How I make money blogging

 In Blogging Tips

A lot of folks ask me –  How on earth do you make money blogging?

how I make money blogging

My immediate reaction is to say, “Well, I don’t make very much,” and I never really set out to make money from blogging. I just wanted to write  about things which I was interested in and which might be helpful to others. I also wanted to write freelance features for magazines and thought blogging might help me get the attention of editors. I wanted to take and display our photos to show friends and family overseas what our life was like in Australia, and when I started hosting my own site, I wanted to earn enough to pay my bloggie bills.

But that’s beginning to change. The passionate hobby is turning into a late-blooming career which embodies far more than just being ‘a blogger’.

Would I still blog if I didn’t make any money from it? Of course! My life purpose it seems is to write, make connections and start conversations. That’s what I love the most.

Blogging Degree?

Right now though it seems as if the snowball I’ve been creating has reached the top of the hill and it’s beginning to roll down the hill gathering snow, rather than me slogging up the hill pushing it in front of me.

Phew. I’m a little bit puffed from nearly 6 years of pushing that monster uphill.

Nudging up the mountain inch by inch has been hard (but fun) labour. In essence I guess I’ve completed what amounts to an unofficial degree in blogging and social media (not sure if I passed) as well as serving an apprenticeship after that. I’ve attended lots of blogging conferences around Australia and been to lots of blogging workshops not to mention reading heaps of How To’s online.

It’s probably taken me longer than most, because remember, I’m no Gen Y and things don’t come quickly to this old brain of mine.

When I started blogging in late 2009, there weren’t many people my age rattling away online and practically no one was talking about Western Australia. So when I started The  ZigaZag Mag (my Western Australian travel blog) it flat-lined for a long time. NADA. No readers, no engagement – even my Mum wasn’t really interested.

Then when I began Lifestyle Fifty in late 2013 (because I was about to give up on ZigaZag). Oh the Naysayers said it would flop because not many people over 50 were either internet savvy or interested in reading blogs.

Wrong! There are loads of you my age and above who enjoy reading blogs and lots of you will be here reading today.

You really Rock Lifestylers! Thank you!

Don’t give up!

Shall I tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give up in the last 6 years because it’s all got a bit too much?

Err … That would be at least once a month.

This little blog though, and ZigaZag are testament to the fact that you should never give up, especially if you’re doing something you love.

In the last couple of months I’ve seen a definite pattern emerging showing a rather un-strategic me where the money, honey (and other lovely perks) are coming from.

Maybe Dave will be able to retire soon after all 😉 Hehe! Not!

So if anyone is interested in starting blogging as a way to make some money from home, I’ll say “Yes, it can be done if you love doing it,” but “Be prepared to put in long hours and several years to get there,” unless you have tons of technical and bloggie know-how already, along with fabulous, active online contacts, and preferably a product or service to sell too. Remember there are no guarantees for making money because the blogosphere arena changes constantly.

You might also like : Blogging for older people. How I started blogging after 50 

or What Makes a Successful Blog (Chris Guillebeau)

and How Much should we spend on Hobbies? (Kelly Exeter)

and  How we make money travel blogging (Caz and Craig Makepeace)

and 10 Ways to make money from blogging (Nikki Parkinson)

How I make money blogging

Writing posts for other sites

Because of the platform I’ve created with my blogs  I’m fortunate to be contacted by organisations who want relevant content  targeted to resonate with their readers and customers. And I love the creative challenge of finding the right voice and the right content to be able to do this. Here’s an example from the new Margaret River tourism website: 10 Reasons you just have to stop in Cowaramup

Ah, the much maligned sponsored post. They do help pay the blogging bills but here’s where I have to juggle the interests of my readers with the interests of paying clients. However, I love finding ways to get creative with sponsored content on my sites and I only accept content from advertisers whose products I either use and love, or which  think would be useful to my readers. Sponsored posts are always marked as “Sponsored” or “Brought to you By” or similar and they are often written by me or edited by me.  Here’s an example I wrote recently : Want more health and happiness? Stay connected socially

Affiliate Links

It took me a good couple of years to get around to putting anything up other than  Amazon, which hasn’t performed that well. Then I started experimenting a little and lo and behold some of you lovely readers are loving the products I’m promoting and you click through to the links to buy products. To you (you know who you are) a very sincere thank you. My commission might  be minimal but it all adds up. Here’s an example where I added an affiliate link to Millers Fashion, at the end of a style post: How to wear Floral trousers

Sidebar Ads

I started off with a link to Google Ads, which completely belly-flopped and made me think that you probably need millions rather than thousands of readers to make Google Ads worthwhile. Then a small but regular paycheck from a video company and a couple of longer term ads from  individual local small businesses (such as Amalfi Coaching)  made me realise that this was also becoming an income stream.

Gifted products and ‘famils’

These are really the cherry on top of the blogging cake because they  offer the opportunity to see, do, stay at, try our, wear, or eat things which I might not necessarily have had the chance to do otherwise.  If I receive complimentary products or experiences you’ll always see a disclosure or  disclaimer in the post, such as in Bali Holidays: What to pack for a tropical break

You might also find this post interesting … How I learned not  to be a blogger from Kirsty at My Home Truths

Blogging Workshops and Speaking Engagements

I love facilitating blogging (and writing) workshops, and over the years these have covered various blogging topics and freelance writing topics too. Recently I’ve been asked to speak at a couple of events as well. As my blogs grow I hope to be able to give more and so inspire more people my age to start blogging.

EBook

This is in the pipeline! If you’d like to get on the list to bag one or even help in its creation (I’ll be making announcements and pleas via The Newsletter) , please sign up here …



And that, as they say, is a wrap!

Bloggie peeps – if your blog helps to provide an income for you – please chip in here with any  other ways you make money via blogging.

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Showing 29 comments
  • Janet
    Reply

    Johanna,
    Great list! You talked about ads briefly but beyond sidebar ads (direct ads), if you have enough traffic you can join an ad network like The Blogger Network. We manage ads for you and pay you (fast). That way we work to fill all of your ads and get the best possible price for them. For a lot of bloggers this is the #1 source of income and it’s passive. You (or we) put the code in and it just goes.
    Blog on!
    Janet

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Hi Janet, thanks for the heads-up 🙂

  • Jacinta
    Reply

    Great list Jo! You are a beautiful person inside and out and a fantastic writer so it’s great to see you do so well xxx

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Oh thank you lovely Jacinta 🙂 I’m also a big fan of you too xx

  • Jo
    Reply

    Oh yes we over 50s certainly do like to read a good blog! There does not seem much out there for people of our age, and I find your blog to be unique and interesting in this respect. I’ve idly thought about starting a blog myself, around growing, making, baking. Existing blogs that cover these topics seem to be mostly written by young mums. I checked in with one blog recently to see what was new and was subjected to a LONG story of her traumatic last delivery. Not exactly what I was looking for in a blog about simple living etc…..
    Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be revisiting your great advice about how to blog for a (modest) living. Wishing you the very best!

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Thank you namesake Jo! I’d just say ‘Go for it’ and do it now. Shoot me any questions about starting and I’ll try to help.

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Good on you Nikki. Enjoy your wine, chocolate (and shoes of course too)!

  • Reply

    Hi Jo! I am on the same side of fifty as you and i love this post. I have nearly given up a few times but now I am determined to work a bit harder and more focused. I write as a hobby and work full time. My ideal scenario would be to do both part time and hopefully that will happen one day. I am not making money out of my blog but it would be nice to at least make. Little somethjng to cover the cost of running my blog and have a bit of shoe money. Thanks for this xoxox

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Hello Barbe, I think that would be an ideal scenario and one that’s worth working towards, bit by bit, brick by brick. It can take much longer than you think to start making money from a blog, but when it starts happening you’ll feel it’s all been worth it. Plus I bet, if you’re like me, you can’t stop blogging anyway 😉

  • KathyMarris
    Reply

    Jo it is most definitely a case of perseverance paying off when it comes to successful blogging. After 3 years I am only just starting to make a little money, however nowhere near enough to pay the bills just yet. I took your advice and increased my fee for sponsored posts. I was selling myself short there. Great post and great advice Jo. 🙂

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Thanks so much Kathy, and I’m really glad that you are realising your worth.

  • Life Images by Jill
    Reply

    you are an inspiration Jo. I have watched Lifestyle Fifty grow from strength to strength, and I have always loved your style of writing. And the topics you cover are so relevant, and you talk about them in a way we 50 plusses can relate to. For myself I have made a small income from some photography sales I have made through blogging when someone “discovers” me when they are looking for a photo of something in particular. I don’t earn a lot, but every little bit counts. Onwards and upwards for you Jo. You have put in the time and effort and you deserve the rewards.

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Jill, you are *too* kind. Thank you. I truly believe that it’s through your fabulous photography that your real worth lies. Blogging will be your platform along with social media to get it out there, and when you get that right, the world will be your oyster.

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths
    Reply

    This is a great post to lay out the ways you can make a little bit of money from blogging. I do sponsored posts and have sidebar advertising but I’m yet to delve into affiliate promotion. It would be easier if I was a niche blogger but I will do some investigation and see how I go. Thanks for the mention too!!!!

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Hi Kirsty, it’s always ‘easier’ when it comes to advertising to be a niche blogger I think, but you have to be an expert in that niche to make it happen. Sometimes a niche just isn’t interesting enough for us to blog about it long-term, which is why so many of bloggers revert to magazine type blogs which I think interests our regular readers, maybe doesn’t do quite so well in searches and doesn’t attract advertisers looking to advertise to a niche audience. Affiliate promotion begins to work at the cross point of: interested readers and enough of them.

  • Marlize Venter
    Reply

    Thanks Jo, once again your a source of great information:) I have many ideas. Now to start getting into action.

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Hi Marlize, you have a great blog and fabulous content – yes, you go girl!

  • Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    Reply

    Hubster is impressed by the amount I charge for a sponsored post. It seems a lotta money for not much effort. But I remind him that 99% of the posts I write are completely unpaid so it makes up for that (not that I do it for money, I do it for love!)

    • Johanna
      Reply

      I agree Janet! Although we blog for love, there’s an awful lot of love going on before we manage to make any money to feed ourselves! We are not so very different in spirit to 19th Century artists living in pecunious circumstances in Parisienne garrets! I think Hubster would be surprised too, as mine would be, to know actually just how much creative effort and time it takes to bring a sponsored post to life.

  • sue elliott
    Reply

    Hi Ya Jo, good to see that your have turned a corner…Not sure that I am as marketable what with the potty mouth and all. So I teetar between being good and being me.

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Oh LOL Sue! You know many have made good with bad potty mouths ‘n all! I’d say keep your voice and be unique 🙂

  • Johanna
    Reply

    So glad that this post came at the right time Pam. I know how discouraging it can be just plodding along and not thinking that you’re getting anywhere. I’m so glad you’re in the right frame of mind right now, but really all I can say is keep plodding, keep learning, watch for the mini breakthroughs and build on them. I’m on the ringside cheering you on, so let me know how you go, won’t you?

    • Pam
      Reply

      Thanks Jo – appreciate you being around 🙂

  • Pam
    Reply

    This is a very timely post for me Jo, I’ve given up on my blog more often than I’ve posted on it in the last year. But I’m in a ‘I can do this’ frame of mind at the moment. Thank you for the encouragement and the ‘living proof’ that with a lot of work and perseverance, and enjoying what we do, we can get somewhere :-)x

  • Suzanne Fluhr
    Reply

    Jo, you’re one of my Baby Boomer blogging heroes. I just wish you lived closer than just about as far away from my hometown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, as possible. Can you recommend any posts or articles about affiliate marketing for 50+ bloggers? I haven’t received a cheque from Amazon yet because my affiliate earnings don’t yet total $10. I’m trying to convince my husband (and myself) that blogging can be a career (or at least a semi-career or at least earn enough to cover expenses) 😉

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Ahh, thank you Suzanne 🙂 Who knew! Guess What? I look up to you too 🙂 Aiee, that does sound an awful long way away from each other. One of us is in the wrong place 😉 I’m the same with Amazon, never seem to get over the yardarm. I was also always trying to convince my husband that blogging can be a career, but at last this year it’s changed in my favour. I often refer to Problogger for advice … here’s a link to affiliate marketing : http://www.problogger.net/?s=affiliate+marketing … hope it helps and good luck! You’ll get there – keep me posted.

  • Nina
    Reply

    Thanks for this post Jo. For all newbie bloggers like myself you’ve been a wonderful inspiration and I’ve learned so much from reading both your blogs. I may not quite be on the other side of fifty, but you’re blog posts are just as relevant to me as to any other age group.

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Ahh, thanks for those lovely words and sentiments Nina! I keep all lovely comments like this one and re-read them when I feel like giving up x

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