I'm kicking off a new blogger series today called The Frugal Blogger's Guide To Living. The first in this series is: How to make money blogging. So we will be discussing that today.
I'm no expert on this. I don't have a degree in finance, and I was terrible in math. (Just so you know!) I learned what I know by trial and error.
The day I pushed Publish on my first blog post, I had no idea that years down the road, it would have to become my main source of income.
And that I would go from being a doctor's wife to a struggling blogger who had to keep a close watch on her money. And continually try to find new sources of income via the blog.
And so we will begin with the mistake most people tend to make, be it forgetfulness, laziness or uncertainty.
TIP #1: Never put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, diversify your income. Do not depend on one or even two sources.
The pendulum of blogging revenue, via ad networks, swings wildly from month to month. You never know what you'll end up with at the end of the month. It is oftentimes feast or famine.
I use BlogHer and Google Adsense. (This will take you to Google, and then type in Google Adsense). I've made good money on both, and I've made piss-poor money on both.
TIP #2: Look for other sources of revenue aside from the usual ones bloggers are drawn to.
One source I signed up with is Media Nexus. You can look on my sidebar and click on the box that says Femme.
One thing about branching out is, it may lead to other jobs. I got a gig through Media Nexus with Destination Femme. I did a post on my apartment kitchen for them. So don't discount the fact that one gig may very well lead to another.
TIP #3: Take off intrusive ads if at all possible.
Now this is a judgment call. I, like you, do not like intrusive ads. BlogHer can be great, but it can also have intrusive ads that make your readers angry, and they will typically let you know about it.
I may not be making as much money with BlogHer right now because I told them to take those ads off that flipped out to the side or bottom or top. I also don't care for the ads at the very top or very bottom.
I may have shot myself in the foot, because my earnings are w-a-y down. But your readers, they are everything. They are truly your bread and butter. So listen to them and treat them well. Take their suggestions to heart. And write them back to let them know you will do all you can to fix the problem they're writing you about.
So if I still have any ads that are very intrusive, please let me know.
TIP #4: Sponsored Posts
You may like them or you may hate them. I think it is all in how often you do them. I do sponsored posts for Link Vehicle. I don't remember if I found them or they found me. I've only done one this month, so the earnings will not be great unless I "sell" a few more before December.
Sometimes a company will contact me through a liaison and ask me to link something on one of my posts. This is a judgment call I make. I charge $100 per link. Last night I got an offer for $95, and I'll probably take it, because this is the last quarter of the year and money will be tight.
So how much do I typically make per month? Everyone wants to know the numbers. Of course, as I said, it can vary wildly, but lately I've been making around $1200 a month. There have been worse months and there have been better months.
Usually the better months are when I've done some big promotion with BlogHer and am getting paid for it, which is not very often. Or a promotion for another company that was profitable. But they are few and far between.
Along with an annuity I share with my ex, which is about $860, I manage. But my fear each month is that, should he die, I lose that. If I die, he gets my half. Just the way it is.
I know I cannot live on blogging income, as it is now, alone. So that fear is in the back of my mind all the time.
And keep in mind, all of the income I've stated above has NOT been taxed yet. I will have to pay taxes on all of it.
My bills each month, barring something unforeseen, which seems to always happen, is around $1500, give or take. I didn't add gas and some other things. I'd be writing this all day if I sat around and thought of every little thing.
Which is why I have to be frugal, not go out much, and only eat lunch out if it's lunchtime and it's cheap. And then comes April and it's time to pay the IRS.
TIP #5: Don't just put ads on your blog and forget about them. At least that is my experience. I change mine up all the time so the eyes that see them don't get bored.
Just the other day I tried a different size format for one of my Adsense ads. It is small, and I liked that. Now I will have to see how much fill rate there is for that size.
Bloggers ask me all the time: What else can I do to make money? Do your research. Write an ebook. Which I always say I'm going to do and never seem to find the time for. Sell something.
TIP #6: It's best to find a source that you do once, like an ebook, and then sell over and over. Which is passive income. It could be about most anything. Blogging, decorating, gardening, whatever you have a lot of knowledge about.
I've been mulling over the idea of giving blog critiques and then discussing with the blogger what I would suggest to change things up and perhaps help them, to a point. Would anyone be interested in this? At a price of say, $29.99?
You would be getting all my know-how I've gleaned over the past six years of blogging. And my experience of blogging on different platforms.
I've played with this idea off and on, but just have never implemented it. I'd want to know if there's any interest first I suppose.
TIP #7: Some of you have Etsy shops. And are very successful with them. Some of you also know a lot about graphic design and can sell your services.
Here is a wonderful and resourceful site that has LOTS of info on making money as a blogger. I get her newsletter. Her blog is called Moms Make Money. She has a Wordpress site, so some of her info might pertain more to that platform, but rarely so.
She seems to make good money with affiliate links. (You only make money when someone buys an item.) I have yet to make money with this, but I tend to be impatient. And when I see I'm not making money with an ad, I switch to something where I see more immediate gratification.
Yet, she does it well. So read what she has to say. She is a fount of information on all things concerning blogging revenue. (And I am still researching the whole affiliate thing. When you see her numbers, you'll know why.)
TIP#8: Keep an eye on successful blogs that you like in your genre, and see what kinds of ways they're going about making money.
TIP#9: Stay abreast of what's going on in the blogging world. Google the subject periodically. Ask questions of other bloggers (it never hurts to ask). And keep your blog looking fresh.
Also, you can go here for a list of money making blog networks that was created in 2014, so it should be pretty current.
And here is yet another to check out.
I have worked with some other networks, but can't recall them at the moment. I have listed the ones I am currently using. Others I am mulling over.
SOCIAL MEDIA: I will add here, and most of you know this, that I don't often utilize social media in order to promote my blog. I find that my time is better spent working on my content (I don't accept guest posts either) rather than hopping around on social media. Only so many hours in the day!
I don't like to get away from working on my blog itself. And I would get really distracted if I was on social media much of the day. I think it is a huge time suck.
But this is a personal call. I know it can be a great way to promote yourself. So it is a decision you yourself must make.
Just don't think that because everyone else is doing it, that you have to do it too. What works for one, might not work for you.
TIP #10: I think what it boils down to is doing your research. Seeking out ways to monetize your blog that seems to work for you. There are famously popular blogs that don't have to do the seeking. The seekers come to them. But for most of us, I think we have to do our homework.
And this should go without saying. Make each post the best post it can be. Check for grammatical errors. We all make them. Make sure your photos aren't blurry, because eye candy draws them in!
Keep your sidebar looking updated and clean. I hate it when I see sidebars on blogs with ads or whatever that are out beyond the borders. Fix this! It looks very unprofessional.
It doesn't hurt to redesign your blog. I often buy blogger blog template themes. The one I have now I love the most. It is by Envye. It was $50, but I get email updates from them. And one day they were half-price, and I bought it for $25. (She designs for both Blogger and WP.)
You can buy ready-to-go templates on Etsy as well. I've purchased several there. This is a cheap way of getting a new look without hiring a designer. You back up your blog, then download your theme and change it from the theme you currently are using. If you want to do it and are uncertain about how, email me and I'll try to help.
It's putting your best foot forward every single day. You never know who's keeping a private eye on your blog. A magazine editor, a company, a person with a job. You don't want to lost their interest. So go over your posts and edit them the best you can with that in mind.
If you have a question, you can either email me or leave them in the comments, I will do my best to answer them there.
And if you have a suggestion or great idea, please put that in the comments as well. We're all needing the money-making tips!