I've been asked this a lot. By friends, readers, people.
How does a blog make money? How do you make money with your blog?
Money is a byproduct of being helpful
I'm not kissing my own ass here. This is something I really believe in and it seems this blog has been more or less helpful to a certain group of people.
Most of what is written here is a solution to a problem. If it's not a solution, then maybe it's just some advice - bad, good? - you tell me. If it's neither, then it's just personal stuff and I am to blame for stealing your time. Or...am I?
(Take this very post here for instance - it's fluff - since money is not a topic for this blog, right?).
Don't blog for money
Now I'm trying to spin this article and give it some useful flavor (so you won't think it's fluff or bragging) but don't be fooled. Click away.
Still here? Let me go on:
If you blog for money, you may find yourself later in a situation where you're making too little money to keep you excited.
I started online projects just for the sake of money and they failed gloriously. Actually, I failed. Don't go that route.
Start a blog around topics you naturally love. You won't get burned out. You'll write better. Your creativity will bloom.
For me, lately, my obsession was (still is) stuff related to video shooting and editing. And I blend this new passion into my other passions: climbing, mountain biking, mountaineering, cliff jumping and outdoorsy stuff in general.
I shoot action sports videos as best as I can with my modest gear. Sometimes I'm inspired, sometimes I'm not. I keep doing it. Your passion will nurture your work. So start an online project around something you're passionate about. Blog, YouTube channel, podcast, whatever - build it around stuff that thrills you.
At some point I said Hey, I could do gear giveaways - why not give give a chance to other people to be sponsored by outdoor brands? BTW, stay tuned for that. I have an experiment prepared to get you free outdoor gear. Subscribe to be notified.
Ignore money. Be useful, entertaining or both. If money starts rolling in, it's a sign you're doing something right. Keep ignoring money when it comes. That will enable you to focus on your readers, viewers, listeners.
Okay. Tell us how this blog makes money already!!!
1. VigLink - my favorite of the bunch. You copy and paste a piece of code into your website or blog and it automatically affiliates all links on your website.
This is affiliate marketing and VigLink is a new and cool platform. I think it will overthrow CJ.com, but more on that later.
How it works - Let's say you blog about fishing and recommend a certain fishing rod, linking out to a certain online store. When people click on that link and buy the product, you get a commission on the sale.
I only recommend products I used or tested and you should do the same. Don't bullshit! Writing a review should be like talking to your best friend. Do you try to push-sell stuff to your friends? If you do, you're not the best friend. Reconsider.
Thank you for supporting this blog through your purchases! I'll do my best to keep things useful and interesting for you!
2. AdSense - a classic (and lame, I agree) website monetization tool from Google. These are the ads that you see all over the internet (Google ads).
How it works - You drop a piece of code into a certain area of your website, choosing prior what ads you want to be shown (image, text, or both). The ads tend to be relevant to the content of your website. Again, if you blog about fishing, the ads will be more or less about fishing, boats, fishing destinations and so on.
Sometimes you'll see ads that are totally irrelevant to the page. You may see an ad to a burger on a page that's about healthy food & sports nutrition. That's what's lame about it and the fact that they're somewhat annoying.
This is my little form of prostitution. Coz I don't live in fairy tale. And if you work in a media firm, publishing house, etc. - and throw rocks at me for doing this - remember that your company is able to pay you because they sell and display ads (of all forms, in all mediums).
3. InfoLinks - a combination of VigLink (you drop a piece of code and the effect is deployed throughout your website) and AdSense (there's some randomness about it).
How it works - InfoLinks transforms some of your written words into links. Each time someone clicks on one link, you get paid a few cents.
Just as Google ads, this is called PPC - pay per click. Affiliate marketing is also called PPA - pay per action (action = sale/lead/subscriber etc.).
4. Mountain bike T-shirts and climbing shirts in my Spreadshirt shop.
How it works - You create the designs (make sure you have the copyright), you upload them to Spreadshirt, you add them on shirts. Spreadhsirt handles the production and shipping. You get a commission on each sale.
You decide how high your commission will be but that adds to the final price.
Manny from Video Trail Reviews has this to say about this particular MTB hoodie:
The fabric mix is 50% cotton and 50% poly and manufactured by Hanes. It feels soft to the touch and fits well.
The quality of the printed design is what I expected (silk screen) not (pressed sticker). No smears and no ink smell. The logo was what I ordered and is centered on both the front and back of the hoodie. The size (XL) and color(Ash) of the hoodie sent is correct.
Overall, I am very happy with not just the hoodie itself, but also with the design and the fast order process. My wife loves it and my son wants one so I will be placing an order this Thur. to get him a hoodie. You should feel good about the product you offer and confident with your delivery method.
That's it Constantin, this is my honest option and I hope it helps. Thanks, Manny
5. CJ.com (Commission Junction) - the best known and perhaps the biggest affiliate network for physical products out there.
How it works - You manually apply for each advertiser. They check your site and then they either approve you or not. If they approve you as an affiliate publisher, you then get access to HTML banners and links to place on your blog or website.
Don't like them that much because:
- They work with checks even though they're an internet company. Checks take about one month to cash in where I live (they come in my mail inbox from Germany; I take them to the bank; then they fly back to the bank that issued them - Bank of America; after one month I go and pick up the cash minus a commission of 1% but no less than 5 Euro/$9)
- If you don't gather commissions above the payout threshold (60 Euro) for a certain period of time (6 months I think), they simply delete your earnings... Now this is bullshit business practice! It happened to me when I first started using them and I got pissed.
- Update - Commission Junction now offers direct deposit payments and they reduced the minimum payout amount for this option to 25 Euro. They also pay with direct deposit in the national currency for a few countries: Czech Koruna (CZK), Danish Krone (DKK), Polish Zloty (PLN), Indian Rupees (INR), Mexican Peso (MXN), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and Singapore Dollar (SGD). They're improving the service.
I'm afraid this is classified information. Or, how my american friend says when we're on instant messenger: I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you! :-)
All the information I gave you, up to this point, is far more important than the actual figure I normally make with Highball Blog.
In other words, if you can keep working on your thing without knowing the potential average financial outcome, you have higher chances of doing a great work.
Am I getting rich? No way!
Your turn now
- Do you have a blog? What's it about? Do you make videos?
- Would you like to make money online? If so, how would you see your daily work routine?
- Have a question or remark? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.
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