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How Much Money Do Bloggers Make?

Do bloggers make money? If so, how much money do bloggers make?

Let’s start with the facts and see if you can duplicate the success.

Do bloggers make money? If so, how much money do bloggers make?

Recently in our Facebook community, someone was thinking of starting a blog but mentioned an overheard opinion that blogging was not a real career because blogging is dead.

Perhaps you have heard similar stories. Maybe you have been the object of the joke… “Bloggers don’t make money! Get a real job.”

Friend, I want to set the record completely straight by telling you exactly how much money bloggers make and whether or not you should consider blogging a career.

Is blogging a valid career choice?

I never planned to be a professional blogger. There was not a degree for blogging at my college, and to my knowledge, there still isn’t.

For me, I knew I wanted to write, and everyone said I would be broke. (Everyone except this one guy who thought it was an awesome idea so I married him.) After several rejected book proposals, I gave up on writing and started direct sales… only to find myself broke.

Out of desperation, I started using coupons to buy groceries and was sharing my deals on Facebook. A friend mentioned “blogging” and the rest of the story brings us to this post… and do you think I would be writing about making money as a blogger if I were NOT making money?

Let that one sink in…

>>READ: How to make money blogging<<

Is blogging dead?

The fact is blogging is not dead, but it might not be what you think it is.

Back in the glory days, moms would keep an online diary of activities and photos to keep out-of-town family up to date. These “mom bloggers” were the pioneers of what is now considered content marketing.

Blogging as a career is not posting random photos, “happy birthday” notes, and the occasional craft. Professional blogging is more entrepreneurial… where you define your audience and create content to attract readers to sell a product.

Profitable blogging requires a deliberate strategy.

How much money do bloggers make?

I know you have seen those glowing blogging income reports where bloggers are making five to six figures a month. Enticing, right? And the majority of these money-making machines are not bragging… they are trying to educate others.

Regardless, the problem is when we assume these income reports are the average… or even the norm.

Check out these humbling facts:

  • There are almost 7 million people writing blogs around the world. [SOURCE]
  • 63% of bloggers make less than $3.50 per day and 10% of those make nothing. [SOURCE]
  • About 14% of bloggers make enough money to consider it a “salary” and the average salary per year is just over $24,000. [SOURCE]
  • Only 8% of bloggers make enough money to support a family. [SOURCE]

But, where do I fit into this equation?

My average monthly income (after expenses) in 2016 was $3,000. Where I live in the southeastern United States, that’s more money than qualified professionals like teachers and police officers make each month.

And guess what… I’m happy about it!

Through blogging, I have successfully doubled (and maintained) our household budget. We eat healthy, balanced meals. My children attend private school. My husband doesn’t need to work a second job. Our budget has room to include giving to our church and community. What more could I possibly want?!

Similarities between profitable bloggers

To keep you from feeling discouraged with the reality that blogging for profit is hard, I want you to consider the small portion of bloggers who make $100,000 a month.

Immediately dismiss those who are using fake news, celebrity trends, or blog hosting to make money. Focus on the real people who are creating REAL things like Erin Chase, Kim Sorgius, and Kelly Snyder.

Who? You may or may not have heard of these women but this proves an excellent point. Most money-making bloggers are quietly hustling and creating a business… but you will never hear them talk about how much money they are making.

I am fortunate to have these ladies as friends… and frequently chat about income reports with them. I know how much money they make… and it’s more than me.

Are they so special that they are the only ones who can make that much money? No.

What do these ladies have in common that enables them to bring in significant income?

  • Posting consistently and frequently, each lady produces content for a very defined target audience.
  • These ladies invest in tools, education, and/or coaching to keep their websites (and their minds) fresh.
  • Each of their websites was developed to attract and retain the ideal reader.
  • They all have one or more products to solve problems identified within their audience.
  • Every aspect of their social media presence and blog content is curated with strategy.
  • Their monthly revenue is stabilized by multiple streams of income.

Which of these characteristics are you missing?

While these traits are generalities, the truth is the more money a blogger makes, the more unique they are in their niche. They stand out because the focus is on what makes their blog different from the other 7 million blogs.

Granted, many of the most profitable bloggers have advantages like a large advertising budget or relationships with other people in power, but they must maintain uniqueness to capture and retain readers.

How do bloggers make money?

Many new bloggers assume that the only way to make money through blogging is with passive advertising using a company such as Google Adsense. However, sidebar advertising is one of the least profitable ways to monetize a blog.

Most bloggers who are making enough money to support their families implement a specific strategy to attract and nurture an audience that will ultimately purchase products.

Do bloggers make money? If so, how much money do bloggers make?Download this graphic to keep as reminder of smart blogging strategies. Subscribe to receive the image by email.

It’s a two step process:

  1. Being as specific as possible, decide the type of audience you want to attract. Then, brainstorm a list of their problems. Create content that will attract them and entice them to subscribe with an offer specific to the topic.
  2. Send your subscribers relevant, high-quality emails. After you have built a relationship with your dedicated readers (those who subscribed), offer them a product to solve a dilemma. The product may be one you created or a product you can monetize with an affiliate link.

Here is something SUPER important to notice…

HALF of the relationship is built away from the blog through email. If you are not collecting email addresses, you need to start now.

Other ways to make money blogging

Blogging income is more consistent when multiple streams of revenue are flowing into the bank.

>>READ: 80+ Income Streams for Bloggers<<

On this website, the primary income source is courses and membership. The secondary source of revenue is through affiliate relationships.

However, on my blog at, the income streams are even more diversified: passive advertising, printables, ebooks, sponsored content, affiliate links, etc.

Bloggers with multiple sources of income have more financial stability because if one revenue resource ceases, the others continue to provide income.

Does blog niche matter?

Because I know you have thought about it, I can’t skip addressing the niche question…

“But don’t some blog niches make more money than others?”

Or maybe you wondered, “Aren’t the only bloggers making money the ones who are teaching how to blog?”

No. And no.

Remember the three ladies I mentioned? None of them teach bloggers about blogging and each makes a significant income in a niche where most think it is impossible: food (for those on a tight budget), fashion (primarily for moms), and parenting (with a focus on Christian discipleship.)

For each of these ladies, I know many more who are turning profits in the homeschool, DIY, cosmetics, and freebies niches.

Bloggers who find success understand their unique perspective within a focused market and seek to serve like-minded readers. There is no reason why you can’t make money blogging too.

Get started with your own blog

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How Much Money Should I Spend on Blogging?

**This post contains affiliate links.**

Confused about how much money you should spend on blogging? Do you wonder how you can invest in your business when there is so much risk? Download the Blogging Finance Spreadsheet and balance your business budget.

Confused about how much money you should spend on blogging? Do you wonder how you can invest in your business when there is so much risk? Download the Blogging Finance Spreadsheet and balance your business budget.

My inbox is often visited by variations of the same question… and it is difficult to answer:

  • How can I afford to spend money on blogging?
  • How much money should I spend on my blog?
  • How much does blogging cost?
  • How much money can I invest in blogging… when I am not making money yet?

But as a person who has managed her business finances poorly only to have a radical transformation and start balancing money well, I have discovered a formula that will tell you exactly how much you should be spending on your blogging business.

Is blogging expensive?

When you compare the price of starting a blogging career to the cost of other start up businesses, the fee is almost insignificant.

In the beginning, all you need is a domain name (as little as $0.99) and a webhost (as little as $3.95 a month).

>>Learn more about how to start a blog.<<

However, when you realize you like blogging and want to make it a career, things can get expensive.

You eventually need:

  • Email marketing services (I use ConvertKit.)
  • Social media management (I recommend Tailwind for Pinterest and PostPlanner for Facebook and Twitter.)
  • A virtual assistant or two
  • Courses to keep learning the next step (like those available at Inspired Bloggers University)
  • Webinar services (I use WebinarJam.)
  • New technology as your computer or phone requires an upgrade
  • A larger data plan to handle live video
  • Camera/s, lighting, microphones
  • and the list grows.

>>View Tabitha’s preferred resource list for bloggers.<<

Truly, there are lots of ways to do things for free but it often takes a ton of extra time and can stagnate your growth. Trust me. READ: Frugal living almost killed my business.

Then, there is the polar opposite of not wanting to spend money on your blog. You tip the scale of spending too much.

Where is the balance?

What makes spending money (or not spending money) harder

Blogging is not a “get rich quick” career.

I didn’t make a profit until my second year of blogging… and it was a whopping $100. TOTAL. My third year of blogging was when my income started to be consistent and grow.

Are there bloggers out there who grow faster? Absolutely. But they are not the norm.

>>READ: How much money do bloggers make?<<

While it does seem the bloggers who put money into their businesses typically experience growth faster, investing financially in your business is hard because there are no guarantees.

So how can you decide whether to invest in your blog or not?

How to spend money on your blog wisely

As you consider blogging as a business, be honest with yourself. Are you able to commit the hours necessary for growing a blogging business? Can you be consistent? Will you stick with this for at least three years – come rain or come shine?

If you cannot commit to at least three years, find something else to do.

However, if you are ready to pursue blogging as a career, it’s time to invest.

Start-Up Expenses

Every business requires some up-front expenses, and yes there is risk involved. But, take it slowly.

I recommend paying for your domain and hosting. Not negotiable. These are MUSTS.

Email Responder Service

Next, because I believe that growing your email list from DAY ONE is also critical for permanent success, start an account with MailChimp or Mad Mimi. (I am not an affiliate for either company and that makes me easy to trust. Either would be a great starting place but if I had to choose one, I would say, “Go with MailChimp.”)

Confused about how much money you should spend on blogging? Do you wonder how you can invest in your business when there is so much risk? Download the Blogging Finance Spreadsheet and balance your business budget.

You want the option to send a freebie to those who subscribe. With MailChimp, you access automations for about $10 a month.

Once you have a list of 2,000 and/or have a product to sell your subscribers, switch to ConvertKit.

Continuing Education

One other thing I would recommend as you start a blogging business is to continue your education.

Blogging courses can range in expense from free to hundreds of dollars. Personally, I consider blog education a ministry and realize that my audience cannot afford the expensive classes. That is why membership through Inspired Bloggers University is only $29 a month and includes ALL of the courses you need to establish a healthy blog and grow it into a successful, money-making business.

Inspired Bloggers University courses are more thorough than any you will find anywhere else and come with a free community where you have access to other members and ME. I do not retreat from you. My goal is to help you, not to take your payment and disappear.

Everything else you might be tempted to purchase is optional.

>>Access the Inspired Bloggers University Free Members Library now.<<

The “can you afford it” equation

Now, let’s talk about numbers.

In January, a friend sent me a copy of Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. From the introduction, I was riveted. It’s like Mike knew me personally… and how I was killing my business.

I had learned how to collect money, for sure, but I had never learned how to keep it, how to control it or how to grow it.

Mike Michalowicz, Profit First

You see, I have a knack for helping others create amazing businesses from blogs. I even have a knack for making money. But I stink at keeping money in the bank.

Until I learned Mike’s secret.

As you begin to make money with your blog, divide your income into four categories: your paycheck, expenses, taxes, and profit.

Depending on the amount of money you are making, you will assign a percentage to each category. The majority of us make under $250,000 a year and should divide our income as follows:

  • Your paycheck = 50%
  • Expenses = 30%
  • Taxes = 15%
  • Profit = 5%

(If you make more than $250,000 a year, please get Profit First to see the recommended percentages for your income bracket.)

How do you keep the money separated?

Believe it or not, you are NOT supposed to transfer everything to your personal banking account. You need to set up three new accounts: checking for expenses (I use PayPal), savings for taxes, and another savings account for profit.

So, let’s say you have grown your income to $400 a month. Your income would be divided into four accounts:

  • Your paycheck into your personal bank account = $200
  • Expenses into a business checking account or PayPal = $120
  • Taxes into a savings account = $60
  • Profit into a different savings account = $20

Now, you can clearly see what you can afford because your blogging business has an expense account.

You have $120 per month to cover your business expenses, whether they be web hosting, an assistant, or continuing your education.

What should you do with the profit portion?

That is between you and your accountant.

I also recommend that you read Profit First for yourself as there is MUCH MORE wisdom about operating a profitable business as an entrepreneur. This barely scratches the surface.

Free Blogging Finance Spreadsheet

Ready to start balancing your business finances? Subscribe and download the spreadsheet I use to track my four categories and make sure each is deposited into the correct account.

I have included a video to explain how the spreadsheet works.

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Best Affiliate Marketing Strategies from the Pros

Have you ever looked at blogger income reports and wondered, “How do they make that kind of money?” Now, these pro bloggers are sharing their affiliate marketing strategies to help you grow your profits.

Have you ever looked at blogger income reports and wondered, "How do they make that kind of money?" Now, these pro bloggers are sharing their affiliate marketing strategies to help you grow your profits.

When I have a question about profitable blogging, I always turn to my amazingly talented friends who have been in this business longer than I have. Their advice is always solid, and I feel a little guilty about having such an awesome resource available, just a text message away.

So this time, I went and asked a question for you.

I asked seven bloggers with incredible expertise (and tremendous monetary success too) what they would say was their #1 tip for using affiliate marketing on a blog.

Can you tell me what you consider to be the best thing/strategy you implemented to generate income through affiliate links?

Erin ChaseThe best and smartest ways to increase conversion on affiliate campaigns is to 1.) make sure that your audience is the right fit for the product and that the product solves a specific problem for them, and 2.) tell a personal story about your struggles and how the product helped you, carefully explaining how it will help them.

Erin Chase, Grocery Budget Makeover & MyFreezEasy

ameeThe links have to appear in an authentic way, tied to relevant content. They need to be helpful to your reader’s ability to replicate what you are teaching.

Amee Cantagallo, Real Advice Gal

jessie alonzoMy most popular and successful affiliate posts are the ones that solve a problem- not the ones pushing a promotion or discount. That’s our strategy when working on a post that we want to do really well- solve a problem. It can be a silly problem like stinky hands after cutting onions and garlic to a little more serious one but if one of our team has that problem it’s a safe bet that others do too!

Jessie Alonzo, Moola Saving Mom

laurie hiseMake sure you’re sharing products that you genuinely believe in, and connect with your audience either through Facebook live, daily emails, or more personal posts so they feel more “at home” with you. And, always be up front and honest about letting readers know if you’re receiving a commission on a product. Also, just logistically, make it easy for your readers to find the place where you want them to land. After adding a “click to save” button on certain affiliate posts on my site, my affiliate income has gone up significantly simply because people know exactly where to go to find more about the item I’m sharing.

Laurie Hise, Passionate Penny Pincher

kim sorgiusI have found the most effective affiliate marketing strategy is to be super picky about what you are putting before your audience. Protect them by offering high-quality resources that fit closely with the message your audience has come to expect from you. This builds trust and creates a customer eager to buy anything you share.

Kim Sorgius, Not Consumed

gina lukerCreating shopping guide style blog posts are important – but the key is to research your keywords so you are writing content people are searching for. And if you keep to a niche that isn’t overdone you’ll have much better success!

Gina Luker, The Shabby Creek Cottage

>>READ: How to create content that produces a profit for more information about using keywords in your affiliate marketing strategy.<<

heather bowenThe best strategy I have implemented for generating income through affiliate links is crafting a personal email to my subscriber list and organically adding the affiliate link along with why I love the product and/or why they need the product. Utilizing my email list for these type of promotions has been one of the best sources of income for me.

Heather Bowen, Life of a Homeschool Mom


Best Affiliate Marketing Tips from the Pros

Just in case you were not taking notes, let’s review these affiliate marketing strategies…

  1. Be an affiliate for products that match your reader’s needs. Solve their problems.
  2. Connect the product to relevant content, like a personal story. Your readers want to know how you are using the product.
  3. Be honest and transparent. Let your readers get to know you through live video (like Facebook Live) and they will be more willing to click through your links.
  4. Have a strong call to action. Attach your affiliate link to an image that says, “Buy Now” or “Save Here” so your reader knows how to get the product.
  5. Don’t be an affiliate for anything and everything. Choose affiliate relationships that match your blog’s message.
  6. Research keywords and match those to lucrative affiliate opportunities. This sends buyers straight to your website from search engines.
  7. Don’t forget to use your email and social media but keep it personal. Avoid sending canned emails to your readers. Be true to your audience by giving them YOU.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I highly recommend taking Making Sense on Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner.

start affiliate marketing

You will learn how to replicate the affiliate marketing strategies that helped Michelle grow her income from $0 a month to over $50,000 a month!

Sign Up Here

More Helpful Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Be an affiliate what you love

Look around your house and business. You do not need to invest in new products to start affiliate marketing. Talk about the items you are already using.

Create a resources page

A resource page listing the products you use that are related to your blog niche is the perfect way to start building affiliate income.

You can link to this page from your menu, sidebar, and even from your posts. Drive as much traffic to that page as possible and make sure it includes a pinnable image.

Work your affiliate links like you would a sponsored campaign

You know the effort you place into making your sponsors happy? Use that same initiative and creativity when pushing your affiliate link.

Create new content, post social media ads, send a newsletter, and/or host a Facebook Live. The more often you mention the product in a consecutive campaign, the more sales you will receive through your link.

Use tracking links that can be changed

Companies often change their affiliate platforms. To avoid combing through your blog looking for each link, use shortlinks with a plugin like Pretty Link. You can set the link inside the plugin so you only have to change that one location to have the other links redirect to the correct location.

Plus, you can track the number of clicks through the link. If you notice you are seeing significant traffic to a product, promote it more often.

Prepare for the holidays

My blogging friends in the deals and coupons niche plan for the holidays like it is an alien invasion. No kidding. It’s very tactical and strategic. But we could learn something from them.

Since the holiday season is the most profitable season of the year, create a plan IN ADVANCE that puts your affiliate links in front of your readers before they are shopping.

Place your efforts on high commission potential

Consider the payout amount when you are promoting an affiliate link. If the link pays $0.03 per click, automate that link in your social media but don’t spend extra time planning how to promote the link. Instead, save your efforts for the affiliate items with high commissions.

Have a great tip for maximizing your affiliate marketing strategy?

Leave a comment. We would love to hear how you are monetizing your blog with affiliate links.

Also read:

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80+ Income Streams for Bloggers

A key factor in a profitable blogging business is establishing multiple streams of income. But not all income streams will be considered passive income. Even so, are you utilizing all of the possibilities? What can you add to your monetization strategy to boost your blogging profits?

Are you struggling to make money blogging? Consider this list of over 80 income streams that will boost your profits.When I balance my blog income and expense reports each month, I divide my revenue into “income buckets” because it helps me organize the various deposits – or “income streams” – flowing into each bucket. At a glance, I can see the areas where my business is profitable and the areas where I need improvement.

Think of my system like a trickling stream that combines with one or more streams to make a river. The river flows to a dam that creates a reservoir, a holding place like a giant bucket.

One thing that always stuns me is the number of potential income sources available to bloggers.

Many bloggers get overwhelmed with an exhaustive list. They glance at it, file it away on the hard drive, and think, “That looks like a lot of work. I will get to it another day.” The reality is… you never look at the list again, and your bank account remains the same.

Establishing your income streams earlier (rather than later) is much better for your blog for two reasons: 1) Your readers become adjusted to seeing the advertisements. 2) You start making money (and inching towards a payout) sooner.

So, here it is… the list that will either make your profits grow or sit in your hard drive waiting for someday. It’s your decision.

Income Bucket #1 – Advertising

Advertising includes any content or banners you place on your website when you are paid per click (PPC), paid per impression (PPM), paid per acquisition (PPA), or a flat rate for displaying the content.

Advertising: Income Stream #1 – Banner Advertising

When most bloggers think “advertising,” they immediately think of passive income streams including sidebar ads with code embedded from “Adsense.” They place a banner advertisement in the header and a few in the sidebar but are confused when their efforts fail to harness significant income.

Where you place your ads is extremely important and can make a difference, but don’t expect your blog to thrive on banner advertising alone.

>>Read more about banner advertising placement.<<

>>Read more about best practices for banner advertising.<<

And, Adsense is not your only option. There are other companies available (and some even work with small blogs):

IMPORTANT: Always read the terms before signing a contract with an advertising agency as they may have terms including non-compete, meaning you cannot work with any other advertising company while you are publishing their ads.

Of course, you can always approach a company directly about advertising on your blog instead of depending on a third party. If you are unsure what to charge, I recommend the DIY Media Kit.

DIY blog media kit

[product_purchase productid=’30016′ title=’Buy Now’]Buy Now[/product_purchase]

Also, consider there are many other types of advertising beyond your sidebar, header, or in-post ad placements.

Advertising: Income Stream #2 – Sponsored Content

One of the most popular types of sponsored content is a sponsored post. You write a create story that weaves the product into your content and/or publish and honest and thorough product review.

>>View the Federal Trade Commissions standards for properly disclosing sponsored content.<<

Many companies serve as a third party to connect bloggers with brands. Each has various criteria for joining their influencer network so please read the terms prior to applying:

Advertising: Income Stream #3 – Other Sponsorship Opportunities

Do not limit the advertising potential of your blog by clinging to traditional advertising. Be creative! Companies are seeking individuals who can represent their products in unique and original ways.

You can also offer sponsors:

  • Dedicated email (eblasts) – an email you send to your email subscribers on behalf of the brand
  • Live video unboxing – reveal the contents of a product box and give your first impressions
  • Short form video – create a short video review or story featuring the product to post on YouTube or social media
  • Social media takeover – allow the brand to take over your most popular social media platform for the day or YOU take over their page
  • Reviews and giveaways – most bloggers group reviews and giveaways with sponsored posts but they can be treated differently or posted directly to social media
  • Social media parties – host a Q&A party directly on social media or create a scavenger hunt for readers to become more familiar with the brand
  • Sponsored subscriber freebies – offer a freebie provided by the brand to your email subscribers or as a free gift for new subscribers
  • Video reviews – review a product via video and edit the video for YouTube and/or embed the video on your website
  • Instagram photo-a-day campaigns – create a week- or month-long photo challenge where you encourage your followers to share have they are using the brand’s product
  • Sponsored guest posts – publish content written by a brand representative
  • Social media mentions – feature a brand directly on your social media
  • Sponsored pins – pin product and other brand pages to your Pinterest account
  • Multi-outlet campaigns – create a campaign that includes multiple types of advertising
  • Live events and sponsored workshops – use and/or promote their products during a live demonstration, workshop, or party
  • Conference sponsorship – represent a brand at a blogging conference
  • Affiliate recruitment – offer to recruit new affiliates for the company
  • Branded swag and product placement – have branded products in your photographs, videos and/or at live events/appearances
  • Blog versus blog challenges – coordinate a group of bloggers to use the brand’s product in creative but useful ways and encourage readers to vote for a chance to win a prize bundle from the brand
  • Multi-blog campaigns – create a campaign that includes multiple types of advertising across more than one blog
  • Holiday gift guide – sell placement within a PDF catalog or on a landing page promoting gift ideas
  • Interviews – publish an interview with the brand or a celebrity representative
  • Public speaking – offer to speak to a group on behalf of the brand
  • Tutorials – publish creative projects you have completed with step-by-step tutorials using the company’s products
  • Live blogging from an event – use multiple platforms and types of media to share your experience from a live event as it happens

Do not stop here! Brainstorm a list of ways you can represent your favorite brands and then contact their marketing team with the idea. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They say, “No?” But they cannot say “YES” unless you ask.

Are you struggling to make money blogging? Consider this list of over 80 income streams that will boost your profits.You can also pitch your sponsors with a double-whammy of advertising opportunity by bundling your best sponsorship options into a package.

Income Bucket #2 – Affiliate Marketing

Fill another bucket with income from affiliate marketing.

In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is making a commission when someone purchases the product through your unique link.

>>Read more about affiliate marketing for bloggers.<<

Affiliate Marketing: Income Stream #1 – Amazon

Amazon Affiliates is one of the easiest places to find products that match your content and reader’s needs because of the volume and diversity of products available. However, Amazon has restrictions against bloggers in some locations due to state nexus laws.

>>Read more about writing profitable posts using affiliate links.<<

Affiliate Marketing: Income Stream #2 – Other Affiliate Networks

Several companies serve as a host for affiliate offers.

I think of these websites as an affiliate marketing mall. You can browse the products and brands, only selecting those that fit your messaging.

Affiliate Marketing: Income Stream #3 – Direct Affiliate Marketing

Another option is to connect with other bloggers and brands who have an affiliate program. Working directly with the person who created and/or markets the product often yields a higher commission rate.

>>Learn to maximize your affiliate marketing strategy.<<

start affiliate marketing

Income Bucket #3 – Your own products

One of the best ways to control your blogging income is by creating your own products.

You choose everything about how the product will be marketed, what you will charge, etc. Of course, by selling your own products, you must choose a way to deliver your products and deal with customer service issues but these will factor into the price of your product.

>>Read more about pricing your products.<<

Choosing the type of product you create depends on the needs of your audience and your abilities to produce and distribute the product.

Product Income Stream #1 – Digital Products

The easiest products to deliver are digital products. Using a WordPress e-Commerce plugin like WP eStore makes it possible to email digital files directly to your customers.

Potential products to consider include:

  • Ebooks
  • Audio recordings
  • Video recordings and tutorials
  • Printable pages, menus, and planners
  • Programs, plugins, themes, and computer software
  • E-courses and webinars
  • Stock photography, video, and/or music

Anything that can be hosted on a website or sent via email is a digital product and can boost your income stream.

Physical Products

Beyond digital products, you can also create tangible goods to provide your readers with problem-solving products that meet their needs. I know bloggers who sell everything from linens to t-shirts, from kitchenware to jewelry.

>>Learn more about sourcing product creation from Asia.<<

With physical products, you can choose to manufacture your own or promote products as an independent consultant for a direct sales company.

  • If you can create your product within your home and choose not to house a shop on your website, you can create a store with Etsy and immediately access a large established audience.
  • For products that need more specific or detailed manufacturing, consider browsing the manufacturing companies available through Alibaba.
  • You can also consider having your products manufactured and then creating a seller account with Fulfillment by Amazon.

If you have your heart set on publishing a book, film, or music, do not wait for a company to call you! Self-publishing becomes easier each year. Check out CreateSpace with self-publishing available to authors, filmmakers, and musicians.


To someone else, you are an expert and people are willing to pay you for your advice. Offer your services to readers through:

  • Private consulting by phone or over Google Hangouts or Skype
  • Group coaching with Google Hangouts
  • Assessments and critiques
  • Tutoring
  • Customized menus, fitness routines, etc.
  • Private shopping and deal notifications
  • Copywriting or ghost writing
  • Freelance photography
  • Virtual assistance


Some bloggers host local events and conferences. While events can require teamwork, they can also be very lucrative.

Some events to consider include:

  • Workshops
  • Theme parties
  • Conferences
  • Public appearances
  • Public speaking

When Income Streams become overwhelming

Looking at this huge list can strike anxiety into the heart of even the most driven entrepreneur. Just keep these tips in mind.

Start slowly

Do not assume that you need to start filling each income bucket this week. Choose one type of income and one option for channeling revenue into that bucket. Once you have mastered one stream of income, then add another. As you feel comfortable with the amount of revenue pouring through those streams into an income bucket, create a new bucket.

Track every penny

By knowing from where your income originates, you can easily see which areas need a strategic evaluation.

For instance, I spent months looking at an empty affiliate marketing bucket. I thought I knew how to use affiliate links to create a flow of cash, by my bucket showed me something was wrong. I knew I needed to invest in a class that would help my affiliate marketing income bucket fill (over overflow.)

Income Expense Spreadsheet - Free Blogging Resources

Subscribe and receive the spreadsheet I use for tracking my blogging income.

Keep trying

If something isn’t working, try something different. Or, maybe you are trying too hard and need to take a step back to evaluate what is going wrong.

Blogging for profit should not be a chore. You need to love what you do first. Then, identify ways that you can solve your audience’s problems while building your income buckets.

As you practice sincere and honest monetization strategies, your income will grow month after month.

What is your best income stream?

  • When you look at your income, which income stream performs the best?
  • Is something missing from this list?

Please leave a comment and share your best monetization strategies.

Also read:

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How to Start Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a primary source of revenue for most bloggers. But when you start affiliate marketing, it is easy to misunderstand the best practices for affiliate marketing. I made tons of mistakes in the beginning, and honestly… I still have a lot to learn about affiliate marketing strategies.

Start affiliate marketing and make more money blogging with best practices for affiliate marketing. Use affiliate links wisely to boost your commissions.As a blogger, I am very aware that I need multiple streams of income in order to achieve consistent revenue. My income is grouped into three buckets: advertising, products, and affiliate marketing.

>>You can read more about my income buckets on the May 2016 Blogger Income Expense Report.<<

However, my bucket for affiliate marketing appears to have a leak because the money does not accumulate as much as I would like. So I am striving to learn more about affiliate marketing and how to make it work for my blog.

An Affiliate Marketing Success Story

michelle I bumped into Michelle Schroeder-Gardner after attending FinCon last year, and her story stunned me.

Michelle is younger than I am… much… both in age and in blogging experience. My ego took a hit, and I was tempted to shrug off someone I considered to have less experience. But her income reports were hard to ignore.

Having started a blog in August of 2011 as a hobby, Michelle thought about using affiliate marketing to build her blogging revenue but thought her blog was “too small to make any real money from affiliate marketing.”

Then, I started applying different affiliate marketing strategies to my blog, and they were working. I saw my blogging income increase dramatically every single month.

Now, I wake up and cannot believe the amount of income I am earning through affiliate marketing, all while living a great life and being able to help my audience.

Michelle started affiliate marketing, growing her income from $0 to over $50,000 per month, and now makes over $100,000 each month.

I have much to learn from Michelle’s affiliate marketing strategies.

Start affiliate marketing and make more money blogging with best practices for affiliate marketing. Use affiliate links wisely to boost your commissions.
CLICK to learn more about Michelle’s affiliate marketing course.

What is affiliate marketing?

Many companies choose to expand their reach by enlisting bloggers and other companies to be partners, or affiliates. Each affiliate is assigned a unique link by which they can generate traffic to the company’s product.commission based sales (explain)

When a person clicks the unique link and makes a purchase, the affiliate receives a commission.

Where to find affiliate marketing opportunities

When you discover a common problem among your readers, you have the ideal opportunity to seek out a product that will give them a solution. Then, become an affiliate for that company and connect your readers to the products they need.

Everyone wins!

The company benefits because they are growing their reach. Your readers benefit because they are finding the answers they seek. And you… you are making money with your blog in a very authentic way.

But where do you find the companies with affiliate programs?

Many brands work through a third party agency:

Others host their own affiliate programs.

You can locate a company’s affiliate program with one of these strategies:

  • Visit the company’s website and look for a link marked “Affiliates,”  “Referral Program” or “Partners.” The link is often in the footer or sitemap.
  • Search the internet for terms like “ affiliate,” “[company] affiliates,” or “[company] referral program.” If your search doesn’t work, try again with a variety of terms.

Start affiliate marketing and make more money blogging with best practices for affiliate marketing. Use affiliate links wisely to boost your commissions.

  • Contact the company directly through Twitter or email and ask.

And don’t fear being rejected. Some companies have requirements based on your location and traffic but the majority are eagerly looking for someone just like you to be a partner.

Technical words to understand

Just like blogging, there are a collection of terms you should understand before agreeing to represent a company.

Cookie – When someone clicks an affiliate link, a tracking code is placed in their browser that contains the unique affiliate ID. This “cookie” will last for a designated amount of time as set by the company. Purchases made while the cookie is in their browser are commissionable sales.

Commission – Typically, affiliate sales are commission-based, meaning the partner receive a percentage of product sales or a flat rate per purchase, depending on the affiliate agreement.

Tracking – The company will give you a specialized affiliate link to use and will track the statistics related to your link which may include the number of times the link appears on a page (impressions) and the number of times it is clicked.

Bidding – This term confused me for a very long time since it is normally associated with a list of keywords. In the beginning, I thought I could not use those keywords in my post but “bidding” is actually referring to targeting keywords through Adsense when you are purchasing ads and has nothing to do with what you write on your blog.

>>View a reference of affiliate marketing terms to understand.<<

Which affiliate links to use

To remain authentic, you want to use affiliate links that relate to your audience. Ideally, you will create products to help your readers, but when you don’t have time to create your own product or when someone has a product that is superior to anything you could create, use an affiliate link.

If you are struggling to brainstorm a list of potential companies, begin with your favorite products and items you already mention on your blog and/or social media. Then, visit other blogs within your niche and view the advertising in the sidebars.

>>Learn more about how to write posts for profit.<<

You can also search for posts related to the most popular content on your blog and see which ads show in the Adsense search results and other network advertising in the resulting blog’s header, footer, and other key locations. Then, check to see if these companies have an affiliate program.

Bad Affiliate Marketing Strategies

As with any aspect of blogging, bad strategies will kill your potential for growth and success.

Do not apply to multiple companies.

No. You need to research brands and products across multiple companies and third party networks because often the cookie life is longer or the commission rate is higher.

Individual brands often list on several third parties with different terms on each.

Recommend anything and everything just to get a payout.

No. Stay true to your personal brand and the focus of your blog. Dedicate your intentions to connecting your readers to the products that will solve their problems.

Hide your affiliate links. No one needs to know you are getting paid.

No. Always disclose and do so in a lawful fashion.

>Learn more about how to disclose your affiliate links.<<

Ask people to click through your affiliate links.

No. Many companies consider a plea for using your affiliate link as a violation of their policy. Likewise, some companies such as Amazon will terminate your affiliate relationship even if you phrase your disclosure as a thank you note. For instance, you cannot say, “Thank you for using my affiliate links.”

Best practices for Affiliate Marketing

Use fewer links per post.

Yes. The temptation is to load your posts and sidebar with affiliate links in hoping of capturing a sale. However, the best practice is to use one link per post and connect it with a strong call to action like “buy now” or “learn more.”

Use your social media to promote your affiliate links.

Yes, if it is allowed in the affiliate terms. Not every company will allow you to promote your link directly on social media but most do. Just make sure to disclose your affiliate link.

Track your links.

If tracking is not available through the company (and sometimes even if they allow you to view your tracking statistics), use a separate plugin like Pretty Links or a URL shortener to track the number of clicks through your link and compare the number with other reports.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is a step-by-step class to guide you through creating and making money with your own successful affiliate marketing strategy.

This course makes affiliate marketing achievable. You can see your blogging income grow from the beginning, and the information in this course will help you well into the future.

Change your affiliate marketing strategy now

Psst… A special bonus is available through September 4, 2016. Go check it out!

Also read:

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ABCs of Blog Media Kits with Free Blog Media Kit Template

Before we get started, please do not think this is about how to create a blog media kit. I have covered that in detail several times on this blog, in our Facebook group, and on Periscope. No more.

It’s time to apply what you know and learn what makes a blogger’s media kit stand out from the others.

Let’s search for the best blogger media kits… to find the ones that say, “I’m not like everyone else. I have my stuff together and THIS is why you should work with me.”

And exactly what does that look like?

The A in Blog Media Kits – Authenticity

If you are creating a blog media kit, you want work with a brand. The first step in developing that partnership is proving you are trustworthy by showing authenticity.


Trust begins by communicating who you are and what your blog is about.  By using your tagline and a short section detailing your story, your media kit can echo the vision present on your blog.

Many bloggers are passionate about certain topics but fail to adequately represent those interests when pitching a brand. Or, the opposite can be true. The blog’s purpose is vague but the media kit communicates a strong idea.

Your passion and your blog’s purpose should maintain consistency across your blog and in your media kit.


Another aspect of proving your authenticity is by sharing accurate statistics. If you lie about your blog’s numbers, there are many paid (and some free) services companies can use to find the truth.

Always be honest.

If your blog traffic has recently seen a significant change in traffic, use an average of the past three months. Also, be careful rounding numbers up. Some media kits boast 100,000 page views when they only gain 85,000 page views. The difference might seem insignificant to you but could leave the brand questioning your authenticity.


Also, if your blog focus does not match the brand you are pitching, the company will immediately step away because your proposal does not come across as authentic.

For instance, let’s say Jane Blogger decides to take her family on a vacation. Her blog is about fashion but she pitches an all-inclusive vacation resort promising to post a review. And where does that fit on her blog?

Instead, Jane Blogger should approach the vacation destination with “casual yet classy fashion tips while on vacation” and pose for pictures featuring the benefits of the resort.

The B in Blog Media Kits – Branding

When you look at a blogger media kit, does it give a sneak peek at the blog’s design? Does it represent the colors? The logo? The style?

Or is it boring?

Have a blah media kit and expect blah results. Your goal is to stand out and not be “just another Jane Blogger.”


Before creating your blog media kit, take a look at your blog. Is your template clean and floral? Contemporary and colorful? Trendy and tonal? The design elements you use to decorate your blog should be the same ones you use in your media kit:

  • Place your blog logo at the top of your media kit.
  • Embellish blank space with your tagline.
  • Use the same colors or patterns.
  • Select the same fonts you use on your blog.
  • Have the same headshot on your media kit as you do in your sidebar or about page.

blog media kit cheat sheet facebook ad


And not that I like to nitpick but… don’t start every sentence (or ANY sentence for that matter) with the word “I.” Be your business because you are a brand too.

Your media kit is about you and your blog. I understand that. While it is hard to think of yourself in third person, remember you are presenting yourself as a business and not as an individual.

By sending your blog media kit to a company, your goal is to build a professional relationship with a brand. I love this from Brand Meets Blog: “Talk less about YOU and more about them.” Focus on your readers and their needs because that should be: 1) the emphasis of your blog; and 2) a part of why you are pitching a company. Because you want to connect your readers with solutions.

The C in Blog Media Kits – Content

This is where we run into HUGE problems with blog media kits.

As a blogger, your definition of content is closely related to WORDS. However, nothing on a media kit screams, “I’M BORING” like a page of blah, blah, blah… words. So you need to learn to say more with less.


You can communicate with pictures, design elements, tabbed lists, tables, and graphics. Do not think for a moment that a brand representative is going to read paragraph after paragraph.

blog media kit cheat sheet facebook ad

Free Blog Media Kit Template

Subscribe and receive the Free Media Kit Template.docx and Blog Media Kit Cheat Sheet.pdf by email.

Brand representatives are not looking for a novel, and I can guarantee you that no one is plodding through blogger media kits for pleasure while sipping tea and thinking, “Oh, I wish these bloggers would tell me a good story!” No… they are looking for someone who will stand out and get to the point because time is valuable.

If you really want a brand to read more, then link to your “about page” from your PDF document. Or, even better, have it linked within the email you send.

Keep your content short and sweet.


But what SHOULD be in your media kit? Which items are the most important?

You might have a different list (and we can debate that in the comments) but I think every blogger media kit MUST include:

  • Blog logo – It all goes back to branding.
  • Blog’s purpose – What are you trying to accomplish with your blog?
  • Your headshot – Make a personal connection.
  • About you – Keep it brief. Two to three sentence MAX.
  • Numbers – Social media followers and blog traffic.
  • Services – Maybe not EVERYTHING but a bulleted list of what you offer to advertisers.
  • Your contact information – Your name, location, blog URL, Twitter handle, and email address.

Should you include your prices? Not on the first page. Again… you can debate with me in the comments but I prefer to create a relationship before talking about money. It just feels… icky.

Page one of my media kit is my introduction and page two is for sales. But honestly, I often just send my first page until I am asked for prices or can send a pitch I have personalized for the company.


And please! For the love of blogging… do not send a Word file or an image. In Word, Pages, Publisher… and a gazillion other software variations, you can click to “save as” and find the option to make your blog media kit into a PDF.

Posted on 3 Comments

Working with Brands: More Than Just Page Views

When I mention the possibility of making money by working with brands, your knees turn to jelly and your mind begins to race. “I don’t have enough page views. They wouldn’t want me,” you explain.

I look you straight in the eye and say, “You are wrong.”

Why my access to working with brands is about more than just my page views. Love these points! Encourages me as a new blogger to stay focused. Free spreadsheet too.

Over the course of my blogging career, I have been blessed to work with a cornucopia of brands. Big brands, little brands… some who did not know they were brands. But a few things are the same, regardless of company size.

The main similarity?

Brands want a trustworthy relationship. They are always looking to work with someone dependable who will deliver value.

The difference page views make

If the most important part of working with brands is in the relationships, why so much emphasis on page views? Because page views make a difference but they are not always as important as you think.

Audience size is second runner up to 1) your niche and 2) your engagement.

General niche needs a larger audience.

Bloggers who struggle to choose a niche will also struggle to find brands willing to work with them if they have fewer page views.

Think about this like a bag of marbles. You love to collect marbles. All shapes and sizes. Doesn’t matter what they look like. You just want a bunch of them to carry around in a bag.

One afternoon, you decide that you want to look at only the blue marbles. You reach into your massive bag of marbles and pull out… an orange marble.

Nope. Back into the bag it goes.

You try again. Nope. A green marble with yellow swirls.

Geez. This is hard! Why? Because your bag contains all different kinds of marbles. Finding your ideal marble is a lot more difficult.

Why my access to working with brands is about more than just my page views. Love these points! Encourages me as a new blogger to stay focused. Free spreadsheet too.

Likewise, if a brand marketer is wanting to reach one particular type of reader, they know it will be more difficult on a blog with varied topics. Because a general niche fails to have a specific audience, a brand will consider the potential return on their investment to be lower.

Typically, a blog with multiple topics may attract more readers, but it takes longer to build a consistent community and the interest base is diluted. Therefore, a brand will either:

  • think the blog is not large enough for their marketing purposes; or,
  • will want to pay the blogger less for the same type of advertising.

Micro-niche means smaller audience but targeted audience.

Now consider a different approach to your marble collection.

You decide that you only want to gather clear marbles. They may not be exactly the same on the inside but each has the similar characteristic of being clear.

Why my access to working with brands is about more than just my page views. Love these points! Encourages me as a new blogger to stay focused. Free spreadsheet too.

Marbles like this are harder to find, but you are very precise. While it takes longer to grow a collection, you know that when you are ready to look at a clear marble that is exactly what you will pull from your bag.

If a brand wants their product presented to a specific interest group that can easily be found on your blog, the number of readers is not as critical because they know exactly what they are getting. Therefore, a smaller blog audience can have a greater value to a brand because their interests are all the same.

Different campaigns. Different goals.

If this is true, then why do page views seem to be so important?

There are reasons why a company would want to work with a blogger who has an abundance of page views, but the requirements depend on the goal of their campaign.

Larger general niche blog with less engagement.

Perhaps a brand’s goal is product recognition. The main purpose of their campaign is to have a lot of eyes on their brand. They hope that by pushing their logo into a crowd of people that those readers will feel a greater connection with the product when they see it in the store.

The engagement of the blog is not as important as the size. The topic is somewhat important but it is not critical to the campaign’s success. So, the marketing department chooses a large blog.

Smaller micro-niche blog with moderate to high engagement.

But, what if the goal is conversions?

If the brand is looking for product sales or to grow an email list of hot leads, the campaign requires a laser focus. The company knows exactly who their target audience is, and they look for topical blogs to match.

Engagement also becomes important.

If the audience is responsive and the blogger maintains an active community, the brand understands that the readers TRUST the blogger. Trust is easily measured by the amount of transparency shown when readers engage. As for the amount of engagement needed, the average engagement per social media platform varies.

Why relationships matter

But how does a brand find you? How can you get their attention?

Focus on the relationship.

Giving value. Getting attention.

If you want a brand to invest in you, invest in the brand. When you use their product, show it off on social media. And tag them! Use pictures to show off how you are using their products. Include them in your blog post.

Here are a few examples…

  • Staying the night in a hotel? Share a picture of the comfy bed on Instagram and tag the hotel. You can share the location if you choose.
  • Cooking with a certain ingredient or tool? Mention the company in a tweet when you post the recipe.
  • See a brand share a post to Facebook? Re-share it to your blog’s Facebook page.
  • Notice a hashtag on a brand’s marketing? Use it to share relevant content that adds value to the brand.

Engage with your favorite brands on social media by commenting, liking, sharing, and retweeting their posts. Big companies are seeking engagement just like bloggers. Plus, when you can add value to their message, they will love you even more.

Show you are a fan before sending a pitch. #Influencer @TabithaPhilen (TWEET THIS)

You want to clearly communicate that you are a huge fan of a brand before you ever contact them with a pitch.

Making friends. Getting campaigns.

Despite the numbers, engagement, and niche, you must remember that brands are actually run by people. People who are looking for meaning in their lives. People who desire relationships.

When you build genuine relationships with the people managing a brand’s marketing, you getting a double bonus. Not only do you make a friend, but you become the person they think of when a new campaign matches your blog.

The best way to meet the public relations team for any brand is at blog conferences. Brands will sponsor a conference with the intent of scouting for bloggers. They pay for the food you eat, bring loads of swag, and want to work with you. It’s the ideal situation!

So choose your conferences wisely and research who the sponsors will be.

Do your homework

Preparation is always key to your success.

As you build relationships and before you send your pitch, you need to put on your super sleuth hat and do your research. Ask yourself some important questions about why you want to work with a brand and determine if that company is a good fit for you AND your audience.

Visit their website and look for these clues:

  • What is the company’s mission statement?
  • How are they marketing themselves currently?
  • Are they focusing their marketing on a new product?
  • What hashtags are they using?
  • Have they sponsored content on other blogs?
  • Who is the media/PR contact?
Why my access to working with brands is about more than just my page views. Love these points! Encourages me as a new blogger to stay focused. Free spreadsheet too.

Also google to see if other bloggers are talking about the brand.

  • Which product did they review?
  • Which benefits did they feature?
  • Which benefits did they miss?
  • What would you do differently?

As you research the brand, keep notes in a brand tracking spreadsheet so you can easily reference the information and save time in the future.

Another tip: Every time you mention the brand on your blog or in your social media, link to their website using a short link that will track the number of clicks. If the number is good, mention it when you approach the brand to prove your audience is interested.

Then, when you are ready, send your pitch.

A brand will never work with you if you do not first express interest. Yes, you could wait for them to approach you, but why? Start building relationships and making money today.

Free Tracking Spreadsheet for Working with Brands

Want the spreadsheet I use to research brands? Get it for free as an Inspired Bloggers University Member. You can sign up for FREE and find the spreadsheet on your profile page.

I Need this spreadsheet.

Posted on 9 Comments

Writing Content to Produce a Profit

If you interview the most experienced bloggers, they will tell your that 80% to 90% of their blogging income comes from 1% to 10% of their posts. The most popular posts contain content that converts into a profit.

Are there certain keywords that can increase the profitability of your blog posts? You betcha! Learn how to write posts that will increase your blog revenue significantly.

Meanwhile, you are slaving away and cranking out post after post hoping to get lucky.

How is it possible to write less but profit more? There are two paths you can take.

Path One: The Adsense way to profitability

Don’t bounce off yet. I know… many of you see the word ADSENSE and automatically freak out. I promise to make this as simple for you as possible.

How Adsense works

Google Adsense is a bidding-based advertising platform. Some companies are willing to bid more through Adsense to show up as an advertisement in search results and/or on your blog’s sidebar. When you use search engine optimization on your blog to create a blog post or page targeting these keywords, you can drive traffic to the Adsense ads on your blog.


Imagine an auction where people crowd in with their numbered paddles and wait for the auctioneer to open bidding on items of interest… except in this scenario, the crowd is full of advertisers and the auctioneer is Google.

But what are the items up for bid? They are keyword searches based on topics. For example, “easy slow cooker recipes,” “best laptop deals,” and “printable calendar” are all potential keyword searches.

As a hot item – or a popular keyword – is placed up for auction, the bidding begins and is pushed higher and higher until one advertiser trumps all others with a high bid. That advertiser is then seen in two potential places: search results and in space designated for Adsense ads on topical blog posts.


When you write a blog post or create a new page, Google sends robots to scan for keywords.

Keeping with the auction analogy, think of the robots as prospectors who are checking out the items before the auction begins. They report back to Google with what they find and Google creates a catalog of the entries in preparation for the auction.

When someone places those keywords into the search bar, the auction begins. When the person selects your link from the search results, the highest bidding advertisers shows in the Adsense placements available on your blog.

We will save how Google chooses who shows up first in search results for another day but this is the point… When a person clicks or views the advertisement (depending on the advertiser’s contract with Google), you receive a payout.

Simply put…

It boils down to how Google makes money. Content that attracts an expensive audience helps Google get paid. When you are using Adsense and writing the content people want, Google passes part of that profit on to you.

[Credit: Wordstream
[Credit: Wordstream]
Using Adsense to monetize your blog

But should you write just to drive traffic from Google and get a payout? No.

Your content should be a natural extension of your blog’s personality. Otherwise, your tribe of readers will wonder what has happened to you and leave without a second glance. So, consider your current niche, your existing categories, and find the hot keywords related to your content.

Sound complicated?

Lucky for you… there is another way to write profitable posts.

Path Two: Affiliate-driven blog content

A different option for writing blog posts that convert into profit is to think from the outside and work inward.

Choosing your affiliate partnerships

When you consider your blog, what are your readers needing when they land on your posts? Which companies offer products that can solve their problems? And do those companies have an affiliate program?

Not sure? Just search the company name and the word “affiliate” to see what pops up.

Nothing? Be sure to check the major affiliate marketing agencies: Shareasale, Commission Junction, and Linkshare.

Picking the payout

What if there are multiple companies who can offer the same solution and you have no loyalty to either? Choose the one with the higher commission.

Ever wonder why so many blog experts recommend BlueHost over other blog hosting companies? Is it because they are the best? (Insert choice adjective here) no! It’s because they have the highest payout of any blog host.

But, how do you find the profitable keywords?

How do you know which keywords receive the highest bids? Which words should you use in your posts to target the more profitable ads?

Ideally, you want to find keywords with a high popularity and low competition. Google Adsense Keyword Planner is a free tool available for advertisers trying to create Adsense campaigns but it is also available to you.

Keyword Analysis for Newbies

If the idea of using the Keyword Planner intimidates you, other keyword analysis tools are available.

HitTail -This is probably the simplest tool I have found to locate keywords you should target based on your existing blog content.

Have your website analyzed automatically and receive recommended keywords that fit the topics on your blog. You can try it for FREE and export the recommendations in a CSV file (which can be opened by Excel, Numbers, or with Google Drive.)

>>Try HitTail for FREE.<<

If you love it, you can keep the subscription and unlock more recommendations for just $9.95 per month.

HitTail also offers a free SEO crash course available to email subscribers.

SEMRush – You can see the keywords people are using to find your blog content and who is linking to you with SEMRush. Also use SEMRush to research keywords for new categories and see their popularity and the competition across the internet.

>>Try SEMRush for FREE.<<

Get started now! Place your blog URL in the search bar and see your backlinks, popular keywords, referring blogs, and much more.

And a HUGE keyword tip

There are certain keyword helpers – or long tail keywords – that I call “cart triggers.”

As people are searching with the intent to purchase, they go to the browser search bar and look for the item PLUS a cart trigger word or phrase. These long tail keyword are often high traffic and low competition making them prime targets for your posts and pages.

Some of these cart triggers include “free,” “coupon code,” “best,” and “review.”

Are there certain keywords that can increase the profitability of your blog posts? You betcha!
Sign up for FREE Inspired Blogger University membership and get the cheatsheet to increasing your profits!


Let’s see how this looks in real life…

Sally goes to her computer because she is thinking of purchasing a new refrigerator. She is budget conscious and searches for “best refrigerators.” If you are have an affiliate relationship with a company that sells refrigerators, this is your moment to let her know by having a post on your website called “best refrigerators.”

Perhaps Sally has narrowed her search and wants to see what others are saying about a specific refrigerator. She searches for “LG refrigerator review.” See how these qualifiers can add value?

As you add cart triggers to your niche keywords, you will see the amount of traffic drops as people are making more general searches. However, the intent to make a purchase increases with specificity and that drives up your profit.

Final tips for converting content to profit

I would fail you miserably if I did not issue some final advice for writing content that produces a profit.

Give your best content

You want your content to convert into a profit? Then give those posts your absolute BEST. Hold nothing back. Fill the page with amazing, problem-solving solutions. Concise. To the point. But undeniably… the best you can write.

Don’t play games, making readers jump page to page. No. This is not about getting page views. This is about getting PAID.

Don’t fluff up your content with adjectives trying to make it sound more interesting than it is. Buyers can see right through that. Offer balanced advice and real solutions.

Do link to other amazing content on the subject. Do give readers a way to subscribe to your blog. Do remember to insert your affiliate links.

Then, promote the heck out of your post.

Abide within the rules

When you signed up with Adsense as an affiliate and each time you commit to a new affiliate agreement, you are agreeing to the terms of the partnership as outlined by that company. Did you read those contracts? If not, do it now.

You want to make sure you understand the rules and keep within the limitations. For instance, Google has limits on the number of Adsense placements you can have on each page of your blog. They also state that you cannot have a drop down menu (or any drop down feature) over an advertisement.

Do not risk getting bounced from the Adsense program by violating those rules. You will NEVER (okay… maybe not NEVER but it will be REALLY hard to) be added back.

Place ads in hot click locations

If you are thinking about the Adsense path, you want to maximize your efforts by putting your ads in strategic locations. Using a heat map can help you find those spots on your blog. Typically, the best locations are:

  • below or within your blog header
  • top of the left side bar
  • under your post title (That’s mobile-responsive area too!)
  • within the text of your post (That’s mobile-responsive area too!)

Not sure where to find a heat map? You have one available for free in your Google Analytics account. Just choose Behavior > In Page Analytics. Then, select to “show color.”

Are there certain keywords that can increase the profitability of your blog posts? You betcha!

You can also use the Page Analytics Chrome Extension.

Keep it simple

As you are creating your new blog posts and pages, the temptation will be to load the page down with your affiliate links… but don’t.

Remember how your mother taught you that less is often more? In your blog post, you need to have a clear call to action that motivates the reader to the ONE THING you really want them to do. Often, if you give a reader too many options… too many links… too many ads in the sidebar… they will choose to do NOTHING.

Have a very clear call to action and let everything within your post, around your post, guide the reader toward your goal.

While researching and preparing your content for these profitable posts and pages will take significantly more time, the revenue will make the effort very satisfying.

Now… get busy.

Are there certain keywords that can increase the profitability of your blog posts? You betcha! Learn how to write posts that will increase your blog revenue significantly.

Also read:

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5 Tax Tips for Bloggers

While I am not an accountant, these tax tips for bloggers will help you be more organized and know what to expect on tax day. Just keep in mind that your best bet for staying legal (and sane) is hiring a tax professional.
I had no idea some of this was counted as income! If you are a blogger, you need to read these tax tips.

People have strong emotions about tax season. Either you get excited about a refund or dread having to pay. For me, I just hate the entire ordeal of crunching numbers. Or maybe it is just post traumatic stress lingering from an audit we experienced.

Talking about stress… wow!

But having survived an audit has definitely changed my approach to taxes and armed me with information other bloggers might not understand.

Whether you are a new blogger or have recently shifted your mindset from hobby to pro, these blogger tax tips will make you hate me… but I do it because I care about your success.

Hire an accountant.

Might seem like a dumb suggestion but hiring someone who knows what all the legal tax jargon means can be a huge relief. Plus, if you ever face an audit, you already have an ally.

As you choose an accountant, be sure they he or she understands internet business or is at least willing to do the research and be fully prepared to represent you as a blogger.

But I know… accountants cost a small fortune. If you are determined to do your taxes yourself, even though accounting fees may be a tax deduction, just use the same software consistently. Changing from one brand of software means the formatting is different and even the phrasing can vary. If you accidentally place something is a different category than you have in previous years, this can trigger a red flag with the IRS.

I personally use H&R Block software, not because I love it but because it is what I started with and I do not want to make any sudden changes. I know… makes me sound like I am walking through a minefield and avoiding any misstep that might can an explosion. Actually, that is pretty close to the way I feel.

Use an income/expense spreadsheet.

If you are a free member of the Inspired Bloggers University, you have access to the income/expense spreadsheet I use. This XLSX file is easily opened in Excel but if you do not have access to the Excel program, just upload it to your Google Drive. The file should open easily.

The Blogger’s Simple Guide to Taxes: A Guide to Saving Time and Money

Of course, having the spreadsheet still requires that you complete the income and expense categories each month. Procrastinating will just make it harder. Dedicate time at the beginning of the month to completing the entries. If necessary, grab a few bloggers and create a mastermind group where you can share you report each month.

Count all of your income.

Do not skip over this and think, “Well, that’s a no-brainer.” What you consider income and what the IRS considers income might be completely different.

Sara F Hawkins has a very comprehensive list of taxable income items for bloggers that might surprise you. For instance, the books and t-shirts you are given while browsing the exhibits during a blog conference?

That is income.

Prizes you were awarded for being the most profitable affiliate?

That will cost you.

The ebook you graciously accepted from a friend to offer a complimentary review on your blog?

Ouch. Yes, that digital document has taxable value.

Even the giveaway prizes a company sent to your address and asked you to forward to the winner… Surprise. It is all income and the IRS wants to know if you are including it when you file your taxes.

“But, but, but…” I hear you stammering to plead your case.

  • I did not receive a 1099 form.
  • The value is under $600.
  • Blogging is just a hobby.

Doesn’t matter. So what. Your point is?

If you received it, the IRS considers it income and you are responsible for reporting your income accurately.

Keep it organized.

If you must file taxes then do yourself a favor and keep everything organized.

When you attend a conference, keep a copy of the agenda and your name badge. Even a photograph or digital scan will suffice. Then, collect your receipts for meals, accommodations, and cab fare and keep it together.

Your Blogging Business: Tax Talk & Tips from a Bookkeeper Turned Blogger

Expensify is a fabulous app – available for desktop, iOS, and Android – that will help organize your travel receipts and can even track your mileage if you choose to drive.

Another organizing idea, create a folder in your inbox just for receipts and conversations with brands regarding giveaways and reviews. If you prefer Evernote, you can create a notebook and email them to your Evernote file with a Premium account.

>>Get a free month of Evernote Premium.<<

Remember your deductions.

Even the best accountants need a little help. You must be educated about what you can safely use as a qualified deduction. Wise Bread has a long (although uncategorized) list of blogger tax deductions you should browse. Another list of tax deductions for bloggers is available by Free from Broke.

Some deductions you might have missed include:

  • Ingredients for a test recipe
  • Premium plugins
  • Licensing for images, fonts, and music
  • Your blog planner
  • Postage for mailing giveaway prizes
  • Ink and paper for printables
  • Stock photography subscriptions
  • E-courses and ebooks that further your education

Tax time can feel daunting but you can master this with an organized method for tracking your income and expenses.

Don’t forget to download the blogging income/expense report on your Inspired Bloggers University profile page.

Hey blogger! Track your income and expenses easily. Get the free XLSX spreadsheet.

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How to Make Money with a Blog

Wondering how to make money with a blog? Is it possible to blog for profit and make it a full-time career? Absolutely!

Video Notes:

Step-By Step Printable

Domain Registrants

Hosting Options for New Blogs

Premium Themes

Pinterest Group Board Locator

Blog Conferences