Everyone seems to be obsessed right now with making money blogging. There are tons of articles out there that will share their advice on how to do that and what has and hasn’t worked for them. I think it is important for you to be true to yourself and your blog. You must choose the income stream that will be a natural fit and not make you feel icky or take you in a direction that does not align with you, your blog mission or your focus.
I have really struggled with this lately. While many opportunities have presented themselves to me, I have made the mistake of accepting some that went against my grain, my vision, my future plans. To put it bluntly, I want to continue to increase my blog income but I do not want to sacrifice more and more of my time in order to achieve that. I already feel like my blog has taken over my life. To the point where other aspects of my life are suffering. Is that worth it? In my mind, absolutely not.
It comes back to, why am I doing this? And to me it narrows down to this: enhancing and sharing in hopes that someone else out there can relate, maybe learn and hopefully feel encouraged.
Before you start on any kind of income stream on your blog, I want you to imagine what your life and your blog will look like five years from now if that particular strategy really worked. Is that how you envision it? If it is, great. If not, you need to re-examine that particular blog money making enterprise.
Examining Different Blog Income Streams
1) Ads and Passive Income
Under this umbrella, I include Google Adsense, BlogHer and any other third party that puts ads on your site (includes any and all sidebar ads).
- low maintenance
- third party has secured relationships with brands
- easy integration
- low payout
- revenue directly tied to your page views
- to make more money you need to increase your pageviews or number of ads
Observations: You can actually increase your income with this method if you take the time to do more than just throw ads up. You must be strategic in your approach or employ an ad agency such as The Blogger Network to do it for you. I currently use Google Adsense and I can make approximately $130 on 30,000 PVs a month. I dare say I could make more if I used better placement and maybe some filters to align more with my niche. I know a few bloggers that are very successful using passive ads. If you decide to use this method, go beyond adding a few codes or plug ins. Use it to its full potential.
2) Review/Sponsored Posts
- securing relationships with brands
- the more you do, the more you are approached
- share new products/information with your readers.
- being offered no compensation or only free product
- being told what to write
- feeling like you must give positive review even if it doesn’t deserve it
- sponsored/review content takes over your blog
Observations: Some bloggers are very successful doing sponsored posts. However, if you are not very good at approaching brands or negotiating your compensation, this is not for you and you will end up either promoting products that don’t fit your blog and/or worse, getting stuck on the exchange for free product track forever.
3. Affiliate Links
- income not linked to pageviews
- many to choose from
- can have high payout
- many to choose from
- only compensated by sales
- you should keep track and monitor clicks
Observations: Affiliate links, if they are a proper fit, can be naturally streamlined with your existing content. It does take some work to find the right affiliates and to market them properly. I love the new features of Prosperent, especially for fashion and home decor/DIY bloggers. It can use your existing pics in your posts and make exact purchase suggestions of matching product. What a win/win for you and your readers. Affiliate links are well worth the effort if you can find a great fit.
- huge potential payouts with no limits
- effort packed at front end, then low maintenance after
- large setup in terms of time and resources
- huge commitment to promotion
- time sensitive
- beat competition to market
Observations: If you are a fiercely, laser focused person and can commit and complete tasks quickly and efficiently, go for it! You can make oodles of money. However, if you are like me and have a million things on the go and can never complete anything properly, this may not be for you. Also remember that this revenue maker requires huge promotion and that usually means you in front of a camera. You should be very comfortable with that if this is the income stream you wish to establish.
- creating income from existing skills
- you decide on which clients you would like to work with
- you decide how much you want to work
- no way to scale
- days off mean no income
- under estimating time for services/working for nothing
Observations: By far the easiest way to supplement your blog income is to sell services. Especially when you have developed a skill that other people need. However, remember there are only so many hours in a day and clients may need you at opportune times. You may not be able to go on a vacation or you have to go without income during those times.
This list is in no way meant to discourage you from making money with your blog. I want you to choose the best methods for you and your blog. If you choose the right fit, you have a better chance of creating a substantial income. In fact, most successful, money making bloggers will use a combination of the above 5 blog money making strategies and more. It all comes down to time and commitment and what you ultimately want.
In the perfect scenario, we could all hire Virtual Assistants and be able to only concentrate on the tasks we enjoy. But blogging is a one man band for most of us and so you have to allocate your time wisely when it comes to developing a money making blog.
Going back to the scenario above, looking five years ahead, ask yourself how you see your blog and how you would like your time being spent. Use these questions to help you choose the best income stream for you and your blog.
Would you love to work with clients and help them achieve success?
Do you want to concentrate on content and would be happy with some passive income?
Do you love sharing new products/ideas/services you use with your readers?
Do you love to create new things?
Do you love to teach and/or influence others?
Do you need to be careful of creating too much stress or have health issues that could limit or put the brakes on a project?
Would you like to travel more or pursue other hobbies and want to have more freedom and don’t want to be tied down to clients needs?
Do you have the time/skills/resources to commit to a huge project?
Choose wisely. Develop it fully. Create the future you want for YOU and your blog.