I am often asked “how do blogs earn money?” When I give a seminar on saving money tips or introduce people to my free site,the comment I usually get is “you must spend hours and hours finding and sharing this information, how do you earn money from your website?”
In case you were wondering too, or if you are interested in starting your own blog or perhaps looking to add affiliate sites, I am happy to share the resources that I use to earn a little money while writing “More With Less Today.”
I have been writing this blog since 2009 and have enjoyed every minute of it. I work a full time job during the day, Monday through Friday, so I write MWLT in the early morning hours, in the evening and on weekends. You can correctly assume that I do not make enough from blogging to quit my day job!
I spend about 30 hours a week blogging here. I am an empty-nester now with my baby in college, so I have the time to search for deals amd money-saving tips, check them out and write about them. My learning curve was huge and I’m still learning. I change things and tweak my site all the time.
I wrote MWLT for about 6 months and built my readership before I began to explore affiliate programs to earn a little money. Please know that my readers never spend a penny more to use any of my affiliated links and I post about items that are a benefit to my readers and in many many cases, I do not make any affiliated commissions at all. I put a disclaimer “this post may contain affiliate links” at the bottom of every blog in the interest of full disclosure.
Just today, I was emailed a request to write a post about an investment site that helps investors to write covered calls for profit. They offered to pay me $100. That is not an area of interest or expertise for me and does not fit in the framework of money saving tips, so you won’t see it here. That is just one of countless examples.
Here are the main sources that I am currently using. Feel free to check them out if you are considering ways to earn money from a blog.
Amazon.com- I am an Amazon affilate and I make a commission on products that I readers purchase through a text link or through the Amazon search box widget on my home page. Amazon.com is one of my favorite sources for saving money and I am always poking around to find Amazon deals to share. You can read about becoming an affiliate here.
Google Adsense- Google matches the ads to the content of your site. For example, if my post is about “Travel Deals”, you could expect to see Google Ads for Southwest, JetBlue, Hotels.com, Hertz, etc. The Google ads are clearly marked as ads and I cannot control which ones are displayed. I have never had an issue with Google placing an inappropriate ad on my site and if it ever happens, I can request to remove and block that advertiser. I have one block of text ads in two columns on the right side of my home page, and one display ad toward the bottom of the page on my site. You can view them here to see what they look like. It is a huge no-no to click on your own ads, don’t even be tempted to do it or you can get dropped as an advertiser.
Free Grocery Coupons for readers to click and print such as Coupons.com, Red Plum, SavingStar and Cellfire. I use three different affiliate programs:
MySavings and Escalate Network. Often the networks will have the same offers, but I like each one of them and find them friendly and easy to work with. Many of the other offers they feature have a cap or limit and when that limit is reached, the reader will see a message that the offer is no longer available. You need to be diligent in updating these links or marking them as expired or readers get frustrated. On my site, this is very time consuming so I have learned to limit these types of offers, not because they are not good offers, but is difficult for me to stay on top of them if they come and go quickly.
Retail and Store Affiliate Networks such as Target, Walmart, Old Navy, etc.
There are three affiliate programs that I work with for retail stores. Each network has exclusive relationships with companies. If you are looking for a particular store before you enroll, just search store name. ie. Target + affiliate program. First you must apply to be an affiliate at the network, then you must apply for each store. Most of them have individual requirements and will look at your site before you are approved.
Another option is to use Skimlinks or Viglink. With these sites, once you are approved with them, you are automatically an affiliate with every relationship that they have (hundreds and hundreds). They take a small commission as the middle man, but you do not have to spend any time building tracking links or getting approved by the individual sites. All you need to do is point the reader toward the website and the affiliate linking is done for you. Easy and fast!
Sponsored Posts – in the last few months, I started to work with Social Spark and have written a few sponsored posts. These are clearly marked as such with sponsored links. If the product is a fit for my site, I will consider it, but less is more.
Just starting out? I use www.GoDaddy.com if you are purchasing a domain name, they are inexpensive and their customer service is great.
There are other many other options for bloggers looking to make money from their efforts, but I have written about those that I am currently using. If you have additional sites to suggest, please leave a comment or send me an email. I welcome your ideas and feedback.