There are many ways to monetize your blog, but these are the main ways.
1. PUT ADS ON YOUR SIDEBAR
Adsense ads are the ads you see on blogs with the little blue sideways “A” in the corner. Every time one somebody clicks on one of your Adsense advertisements, you make money. (You cannot click on your own ads.)
Adsense ads are customized for the user so when your mother is on your site she might see ads for the holiday in the Maldives she’s been Googling lately. Creepy? A little bit.
I don’t want people to see weird or creepy ads when they are on my site, so I go into the Adsense user settings and customize them to allow or block certain categories of advertising. For example, I don’t allow ads in categories like cosmetic procedures and body modification, dating, drugs and supplements, get rich quick, politics, gambling etc.
Adsense is just one type of ad you can use on your blog. You can put ads on your sidebar from your affiliate marketing channels (see below) and even Etsy shops. I use ads on my blog through affiliate marketing programs like Rakuten Marketing and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction)
These are what ads look like on Les Petits Gazette’s sidbar. On the left is an example of an adsense ad and on the right is a Nordstrom ad through Rakuten Marketing.
2. AFFILIATE MARKETING
Basically, affiliate marketing is where you promote an advertiser’s product or service in exchange for a commission. Affiliate marketing programs like CJ Affiliate by Conversant and Rakuten Marketing offer bloggers access to lots of different brands and advertisers. You apply to each advertiser separately and they accept or decline your application based on their own metrics, usually the content and style of your website and your website’s reach (traffic). Once you are accepted into a brand’s program you can use their banner ads and text ads on your website. You can also use links within the body text of your posts.
In my blog post about our favorite books for Finn and Bennett, I used Amazon affiliate links for every book on the list. It helps to use the same store or website for every link within a single post so that if someone wants to buy a few things from your post it saves them having to create shopping carts across different online stores.
3. SPONSORED POSTS
As a new blogger, most of your work with brands will be “product for post”. When you have a following and some proven partnerships under your belt people will start to contact you for paid posts. Product for post work is exciting, especially in the early days, and you should definitely take on as many of these kinds of posts as you like.
It’s exciting to be contacted for a collaboration. It means people other than your aunt and youngest kid’s teacher read your blog. Which is awesome. A word of caution though – stay honest. Don’t write posts about products that you wouldn’t recommend to your sister or mother or a close friend. Even if the company has sent you product for free. Your credibility is fragile as a new blogger. Even one post about something that you don’t truly believe in (and wouldn’t pay for yourself) will hurt your blog. There is no exception to this rule.
I talk about the right way to do sponsored posts and brand partnerships, including the wording that I use to approach brands, how to decide which brands to work with and which ones to pass on and more in my e-course. Subscribe here to be first to know when it’s available.
4. BRAND PARTNERSHIPS
Similar to Sponsored posts but more of an ongoing partnership scenario where a brand will pay you in product or money to promote their brand on a regular basis. Of huge importance is the true love you have for the brand you choose to partner with. I have a partnership with Follain, a company I can 100% stand behind. Their philosophy is in line with my own and their products are damn near perfect. The aesthetic is beautiful and works seamlessly with where I am taking my own blog. I will never work with a company like Walmart, although their affiliate programs are easy to get involved with. I defend my brand and so should you. Once you sell out, there’s no coming back. A quick buck in the short term isn’t worth the loss of confidence and respect from your readers.
5. CREATE A CURATED SHOP
I have a holiday shop on my blog, that I stock with products that I love for each holiday throughout the year. But when people buy things from my shop, I don’t have to do a thing! No inventory, packing or shipping. The products in my shop are all curated from the brands I have affiliate links with and I earn a commission every time someone buys one of them. The commissions are small, usually anywhere from 1% to 7% of the tag price.
Simply create a gallery page on your blog, and put your affiliate links on the images.
This is last year’s “Christmas holiday shop” on Les Petits Gazette.
(CURATED SHOP ON LES PETITS GAZETTE)
So that’s the quick guide to monetizing your blog. I go into more detail in my e-course – sign up here to find out when it’s available. Let me know in the comments if you have questions about monetizing your blog. Thanks for being here. XO