10 Ways to Make Money With Your Blog

by Sally on January 5, 2011

make money from your mummy blogI’m a huge believer in blogging for your own reasons. If you want to blog for creative outlet, for therapy, for friendship or for money, that’s entirely up to you. There’s no single ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to blog – only what works for you.

And given a tight economy and limited job opportunities, I suspect an increasing number of bloggers will be starting 2011 asking themselves, “How can I make money from my blog?”

This is an interesting topic. Some very high-profile bloggers have argued that there’s no money to be made from blogging – and it’s a common misconception.  I  remember writing a post about using subscriptions to make money from blogging, and being told in no uncertain terms by many commenters there was no demand  for this kind of thing in blogging circles because bloggers don’t want to make money. Well, maybe sometimes that’s true – but not always.

Today, loads of mainstream and successful bloggers are making money from blogging using a variety of tools and techniques. I certainly know of plenty of people earning a respectable part-time salary from blogging, which has the advantage of being totally flexible and possible to do from home.  And I know a couple of people earning a full-time salary from their own blogs, although that’s still a bit harder to pull off.

If it’s something you’re interested in exploring for your own blog this year, I’ve pulled together some of my favourite examples of bloggers making money from their blogs. Do add your own experiences in the comments, and share your predictions for 2011 – will we see more people making a living from their blogs?

  1. Direct Ads: There are an increasing number of digital agencies such as iCrossing, Caliber Interactive and Mediacom who are buying advertising on blogs on behalf of clients, while other brands are buying advertising directly from individual bloggers. On average, blog ads seem to generate between £30 and £50 per month (or half this for text links, via agencies like Tomato Can Consulting). Most ads are sold on rolling three or six month agreements. This means a successful blogger hosting half a dozen ads over a year can expect to generate around £4,000 a year in revenue.
  2. Affiliate ads and Advertising networks: There are also affiliate advertising networks such as Affiliate Window and Linkshare. Sign up for these and if someone clicks on an ad and makes a purchase, you earn a commission – which might be anywhere from 2% to 10% of the order value. Meanwhile, ad networks such as Handpicked Media sell ads across multiple blogs in a sector, with everyone taking a cut of the proceeds. The income from such ads tends to be quite a bit lower than selling ads direct, but there may be other benefits, such as access to exclusive discounts or publisher events.
  3. Sponsored posts: This is a fairly new opportunity for bloggers, and one that may well evolve following the OFT ruling on blog transparency. However, brands such as Next and Andrex have paid bloggers between £30 and £100 to write a post on specific products or initiatives. Along similar lines, many bloggers are publishing sponsored posts and videos promoted by eBuzzing, which pays around £40 for bloggers who publish posts incorporating specific links or images.
  4. Consulting: Some brands have recruited bloggers to act as paid consultants to their brands. Susanna Scott of A Modern Mother was hired by Glam Media back in July to recruit parent bloggers to their advertising network, while other bloggers have consulted on projects conducted by brands such as Yeo Valley and Green & Blacks. Consulting can take various forms: as a freelance trainer, I’ve provided dozens of workshops to PR agencies on blogger outreach techniques, and I also take on public speaking engagements (hey, it’s my blog, I’m allowed one plug, right?) .
  5. Retailing: Some bloggers use their blogs to promote hand-made and home-made products alongside their regular blog content. Jen at the Madhouse sells a range of home-made crafts through her blog, while Red Ted Art is selling paintings via her brilliant craft and art blog. Or do you fancy some cake balls? Amy from Cooking, Cakes and Children sells baked goods through her blog.
  6. eBooks: Many bloggers are hankering after a book deal in 2011, but some enterprising bloggers are going down the self-publishing route and selling e-books to their readers. Becky at Baby Budgeting recently launched a new eBook packed with winter activities for kids, while Natalie at Baggage Reclaim makes a significant chunk of her income by selling downloadable ebooks of relationship tips and advice. Tim at Bringing up Charlie sells two of his books via his website – the brilliant Writing Therapy and a brand new anthology of writing by bloggers, Tiny Acorns – which is sold in aid of Children in Need.
  7. Copywriting: If you’re a successful blog writer then guest posts aren’t the only way to write for money. This year, many bloggers (including myself) have successfully earned an income by writing for mainstream parenting websites such as Parentdish while others such as Carol Smith of New Mummy have set themselves up as copywriters for hire. Many bloggers use their blog to help boost their profile while working as freelance writers – Slummy Single Mummy, Babyrambles and Hot Cross Mum are just three great examples.
  8. Launching online businesses: One of the more imaginative revenue models I’ve seen this year is The Online Stylist, launched by family and fashion blog 40NotOut. The blog still covers fashion news and opinions, but there’s also an online styling service, which helps women choose outfits for any occasion – for a very reasonable fee.
  9. Kindle: It’s not earning anyone a fortune as yet, but bloggers such as More than Just a Mother are selling subscriptions to their blogs on the Amazon website for Kindle users – charging £1 or £2 a time. It will be interesting to see how this develops in 2011, and whether subscriptions on other mobile devices will follow suit.
  10. Photography: There are some brilliantly talented photographers in the blogosphere and I often wish I had a print of some of the pictures I see. Now Jan Mary, a Mummy blogger based in Northern Ireland, is selling postcards and prints of her best pictures on her blog. Great idea.

Do you know of a great way to make money from your blog? Or do you want to keep your space in the blogosphere ad-free? Share your thoughts in the comments, or join us over at the Blogger.Ed Forums to chat with other bloggers and PR execs.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

@Simply_Hayley January 6, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Ooo thats interesting, I hadnt heard about Kindle and having people pay to subscribe!

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Sally January 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Yep, not fortunes, but it’s worth a try!

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Merry January 6, 2011 at 1:45 PM

It’s going to be interesting to see how that sits alongside the browser they have on it now – given you can read for free if you have the 3G version. I’d say I don’t see it working, but I’m wrong so often…. ;)

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Sally January 6, 2011 at 2:57 PM

If you look on Blogger.Ed, Emily picked up half a dozen subscribers in the first week, it’s actually quite handy for Kindle users, I understand.

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New Mummy January 6, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Thanks for the mention Sally. I really do think its possible to make money from blogging in fact I do! You think you need to remember is that you will not make a huge amount just doing one of those things, unless of course you are great journalist like you. The key is to have multiple strings to your bow. I make my money in two halves one from advertising and sponsored posts on New Mummy’s Tips and the other from copy writing and social media consulting. I’m very close to earning a full time income and only working part-time but its taken a lot of hard work it doesn’t just come to you.

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Sally January 6, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Definitely Carol – I think the key with blogging is to look at ALL the ways it might make you money. There’s copywriting and consulting, plus e-books, training, subscription fees, sponsored posts – when you add those all together then yes, you can make a living from blogging.

It’s true I’m in a slightly different positition because of my professional background but you’re a blogger and your income is based just on that – I think you’re an inspiration to lots of other bloggers out there!

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New Mummy January 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

An inspiration? I like the sound of that ;) I think one of things that helped spur me on was people kept saying you can’t make a living and I wanted to prove them wrong! I had a plan and stuck to it. I have a feeling 2011 is going to be amazing

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Liz Burton January 6, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Hi Sally, really interesting article.

I posted on the forum yesterday and you and others kindly answered. I still haven’t decided whether this is a route I want to go down, although I have taken the odd paid post.

Personally I don’t want lots of advertising on my blog, but if my circumstances change then I suspect I may reconsider!

I’m not sure I want to get into running it as a business – mainly for fear of paperwork! But I guess there’s an argument about value and worth – will companies want me to write for them if there’s no charge. Am I undervaluing my work?

Food for thought, thank you.

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Sally January 6, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Yes, it’s certainly a personal choice – some people don’t want any commercial content, and may only do copywriting. Some may take ads. Some might just want to keep their blog as a personal hobby – it’s just choices, but I thought it would be useful for people to know some of the options if they do choose to go down that road.

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Karen Jones January 6, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Thank you Sally for such an informative post. I only started blogging in April last year. I started my blog to support my online retail business, the blog has certainly helped generate new custom for me. I have been offered some opportunities (often from wonderful fellow bloggers) to increase revenue through sponsored posts, but would dearly love a regular income from it. As it I gain in experience and it evolves I hope to achieve this. I am certainly going to look into the other options you suggest.

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Sally January 6, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Thanks for commenting! Glad you found it useful. As you evolve your blog, I’d really recommend checking out the forums for tips – there are some very smart bloggers on there. And me.

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Liz Burton January 6, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Hi,

Sorry, I just wanted to respond. I’d hate anyone to misinterpret what I was saying. I’m absolutely not knocking anyone who does have adverts/sponsored posts etc on their blog. Absolutely it is a personal choice.

It’s just not something I’ve explored yet, and I’m grateful for advice like this to help me find out more. :0)

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Sally January 6, 2011 at 3:44 PM

You don’t need to apologise for responding round these parts, Liz! Great to have your input.

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adele- monkeying around January 6, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Thank you so much Sally for doing this post. I currently dont have ads on my blog, I didn’t go down this route purely because my blog is far too cluttered at the mo. I would like to make some money through blogging although i’m sure it will never be too much. I have started to write an ebook which surrounds children crafts and it may only sell a couple but I am really enjoying writing it and every little helps. I would love to do a couple sponsored post but at the moment I think my blog is a little fish in a big pond and pr compnaies show little interest. I have started to write a column for a childminding magazine which is still trying to take off so I dont get paid at the moment but I hope this will help me gain more experience to be able to get some paid work.
Thank you again Sally

Adele

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maggy, red ted art January 6, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Oh Wow Sally! What a list… so many things I should be doing to generate more income! (Oh no, the to do list grows!!!!). And thank you for the kind mention of my blog and artwork ;-)

Maggy

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Mags January 7, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Thanks for outlining some options. I started the striped polkas craft/design blog last quarter for two reasons:
1. to give me a focus whilst on maternity leave so my skills don’t rust
2. to test out ways of building readership/follows, a new skill that can go onto my CV.

At the moment there’s no ads. I wondered briefly about Google AdSense – does anyone here use it? – but I don’t need it to be an income stream.

If circumstances change (I’m in the public sector) then I may well need to turn it into a site that pays back the time I put in.

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Sally January 10, 2011 at 12:43 AM

I don’t know of anyone making real money from AdSense, certainly.

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Tim (aka Dotterel) January 13, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Hey, I’m late to the discussion (as usual) but just wanted to say thanks for the mention! I’ve found my blog has proved a great ’shop window’ for my books as well at attracting the attention of advertisers. I don’t make anything like a living, but every little helps!

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Phyllis Stephen January 26, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Fab article. I love it. I have just registered The Edinburgh Reporter as a download on Kindle. I am determined (unlike some of your other readers) to make money out of this….It takes a lot of effort and I am working very hard at making the hyperlocal popular in our beautiful capital city. Thank you Sally! – will send you a wee pressie if I get some money out of Kindle!!

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