Making Money From Blogging

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I’m doing that thing where I don’t really no how to start this post and so instead I’m just people-watching all the chaps and chapettes hanging out around me in Pret.

I really need a wee but LOL they don’t have a toilet here so yay to achy bladders, y’know?

Since my Leeds talk last weekend with Jaywing PR on all things full-time blogging, working with brands and monetising your content, I’ve had a lot of you reaching out for more advice.

So I thought I’d whack it into one juicy post for you to bookmark and refer back to whenever you’re feeling a bit lost and confused and WHAT THE SWEET JESUS IS AN AFFILIATED LINK.

It’s by no means the right way to make an income from blogging (I mean lol OK, is there even a right way? And should you even monetise your sweet, sweet content anyway?) but it’s the way I do it. The way which has worked for me, and so I hope it offers you a little bit of guidance.

Oh and shout out to all my readers who don’t give a digestive biscuit about money and blogging, maybe skip this post and come back tomorrow when I’m hoping to have something sexy and interiors related.

So lemme break down for you the three main ways I’ve made money during my 18 months of full-time blogging.

 

ON-SITE ADVERTS

When I first started monetising them ol’ bad boy viral lists, this was the main way I made money. I used to make about £1,000 a month from my then-agency from the ads that they would put on my blog. You know the ones – the banner ads and the pop up ads and those big, juicy site takeover ads that act like a photo frame around your content.

They’ve become less popular with both bloggers and advertising companies since I started out – as there’s much more focus on more natural, sponsored posts instead. To the point that I removed my on-site ads last month. They weren’t bringing in enough extra cash to warrant having them, and I didn’t like not having a head’s up about the brands that would be featured on my blog – brands like Seaworld.

A good starting place if you are looking for a little extra ASOS pocket-money is Google Adsense – they’re easy to install yourself and they pay monthly as long as your revenue is more than £60*.

*I think. Don’t hold me to it. I sometimes get lost in my own thoughts thinking about Grey’s Anatomy and muddle up information I’ve read. Soz.

 

AFFILIATE LINKS

First thing I will say is that assume every product you ever see from a blogger – whether it’s on a blog, on Twitter or in a video description – is an affiliate link.

What this means is that if you click that link, and then two days later think yeah I will buy something from that website, around 7% of the cost of your order will go to the blogger.

After you’ve clicked a link, the cookies will stay on your browser for 30 days unless you clear them. Which means that blogger has 30 days for you to buy something from that website to make commission – unless you click on another blogger’s affiliated link before that 30 days is up, and then it passes to them.

Does that even make sense? I think I’ve confused myself. Wah.

There’s a few different affiliate companies about, but the two I use most are RewardStyle and Affiliate Window – although I’ve heard dreamy things about ShopStyle too.

You basically sign up and then install a button on your browser which you can click every time you see a product you like and want to link to and it’ll give you a personalised code to use which is connected to your account.

It’s a great little additional way to make money and some style bloggers make their entire living this way, the one downside is that it can take up to three months from someone buying something using your link for the commission to enter your bank account.

 

SPONSORED POST

I’ve used the phrase ‘sponsored post’ but really anything from a blog post and video to Instagram and Snapchat can be sponsored by a brand.

The way it usually works for me is that a brand will contact me and outline an upcoming campaign they have and they’ll ask me for my rate card (a PDF document you can make which outlines your fees for various platforms as well as your blog and social stats) or how much I’d charge for the coverage they’re looking for.

Once we’ve agreed a fee and the content I’ve got to produce, I’ll sign a contract and get to creating the content within the set timeline.

(Admittedly only about one in four campaigns actually comes off after the initial introduction email).

Some brands like to see the imagery and words before things go live, others are happy for you to be as creative and you as you please (naturally these are my faves because hello no stress and completely organic content). Sometimes you’ll have to do a couple of drafts or re-film a video, other times everything is smooth sailing and you can give yourself mental high fives for nailing it.

It’s best practice to use no-follow links in sponsored blog posts and also to obvs declare it as sponsored content, regardless of which platform it’s on.

This is when I’d then invoice the brand and am usually paid within 30 days of the content going live, although it’s taken up to three months before.

Some people like to have an agent to handle their sponsored campaigns because a) they don’t like talking about money, b) they want to make sure they’re charging the right amount or c) they haven’t got time to manage all the emails coming in. I personally like doing it myself because it’s taught me a lot about working with PRs, negotiating and talking about money. It’s also really nice to build those easy working relationships with brands so they’re keen to come back to you time and time again.

I know other bloggers who reach out to brands and pitch them sponsored content ideas – which is another thing to try, especially if you find not that many people are reaching out to you directly.

 

ANYWAY yeah, I hope this helps in some teeny tiny way. Whether it gives you that kick up the bum you’ve been searching for to up your blog ante if you’re looking to make money from it, or whether it helps clear up the HOW DO BLOGGERS MAKE MONEY question that’s been lingering in your brain. (Seriously, I get asked it weekly and I now have an automated response just sitting and waiting in my mouth).

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to reply and hook a girl up with the info she’s after.

Ta rah!

 

  • Mich

    Would love to know how to create a rate card for a blog – never seen one and have no idea what info they contain/what they look like – would you be willing to share? If it’s any incentive, I bet it would bring in a lot of traffic!

    • Sarah

      yes this would be really helpful 🙂

    • Me and the boyf have just made ours.. in the vlogging world we call it a media kit!
      (It’s linked on our website under ‘work with us’) It took us abso ages to do on photoshop but I think future employers appreciate that! http://www.kinging-it.com

      • Yeah it’s called a media kit or a rate card, I get emails from different brands calling it different things, bit it’s all the same! Will definitely create a post on making one 🙂 x

    • It’s on my list for next week 🙂

  • This truly is an amazing post. I love how you went into crisp detail, without going too far off topic. It’s really helped me understand how bloggers actually make money, so I thank you!! xx

  • Great helpful post – I’m forever going round in a tizz about ‘should I be monetising my blog’…this has cleared up a few things!!!

  • Olivia

    I’ve always wondered how blogger trips worked too, as so many bloggers seem to spend alot of time abroad with brands. do brands pay for you to go abroad in the return for content on their product/service?

    • I’m interested in this too! I’d love the opportunity to travel through my blog but I’ve never known how to broach the topic or who to go to. Alice xx

      http://www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

    • It really depends – a lot of travel brands ask for a blog post and social posts in return for going on a press trip, and beauty/fashion brands often just invite bloggers to help build that relationship and help them learn more about their products. Some bloggers get paid on top of the trip, but most don’t. Other times a blogger might get a couple of nights free in a hotel but pay for their own travel and any additional nights. There’s lots of different ways for it to work! x

  • I would love to know how to do a blog rate card. And how do you figure out how much something is worth? How do you figure out your rates? Do you ask around and get general ideas or make it up for yourself?

    Great informative post, thank you for sharing!

    Georgie | georgietoms.com | bloglovin

    • Exactly that – asking around. When I first started off I was with an agency so I just took their word for what was good, and then as I started meeting other bloggers I realised I wasn’t charging enough to reflect my stats. I still regularly chat with other bloggers and even PRs about how much to charge. There’s no right or wrong answer! I will for sure do a blog post about making a rate card/media kit. x

  • Really informative! Thank you for sharing this.

    Kate xx
    katemorgancecilia.blogspot.co.uk

  • This was so helpful! I really want to start monetizing my blog properly and I still feel a little bit clueless at the moment! It’s mad to think you started making 1k a month from those types of ads, I had no idea they could make such bug money.

    Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

    • It was when my lists were going viral so I had pretty high traffic, but I think it’s very rare to make that kind of money from them now because brands don’t invest as much money into them x

  • I am beyond clueless about all of this stuff so this was really helpful! Thanks Hannah, you are a true babe xx

    http://www.heygeorgiegirl.com

  • I am saving, copying, bookmarking and re-reading this blog post.
    Fab.. Questions answered (again, sorry!), thank you. 🙂

    Caroline.x
    http://www.carolineelgeywhite.com

  • Sarah

    this is the best how to monitise your blog post I’ve ever read, so helpful. I’m new to all of this and they guides I’ve read so far are so full on I don’t know where to begin!

    • Awww well I’m glad you enjoyed it and didn’t find it too overwhelming – I’m awful with digital lingo! x

  • Rae

    This was super helpful! Thank you <3

  • Very interesting to read, thanks Hannah!

    Ella xx

    http://www.ellaryder.com/

  • This is such a great post thanks hangar! I was wondering when you should start trying to monetize your blog?

    mybeautyandbrownies.blogspot.com

    • I was wondering this too. Is there a certain amount of page views/followers etc you should be getting before you start trying to monetise?

      Kayleigh
      http://hazelnutmusings.blogspot.co.uk/

      • Not at all! I remember being told right at the beginning that an agency wouldn’t take you on unless you were getting 20,000 page views a month, but I think as long as you can reach out and show you have some level of engagement (comments/click throughs/Twitter or Insta followers etc) you can try to monetise. x

  • Great post! It was really helpful. 🙂

    Nicole | http://inthelifeofnm.blogspot.ca

  • I have Google Adsense on my blog, but since traffic isn’t that heavy, I’m not making a whole lot. Also, I use affiliate links, but again, it’s rare that people even click on them.

  • Thank you for sharing this. Your honesty is so refreshing and it’s really lovely to read something that just lays it out. I buy half my wardrobe from other bloggers affiliate links so I’m happy that I’m funding so many brilliant writers!

  • Amy

    Oooh the affiliate link thing is really interesting, I thought the blogger only made money if you clicked on their link and bought that item there and then. I’ve definitely made you some money haha, you’re welcome!
    Amy xx
    http://www.callmeamy.co.uk

  • Oooh I’d not heard of Affiliate Window before. Definitely going to check that out! 😀

    I’m definitely finding that brands are more and more willing to a) work with bloggers and b) pay them. I’ve found that a lot of brands rarely OFFER payment, but when I’ve just gone back and told them my rates, 4 out of 5 times they’ve said yes. It’s just a question of having the confidence to ask I think!

    Little Miss Katy

    • Absolutely agree! I used to think it was such an honour to even be asked, especially by fashion brands, that I’d never ask about budget. But a lot of the time there is money for a campaign, they just don’t tend to offer it up unless they’re asked! x

  • Great tips! I was at the event in Leeds making notes on this but now I will just refer back to this post 🙂 thanks for the help!

    http://www.champagne-lifestyle.com/

  • This is such a useful post as I think there is a lot of confusion around how bloggers make their money.

    Emma Inks

  • Love reading about others experiences with their blog earnings, so interesting! Glad you’ve got a job which you love 🙂

  • This is such a great post and incredibly helpful and honest!

    Giveaway currently over on… http://www.ohsobecky.com

  • As a new fellow blogger, this post was extremely informative for me. I had no idea how to use affiliate links so thank you for all the insight. Much appreciated 🙂

    • No worries at all – glad it cleared a few things up 🙂 x

  • Chloe marie

    This was so helpful!

  • I really under-utilise affiliate links, just forget to go via Affiliate Window half the time (the amount of Boots links I have for polish, seriously) and I think sponsored content is definitely the best way to advertise as it can be so much more personalised and organic!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

  • Thanks for the tips! I have a question, do you need to have a domain?

    http://estefaniareviews.blogspot.mx

  • So helpful. I love my blog and would love for it to make me a little pocket money too. Will be trying some of these!!

  • Mel

    I think the most useful and down-to-earth post I’ve read about making money blogging in a long time <3

    Mel ★ meleaglestone.co.uk

  • I really liked this post. As a part time job, I would like to take up blogging. Will definitely save this post to reference in the future! x

    https://guiliannamarie.blogspot.com

  • I really liked this post. As a part time job, I would like to take up blogging. Will definitely save this post to reference in the future! x

    https://guiliannamarie.blogspot.com

  • Wow thank you for these kind of posts – love them and so much information for new starting bloggers like me 🙂

    One thing I was wondering – on RewardStyle it says, its invitation only? So when I try to register for it, it says that I am not able *ohnoo* Do you have any idea about this?

    Thanks so much 🙂
    xxx and all the best from Berlin,
    Tina.

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