I mentioned in my lessons learned during the past year of blogging post that I’ve been working on monetizing this blog and that I wanted to share my experience with my readers. So here I am sharing the different ways I monetize, and I will share my commentary on how successful (or not) I’ve been.
I consider myself a hobby blogger, but people seem to hate that term nowadays so let’s go with “part-time” blogger instead. Since I have a full-time career job, this blog (and the book blog) are just my side projects. They started out as a hobby and even though I’ve begun to monetize, they are still that, side projects. I enjoy blogging, but I do not have what people consider a business blog, at least not at this time. People who have truly turned their blog into a business have found ways to earn a full-time income from their blogs, and that is amazing. I am not one of those people so my income from my blogging projects is just enough to cover the blogs themselves and fund some of my other hobbies – like reading (audiobook subscriptions to both audible.com and audiobooks.com for example).
The lovely pie chart below shows the percentage of my overall income from each of my attempted ventures. This is a combined income total from both of my blogs (this one and Chapter Break). I have participated in various surveys, attempted to sell some banner ads and promote other product sales with my own affiliate links, and have also worked on sponsored posts or social media shares.
As you can see, I’ve been most successful with various types of sponsored posts, so that is what I will focus on first.
I have grouped all kinds of sponsored link placement in this category since most of them come from a particular source, and are paid out in bulk rather than individually. The types of paid sponsored projects I have been involved in include:
- Sponsored blog posts by a particular brand or company on a specific topic or product, whether as a review or general discussion
- Sponsored social media shares to share about a particular product or event
- Blog posts contributed by a third party
I have worked both with individual brands or marketing contacts as well as through companies that connect brands with influencers. Below are some of the companies I am signed up with as an influencer and have been active with this past year. I have highlighted the companies I have had the most success with in 2015.
- IZEA – This company lets you connect all your blogs and social media outlets and submit bids for sponsored projects. I have had a combination of sponsored blog posts as well as many, many tweets.
- Influence Central I like that this company sends you an announcement of each opportunity and then you fill out a survey to confirm eligibility, then you get notified if you were selected. I have had a few interesting blog posts and twitter campaigns from this.
- Mom Buzz Media – I have had both sponsored post opportunities with Mom Buzz but also have had product reviews and have been included in their Gift Guide bloggers list.
- Adproval – This has brought me a sponsored project opportunity and it is also the company I am using to sell sidebar ads.
- Massive Sway/SITS Girls
- Sverve (now Activate by Bloglovin)
- Moms Affiliate/Socialix
- Linkvehicle – I have had a couple of paid contributed posts through this company.
I have had a little bit of luck with affiliate sales, but not enough to really write home about. I’ve joined various affiliate networks, but really the best luck I’ve had was with products I use and can show off. I love being an affiliate of NoseGraze because I use her themes and plugins (currently on the book blog but I bought a theme for this blog too that I just haven’t used yet). I’ve also had some luck with Grammarly, and that might be also because I’m using their product. I love the browser extension, and they have great infographics that I’ve shared.
Of course, I’m signed up with Amazon Associates and that is most of the affiliate links I use within my posts. But seriously, everyone and their Mom is signed up with Amazon so why would people use my affiliate links? I haven’t had much luck there.
Here are the networks I have joined in case you are interested. You can see the merchants I’m signed up with under these networks as banner ads on my sidebar or below each post.
I’ve also tried joining in on the bundle sale affiliate events but haven’t had much luck with those.
I have not been very successful with this method. I tried Google Adsense, but have removed them from my sidebar because after several months I barely earned a few bucks and it would take forever to get any kind of payout, so I decided against having that clutter. I’ve tried other banner ad companies also in the past and haven’t had any luck earning any kind of payout. I’m currently set up to sell banner ad space via Adproval but have had very few people show interest in that option. I’m also running a banner ad on the book blog through a company called Riot New Media, and it is earning a few bucks each month so I have been keeping that going. If nothing else, that pays for the domain name and small stuff for the year.
I’ve seen a lot of spam about surveys paying a lot to have people take them, but that hasn’t been my experience. I typically get $3-$5 per regular survey, and sometimes they come with an extra payout if there is an extended product review portion. I’ve signed up with various companies in the past, but I’m not doing very many surveys anymore.
I wanted to touch upon the unpaid posts that have been for product reviews. Sometimes I have found companies that will pay you for your time to review their product, in addition to the product itself, but, for the most part, I have received a lot of free products in exchange for a review and sharing on social media. The lovely pie chart you see shows the ratio of these product value only posts and how that compares to the actual income I’ve earned from blogging. As you can see, it is a large chunk. This includes only the products I have received in affiliation with this blog. I haven’t been tallying any of the books I have received for review on the book blog.
I have been able to get products for review via the following networks:
- Mom Buzz Media
- Bloggy Moms
Goals for 2016
I will continue to focus on sponsored posts since that has been my main income stream. I’m going to revisit my affiliate performance and maybe focus on fewer merchants and promotions.
I also plan on adding content upgrades to built my email list, and then start selling a few digital products. One such plan is my nanny contract template, that I plan to continue working on after the holidays.
How have you been earning income from your blog? Share your tips and wins with me!