May 24, 2012

{Tips for Blogging: Part 4} Making Money Blogging


Can I start by saying I feel a little weird writing about this?

Partly because I have this awkward relationship with money that makes me disdain talking about it.  If we could all just agree to pretend we don't need, have or want money it would make my life significantly more comfortable.  But also, I feel like there are a million sources more equipped to tell you how to make money with your blog.  There are whole blogs devoted to the subject. I'm still so new to the game.  I'm still learning.

And it still kinda blows me away that I get paid to do this!

But I know that sometimes what we need is not a definitive article from an expert, but the experiences of somebody we know who has done what we want to do. All this to say that if I were sharing this information with you in real life, I wouldn't be some authority on the topic giving a presentation at the front of a room, but a friend across the table in a Starbucks somewhere trying to explain it all the best I can while I eat a giant White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookie.

There are 3 ways that I make money on my blog.

#1) Affiliate Programs. Affiliate advertising is when you advertise for a product or company and then receive a small commission for every purchase resulting from that ad.

The Amazon.com affiliate program is by far the most profitable one for me.  I saw a huge spike in my affiliate fees in March when my list of  99 Ways to Simplify Life with Kids spread it's way across pinterest. 

I like being an Amazon affiliate because I love books and resources and I personally purchase from Amazon so often that the UPS guy has started asking questions. I can feel good about the items I'm recommending, and my readers can feel safe purchasing from a company with a great reputation.  Plus, it funds my own slightly out of control book habit.

There are also affiliate ad networks through which you can apply for and manage a number of affiliate programs in one place.  An example of this is Commission Junction.

 #2) Google Adsense.  This has become the main source of my income. Adsense is an ad network that places contextual ads on your site for you.  Basically, you put a code on your blog to allow an ad of a certain size in a certain place.  Then Google figures out which ads to target to your audience,  keeps track of the pageviews and clicks, and pays you accordingly.  You can choose to disallow certain categories of ads,and you have the option to display text ads, image ads, or both.

It's easy to use and it's profitable for blogs of all sizes.  Other than the fact that I wish the categories of ads to allow and disallow were more specific, I have nothing but good things to say about Google Adsense.

There are other ad networks out there too that I haven't tried. Some of them specialize in particular types of websites.  A few examples are Chitika, Rivit Media , and BlogHer

#3) Sponsored Ads.  I feature some sponsored ads in my sidebar.  That means that somebody has created an ad and paid me a fee to display it on my blog for a certain amount of time.  When I decided to first start selling sponsored ad spaces I started by giving some spaces away to friends for free.  Then I created a page detailing my ad rates and sizes and waited for sponsors to roll in, slowly switching out the free ads for paid ones.

 I'm certainly not making a fortune off this method, and keeping track of invoices and ad expiry dates is a constant reminder to me that administration is NOT a gift I possess.  But I love my sponsors, and I like the look of the pretty colourful ads in my sidebar, and sending invoices makes me feel oh so grown up. 

By the way, I noticed recently that the blog The Lettered Cottage is using a program called OIOpublisher that appears to do all that icky administrative stuff for them I haven't tried it yet, but I'm seriously considering it!


What works for your blog may be completely different from what works for me.  I suggest implementing one strategy at a time and experimenting with it.  Find out how best to make it work for you, what products and services tend to be most useful to your readers, and which avenues you personally are most comfortable with.

And one more thing.  This might not even be an issue for you, but it is so important for me to remember to trust in God, not my blog.  I decided a few months ago to stop checking to see how much money I made from Google Adsense each day because it was taking my focus off the huge blessing this opportunity is and putting my hope (and often worry) into a days wages. It is God who provides for us, not the blog.  He knows how many pageviews I'll get tomorrow, and what repairs our van will need this year, and what our next dental visit will cost. And he wants me to trust him in all things.

Thank you so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

28 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post... so many great ideas to try. I've wanted to make money off my blog for awhile now, but so far haven't made a cent off of Google Adsense (so I removed it), nothing from Amazon, etc. I think you need a high traffic blog to make money on ads or affiliates. That's just been my experience anyway.

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  2. Thanks Kelly for the useful series of blogging. I also liked your other posts. I have not made enough money through blogging, but its the best outlet for sharing my crafts and experiences.

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  3. ah, so true! our paychecks, our meals, the roof over our head - all God! thanks for that reminder!

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  4. I haven't had much luck with Adsense either, in the 6 years I had it on the blog, I have a total of 8$ so far from the 100$ needed for Google to send a check, plus I don't the ads to look invasive on my blog either.

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  5. Thanks for the information! I've been considering selling ads, but want to know more about it before I get into that. This may be a silly question, though. The money that you make from these places - do they report the income to the IRS and send the appropriate tax forms to you for filing your taxes every year? Just curious.

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    1. You have to keep track of your own income and include those numbers when you file your taxes.

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  6. Quick question I was suddenly wondering about. When a user reads your posts on Google Reader or other-RSS feed type vibe, does that count as a pagecount to you?

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    1. No Alex, It doesn't.

      But really it's okay because:
      a) RSS followers will often click over from the RSS feed to leave a comment or see another link.
      and b) If RSS followers occassionally share their favourite posts on facebook, pinterest, etc then other people will visit the blog and that will create more than enough pageviews to make up for the times the RSS followers don't click through.

      Some people publish only partial feeds so that if somebody wants to read the entire post they have to click over to the actual website so that the blogger gets the pageview. I've tried both and see no reason to believe that either partial feeds or full feeds results in more pageviews. And partial feeds are kind of annoying... :)

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    2. :( Ever since the thought occurred to me I've been paranoidly (is that a word?) opening every blog post I read in a separate window as I read them.

      Completely inane thought attached... I have that exact calculator, that I got from a craft swap in...Canada I think. :D

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  7. Thank you so muchhhh for your insight!!!! God bless you more and moree!

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  8. I have enjoyed reading this series so much. I am new to blogging and you have been so helpful. I have been curious about making money on my blog and you answered a lot of questions I had. Thanks so much!

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  9. Thanks for sharing, Kelly. When things slow down for me I want to completely re-vamp my blog and give it another go, as it would be awesome if I could make some money from it to fund our trip on the road in the future! :)

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  10. Thank you for all of the great tips. I've been in the process of revamping my blog and this has all been very helpful!

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  11. I have some more questions about AdSense. The FAQ aren't satisfying me. Would you be willing to help me with that?

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    1. hmm...I would love to be able to help...but I might not know the answers... what is your question?

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  13. Thank you, Istarted a blog, this serie has been helpful for me if I decide more ahead to get in business, have a good day!

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  14. Thank you so much for the reminder that it is God who provides! I know I sometimes get too caught up in the numbers and have to remind myself to have faith...even as small as a Mustard Seed!!

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  15. Great post! I've been wondering about this myself :) ~ http://life-asweknowit.weebly.com/

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  16. I just wanted you to know that I find your honest posts about God refreshing. Thank you for brightening up my day.

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  17. Thanks so much for your posts on blogging! I have been wondering about Google Adsense and now I might be willing to give it a try!

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  18. Thank u for all your help!! I am starting my new blog this month and I have alway wondered how to make money this was very helpful. I love your blog

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  19. Thank you for the great info! I enjoy your blog and helped me start my own blog adventure! Thanks for your inspiration!

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  20. LOVE the way you ended this post. Such a great reminder to those of us who blog, and even those of us who don't. Ultimately God is in control, and worrying about the money coming in is just that: worrying. Thanks for keeping it in perspective!

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  21. Thanks you so much for your series. I have taking all the notes and now i am going to my blog and try em all. Congrats awesome blog.

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  22. Hi Kelly, loving your work especially your pics. Just a quick note to say, there are actually a great deal more ways for blogs to make money. There are membership blogs, sometimes these have premium content that is charged for. There is also utube and money to be made from adverts on the video. Publishing and selling Ebooks, written by the blogger. Making and selling information products is also a huge one. Webinars, which is like a conference, but online, recorded and then advertised to the community and places sold to attend. Many blogs also make money by doing coaching, oh and also you can sell your photographs or even write blog posts and sell those. There are many many ways to monetize your blog, and lots of these methods are netting bloggers in the vicinity of six figures a year. Just thought I'd add that on, to your great series.

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  23. I found your blog through pinterest. Thanks for all your tips and advise, I need all the help I can get! I also love your blog, and will be coming back. You are such an inspiration.

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