This is the long overdue followup post to So You Want To Start A Blog that I wrote a few weeks ago. Not everyone starts a blog with the goal of making money, but many do. It sounds like a great gig, right? Sit at home in your jammies and write about your life and get free products delivered to your door and an occasional paycheck. What’s not to like about that!?
If only it were that easy…
You wouldn’t believe the tactless things people ask when they find out you have a blog. I have had people flat out ask me if I make money blogging, how I do that, and my personal favorite, how much I make.
Now I ask you. Who among us would sit down next to a doctor, lawyer, teacher or gas station attendent on an airplane and ask them how much money they make? Yeah, didn’t think so. Well. That has happened to me.
It cracks me up, honestly. I probably should be offended, but people are intrigued because it’s such a new phenomenon. I admit, even I am intrigued and I’m the one doing it! LOL.
The first thing I’ll say is this. You don’t blog to make money.
As the legendary Alli Worthington once said to me, you blog because you can’t not do it. We social media types are a different breed, that’s for sure. And anyone who loves this space will understand her sentiment.
You blog because you love it, and if you make money, that’s bonus. There are many easier ways to make a living, that’s for sure and certain.
The second thing I’ll say is, IT TAKES TIME.
You can’t start a blog today, throw up Google Ads and expect to pay next month’s mortgage with it. Mom bloggers who are paying their mortgages on ad revenue alone are few and far between, and they didn’t get there overnight. Think Pioneer Woman and Deal Seeking Mom. (Certainly not Musings of a Housewife!!)
You can’t make much money on a blog until you have a decent sized audience, so I always encourage people to first build the product before trying to sell it (or advertise on it.) If you’re focusing on monetizing right from the get-go, then you’re likely neglecting the most important part — creating content that is valuable and engaging. It’s best to focus on that for starters. After 6 to 12 months or so, once you have developed a valuable piece of real estate on the internet, then it’s time to start figuring out how to make it lucrative, if that’s your heart’s desire.
There are a variety of ways to make money with a blog.
Most bloggers use a combination of private ads, ad networks, Google Adsense, affiliate links, and sponsored posts. It really depends on the type of blog you’re talking about.
Deal blogs and review blogs can generate a decent income with ads and affiliate links, but they generally have very large audiences and are product focused. They also post multiple times daily.
Highly niched blogs (such as DIY blogs, cooking blogs or crafting blogs) also tend to garner larger audiences, and you will see them with a lot of sidebar ads and partnering with brands in their niche for sponsorships.
Most lifestyle bloggers who are making significant income off their blogs are doing it through other means — eBook sales, spokesperson gigs, sponsorship opportunities, consulting, brand partnerships, freelance writing and things like that. The blog is the platform for these opportunities, but the money isn’t necessarily coming directly from the blog.
That is certainly true for me. I don’t earn much directly from Musings of a Housewife. I have even taken down ad networks that were providing a nice monthly paycheck because the ads didn’t fit with my content. I’m not talking mortgage or even grocery money here, but it was still enough to help make life more comfortable, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss it. But I view my blog as my family room on the internet, and if the ads don’t support my general principles, they have to go. I currently use a combination of Google Adsense and Lifetime Ad Network. Both allow me to opt out of ads that I don’t deem suitable. (And if you ever see one that you think contradicts my content, feel free to let me know!)
I use my blog as a platform for making money doing other things — freelance writing, event planning, sponsorships, blogger outreach and brand partnerships are some of the ways I’m generating an income in this social media space. I also have a client for whom I manage the social media and marketing. Tax time is fun at our house, let. me. tell. YOU. I have more W-9 forms than I have stylish shoes!
Speaking of making money blogging as well as products I can wholeheartedly endorse, I highly recommend the book written by my good friends Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla — The Digital Mom Handbook: How to Blog, Vlog, Tweet, and Facebook Your Way to a Dream Career at Home (affiliate link).
This book is chock full of great advice for the woman who wants a successful career as well as the flexibility to be home with her kids. But I will be the first to tell you, blogging as a career is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking to make money blogging, be prepared to put a lot of hard work into it before you see a profit.
Of course, that is true of any small business. There’s no magic trick here, folks. A blog is just the 21st century version of starting your own business. The nice part is, the start up costs are low and the risk is small. So if you’re thinking about starting a blog or taking yours to the next level, go for it! You’ve got nothing to lose, and a whole lot to possibly gain.
I hope this post helped demystify the topic of how to make money blogging.
Now, dare ya, the next time you’re out with friends or you meet a stranger in the airport, ask them what they do and how much they make doing it. See what they say. Just for kicks. Heh.