Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate / referral links. Read the full disclosure.
Like most other bloggers and probably most blog readers, when I read someone’s blog who is hugely popular, I can’t help but wonder how much they make from it. Or even someone who isn’t “big”. Are they making big money? Is their blog suffering from it? Maybe? Maybe not. It all depends on how they are making that money. Here are a few ways:
1). Sponsors: People (other bloggers, avon representatives, scentsy sellers, etc.) who buy space to advertise themselves on your blog. Sometimes the blogger will do posts about these sponsors, etc. to try and get them more exposure.
2). Ad Networks (the big one being AdSense, but I use Lijit): Ad networks (usually) play on a per click or are based on page views. I used AdSense at one point and believe I earned MAYBE $5 total over a period of a many many months. MAYBE. And then they kicked me off due to some violation about too many clicks from one source? Something like that? I suppose they thought $0.01/day was just too much for them to pay me ;). But ad networks are good in that you just place ads on your blog and really don’t do anything else with them. If you have enough readers, they work for you.
3). Affiliate Networks (LinkShare, ShareASale, etc.): These are commission based advertisers. Like I have. If you buy, I get commissions. Sometimes you will also see affiliate links in blog posts. You can pick and choose which stores you want to promote. There are TONS to pick from out there. Tons.
4) Referral Programs (The Honest Co., Citrus Lane, PopSugar, etc.): These are my favorites. You use your referral link when you are talking about things you already buy in order to get that stuff for free. It’s easy to talk about something you already love.
5) Paid Reviews: Companies send you products (or whatever) to review and you are either paid in product or compensated some other way (i.e. money). Sometime I like these, sometimes I don’t. I really hate when a million bloggers are all doing reviews on the same products at the same time. You can join networks like MomSelect, Clever Girls Collective, etc. to learn about opportunities for paid reviews.
6). Sponsored Posts: You are given a topic (raising kids, cleaning, etc.) to discuss and are paid for your discussion on it. My feelings are also mixed on these. Often they aren’t topics I am even remotely interested in, so I never do them. Or read others.
There are rules (well laws) regarding writing blog reviews, including affiliate links, etc. This site explains it well. Nothing irks me more than when I read a blog post about how great some product or company is or what a fabulous sale so and so is having and it’s filled to the brim with links. And no disclosures. Not only is it (in my opinion) unethical not to tell people you are (or could) benefit from your post, it’s also illegal. Maybe people just don’t know? I’m not sure?
My own personal rules on blogging for money are as follows:
~I don’t recruit sponsors because I would suck at promoting them. Heck I don’t read posts about other people’s sponsors, why would anyone read about mine? It would benefit no one.
~I only include links to things I love. Well wait, I only include links to things I have tried. I would never ever ever actually recommend something I do not actually like. I mean, you know where to find me if I tell you kale chips are amazing or something.
~I only do sponsored reviews / posts about things I am actually interested in.
~I include disclosure notices in every post. That way everyone knows what’s up and can elect to click through my links or not too. Also, it’s the law.
So that’s it, I think I have covered the majority of the ways to make money from blogging. Chances are that you aren’t going to make a killing off your blog and turn into the next Pioneer Woman or Dooce. LOL. I certainly know I am not going to. So if you are blogging just for money, eww, I don’t think it’s going to work out. But if you are blogging because you love it and it brings in money, that’s awesome. And I am pretty sure that 99.9% of the blogs I follow are doing it because they love it. If money is made, that’s an added bonus. Now it’s your turn blog readers. What do you think about ads? And affiliate links? And sponsored posts? Tell me everything!