*This post may contain affiliate links.*
I have been a blogger since 2009 and the number one question I get from people on a regular basis is about how I actually make money blogging.
Because it’s a little confusing, but it also seems kinda easy, right?
Set up a website about something that you find interesting (for me it is being a mom to sons), write some stuff, take some pictures, make all the money.
You don’t have to go to an office, you don’t have to have a degree in blogging (I don’t think that is even a thing really), you don’t even have to wear pants.
Just happy life, behind your computer screen, while your bank account gets lit.
All kinds of winning.
Only, not quite.
As with all things, the awesome is not as it seems and, when it comes to how to actually make money blogging, there is just WAY more to it than that.
So, let’s break it down.
The Truth About Money and Blogging
There are millions of blogs out there, literally, millions.
And, while we all hear about those awesome blogs pulling in hundreds of thousands a month (yes, they are real, no, it’s not easy), this is in no way the norm.
Here’s what’s real: the majority of blogs don’t make any money at all.
Zip, zero, zilch.
While it’s hard to track down official stats, it’s safe to say that the average blogger isn’t using their blog to support their entire lifestyle.
For many, blogging is nothing more than a hobby. People do it for fun, because they are passionate about the topic, and they enjoy the online connection it brings, and they are happy with that being the whole of it.
But, for some, blogging is a business. They run it just like any other money making enterprise with retirement plans and health insurance premiums taking up spaces before their bottom lines. They have business plans and fee structures and tax returns to worry about.
For me, DudeMom is my business.
I pay taxes and own trademarks like an official boss lady. I contribute to my own retirement account, I have a rate sheet, I make decisions based on my overall business goals, and at the end of every year, I only feel successful if my income outweighs my expenses.
Because it is a business and I don’t want to own a business that doesn’t make me more money than it costs me to run.
That said, DudeMom does not support my family and the only way it could right now is if I were to sale my house, give away my dog, trade my car for a bike, and make all of my kids drop out of school and get full time jobs.
Yes, I get to go on fun trips to cool places and meet celebrities and do TV spots and all sorts of exciting looking things.
But, at the end of the day, my trip to the NFL combine and my Disney cruise don’t pay my mortgage.
So what does?
That is a harder question to answer.
How I Make Money Blogging: My $50k/yr Income
There are so many different ways to make money blogging so I can’t tell you exactly how every blogger generates their income.
What I do know is what I do (and what I sometimes think about doing), so I am going to tell you mostly about that.
Before I do, here are some certainties to keep in mind:
- Most bloggers have several streams of income related, directly and indirectly, to their blogs.
- There is no one way to be a successful, income generating blogger.
- What works for me, may or may not work for you.
Now, let’s get into it.
For ease of discussion, we are going to cover three main sources of income for bloggers: on blog opportunities, influence opportunities, and support opportunities.
And, because I am the master of my universe, I will share some details about how I, as a relatively small blogger with low traffic (less than 50,00 uvms/mo), am able to earn upwards of $50,000 a year via blog related opportunities.
Make Money Blogging with On Blog Income Opportunities
Once you’ve developed a well read blog with great content that is easily and consistently located at the top of many Google searches, you can use your space to make money blogging.
As website owners, we have this piece of real estate that can be very valuable to various advertisers. This is where the idea of sponsored posts comes from.
Brands, whose primary consumer aligns with your blog audience, will pay you to get in front of your audience. They want to use your creative story telling, your relatability, and connection to your audience to share their product or service or whatever with the people who are tuned into you and your site. Plus, the more people write about them, the more they will come up when people are searching for things like them.
Brand partnerships can be a great way for bloggers to share what they’re passionate about, supply their audiences with great value, and make money blogging.
Personally, I make the majority of my income partnering with brands and using my space to help bring their stories to life.
Income 2017: Approximately $18,000
You simply install the ads on your site and leave them to make you rich.
You know, sort of.
How much you make is entirely based on how many readers you bring to your site.
Lots of visitors = lots of money.
I don’t have enough visitors to make this an extremely lucrative way to earn money, but I do run ads on this site because passive income is a beautiful thing.
Income 2017: Approximately $1,200
Affiliate links allow you to generate income by selling products and services.
Basically you partner with products or join affiliate networks and share them with your audience in exchange for a little cash back.
I like to share stuff I like with my readers –cute dresses, fun shoes, great gifts for kids, etc. I’m going to tell you about cool things because I think you deserve to know about cool things, and if I get a few cents from the company when you buy that cool thing, I feel like it’s a win, win, win.
I’m not a super successful affiliate blogger. It’s mostly because I’m not really great at joining affiliate networks and looking up links and inserting them into post, but I know several blog owners who make the majority of their income via this type of partnership.
Income 2017: Approximately $600 (All from Amazon)
Make Money Blogging with Influence Opportunities
As creepy and voodoo-y as “influence” sounds, it’s really just a way to say that people with social media followings have the ability to connect with people and share things with them in ways that may influence their thoughts and opinions on things.
And, your influence doesn’t have to be large as long as it is mighty.
We can’t all be Kim Kardashian, but we also don’t all need to be. If income is your goal, all you need to do is have a loyal, engaged audience who likes you and trusts you enough to listen to you from time to time.
Whether you have five hundred or five hundred million followers, if they are listening and engaging they are of value.
It’s very important to me that the people who connect with me know they can trust me. I don’t recommend every product I am given a free sample of, and I won’t take money from brands to promote their product if I don’t really love it and think my readers will too. Because I respect and appreciate the people who choose to engage with me in those spaces, I’m super particular about what I promote there. If I share it on Instagram or Facebook (I don’t really Tweet or Snap much), you can rest assured that it’s something The Dudes and I really love and use.
Income 2017: $1000 (for posts only run on social platforms)
Make Money Blogging with Support Opportunities
If you’re creative, knowledgeable, experienced, and down with the hustle, there are tons of ways your blog space can help you increase your income.
And, having multiple income streams (aka side hustles) is a great way to ensure that your income is never entirely reliant on blog traffic and social media followings.
Selling products (like t-shirts and mugs), teaching blogging courses, writing books, public speaking, event appearances, hosting gigs, ambassadorships, social media management, recipe development, photography, consulting, and freelance writing are some examples of ways many bloggers choose to expand their incomes.
For me, I do a lot of consulting for social media and community management for brands and other bloggers. I host events, speak at conferences, and develop content for a number of different sites. I use the knowledge of digital marketing and social media that I’ve gained by running my own site and platforms to help others learn, grow, and do as well and I charge a fee for these services.
It means that I am never all consumed with my blog, that I have the opportunity to work in a ton of different industries (I have real estate clients and fashion blogging clients), and that my income isn’t limited.
Income 2017: Approximately $30,000
Blogging can be a lucrative career choice for those who are eager to pursue it. I love that I get to own my business and enjoy schedule freedom and flexibility, but there is a significant amount of uncertainty and hustle involved.
What I use daily to make money blogging.
The good thing about blogging is that there is little start-up capital needed to get going. There are a few things that make life easier, more organized, and more effective:
- My computer. I use this Dell laptop because it is light, quick, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
- My phone. I do most of my photos and video on my phone because it’s portable and filled with apps that make editing easy.
- My camera. I am a Canon girl for life and I love my Canon T6s it takes great pictures and is easy to carry around.
- My calendar. I have to write things down to stay on track so this journal planner is my life saver.
If you’d like to know more about the process, check out How to Make Money Blogging.