How to Monetize a Blog that Began as a Hobby

How to Monetize a Blog that Began as a Hobby
Back in 2012 when I first started blogging, I had no idea where blogging would take me. I didn’t have a clue you could even make money from blogging! In the past five years, I’ve seen fellow bloggers take off and earn a full-time income from their blogs, and though I don’t earn a full-time income, I’ve still made some money for myself. A reader requested I write about how to monetize a blog that began as a hobby, so I thought I’d share my experience!

01. I think the best way to start earning a passive income from your blog is with affiliate links. I’ve used Shopstyle Collective, Amazon Affiliates, and now Shareasale (which I’m still trying to figure out). Honestly, I’ve never made much from affiliates because I don’t write too many posts about products these days and I have my own online shop. Sure, I’ve made some money, but nothing sustainable. However, it’s an easy way to make a small amount passively and get the revenue stream started.

02. Another way to monetize is by writing sponsored posts. In the past, I’ve only done a handful of sponsored posts because I decided I wanted to open my store instead of becoming a full-time blogger. However, I do have some experience in this area. There are several ways to get opportunities for sponsored posts.

  • Let them come to you. To be honest, this is the way I’ve received sponsored posts in the past. Like I said above, for the past year, I’ve been putting my time and effort into creating my store, not so much blogging. Therefore, if I received an inquiry from a company, that was great, but if I didn’t, that was fine too! Receiving a sponsored post opportunity for me was like getting a little gift in my inbox. If you’re not ready to dive into pitching companies for sponsored posts, let companies reach out to you.
  • Pitch yourself and your ideas to companies/brands. I’ve heard several success stories of bloggers pitching themselves and their collaboration ideas to companies/brands getting amazing opportunities because of it! I’m on Katherine from Slightly Savvy’s newsletter list and she sends some great information on this topic. You can find her blog here. Just the other day, I received an email from her discussing how to pitch yourself for sponsored post opportunities, so make sure you check her out – she has tons of information!
  • Get involved in social networks. There are plenty of social networks out there to apply for where, once you get accepted, you can apply for sponsored opportunities. These networks will display information about what the company is looking for in the collaboration and you can read over all the information to see if it’s a good match. If you think it’s a great fit, you can apply and essentially tell them your ideas and you’ll either get accepted or not.

 03. You can also monetize by tagging companies/brands on social media. For example, check out Abby’s Instagram page here (she’s a pro at this). If you’re sharing your newest outfit or accessories and are posting a photo on Instagram, be sure to tag where everything is from. This is a great way to get the attention of the people who run the social media for brands/companies. You never know what kind of opportunities you’ll get!

04. To monetize your blog, you can also create your own products. If you write a DIY blog and love knitting blankets, for example, why not start selling them on your website? Or you can choose the route I took and open up your own store! If your audience is established, this could be a great way to monetize.

There are many other ways to monetize your blog that I haven’t dabbled in, but you can still make money through the following strategies:

  • Selling ad space
  • Teaching an online course
  • Creating and selling an ebook
  • Selling digital products (i.e., media kits, business cards, etc.)

If you’re a blogger, how do you monetize your blog? Do you have any tips for those who haven’t monetized yet?

Check out my other blogging posts: How to Connect With Bloggers Near You, How to Start a Lifestyle Blog Part 1, 2, and 3, and 8 Must Have Blogging Tools You Need Now.