How I (A Lifestyle Blogger With A Small Following) Earned Over £3,000 This Year
I have been literally counting the days until I could write up this post for you.
In my last Blogging 101 post (New Year Blogging Goals and Resolutions For Better Blog Growth, if you want a quick recap!), I included a poll at the end wherein you could vote for the next Blogging 101 post – and one of the posts a few of you requested was the various ways bloggers can earn money through their blogs. I’ve been personally wanting to share these tips with you for fucking ages because I love you all and want to support all your hard work. And because taking money away from big evil corporations and putting it into the pockets of the small business woman/man (and, yes, that would be us. Hey, we’ve actually semi-achieved something with our lives!) is both beneficial for the economy and the good thing to do. We can’t let the government win. Not again.
Yeah, I don’t know what I’m on about either. Moving on.
Let me tell you, quite clearly, what this post is:
A Guide On How To Make Money With Your Blog (Whether It’s Big Or Small)
Because we all love to earn that cash – and there’s no better way to do it than in your pyjamas at your computer.
First of all, though – I want to show you that I practice what I preach. These aren’t theoretical tips, or things that might work – these are tested, proved ways to earn money through blogging. Legitimate, easy and without compromising the integrity of your blog.
I know – you don’t have to sell out! Isn’t it amazing?
And that’s why the first part of this post is about the how I’ve earned through my blog – so that you know that these are ways that work. Rather than going into tiny, irritating detail over how I used every single method, I’m going to show you an overall breakdown and then I’ll explain all the different programs and methods I use and how you can apply them to your own sites afterwards. And if you would like to ask me anything else, or you want a post on a specific thing, just leave me a comment!
- ShopStyleCollective. – £1,900
As you can see (or maybe you can’t; my WordPress is really shit when it comes to displaying photos. If you want to see something in better detail, click the image and it will enlarge.) this is my December earnings from Shopstyle Collective. I only transferred a majority of my links to Shopstyle from November to December as I very recently realised that Amazon is one of Shopstyle’s hosted retailers, but during that time is when my traffic reaches its peak and I earned a total of £1,900. I also used ShopStyle throughout the year, and earned another hundred through that.
- Amazon Associates US – I did an entire post on that affiliate system (it is, after all, a brilliant affiliate program for bloggers) and you can find that post here! – £800
- Amazon Associates UK – £122
- Shareasale – £67
- Etsy! – £50
I closed my Etsy shop in favour of starting a new one this coming new year (so follow me on Esty here, dolls!), but I earned about £50 in the few months it was up – so not bad!
Okay, so those are the ways in which I earned my money this year; there are a few various others, but these are the main programs that I would say I found the most useful. So, now that you can see that I’m not telling you to jump off a cliff without a parachute, shall I get down to explaining what these programs are?
Sites That Will Pay You To Blog
This is easily the one I would recommend to most bloggers because it’s a PPC program (Pay Per Click) rather than only getting paid out commission on purchases and it hosts all the shops we love – ASOS, Missguided, Boohoo, Superdrug etc. It’s also international, so both US and UK bloggers can use it and it hosts popular shops for both. In my post about Amazon Associates, I told you that it was easier to make money selling to people that want to buy rather than people that just enjoy your blog – however, with this program, that’s not necessarily true. If your followers click a link, you get the same payment as if they bought something. This is especially useful for fashion blogs, as often people will click through to browse out of curiosity, but won’t buy anything.
Another brilliant feature of this is that you can use your links anywhere; they encourage you to use them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (yes, you can earn money through pinning things to your wishlist board on Pinterest) and literally anywhere else you feel like putting a link. I know it seems like a simple thing, but a lot of other affiliate schemes don’t allow you to and, as far as I’ve found, there aren’t many that allow Pins you can earn from.
Let’s list it.
- Easy to use
- Like Amazon, Shopstyle offers products from different merchants; however, it’s geared at women and shopping, so it has literally all your favourite highstreet shops. So when you’re creating wishlists, or linking to your OOTD, your links can be earning you money.
- Variety of ways to earn – widgets, polyvore-outfit-type image sets, Pinterest, normal links . . . the list goes on.
- Every lead has guaranteed payment
- The payout is the 20th of the month after (Dec earnings pay out on Jan 20th) – this is very quick compared to other sites
- PERFECT for beauty and fashion bloggers
- Outside of fashion, beauty and homeware there’s not a lot of variety
- The statistics are just painfully bad – the dashboard is prone to displaying your earnings wrong, or not working for a few days
- Payment threshold is £100
- If someone were to go on a shopping spree, where you could something like £10 on a normal affiliate program, you would only earn about 4p.
I would link this, but it’s different for each site (UK or US); just scroll to the bottom of the Amazon homepage where it says “Make Money With Us” and the affiliate page shall reveal itself.
I love Amazon Associates and the transparency it operates on; I love being able to see who bought what, which of my links is performing the best, what products viewers are loving and I love earning like £10 in one go. If you have a very specific audience or you know a lot of your people are going to be looking to buy, I would absolutely recommend Amazon Associates. I’d say this is my favourite program, it just isn’t my most profitable. (If you don’t know what it is – there’s a post explaining all about it here)
- It’s Amazon, so there’s endless choice and variety
- The commission rates are really good, starting at 5% and climbing the more products you sell (25 to move to 6%, then more to 7…you get the gist), so you earn a lot per purchase.
- It’s easy and informative to use
- Looking at all the weird random crap people buy after they’ve clicked through your link.
- If you’re writing a targeted blog (like tech, for example) where people are likely to buy what you’re selling – you’ll be bringing in the big bucks.
- If you have a high amount of traffic, a lot of the time a PPC program is a more profitable option.
- Two months before you can redeem your funds and if you’re an international associate the cheque can take up to 8 weeks to clear
- I would honestly say nothing else; I adore the Amazon Associates program and I think it’s brilliant – it just doesn’t pay as much as ShopStyle Collective.
Shareasale is another affiliate merchant; it hosts sites like Romwe, Sammydress, Reebok and a lot of others. I don’t use it very often anymore, but I did use it from around March-June and the links are still functional, so sometimes I get the odd purchase. The site itself is actually pretty good and they host some good merchants, but I discovered ShopStyle just after I discovered Shareasale and my following wasn’t big enough to earn through purchases rather than clicks, so I didn’t use it all that often.
- Massive variety of merchants. Sports, bridal, fashion, health, beauty, books . . . they have over 1,000 shops you can advertise for, so you’re spoilt for choice
- I remember it being a bit difficult to use; I’ve had experience with other affiliate programs, so I figured it out eventually – but it wasn’t straightforward or obvious. To make links from sites is “Deep link creating” and that tool is hidden in a drop down menu somewhere you have to dig to find. Not brilliant.
- A lot of the merchants aren’t the most reputable, or heard of brands
A lot of bloggers make money through selling things to their audience; this is one that you probably think you need a large audience for, but I found that most of my Etsy views were from searches on the site itself. So, while you don’t need to rely on your blog for Etsy, it is a good starting point and your followers can be great motivation!
Etsy is like Ebay, but for new, homemade items. This can be (and is) anything from cupcake headphones, badges, your own clothing line, homebaked brownies, jewellery, artwork . . . it’s a great little site to get in on. And it’s free!
- Helps you reach a larger audience than just your blog
- A lot of effort
- Start up costs
- Not guaranteed to earn
So, as you can see, most of my money is earned through affiliate programs. By now, you probably already know what these are – but, if not, an affiliate programme is when a company pays you for traffic you divert to their site. Commission rates are generally from 5-10% (so if somebody buys a £50 coat, you’re looking at £2.50 to £5) and you’re paid depending on the amount of purchases you generate. You can use these links in reviews, in wishlist posts; I personally use a majority of them in my gift guides.
There are a few other affiliate networks I don’t yet use that I’ve recently discovered and I’ll link those too.
Affiliate Programs For Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Bloggers
- Rakuten Network – they host Pandora, Ohmylove London, Getthelabel and loads of others; I’d say beauty and lifestyle bloggers especially should want to check this one out, as they have a lot of really good beauty sites and health ones.
- AffiliateWindow – this is the one I need to join; they host Missguided, Etsy, River Island and a lot more of the shops we all love.
- A lot of sites host their own individual affiliate programmes that you can join directly, so if you like a site just scroll to the bottom of their homepage and see if they offer an affiliate scheme.
- I did an entire other post on affiliate programs for fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers too – so check that out here!
Ways To Earn Through Blogging That Aren’t Affiliate Programs
Oh, yeah – there are other ways to earn, my dear children.
- Ad space
- Sponsored/Promoted posts; if you want a post on how to land these (namely: blog networks) vote below!
- Fiverr.com – now, this is another one like Etsy where you don’t actually earn on your blog, but you can promote and bring readers to your blog; you offer your services out for $5, but they can be anything – so you could offer some blog related things. Eg: if you run a fashion blog, you could offer out makeovers.
- Mention links in your post! I’m not kidding – FoxyBlogger.com offer you a payment to mention a link in your post. You could drop it in like – hey guys, don’t check this out! Or just on a quick sidenote – but you get paid for it.
- Paid reviews. There are a lot of sites that do this; I haven’t actually used any yet, but I’ve heard of quite a few – once I try some out, I’ll link for you.
Wouldn’t it be nice for this list to expand? Well, okay kids – if anybody else has any new ideas, just let me know and I’ll add them! I hope this list was helpful; if it was, share it and help out all your favourite bloggers get a ‘lil boost this New Year!