Inside: If you’re ready to learn how to make money blogging, pay attention to this post! I detail all the steps I took to start turning a profit. Can you make money blogging? You bet!
Let’s talk money shall we! Personally, I love the topic. I’m fascinated by how much people make, what careers bring in the most income, and how much my fellow bloggers make with their sponsored posts. I love when bloggers are transparent with how they make money blogging, so today I’m going to share how to make money blogging and all of the things I did last year to make a four-figure income!
Now that may not seem like a lot to most, but when I tell you that I up until late 2016 I had taken a two year break from my blog, completely re-branded it, and had never gotten a paid post, it sounds pretty good to me. And guess what…
I’ve already made as much in 2018 as it took me more than 5 months to make in 2017! That’s progress baby!
Related: 6 Secrets To Success For New Bloggers
How Much Money can you Make From a Blog?
Update: I now make a full-time income with my blog! The steps in this post were the foundation for my blog growth and what’s got me where I am right now! Blogger earning potential is limitless. If you find the right audience and put in authentic work, you can make whatever goal you have a reality.
Let’s jump into the nitty-gritty of how to make money blogging for beginners.
I Gave my Blog a Face Lift
Here’s a fact for ya:
My blog is hosted on Blogger! (It was when I wrote this. I’ve now switched to WordPress! I’m planning on writing a post about switching once I get all of the bugs worked out!) Almost every blogger will tell you to use WordPress. I would definitely have chosen that if I could start again because transferring a blog from blogger to WordPress is $$$, but I’m making due just fine on it now. I like the simplicity and it’s what I’ve used for the past 5 years.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started With WordPress
That being said, up until late 2016 I still had a blogspot.com domain name. So I changed that and just bought a domain through Google. It was super easy!
The other thing I did was buy a (better) blog design. I got one with tabs and a clean layout and made it look more like a website instead of a Blogger blog (those are pretty easy to spot BTW). I love using Etsy for blog designs. There are tons of options and they are pretty affordable too!
Along with getting tabs, I organized my content into some general categories: Style, Life, and Resources. The Traffic Transformation guide I bought highly recommends doing this, so that’s what I did! More on the guide in a bit!
Oh and I also added the jump breaks into my posts so you don’t have to scroll forever through tons of pictures to see the next post. This helps keep readers interested and on your site longer!
Those few changes really brought my blog up to a more professional level which helped me secure more sponsored posts.
I Joined Networks
Networks and agencies have been key in helping me earn money with my blog. So what is a network? Basically it’s a middle man that works between bloggers and brands. They get the products the brands want to promote, create campaigns, and then select bloggers to participate in those campaigns. Here’s a list of the networks I joined last year:
And I got sponsored posts with almost all of them. Most of the networks require that you have a certain amount of followers or page views to join, but others don’t! I definitely don’t have as many page views as other bloggers in my niche, but I’m still getting a decent amount of sponsored post opportunities.
Another way I receive sponsored post opportunities is from brands reaching out to me directly or me reaching out to them. I would say I see the least success by me reaching out, but I’ve gotten some awesome opportunities from brands reaching out to me!
One tip I would give with all of this is to be true to you and honest with your followers. I turn down lots of sponsored post opportunities just because I don’t know anything about the product or it’s a something I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with my readers. People will respect you more for not promoting every product or brand that comes through your inbox.
I Joined Facebook Groups
Facebook groups can get overwhelming if you’re in too many of them, but you should be in a few if only to learn from more seasoned bloggers. I love scrolling through the threads in some of these groups just to see what other bloggers are asking and the solutions that get shared.
Blogging Facebook groups are also helpful if they offer daily threads. This is where you can post your blog and social media links to get a boost from other bloggers. It’s a reciprocal agreement so they’ll share your posts if you share theirs. I only participate in these when I first publish my posts because they can become time consuming, but if you’re just starting out it’s a great way to get some exposure to your posts.
Some of my favorite groups are:
Growing Social Media For Bloggers
Grow Your Blog
I’m So Blogging This
Utah Posh Connection Network
Bloggers Frustrated With Social Media
I Bought E-Books
This was something I was so scared to do because I didn’t know how the investment would be on my return. I only bought two e-books last year and each was $25. I definitely made that back based on the sponsored posts I got last year, so I’d say it was worth it! The e-books I bought were:
I loved Traffic Transformation and highly recommend it! There’s several chapters of in-depth information about how to get your page views into the 100’s of thousands. The big takeaways I got from this book were how to use Google to pick titles for my posts and pins, how to categorize my blog posts to make it clear for readers, and how to keep readers on my blog for longer. It looks like she’s raised the price since I last bought it, but she has discount codes available every now and then. Click here to see more!
If you’re looking for more e-book resources (including a FREE traffic guide) click here!
More on Pinteresting Strategies below.
Here’s my two-sense about blogging e-books and courses in general. I don’t know if I would ever pay more than $25 for a course or book. I feel like you can find a lot of great information just by doing your own research. I read lots of blog posts about Pinterest last year that gave me some awesome information for FREE. The techniques and strategies in all of those courses are going to be what works best for that personal blogger. I think your money is better spent in a one-on-one consultation versus an e-book/course made for the general public.
I Worked Smarter on Pinterest
Now on to Pinterest. This is by far my most favorite social media tool and the platform I spent the most time researching last year. Because of that, it drives the most traffic to my blog.
At first I was just pinning at random: whatever I wanted to wherever I wanted. That strategy got me nowhere. Then I started reading pretty much any post Pinterest would give me about how to use Pinterest and I watched videos from other bloggers about tricks for Pinterest. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- It doesn’t matter how many followers you have.
- Your board covers don’t need to be fancy (people aren’t clicking over to look at your profile directly, in most cases).
- However, board titles are important.
- Key words are crazy important, so you need to think of Pinterest as an image-only search engine. This means using keywords in your image description and pin description.
- Vertical pins are the BEST. Do not pin small, images!
- Use sans-serif font on clear back grounds with bold text colors.
- Group boards are the best way to get your pins seen. (Check out a list of group boards here)
Here are a few of my pins that do really well on Pinterest:
I just re-did a lot of them to drive traffic back to some of my top posts and the hard work is paying off.
Once you have a great pin, how do you know when and where to pin it? This is where automated services come in.
I tried all three pinning techniques last year: Tailwind, Boardbooster, and manual pinning.
Tailwind is awesome for analytics and shuffling your pins and creating a schedule. However it was a crazy amount of work to go in there everyday to add the same pins to the same group boards. Once the pin has been pinned, it’s gone.
Then I tried manual pinning after reading Pinteresting Strategies. It was going well, but man, it was even more work than Tailwind. I was spending so much time pinning everyday that I didn’t have time for anything else. You have to pin every day or you’ll start losing page views with this technique.
Last I tried Boardbooster. Unfortunately, Boardbooster shut down this year, so I’m using Tailwind exclusively now! You can try Tailwind for FREE, so click here to sign up! It’s been super nice to put that task on auto-pilot so I can focus on other things, like writing great content!
Whatever you choose, just make sure your pins are appealing and they link back to great content.
I Started Charging for Posts
This was one of the biggest changes I made that took me from making $0 blogging to making four-figures. I actually started charging for sponsored posts! Sounds pretty obvious right?? Well, putting a price on your work and then giving a dollar amount to a big company can be pretty intimidating. And I didn’t start out asking for hundreds of dollars for posts. In fact, my very first sponsored post last year included a blog post + shares on all of my social media outlets (my standard package) and it only cost the company $60!
Man did they get a good deal 😉
I definitely charge more now because my following has grown and so have my page views. I use Social Bluebook to determine the price point I should be giving for things like an Instagram post and blog post and it’s pretty comparable to what networks pay me for sponsored posts, so I trust their numbers.
If you’ve never asked for payment before and you’re wondering how to, here’s a script you can use to get started:
Say the company reaches out to you and asks you to review a product for them but makes no mention of offering payment. Here’s what I would say:
Your product looks amazing and I’m really interested in working together!
Due to my busy schedule, I’m only accepting paid collaborations at this time. Do you have a budget for sponsored posts with this campaign? I’d be happy to send over my media kit and rates if so.
Looking forward to your response,
The real kicker is when you reach out to a company and they agree to work with you; how do you bring up payment?? Here’s what I would say:
I’m so excited to work together!
I offer a few different packages and I’m happy to put together a custom one if you don’t see anything you like. Take a look at my rates and let me know what fits best with your budget.
And I still will work for product only if it’s an ongoing partnership or if I’m really interested in the product and the product value is comparable to my post fees. But the truth is, I’ve turned down several opportunities where the companies weren’t willing to pay. And that’s fine! But one thing I learned last year is that my work should have a price tag associated with it and companies should have an advertising budget plain and simple. If they don’t, they probably shouldn’t be in business.
I Wrote Content with Value
It’s all about value! I cannot stress this enough. If you’re going to start a blog and you want to get good page views, but more than that, you want to attract returning readers, you have to offer value.
When I first started my blog I just posted about outfits, with a few random topic posts sprinkled in here and there, but I had to post 5 days a week to keep people interested. I only post a few times a week at most now and I’m still getting more page views than I was before because my posts have more value to them.
And not ALL sponsored posts are going to be full of ground-breaking information, but what sets apart a good blogger from a great blogger is one who can make the product’s messaging seem natural and organic to their posts.
Here are my Top 10 Posts from 2017:
1. Everything They Don’t Tell You About Having a Baby
2. Ella’s Floral First Birthday Party
3. Six Month’s Postpartum Update
4. 10 Things to Know about Your Postpartum
5. First Birthday Party Ideas
6. My Favorite Baby Registry Items
7. Healthy Dinner Ideas
8. Monthly Baby Photo Ideas
9. How to Get Rid of Acne
10. Mommy and Me Park Workout
One of those posts was sponsored. Can you guess which one just by the titles?? (You’ll have to click through them to see 😉 )
Final Thoughts on “Can you Make Money Blogging?”
All of these things helped me earn four-figures with my blog last year (and, now a full-time income), and that’s net profit! That’s one of the reasons I love blogging: the expenses are pretty low if you want them to be. But remember that you’ll have to spend money to make money, as with most businesses. It’s also a great way to make money from home.
I realized I forgot to mention that the majority of my income came from sponsored posts i.e. blog posts and Instagram posts I did specifically for brands. A small amount came from Adsense for the ads I host on my blog, and then an even smaller amount came from my affiliate programs with Amazon and Shopstyle.
The truth is times are changing (kind of), but brands still want a good amount of page views to pay you for a post. All of the tips I listed are ways I increased my page views and content quality to secure those sponsored posts!
Note: If you’re planning on writing a blog for money, make sure it’s something you’re passionate about and that you’re always authentic with your audience! I always choose partnerships with companies and brands that I would actually use myself and genuinely recommend!
I’ve got more blogging advice to share! We’ve answered the question, “can you make money blogging?”, but what do you do after that? You pay taxes! Haha. It’s not the most fun subject, but so necessary. Once you start earning an income, you need to know how to handle the legal stuff. So, here’s Everything You Need To Know About Blogging Taxes!
Did any of these tips surprise you or give you new info? What else would you add to my list to become a profitable blogger? Let me know in the comments!
And, if you liked this post for how to make money blogging, please pin it below!