There’s no recipe for monetizing your blog. Audiences consume lifestyle content on different platforms. The web and organic search is still the most popular way for people to find recipes while outfit inspiration and style tips are more popular on social platforms such as Instagram.
I’ve provided resources that anyone can use, whether or not making money from their blog is a primary goal. Before we go through those tools, I want to discuss genuinely monetizing your site. It is one of the most common points of conversation with my blog clients. If you aspire to monetize your site, you need to think outside of the box. The blog market is saturated. High-quality content is king – both in photography and written material. Days of writing about oneself don’t have a place on a blog (it’s more suited for a newsletter or social captions).
Finding Your Focus
Lots of people will say, “don’t focus and do whatever you want to do.” If you are just starting off, use social media to beta test your idea. If you want to use your blog to create some profitable side-hustle, you need to focus. Develop and expand your areas of income, from that you will diversify. Potential users will be able to identify what you provide clearly. I refer to this as the product-services-resources model. For example, I design and develop websites and blogs.
- Services: Custom graphic design and web design work (custom work)
- Product: Premade blog themes (passive income)
- Resources: Blog content, free PDF guides, and resources tab (passive income through affiliate links as well as marketing)
You don’t have to start out with all three channels at once. Maybe your blog (resources) is the first thing, then figure out how you will add a product and service component to your website. I started with services, added products, and developing the resources. It just depends on where you are at and what you want to do. Through this approach you are diversifying your income sources, it allows for balance and prevents you from becoming too dependent on one avenue or another.
Below, I’ve outlined the different ways you can monetize the “resources” component of your online presence.
Advertisements and Invitation-Only Networks
You can earn revenue by adding ads to your site. For most of my style clients, this income is minimal; maybe it takes care of their coffee habit for the month. For food blogs, this revenue is significant. There are a few different ways you can approach advertisements – use free programs like Google Ad Sense – reach out to small businesses, or join invitation-only networks. I have known a few people who had concerns about their content copyright by joining these networks, so make sure you review contracts and have a lawyer review the contract as well. Invitation only networks are great for also opening you up to sponsored content opportunities.
- Federated Media
- Clever Girls (not invite only, you can apply)
- Collectively (you can apply)
- PopSugar Select
Affiliate Marketing programs are where you get paid based on commission or click. You might recommend a product, the reader clicks the link on your blog, and you either receive a percentage based on a click or if they purchase the product. Most of my clients use a combination of affiliate marketing programs. There are tons of affiliate marketing programs, some common ones include:
- Amazon Affiliates: If you can find it on Amazon, you can link to it. Available to anyone.
- Shopsense by ShopStyle: Free, more fashion and home-focused. Paid per click.
- Reward Style: Invite-only, paid on commission
- Share-a-Sale, Skimlinks, and Linkshare
Sponsored content is where you collaborate with a brand for a blog post and series of social media posts. For most bloggers, this source is where a bulk of their monetization. You don’t have to be in a network to do sponsored content. Pitching yourself to brands is also a possibility.
Your blog or website might not focus on product promotion, or sponsored posts might not be your thing. You can still monetize your blog differently. If you believe your content is a must-read for visitors, you might consider asking them to donate through a platform such as Paypal directly. If your blog is more project-based, you might want to consider a Kickstarter.
Products (Selling Guides + Resources)
I see a lot more requests to design and layout pdf guides and e-books as part of the blog design project. These resources are a great way to monetize your site, and they are a classic example of passive income. When you are writing guides or information, you want to be explicit with your level of expertise.
For as many bloggers as I know, there are very few who are monetizing their blog to the point where it is a full-time and stable job. A blog can be a tool or subsequent revenue stream for you to diversify your income. Maybe you are thinking of exploring your hobby to make it profitable, a blog helps you build your network and reach, but thinking about how to expand it into a product-based or service-based components is the key to becoming a solo-entrepreneur.
Interested in working together?
I’d love to hear about your project!