So, after all the action on my last post in which I revealed all my blog stats, including exactly how much I made last month (and then so many of you did not disappoint and shared your stats and numbers too in the comments — thank you!!), I thought I'd go into a bit more depth about where exactly that money comes from and how it works.
The bulk of my $500 last month came from affiliate sales.
What are affiliate sales?
Affiliate sales work like this:
- I recommend a product or service to my readers by writing about it on my blog.
- I provide a link to that product or service. The link contains my own unique "affiliate code."
- If my readers click through that link and purchase said product or service, I receive a small commission for the referral.
It's a win-win-win situation. My reader wins because they get a word-of-mouth recommendation for a great product or service from someone (I hope ) they can trust. (I only recommend products in which I have complete confidence.) The company wins because they get a customer they might not have gotten otherwise. And I win because I get a small reward for connecting the two.
If you're a blogger, you can make money as an affiliate for all kinds of products and with all kinds of companies. (If you're interested in a list of companies with affiliate programs by the way, check out this one I compiled from the input of a bunch of fellow bloggers.)
Amazon might be the most well-known affiliate program (although their affiliates are called associates).
Things I've learned about monetization so far
- Experiment. Tweak & test things constantly. Come up with new ideas. Always be on the lookout for better ways to add income streams to your blog.
- Do what others do. Learn from the experiences of others. Watch what they do, where they place ads, what kind of ads they use, who they are affiliated with. Especially watch those in your same niche.
- Don't do what others do. Having said all that above, don't assume what works for someone else will necessarily work for you. You've gotta go back to #1 and find the right combination for your blog!
- Keep your day job…for now. This is hard work! And it takes a while to get some traction!
Other ways I make money online
While affiliate sales are my biggest direct income-producer, I do make earn other ways too:
- Swag Bucks – The nice thing about these is that they're easy, anyone can win (blog not required) and they're just plain fun. (I wrote about 'em here.)
- Consulting – My blog has been a launching pad.
- Design – Again, my design business only took off after I started actively networking online, specifically on Twitter.
It's certainly exciting to see that it's possible to make money while doing something I really enjoy. It definitely works for me!
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate/referral links.