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I dread this question every single time I get asked it. “How do you make money?” I used to dread this question because I didn’t make all that much money and felt like a fraud calling blogging my job. However, now I dread this question because it’s not easy to answer. As a blogger, I make money in quite a few different ways.
And no, that’s not me bragging, it just means I’ve learned over the years to diversify my revenue streams – and you should too! In the 2019 Professional Content Creator Survey, 59 percent of the bloggers surveyed earned revenue from 4+ revenue streams and only 8 percent of the respondents generated their income from a single revenue source. As bloggers, we need to not be putting all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak.
So, here it is – all of the various ways I generate revenue from my blog! (So, I can just send this post to the next person who asks me that super fun question!)
- Note: I use Intuit Quickbooks to track my blog’s income and expenses.
10 Ways I Make Money as a Blogger
1.) Affiliate Sales
An affiliate sale is when someone clicks a link on my website and then makes a purchase. I get a small percentage of that sale at no additional cost to the person purchasing the item. This ranges from large companies such as Hotels.com, Amazon and Nordstrom to smaller businesses such as Aviator Travel Jeans or Restored 316 (where my blog theme is from).
This is where the largest portion of my income is from at this time. It’s a win-win as I get to share products and companies I love and then earn a commission.
3rd Party Affiliate Networks I Use:
Skimlinks – they have almost every single company on the planet, and they also have an easy-to-use plugin! You just have to apply to Skimlinks, then convert the links you use to Skimlinks’ links (or use their plugin) and voila – you can earn a commission! Click here for the Skimlinks’ website.
RewardStyle – this is the network that makes my Instagram photos shoppable. While I don’t spend much time or energy on that these days, I do still like using the RewardStyle affiliate program. This is because they will sometimes have MUCH higher commission rates negotiated with companies such as Anthropologie or Nordstrom. Click here to contact me and I can submit an application on your behalf for this network.
Affiliate Networks I Also Use:
2.) Display Ads
I know, I know… everyone hates display ads. However, as my site grows, this is quickly moving to my largest steady source of income (even more so than affiliate sales). I’ve gotten a couple of complaints from fellow bloggers (rather ironically) about having them on my site, and it’s usually followed with “you can’t make that much revenue from display ads anyways.” And this may be true if you are not utilizing proper ad management systems. (I was completely guilty of this my first few years of blogging.)
However, since I was accepted to Mediavine’s full-service ad management program, my display ad revenue has quadrupled from when I was using Google Adsense. Mediavine is also very dedicated to making sure the ads served on your website are not going to slow your website down! The only downfall to Mediavine is you must have a minimum of 25,000 monthly sessions (roughly 30,000+ monthly page views) and your audience needs to be mainly US-based to be accepted to their program.
If you’re not quite to the monthly requirement of 25,000 monthly sessions, then I suggest using Ezoic. They are a Google Certified Publishing Partner and the leading provider in AI for website publishers. The requirement to begin using Ezoic’s ads is 10,000 monthly page views. They are also optimized for speed and the analytics they give you access to are AMAZING. (We do not get this much information on our Mediavine dashboards… at least not right now.) Check out some of the Ezoic dashboard features, below.
Ezoic Analytics Dashboard
If your website is not quite to 10,000 monthly page views, then I suggest waiting until you hit that magic number before putting ads on your website. I have used Infolinks, Google Adsense and Media.Net and none of them were worth how much they slowed down my website. You are better off waiting to get your numbers up first!
This is the monetization form that most people are familiar with as its the most obvious. This is when a company pays me to feature their product or service on my blog. I typically do this in the form of a review. Sometimes these are one-off partnerships (like this one with XCVI), and sometimes these are ongoing partnerships with companies I absolutely adore. (Such as ModCloth.)
I’ve gotten asked pretty frequently too about how to get sponsorships from blogging. So here is how I typically secure these sponsorships:
- Some of these partnerships I secure on my own by pitching companies with a deliverable(s) and my media kit. I’ll look for press contacts via the affiliate networks I belong to or by simply searching their websites.
- Sometimes I get sponsorships by applying to them via blogging platforms such as Savings.com, Webfluential, Activate, Clever, Dealspotr, Blog Meets Brand, Shopping Links. (Note, some of these platforms require you to go through an application process before you can use them.)
- I also will find sponsorships via affiliate platforms (which I mentioned in point 1). My partnership with Sandals Resorts happened thanks to using affiliate networks!
- Sometimes I simply get approached by a brand. Whether they found me via Google or my social media, etc. This is why it’s important to have an easy spot for people to contact you on your website!
This started because I was getting quite a few questions regularly about how to become a blogger, how to plan a trip to Russia or Argentina or how to dress for an event, etc. And, needless to say, it was getting pretty time consuming to answer it all. So, I started responding with – “Sure, I can help you with that. That is actually a service I offer. Here is my rate sheet.” And you know what? People were willing to pay for my services.
This is where I come in and audit people’s blogs to find ways for them to improve and increase revenue streams. I’ll make suggestions and present my findings and then have a 30-minute Skype session to follow up.
Custom Itinerary Planning
After living in Argentina and then Russia for a little over a year at a time – I get asked pretty frequently to help plan trips to these countries… as many people want to visit them but are intimidated by the planning process. Russia and Argentina sound scary compared to countries like Italy or Australia. Having someone who has lived there and experienced it all can make this planning process easier… and hey, that’s me! So, I will come in and help individuals and families plan their trips to Argentina or Russia with customized transportation, accommodation, tours, restaurant suggestions and more.
Full disclosure, I have stopped doing this as of this year because I really do not enjoy it. (It’s just not for me!) But I used to help people curate their closets or pick out outfits for events. I also would assist at times for wardrobe on photo shoots.
- Interested in hiring me? Click here!
5.) Social Media Management
After 5+ years of blogging and promoting my blog via social media, I’ve also started to get requests from small companies to audit and/or manage their social media. I currently have one client whose social media I manage full-time. However, I will also periodically take on audits or short-term management projects.
There are also times when a company wants professional photos for their website and will hire me to photograph their products. I will then sell them the rights to the photos. (You can see an example of this, here.)
7.) Social Media Promotion
There are times too when a company only wants a shoutout on social media or retweet or a rePin. So, I will get paid for posting a social media post (without any blog post or other promotion needed). This is an example of a time where M&Ms paid for a placement on my Facebook page.
8.) Banner Ad Sales
I don’t do this as frequently anymore (as I like to save as much of my sidebar space for Mediavine ads as I possibly can). However, I do still have a couple spots for banner ads that I sell on my sidebar to businesses for a monthly rate.
9.) Clothing Sales (Poshmark)
Because I get sponsored by clothing companies, and because I do also like to shop… I have to constantly be cleaning out my closet. I’ve found that selling my clothing on sites such as Poshmark, to be a good way to free up some space and earn a little extra cash!
10.) Walking App Sales
Lastly, I also earn a monthly commission for selling my city-specific travel articles as self-guided walking tours. I do this by converting my blog posts into walking tours with GPS coordinates and selling them via the app GPSmyCity.
Oofta! There you have it! 10 ways I make money as a blogger. I’m curious, did any of these surprise you? Or how did you think bloggers earned a living? Let me know in the comments!
Note: I use Intuit Quickbooks to track my blog’s income and expenses.
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*Disclosure: some of these links are affiliate links. Meaning, if you click a link and make a purchase, Have Clothes, Will Travel gets a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! I am also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.