It’s been a while since we posted an article in the making money online category, so if you read our previously published (and incredibly popular!) blog post “19 Amazing Ways You Can Earn Money With WordPress” – head there for more information.
However, since we get new questions about blogging ever day, and of course, we like to address them too. Today, we will expand the subject of making money with your blog. Maybe you are a blogger yourself, and you would like to know how you could earn some money with your blog, or perhaps you’re not a blogger, but you’re just interested in how bloggers earn their money. We can imagine this well because we had these kinds of questions ourselves when we just got started.
(pick up a drink, this will be a long article, again)
Why would you want to make money with your blog?
Let’s put it that way first: not everyone wants to make money with his or her blog. Blogging could just be ‘forever’ a hobby with which you do not earn any money. Just because you like it and you have no ambitions to make it your work. Does this make a blog better or less good? Absolutely not.
For some people, it is still a bit of a sensitive subject when bloggers make money and become more commercial. For these people, a blog is a hobby and not a job. For us, now that we’ve been blogging for over 12 years and have built up a decent readership of over 90,000 readers, it’s actually a logical step to make money with your blog. Why? Because you put all your time, energy and love into it. In fact, because we put in so much time, we canceled part of our jobs. That is a pretty sacrifice, but it is so worth it.
You can compare a blog with a magazine. Just like the members of editors work hard every month on a magazine, a blogger works hard every day on his ‘online magazine.’ And a blogger actually does much more than an editor. You are a writer, photographer, filmmaker, editor, designer and chief editor in one. Let’s not forget that you handle all communication by mail, telephone, and social media yourself – unless you hire a trainee or employee at a given time. (but we do not see that happening for our blog in the next few years). You also take care of the PR of your blog, optimize for SEO, go to events and network your way around the clock. Nowadays many bloggers (including us) also make YouTube videos or write books – yes, so do we! In short: your blog can become your full-time job, and that is a dream for many bloggers.
If we are allowed to speak for ourselves, it is a dream because we can then do it full-time, a job for which we are truly passionate. Not because we get so rich blogging, but because we currently earn significantly more than when we still had our ‘regular’ full-time jobs. Also, because we are so happy every day and we get excellent new opportunities, we keep doing this, and we strive to do this full-time forever. In short; some bloggers manage to make their hobby their work. Doing what you like every day while inspiring and making people happy with stories, videos, and photos… is that just goddamn wonderful?
How can you make money with your blog?
There are several ways to make money with your blog. We will mention a few examples below:
1. Affiliate marketing.
Read our article: Everything you wanted to know about affiliate marketing.
This means that you write articles in which you subtly integrate links to affiliate programs. To give you an example: we write a book review about a cookbook and place a link in the article to the partner program. Every time someone orders a book via this link, we get a small percentage of the sales price. Once these commissions add up and we are eligible for payment, we can request a withdrawal (for example, per month or per three months). Many web shops offer an affiliate program, as one of the easiest ways to make people promote their products. So even if you write books about other things (for example kitchen appliances, clothing, cosmetics or garden items,) you can become a member of such a program, which is called – becoming an affiliate. In other words, you are then “affiliated” with that program.
Becoming a member is always free, and it works quite easily. In the US, there are bloggers who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars every month by placing affiliate links to websites like Amazon.com and AudibleBooks.com – smart passive income, you may say.
2. Banners on your website.
When we were at the beginning of our blogging journey, we only had Google Adsense banners on our blog. These banners can be placed by any blogger, even if your blog is still small and has no traffic. You certainly do not earn much, but hey, in the beginning, every penny counts. After all, maintaining a blog also costs money, and it is nice if you manage at least to cover these costs.
But how do you get to those big, non-Google Adsense banners? That goes through media agencies. When your blog has enough readers at a given time, you will sooner or later be contacted by a media agency. We were asked for this when we had about 60,000 readers – but there are bloggers who are approached earlier, depending on your niche. With our subject (‘making money with WordPress’) it was quite a risk for the agency to contact us – after all, they should look for campaigns that suit us. With other blog niches, this can be easier, for example, beauty, hosting or tech blogs are always in demand.
If you agree with a collaboration, they will start arranging the banners on your site from that moment on. We have made clear agreements with our media agency: which banners do we want and which not. Sometimes it happens (by accident) that there is a banner on our site that we are not happy with, but after one phone call, it has been deleted. Top service!
How do you earn money with banners? Banners go by the number of clicks or views. Sometimes it works like this: if you clicked the link 100 times, you get an X amount. Or: if the advertisement has got 1000 view, you will receive an X amount for this action. In general, as a reader, you will see the same banner three times and then it disappears. Banners are probably the most passive form of income with your blog – you do not have to do anything about it.
3. Write advertorials.
The most active form of earning money with your blog is writing advertorials (known as sponsored posts, sponsored reviews, paid post). These are also arranged by our media agency, but when we did not have a media agency, we regularly arranged something ourselves. How did that work?
An eshop approaches you with the question if you want to write an informative article reviewing their product. You look at the shop and consider whether it fits your blog or not. The contact person often comes up with a number of keywords or links that need to be processed in the article. As long as we agree with this, and we are allowed to determine the insertion and tone ourselves, we agree. (unless the price offered does not suit us, of course).
We find it very important that an advertorial is as good as a ‘normal’ article. After all: for you, as a reader, an advertorial is an ‘ordinary’ blog post, and you do not want to be bothered with too much commercial talk. Of course, you understand that a blogger also has to earn money and pay his rent, but you do not come to a blog to read advertising manuscripts. That is why it is so important that as a blogger you always look if is the subject/brand are a good match with my blog and if so, is it relevant to the reader? Only then do we accept an advertorial. And yes, that means we have to reject 80%, but that is not bad news.
The nice thing is that brands increasingly realize that you have to let bloggers decide for themselves how they want to bring a product (or something else) to their attention. It happens more and more that we are given complete freedom in a campaign, and we like that a lot – after all, we know our target group better than the brand. In general, these campaigns are very positive, and that is crazy! We also see more and more that brands enter into long-term collaborations with bloggers and that is a fantastic development. Suppose we would recommend a different brand of meat substitutes every month as ‘the best product in the world.’ How much more fun and sustainable is it to let us be ‘the face of….’ for a year? In this way, you get to know all the products, and you can form a good opinion about the brand. It is also more engaging for the reader because he/she can see that we have been using the products regularly for a year or more.
What should you pay attention to, if you want to make money with your blog?
First of all, we think it is very important to always pay attention to whether the commercial content fits well with our blog. If not, then it’s not an option. The moment you have to reject something that would pay you well, you fell endless regret (and you will miss that money forever!), but later you will be grateful that you did not do it. Your credibility is the most important thing an THAT cannot be bought.
Secondly, it is very important to remain transparent to your readers. How can you do this? For example, by writing under an advertorial: “this blog post is written in collaboration with …” Or:” This is a sponsored post. “Or:” Adv. “On your social media channels, you keep it transparent when you write #spon or #adv behind sponsored messages. Then it is immediately clear what people are dealing with.
This way you know immediately that a blogger gets paid for it. In fact, I think the ratio with a successful blogger with many readers is about 80-20%, sometimes less, sometimes more. It depends on the subject and the size of your blog, I think. But if a blogger adheres to the rules (which are normal, through an advertising code,), then you know exactly when something is sponsored and when not. Just pay attention!
We also find it important to be open to others: yes, we make money with our blog and no, we are not ashamed of that. Why should you be ashamed to make money with something that you put your whole heart and soul in? And do it voluntarily. Therefore, tell our readers with all our love, in what ways we make money. And if fellow bloggers have questions about how they could handle certain things, commercially, we are also happy to be able to help. It happens routinely that we are called or e-mailed by fellow bloggers who have questions. We are basically colleagues; we can help each other. In the past, we were also very well advised by other bloggers, and we were always very happy with that! Why should you also be secretive about it?
Fortunately, maintaining a blog becomes an increasingly accepted job, and fewer and fewer people are surprised when you say your blog is making money. In fact, more and more people are amazed at the fact that not everyone is doing it full-time yet and are still working for a boss – but that’s just the thing of blogging; it takes a little longer before it yields a full-time salary for a family.
Another important message that we want to convey to you is: make sure there is a balance on your blog. If you place only commercial information, your readers will soon get enough of it. It may seem tempting to deal with everything that is offered to you, but then again: your credibility quickly sinks to the buttons, and it is difficult to restore this once you have got yourself a bad name.
Dear bloggers, do not accept assignments for fast money if they are assignments that you do not really support. Also do not accept assignments for which you have to do way too much, where you spend a lot of time, and then get paid way too little. You can take yourself seriously as a blogger, even if you do not have a very large audience. It’s all about the attitude.
We hope we have given a bit more clarity about how it works, and address the eternal question of how making money with your blog works in reality. We are curious about your experiences and tips. And if you have any more questions about earning money blogging, or other blogging related matters, please do not hesitate to post them below!