As a blogger, one the top questions I get asked the most is how to make money—I get it. Blogging is still relatively new and a lot of people simply don’t understand how bloggers make a living, and they’re intrigued. Can someone really make a full-time income from their laptop?! Absolutely!
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re already a blogger and probably already have at least one income stream and maybe a good idea of how bloggers make money. If not, you can become a blogger in just a few steps, I actually wrote a whole post on how to launch your blog for less than $5/month, check it out here.
But, today I want to dive deep on diversifying your income—the different ways you can do this, and why it’s important to not put all your eggs in one basket!
I think it’s important to realize that every blogger’s income streams look differently. Some bloggers rely heavily on brand partnerships to make up their income, others make most of their income from affiliate links. One way is not necessarily better than the other either, because at the end of the day, the goal is the same—make a living doing something you love.
Having multiple streams of income is essential in my mind. Here’s why! Blogging is pretty new, and it’s changing—rapidly. Commission rates fluctuate season to season, and year to year, and brands ad spend for partnerships varies across the board. My point is that there a lot of variable that are out of our control, which is why it’s so important to not bank one single income stream!
It’s okay if one pulls more weight than the other, but having those other streams can help balance things out when your main source slows down one month. As a business owner, you need to be flexible and adaptable to be successful, so creating multiple streams is the best way to not only grow your income, but also protect yourself from unexpected industry changes.
How to Make Money Blogging
Depending on what type of blog you have, affiliate links may or may not be a big part of your income stream. For me, it’s a decent chunk because my blog is primarily style focused. Selling product is a main goal of my site and affiliate links are how I make that commission.
There are a bunch of different networks out there now, and many don’t require and invite or approval to join either. You simply sign up and can start making money immediately. Here are a few networks worth joining (this is a very short list of networks available!):
Personally, I’m a part of two large network (RewardStyle & Amazon), and also a member of several private affiliate networks.
I would only suggest joining these one off programs for brands you use and feature regularly because you’ll get the most financial benefit from them. Look into the brands you already use and love and see if they have any affiliate or referral programs you can join.
Brand Partnerships or Collaborations
Anytime you see the #ad or #sponsored, that’s a brand collaboration! When a brand partners with a blogger or influencer, they pay a set fee for specific content pieces. This can be anything from a blog post with social amplification to just an Instagram post and everything in between.
This is a great way to make money and have the opportunity to create unique content. But, this doesn’t happen straight out of the gate when you first start blogging. It may take 6 months or several years before you’ve built up a following and the traffic to warrant a paid collaboration.
Rates vary greatly and you’ll find that some brands are willing to pay a lot more than others. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. I’ve found that brands typically low ball hoping you’ll say yes to a lower offer, when in reality they probably have more budget and are planning for negotiations when they originally share a price. And, if you can’t come to an agreement, don’t be afraid to say no. Know your worth and stick with it!
There are also a bunch of sites that help connect you with brands for paid partnerships. You can apply for different campaigns through these which makes it a lot easier than manually hunting down a PR person’s email and sending a pitch email.
Here are a few that I’ve used in the past:
This one is a newer one for me, but has added a nice chunk of change each month and the best part is that I literally set it up once and haven’t touched it since.
Each month I get a check, or rather a deposit straight to my bank account. The amount you’ll make varies based off of traffic—the more traffic you have, the more money you can make from ads. I’ve noticed that food bloggers, who typically get great traffic thanks to Pinterest, make more money from ads. So, if you’re a food blogger, look into this!
Here are a few ad networks to look into:
- Mediavine (must have a minimum of 25K sessions a month)
- AdThrive (must have a minimum of 100K pageviews a month)
Direct Sales or MLM Business
Okay, so before you roll your eyes and ditch this idea, hear me out. I was very weary of companies like this, but after months of going back and forth, I finally decided to join a company that I really loved and whose products I was already using—Beautycounter. Personally, I stand behind their mission and it just made sense for my brand, which is largely focused on wellness and health.
Honestly, one of my best business decisions ever!
MLMs and direct sales companies can be really hard for the average person. They don’t have a big network of people to sell to and they burn out quickly. As a blogger, you already have a larger reach and bigger audience (and maybe even an email list!), which makes it easier to grow this type of business. This now makes up a large chunk of my income each month and it continues grows every year.
What I also love about this income stream is that it’s less dependent on my blog traffic or social media numbers. Once you’ve created a customer base here, you get repeat sales and your base just continues to grow over time. Which means there is a huge opportunity for financial reward. I know girls who are making $1500 every month, and girls who are making $40,000 every month and everything in between.
The key is finding a company that you are actually interested in, whose products you actually use and enjoy and is something you can see yourself really getting behind. Most companies don’t have much of a start up cost (and if they do, I’d be weary of them!). At the end of the day, you want this additional stream to be beneficial to your income, not detrimental.
I can only speak to Beautycounter, but if you have questions about how it works, I’m an open book, feel free to reach out! I can also answer any other questions about direct sales and MLMs in general—let’s chat!
Sell your Services
Whether or not your service is directly related to your blog content, you can offer it through your blog. I used to be a web designer, and got a lot of my clients because people asked who designed my site and boom—new client!
If your services are related to your blog content, even better. People are coming to you for that advice and information. Having personalized one-on-one consulting or group programs is a great way to make extra money and give personalized offering to your readers.
You can charge more for one-on-one clients, but it also takes up more of your time. To serve more people in less time, group programs are a great option. You can always start with one-on-one clients and when it becomes too much, switch to a group program so you can help more people for a more affordable price per person.
The options here are endless, so get creative. This is one of the easiest ways to grow your income in a way that you 100% control! Even if Instagram and social media went away, you’d still have your services to offer!
Sell your Products
If you have a product that you can sell, that is another great income steam. Again, like the services, your products and inventory are something you totally control, which is a definite perk!
You can sell physical or digital products. Years ago, I sold pre-made WordPress blog designs. The great thing about digital products is that you create them once and you can sell them over and over again. The trick is finding something that people really want.
eBooks are another popular option for bloggers because they’re easy to make, cheap and simple to sell directly through your site with a little code and Paypal help, or on a site like Etsy that handles all the backend stuff for you.
Personally, I love the idea of digital products over physical ones because the thought of having to deal with inventory and shipping of my own product seems like a headache. But, that’s just me! You may love the idea of creating a physical product, so go for it!
I should also mention, that for physical products, it doesn’t have to be something you actually made. Think of anyone who owns an online boutique—they’re not making all those products, they’re purchasing them from someone else and re-selling them.
Either way, get creative! Is there something your readers are always asking you about? A guide or a course? If so, create it!
Okay, so technically this isn’t a direct way to make money from your blog, but it’s worth mentioning because it is an income stream, and a more unconventional one that you make have not considered!
I just did this myself, and each month, I set aside a chunk of money to invest. If you’re new to investing, check out Betterment. Obviously, I am not an investing pro and this tip cannot be taken as professional advice! With investing comes some risk too!
But, it can also be really rewarding, especially if it’s something you do now and just let it be for the next few years.
Betterment is obviously not the only way to invest, the opportunities here are vast, so do some research on this passive income method, and find what works for you. I just found that it was REALLY easy for someone who doesn’t know much about investing!
What other ways do you diversify your blogging income?
P.S. Have you joined the Facebook community?!