How To Monetize A Small Blog: Making Money From Day One

(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information.)

(post contains affiliate links see disclosure) ways to monetize your blog from day one

Before you all think I have made it rich, I will be 100% honest: I did not make enough profit to break even my first year blogging.

Running a professional blog is not free–there are domain fees and hosting fees. These are not huge expenses, adding up to only $10 a month, which is much less than a year’s worth of tuition. Before I enrolled in my own personal Blogging University I thought those fees would be simple to make back my first year; I was wrong.

Now I have a 4 year degree view of when my blog might become profitable enough to allow my husband to quit working overtime. (update: I am almost in year 5 of blogging and am finally making  full time income — a small one but a full time income )

5 Ways Monetize A Small Blog

How To Make Money From Your Blog Right Away

 1. You are not too small to start earning from some sources right away.

I highly recommend all new bloggers sign up for the Amazon affiliate program as well as Google Adsense in the first month or two of blogging.

You  probably won’t earn much the first year, but it will help you get you used to placing advertising in your sidebars and placing affiliate links in your posts.

It will also get your readers used to them. I have heard from other bloggers who waited to add advertising that their readers complained when they did, yet without them bloggers are not paid for their time–and believe me, a lot of  time goes into producing a blog.

2. At first you will be too small for some income sources, but don’t get discouraged

I applied for some bigger affiliate networks right away when I started blogging but was turned down. After reading the fine print I realized some affiliate networks out there have a 10,000 unique visitor minimum, others have a 50,000 unique visitor minimum, and still others are as high as 150,000 unique visitors per month.

Instead of getting discouraged by these large numbers, start thinking outside the box for ways you can make money as well as looking for ways to increase the size of your audience so you can eventually sign up for these programs. The last 3 points of this article will help you with these 2 things.

3. Use referral links for companies you love

I have used point reward programs to help out my family’s tight budget for years so before I started blogging I was familiar with referral credits.

When I had the blog up and running I put a few ads for and from these companies in my sidebar and linked to them in posts whenever it made sense.

The key to sharing referral links is to share them for companies that either your family has personally used and loved or at the very least those that come highly recommended by people you know, love and trust.

If I share a referral link for a company I have not used personally yet, I disclose that I have researched it (because I do spend time reading reviews) but haven’t personally used it yet.

Point Programs That Offer Referral Links

Survey Companies That Offer Referral Links

Daily Deal Sites That Offer Referral Links

Online Clothing Consignment Style Stores That Offer Referral Links

Apps With Referral Links

Online Cash Back Companies With Referral Links

Discounted Gift Card Companies

Various Other Companies With Referral Links

  • Ting (economical cell phone company)
  • Educents (sells school supplies at great prices, has a daily deal area too)
  • (online warehouse store without the membership fee up to $50 in credit)
  • Yerdle (an online swap community)
  • Dollar Shave Club (monthly subscription that can be slowed down to suit your needs)
  • Golden Tote (monthly clothing service- except you choose what months you want to buy) 
  • Erin Condren (sells planners, journals and personalized stationary)
  • Dropbox (an online file storage site)
  • . Time4Learning (Online homeschooling site (our family personally uses this for history and English)
  • Hollar (Like an online variety store, lots of great $1 and up items)

Natural & Organic Food & Cleaner Online Stores

Two Book Companies With Referral Links

I am continually on the look out for other companies that offer referral programs with referral links I can share on my blog. I love trying out new companies and seeing if they might be a good fit for my audience. Sharing great deals with others  is one reason I started my blog.

(psst…as I find more companies with sharable referral links  I like I update the list above so make sure to pin this article and  check back in later for updates)

These companies pay me in various ways, from points I can cash in for gift cards to store credits I can use to purchase items on their site. It is not exactly money in the bank, but it does help my family out financially. However, some of the programs (like Swagbucks and ibotta) have an option to convert your points to PayPal cash so then it truly is money in the bank.

Check out your favorite point programs, daily deal sites, and more and see if they perhaps offer a sharable referral link.

4. Sign up for affiliate programs for e-books and e-courses you love

If you find an e-book or e-course you love by another blogger that is sold directly on that blogger’s site, check to see if  they have a affiliate program you can join and earn as much as 50% commission if someone buys it through the link on your blog. These programs usually don’t require you to have certain amount of unique monthly visitors.

5. Spend The Majority Of Your Time Learning How To Build Traffic

(this is an update added in my 4th year of blogging; this post was originally posted after 1 year of blogging)

Once I hit 2 1/2 years of blogging I was about to give up on blogging all together once again due to feeling like I was getting no where in the area of earning an income from my blog.

That very week How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul came out and by following the tips found in the book I was able to double my Pinterest account, double my unique monthly visitors , and double my income within 30 days.

I highly recommend this e-book to bloggers wanting to increase the size of their blog as well as the profit it produces. I wish it had been available to me when I first started blogging.

I also just recently finished reading Delicious Blogging: The Ingredients That You Need To Create A Better Blog and found myself thinking over and over I wish I had this e-book during my first year of blogging: it would have saved me a lot of time in setting my blog up to have the right ingredients for success. Even as a blogger in her 4th year of blogging I picked up some new tips to try that I am sure will help my blog both in growth and profit.

Another of my favorite ways to learn about growing and marketing my blog are podcasts. To check out some of my favorite podcasts on blogging, visit 3 Podcasts on Blogging, as well as My Advice To All Bloggers Wanting To Grow Their Blog.

More of my posts on how to blog…


Follow Victoria @Snail Pace Transformations’s board Blogging Tips on Pinterest.

Pinterest is another great site for finding articles about growing a blog. I pin the ones I find to my Blogging Tips board and I would love to have you follow it.

Want To Start A Blog But Don’t Think You Have The Time?

Do you desperately want to start a blog but you just can’t seem to get your day organized enough to find time to start it? Or perhaps you have started a blog but are struggling to find the time needed to grow it? If you said yes to either of those questions you need to check out Crystal Paine’s video driven course Make Over Your Mornings (includes downloadable workbook too). Psst… this course will have you make over your entire day not just your mornings and best part, Crystal doesn’t say what time you have to get up that is up to you.









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  1. Good points – thank you for sharing.

    I’ve had my blog for a few years, and because of a few reasons, haven’t pursued using it to gather any income. I DO read a lot – and post reviews of the books I like – so the Amazon affiliate makes a lot of sense… however I live in North Carolina USA, which is one of the states that isn’t available as an affiliate. (taxes issues, etc.) I have had other relationship experts propose their products to me to use as an affiliate links, but I’m not sure how to go about it, so out of laziness, and um.m.m… fear of the unknown, I haven’t tried that either.

    You’re really getting me to think – and I appreciate it VERY much!

    I’d love it if you could suggest resources to learn more about how to use affiliate links, and your own opinion about Amazon issues, etc. I’ll check out those you’ve suggested!


    • I am really just getting my feet wet with affiliate links myself, but since Amazon is a no in your state and you love to read I would suggest going the e-book route which would promote fellow bloggers. it is very easy to add links into a post. I learned by googling it. You need to have a paypal account to accept payment but that doesn’t take long. It does take a few extra minutes to add the links in but once they are in, you have earning potential for the life of your blog.

  2. Great post. I just started blogging, so I’m going to check out your links you have recommended. Pinned!

  3. I loved reading this because I feel like I could be doing so much more with my blog. Thank you for sharing about what worked for you 🙂 I might have to try some of these tips.

  4. Cher Bartlett says:

    Enjoyed your article very much. I have a FB fan page and have gathered a few likes, and my Klout score keeps going up and up. I teach people how to market their home businesses online, so have a couple suggestions for you. One is for you to write your articles after you have done an SEO search on your keywords. I realize that some of your thoughts you want to put on your blog, aren’t always words people are searching for, but usually you can change your phrase or words to gain people clicking on your blog based on what they are looking for.

    I just started my blog and will be offering a “free” offer in exchange for peoples names and emails. In your case you could give out a cool recipe for free in exchange for their name and email, then drip on them one a week, twice a month, whatever you feel is appropriate. Each time you write an article, you drip on your subscriber list which will bring them back to your blog, increasing your traffic!!! Good luck! I’ll be back!

  5. Thanks for the great info! I’m just starting out so I’m absorbing all tips like a sponge! Pinned!

  6. I just spotted this post on Pinterest. All I can say is…Are you looking to be a blog mentor? I’m doing my blog for free in every aspect from the hosting site to the graphics. I’m nervous to take the plunge and jump in. It sure would be easier with a straight up blogging mentor! LOL! I blog about recipes, DIY projects, and necessities that are my everyday life. I LOVE your philosophy on only using what YOU and your family like! Signing up to follow you and pinning! I’m gonna click around on your outbound links for a little bit too! I am game for any advice you throw my way! Thank you so much for sharing this post!

  7. Love this post! I am a new blogger and am still dreaming about your kind of numbers. 🙂 I’ve gotten partway through Ruth’s book and have seen results already, so now I am encouraged to press on with that. I just want you to know that I really enjoy your blog, and the stuff you post on FB is almost always want I want to re-post. Sometimes you find one that just resonates on many levels, you know? Thanks for being one of those. 🙂

    • Victoria says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope that your blog continues to grow. Ruth’s book is so helpful.

  8. Hello Victoria,

    I did the same thing – applied for big referrals in my initial days and guess what? I got turn down every application.

    Right now, I am working on making an audience and got one or two referrals mainly for eBooks from the author who’s my mentor.

    Since I am into my beginning months of blogging, I can expect that money can take awhile to stream in. Loved the idea of promoting the things you or your family have used because those are that you know in deep.

    I am glad to find this post from Pinterest!

    Thank you! See me often!

    ~ Adeel Sami

  9. Heather says:

    I have had this pinned for sometime so that I could look back on it when I was ready to start my blog, I am in the beginning stages (and when I say beginning I mean my blog isn’t even “published” to the public yet) and love this post! I’m hoping to implement your tips in my own blog to help get me off on the right foot 🙂

  10. Great post!! Still very new to this “blogging” thing and definitely want to make money so I can hopefully stay home with my daughter!!!
    How do you apply for an affiliate network? My blog is still very new and not quite where I want it to be yet, but I’d love to get started!

    • If you want to sign up for an affiliate network you simply go to their sites and sign up.
      Here are a few I belong to.. (and some of these are my referral links)
      ShopHer Media
      Escalate Network:
      Share a sale: simply type in ShareASale into your browser and you should find it
      These are the ones I currently belong to but there are more. As I said in the article above most affiliate programs require your site to bring in a fair amount of traffic before you can begin with them.

  11. Thank you so much for posting these really great tips. I am new at blogging. I am currently working on setting up my website. So far I am having a great time preparing it and officially start sharing it. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I have typed my website. And to be more honest, this is my FIRST comment ever on anyone’s page. Thanks again for posting. I started about three weeks ago and I am still learning and still learning the ins and outs of blogging. Your tips are truly helpful. Thanks again. Mimi

  12. Thank you thank you thank you.
    I am in my very first stages of creating a blog.( like first week of planning) and this helped me more than you will EVER know!

    You are a star

  13. Great article! I just started a fitness and healthy living blog and hope to eventually monetize it. This article makes it easier to understand how to do that!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I truly need them and appreciate all the help I can get. Like a lot of people, I’m new to the blogging world and get overwhelmed by all it has to offer. I will be implementing some of your ideas.

    Thanks again and I will be back for more!

  15. Great tips, I recently started a new blog and I have set some challenging goals in regards to my earnings from my blog. I’m dedicated to working hard it and learning new things as I go. Do you have any tips on how to gain traffic? What did you originally do when you started your blog to gain some traffic?

    Thanks and Keep up the great work!

  16. Thanks so much for a great article. So much learning to do! I’m with some of the others above. I work full time, but would love to stay home with my little guy especially since his grandma is moving in about a year and I’ll lose her as my sole daycare provider. This all helps me set a goal on what to do between now and then!


  17. Thank you for writing this post. Like many who have read this article, I am in the beginning months of my blog. I love the ideas of how to monetize your blog. I didn’t know about several of the companies you listed and will be checking into those. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  18. Thanks for this article! I especially love the links to other resources. I also live in an Amazon affiliate banned state (Colorado) which is a bummer since I love amazon.

  19. Just like those before me, I learned a great deal from this post. Thanks for giving those of us that are at the beginning of their blogging journey such great tips.

  20. Lani Lagomarsino says:

    Thank you. ..this article was very helpful and encouraging. I am at the brink of starting my blog and you have helped me feel better about jumping in. I will be reading as much as I can in this next week in preparation to run. Thank you again.

  21. Hi! I’m Lindsey. I started my own blog a little over a month ago. I signed up to be an affiliate with Amazon and tried to add in some links to my blog posts but I can’t get them in right. I wanted to add a link where people would click on the picture of the product but I can’t get the picture to show up on my page just an extremely long URL code. Have you run into this problem as well?

    • If you are using wordpress are you clicking the text tab and pasting the URL there? That is where you need it to go.

  22. Your site has a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate you sharing. I started my website about 8 months ago as an eCommerce site for my woodworking. Due to health concerns and time, it has morphed into more of a blog. There’s so much information out there to go through and it’s nice to see it concisely compiled here. I’ve been discouraged of late at by my traffic but I’m not throwing in the towel yet! Thank you again for all of this information!


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