When people first learn that I blog for a living, their first question is often “How does that work?” Meaning – how do you get paid. I’ve shared how much of my income comes from various sources in my blog post How I Make Money From My Blog. While that is a good example of the breakdown of my income sources, not all bloggers have a similar set-up. Some rely much more heavily on other income sources. I thought I would list out 12 of the common ways that bloggers make money.
Sidebar ads – Almost all bloggers run sidebar ads using a company. Brand new bloggers can work with pay-per-click ad companies such as Google Adsense. Larger blogs tend to do “pay per mile” networks that pay a set rate for every 1000 pageviews. I currently use Sovrn but I’m hoping to upgrade soon.
In-post link ads – We’ve all visited a blog or a website that has a lot of links that are double-underlined and when clicked they sometimes lead to random places. Those are from sites like Infolinks that automatically place links into your blog post based on the terms you use. I do a lot of sponsored post work on my main blog, Emily Reviews, and I can’t have competitor links in blog posts so this style of advertising has never been of interest to me, but many use it.
Affiliate links – Affiliate links are links that when clicked on track the user, and if they make a purchase the retailer or brand gives a small percentage of the profit to the website owner. I use Amazon Affiliates a little bit on both of my blogs. With Amazon, the more items you sell per month, the higher percentage of profit you can earn. During the holiday shopping season I’ve made up to 100 sales per month and that has got me up to around 7% earnings, but it’s usually more like 5-6 percent. If I link to a $20 item here on Frank Loves Beans, and someone clicks on it and buys that item, I get around $1.20. For the most part I have only worked with Amazon, but sometimes when I work with a brand on a review they will ask me to use affiliate links, too. For really high end items sometimes it’s a set rate per sale. I am working on a mattress review right now for Emily Reviews and they have a set $50 bonus for each mattress sale via affiliate.
In-post image ads - This is another one that I haven’t experimented with yet. These are just like sidebar ads in the sense that they are image ads that automatically generate. However, instead of being in the sidebar they appear right in the blog post so they are more likely to be seen and clicked on. They are also a bit more irritating for website users, at least they annoy me more.
Sponsored Posts – These are when bloggers are paid a set rate in exchange for writing a post about (or at least mentioning) a brand, product or retailer. Sometimes these are arranged without the blogger being sent a sample, and sometimes they are sent an item for review as well. Or occasionally they are paid per click on links within the blog post.
Sponsored social media – This is when bloggers are paid a set rate for doing a tweet, facebook post, instagram post, etc that mentions or features a brand, retailer or item. Or occasionally they might be paid a set price per click that occurs on a link within a social media post.
Ambassadorships – This term is often used to describe a huge range of different partnerships. I occasionally get emailed with brands who just want a review, or even an affiliate partnership but call it an ambassador ship. I prefer ambassadorship to be used for a substantial ongoing relationship. I once signed a contract to do 1 blog post per month with a dog food company, for five months, for a set rate per blog post and five months worth of dog food. To me, that is an ambassadorship. Usually with ambasaddorships you agree to not work with or promote competitors to the brand. Sometimes it may be an going deal such as being sent every new product a brand releases, or things of that nature.
Selling personalized content - Many bloggers create e-books, online learning courses or other forms of exclusive content that can only be seen if you pay for access. Most bloggers do this by offering a free recipe or course in exchange for signing up for an email list. Then they email people who got the free item asking if they’d like the ‘next level’ of book or course in return for a small fee.
Social media management – Bloggers spend a lot of time on social media and learn a lot of social media habits and practices. As a result, some bloggers will offer their social media management or promotional skills to brands. Their job would be to schedule posts for the brands social media accounts, increase interaction, etc.
Virtual assistant work – Some bloggers get hired by other bloggers do handle social media management or other tasks. Really busy or successful bloggers often don’t want to spend their time handling their own twitter account or responding to certain emails. They will hire a virtual assistant who will do that “busy work” on their behalf. What tasks a VA does will vary from blogger to blogger. It’s usually just the work that they find the most tedious or that they feel the most comfortable delegating out.
Selling content – Some bloggers or virtual assistants will write blog posts on various topics, or create recipes or craft tutorials among other things – and then sell that content to bloggers for a flat rate.
Selling images to brands – When bloggers are great with photography, sometimes brands will ask to buy their photos of their product, or of recipes that include their product.
YouTube hits – When bloggers make videos to include in their blog post, they often upload the video to YouTube. They can partner with YouTube to monetize the video so they earn money from hits on the video.
These are the 12 ways that I hear of most often. If you’re a blogger and make money some other way feel free to chime in on the comments.