So, You Want to Make Money Blogging?

by Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 

As a blogger, the single question I hear more than anything is: “Do you make money blogging?” It’s kind of odd that people feel compelled to ask this– in what other world do people go up to near strangers and inquire about paychecks and figures? I highly doubt these discussions are being had by bloggers or writers other than us mommies. But, since inquiring minds want to know, I will answer the burning question: Yes, I make money blogging. But, no, not nearly enough.

For the last three years, I’ve looked at this blog as a job. More than a job, actually. A job and a hobby and a passion and a fourth baby. I’ve worked harder on it than any job I’ve ever had. Probably more than all of my other jobs, combined (which, yes, speaks more to what a crappy employee I was.) If I got paid by the hour for what I put into this site, I’d be rich. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that in blog-land.

When I started blogging, making money was the furthest thing on my mind. It was a hobby and an experiment, nothing more. But, after a few months, I was inspired by some other blogs I read and I slapped some Google ads up. If I could make a few bucks, why not? Months and months and months went by without a single payment, so I took them down.

Then, after a year of blogging, I joined BlogHer’s ad network. I got around $60 a month or so, but for the space it took up on my blog, I didn’t feel it was worth it. I took them down and two years went by with no ads on my site. A couple months ago, I connected with Federated Media through Clever Girls. Federated is the Holy Grail of ad networks. Finally, I’d be making real money, I thought. Hallelujah. Except, I’m not. Because even with over half a million page views last month, the ads only run on a portion of my pages and I only get paid for the spots that actually run or get clicked on.

So, no, advertising isn’t going to make you huge money. Unless you’re getting millions and millions of pageviews a month, it just won’t. And, once you need to actually pay for coding and tweaking and hosting, making back that money becomes vital. Here’s how it can be done…

1. Sponsored posts. People get anywhere from ten dollars to ten thousand dollars for a sponsored post. Am I willing to honestly write about a product for ten bucks? Hell no. But, for two thousand bucks? Yes, I might. I would advice you to be selective about which ones you choose to accept because reading sponsored post after sponsored post isn’t much fun for your readers.

2. Sponsored campaigns. Pretty much a sponsored post that lasts for a set period of time. Be sure you really believe in the company or product before committing to something like this. I once excitedly agreed to promote a movie on mommy blogging starring a major movie star without having ever seen the film. It turned out to be one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen and an enormous lesson.

3. Writing Gigs. If you are writing for places other than your own site, you need to receive one of two things: Exposure or money. People make anywhere from $25 to 500+ per post, but some exposure is priceless. I didn’t get paid to write a recent piece, for example, but I couldn’t buy that kind of exposure. At least on my salary.

4. The Stuff. No, I’m not suggesting you write in exchange for bars of soap or $10 gift cards. But, I have happily reviewed/given away expensive items I couldn’t have otherwise afforded. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay taxes on stuff you accept, so make sure you want it enough to cover that.

5. A Job. I know countless bloggers whose sites have led to full-time jobs. I worked for Nickelodeon’s Parents Connect for almost a year, and got the job based solely on my blog. Your blog can become your resume, in this day and age.

Keep in mind, that none of these opportunities happen overnight. If you are looking for some fast and quick money to be made from home, blogging is not for you. But, if you are willing to work your ass off for years before it finally pays off, it just might be worth it. Eventually.

I hope.

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