A lot of folks ask me – How on earth do you make money blogging?
My immediate reaction is to say, 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 gone mad 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.
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.
A book that helped me get started.
How To Make Money From Blogging: The Ultimate Guide To Earning A Five Figure Income From Your Blog by Sharon Gourlay.
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.
I also sometime get commissions from magazines to write freelance features.
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 or The Benefits of Vagisil or Health Star System.
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 trousersand How to Wear Ponte Pants and look a million dollars.
But you’re asking – Can you really make money blogging while you sleep?
Blogging can be really difficult. Many bloggers and online influencers skip over affiliate marketing. They either think it’s too hard, that it’s a waste of time, that they will turn followers away, or that their followers just won’t be interested.
However, if you’re not earning money through affiliate marketing, then you are leaving money on the table.
Perhaps you’ve tried affiliate marketing in the past, but nothing seemed to work or you feel like I did, that it’s not possible and that you’ll always be stuck.
Trust me, I know how you feel. When I started out blogging, I knew NOTHING about it.
And due to that, I was afraid to try new things, and I was definitely afraid of affiliate marketing because I didn’t want to scare my readers away or waste my time.
Then I found out about a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It made sense, and was easy to follow and implement. Michelle, the course tutor, earns over $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing, and she shares all of her best tips in this course.
There are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, over 20 worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful exclusive Facebook group, and more, and she goes through everything when it comes to affiliate marketing, such as:
- What affiliate marketing is and how it works
- Why affiliate marketing is great
- The exact steps she’s taken to earn over $300,000 from a single blog post
- How to pick the right affiliate products to promote
- How to increase conversions
- How to build trust and not lose followers
- Required disclosures that you need to know about
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- Different strategies to use to promote your affiliate products
- How to use Pinterest to succeed at affiliate marketing (yes, this includes the newest Pinterest affiliate rules!)
So Check out Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing TODAY! It set me on the road to making money from my blogs while I sleep and I’m still referring back to it to make my blog more useful to readers while at the same time making me money from old posts.
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 amount appeared as earnt commission one month – and I realised that these small amounts would start adding up.
Then a small but regular paycheck from a video company and a couple of longer term ads from individual local small businesses made me realise that sidebar advertising could also become 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. However they don’t provide grocery money.
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 and Why go on a Princess Cruises World Cruise.
You might also find this post interesting … How I learned not to be a blogger from Kirsty at My Home Truths
and The Practical Guide to Making Money while travelling by Bren on The Road.
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.
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!
This post contains affiliate links from which I stand to earn a commission at no cost to you. Read the full disclaimer here.
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.