Today’s post is one I first started writing more than a year ago and have yet to hit the publish button because it is a bit of a taboo subject but probably the one I am asked about the most – how you make money? The answer is, yes, Sparkles and Shoes blog makes money and then the second question is usually, “well how much money?” Humph. The thing people don’t understand is that is to bloggers like asking what your salary is – would you do that?
While a handful of girls readily share this information – evening going so far as to publish blog income reports, I am not in that camp and neither are most bloggers I know. And let’s not even get started on how it seems many have issues with gross vs. net revenue on their blogs – that is awesome if you made $2,000 last year but if you spent $6,000 to get your blog up, running, and on promotions than you are still solidly in the red. Moving beyond that though, today I wanted to share nine ways bloggers make money.
(1) Side Bar Advertising: Working in digital advertising as my full time job this came naturally to me but in case you are not familiar, ad sizes on the Internet are standardized. On your side bar you can have a direct partnership with a brand, like I do with Shopbop, where they have a 300×250 on my sidebar at all times. Bloggers make money either by a CPC or a CM buying model, CPC being cost per click where the blogger gets up to a few dollars every time someone clicks the ad or CPM where a blogger gets money for every thousand impressions regardless of the number of clicks. The most common platform for bloggers to get started with sidebar ads is Google Ad Sense where ads are determined based on an algorithm.
(2) Referral and Affiliate Links: If you ready any fashion blogs you will likely have come across a Reward Style link – they look like this – http://rstyle.me/n/cqqzqrp5me (that link in particular is for a pair of black booties I have been lusting after, in case you cared). Affiliate links work in one of two ways – either the blogger gets a commission on site traffic where they get paid for sending people to a website, such as Norstrom.com or RayBan.com, or the link can work where the blogger only gets paid if the user buys something. A third, and less popular way is referral to an affiliate network but speaking of, if anyone of you would like to get started with reward style let me know! (And I would get a small commission on your sales for the first year 🙂 )
(3) Product Promotion and Reviews: When bloggers start out and get on a companies radar, whether via social media, SEO, or networking, product promotion usually exists in the form of the blogger getting the product for free but as they grow bloggers can request not only the product but monetary compensation as well. For example, I have done a few of these posts on everything from a hair straightener review to a backless sticky bra to my thoughts on the new Neutrogena skin care products.
(4) Brand Partnerships Many bloggers have direct partnerships with brands and work together for a range of projects – ranging from a single year post to a multi-year partnerships. For example I have been working with Shopbop for the past few years and have monthly, quarterly, and annual checkins and requirements versus one of campaigns, like the one I did with Cîroc Vodka.
(5) Selling Something – After bloggers have built a following with their blog (see how to start a blog part one and part two) it naturally parlays into a fan base who likes what you like and i have seen blogger than turn that into selling:
- Baby Blankets from an Etsy shop
- TShirts (ex: The Daily Tay or Kier Couture)
- Books or EBooks
- Photography taken for blog posts as stock
- Blogger Services (see #7)
(6) Utilize Skills Developed in Blogging After a few years of blogging at a normal cadence you will definitely pick up a skill or two and a handful of bloggers I know have used these skills to make money helping others who want to break into the space. For example:
- Blog Design: I used bloggers in both steps of my process, both for my first official blog design, my transition to WordPress, and my latest side redesign in June.
- Basic Coding: Does someone want a fancy drop down bar that has tons of side categories (check out travel in my header) that is a bit outside basic HTML? People will pay!
- Webinars: New bloggers want to jump in feet first and it goes far beyond intro to blogging posts like I have written (here and here) with courses like Helene InBetween’s Quit Your Job to Blog course.
- Blog Consultation: An established blogger offers everything from first glance sight feedback including design and photo quality to tips to grow a social media following and attract advertisers.
(7) Coaching and Mentoring One on one time a blogger who is just starting out can pay to get with an established blogger to walk through questions, tricks of the trade or to get general advise from. This can also parlay into speeches or presentations at events and conferences.
(8) Social Media Promotion While it may have started out as a blog many have amassed such followings that companies will pay just for one social post – the most well known being Instagram with all of the fitness tea and fruit gummies for half the world to less known ones like Sponsored Pins or paid tweets. Legally these have to be defined as advertising by #ad or #sponsored and prices range from $5 a Tweet (that’s the lowest I’ve seen) to $10,000 for a single Instagram post (that is the most I someone I personally know has gotten paid but the Kardashian-levelesque I am sure are much higher!)
(9) Show Up Somewhere: Companies want people at their events and bloggers, especially the bigger ones, lend a brand klout by attending their event and can introduce the brand to their followers. Even I have been paid to attend a few events (here and here). You can also be paid to speak on panels at conferences or go on press trips to a business or even a city!
These are by no means all of the ways, just nine big ones to give you a sense that the possibilities really are endless. I hope you learned something here! And I am going to leave you with a quote from one of my blogging friends Setarra of Quaintrelle:, “I will allow myself to be open to the idea of making money from my blog but only on my terms and when I am ready. Making money will not be the sole determination of whether my blog is successful.” Definitely a great reminder no matter where you are on your blogging journey.
I hope you learned something in this, one of my longest blog posts to date, on the ways bloggers make money!