In an effort to tell you some awesome info & an effort to be more transparent I want to share with you how I've monetized my blog and how you can too. This is a great thing to do whether you're a small blog or a big blog or a medium blog. If you think you're in this blogging thing for the long haul, starting now means you'll have more links through your blog that will yield you more over time - at least that's what I think. So here's what I've done on the blog to try to earn a little bit of cash:
I am a part of quite a few of these (most of them I forget about, honestly) but they are always linked in my side bar. Craftsy, Modcloth, Blurb, Lulu's to name a few. I joined these programs through ShareASale.com. This little site has everything you need to manage your programs - links, images, offers, etc. You also get an email every now & then with offers to write a blog post for $5 or so bucks regarding a sale or new promotion. I usually do these because I'm only a part of programs I love. I've written posts for money - mostly on Modcloth & Blurb offers. ShareASale tracks your sales/earnings & issues you payment when you've reached a certain amount. I'm also an Amazon affiliate & you can shop my aStore here. That means I've created a little store of some of my favorite things - I have that linked in my sidebar too. I also link to a lot of products on Amazon in blog posts (this Kitchen Essentials post is all Amazon links!). The Amazon affiliate program is one of the first ones I joined and I really like it. I joined because I like Amazon - you get amazing stuff for way cheap. You sign up, make your affiliate ID, and then any time you want to link to a product on your blog there is a widget bar at the top of your Amazon screen where you can get your links. Making an aStore is pretty fun but requires upkeep & hasn't been that successful for me....but it's something. Another program I just joined is Shopstyle by PopSugar - I don't have much experience with this. But so far it gives me more options to link to products. Many sites participate with ShopStyle so you can install a widget to your bookmark bar & click it when you want to link to something. Some sites don't participate but you'll get a notice in the pop up window. You can also add looks & products, have followers, and other things I haven't explored yet! And finally the last one I just signed up for is Lovocracy. This is a site much like the ShopStyle site but more closely related to Pinterest in it's layout. You can shop right from the site, add products, & earn. It's kind of like if your Pinterest boards could earn you money - as of right now I'm not sure if you can link things in a blog like you can with ShopStyle, Amazon, or ShareASale but you can link to your list. All of these are great options if you want to have your hand in a few things.
I'm subscribed to two boxes currently: Ipsy & BirchBox. While you don't earn money in the bank with these services, you do earn points. You can refer friends & when they sign up with your link you get rewarded. My favorite service is Ipsy but I like BirchBox's reward system better. With Ipsy you get points per review & per person who's signed up with your link to go towards 1 of 4 or so prizes once you meet the 1000 point mark. With BirchBox you get points per review & per person who signs up with your link that translate in to credit to shop the site. You also get points per order you place with BirchBox. So BirchBox points, to me, translate into something more tangible than Ipsy points. You can choose from more things. But with that being said I'm always talking on here about Ipsy & rarely BirchBox because I love Ipsy. I'm not going to say I love something to death when I don't really just to reap the benefits of you believing me.
Blogger Programs & Networks
Currently I'm apart of the Blue Print Social network & the Clever Girls Collective. While I haven't done a campaign in a while these are the easiest to complete & the easiest to get paid for. I like to apply for crafty campaigns with companies like Martha Stewart & Plaid. Last year I did quite a few campaigns but I haven't gotten chosen lately. I like Blue Print Social the best as I've gotten to work with them the most. They chose blogs of all levels - not just super huge ones - so you'll get a chance to shine. Since I sign up for the craft related projects usually I get a box of free craft supplies to make the project & just have to provide the base for the project. There are requirements you must follow, disclosures you must make, etc but after it's all done you get money in your PayPal for the post. Sometimes there's no compensation but the products you get to use. I still think it's pretty neat to be a part of.
Monetize Your YouTube Videos & Add AdSense to your Blog
If you have added any YouTube presence to your blog you can monetize them through Google. Again, I've done it but haven't had too much experience so I don't know everything about that yet. I've also looking into joining networks - like StyelHaul & FullScreen - but haven't done much with it. If you haven't noticed I'm a don't put your eggs in the same basket kind of person. You can also add ads through the Blogger interface & Google. This can be done in your settings tab on Blogger & in your layout tab.
Sponsors of your Blog/Selling Ad Space
For me this is soooooo hard to keep up with. In fact I'm nearly close to taking the option down permanently. I just don't do enough to make it worth while nor do I have the page views to make an ad alone worth it. But ads/sponsors are something to consider to monetize your blog if you can dedicate time to promoting others.
Monetizing your blog can be a great way to add a few bucks to your pocket but unless your diligent with it & have a great reader base it's not an instant success. Just like any other way you make money it takes time & work! But I thought I'd share with you a little secret that I feel like no one really talks about - I discovered these through personal emails & through clicking links with weird URLs that I later learned were things like ShopStyle or ShareASale.
Side note: I've not earned too much, really nothing at all, from these little things. I have a few dollars here & there in various accounts I've signed up for. So these are just options & I'm not a success story if you want to call it that but I have had some success with this sort of thing. It takes a bit of work & you should work in links that are relevant to your posts. Posting on things you love & linking them comes off more genuine than a post full of random links. Also, make sure you have a disclaimer telling your readers that they may interact with affiliate links on your blog - I believe this is a legal thing & I believe in transparency (I'm not here to trick you, you know) - so make sure you tell readers so they can choose not to interact with those links. Also, there's some tax related stuff if you decide to monetize your blog like reporting earnings - I'm not going to go into this here because I'm no tax expert! But do your research before you decide to take the plunge.
What are your money making tips? Have you learned anything from blogging you'd like to share?