Blogging 101: How To Monetise Your Blog - Part 1

By Rebecca Pitts

Congratulations! You're a blogger! You've set up your online home, you're planning your editorial calendar, writing the content, snapping the pics, prepping the posts, and connecting with your community. You're doing it! 

But should you be making money with it? Or, if you are making money with your blog, should you be making more of it? And how?

If you have a website, I'm guessing you've asked yourself these questions. And the answers--spoiler alert!--vary greatly depending on your goals for your blog and business. Let's take a look at the most popular and effective ways for making money with your blog and some real-life examples of bloggers who are doing it well.

Ads

Banner and sidebar ads are perhaps the most obvious (and traditional) way of monetizing your website: a company pays you for space on your blog. If you've read a magazine, you get it--there's content, and there are the ads next to the content. This form of advertising doesn't seem to be going away, but bloggers who could at one time rely only on getting paid this way have now seen a major decline in generating revenue from this income stream alone.

Examples of blogs that do this well:

Reading My Tea Leaves 

A Beautiful Mess 

Sponsored Posts

We've all seen it: "this post is brought to you by…" A brand pays a blogger to develop original content to promote a product or collection. Bloggers who are successful at this (1) know what types of products their audience is interested in, (2) choose products that they are genuinely enthusiastic about and align with their own brand and values and (3) are transparent (and law-abiding) by qualifying a sponsored post by letting their readers know that they are being paid to promote a product. It's a delicate walk, and the bloggers who pull this off make it look easy.

Examples of blogs that do this well:

Second Floor Flat 

Cup of Jo 

Affiliate Marketing

Similar to sponsored posts, in the sense that you are letting the reader in on the products and services you love. Instead of being paid up-front for promoting a product, the blogger is paid on commission, so to speak. You recommend a product, your reader clicks on an affiliate link embedded in your site and buys the product, and you're paid a percentage of that sale. Some companies offer affiliate programs directly to bloggers; others are part of a larger collective of affiliates. 

Examples of blogs that do this well:

Amy Lynn Andrews 

Brilliant Business Moms 

Collecting Donations

Perhaps you write a blog that doesn't exactly align with product promotion, or, you're uncomfortable with the idea of creating sponsored posts. If you're delivering content that is truly a must-have for readers, you may consider asking them directly to make a donation to support your work.

Example of a blog that does this well:

Brain Pickings

OK, your turn--have you tried any of these, or would you? What works well?

This post is the first of two that discusses blog monetisation. In the next post next week, we'll look at some of the ways you can diversify your revenue streams beyond blogging by adding products or services that are a natural fit for your brand.

Rebecca Pitts is the founder and owner of Hudson + Daughter, an online shop that sells commissioned, handmade family treasures made of eco-friendly bamboo. She writes about running a creative business, making art for and with her daughter, and living in the Hudson Valley on her blog.

Photo credit: Present and Correct