Have you ever wondered how to monetize YOUR design/DIY/home blog? Want to actually start making a profit from your hobby biz that you are pouring your heart and hours and hours of work into? Or are you just curious about how to make money blogging in general?
Well, it can be a complicated question to answer, but I’m going to give you the run down.
Every blogger has a slightly different revenue mix, depending on what monetization strategies they choose to put in place. Most successful bloggers will diversify their revenue streams, so that there is money coming in from a variety of sources. It’s a safer bet that way, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket (especially a basket that may barely pay enough to cover your coffee habit!).
Generally speaking, there are 4 main streams of income generation: display advertising, sponsored work, affiliate marketing, and selling products and services.
Within those streams, here are 24 ways that DIY and design bloggers can bring in some cash with a short explanation of each:
STREAM 1: DISPLAY ADVERTISEMENTS
1 // Display ads through a network: Selling advertising space on your blog through an advertising agency. The network or agency acts as the middle man between you, the blogger, and the brand. Most popular ad network? Google Adsense.
2 // Privately sold display ads: Selling advertising space on your blog directly to a company or brand. More work for the blogger as they need to find those companies and manage the relationship, but the income generated is typically higher than with a network as the blogger gets 100% of the profit.
STREAM 2: SPONSORED WORK
3 // Sponsored blog post: When you write a blog post that reviews a company’s product. You are highlighting that product to your readers and likely including product photography and a link to purchase or learn more.
4 // Sponsored social media post: Similar to writing a sponsored blog post, but on social media instead. This could be a sponsored instagram post or instagram series, facebook campaign, etc. where you are highlight a company and its product(s).
Sponsored work in general can really vary from collaboration to collaboration. Packages could include a blog post + social media outreach, or different combinations of work. You may get sponsored work through an ad agency if you work with one, or can pitch brands yourself and develop relationships and collaborations with them.
STREAM 3: AFFILIATE MARKETING
5 // Affiliate product links: Incorporating affiliate links within your blog so that when a reader clicks that link and purchases the item, you receive a commission. Commission levels vary enormously from around 5-10% for a physical product to 50% for a digital product like an eBook or eCourse.
For example, having a “shop your house” section like Chris loves Julia has, would be a great spot to embed affiliate links.
STREAM 4: SELLING YOUR OWN PRODUCTS + SERVICES
You guys, this is the secret sauce to building a blog biz and really making money. You aren’t selling anybody else’s products – you are selling your very own. Yes, this stream is going to take a lot more work, but the potential for major revenue is soooo much greater. This is really where we are turning your blog into a brand and thriving business. There are loads of potential product and service ideas.
6 // Freelance writing: Write blog posts for other brands and companies or articles for design magazines and other publications.
7 // Brand social media management: Freelance as a social media consultant and manage facebook / twitter / pinterest / instagram / etc accounts for other companies and brands. You have become a social media expert with you own blogging biz and many others would love to have your insight!
8 // Brand campaign creative management: Run creative campaigns for other brands and companies. Use your talents and network as a blogger to run a campaign that uses blogger outreach, social media outreach, etc.
9 // eBook: Write an eBook from scratch or re-purpose some of your existing content into an eBook. Sell on your blog and/or through avenues like Amazon.
10 // Online course: Develop an online course that addresses some of the most popular questions you get asked as a blogger. It’s important to think about your target market and be sure you develop something that they need the answer(s) to. Your course could take a number of forms and include workbooks, written content, videos, etc.
11 // Webinar: Paid webinars where you offer your expertise in a 1-2 hour session.
12 // Printables: Create printables like worksheets, organizational tools, event printables, and others and sell either on your website or using a selling platform like Etsy (use this link to get your first 40 listings on Etsy free!).
13 // Digital artwork: If you are familiar with graphic design, you could sell digital art prints on your website or using a selling platform like Etsy. These are direct downloads so the consumer buys the JPG or PDF version and prints at home.
I do this in my own Etsy shop!
14 // Photography: If you have become an amazing photographer thanks to blogging, you can sell your photography (again either directly on your blog, through Etsy, or another external platform). Sell as prints or as digital downloads. You can also sell photography to be used as stock photography for other business owners (this is HUGE right now!).
15 // Handmade goods: If you are a DIY and design blogger, you likely make amazing handmade goods. Ever thought of selling any of them? Opening up an Etsy shop or selling directly on your site can be an amazing way for readers to get a little piece of your creations!
16 // Interior design e-services: Your readers probably love your style (that’s why they keep coming back to your blog!). Offering e-design services allows them the opportunity to hire you to help them with their pressing design needs. Usually the product delivered is a moodboard and a design plan with layouts and links to purchase products.
17 // Virtual assistant services: As a blogger you have developed a bunch of very sought after skills, like writing, editing, social media knowledge, graphic design, and more. These are super valuable and you can market yourself as a Virtual Assistant (VA) for other bloggers. I have an amazing VA myself (Amy Howard) that I use for THE SWEETEST DIGS.
18 // Web design: Have you become a web design rockstar? Market website design as your new service for clients, or create wordpress/blogger templates and sell those.
19 // Sell graphics, fonts and/or clip art: If you create amazing graphics or fonts for your blog, try selling them through Creative Market, Etsy, or other platforms out there. There is a big marketplace out there for that.
20 // Sewing patterns: Do you blog about sewing? If so, start selling your patterns! I bet your readers will snap ’em up.
21 // 3rd party fulfillment products: There are so many more options these days for selling physical products where another company handles the fulfillment so you don’t have to buy and store a bunch of inventory (and handle shipping!). You do the original designs, and then they take over: printing on tee-shirts, mugs, posters, tote bags, whatever. Check out Society6, Zazzle, and other websites to compare pricing and products. This is a really great option for selling physical products but in a passive way.
Kate from Centsational Girl sells photography and styling services, in addition to a fabric lines through Spoonflower, and other products through Zazzle. That is some stellar diversity!
22 // Subscription newsletter: Offering something super valuable in a weekly newsletter? Lessons or downloadable content? Then turn that into a paid subscription.
23 // Membership community: Create a member login area to your website where you share valuable content for your readers. These are usually offered as monthly subscriptions where you promise to upload a certain number of new documents / content each month for your users.
24 // Public speaking: There are lots of conferences and training events all over the place that are constantly looking for outgoing folks to speak about their experience and knowledge. Market yourself as an expert within your niche and/or as an expert in blogging. This can be a great way of getting introduced to new audiences, too!
The Bottom Line?
I have tested and tried out various monetization strategies myself over the last 5+ years of blogging and have found different levels of success with each. The bottom line? Unless you have super enormous traffic (which results in high ad revenue and affiliate income), as a DIY/design blogger, selling your own products and services are always going to be what pays the best. Don’t hesitate to dive in to one of these product or service ideas, or something else you’ve been dreaming up. Even if it scares you a little, just push that fear aside and give it a go. It will probably take some trial and error before you figure out exactly what you love doing that also brings in the return on investment, so you don’t want to hesitate. And there is no pretending that it ain’t hard work. But it’s SO worth it to build a biz that you love. Done is better than perfect, you guys!
Want more? Download my free Blog Monetization 101 Workbook. It’ll take you through the key questions you need to answer as you get started in each revenue stream. It’s a super useful resource and you’ll be on your way to monetizing your blog. You’ve got this!
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