How to make money as a blogger is a topic that is not very clear cut unless you are part of the blogging world or work in digital marketing.
Blogging and digital content creation has been my sole job for around four years now, and before that my job was a 50/50 split between blogging and my family photography business, before I realised I could make more money in less time with blogging.
My friends and family are often interested in exactly how I make money from blogging. To the uninitiated, it is confusing. More than half the time it looks like I’m faffing around at fun events or taking photos of myself. It’s a weird job, that’s for sure. And honestly, there is a fair bit of faffing around involved. But there’s also a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, especially if you really want to concentrate on earning a decent passive income from blogging.
Transparency is important, and I know there’s an ever-increasing interest as to how exactly bloggers and influencers make their money. So, I wanted to write this post which goes over all the ways in which I make money through blogging and content creation.
I’m going to list this in vague order of where I earn the most money from blogging, but bear in mind that this does change around quite a lot depending on circumstances (babies = more money in brand collaborations) and how much time I have (no babies = more time to generate a good passive income from blogging).
I would class myself as a relatively small time blogger in the grand scheme of blogging and ‘influencers’. At the time of writing this post, I gain around 11,000 page views per month to my blog, and my largest social channel is Instagram with a following of 5k. But in 2019, my turnover was more than £12k.
So I really do think it is achievable to make a decent, regular income from blogging, and you don’t necessarily need to reach super influencer levels of followings to achieve it. It’s all about putting the time in to creating a well established blog. Although, I do think that my engaged audience and long established blog helps with this, too. (My blog has been going since 2011).
How I make money from blogging
SEO sponsored blog posts
This is most definitely the most boring of the ways in which I make money, but often the one where I earn the most.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. One of the ways in which to get a better google ranking and have your page appear in the top few search results, is to have good quality sites linking to your page. This is called a backlink, the more backlinks to your web page all about ‘The best pushchairs in 2019’, the higher your page will appear in the search results.
This means that I get a lot of approaches from SEO companies and sometimes the brands themselves, wanting to place a backlink to their web page, via a page on my blog. Because I have been blogging for over 8 years, I have built up what google sees as a very good quality website, which means I can charge a decent rate to publish an SEO blog post. The posts can either be written by myself, or written by a third party and given to me to publish. I charge more to write a post myself, as more time is involved.
Obviously, google frown upon this, as it disrupts their organic search algorithm. Brands have been penalised before for engineering a high search rank in this way, and bloggers frequently get penalised too with a temporary drop in search traffic, so it’s important to be wary of this, to always disclose that the post has been sponsored and is an AD, and to not go too crazy accepting sponsored posts left right and centre.
Many, many bloggers accept SEO posts, as it is a very quick and easy earner. You often won’t even see the posts, as it is possible to ‘hide’ them from the blog unless you have the direct link to the specific blog post, leaving blog front pages and highlighted blog content free for the posts that bloggers have written themselves and are most passionate about.
As SEO companies are just interested in gaining the backlink, they don’t mind this method being used. Hence why it is one of the simplest ways for bloggers to make money, as it doesn’t impact on their existing content and there is no fear of being called out for doing “too many ads”. But it is not risk free, and all bloggers live in fear of google, and everyone’s level of comfort and balance around SEO posts will be different.
I earn anywhere between £500 and £1500 a month from these type of blog posts.
You may have seen bloggers or people on Instagram mention an “Aff link” or “affiliate link”. For example, an influencer shares a link to a new pair of trainers they just bought or were gifted by a brand. If you click the link and buy anything from that shop / brand, the influencer will get a percentage of the sale. Affiliate links are often a very low percentage, but if you have a large following, or the affiliate link is for something of great value, like a holiday, those affiliate earnings can add up quickly. There are affiliate programs for most brands, from Amazon to Tripadvisor, to independent clothing brands.
I use affiliate links on my blog, and on my clothing videos on Youtube (I can’t on Instagram because I don’t have the swipe up function). But to be honest, with my follower numbers, I often find it not worth bothering, it often would take me 5 months to earn £50.
But, I do have a couple of posts that have been very successful on Pinterest and therefore those particular affiliate links do very well. My MUTU system review is another one that generates regular purchases. So overall, in spite of not being very serious about earning affiliate income, it happens to be one of the areas that has slowly grown to a decent monthly passive income. If you have a large, engaged following, affiliate links can be very lucrative.
I earn between £150 – £300 a month from affiliate links
Brand collaborations and feature blog posts
When brands approach me wanting to collaborate, this means that they want to pay me to advertise their product. I charge differing rates depending on the content and time required, but it usually involves creating a youtube video, or a feature blog post with my own photography and a useful and engaging review for potential consumers of said product / service / event, plus promotion of the content on social media.
I aim to keep my brand content as useful as possible, so that even people who aren’t interested in being served an AD can take something helpful away from the content – for example, my Snapfish collaboration focused on practical tips for how to take good photos of your children to put on Christmas cards – useful content for anyone who wants to take a nice photo of their kids, without the need to actually buy anything.
It’s actually quite a skill to make sure brand collaborations are as useful and engaging as possible, and excellent quality photography is often expected. So brand collaborations can be one of the most time consuming money earners for bloggers. But it is one of the most fun, too, and I enjoy flexing my creative skills.
I earn approximately £150 per month from brand collaborations. I’d love to do more of these type of collaborations with brands that I love, I think perhaps I don’t get as many brand approaches as content creators with larger social followings.
I suspect that I charge quite a high rate for brand collaborations compared to people with similar following sizes to me (but I KNOW how to get a post to rank, and good photography takes tiiiiime), and I am quite picky with only working with brands I am excited to create content for, so I turn down a fair amount of this type of work, too. Hence why it’s not one of my top earners.
Google Adsense and Pay Per Click advertising
Adsense is google’s advertising platform. Adsense displays ads to your site or youtube videos based on your content and visitors. The ads are created and paid for by advertisers who want to promote their products. I don’t currently run display ads on my blog, so all of my adsense revenue comes from Youtube. I have a small youtube channel in terms of subscribers, but it’s the views not the subscribers that count for earning ad money, and I have a couple of big hitting videos on my channel that bring in a small amount of adsense money every month.
Adsense isn’t the only advertising provider, there are a couple of even more lucrative advertising platforms that I’m currently working towards qualifying for (you need over 25,000 monthly page session views). If you put in the time and raise several blogs to that level, it is possible to make a really decent passive income from blogging.
I earn approx £80 a month from Adsense. Last year it was half this amount. I spent a fair bit of time concentrating on increasing my earnings from youtube views. But things are changing in terms of the ads that can be served on family channels, so who knows if youtube earnings will remain a viable option for parenting / family creators.
Sponsored instagram posts
This is one of the income streams that I am most picky about, hence why it’s low down on this list.
I get a lot of low money offers to post an Instagram AD on my feed. But I am quite protective over my feed and often these offers come with a lot of restrictions and instructions on what exactly can be featured in the photo. Something dies inside me when I think of posting a photo of a branded food box with hands but no faces and talking about how important it is to have ‘treat days’ once in a while (this is a random example!), so I only accept sponsored instagram posts when I know exactly the kind of photo I want to take, and caption I want to write, that fits in with my style.
I also won’t post a sponsored instagram photo to my grid for less than £150 (and this fee would be more for a post that will take considerable time to produce), when I know others with a similar follower number to me accept £50. It’s a personal preference and I don’t judge or begrudge anyone for accepting what they accept, we all have our reasons, it’s simply not worth it to me – I’d rather accept more SEO posts than post instagram ADS that my heart isn’t in.
I’m much more flexible with my Instagram Story content (and, actually, I have more engagement there than on my grid posts a lot of the time), and will accept sponsored content on there more often than sponsored grid posts.
I earn approximately £60 a month from sponsored Instagram content.
Creating content for brands
Whether it’s writing, video creation, or photography, every now and then, a brand might approach me to create content for them to host on their social channels or website. In the past I have created content for car seat brands, holiday brands, and clothing brands.
I earn approximately £100 per month creating content for brands to use on their social channels / websites.
Selling stock photographs
For a good few years now, I’ve been creating stock images and selling them via Creative Market. Stock images are in demand from all sorts of outlets – bloggers, designers, and online publications. There are lots of great free stock images sites, but paying for an image means you have permission to use the image commercially, and paid for images are less commonly in circulation (so you won’t run the risk of seeing that same image again and again across 10 different websites).
I earn approx £60 per month selling stock images. However, this is with a very minimal amount of photos (maybe around 20 photos in total), expanding my photos and earning capabilities with stock photos is something on my list to do when I have more time!
As a blogger, I get invited to a fair few brand events and product launches throughout the year. These are events organised by a brand to showcase their latest product, with the idea that the blogger / influencer will talk about the product / event on their platforms, therefore increasing promotion and visibility for the brand.
I approach events on a case by case basis – if it’s a really exciting event or a brand I really want to work with, I might jump at the chance to attend the event without charging a fee. But my response to most emails I get about brand events is to send across my rates for event attendance and coverage.
I don’t go to lots of events so I probably earn around £300 max a year from this type of work.
On top of the examples of paid blogging work that I’ve listed above, there are also a lot of huge perks like holidays in exchange for content, review trips and cool family events that I don’t count in my earnings as I’m not being paid to do them, but often can help boost my other earnings with an increase in search traffic and therefore ad revenue.
Although ‘payment in kind’ experiences and trips don’t actively contribute to my blogging earnings, they DO help us maintain a healthy family budget and save us a fair bit of money. Getting to have experiences as a result of being a blogger is one of the nicest parts of the job.
How much money do I make from blogging?
In all, a good month can see me bringing in near to £2000, and a quiet month could be around £350, with my average monthly earnings for the past year hovering around £1,125 per month.
Is blogging easy money?
One common misconception about blogging as a way to make money is that it seems too easy, and that it’s not a real job. But blogging is far from a “get rich quick’ thing. It takes time to build an engaged following. It takes time to build a popular, google successful website. Bloggers spend a lot of time tinkering with their SEO, writing helpful posts that will do well in search results or on Pinterest.
Successful blogging is one of those jobs where you could spend all the hours in a day working at it, and still find things to do. Some people do get to a point where they can earn a really good passive income and in effect sit back, but it takes work to get there, good SEO needs constant maintaining and tinkering, and it certainly doesn’t happen as soon as you decide “I’m going to become a blogger!”
That being said, I understand where the “Not a real job” thinking comes in, as it’s such a flexible job, involves a lot of time being present on social media (AKA faffing about), a lot of the grunt work goes on behind the scenes. And let’s be honest, blogging is a very privileged thing to be able to call your job, with none of the worries of working under someone else’s employment, and trying to juggle work with life and family commitments. We bloggers may feel we have worked very hard to get our blog and our earnings where they are today, but it’s only a certain demographic of people who would be able to afford the technology and the spare time to see if they can make a go of it.
Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily recommend blogging to everyone as a career (there are no guarantees of making loads of money and it’s never going to be the most stable of careers as the digital and social media landscape is always changing), I am always thankful that I was in the right place at the right time when I started blogging, not realising that it would eventually become a steady money maker.
I don’t know how long it will last, but for now, I earn similar to what I’d earn if I were working a part time salaried job, but with the perks of choosing my own work hours, minimal childcare costs, working for myself, being able to work around school hours and being able to be there for all the school events that happen during the school day. In short, it has been, and remains, the better move for me and our family whilst we are in the primary school stage of life, rather than going back into employment and an office environment.
I accidentally landed myself the holy grail of jobs for working parents, and although I often suffer from imposter syndrome when people tell me well done for making this kind of work work (there’s always someone bigger, better, and earning 20 times what I do, and I do sometimes find myself questioning whether I should be pursuing a stable, salaried job instead), I completely understand what they are saying – I have the most flexible job, I get to be there for my kids, and there is always the potential to put in more time and earn more. I do feel very fortunate to be in a position to earn money as a blogger.