OK, OK, so I use Google ads! I used to have them at the end of every post, but now I just have one ad in my footer. It brings me in a whopping £60 per year! Woohoo. So as you can see, unless you have a gazillion page views per month, Google ads are probably not the way to monetize your blog. When I was a blogging beginner I thought ads were the way to monetize. I had NO IDEA there were other ways to generate an income from blogging. Roll on 4.5 years and I’m now making a steady full time income from my blog even without that yearly £60 ad payment!
Here are the top four ways I make money from my blog:
Sponsored blog posts
My biggest income source comes from sponsored blog posts. If you want to know exactly how I source them read 4 ways to find paid blog opportunities
As I’ve been blogging for so long now I do get daily opportunities straight to my inbox. I’ll get repeat work too. I always deliver my blog posts on time and usually within 2 days or so, depending if there’s a weekend or school holiday. I like to complete work as soon as possible so I can move on to the next collaboration. This doesn’t mean I rush it. I still spend time writing a blog post and write it well, but I just complete all my tasks as soon as I can. I don’t procrastinate. My blog is my livelihood and my job, so if there’s work to be done that is my priority.
I still search for blog posts too. Sometimes spending one hour a day scrolling through the Facebook groups and Twitter feeds to fish them out!
Many people think it’s selling out once you accept sponsored blog posts, but I don’t think so. The best sponsored posts are where you have free reign over the content. I love these. I simply have to add a link somewhere, but I have full control over the editorial. This basically means I can still blog how I want, in my own voice and about subjects that matter to me. It’s very different to the sponsored blog posts where they are provided and you’re not allowed to edit them at all. These still play a part if you have bills to pay, after all money is money and sometimes you need some, but I prefer the ones where I can heavily edit them or I can write my own blog post from scratch.
Review blog posts
At the start of 2017 I decided to charge for product reviews and to stop doing them for free. Reviews can take up more of my time than sponsored blog posts and yet I was sometimes only receiving a £10 item in exchange. I’d have to test the item, share on social media, research it and then spend up to two hours writing the blog post. Oh and then promote the blog post, plus spend hours every day building up my following that companies then want access to.
I had a week last year where I had approx. 10 blog reviews to do! I realised this was upwards of 20 hours of my life that week to do them all. Yes I wanted to help all these companies, but I realised I wasn’t helping myself. This was 20 hours away from my children. 20 hours of my precious free time. 20 hours I wasn’t getting paid for, but was helping these companies get paid more in one way or another, whether through sales, exposure, free advertising or giving them a link to help their Google rating.
Now I offer a review package and I charge. I have accepted a couple of items as the payment as they were over £100 and I really wanted them! Otherwise I always charge for my time. If I have free time I’d rather spend it with my family or doing something I want to do instead of working for others for free, which is what it is.
If I host a giveaway for a company I charge a small fee to cover my time and the exposure they receive. Most of my giveaways receive upwards of 1000 entries and they are shared all over social media giving some exposure to the company. Entry methods usually include following the brand too, so they get social media followers from it as well.
It’s a win-win situation as they get more exposure and followers, plus I get some new views on my blog and payment to cover my time.
I also charge to ensure they are committed to the giveaway. If a company fails to dispatch a prize then did you know you have to give the winner a prize of equal value?
I’ve seen a couple of scenarios where this has happened to bloggers and they can’t afford the prize or are left out of pocket. It’s something to consider when you run a giveaway for free, especially if the company is not well known. Taking a payment upfront assures me the brand is committed to sending the prize and if the worst happens, I can use the payment to cover the prize.
I’ve not really made the most of affiliate marketing yet and I don’t want to become really salesy. I’ve stuck to mainly promoting things I know and love myself. At the moment I mostly make money from my referral links for Profit Accumulator and Nutriseed - two companies I use and thoroughly recommend so I find it natural and easy to promote these companies as I am a customer myself of both.
I’m also a member of Awin which is an affiliate marketing company with over 6000 brands! So far I’ve had one pay out and I’m really not making the most of it yet. I need to go through lots of publishers and really find out what suits my blog.
Amazingly I’ve made the most money from them with a sponsored blog post and a competition, not even through the affiliate links! They have a marketplace where you can offer your services. I received a sponsored blog post through this. I also entered an Etsy competition through them and won some money straight into my account. There is so much more to Awin than just affiliate marketing.
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