Question 15: What are your favorite affiliate networks?
Yowza. If you want to know how bloggers are making money online, this is an outstanding place to start (though it's by no means exhaustive).
If you aren't sure what an affiliate network is…
In a nutshell, being part of an affiliate network means you sign up with a company that manages and supplies ads for you. They, of course, keep some of the profit and send the rest on to you. This is different than private ads (see Question 13) which you manage and supply yourself…but keep all profit.
(By the way, not every link in this list would be categorized as an affiliate network. In addition to affiliate networks, people shared several ways to make money blogging.)
- Amazon (And if you use Blogger, check out this new tool to make it easy!)
- Google Affiliate Network
- Escalate Media
- Swagbucks.com – I am having a blast with Swag Bucks.
- Mom Central
- Commission Junction
- Logical Media
- MySavings Media
- Panthera Network
- SmartSource (If you know who to contact or where to find info about their affiliate program, please leave it in the comments!)
- RedPlum (Affiliate inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Grocery University
Question 16: What are you worth as a blogger?
Here are some answers:
- Determine how much you want to make an hour. Shoot for that.
- "Don't sell yourself short as a blogger. You are worth more than a free sample" (@HappyHousewife)
- "It's hard to know since this is such a new industry." (@MommySnacks).
- "The only people that get my time for free are my children!"(@christynichols1)
- "My time is my value and I must get paid for it." (@ProverbsWife)
My take: First, don't confuse your worth as a person with your worth as a blogger. Those are two vastly different things! We've all compared ourselves to other bloggers and walked away feeling like complete losers. (Well, at least I have.) If my perception of my value as a person is tainted by my perception of my value as a blogger, something is wrong. You're awesome — I don't care how big or small your blog is!
As a blogger, I say, just decide. That's right. Just decide how valuable you are as a blogger and then act like it. My point is, don't let someone else determine your worth for you. Be proactive. Be smart. Be strategic. Take the reigns.
For example, any blogger who has been contacted by a well-known company with a pitch, can probably tell you all the details of that first email. After reading the pitch, here's what various bloggers do:
- The flattered blogger says "Wow, I can't believe such-and-such company is interested in little ole me! That company is so big and well-known, of course I'll accept their pitch!"
- The swayed blogger says "Wow, I can't believe such-and-such company is interested in little ole me! This pitch isn't really in line with my long-term goals…but man, to be aligned with such a huge company…maybe I'll tweak my goals a bit."
- The smart blogger says, "I like the company, but the pitch is not in my best interest and it certainly doesn't fit with my long-term goals. I have two options: Come up with a counter pitch that is in line with my goals, or just simply say no."
The bottom line? Sometimes we resist placing a high value on our blogging selves because we are fearful of the risk. But if you think about it, all three responses are risky — the flattered & swayed bloggers risk being taken advantage of and the smart blogger risks passing up a great opportunity. However, only the smart blogger stays true to himself/herself. And in my opinion, even if he/she passes up the best deal in the world, they still win because they did so on their terms.
Now, it goes without saying, others might not place the same value on you as a blogger as you place on yourself, but if you put a high value on yourself, make a conscious choice and take definitive steps to reach that goal. Depending on how high you set the bar, it might take you a while to get there and it'll certainly take work, but after all, what's that famous quote? "If you reach for the stars, you might not get one…but you won't get a handful of mud either."
Question 17: What is the best way to track blogging income and expenses?
These are how others are keeping track:
- A basic spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs.
- QuickBooks Online
- Pencil, paper & a simple notebook
- Checking/Bank Account
My take: By far my favorite software for tracking expenses is Budget for Mac or Windows. Not only do I use it for business, but we also use it for personal use. It's a computerized envelope system. (I wrote about keeping track of our money in How to Keep Track of Your Money.)
Question 18: How do you balance blogging and real life?
Ah, the age-old question! Here are suggestions from others:
- Keep a time schedule.
- Determine to always put family first.
- Schedule posts.
- Blog while kids are sleeping or away.
- LeechBlock or parental controls.
- Use a timer.
My take: Well, for this question, all I'm gonna say is that I have something in the pipeline that I'm pretty sure you'll find helpful, so stay tuned!
Question 19: Are you tracking your hourly blogging wage?
It appeared some people do this, but it's pretty individual-specific.
My take: See Question 16 above.
Question 20: What are some of your blogging goals for 2010?
Some answers from others:
- Better balance.
- Make money or increase income.
- Learn new things related to blogging and how to run a blog.
My take: My goal? Grow — not so much as a blogger (although that's a bonus) but as a person who lives in such a way that brings glory not to myself but to the One who deserves it all: Christ.
The primary reason I'm blogging is to contribute to a special savings account we've earmarked for missions — either for us to serve as missionaries ourselves or to support other missionaries/organization doing the stuff. We would love to move to Africa sometime in the next 2-5 years but don't have any indication at this point if that might be God's plan for us. But in case it is, we are throwing the vast majority of money I make blogging into that account so if and when the call comes, we can just go.
Having said that, some of my ideas for blogging in 2010 are:
- Ramp up my blog consulting business.
- Figure out a way to realistically and effectively combine all 3 of my blogs.
- Network more.
- Continue my quest to rid myself of the habits frustrations sins which are perfectionism and the fear of what other people think — for many reasons, but as a blogger, to increase my productivity.
- Tweak and solidify my time-management system and share it with others.
Disclosure: This page contains some affiliate links.