Are you just starting your blog and feel like your readership is too small to make blog monetization worth the time? I disagree. I started monetizing my blog from the first day I hit publish which allowed me to see financial benefits almost right way-here is how I did it.
Before you all think I hit six figures during my first year blogging, I will be 100% honest: I did not make enough profit to break even my first year blogging. But I did earn some money to help pay my blogging expenses and so can you.
Perhaps this isn’t your first year blogging, perhaps you are several years in and your blog is still too small to meet the minimum requirements of some large affiliate networks or ad networks. These blog monetization tips I am about to share with you will help you too.
How To Make Money Blogging When You Only Have A Small Handful Of Readers
(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)
Use Referral Links For Companies You Love
Referral links and affiliate links are similar but not the same.
In order to get into many affiliate programs you have to have to hit a certain amount of pageviews per month, but that isn’t the case with referral links. In most cases, all you have to do to get a referral link you can share with your readers is to be a user of the program, a member of the service, or a regular customer of the company. In fact, you don’t even have to have a blog to use referral links to earn money but it sure does help.
Referral income is usually not cash — but it can be
Although some referral programs offer a Paypal payout option most offer either gift cards or store credit. I don’t mind this though as I shop at these places anyways so store credit is just as helpful as cash, and if they pay in gift cards I have always been able to be paid with a gift card for a service we use or for a store we shop at.
The golden rule applies to referral links just as it does with affiliate links
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 before I share) but haven’t personally used it yet.
Which brings me to a confession: I have not tried every company on the list of referral programs below. I want to show beginner bloggers or bloggers with an audience too small for larger affiliate programs just how many different referral programs there are out there, in hopes that they can find the best ones to fit their blogging niche and the readers it attracts just as I have done for my blog and its readers.
Referral income is a small stream of income but when combined it can become a river
The amount you earn per referral might not seem like much but over time as you gain readership it can really add up –currently, these programs account for 15% of my income.
Sometimes you are given a referral code to share instead of a link
Not all referral links can be shared on blogs
List Of Referral Programs That Bloggers Can Use To Grow Their Income
Point Programs That Offer Referral Links
These four point programs are ones I recommend to my readers over and over because I have personally used them, some for over ten years, and therefore know they really do work! I know my readers can earn gift cards quickly with these programs since they have low cashout options and have more than one way to earn points.
There are more point reward programs out there that offer referral programs here are a few more I know of
- Inbox Dollars
- Daily Rewards (Canadian Program)
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
- Receipt Hog (enter YECT1667 when you sign up for a $10 bonus after you submit your first receipt )
- Fetch Rewards (enter the code RE9FU at sign up for a $1.50 bonus after you submit your first receipt)
Online Cash Back Companies With Referral Programs
Discounted Gift Card Companies
- You can also refer people to MyGiftCardsPlus.com which is only available for members of Swagbucks and Mypoints. Since both those programs have referral programs you will earn points you can trade for gift cards that way.
Cellphone Service Providers With Referral Programs
Delivery Apps With A Referral Program
Various Other Companies With Referral Program
- Erin Condren
Clothing Subscription Companies
Shaving Subscription Companies
Pet Subscription Companies
Various Other Subscription Services
Environmental, Natural & Organic Companies With Referral Programs
Book Programs And Companies With Referral Programs
I am continually on the lookout 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)
Check out your favorite point programs, daily deal sites, and more and see if they perhaps offer a sharable referral link.
Sign Up For These Two Programs As Soon As You Have Done This
I highly recommend all new bloggers sign up for the Amazon affiliate program as well as Google Adsense the moment your blog reaches 30 to 40 quality blog posts. Read the current rules for both programs to find out what the current qualifications are but back when I started blogging the qualifications were minimal and not dependant on pageviews.
You probably won’t earn much the first year with either program, 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 in many niches (including the thrifty-living niche that I am in) have a harder time getting paid for the time they spend blogging–and believe me, a lot of time goes into producing a blog.
Work On Growing Your Blog In Readership And Income
1. Utilize Free Information For Growing Your Blog
I am a thrifty blogger so I am not going to recommend buying expensive “how to blog” courses when you haven’t yet earned a dime instead, I recommend using free sources of blogging education until you make enough to pay for some key courses that will help you boost your blog to the next level.
Free Blogging Help Blogs
- Your Blogging Mentor – written by Crystal Paine who runs the HUGE hit of a blog Money Saving Mom
- Amy Lynn Andrews – I read Amy’s entire site contents before starting my blog
- Elite Blog Academy – Ruth’s course by the same name I hear is excellent but it is pricey her blogging website is free to read.
I have a section of my blog devoted to blogging help articles I have written over the years and I also recently started a Facebook group just for moms with blogs who want to grow their blogs at a rate that won’t take over their lives
Free Blogging Podcasts
- The Smart Passive Income Podcast- covers more than just blogging but most applies.
- Simple Pin- Pinterest is vital for traffic this podcast will help you figure it out.
- Become A Blogger – wise advice and oh how I love the sound of his voice.
Free Courses & Ebooks All The Cost Is Your Email Address
Heads-up! Many free-course and webinars that you enter your email for will end in a sales pitch for a paid course. Use caution signing up for them if you have problems avoiding tempting sales pitches and you are on a tight budget.
Although most free-courses are lead
2. When You Have Earned A Bit Of Money Start Paying And Reading A Few Good Books
Eventually, you are going to take your blog as far as you can with free materials at that time you should be earning enough to invest back into your blog. The first “type” of blog education I spent money on was a few eBooks which are generally cheaper than courses but go into greater depth than free materials.
Here are 3 Books On Blogging That Can Help You Gain Traffic Traction
- How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul -after applying what I learned in this book I doubled both my readership and my income in less than 30 days.
Delicious Blogging: The Ingredients You Need To Create A Better Blog – this book is great for beginners I wish I had read it during my first few months of blogging it would have saved me hours and hours of work that were unfruitful.
iBloom in Business: Equipping You to Build a Successful Business while Living a Life You Love! – takes you through an important series of questions that will help you create a clear focus for your blog as well as a clear direction for its future.
3. When You Start Earning More Money Start Investing In Courses But Do It The Thrifty Way
Once I started earning over $1000 a month I felt okay about investing in some more expensive blogging courses but I still did it the thrifty way as part of blogging course bundles. My favorite blogging eBook and eCourse bundle is the Genius Bloggers Ultimate Bundle which is available at an amazing price for just a few days every year — if you are a mom who blogs join my blogging facebook group and I will make sure to notify you the next Genius Bloggers Ultimate Bundle sale.
I hope these tips help you turn your new blog into a profitable one!
Haven’t Yet Started A Blog?
The course 5 Days to a Successful Blog Launch was created by Crystal Paine of the successful blog Money Saving Mom. This course is an inexpensive way of getting the help you need to get a blog up and running. You can find out all about the course over at this homepage.
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Lori @ Encourage Your Spouse says
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.
Tricia the Good Mama says
Great post. I just started blogging, so I’m going to check out your links you have recommended. Pinned!
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.
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!
Saving Sanely says
Thanks for the great info! I’m just starting out so I’m absorbing all tips like a sponge! Pinned!
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!
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. 🙂
Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope that your blog continues to grow. Ruth’s book is so helpful.
Adeel Sami says
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
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 🙂
Thanks! I am so glad you like the post and I hope your blog gets off to a great start!
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 http://bit.ly/1NZHbrg
Escalate Network: http://bit.ly/1Nopzp4
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.
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
Your welcome and best wishes on your new blog.
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
Your welcome. I hope your blog does well.
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!
Your welcome. I wish you success with your new blog.
Amy Carter says
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!
Your welcome and best of luck with your blog.
Isaac Duenas says
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!
Pinterest is a great traffic driver. I recommend studying up on how to use it well.
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!
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!
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.
Anita Odle says
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.
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.
Your welcome and congrats on your new blog.
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.
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!
Great ideas and suggestions! I signed up for your newsletter.