Welcome to the latest post in the #FromBlog2Biz series in which I share with you my journey from blogger to business owner.
I do hope you'll join me in this series as I share with what I've done so far, what has worked and what hasn't.
You can read the other parts to this series here:
Welcome to Part 2 of the #FromBlog2Biz series
In this post I'm sharing with you how I've made money with my blog (it's probably going to shock you), ways that other people have made money blogging (plus ideas for you) and how I plan on monetizing moving forward.
Let's get started right away!
To put things into perspective for you, I've been blogging for 6 years. I first started a travel blog (Farmboy and Citygirl Hit Asia) to document my travels when I first moved to Korea in 2010. From the beginning of my blogging journey I was far more interested in sharing helpful information about my travels (How To's and Reviews and Guides) were what I preferred to focus on, as opposed to treating my blog like a diary or journal I think this has been what sets my blog apart from the majority of blogs out there, and I'll tell you how I used this to my advantage.
>Click here if you'd like to read my first ever blog post on CityGirlSearching.
When CityGirlSearching started in 2011, there were just a handful of local South African bloggers. Sure, there were probably more than I was aware of (remember, Facebook had only been around for a few years then) and so social media had not become what it is today. I spent a lot of my time on WeHeartIt and was copying and pasting images on my blog, left right and centre (click here to read why you should NEVER do this!). Pinterest had only just started (in March 2010) and so all the ideas for blog posts were pretty much original ideas, or I had been inspired by a few blogs I came across on Google.
I spent A LOT of time online, looking at blogs and trying to understand what it was that I liked about them and how I could make my blog look beautiful. Back then was very into having 'all the things' in my sidebar, flourishes here there and everywhere (especially those annoying graphics in each blog post footer). As a very girly-girl, and someone who loved to share information on things I liked, it was a natural next step for me to start writing beauty reviews. This is how I got my first ever freebie.
I wrote this post on my favourite Vichy skincare products that I had purchased. I shared my blogpost on Twitter and tagged Vichy South Africa in the post. They contacted me shortly after that and sent me a gift thanking me for my review. It was my first 'freebie' and I felt like a million dollars. Since those humble beginnings I learned about affiliate programs and joined a few that I really liked.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR BLOG
You make a percentage of each sale (anywhere from 1% upwards, with most affiliate programs I've seen giving 4% incentive) that results from someone clicking an affiliate link on your website.
A lot of affiliate programs will send you free stuff in exchange for a review, as well as you making a percentage of that sale if someone clicks through a link on your blog post and ends up purchasing that product. Affiliate programs are basically all about you doing the hard work for companies. You give them free advertising, in exchange for something. Also, the harder you work, the more commission you can make off affiliate sales.
One of the most popular affiliate programs is Amazon. Most bloggers I know are Amazon affiliates, and it makes a lot of sense if Amazon is popular in your country. For South Africans, it's not a popular site and with our own terrible postal service, you never know if what you ordered is even going to arrive.
You can create your own affiliate system for a product you create, and a lot of the big bloggers do this with their e-courses & info-products. This is a great way to make a bit of pocket money.
Affiliate marketing takes time and at the end of the day, you are selling someone else's product for them. I have had the most success and made the most amount of money with Wishtrend, a Korean beauty website.
Some of the reasons I have made the most amount money with them is the time I've invested a lot of time into each review. I genuinely love the products they have sent me, and so it hasn't been hard work to review each one. I spend a lot of time on each and every blog post I create, as well as the photographs and so each review I've done has been beautifully and carefully put together.
You can see some of my reviews here:
WishTrend has been the most successful affiliate program I have joined, and here is a breakdown of how much I've earned & been sponsored:
- $350 in cash & vouchers over the course of 2 years
- Sent 8 products to review
It's a nice extra bit of money but it's nothing I would be able to survive on each month. Also, it's been a slow process over the past 2 years. If I was 'selling hard' and promoting the products in more Youtube videos etc I could probably make more money, but beauty is not the sole focus of this blog.
Affiliate marketing is much easier if your blog has a clear focus or niche. If you are a beauty blogger, it makes sense that you would want to promote beauty brands and products you love. So why not make a bit of money promoting what you like and use anyway.
Advertising Space on your blog:
This was very popular a few years ago and I have seen a lot of bloggers who still do this. You offer space on your website for a brand to have their store/product advertised, with a link back to their site.
Usually this relies on you already having a large audience. Again, you are sending people away from your site by including links to other websites. I have never offered advertising space on my blog, but that is not because I've never wanted to, but rather because I was worried I didn't have a big enough audience. But I now understand that working with brands has very little to do with big numbers and far more to do with engagement. Brands often work with bloggers with a smaller audience size, especially is they have a very specific niche that fits in with their core values.
You are sent items/products in exchange for a review.
This is the reason why a lot of people start blogs (they want all the free things) but what about all the products that aren't aligned with your readers. If I started writing blog post after blog post on the topic of lawnmowers, I'm sure I would loose most of my audience.
Readers come to your blog for a reason, make sure you keep them there by continuing to produce high quality content that relates to you and your blog.
Info Products, E-books & Online Courses
Creating products and other online based information resources using your own (self-taught) expertise.
A lot of my favourite bloggers have recently (in the last year or so) moved away from selling advertising space on their blog and now sell their own online courses, e-books and other printables.
Up until January this year, I had a vague idea of what an e-book was, and it always conjured up images of a badly designed recipe book. I had no idea that my fellow bloggers were making hundreds and thousands of dollars selling books they had written and designed themselves, based on topics as diverse as smoothie making and branding.
This year has been an enlightening year, and one which I have learned SO much from the free resources people have created, even though these freebies have been bait to get me to join their email lists so they can pitch me their products at a later stage. I haven't even minded their sales pitches, and have in fact bought 3 courses myself so far.
It is an incredibly exciting time to be a a blogger/online business owner, because the sky is the limit when it comes to making online. Courses and e-books are such a great way to make money online because they are scalable (you can sell the same product multiple times to different people without doing any more work) and they are a way of making money from your expertise. I created my first ever free e-course earlier this year called BeautifyYourBlog and had over 150 people take the course.
I also created a workbook upgrade which was available to purchase to use alongside the course, and I am delighted to say I sold 6 copies of it at $30 each.
I am now in the process of refining the course and adding a lot more content, videos and other resources to it, and will be re-launching it as a paid course very soon.
Click here to join the waiting list!
There really is so much opportunity for bloggers and online business owners to make money from courses and e-books. With that being said, they are a lot of work, and the market seems to be rather saturated but even after saying that, if your product solves a problem and provides value to your readers, there will always be someone willing to pay money for you knowledge.
A few other ways to make money online:
- Selling photo editing presets
- Selling stock photos (I do this over on Creative Market >>> click here to see my store)
- Selling digital downloads (Photoshop brushes, fonts, clip art)
- Selling services (graphic design, business/life coaching, copywriting etc)
There are of course a multitude of other ways to make money online, but I wanted to highlight a few that I have had experience with. Do you know of any other ways to make money from your blog? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!
I hope you enjoyed this post on the different ways of making money from your blog, and I'll see you soon in Part 3 of the #FromBlog2Biz series where I talk more about how I started my brand & stock photography business, CGScreative.
In the mean time, make sure you sign up below to join the #FromBlog2Biz mailing list. By joining, you'll also be able to gain access to the #CGScreative Resource library which is filled with loads of blogging resources, printables and what has made my list famous...beautiful stock photographs for you to use to grow your blog.
Simply pop your email in the box below to join us & click the little check box if you aren't already a CGScreative member and want to get access the resource library
Are you wanting to monetize your blog?
Are you already making money from it? I'd love to hear from you in the comments and find out where you are in your blogging journey!