How I Make Money Blogging: A Q&A

by Julie on August 1, 2013 · 6 comments

Reader Question

Since I’ve started including blogging income in my found money updates, there has been some interest in exactly how I make money blogging.

I’ve been dragging my feet in writing about it because I wasn’t sure exactly what information to include. I’ve spent over seven years blogging and learning about blogging and there is a ton of information I could give you.

But it may not be the information you want.

So with my last found money post I asked you for your specific questions about blogging for income and you responded with questions in the comments on that post and through email as well.

Thank you!

Here are those questions and my answers:

Q. I’m most interested to know why you started blogging. Were you looking to make it a side income? How long were you blogging when it started to produce an income? Kat @ k + n

I was most definitely not looking to make a side income when I started blogging. I don’t think I even realized that was a possibility.

I started blogging because I was reading a lot of blogs at the time and I wanted to be a part of the conversation. Simple as that. I did discover pretty early on that you could make money blogging, however. Probably within my first six months or year.

Q. How do you make money blogging? Where does it come from? I would love to do something like this, but don’t even know where to start to earn money doing it. – Lisa

I make money blogging in primarily two ways. The first is recommending products and service to others and then earning a commission when they purchase them. The technical name for that is “affiliate marketing.”

Probably the most well known affiliate marketing program – and one that I use – is Amazon Associates. That’s a good place to get your feet wet.

The commissions that Amazon pays aren’t large, but the site is so well known and offers so many products, that that tends to make up for it, I think.

The second way I make money blogging is through direct advertising on the blog. Google Adsense is a well-known way to advertise on your blog and it’s something that many bloggers, including myself, use. The way it works in a nutshell is that you apply to be an advertiser, put a tiny bit of code on your website and Google runs related ads on your site.

You can customize how you want Google Ads to appear on your site. For instance, I have them set so that they don’t appear on new posts. That way my regular readers don’t see them when they come to the site. But if you dig back in the blog a week or two, you will see Google Ads on my posts.

Q. Where do I start? How do I put ads on my blog? What can I do to get writing jobs? Where is it worth it to spend your effort trying to generate income? – Stacie

Stacie, see my answer to Lisa above about Google Adsense and Amazon Associates. Those are good places to start because they’re such well-known programs and you’ll learn about how advertising works.

If you’d like to make money through freelance writing or blogging, I can point you to a few good websites:

Even Craigslist can be a good source of job leads. Don’t forget to check cities other than your own because many writing and blogging jobs can be done remotely.

Where to spend your time is a very individual decision. But it’s very easy to run around chasing each new idea or shiny internet object. It’s best to pick one path and a couple of sources of income and focus on those, at least for a while, before moving onto the next thing.

And it’s always, always worth your time to try and build traffic to your blog. The more readers you have, the more options you’ll have for making money.

Q. How much time goes into it on a weekly basis? – Bridget

That’s a good question, Bridget, and a hard one for me to answer because I don’t really keep track of my time. Also, some weeks I put in a lot of time and others – like many this summer – I put in very little.

One thing I can tell you, however, is that starting a blog for income is essentially starting a business and that means you’ll put in a lot of time upfront for (hopefully) a payoff down the road.

If making money quickly is something you’re interested in, you’d definitely be better off going another route. But if blogging is something you enjoy and you’d like to put some time in building something that will someday be a source of revenue for you, it can be a great experience 

Q. How much you made from each source, trends you see, what actionable steps you can take to improve income, and whether you consider the income sustainable are always big questions for me. – Dan @ Sweating the Big Stuff

The breakdown of my income over the last 12 months has been approximately 29% affiliate income (recommending products and services) and 71% direct advertising on the blog.

And the big trend I see out there is video (YouTube, etc.). That’s where a lot of the growth is and it’s what I hear a lot about at blogging conferences, etc. I’ve been resistant, though, and haven’t taken the plunge, although my 18-year-old son is constantly encouraging me to do that. LOL

Your question about sustainability is a good one, because in the seven years I’ve been blogging and making money online, things have changed a lot and I expect them to continue to change. Of my two main income streams, I consider the affiliate income to be the most sustainable.

Q. What advice can you give me on how to make an income online through blogging? – Karina

and

Q. I’d love to know more about your blog income–what works for you, what tips you’d give to others, etc. Melissa @ Mom’s Plans

Melissa, you know at least as much about blogging as I do, but what works for me is combining many small streams of blogging income (kind of like with found money).

The big piece of advivce I have to give others – and one I’m continually returning to myself – is to be yourself and develop your own, unique voice. There’s no shortage of information on the internet, if that’s all people are looking for, but what readers will connect to is the personality behind your blog.

Q. I see that you do bookkeeping on a side for an extra income and I find it fascinating. Do you need a certificate or a degree to do bookkeeping? Marcin

Although it’s not related to blogging, I’m including Marcin’s question here, in case others have the same question.

You do not need a certificate or degree to work as a bookkeeper, although that certainly helps. I have a business degree from 25+ years ago, and I took some accounting classes as part of that, but the biggest thing that has helped me as a small business bookkeeper has been learning to use Quickbooks software (Amazon affiliate link).

My bookkeeping work is currently limited to two, small family businesses (my husband’s and one other) and I use Quickbooks and Quickbooks payroll for both of them.

Wrap-Up

Hopefully this has been helpful to those of you interested in making money blogging. As with all things on The Family CEO, my goal is for this to be a conversation.

If this information creates more questions for you – or if you have information you’d like to add – let’s meet in the comments to talk about it.

This post is part of Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Troy August 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Wow thanks for the insight. I just started blogging 3 months ago, so this is definitely pretty interesting. Although at this point, I haven’t really given monetizing my blog any thought. Maybe in a year or two.

Reply

Linsey K - 1099 Mom August 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Thanks so much for including our site as a resource. I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time — quite the honor :) Keep up the great work of giving moms opportunities to help support their families in these difficult times. You are appreciated!

Reply

Conor Foley August 14, 2013 at 6:22 am

It requires a huge amount of dedication and discipline to make money on a consistent basis as a Blogger, but it can definitely be done. My best advice is to pick one niche that is not properly serviced and specialise in that. You are much better off being number 1 or 2 in a small niche than number 50 in a big one.

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David G. McKenna August 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Hello, thank you for writing this article.

You seem quite successful. At what point did you (or did you ever) register a trademark for your name? Or have you ever registered any kinds of trademarks?

Is the blog still registered to you, personally? Or did you ever split it off to a business? If so, did you incorporate?

If you did any of these things, at what point did you do them? Was there a success threshold where you realized this was becoming more serious? When was that?

Thank you,

David G. McKenna
http://www.findingoptimal.com

Reply

Julie August 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

David, the blog is considered a business and I file a separate Schedule C on our taxes for all blog income and expenses. I have not yet registered a trademark or incorporated, both things I have on my to-do list. Thanks for your questions.

Reply

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