How I Accidentally Figured Out How to Make Money Blogging

How to Monetize Your Blog Paid in Pennies When I asked over on the MMD facebook page what you all wanted to know about blogging, a lot of you asked me to talk about how to monetize your blog.

This blog does make a little–but not a lot–of money. When I started MMD, my first goal was to generate enough cash to cover the coffee, tea, and Diet Coke that fuels this blogging thing. (Yes, I’ve quit Diet Coke since then.) My next goal was to cover the grocery bill. I’ve handily met the first goal; I’m still working on the second.

I’ve learned a lot about how to monetize since I started blogging last year. The lightbulb came on for me after I wrote this post last year about 3 things I wish I’d learned sooner about shopping online. I didn’t write it with any kind of monetization strategy in mind, and was stunned when it generated enough cash to pay for all my Blissdom-related expenses. It was eye-opening, to say the least.

So, I’m no expert, but these are the ways I’m currently monetizing MMD:

Affiliate Programs

Amazon

My first source of income on MMD was the Amazon affiliate program. I still remember the happy dance I did on Tax Day 2011, when I logged into my affiliate account and discovered that some kind soul had bought vitamins through an Amazon link on my site, netting me a 33¢ commission.

Here are a few things you should know about the Amazon affiliate program:

1. You’re paid in pennies. A 4-8% commission on a book, movie rental or bottle of vitamins isn’t much money.

2. When readers click over to Amazon from a link on your site, the blogger receives a commission for anything they buy in that visit to Amazon. (Personally, I get a kick out of buying my diapers through links on my single friend’s blogs.)

3. Volume counts. I’m thrilled when I see someone has gone through one of my Amazon links to rent a movie that costs a dollar, or buy an ebook that costs 99¢. If you’re in Amazon’s tiered rate compensation structure, your commission rate increases with your volume. So maybe I’ll only get paid a few pennies commission for that movie rental, but that purchase will help increase my overall commission rate for the month.

Ebook Affiliate Programs

Many bloggers have affiliate programs for their ebooks and other products, and these typically pay out at 30-50% rates. This means that instead of getting paid a few pennies every time someone makes a purchase, you could get paid a few dollars. That’s a big difference!

I’ve shared a few ebooks with you all here on MMD: the ones you’ve liked the most have been Tell Your Time, How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too, One Bite at a Time, and Simple Blogging. The No Brainer Wardrobe didn’t have an affiliate program when I first wrote about it, but I joined when Hayley added it several months later. It’s been quite popular with MMD readers. (Affiliate relationships are always disclosed in the post.)

When I launch Work Shift next week, I’ll have an affiliate program with a 50% commission structure. I’ll give you directions on signing up.

Google Adsense

Right now I have one Google Adsense spot on the blog in the right sidebar, and I do a little happy dance whenever I see it’s gotten a click. I’ve thought about dropping it because I don’t love the program and only have limited control over the ads. But as you can see, it’s there for the time being.

And Many More

There are all kinds of ways of making money blogging that I don’t do here on MMD, like ad networks and sponsored posts. For more information, check out ProBlogger’s great mindmap illustrating 13 ways bloggers make money.

My Advice to You About Monetizing Your Own Blog

If you want to monetize your blog, here’s what you need to do:

1. Focus first on creating good content. Otherwise, no one’s going to want to come visit your blog.

2. Develop your readership. I get too many emails from bloggers who are frustrated that they’re not making money blogging…but they only have 5 readers. You don’t need a massive following to generate a small income from your blog, but you do need some traffic.

3. Educate yourself. If you want to make money blogging, spend some time reading about how to do it. I’ve just shared the tip of the iceberg here. My favorite places to go for information are ProBlogger, Blogging With Amy, and Momcomm.

Does your blog generate a few nickels or more? If not, would you like to make money blogging?

This post contains my affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

photo credit 1, 2

Comments

  1. says

    These are great tips. I am going to pin it to my blogging tips board. Thanks! I first started blogging in January of this year. I started right away with Amazon and Google, and just this month I have enough in my Amazon account that I soon will receive my first $10 gift card pay out! I am excited. After being discouraged one day about slow growth and slow income, I had a laundry room epiphany, several friends just spent 4 years of their lives and thousands of dollars to get the job they wanted, and here I was expecting to get immediate return on the job I want. So now I tell people I am in “Blogger University” and its going to be 4 years till I see significant returns. Viewing things this way really helps me to stay motivated and encouraged.

  2. says

    I always wondered how non-fashion bloggers made any money to cover at least some of the expenses (not including time) inherent in blogging. I have a few affiliate links, but my goal is to spotlight companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, especially social enterprises that are lifting the lives of those most marginalized.

  3. says

    I do amazon & google adsense right now.

    I like Amazon because they give me images of books to post, and sometimes people click on them to order and I make a few cents. Win-win!

    I do google because it is easy and I am a bit lazy. Someday, I’d like to do more.

    Great post, thanks!

  4. says

    Something else to keep in mind – a lot of people (like me) use an AdBlocker extension. That means we don’t always see the stuff from Google Adsense or Amazon. In fact, I didn’t know you had those on your sidebar until you mentioned it. Had to disable my AdBlocker to see them.

  5. says

    This is an area I know little to nothing about. I’m concentrating on content and building readers for now, and that seems to keep my busy enough, but who knows what may come? Thank you for sharing what you do. It may be little enough, but that is perfect for the truly ignorant. :)

  6. says

    For now I’m focusing on creating excellent content & a community of readers. I don’t care about making $100 a month (which at this point, I could easily do w/ an ad network). I’m very protective of the look of my blog & whom I chose to associate, I’d rather sit tight & wait until I’m ready so I can be choosy about sponsors rather than cheapening my blog with ads that don’t quite fit. When the time is right, I’ll start looking for ways to generate revenue. For now, I’m working at establishing discipline, quality, & consistency. Thanks for the tips!

  7. says

    Another way to make money blogging is to blog for someone else. Various companies, public personalities, etc. feel they need to communicate with the world regularly but don’t have the time/inclination/talent to write their posts, so that’s one option.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.