“So how does your site make money?”
Yeah, that’s the question I’m asked most often, and one that I’m sure most bloggers struggle with on a daily basis. So how do I make money blogging?
Like any other job, it’s certainly not easy. I’ve been blogging on Mommy’s Busy, Go Ask Daddy for roughly two years now. Does it bring home all the bacon? (Mmm… bacon) Of course not. But I did make a decent amount of extra money in 2013 that helped beef up my annual freelance income. So it certainly can help pay the bills.
The key to making money off your blog is simple, though. No matter what your theme is or who you’re targeting, it all comes down to this: write good content.
Actually for that matter it doesn’t even have to be good (though that certainly helps), it just has to be content that some folks out there want to read. Personally, I’m a fan of good content over content-just-for-the-sake-of-content content. It took me a while to get into my groove with this blog but once I got my feet wet with a few paid posts, my confidence grew, as did my site’s traffic and the opportunities.
Advertising is one way to make money on your blog. You know, those big honking banners you see all over the place on most blogs? Usually they’re in the header and down the right side of the blog. I have a few myself. See them over there? Yeah, you can click them, it’s okay. Yes they can work, but honestly, unless you have some serious traffic, you’re not going to make much more than a few dollars per day off of those. And that’s if you’re lucky.
At least for me, advertising hasn’t worked. No, the best way I make money blogging is by writing sponsored posts. Companies pay me to review or write about their product. This doesn’t mean I’m suddenly a shill for them and print whatever they want. It means I try out their product and share my thoughts on it with you guys.
I’m always upfront about sponsored posts and include a disclaimer front and center just letting you know that it’s a paid post. But I always try to keep the content in my regular, conversational style and make it as personal as I can. I also won’t take on certain opportunities if they’re not a good fit or it’s just something I’m personally against (like e-cigarettes or seal clubbing).
So how do I find these sponsored post opportunities? And more importantly, how do you guys get in on the action?
Well, I know a lot of my readers are bloggers themselves, many looking to increase their traffic, make more money, etc. There are loads of different networks and resources out there that can help, so I thought I’d put them all in one big post.
Try some out and if you don’t like one, try another. Prices range across the board, as do content and difficulty of assignments.
Never be afraid to ask for a higher rate, by the way. Just be aware that many of these opportunities work on a sliding scale, so based up on your site traffic and social reach, pay rates will vary.
Also, full disclaimer right here: Some of the following links are affiliate links, meaning if you click through and sign up yourself, I can earn a small commission. See, that’s yet another way to make money: write about making money and include affiliate links.
Sponsored Post Networks for Bloggers
I’ve put up a handful of articles for PostJoint.Mainly other people out there want to write a guest post for your blog and are willing to pay you for it. So there’s no writing involved on your end, which is good. You can set your price threshold so you only see offers above a certain amount. When you do see something you like, you submit an offer. If it’s accepted, you get paid and you publish the author’s article as is. Many of the articles are free or very low pay, but if you’re looking for some pre-written content, or don’t need a big payout, it’s worth checking out.
What do they pay? $0 to $100 is roughly what I’ve seen. Most being on the low to free side.
Pros: Articles are written for you. Only bid on articles you like
Cons: Not many high-paying offers. You deal with each author individually, so you’ll need to fully explain disclosure to each one.
I’ve done a number of Clever Girls posts and really like them. There aren’t tons of opps targeted at me but every month, I apply to a number of them. Clients range all over the place which is refreshing, such as Tyson, Aunt Jemima’s, VSP vision care, and more. The interface is real easy and intuitive, and each campaign’s instructions are nicely laid out, including appropriate disclosures.
What do they pay? $75 to $125 is what I’ve been seeing.
Pros: Fun clients, nice interface, detailed instructions.
Cons: Not many offers, very competitive.
The guys at IZEA have been around for years and were one of the pioneers of the pay-per-post model. They have a pay-per-tweet model I’ve tested a bit, along with their SocialSpark site that includes offers for various companies. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been accepted to write an offer for them, though. I hardly apply since the rates are lower than I’d like. But there are loads of opportunities if you’re just starting out. And you can certainly make some decent money with volume. I’ve done a few sponsored tweets at only $3 per tweet, but that’s $15 for five of them, and tweeting takes less than a minute to do.
What do they pay? Offers go all over the place from just a few dollars per post to hundreds of dollars if you have the volume.
Pros: Pay through PayPal, Quick Payment, decent amount of offers at the $15 to $20 range.
Cons: Traffic based, so if you’re site isn’t huge, don’t expect to see any offers more than $20 or $30 a pop.
Sign up for SocialSpark
I’ve written quite a number of posts for MomCentral and the testosterone-alternative DadCentral. For these, you generally get a product to review, along with a decent payout ($50 to $100) per post. Easy posts to write without a zillion and one instructions. The only downside (to me anyways) is that payment always comes in the form of an Amazon Gift Code.
What do they pay? Most offers fall in the $50 to $100 range
Pros: Lots of offers, fairly easy to get accepted, name brand reviews, few instructions
Cons: Payment is in Amazon Gift Code
This one’s a big, honking community all its own. I probably use Social Fabric the most in terms of sponsored posts, though. Why? Because they pay real well, have fun campaigns, and always have a dedicated manager running the campaign, so it’s easy to get any questions answered fairly quickly. What’s hard is getting accepted for the opportunities. Or rather, “Shoppertunities” as they’re called. You basically apply for a Shoppertunity and need to fill out a semi-detailed survey explaining why you want to write this post and some thoughts and what you’d do if you got it. There are plenty of resources available in the community, though, to help you prep your content and “application” to better improve your odds of being selected. The nice thing is that you always receive a good flat fee, plus an additional generous fee to reimburse you for items purchased for the post.
What do they pay? On average, it seems about $100 to $200 based on difficulty of campaign.
Pros: Decent pay, fun campaigns, often popular brands
Cons: Instructions are a bit complex, not a ton of variety in major companies, interface is all over the place, lengthy applications for each campaign
I recently started doing some posts for Weave Made Media and so far, I like ’em. They’re not only real gung-ho about dads, but they have some delicious campaigns too. My most recent post for them was on the Klondike Kandy Bars.
What do they pay? On average, it seems about $100 to $200.
Pros: Decent pay, fun campaigns, often popular brands, actively looking for men and women bloggers
Cons: I’d like to see a lot more campaigns from these guys
While I haven’t done many myself, I’m a big fan of Momdot Media (formerly known as Brandfluential), mainly because I just love and respect the bloggers behind it: Trisha (Momdot), and Kim (What’s that Smell?). These women do a bang-up job of communicating all necessary parts of a campaign and keep the lines of communication open all throughout. They know blogging and they know their bloggers real well, as they screen all applicants and then select specific bloggers based upon their clients’ needs.
What do they pay? I’ve seen everything from $50 to a few hundred for larger campaigns.
Pros: Good pay, fun campaigns, lots of creative support, run by bloggers
Cons: Don’t have a ton of campaigns
This one’s real interesting and I only tried Linqia once as an experiment. It pays decently and isn’t that tough, but it takes a lot of time and effort to really make some money. Basically, you’re given a post to write and a pay rate based upon your traffic. You then have to include a specific tracking link in your post and you must reach a certain number of click-thrus to earn your rate. If you get less clicks than required, you’ll get a percentage of the rate shown. If you get way more clicks than was required, then your next post will be adjusted accordingly in both prices and clicks.
The post I wrote about the Star Wars Pens was the Linqia one I did and I did indeed get more clicks than required. (Victory is mine!) Not much more, though. But again, it required a LOT of extra tweets and pushes across all my social networks to hit that mark.
What do they pay? Completely based upon blog traffic, so this is all over the place.
Pros: Unique concept, high-profile companies, good support
Cons: Pay is based on performance, tremendous amount of extra social sharing required
I actually like Massive Sway (formerly The SITS Girls). I don’t do them all the time but I do get a nice regular clip of posts. They have interesting companies to work with, offer very straight-forward instructions and pay along the same lines as the other networks. Some posts are actually product reviews too, so not only do you get a good paycheck out of it, you generally get a nice item to keep along with it.
What do they pay? Depends upon the project, but can range from $100 to $250 or even more.
Pros: Fun posts, good list of merchants to work with
Cons: Generally only have a few campaigns available at a time, competitive
I haven’t worked on a TapInfluence (formerly known as BlogFrog) project in quite some time. I think the last one I did was for a Green Mountain Iced Latte, actually. These work pretty much the same as most other networks where you apply for program, and if accepted, write a post with some very specific criteria, along with social sharing. The big difference is that you need to enter your post into TapInfluence’s admin first and copy your code over. I’ll admit it is a little klunky and confusing if you don’t write that often for them. It also generally puts a TapInfluence comment feature on your blog itself, which ties into their network.
What do they pay? I’m honestly not sure because I’ve only done a few, but most have been in the $150 range.
Pros: Good companies, detailed instructions
Cons: Lots of instructions, working with their interface to submit your post is a slight pain
And even more…
Every day, there seem to be new networks popping up. I hope to get to all of them eventually. Here are a number of other networks you might want to try out. I haven’t done much with these yet, so I can’t offer a more in-depth review at this time. I’ll try to keep updating this post as new companies pop up, and as I try out more myself. Let me know in the comments section below if I’ve missed any of your favorites!
How do you make money blogging?