Your little corner of the internet is ticking along nicely, but if you’ve been blogging for twelve months or more, it’s time to take it up a notch – what about earning a few pounds for your efforts, or, actually, how about turning your blog into a business?
I started blogging in November 2016 after trying to come up with ideas on how I could earn some extra money on the side, and if you’re here looking to do the same, then Lifegag has some great ideas to get you started.
After launching my blog, the vision was to one day turn what started as a hobby into a little business. After all, blogging opens up so many doors and opportunities for us, why not take advantage? However much I enjoy blogging, it’s time-consuming and can be frustrating, just getting a post ready for publishing involves researching, taking, choosing and editing photos; then there’s the written copy.
I tend to write in stages and I currently have seventy drafts partially written, yes, seventy. Mainly because I’m not someone who can sit there, tap out a post and publish it the same day. I’ll create the draft, think of a title, (which I’ll change several times), and write a few paragraphs as a starting point. Something else that can often hinder my blog writing efforts is the internet services which can be temperamental. Occasionally, my connection will drop out causing me to lose any unsaved work which is frustrating, to say the least. This means I am always on the lookout for the best internet services in my area to try to ensure I have the best speeds and stability possible.
My writing style changes with my mood which isn’t always a good thing as I prefer consistency in my copy. The images I use have to be just as I want them and often I take hundreds before settling on a few to edit and use. With all this in mind, if I can earn some kind of reward for my efforts, then why not? As always, this approach may be frowned upon by some, but I see my blog as a second job, and I’m not in the market for working free of charge. Who would be? given the choice.
“Monetising Is a slow process, but you’ll get there”
Whilst I’m always happy to accept a fitting product in lieu of a review, it’s quite refreshing when a brand or PR contacts you and offers up their budget without being asked. Opportunities to try new products drop into my inbox most days, so I’m in the fortunate position to cherry-pick if you like, who I work with. I won’t allow others to have a permanent spot on my blog for free, or use it as cheap advertising.
I’m not entirely against ads and may well allow them if the right fit comes along but, generally, I’m not overly keen. I’ve visited the occasional blog where advertising dominates and just distracts so much, (especially when it’s not relevant). Hitting multiple crosshairs to reveal the text underneath isn’t appealing to me, at all – I’ll leave, and I won’t return. However, if your page views are high enough then ads’ can be a great way to earn a steady trickle of money into your pot. Just don’t go overboard.
Join An Affiliate Programme
I’m sure you know all about affiliate links, but in case you’re not sure, you can earn a small commission per click (and/or sale) from either link in your copy or “Shop The Post” style widgets. Sign up to an affiliate program such as Shopstyle Collective, they then allow you to use their links and/or widgets which have a specific ID or username enabling them to track and monitor clicks and orders.
Recently, it’s become more popular to use “Shop The Post” widgets and literally, everyone is doing it now – (self-hosted blogs only). This is a no-brainer, use affiliate links in the right way and you can have yourself a steady little income, (assuming you are getting enough traffic to generate clicks and orders). Your earnings will need to be £100 before you can withdraw but this is pretty standard.
Sponsored brand partnerships – “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”
Partnering with brands for sponsored content is the most lucrative I find, but varies hugely. When a brand pays you to write about and feature its product, the review should always be your own honest opinion and you shouldn’t be swayed in any way. Outbound hyperlinks, affiliate or otherwise should be no-follow. Using do-follow links inappropriately violates Google best practices and could lead to you being penalised. (ShopStyle widgets are no-follow – I checked) If you’re adding your own hyperlinks you can install a WordPress plugin which allows an easy tick box to set any outbound link as no-follow. I use this method and it’s just so quick and simple. Here’s the plugin I use.
On a side note, if you purchased the item you’re featuring yourself, or you’re deep linking (linking internally to your own relevant post/s) then It’s fine to use a do-follow link. You don’t want every single link on your blog to be no-follow.
I’ve found my sponsored collaborations have started to come since The Beauty Spyglass passed the twelve-month mark and although most are great opportunities, you will always get those companies which are only in it for their own gain.
For example, I was recently contacted and asked if I would publish pre-written copy and run an advertising banner on my sidebar for a paltry offering of $16 which equates to around £10. Firstly, I’d rather not publish pre-written copy, and secondly, my blog is all about my opinion – so that was a definite no. I realise every little helps, but if something doesn’t feel right then it’s not going to work for you. Remember to stay true to yourself and in keeping with your blog. Be realistic though, to start with you may only earn enough to give you some extra spending money each month.
How Much Should I Charge?
Many have questions regarding rates and what you should be charging for sponsored content. When I started to get interest from brands wanting to partner with me on sponsored content I would refer to the table below as a loose guide. However, as time passed I began charging what I felt was the right fee for the quality of content I was producing, and as a photographer, the accompanying imagery was definitely worth the price. When working with brands and budgets, there is usually wiggle room so always negotiate and go in a little higher as a starting point.
If a brand or PR contacts you, always ask politely if there’s a sponsorship or marketing budget available for your review and social shares. Occasionally, they will ask you for your rates but if not, offer up your charges and see what they come back with. If all else fails, they may still want you to try their product in lieu of your review. It’s your call and remember – don’t undersell yourself.
One Last Thing…
Once you start accepting a monetary reward for your content you must register with HMRC as self-employed. Failing to do so means you could be liable for a rather large fine. Once you’ve registered, you’ll need to fill out your tax return once a year. if you’re unsure or have more questions regarding bloggers and tax, here’s a handy article to help you understand what you should be doing to keep your earnings above board.
Also, make sure you fully disclose that the post was a sponsored partnership (I always declare it at the foot of each post).
How do you monetise your blog? are there any other methods you use? If you’re serious about blogging then you’ll need to know about blog maintenance – See my checklist here.