How I make money blogging

How I make money blogging

When I published my stat and income report last week, I received loads of Tweets, DM’s and e-mails about how I make money online, more specifically how I find sponsored posts.

So, let’s make this clear, I don’t make loads of money online and like I’ve said in the past, it’s not my priority. But it has been something I’ve wanted in the past so I understand why so many people want to make some money while doing something they love.

You also need to realise that when you start making money, you need to register with HMRC to declare you earnings. There are also rules around declaring sponsored posts. Google also has rules and guidelines around selling links, while these are not law, they could result in your being penalised by Google and having your blog removed from the search engine. So yeah, it’s not just as simple as write a post and get paid – it can get a tad complicated.

Here’s how I’m going to break this down:

  • How long will it take to make money blogging.
  • When should you turn sponsored posts down.
  • How to find sponsored posts.
  • Hints and tips.

makemoney

How long will it take you make money blogging.

Of course, this isn’t one of those simple answers. How long it will take you will depend on a variety of different things, such as your niche, how fast your grow your following and how good your content is.

We’re not talking weeks or months here, more like years. It took me a year before I first got paid for a blog post, and honestly – it’s something I wish I hadn’t accepted, more on that below though.

It was after around 18 months of blogging when I first made some real money. It was an article I wrote for another website and they paid me £75. Cash flow was inconsistent for a long time. Some months I made nothing, some months just £30 and the odd month I made a bit more. My earnings are still inconsistent today, but the amount it varies between is slowly going up.

I honestly believe that you have to be realistic about it. It’s highly unlikely I’m ever going to make a full time income blogging, and probably unlikely for you, too. Unless you have something to sell. Like an ebook, a service, graphics, blog designs. Or unless you do free lance work alongside your blogging – such as copy writing, being a virtual assistant or managing a companies social media account.

But it is possible to earn a bit of extra cash, that might help you buy a new camera, or that you can put towards a holiday.

I also want to point out that the amount of money you make doesn’t have anything to do with how successful your blog is.

You could have an amazing blog with interesting content and stunning images that doesn’t make much – it doesn’t mean your blog isn’t as good as someone who does make money. I get the impression that some people equate the success of their blog with how much money it makes. There are many ways to measure the success of a blog and they’ll be different for everyone.

How I make money blogging

When should you turn down sponsored posts.

Much like when you first start getting PR samples, getting offered money to post about something can be exciting and it’s easy to get a bit blinded by it. We’ve probably all accepted things we’ll later regret.

As I said above, I regretted the first time I made some cash blogging. I was paid $10 to post about one of those asian dress sites. I actually still get a lot of e-mails from similar sites. You might have come across them, they usually go something like:

Hi Dear,

I love your fashion and style so much! I want to collaborate with you and your fabulous blog, I can pay you $10 if you write about my site and put an advert for 3 months. I am looking for long term cooperation.

Don’t do that. Not only are you selling yourself short, but these sites are poor quality and will pay any blogger $10 for anchor text links. They’ll tell you they love your blog, but they just try and flatter you into making it seem like a great idea to work with them. I fell for it and I hope you don’t.

I mean, if you really wanted to do it, you could, but it can really cheapen the look of your site and damage your integrity. I feel proper pants that I accepted one before!

Another time you should consider saying no, is when it doesn’t suit the normal theme of your blog. While it’s good to try new things and switch up your topics, some things are going to look odd. I recently turned down a £100 post because I felt like it wouldn’t ad any value. If I did the post, I don’t think it would do very well or interest many people that read my blog.

The last thing you want is your blog to look like it’s full of adverts rather than being an actual blog.

Another time you might want to say no is if they are quite demanding on things like anchor text links and what’s to be included.

Guest posts are another opportunity that I always turn down. I’ll get e-mails about companies wanting to submit articles to post on my site and pay me for it. This is mostly because they want to tailor the article towards a specific keyword and put some links in it to improve a clients site, or their own sites SEO. I don’t accept pre-written content on my site so always say no. I don’t agree with this type of guest posting as not only are they just doing it for links, but you’ll probably end up with a poor quality article or an article that they’ve had published on other sites.

The general rule to go by, is that if the sponsored post goes against your blogs vision, or gives you an icky feeling because you’re just accepting it for the cash – then you should probably say no.

There’s nothing stopping you saying yes if you really need the dollar, but don’t allow your integrity to come into question or let posts slip through that won’t be a great fit, or as great quality as the rest of your blog.

How I make money blogging

How to find sponsored posts.

Okay, this is the one you’ve all been waiting for. How do I find sponsored posts?

Most of them contact me, but there are some places you can apply for them.

Bloggers Required:

The one I’ve used most is Bloggers Required. Bloggers Required is basically as site that companies can put up adverts requesting bloggers. While most of their assignments are for reviews in exchange for a product, sometimes they do have ones that offer bloggers money. I’ve had a few decent ones through there, but they get a lot of interest. So to be accepted, do you have to write a pitch with each submission and full out your social media reach.

It’s worth signing up to their weekly newsletter as they tend to have one or two newsletter only assignments which tend to be better than the ones on the main site.

Facebook Groups:

UK Bloggers:

There are loads of Facebook groups I’m on, but the one that seems to have the most paid opportunities is UK Bloggers. It is a closed, private group and you have to be a UK blogger to join. Make sure you read the rules if you sign up, they’re strict on things like posting your blog posts on the main wall – they have threads for you to put your posts and social media links in to stop the group being full of links. It’s much more of a community than a place to just find paid posts, so be respectful of that if you sign up.

Many PR’s will post assignments on there and ask for info, such as email, blog URL and DA and then will select suitable bloggers for paid posts. Again, they usually only work with a handful at time and many people do apply so you won’t get accepted for everything and a lot do require a Domain Authority of over 30.

As well as posting blogger opportunities, it’s a great place to ask questions and blogging and join in discussions with other bloggers.

Blogger Opportunities.

UK Blogger Opportunities is the same idea as UK Bloggers, but it’s just for opportunities. It’s a way for PR’s to post assignments and bloggers to apply.

As above, it’s a closed group and there are rules you must follow.

There are many blogging groups on Facebook that are based on city or region, too. So have a search and see what comes up.

Blog Networks.

Just google Blog Networks, or Blogger Networks UK (or similar) and you’ll find a list of networks that aim to bring bloggers and brands together. Generally, you sign up by giving them information such as the type of blog you have and your URL and they will e-mail you with any suitable work.

A lot also have newsletters that you can sign up to and these will often request certain bloggers to contact them

How I make money blogging

Hints and Tips.

Be reliable. 

When you get a sponsored post, make sure you stick to your commitments around it. Post it on the agreed date and be clear about the brief of the post. E-mail when the post is live and just be honest if something has come up which means you can’t stick to your commitment.

Being reliable will show the PR that you’re a good person to work with that won’t let them down and make them look like they’re not delivering to their manager or to the brand. This could result in more work, or them passing on your contact details to other PRs. I have a few digital marketing agencies that come back time and time again because they know I’ll deliver my side of the deal.

Because I’ve worked with them before, I can trust them to be reliable with their side of the deal and pay with in a reasonable time.

Be honest about your stats.

Whether you’re applying for a sponsored post, or you’re creating a page with your stats on – be honest about how many views you get. It will be obvious that you’re lying about your stats if your post doesn’t do as well as expected or you have a low click through rate. This will result in the brand not wanting to work with you in the future.

Same goes for buying follows – inflating your numbers in any way is the wrong way to go about things. It might make you look good, you won’t be delivering results.

PR’s are usually the middle man.

This is something to remember. While it’s tempting to be rude when you’re not being offered enough for a post, or just ignore e-mails chasing up your post, remember that PR’s are people too and are generally just trying to do their job.

They don’t set the budgets or KPI’s most of their time. Their job is to find reliable bloggers that will deliver on time. So don’t be a dick.

Be honest with your readers.

It’s not shameful to be paid to blog about something. You can still do it while keeping your integrity.

As long as you are saying YES to the right project, and no to the ones that don’t fit your blog or you don’t agree with, it’s fine. While some people might accuse you of being a sell out, the most important thing is you know your intentions and you know you are only endorsing brands or products you generally do like.

Don’t fake your options for the sake of a few quid. Do you don’t want to influence your readers to buy something that is actually a pile of wank.

Further reading that might be helpful to you:

Working with Brands // Q&A with a PR

8 quick tips for writing sponsored posts

When to say NO to blog sponsors

How to write a pitch to a brand or company.

Why you should get paid for your blog posts.

Hope you found that helpful!

I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately asking for advice. Sorry that I’ve been unable to answer them all, but I’m saving them and plan to write a post on the most frequent ones.

If you have anything you would like me to write a post about, just comment below or e-mail me at corinne@skinnedcartree.com and I’ll see what I can do!

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47 Comments

  1. February 11, 2016 / 7:35 am

    This is a really useful post, thank you! I’m definitely not at the stage of making any money from my blog, but this has helped if I ever do get to that stage!

  2. February 11, 2016 / 9:16 am

    Love that you are so honest like this, loads of people wouldn’t say how they make money so it’s useful to read something like this! I’ve had a couple of offers for sponsored posts but nothing that would fit with my blog so I haven’t made any money yet. Although it’s not my main priority it would be nice to eventually have a bit of money that I could then put back into my blog and make it better!
    Amy xx Call Me Amy
    Amy recently posted…The Orange DressMy Profile

  3. February 11, 2016 / 9:38 am

    Thank you for this informative post. I think it is easy to accept anything to start making money. Thanks for this reminder.
    Rolene recently posted…Joy in JanuaryMy Profile

  4. February 11, 2016 / 9:40 am

    This is so interesting, there are some great points here and I’m going to check out some of those sites you mentioned.

  5. Jackie Harrison
    February 11, 2016 / 11:02 am

    Very detail and honest is good bloggers to know the fact about making money this was very helpful. I turn down company that are not legit I believe do research on them before accepting any work especially if they offering 10 dollar for a post not worth it.

  6. Candice
    February 11, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    This is very helpful I am guilty of falling for those sites you talk about mainly when starting out and truth be told not sure how much I should be asking to have a sponsored post on my blog

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

    • Lyndsey
      April 3, 2016 / 3:27 pm

      Interesting read !!!x

  7. February 12, 2016 / 12:56 am

    I always roll my eyes when I get those emails asking me to write a post with a bunch of links for $10. It’s pretty ridiculous considering I can make that with an affiliate sale with much less effort.
    Rowena @ rolala loves recently posted…Currently CovetingMy Profile

  8. February 12, 2016 / 3:03 am

    Great information! I go back and forth about wanting to monetize my blog, but this year I’ve decided to explore blogging as a business and see how it goes 🙂
    Akaleistar recently posted…5 Easy DIY Valentine’s Day ProjectsMy Profile

  9. February 12, 2016 / 4:30 am

    This is such a good post! I agree so much with you as well, I don’t blame people for wanting to make a little bit of money from their blog – their blog, their choice! – but when every post is a sponsored post there’s nothing ‘real’ to the blog any more IMHO. It’s easy to tell when people are just in it for the money and have nothing worthwhile to say, and I tend to skip over those kinds of blogs.
    Mica recently posted…Jeanswest Maternity Tanks and Denim Shorts in Third Trimester With Balenciaga Magenta Day BagMy Profile

  10. February 12, 2016 / 5:43 am

    A really well written post, to be honest those that have the view that it’s easy to make money frustrate me and are doing blogging for totally the wrong reasons. I had an email from a blogger recently that was totally focussed on making money and wanting me to share the quick tips on how they could do it. My response was write about things you love, write good content and brands will come but that shouldn’t be a driving force to starring a blog and if it is then maybe they need to reconsider. Needless to say I got no response to the email as I hadn’t told them what they wanted to hear, frustrating Lucy x
    Lucy recently posted…My Little Box January and FebruaryMy Profile

  11. February 12, 2016 / 8:52 am

    That’s a great post! Whilst I’m not really interested in writing sponsored posts, this is really helpful advice, should I ever want to!Xx
    kezzie recently posted…Acrylic wishlistMy Profile

  12. February 12, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    A really interesting & helpful post, thank you! I’ve been contacted this week about opportunities that for one reason or another weren’t appropriate. One seemed really good until I looked into the portfolio of bloggers’ they’ve worked with & the linked text was to a site selling used lazor equipment! Not something I want on my blog. It was good to have my decision to decline each of this weeks offers validated, as I often second guess myself. Xx

    Tania | whentaniatalks.com

  13. February 12, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    Thanks for the post. This is very helpful because in the future I would like to see if I can make some money. Totally pinning this to come back to it later when the time is right. Thanks again!
    Chel recently posted…The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 8 RecapMy Profile

  14. February 12, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    I got quite a few of these Asian dress sites, I’ve never accepted and I don’t think I will ever accept it. I accepted one guess post (no money) only, and I didn’t notice that it was advertising some webpage until recently. Who wouldn’t want making money by blogging, but most people forget the main reason why they started blogging and all these copy&paste sponsored posts make me leave their blog straight away! x
    Ela recently posted…Share the Love – Perfect Date IdeasMy Profile

  15. February 13, 2016 / 10:47 am

    I think getting the right brand and the right product it’s very important for a successful relationship. I decline lots of offers because I don’t think they are relevant for my readers and in the long term will be detrimental.
    Anca recently posted…Bed Head reviewMy Profile

  16. February 13, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    I see why you say that it’ll be a really long time before we make any money blogging and honestly, I love blogging so I’m not going to stop just because I don’t make any profit out of it. It’s not why I started, I genuinly love what I do. That’s not to say that I don’t want to, of course I do, and I’m hopefully working towards it someday, but still.

    I however found this really helpful and I’m going to look into everything carefully. I feel like I agree with everything you said, but especially the fact that we do need to be careful with what we apply and say yes or not to. Not everything is at it seems.

    Ella x
    Ella Pinto recently posted…Look of the Day // Last Minute Date Night (Staples)My Profile

  17. February 14, 2016 / 9:43 am

    That was honestly so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  18. February 15, 2016 / 9:17 am

    Nice hints! too bad I’m not an UK blogger and the blogging network in Switzerland is so poor 🙁
    Here blogging is considered as a hobby and those who would like to get an income -even a modest one- struggle too much. Sometimes it makes you really wonder if it is even worthy to put and invest so much time and effort! I’ve been blogging for 3 years and a half and the only money I ever got came from US companies! Here in Switzerland the only blogs that have success are from people that were already famous before even blogging. Like say, if Beyonce decided to run her blog. Yeah, kind of unfair for the rest of us.
    Companies and brands are forever suspicious of blogging activities. The market seems to be very conservative, despite of what one could think of Switzerland when thinking of Zurich and Geneva. PR intermediaries are not enough, and they only invest “on the sure thing” so on those bloggers that already have passed 500k followers, or giving the task for free. Yes, there are tons of bloggers that accept to write for nothing, so those who expect a modest (almost symbolic) compensation are forever screwed.
    Free samples are rare, and brands are not very quick to give bloggers upcoming products and collections. It is a bummer, because every product arrives/launch in Switzerland very late, even if you wanted to review your own purchases, when you are able to put your hands on it, it has already been featured in all the biggest US-UK blogs, and there is not much point in doing so. People seek for novelty. Unfortunately here we have access to information long- very long- before we actually have access to the products (if they are ever available). For instance, a distributor sent me last week twenty nail polishes from a US brand, but they are FALL and WINTER collections! when in the US the Spring collection of this brand has already launched. Even if I try to find a twist to my article, talking about a past fall collection of nail polish in mid-February seems more than challenging, a blogging suicide. (Not even mentioning the distributor expects me to swatch most shades).
    All it is left in these case for me, it is to review “all time favourites” and try to add affiliate links. But that does not generates a lot of traffic, and it does not attract new followers. Not even mentioning that Affiliate links providers are from US and UK and that if someone clicks on my links should be ready to buy in UK or US shops, and nobody does that because shipping is usually very expensive.
    So that’s the story, quite discouraging right?

  19. February 16, 2016 / 10:36 pm

    Great post – very helpful advice. I’m a member of the sites you’ve mentioned and have had some opportunities through them already. But I’m careful to pick and choose things I think will fit with my blog! xo
    Aimee recently posted…Super soups!* || With Crosse & BlackwellMy Profile

  20. March 18, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    Extremely helpful, thank you so much. I have had a couple of paid posts to date but not averse to more 🙂 however I like the reminder to stay true to yourself and your readers. It’s a good thing to consider each time as I think it’s easy to get swept up in the money.

  21. March 18, 2016 / 4:05 pm

    Really useful post. I sometimes get requests to post particular links or infographics over on my writing blog, and unless it’s a service or product that I’d use myself, I always say no. That said, I did write a themed post on behalf of a particular company because they’d drive traffic to it themselves – it was part of a Halloween push they were doing and while I wouldn’t use their service myself, I wouldn’t have any problems recommending it to other people and the theme fitted well with what I was trying to do. Even if people didn’t click the link to the company they’d still enjoy my post! You’re right, you do need to stick with what suits your blog.

  22. March 26, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    Your honesty is so refreshing, I love how you are so willing to hep other bloggers out with these posts. I find that a lot of the time these days people can be so competitive in the blogging community when it should be just that…a community. Could you write a post on increasing Domain Authority? I have done so much research on increasing it but It still baffles me! -xo
    Chloe Danielle recently posted…Candy Coat Subscription Box ReviewMy Profile

  23. April 9, 2016 / 2:55 pm

    Fantastic tips Corinne, I get loads of those ‘Hello Dear’ posts!! I just hit delete straight away

  24. April 11, 2016 / 1:03 pm

    Indeed a great post about making money online.

    Nowadays people are getting very much creative and wants to make some extra money from home.

    The topic ” Make money from home ” is very much interesting and people get very much excited when they get to know about it. But people should understand, this isn’t that much easy as they are thinking.

    According to me, Making money through Blogging and affiliate marketing is the best ways among all others explained here.

    But to earn through blogging and affiliate marketing, You must need to work hard with lots of dedication.

    You must have to follow these important steps.

    1. You have to choose a profitable niche from which you can earn by promoting affiliate products.
    2. Build a blog on that niche and provide helpful content to others.
    3. Promote your content among potential readers
    4. Drive traffic to your site and make money through it.

    These are the basic steps you need to take to earn through blogging.

    BTW Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post with us. 😀

  25. April 22, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    This came just at the right time as I’ve just been offered a sponsored post. I’ve been umming about it, mostly because I’m scared lol, but I think I’m going to go with it as it’d be something I’d fancy writing about anyway 🙂 x
    Holly Shannon recently posted…The best kind of subscription boxMy Profile

  26. May 14, 2016 / 7:44 am

    Definately opened my eyes now I’m starting to get emails and such. You have to battle with the little kid inside you wanting everything 100% of the time because you’re right..it will damage the blog.

  27. May 15, 2016 / 11:19 pm

    It was so refreshing to see you saying about registering with HMRC. The number of conversations I’ve seen or been involved in where people think they only have to declare if they fall with in a taxable bracket is really worrying! I’ve been getting quite a few emails that are essentially asking for paid links on my blog. I feel like they’re trying to use me &, while I try to politely refuse, my patients is wearing thin! Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

  28. May 30, 2016 / 8:02 am

    Very useful. Thanks for sharing
    Jessie

  29. June 23, 2016 / 8:07 pm

    I actually got an email from a start- up who wanted me to write a post and promote them online for free, they weren’t willing to give anything in return. I think many of these companies take serious advantage of bloggers and act as if we should be grateful for any penance they are willing to give. It is much the same with writing freelance. I have done a few reviews and basically decided to only do that kind of thing for products I am interested in. Good post, you are so right.

  30. June 29, 2016 / 4:30 pm

    I am going through all your blogging tips post now – once again! I was surprised to read that you liked Bloggers Required! Honestly, I have never gotten an assignment from them and it might be sour grapes but I do think some of the assignments are really low value. But I am definitely going to take a look there again!
    Fashion and Frappes recently posted…Summer Slip Dresses with the House of Fraser #OOTDMy Profile

  31. July 2, 2016 / 8:57 am

    This is so helpful, thank you! I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months so I haven’t quite got the required traffic for sponsored posts, but I completely agree about turning some down. I had an offer this week and although I was really excited because it was my first, I knew it wasn’t really right for my blog.

  32. September 19, 2016 / 11:11 am

    Really helpful and honest post, I guess some bloggers will accept any offer of money even if it doesn’t fit with their blog. I don’t mind seeing sponsored posts if I know the blogger is always honest with what they write.

    Jodie xx
    http://www.jodiesjournal.com

  33. September 26, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    Very helpful post Corinne especially for new bloggers such as myself. The blogging world is certainly a unique sector which can be challenging, so having someone as willing as you to share your thoughts is very welcome.

  34. October 16, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    Thank you this is really useful. I’ve had people get in touch before for things like a post on a washing machine. They wanted to send me a new washing machine (Samsung eco bubble if I remember). Whilst I would have loved a free top range machine, it really didn’t fit in with the style of my blog.

    Great advice as always. I love that you say success isn’t measured by how much money you make. It really resonates with me.

    Tamsin xx
    Tamsin | Eco Fluffy Mama recently posted…Struggling To Put On A Brave FaceMy Profile

  35. October 20, 2016 / 5:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, this has really opened my eyes to a lot of things to be aware of. I’ve had a few emails similar to your examples and this has helped me make the right choices in future and who to look out for 🙂

    VioletDaffodils
    xx

  36. August 9, 2017 / 12:57 am

    Your parting line made me giggle. I am not interesting in paid stuff as I just don’t have the following or the type of blog (or the inclination really) for it but it is always interesting to read!
    Kezzie recently posted…5 brooches and friends #62My Profile

  37. October 4, 2017 / 5:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing your tips! I;m trying at the moment to stabilise my blog and make it friendly and then starting to make pocket money and I will not go full time ( not in the near or future time).

    https://asparklingjourney.com

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