In honour of my 8 year "blogiversary" this month (my first blog post was in June 2009!), I thought I'd share with you some of my tips on how to turn blogging into your full time career. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I'd be making a living writing this blog, so I never thought I'd be qualified to write a post like this. But here I am, 8 years later, a legit blogger who is making a full time income doing something I love very much. Let me share with you how I make money blogging and how you can, too!
When I'm meeting someone for the first time and they ask me what I do for a living, I almost dread it because I have no idea how they'll react. When I say I'm a blogger, some people look confused, others look cynical, while still others look intrigued. It does seem that blogging is slowly becoming a more "normal" career among my peers, so I do get lots of interested looks when I say that's what I do. After I say it, the next question that inevitably follows is: "OK, well how do you make money doing that?!" Or, if the person is trying to be a little more subtle: "How does that even work?!" I'm happy to share those details with anyone who asks, so that's what I want to do with you today!
I realize that "full time income" can mean a different number to everyone, but for me I consider this amount to be enough money to pay for all of our family's expenses. If my hubby ever had to stop working (and he almost has this past year with the way the economy has been), my blogging career could handle our bills. Like I said at the beginning, I never thought I'd be making an income like this as a blogger, and I'm really proud and excited that I'm finally at this point.
Was it easy to get here? No.
Is this an worry-free career? No.
Do I love what I do (most days), am I grateful for it, and does it suit our family's lifestyle? A BIG yes!
In order from most income-generating to least, here are the ways that I make money as a blogger:
1: Sponsored Blog Posts
A sponsored blog post is when a company pays you and gives you a product in exchange for you writing about and photographing the product on your blog (and most likely your social media channels). This can bring in a lot of income once you're a more established blogger with high page views and followings, but it can also be the trickiest content to execute. It can be difficult to write about a product in a natural way on your blog without it sounding like a sales pitch! One way I like to write sponsored posts is to make them educational - whether that's through a DIY tutorial or a recipe - so that they offer value to my readers while making my sponsor happy. With sponsored posts, not only do you have to make your sponsor happy, but you also need to hold the attention of your readers. It takes practice and I'm definitely still working on this skill!
2: Sponsored Videos
These are just like sponsored blog posts, but in the form of a video. Recently, these have been really popular for me and I think that video is definitely gaining popularity as a social advertising medium. You can post sponsored videos to your Facebook page, Instagram account, or to your YouTube channel and embed the latter in a blog post.
3: Display Ads (via a Network)
When you have a certain amount of monthly visits to your blog, you can join what's called an "ad network" and have them display ads on your blog. There are many network options out there, and I'm part of one called SheKnows. When a visitor to your blog clicks on one of these display ads, the advertiser pays your network which in turn pays you. The more visitors to your site, the more money you make through PPC (pay-per-click) display ads.
4: Affiliate Links
Affiliate links are special text or image links in your blog post or social media that lead to a product for purchase. When a visitor to your blog clicks on one of these links and then purchases an item from that company, you get a small commission from that purchase. There are many affiliate programs out there, but my favourites are the Amazon.com affiliate program and the RewardStyle program. I find these work best when you've actually purchased the item that you're linking to and you've raved about it and styled it in your own unique way.
5: Sponsored Social Media Posts
Many advertisers see lots of value in having you share their product on social platforms like Instagram. They might offer a product in exchange for a social post, or if you're a more seasoned blogger with a larger following you may be offered the product plus a fee. The important aspects of these sponsored social posts are beautiful photography along with interesting captions. Like blogging, telling a genuine story is of utmost importance to really make these successful!
5: Display Ads (via Google AdSense)
Google AdSense is really easy to setup and I always recommend it to beginner bloggers as a great way to start earning a little bit of money. It works just like a network display ad (mentioned in #3), but you don't have to have a certain amount of blog visitors to have these ads on your blog. These are PPC ads, and you'll see your income from these grow as your visitors increase.
6: Speaking Engagements
Speaking at conferences, shows and other events is another way to make income as a blogger. You might charge a weekend rate to speak at a home show, or a day rate to host a workshop and offer tips to other people in your niche. Speaking engagements are also a great way to get more people aware of your blog and social channels.
7: E-Books and Courses
I haven't made much money with either of these yet, but I know there are a lot of other bloggers who swear by selling e-books and online courses that dive into more detail than their blog. You could market to your readers by offering more detailed DIY books or patterns, or you could market to your fellow bloggers by offering workbooks and blogging advice. These take a long time to setup, but you can easily automate the marketing and selling process of an e-book or e-course.
So, there you have it. Those are the ways that I make a full time income as a blogger and how you can, too. It took me about 6 years of hard work to get to the "full time income" status, but it could take you less time if you're not wrangling kids and other endeavors like I was!
If you want me to share any more details about the above, please let me know in the comments below. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about blogging as a career!