I’m not sure if you guys remember, but a (long) while ago I asked if you guys had any questions for me– and you guys had A LOT! About many different things. I answered a lot of them– you can see the question and answer posts HERE. But then I guess I sort of dropped off from finishing all the answers (no one is surprised). And well, months later I just found the folder with all the questions I have yet to answer. So I thought, I should jump back on that. This post will answer the questions regarding me blogging as a career.
Most of the questions were about the same: “how do you make money blogging?” And you know, a lot of similar type questions like– “How did you make blogging a career?” / “How do you generate income on your blog to have it be your only job?” / “I’m curious how a blog can be a full-time job?” / “Are you only living off the money of the blog?” and “Do you have savings? Do you have other income?” etc etc etc.
The short answer to all of that is: Yes, I do make money on my blog— enough to call it a career and have it be my only income. We currently have two incomes since Alex has gone back at work, but we could survive on just mine if needed/wanted. I do have savings, I made it through my blog. And any other money I make, I make it through blogging related things.
So how do bloggers make money with their blogs? Well, that’s a long answer. And even though I’m not into personal money questions– they seem weird to me, I’m not opposed to discussing it– cause *shrug* whatever.
But before we break down all the different ways bloggers make money, let’s talk about how I started making money in this blog land, cool? Here’s a little back story into my personal journey…
How I Started Blogging
So I started blogging about 18 years ago. (let that number sink in for a minute, haha– totally makes me feel OLD!). I’m pretty sure people didn’t make money off their blogs at this time. I was 15 and honestly– my blog today isn’t too far off from what it was then. Loads of random thoughts flowing out as I wanted them to. The difference was that back then my blog was filled with a lot more smiley type figures… and angsty teenage talk. But it always has been a personal journal that I publicly shared.
A few years into blogging — maybe when I was about 17 or 18 or so, some blogs I followed, that had a bigger or similar following, asked if people wanted to sponsor their blogs. Aka, pay them directly to keep their blog running. For example, it would be like if I put a post on my blog today, asking if you guys wanted to send money/make a monetary donation to keep my blog going. It seemed a bit weird at first, but it also made sense. I mean, if you’re putting so much work and time into a space for people to enjoy, then why not be able to get paid for your efforts, you know? And so people started making donations to some peoples blogs to keep the blogger writing weekly. I didn’t do the same (maybe should have?) but I took note of the sponsorship/money for blogging transition for sure.
By blogging for so long and making so many friendships through blogging, I grew a following pretty organically in my space. Looking back, if I had taken this monetizing step from the beginning, I could have majorly turned this into something bigger, faster. But I didn’t. I just wrote because I enjoyed writing. And if people read it, great, but I didn’t have any long-term goals with my space.
About a year before I got pregnant I slowly stopped blogging. I had done it for almost a decade just for fun/as an outlet, but never for money. I was just going through a lot in my life and it felt good to ease away for a bit. I didn’t stop completely but wasn’t full on writing anymore. And then I got pregnant. Again, I wanted a creative outlet, a space to talk about what I was going through and just let out all my fears about single motherhood. I decided to delete my earlier blog and start new. I didn’t want anyone to go back through my space and read all my angsty teenage thoughts and associate that with who I was anymore. I just wanted a clean new space to write. That’s this space now 🙂
on the left, my very first photo shared. on the right me with my preggo belly, taking jerry the dog out on a tricycle ride 😉 The bottom photo: how to skip through all the way to the beginning of it all 🙂
Sometimes I wish I had the old space to go back to and through the memories, but mostly I’m totally cool with my decision. I mean, really, I wouldn’t care what people read or how they could judge me. People will always judge. So at the end of the day, keeping the old blog or deleting it forever, really made no difference in the long term, emotionally. Though in hindsight, had I kept my original blog and my original following and grew off that, then my current space could/would be substantially larger today– so financially, maybe I should have kept it? Who knows. But whatever, you live you learn.
It might seem crazy to a lot of bloggers or aspiring bloggers, but I’ve definitely come to a place where I often prefer not to grow my blog. I like when people naturally stumble into this space and connect with it or enjoy it. But the idea of a bunch of new people flooding in often scares me. Yes, more eyes can sometimes mean more positive connections, but it typically means an introduction to negativity too. And I’m not in any place to want to deal with that. I really appreciate the space I have now, the new people who stumble in here with similar interests, and the readers that I’ve kept for so long. I really feel like I have an amazing community here — people who have kept up with me and supported me throughout the years and I cannot be more grateful for it. So thank you, guys!
I didn’t start my new blog/ohdeardrea with intentions to create a job out of it. But I also knew there could be a potential to do so. And who doesn’t want to do something they love and have the possibility of creating a full or part-time income with it, right? I started my blog and wrote often. Again, sharing what my daily life looked like and my overflow of emotional thoughts (that first year of Marlowe’s life was ROUGH!). I never put in effort or money to grow my blog, I just wrote, shared, connected — and the space organically gained a following. People liked my story and the things I was sharing so they shared my site. Words of mouth and sharing are HUGE for bloggers. If there is something you like– share it!
When I started the new ohdeardrea space, the most popular way bloggers made money was again by “collecting sponsorships” — typically in the form of sidebar ads or sometimes blog mentions. Similar to people putting out a call for readers to sponsor their blog, bloggers put out a call for businesses to support their blog space. But this time, in return, companies would receive promotion for their money. This is how I started. I eventually got to the point where I thought, “Hey I can make some extra cash with this.” It was a natural and slow process that in no way happened overnight.
As my blog readership slowly grew, I felt comfortable in the idea of being able to advertise for other companies. I still remember the day when my blog finally hit 1,000 page views (I was eating pizza). It had slowly been creeping up each week and that was a number I was looking forward to reaching. I’m not sure the exact number of page views I was receiving when I decided to promote advertising options, but I know it was at least 1,500 or so readers a day.
And so, one month I decided to make an announcement that I would be taking in monthly sponsorships for my blog. People could pay a bit of money (sponsor me) and return they would be given a sidebar ad and promotion on my blog. I still remember my very first sponsor. It was an organic kids t-shirt company. The owner’s name was Kyle and she was just the sweetest human who reached out wanting to support my space and have a bit of advertising for hers. A win/win really.
On my blog, sidebar sponsorships usually took place with small businesses or other blogs who wanted to grow their own blogs– I made a lot of friends this way too. Usually, by emailing me to promote their own space, I would get to know the sponsor and their company/blog and build connections. So again, pretty awesome. I’ve met one of my absolute best friends this way. Actually, the story is even better– my friends’ husband emailed me! He told me that she loved my blog and he wanted to buy a sponsored space FOR HER. Isn’t that the freaking sweetest thing ever? (Love you, B+A.)
The process of making money online is always shifting. Through the years, more and more businesses have realized the potential in advertising with bloggers and the entire system has drastically changed in the last ten years. Sponsored sidebar ads aren’t as common anymore. If a company approached me wanting to have an ad hosted, I would say yes (depending on the company obviously), but it’s not something I currently advertise as a prominent option. There are other better options (IMO) now and more ideas/ ways to make money are turning up all the time.
I really love my blog space. This is my sanctuary space. And if i’m being honest, I enjoy this space a whole lot more than I enjoy social media. Even if the whole “blogging for business/career” thing died, I would still be here– living, documenting, sharing. There is no pressure here. I come, I write, I share– I make friendships, connections, I learn, I grow, I express creativity and more. I’m grateful for it daily. And on top of that, I do currently make money by partnering with some truly amazing companies. And undeniable and truly a wonderful added bonus.
But if you’re taking note (like my mother), you’ll have noticed I’ve taken on fewer and fewer sponsored type posts this last year. For a lot of reasons– mainly for my health and needing freedom while traveling with my family. But also for a few other reasons too. And I’d like to discuss all of that with you guys. I’m drafting up the second post to this super long three-part post. I plan to share how exactly I make money these days through my blog (–cause yes, I’m taking on less, but I’m still making money mom, haha). As well as some of the problems I’ve personally found in it all.
If you have any more specific questions, feel free to ask, I can try to answer them in the upcoming posts. I think that’s one thing that has always set me apart in the blogging world– I’ve just always shared it all– the good and the bad. I want to always do that. Not just for my blog, but in life. I’m an open book, honest to a fault, and I don’t ever intend to change that. So thanks for taking me and all my simply human glory as is. And again, I want to say, thank you guys for being here. Through all of it. For letting me share my life and emotions with you and for supporting me in the business side of all of this too. You guys and the community created with this space is just as important as me coming in here to share my thoughts. You guys are half of it. So thank you.
You can read Part 2: How do you make money blogging? HERE.
I planned to create a Part Three: The Problems I’ve Faced With Blogging And went back three years to find, I already discussed this topic pretty clearly. No need to repeat myself. You can read The Problems I’ve Faced In Blogging For A Living HERE.