If you haven’t already read the rest of the Expat Blog Success Series you should go do that first.
I’m not going to lie and say blogging is easy work because it’s not. It took me a good six months before I started to see any profit coming in. My first six months were spent working countless hours a day making my site look just perfect, writing and writing, becoming a social media maven, and more. It was exhausting but exhilarating. There are many moments you will become discouraged, but the little things like making your first dollar, reaching a new goal in social media follows, nice comments on your blog, and invites to write for major publications will make it all worth it (at least they did for me).
Once your blog is set up and ready to go, it’s time to start making money. Please please start monetizing your blog from day one. This is something I strongly regret doing. I thought that as a little blogger with twenty views a day there was no way I could make money. That is so far from the truth. Granted, you may literally be making pennies at first, but hey it’s something.
So let’s start looking at how you can make money.
Affiliate programs are programs that pay you based on how many people purchase something through a link you refer them to.
At the moment, affiliate programs are the number one way I make money.
-The first one you should sign up for is Amazon Affiliates. Amazon pays a very fair referral rate in my opinion. I make money from Amazon in a few different ways. In certain articles, I specifically link and post pictures of products from Amazon, other times I may write something like, “I took this pictures yesterday with my GoPro” and if you click GoPro it will take you to GoPros on Amazon. You may not actually order the GoPro, but if you order anything else on Amazon within the next 24 hours I get a percent of the profit at no extra cost to my readers.
-I also use Skimlinks. Skimlinks partners with thousands of retailers and with each link to a product that is purchased through your posts you get a small comission. They are soo easy to use and I much rather use Skimlinks then have partnerships with many different affiliate programs. Skimlinks pays out once you reach a threshold of $10, other programs tend to have a much higher threshold and if you are partnered with many different programs it could take you several months to reach their threshold.
There are countless affiliate programs out there for almost every product or service you may talk about on your site. Definitely look into them before you promote any product on your site. I personally only refer people to products or services I believe strongly in, and I suggest you do the same to keep your readers around, but if you’re going to tell your readers about your favorite things, you should also try to make a bit of money off of it.
Sponsored posts are articles, pictures, social media posts etc. that you share in exchange for payment or free products. I believe that even if a company pays you to write about their product you should still always give your true opinion.
When you are first starting out it may be a bit difficult to get chosen for any sponsored post opportunities, but you should still try. You never know. As you build up more of a following you can make good money from sponsored posts.
Here are a few of my fave programs:
–Cooperatize: I personally do really well with Cooperatize and I am confident saying they are by far my favorite company to work with for sponsored posts. They seem to have a more travel blogger focus, which is great. Plus they are a smaller company and you are more likely to get chosen for posts.
–Blogger Programme: I absolutely love all the postings on Blogger Programme. The problem is they are a British company and most of their opportunities are geared toward British bloggers, which always makes me sad. If you are located in the UK, check it out though. They have really cool opportunities that you can apply to. I’d say they are best for fashion, travel, and lifestyle bloggers.
-Izea: Good program, but you probably won’t get many opportunities until you build up a big audience.
–Linqia: They are fabulous. A great option for fashion and lifestyle bloggers.
These are the main companies I use for sponsored posts. I have worked with a few others in the past, but don’t have much to say about them.
If you know a company you think others would benefit from, please leave it in the comment section.
Another option is to approach companies directly to ask about sponsored content. Many travel bloggers do this as a way of traveling for free or at least at a discount. You will need a media kit and a nice intro letter for this, which we will talk about in the next section.
As your blog gains more of a following you may start to be approached by companies directly. This is awesome because it makes less work for you (you don’t have to seek companies out) and you can be really selective about which companies you choose to work with (which you should be selective anyway).
Pay Per Click Advertising:
I suggest signing up for pay per clicks ads ASAP. Please please don’t just place these types of ads all over your site or they will look cheap. A lot of people like Google Adsense which I use as well, but it is not always easy to get accepted into their program. It personally took me five months of applying before they finally accepted me. I’m persistent. 🙂 There are tons of different pay per click ads out there, but I will warn you that with most of them you will see such a small return that it might not be worth it to you. Also, just a tip, please don’t litter your blog with ads. Nobody wants to have to scroll through ads to try to read your post.
-Another program I like is ShopStyle Collective. If you are a fashion blogger starting out, you should definitely have ShopStyle Collective. I use it on this site when I post packing lists. ShopStyle pays you a very small percentage for each link to a product that is clicked from your website. The problem with ShopStyle Collective is that they don’t pay you until you have reached $100 threshold and this could take foreverrrr when you are starting out.
-You can approach companies directly and ask them if they would like to advertise on your site. You can work out with the company if you will be paid a set amount each month or per referral. This is where the big money is. Even if you don’t have a huge following, companies may still be interested in working with you so don’t be scared to try. We’ll talk about creating your media kit next which you will need in order to approach companies.
Sell Your Own Product:
This is by far the best way to make money with your site. It can be easy to focus all your time on your blog, but try to spend a little time each day creating a product that you can sell on your blog. This could be anything from e-book, to jewelry, to webinars. Once you build up a following on your site people will trust you and will be happy to buy whatever you put their way.
As far as e-books go, writing a book about your adventures abroad could be great. If you need some inspiration I suggest reading What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman. Kristin spent her twenties and thirties traveling the world while on breaks from work. She is a screenwriter and has written for shows such as That 70’s Show and How I Met Your Mother. Anyway, her adventures are humorous and epic and will totally inspire you to share your own story.
I also know several bloggers that have a section on their site that is pay only. For example, one of my favorite bloggers The Skinny Confidential has a weight loss plan that you can only access if you pay for it through her site. I think this is genius.
I hope these ideas help you out and let me know what other ways you use to make money through your blog. 🙂
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