (think a few cents). For these programs you will still get paid a larger commission when someone makes a purchase.
Below I have listed some of my favorite affiliate programs to work with, and why I love them!
ShareASale is a network you apply for. Once you're accepted, there are tons of companies you can apply to be an affiliate for. My absolute favorite brand to work with through ShareASale is Gymboree, because I would be buying clothes from for my kids anyway! It makes it really easy to incorporate links into my blog posts. Sign up with shareasale.com. (<-- That's my affiliate link!) And here is where you can join the Gymboree Affiliate Program!
ShopStyle is a pay-per-click affiliate program. I love this one because I can find links from most shops I buy from. Once you are accepted into the ShopStyle affiliate program, you have access to any shop you want to link up to! These are great for any style posts, or sharing favorite products.
This one is a no-brainer, especially if you already have an Amazon Prime membership! We already order so much from Amazon, so it makes sense to share what I'm already purchasing and using with my Amazon Affiliate links. You can do themed or list posts, share what you would put on a baby registry, link to books you're reading, or link to items from a favorite things post.
So this one is actually to make money from Instagram, but since my blog and Instagram are intricately connected, I group them together. Heartbeat pays you to promote brands you love on Instagram. Some offers are paid, some are in exchange for free product, but you have the opportunity to pick and choose which offers you accept. I've already completed several campaigns through Heartbeat, and it's super easy! Use my link to sign up!
Ebates is not specifically for bloggers, but I think it makes so much sense to use it and share it on your blog! If you're not already using Ebates, it's simply a website where you can click through to the shop or store you're going to buy from, and you receive a certain percentage of cash back. I got my biggest check in the mail from Ebates right after Christmas. Since I bought the majority of my gifts online, I just made sure to go through Ebates each time. The way this can help you earn money on your blog is that you can also earn money for referring friends. Sign up here.
Courses and E-Books
If you have taken a course or read an E-Book that has helped you in some way, many offer referral bonuses or affiliate programs for sharing them! One example would be the Instagram course I took, which is called Infamous to Influential. It has helped me more than double my Instagram following in the last 4 months. (I started around 600 followers in January, and am now well over 1200!) There is even a section in the course on how to monetize your Instagram account, which is so valuable to any blogger looking for multiple income streams. Check it out!
2. Sponsored Posts
An easy way to find paid sponsored posts is by joining a network that connects brands and bloggers. You apply for the site, fill out your blog and social media information, then check out the campaigns and sponsored post opportunities available to you! These take a lot more work than just adding an affiliate link to a blog post, as you're expected to create a story around the product or company you're highlighting, take high-quality photos, and really promote it. Here are some of the networks I've been using to find these opportunities.
- Social Fabric
- IZEA: I got my very first paid sponsored post on IZEA, working with Discover Daytona Beach. Everything was very straightforward, with step-by-step directions to follow. Use my referral link to sign up!
- Influenster - my first product box is on its way to review!
- Massive Sway
- Flippersmack: This is a newer platform, but I love it because it helped me connect with brands local to me! I connected with a small shop in St. Augustine and completed a sponsored post for them. It was so much fun to support a small business that I might not have otherwise known about!
3. Work with Brands
Sometimes brands will reach out to you directly (so fun!), but a lot of times it's up to you to reach out to brands you would like to work with. I check the contact section of their website to see if they have any information about bloggers/affiliates/brand ambassadors. If so, I contact them with a short email explaining who I am, why I love their brand, and an idea for how I would like to collaborate with them. Sometimes these relationships result in free product in exchange for blog posts or social media shares, other times they can result in paid posts. Personally, I am focusing on building my relationship with brands in order to benefit them AND my readers right now. Here are a few of the brands I have had the opportunity to work with so far.
4. Sell a Product
Many bloggers choose to create their own products to sell on their website. These products can range from physical products, such as t-shirts and apparel, to virtual products such as e-books or courses.
Instead of creating my own product, I am using my blog to share more information about my home-based health and wellness business. It's such a fun way to share my heart, why I love the products I use, and why I work from home. I have generated quite a bit of interest from people I've never met before, and have had so much fun developing virtual friendships with ladies who are want to look and feel their best, and help others do the same.
If you have a passion for health and wellness, and want to earn money by helping others, this would be something to look into! Read about how to start your own health and wellness business here.
What did I miss? What are your favorite networks or brands to work with? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
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Wishing you wellness of mind, body, and soul.