Creating a life as a blogger is a relatively new profession that remains a mystery to those who are on the outside looking in. Whether it be about travel, food, fashion or even knitting… it seems like everyone is a blogger these days. That may sound rattling, but know this… most blogs go untouched after a couple of weeks or months after they were created. Why? Because blogging is *bleeping hard. Seriously.
Don’t let that fashion Instagrammer with 200k followers fool you, he/she has most likely been working at it for years… and does countless hours of work on the backend that you’ll never see.
We love blogging because it gives us a channel to share our ideas, our voice and our passions. You can only embark on this journey if you truly are passionate about what you are talking about. If you’re in it for the money, there are probably a lot better uses of your time where you will see a much faster return on your investment.
With all of that being said, let’s get to the question at hand.. when is the right time to start monetizing your blog? If you have a clear vision, a niche, content and are self-hosted.. the answer is now!
Monetizing Your Blog: Hosting
Let’s unpack that a bit.. what does it mean to be self-hosted?
Well if you use WordPress and don’t pay to host your own site, you will have a website that looks something like this www.vegasfoodlover.wordpress.com. Yikes. If you want to use your blog just as a personal journal to share with family and friends, then this will work for you. If you are serious about entering this realm, you have to self-host. Not only will people actually take you seriously (because you’re showing that you care enough about your work to invest in yourself)… a lot of affiliate programs will not accept you unless you have a self-hosted website.
Are you a newbie and need to start with the basics? Check out our Beginning Blogger’s Checklist here.
If you are looking for a website host we would highly recommend Blue Host. Since we started blogging we have used this service and have never had any problems! Plus… they’re super affordable and perfect for anyone who is just getting started and doesn’t have a large budget. If you want to learn more about Bluehost or want to sign up to start hosting your website click here!
First of all, there are a ton of affiliate programs out there. You may be a part of affiliate programs that you aren’t even aware of. Do you use Airbnb, Uber or Ebates? You’re already an affiliate!
When you are an affiliate that means you promote a certain product, experience or website on your blog. You leave special links for your followers to click on and that link is tracked back to your affiliate account. When someone buys a product you get a commission for that sale. This is so simple and easy… and when done the correct way can be a total game changer for your blog.
To get started with some of the best affiliate programs and sponsored content websites check out our post here.
Rules for Promotion
- All affiliate programs have their own rules which you have to abide by if you don’t want to get plucked from promoting their goods. This includes… but is not limited to having a disclosure statement like the one you will see at the bottom of this page. Per FTC requirements, you have to tell your readers that you are participating in a program that may allow you to earn money off of links or ads.
- This next rule is PARAMOUNT. Only promote what you know and love. There is truly nothing more tacky than going to someone’s website and seeing that they just sold out for a quick buck. Only talk about products that you know are amazing. If you don’t think it’s the greatest product in the world… you can say that too. A great way to accomplish this is through product reviews. Not only is this information great for your reader, it will mesh with your existing content and allows you to possibly earn a commission!
example- “Go Pro Hero 4-Is It Worth The Hype?” In a product review like this, not only would we share all of the pros and cons of the camera, but it is something that we know other travelers are extremely interested in because it is a product they might want to invest in for their travels. It’s relevant, honest and it’s useful… triple win!
- Affiliate links, pictures or ads should always flow and come naturally. Your readers will be a little confused when there is a link for a waist-shaper in the middle of a blog post about hiking. Not only do you look corny, you’re never going to get the sale.. which is the entire point!
Monetizing Your Blog As A Newbie
Like with many things in life, you have to be patient as a blogger. Don’t get discouraged when you see your affiliate payout at $0. The most important thing is to take steps to ensure that your blog has the proper foundation to grow into a successful income for you.
Just because you don’t have a huge following right now, doesn’t mean anything. Promote, promote, promote and then promote some more. Edit old blog posts to make them more relevant and always include internal links to make sure that your readers are staying on your blog for a while. Once your audience grows you’ll be happy to know that those affiliate channels are in place.
[Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission to fund our travels if you use these links. You will not be charged extra, and we’ll get to share more stories… and of course, all opinions are our own!]