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business It's Business It's Photography

What is the best way to monetize a blog?

January 11, 2017

There is no best way! I think what works for you works for you…what works for others work for others. I have been blogging since 2010 and I have never made more than $5,000 doing affiliates and sponsored posts combined. Others make that a month! I think we all have to stop worrying about how others make money blogging and focus on how we can monetize our blogs. The truth of the matter is….I don’t make any money blogging. There I said it for all those wondering….blogging has and will always be a way for me to say what I want when I want to whomever listens. That’s not to say I don’t work with brands because I have…but I am very careful with whom I work with. I will only work with a brand that I won’t mind spending my hard earned money on. I research brands before I pitch them and if they say no that’s okay because I will still buy because I love the products. Do you know how many times I have pitched Publix Supermarkets or Panera Bread Company? Over 15 times….will I stop spending my money on them just because I don’t get a response? NO! Another thing….a lot of bloggers are quick to say don’t accept products for free and do a review….free products don’t pay bills. No it doesn’t but but if you are in need of a product or service and you can blog about it in exchange for that item then why not. I have done a lot of reviews for free with no money involved and while this may be a heart attack moment for some bloggers this isn’t for me. I don’t worry about what others are doing I do what I want…..that’s why it’s my blog. If you want to review a vacuum and they won’t give you the money but the vacuum costs over $300…..chile please. Okay enough of my soap box……so what’s the best way to monetize your blog? Here are a few things you can do and then I will tell you how I make my coins…..

Affiliates – This is huge for some folks…not for me. Do you know how many times Amazon has kicked me out of their affiliate program lol. I shop at amazon but sometimes forget to put the link in my blog post and then I end up not using Amazon and they kick me out. If you don’t use Amazon or make any money within the first 2-3 months they will kick you out the system and you will have to sign back up. I am a part of share a sale affiliates and it’s about the only one I use at the moment…(if I use one because I forget) Some bloggers make a 6 figure income off of this method. It doesn’t work for me but I don’t knock others who do this. Get your coins if you can remember to put links up in every post. Remember if no one visits your blog and clicks your links….you won’t make any money so my advice drive your traffic up before you dive into affiliates.

Selling products – Everyone and their mama sells t-shirts or mugs. It’s a great way to make some extra dough but when you start seeing the same style shirts and the same words (mixed up just a little) selling from the same group of people…you get tired. I personally try to buy from companies but since I am a thick women and I am big breasted a lot of the shirts don’t fit me so I end up having to wear them around the house because I can’t wear them in public. Yes I get a 2xl but it fits like a large and most of the shirts….( have bought over 20 from various people) fit like that. I think maybe two have fit me well and those are the two I will continue to purchase from. Mugs are huge also but I am not a big coffee drinker. I thought about selling mugs and water bottles but after looking into things….I am on the fence about to jump over to the I don’t think so side. I have a few funny sayings but unless you get them copyrighted others can steal it right from you. People also sell ebooks or bait and switch you with giving you a free ebook to join their newsletter. Most people will get the freebie and then unjoin later if the newsletter doesn’t do anything for them (I got tired of doing this if I don’t follow you because I want to I won’t do it just to get a free book) If you have something you want to sell….sell it but if you don’t want others stealing get it copyrighted if you can. If the saying can’t be locked down…think about how you want to monetize and how you can be unique. You can sell planners (google My Dream Planner), you can sell stock photos if you are a photographer, you can sell unique water bottles and do something health related, etc. I think everyone should sell a service or a product just be different with it…..which brings us to…..

Selling a service – This is how I make my money (more on that later) Some sell coaching sessions (Shout out to my favorite coach Amber Wright) Some sell photography classes, some teach a class on how to blog. Please do not pay anyone to teach you how to blog. I feel so bad for all you new bloggers who pay others hundreds of dollars for this service. Ask me for free or go on Pinterest or just research….how to start a blog and make money. Don’t pay rent money to learn how to start a blog or pay because someone else makes money on their blog. You have no idea what they do to make money and their way won’t be your way. There are bloggers who have a whole team that helps them with their blog don’t think you can wake up tomorrow and make 6 figures by paying them hard earned money to be like them. If you must pay someone on how to start a blog ask around for free (me again I will give you free details) first then if you don’t make any headways pay someone you can trust.

Sponsored posts – There are a few companies that will pay you nicely for sponsored posts. It’s a great way to make money. Most companies require your numbers to be up there but once you get those numbers up you are good to go. I like sponsored posts but I also don’t like that everyone else does them. You can have 100 bloggers doing the same sponsored post on a product and it can become overwhelming. My advice: Start at sponsored posts to get your feet wet and then branch off and pitch companies directly. I like having a one on one relationship with that company with no middle man (other than the PR people that work for the company) Make a list of all the companies you would like to work for. Go to that page and find their Media department or PR person and email them with your pitch. Your pitch should be short and to the point no more than two paragraphs first paragraph outline who you are and what your blog is about. Second paragraph give them a taste of what you want to do for them and then end with giving contact info. I have a sample pitch letter that I don’t mind sharing but honestly make your pitch letter your own. There is no right or wrong way to write a pitch letter other than making sure you are keeping it short, highlighting what you can do for the company, and highlight a little about you. Make it fun and memorable!

So getting back to how I make money. I sell a service. Many people ask, well what service do you sell because apparently I don’t broadcast it enough lol. I offer brand photography for small businesses and bloggers. In a nutshell I take your brand and create photos for your brand that you can use on your website and on social media. They include headshots, product/service shots (service if you live in Atlanta, products can be mailed to me if you live in another state) lifestyle shots for your blog posts, and stock photos that represent you. You don’t have to buy the same stock photos that everyone else uses you can just have your own that I take just for you. I also do social media management for small businesses but only do small businesses on this one no bloggers. That is how I make money. The blog is just a great way for you to get to know who I am as a person because sometimes I don’t fit everyone’s personality and that is okay. I want to work with people who truly love who I am as a person the blog gives you a peek into that. It’s Really Kita is my site with blog posts about the things I love and services I offer. How do you make money with your blog? Remember if you get into blogging to make money…..you will burn out really quick. Blog because you want too and you will build your audience!

On a side note if you sign up to my newsletter (bottom of the page) I am offering all of my subscribers (only my subscribers) a monthly subscription service of brand photography. You pay a fee once a month (cancel at anytime) and I take photos for your brand for the entire month. I will take photos that represent upcoming holidays, flat lays, product shots with your products, etc. You get a certain number of pictures of month for one low price! I will explain more about this in another post but sign up so you won’t miss this deal! 

  • Reply
    Alli Smith
    January 11, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    You’re so right – one size does not fit all when it comes to monetizing a blog. I’ve done really well with sponsored posts and ads. I laugh when brands contact me to write a blog post and social shares for their product in exchange for a coupon. Really? I just say no. Blogging is hard work and I only work with brands I love.

  • Reply
    Dawn McAlexander
    January 11, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I do a ton of sponsored posts but, like you, having a lot of bloggers doing the same sponsored posts I feel is overwhelming. I try to pitch companies directly as often as I can to get them to work with me and only me. That makes for more original content, and it makes other bloggers jealous, lol!

  • Reply
    Jacqui @FlightsFancyMom
    January 11, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I love the honesty! And you are right! There are different ways to monetize a blog, but when you have 100’s of people blogging about the same thing at one time? It becomes saturated. I’m trying to find what works for me to have that passive income coming in. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • Reply
    lisa
    January 11, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Blogging is about doing something you love. I tell people it’s not easy to do and you don’t make money right off the bat. It takes time and dedication.

  • Reply
    candy
    January 11, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Finally someone who tells it like it is. Guess I am different, I didn’t start my blog to make money and really don’t plan on making money. Gasp! Oh well. I enjoy reaching people, reading their comments and sharing some knowledge.

  • Reply
    Angelic Sinova
    January 11, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    I LOVE this! It is so important to stop worrying/comparing how much others are making from their blog and focus on our own blogs. Above all, blogging should be fun although making a profit form your blog is definitely a great bonus.

  • Reply
    Pam
    January 11, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Monetizing a blog is a great way to make money. I like that you have shown so many different ways to do it. I am trying to get into affiliate links.

  • Reply
    Jenn @ EngineerMommy
    January 11, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    This is a great overview of blogging. It’s true that blogging can be lucrative, but it’s also a lot of hard work. Most people don’t realize how much time it takes to get through a blog.

  • Reply
    Anosa
    January 12, 2017 at 9:32 am

    This was truly a refreshing read. I personally make more money from sponsored posts and product reviews than affiliates. Others make tones from affiliate marketing etc. Lovely post

  • Reply
    Melesha Oglen
    January 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Really enjoyed this post. Straight to the point, but also encouraging. I love your realness and no holds barred.

  • Reply
    Annemarie LeBlanc
    January 12, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing you thoughts. Personally, I think you have to have the passion to write. Awesome content can get you enough followers, regular readers and a good sized email list. Once you get your name out there, it would be brands that would be seeking you out. And honestly, I don’t like reading about “Blog Income Reports,” because I believe that not everything that works for Pedro will work for Juan. Just my two cents. 🙂

  • Reply
    Rebecca Swenor
    January 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    These are great ways to monetize a blog. Sponsored posts and affiliate programs are great ways to make money when you have a blog. Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Reply
    Dee
    January 12, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    I have to agree with you, I think it is up to the blogger to decided which method is good for them. You just don’t want to take on to much so you don’t get stressed out.

  • Reply
    Mimi Green
    January 13, 2017 at 12:18 am

    I’m not the ads type of gal but I do love sponsored post. If I don’t believe in it I can’t write about it. I value my craft and I love brands that value my craft as well.

  • Reply
    Kita Bryant
    January 13, 2017 at 2:05 am

    There is a lot of very useful information here. Whether you have a big or small blog, all of this info can be handy.

  • Reply
    Mercedes
    January 13, 2017 at 4:48 am

    This is really great info, there really isn’t a one size fits all way to monetize a blog. Wish I was still in Atlanta, I would totally be inquiring about your services for stock photos.

  • Reply
    Ali
    January 13, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I appreciate the honesty in this post! It is hard to find the right way to monetize for your blog and when you do it takes a while for it to actually pay off. It definitely isn’t a one-size fits all!

  • Reply
    Latonya
    January 13, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I really enjoyed this post, Kita. I nodded in agreement and laughed when appropriate. 🙂 I could really relate to what you said in this post. I don’t make much money blogging, but the money I do make comes from products I enjoy and use. I have been kicked out of Amazon too. It’s hard to remember to put those links in everything.

    • Reply
      Kita
      January 13, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Yes I want to go back to Amazon but I will just give it up lol

  • Reply
    Nellie
    January 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I love the brand photography idea! I’m a long time subscriber so I can’t wait for more details. OMG people are paying way too much to learn how to blog. It is a simple as writing a word document.

  • Reply
    Terri Beavers
    January 14, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Blogging for money is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and devotion. I’ll have to check out some of your suggestions that I’m not using. Sponsored posts are my biggest money makers for my blog.

  • Reply
    Garf
    January 14, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Blogging is not easy. It is a hard work. I have done well with sponsored and guest posts, not so much with affiliates.

  • Reply
    LaShawn
    January 16, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Blogging is a lot of hard work! I have been using a combination of affiliates, sponsored posts and ads. And yes, people spend too much money with people telling them HOW to blog. SMH

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