Hi friends! How are you? I thought this would be more of a weekly series, but life keeps escaping me. I think I’ve decided im okay with the fact that I’ll never catch up to life. I used to need to be super on top of everything. And now? Well I’m not, but thats okay. The important thing is that stuff always gets done one way or another– and somehow the things of importance get done on time. So I’m not too concerned 😉 Anyway, last week I wrote the first part of my three part blog series: How do you make money blogging? Part one: How I Started. I definitely transitioned into the money part slowly. Mostly because the idea of it was pretty new and I was figuring it out! I wanted to make sure that I was doing it well for myself and for the companies I was working with!

You guys may have noticed (or not) that I often work with a lot of the same companies over and over again. It’s great! It’s typically with companies I really love– and even better that they liked working with me enough/saw the value that they want to work with me again!  I think there has only ever been one company that I’ve felt regret working with. It was a pretty popular and nationwide company that a lot of people love and shop at weekly, but it just wasn’t something I was totally comfortable with. Other than that, I’ve been pretty confident in my partnerships. I think it’s a win/win all around. I never want to spam you guys with garbage! And I hope that you find value in the things I share and link (whether sponsored or not!).

Alright so let’s talk about blogging for money and how it works. I’ll break down a ton of ways for you guys.  I use some methods, but not most. Let’s go through them..

Methods of income for bloggers:

Sidebar ads:

Larger blogs/websites will host ads from bigger media groups, google, or whatever larger system. I have done this from time to time. And maybe at some point will again, but I prefer to keep my blog free of clutter, so I usually opt to avoid banner ads. I worked with one company who mandated me to use the ads. That company is bankrupt now– and they owed me thousands when they went out of business too– so lets file that under *learning lessons in blogging*.

Hosting the ads would have/could have been fine but they were glitchy as could be and kept popping up videos and other annoying features. Video ads and ones that pop up will make a blogger more money than a static image ad– but gosh they are annoying for the reader, aren’t they? Trust me, I get why most bloggers use ads, I always debating on using a static ad here and there. I’m not against them, but I think we should work on ditching the crazy pop up ones! Haha.

Most sidebar ads/banner ads are pay per click based or pay per page views. This means when more people click the ad, the blogger makes more money. Or the more page views (how many people visit their site/and how many pages do they see when they visit the site) they have, the more money they make with their blog. I have used sidebar ads in the past based on views/clicks, but it’s been a long while. The only ad I have up right now is an affiliate ad. Which means, I don’t make any money based on how many people visit my blog, see the ad, or how many people click it the ad.

Affiliate ads:

I use one affiliate sidebar ad. I have used a few others in the past. I make money each time someone clicks through to the website and makes a buy. You can join different networks to sign up for affiliate programs. Theres good parts and bad parts to affiliate promotion. I usually only have an amazon ad. The reality is all of you guys know what amazon is. And since I’m not stealing your info when you come to my site (you’re welcome haha) the ad wont change based on your recent internet searches. It stays the same always — so you’re not seeing the ad thinking “ooooh that looks interesting, let me check it out.” I could keep it or leave it on my site, but I figured enough people are clicking around that they might make a purchase from it. And when someone does make a purchase, I make a small commission (or a larger commission with a bigger purchase). This doesn’t add to the cost of your purchase, but it makes me a bit of money here and there. And making a bit of money here and there can certainly add up.  About once a year I remind my mother that if she’s making purchases, to consider directing them through the link on my site, haha. This is a super easy way to support a blogger without handing out money. If you’re going to make the purchase anyway, it helps to do it through their affiliate ads and links! (Don’t be shy, haha).

Affiliate links:

A lot of fashion bloggers and home design bloggers love affiliate links. Let’s say a blogger does a daily outfit post–  that blogger can then link basically every single item head to toe. They then make money through each purchase made through these links. This works great for people in the fast fashion industry– shop shop shop, link link link, make money, repeat.

The personal problem I have with this is that  A. a lot of the smaller, organic companies that I shop from do not have affiliate links. B. even if they did, I’m in no way buying new items/outfits monthly, weekly, whatever, to post “this weeks fashion item” yada yada. I typically post an outfit, have someone ask about it, and then have to sadly say, “sorry I don’t have a link, I bought this three years ago.” So while I could buy more clothes and link more clothes, it’s just not on my agenda. Like, my recent room tour, haha. I had one item with clickable link. I’m always happy to share where I buy things, but for me, I try to support smaller companies first or buy second-hand and this doesn’t work great in the world of making money online.

Of course, I do link things when they fit naturally. Like, in recipes, I might link a certain type of noodle I prefer, or maybe spirulina, or whatever type of vitamin that you guys might want to try but maybe you’re not sure which is the best options. Or when I blog about supplements or makeup, I’ll link those through the post. It’s little things here and there. I do try to link things often. A. yes because I do make money if there are purchases made through the link. but also because B. more times than not I’ll be asked about a certain item, so its easier for me just to link it when I can.

You guys can then see what items I’m using/companies I’m personally supporting and then make purchases as you see fit. And you can be sure that if I’m linking something here it’s because its something I genuinely use and would recommend. There are a lot of sites that offer affiliate marketing. I typically just link through amazon because I order from it the most and assume that others do too. A convenience thing for all of us for sure.

I’ve never asked, but I assume the larger fashion bloggers using these systems can make a part of full-time income on these affiliate links alone. Weekly fast fashion trends will certainly make an easy dollar, adding up quickly. Honestly, I think rarely link stuff (comparably), and I still make good deal of pocket change from the links I already have in place in my blog.

Affiliate marketing can be hit or miss though. To make the sale, you need the person to buy directly through your link. The thing with shopping, especially on big purchases is that someone might see the company, bookmark it or jot down the idea and not actually make the purchase until a month or year from now. For Instance, because I’m at a hotel visit / showcasing a hotel, that in no way means people are going to head to the hotel site and book a room instantly. That’s not how it works. I’ve had blog readers message or email me months, and even years later saying that they’re at a hotel because I’ve mentioned it and they love it. This is a longterm return, and not some overnight magic. So linking via affiliates can get tricky or become inconvenient for a blogger in situations where items are bookmarked for later and not purchased directly through a link.

if you’re curious, this is the link to my bathing suit top and bathing suit bottom. I bought it from the website directly, but again, it’s not a newer item, so the link is to a different site. My suit is the light pink one– but honestly it’s more purple than I imagined so I wish I had bought the blue or another color. And the photo above is from my sustainable travel guide post which contained a few affiliate links.

In comes sponsor posts:

I feel like these days bloggers focus primarily on sponsored posts for their income. At least, I know I do. I had mentioned how in the beginning of my blogging process I put out a call for monthly sponsors– they would get a sidebar add and typically get a feature each month they sponsored as well. Well, eventually this evolved into a bigger sponsored post type of feature. I no longer put out a call for sponsors each month (haven’t done that in maybe 6 years). Eventually companies were reaching out to me to see what options I had.

Sponsored posts can look many different ways. Sometimes it’s more of a giveaway format. Sometimes its something more natural feeling. Sometimes it’s pretty direct: “here is the product” feeling. Or maybe even a guest-post giveaway scenario like yesterdays post. You can see most of my sponsored posts right HERE if you’re interested. The companies showcased on sponsored posts depends on the blog. On my blog it’s typically more lifestyle and family stuff– anything from travel (like a hotel or something) to a natural living product (maybe organic tampons).

Typically, but not always, companies opt to have a collection of social media posts to promote their product/brand with the sponsored post as well. This is typically something more natural feeling. I’ll post a sponsored post here and then share a link to my blog post with the company name on my facebook, instagram, twitter, wherever.

Sponsored social media content

This is similar to a blog post, but a company might ask for sponsored content exclusively on social media. A lot of people don’t even use a blog these days. They call themselves an “influencer” and promote products on social media. Or even if they don’t call themselves an influencer, some companies will. I have to say– I despise the word “influencer.” I never want to be known as someone who is solely here to try to influence/ change you guys. That idea just doesn’t sit well with me. I want to be able to be me, live my life, share it, and maybe, along the way, inspire you guys to try products and/or companies that are truly worth supporting.

Anyway, I digress. Sponsored social media content promotes the company on social media (duh) but skips the blog post thing. The perk of doing a sponsored blog post is that it’s easy to find later– and typically something far more natural and relatable. Like, people might be searching my blog or the internet for sustainable fashion options and stumble on a post I wrote a year or two ago. But of course, a blog post inclusion raises the cost. Companies, especially smaller companies sometimes choose to skip this and just promote themselves via social media. Both options are great, it just depends what the company is looking for. Obviously the ability to do both, is best. But even just an instagram post is highly effective for promoting a company. And you don’t need 50k followers to promote a business. At the end of the day, yes size of audience matters a bit, but more importantly having a trust from your followers is key. You guys know I’m not going to sell out and promote junk for money. It’s just not happening. Trust me, that 2,000$ offer to create an instagram post for a self tanner company looks mightyyyyy tempting, but at the end of the day it’s not worth it. You guys would be like, “What the hell is happening here?!” and I would feel like a major jerk for promoting a product that is A. bad for you. B. bad for the environment C. something I would never ever consider using in the first place.

Events

Bloggers often times get asked to attend, appear at, or host events. I’ve done a few, but not many. I’m an introvert for sure, so depending on the event, I typically say no. I’ve been asked plenty of times, but I’ve only done one speaking event. It went well, but was super nerve-wracking. I’ve also done events where  (no speaking or attention to me required) all I have to do is attend and document the fun. For this bloggers typically have a day rate + the fee of any promotions the company is asking for. I’m constantly on the fence about hosting more events/workshops and not. On one hand, I want to so I can break out of my shell more. On the other hand, my health is always iffy and unreliable so I typically decline. I just never know how I’ll feel from one week to another. It all depends. But if my health can get a bit more on track again, I am hoping to step out of my comfort zone and do more. But we’ll see.

Content creation / Photography

I’ve done a lot of content creation and photography jobs lately. Now, I guess this is sometimes separate from the blogging world, though it can overlap a lot. Within a sponsored post a lot of content is created. And often times the company will opt to pay the blogger for the photos so they can use them on their own sites and social media platforms. But sometimes a company isn’t looking for advertising. They’re just looking for content for their product/company. I mean, I you think about it, a blog or even instagram is essentially a giant photography portfolio so it’s pretty easy for the company to look at your photography style and see if it’s the type of content they want.

In general, I know my content is a bit more colorful than a lot companies are looking for. I think a lot of brands are looking for minimalistic white and neutral photos to showcase their brands (again totally depends on brand). But I’m lucky enough where a lot of great companies are sometimes looking for overly bright, tropical, and flowery content 🙂 This is great for me, because I’ve realized more and more how much I truly love creating content for brands. It might be one of my most enjoyed things in terms of earning money on this blog space.

Sometimes a brand hires me to create just one photo for their company, sometimes I get hired for a giant collection. It all depends. Price will vary depending on how many photos they want, the amount of work it’ll take to create the photo, if there is travel involved, etc. The other factors involved, which are more personal and varied from photographer to photographer is dependent on where the photos will be used. I’ve had photos that were just used for social media purposes and some that were used in magazines. It all depends!

Personal sales

Another way for a blogger to make money is to sell products themselves. This could be by creating merchandise or maybe selling an e-book– or in my case a really amazing and approachable family friendly cookbook. Though if we’re being open here, an e-book has the potential to make you much more money than a cookbook. Regardless, selling items on your own blog space is a great way to earn money!

What else?

Well I’m sure there are loads of others way that I’m forgetting. Like I said, the platform and use of blogs is changing constantly. Whatever works now may not work next year. The more you work, the more you can make. If you want to have a space that’s all sell sell sell and make more money, it’s all totally doable. Just depends what your end goal is!

All in all there are a million ways for a blogger to make money as well as a million ways for small and larger companies to promote in the blog world. Most bloggers have a contact page or you can email them directly. Well, so you know some blogs might use an agent as a middle man, but many don’t. Just email and find out if you’re ever interested to advertise your company! 🙂

In my next post I hope to share with you guys more of my thoughts on this. I guess about the evolution of my blog space and my thoughts on where I was before and where I’m at now. What I enjoy and what I don’t enjoy too. You know, all the mind grapes.

I hope you guys have enjoyed these blogging for money posts so far! If you have questions, feel free to ask 🙂 Always an open book! And as always, thank you for being here! And supporting me and my space! I do work very hard on this little blog of mine, so it’s always appreciated to find that you guys love it too 🙂

Alright friends, I hope you had an amazing week and have an even better weekend! Cheers!

12 Comments

  1. Personally, I’m not a fan of sponsored posts and would prefer to see “this is sponsored” at the top. I feel like the blogger is just coming up with something (junk or not) in order to write the post. For example, your Uber post was frustrating to me. There were no helpful tips in there – everyone knows that to save money, you should eat in when traveling – and I’ve never read you saying you’ve grabbed an uber before in your travel posts. If I had known it was a sponsored post, I would have skipped it.

    • Hi! The sponsored disclaimer is actually a legal thing 🙂 Some companies require that bloggers /”influencers” post at the beginning some dont have a specific location– some not at all! But I do like to put a disclaimer up even if the company didn’t ask it of me.

      For me, I wouldn’t take on a post that I felt like I would have to completely fluff up to create content with. If it didn’t come natural, then I would just pass. Like, sometimes companies will ask you to have a very specific topic to cover– and I pass for campaigns like this, because if I cant write what feels right for me, then it doesn’t make sense for me. it HAS to be natural.

      Regarding the uber campaign, I think views on whether or not the tips were helpful are dependent on how you typically travel 🙂 I actually had a fair amount of people message/comment me in insta/dms saying that the ideas were super helpful! For that campaign, the bloggers chosen were completely free to write whatever content felt most natural. I chose to write about travel and money/traveling tips because I actually get asked all the time about what we do to make traveling more affordable. But I could have written about anything– eating out, shopping, ordering online, whatever! We actually use uber all the time! I mean, not all the time at home– we have our cars for that, but have used uber at home when needed. But we’re in and out of Ubers constantly when we travel. We walk about 4 miles to one spot and then uber back to our hotel/apartment. We even used an uber in Guatemala haha! Also, so you know, the campaign didn’t require bloggers to have/use a Barclays reward card to do the post– but I actually do have /use one and have used it for a long time before asked to do the post– so it truly was an super natural fit 🙂 Like I said, I don’t like fluff– I’ve worked with a company that didn’t feel right, and I decided I wouldn’t be doing that after that.

      Either way, sorry you dont like sponsored posts. I know I’ve mentioned it but when I did my blog survey a while back I was really surprised and happy to see how many of my readers dont mind them! I thought for sure everyone would say they were annoying, but most of my readers responded that they were totally okay with them! I dont remember the exact number, but it was something like 10-15% that said they didn’t care for them. Most responded saying they appreciated how truly natural they felt in my space. But I am aware that with a whole assortment of readers here that not every post will be tailored to every person. I wish I could, obviously, but I cant. So I’m sorry if you dont care for the posts– and I do appreciate you coming here regardless!

  2. I have always loved your honesty behind this blog. I hate those blogs that seem like a constant sponsorship, that is … I understand that sponsoring is important, it’s money, hahaha but your blog is quite balanced.

    Sometimes I think it’s too late to start a blog and start making money with it … starting now!
    I mean, the great bloggers have been doing what they do for years … people read less and less, or interact less and less on the blog, do you think you can still try this, from scratch? I would like to know what you think of that ..THANK YOU

    and sorry, this English is still horrible, I practice a lot reading your blog by the way haha
    xoxo, Karen

    • I will for sure agree, that people read blogs less and less these days. People want quick instant gratification. Blogs are more like a long book, and instagram like a short commercial. I personally would consider creating a blog now, if I didn’t have one– but I wouldn’t consider doing it for money. But thats just me. There are plenty of people who do it!

      Also feel free to comment in Spanish, I can read it 😉 I’ll probably just answer back in English 🙂

  3. Thank you for being such an open book Drea. Loved this post. I’ve known of many of these things and it’s so nice to see you succeed in this journey. I think for me, is I really struggling pitching myself which I know is super helpful in the beginning before brands start reaching out to you on their own. I deal with mega imposter syndrome being so self critical that I just don’t end up believing in myself. Aaaahh…that needs to stop cuz I know I can totally have something neat to offer others. Thanks for your inspiration. Love to you girl always! <3

    • everyone totally has something near! We’re all such different people– so any and every blog has the potential to be something so interesting and new!

  4. Thank you for sharing.

    Do companies contact you for ads or do you contact them? How does a new blog do this? Thank you!

    • Companies def. contact me. I have reached out to maybe 5 companies ever. New or old blog, it’s the same, a company would find you– either through google or suggestion or whatever else and make an offer to you! At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how old or new your blog is– just as long as you have somewhat consistent content 🙂

  5. Very helpful post! Could you explain how you grew followers and page views though? Was that simply from following and interacting with other blogs?

    • Well, when I started blogging it was totallyyyyy different than it is now. People would comment because they were generally interested and friendly (maybe not all the time but usually)– now instagram is a sea of fake comments. “great pic!” “love your feed!” “amazing content!” it’s all the same repurposed BS.
      When I started people typically found blogs through other blogs– like I had mentioned, something like a sponsored content thing. I’ve definitely promoted blogs and not just businesses/brands before.

      Now, I guess the two main ways to grow would be something like focusing more on google searches or being featured on other blogs. Like, when I have Katie (the informed mom) post on my blog. Or maybe if your focus is design, to have it featured on a design blog, etc.

      I def had my home featured on a fair amount of blogs which helped– and then a few of my lifestyle posts were super popular and got shared on different round ups and stuff! You can always reach out to blogs that you think would be a good fit and pay to be featured or see if they take in submissions 🙂

  6. That’s very helpful post, Drea and what an eye opener. If I’m going to shop somewhere, I may just as well do it through your site/link, etc. (Amazon) helping a blogger out. I try to remember now whenever going on amazon.
    Have a great time in Europe xx