(post contains affiliate links see disclosure)
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
- Living Social ( sometimes they offer a referral incentive and sometimes not)
- Rue La La
Online Clothing Consignment Style Stores That Offer Referral Links
Apps With Referral Links
- Berry Cart
- Yaarlo (enter VICTORIA424 when you sign up for a bonus)
- Receipt Hog (enter YECT1667 when you sign up for a bonus)
- MobiSave (enter OGHHUVPZ when you sign up)
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)
- Boxed.com (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
- Vita Cost (online natural foods and vitamin store)
- Lucky Vitamin (online natural foods and vitamin store)
- ePantry (now called Grove)(household cleaners & personal products delivered to your door step)
- Thrive Market (online organic foods & natural cleaners warehouse club)
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…
- Blogging Tips From A Blogging Student
- How To Have A Profitable Blog That Doesn’t Take Over Your Life
- So You Want To Start A Blog–Or Grow The One You Have?
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.