***Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, but it may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation by clicking and/or purchasing through these links.
All reviews and opinions are my own**
Let’s talk about the top 4 ways to monetize your blog. Have you ever read about bloggers quitting their jobs and making money just by blogging? How can you possibly make enough money to cover your monthly expenses? I mean, after all, blogging is just all about sharing lifestyle stories, how to guides, beauty reviews, travel tips and etc. Well, yes and no.
Like most bloggers, I have a full-time job and do this on the side when time permits. And a majority of other bloggers are stay at home parents, students, professionals and some are in between jobs. Bloggers are constantly sharing products, places, and services that they like or don’t like. By simply adding links to whatever it is that you’re sharing with your readers, you can earn money on almost every post. A majority of your readers will want to know where you purchased a product or which company you used for certain services, the hotel you’re staying at to the ingredients of recipes you post. By adding affiliate links to keywords (usually products or company name) you can start earning money from doing what you love. The trick is not to overdo it and be honest and upfront so your readers know that you may be earning commission for the links they click on. That’s the key to building trust.
Most people don’t know about affiliate marketing or unsure on how to monetize their blog – these include people who have high engagement on their site and social media. This is the best time to monetize because your readers are clearly interested in what you have to share and want to know where you got that product or want to know about your recommendations. You don’t need to have high traffic to your site but if you’ve got a great blog layout and catchy content, then that’s all you need to get you started. Keep an eye on your stats and check out which posts drive a lot of traffic, these are the ones you need to put special attention to. You’re already getting lots of views, why not add some links or banner to monetize what you’re sharing.
Here are the top 4 ways to monetize your blog, read on and bookmark for future reference.
1. Affiliate Networks
One of my favorite ways to monetize my blog is using Affiliate Marketing Companies. These sites have a huge selection of programs you can apply for. They manage a lot of companies like Guess, Tarte Cosmetics, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and more. The process is pretty straightforward and easy. And guess what? Joining is absolutely free! The main information required is your contact details, website info, content niche, and be at least 18 yrs old. Once you’ve registered, you can start looking for companies you’d like to become affiliated with. Some of the advertisers automatically approve applications based on your original registration information, and some are reviewed by their own marketing manager for approval. Once you’re approved, you can search thru your list of advertisers and find links you want to add your blog – these include text links, banners, search box, videos, etc.
Payments vary for each advertiser and could be a set dollar amount or a commission percentage, then paid out once you’ve met the minimum payment threshold. This information can be found on the Payment FAQ page for most Affiliate Companies. A great advantage to this form of advertising is that there are also ‘Marketing Managers’ for each company. Based on my experience, these marketing managers will reach out to you directly from time to time, mostly by email, and will offer to collaborate, give you free products to try, offer a higher commission for products that may be on promo or recently launched, or ask you to feature a product or service on your blog or social media site for compensation. Joining an Affiliate Network is probably one of the best ways to earn the most income.
Below are the various networks I’ve registered with and examples of companies that are available to join. These are some of the most popular networks that other bloggers and websites have been using. The list of available merchants are plenty, and so they’ll work for any blog niche.
Shareasale – Fitbit, PicMonkey, Pixi Beauty, Gel-V Corp, Warby Parker…
CJ Affiliate by Conversant (Commission Junction) – Murad, Philosophy, The Shopping Channel, The Hudsons Bay, Beach Body…
Linkshare – Guess, Marciano, Steve Madden, Laura Gellar, Macy’s, Nordstrom…
Pepperjam Network- Tarte Cosmetics, Urban Decay, H20, Hautelook, Kate Somerville…
Impact Radius – Target, Too Faced, Vichy, Yves Saint Laurent, Paula’s Choice…
Viglink– Nike, Nordstrom, eBay, AliExpress, Bebe
I recommend joining several, if not all, of the above Affiliate Networks because not all brands are available under one umbrella. It’ll give you more options for monetizing your site. Depending on what types of ads you’d like to advertise, you also can do some research beforehand to find out which network a company is affiliated with. How do you find out which network a merchant is with? Go to one of your favorite company websites and scroll to the very bottom of the page, there you’ll find a link that says ‘Affiliates’. See picture below. Once you click on that link, it’ll provide you with more information on how you can join their program. Some websites don’t have this clearly labeled so you may have to check their FAQ page, otherwise, that merchant may not have an affiliate program at all.
2. Google Adsense
This is a simpler program provided by Google. Adsense allows you to place ads on your blog by installing a plugin or a code to your site. You don’t need to pick advertisers or place any ads yourself. Once you apply the code to your site, they will automatically target the visitor based on their internet and shopping habits. Companies pay Google to advertise and you get a very minimal cut of that by placing those ads on your site. Payments are made to the publisher (you) once the minimum threshold is reached, and can be deferred to a higher amount if you prefer to accumulate it first. The amount of income you make thru this format is very minimal compared to the above options, but it’s definitely the easiest. Just place the code on your site one time and it will do the work without you having to update the ads yourself.
Also one of my favorite ways to monetize my blog is using ‘Skimlinks‘. It’s similar to the Affiliate Networks above, except you don’t have to apply to individual merchants and wait to get approved by their affiliate manager. Once you’re approved for the program, you can search pretty much every merchant and start monetizing. The list of merchants available is endless (somewhat). The application process is similar to the Affiliate Networks and works for all types of online publishers and it’s also free to join. You can install the plugin directly to your site or install the Skimlinks Editor to your browser toolbar. Check out their ‘Getting Started‘ page for full information on setting it up.
I highly recommend installing the toolbar because it’s so convenient and saves you so much time. When you visit a site that has an affiliate program, the icon on the toolbar will open up to notify you that an affiliate link is available. The image below shows the Skimlinks Editor toolbar, it shows the amount of commission and a short link for you to use. For example, if you have jeans you purchased thru American Eagle (seen below) and you want to add an affiliate link to a picture on your site, head over to AE’s website, find the item, then use the short link provided by the editor and paste the link to your content (image or word). That’s it, super easy! Payments are issued within 60 days from the transaction date so they can confirm with the merchant. Then commissions are paid out monthly once you’ve reached the minimum threshold of about $10 USD. Really convenient and user-friendly.
4. Amazon Associates
The Amazon Associates program allows you to get referral fees or commission on products purchased through Amazon. If you share links for items that you’ve purchased or can purchase through Amazon on your site, then you’ll get a commission for what someone buys after going through your link, and it doesn’t have to be for the same product. It’s also free and easy to use. You can even create an aStore showcasing a range of products and post it on your blog. This is a great way to share your wish list, favorite Amazon products, etc. For WordPress users, there’s also a plugin that you can download called the Amazon Associates Link Builder. This plugin allows you to generate links from within your blog while you’re writing up your post. You just highlight a word or a picture and a button will pop up that will say ‘create link’, and from there you can search through Amazon products to link to.
There’s even a ‘Bounty Program’ where you can earn fixed fees for certain ads like these:
One format I recommend and have been using in my blog posts – is the customized ad option. This is a great way to recommend similar products that fit your blog post – a product, ebook, audio, service, etc and place it anywhere on the page. I personally prefer it at the very bottom of your post so it looks cleaner and less obtrusive. To create these customized ads, you’ll need to search Amazon to get the product code – best to have a separate tab on your browser so you can do both at the same time. Then find 4 items that you want to recommend. Afterward, copy the product code for each item, then add them to your customized ad. Once you have 4 items, it will give you a code that you can embed to your post or page. You can create several customized ads, just keep in mind, your Amazon account doesn’t store these. So once you’ve got your code, it’s probably best to create a title and save it to your notepad in case you need to refer to it in the future.
Need more tips? Did you know you can make $50K+ a month from blogging? That’s exactly how much Michelle Schroeder-Gardner makes – and by following the methods of her course as well as checking out my tips above, then you can be on your way too. Go check out her blog, ‘Making Sense of Cents’, and see her monthly income reports. I recently completed her online course called ‘Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing’. I learned a lot about the things I was doing wrong as well as what I wasn’t doing.
Hope these gave you some great insight to get started. I would love to know your progress once you start incorporating these into your blog. If you have any success stories or tips you’d like to share, I would love to hear about them too! Feel free to comment below. Don’t’ forget to subscribe to the newsletter to get updates on more blogging tips.