How Women Make Money Online: Start a Blog  

start a blogToday we have a special guest joining Blonde & Balanced.  Please welcome Crystal Stemberger from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.  She’ll be talking about how she makes money online and how she’s earned more than $500,000 for her blog since she started blogging in 2010.

How did you get started blogging?

At 22 years old, I settled.  I grabbed the first “real” job offered to me out of college for $26,500 a year.  I planned to stay for 30 years and then I would retire.  I didn’t hate my cubicle job, but I didn’t enjoy it either.  And I stayed for 6 years!

Luckily, I discovered personal finance blogging – a whole world of people talking about budgets and money.  My personal idea of heaven.  I claimed my own piece of it in early 2010 when I started Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.  I grew my blog and my online presence that whole year.  I took the leap into self-employment full time in mid-2011 and haven’t looked back.  Here is how I’ve made my living online.

What advice would you give new bloggers?

It takes time to build up your own site, so a few months after starting my own site, I also started staff writing for other bloggers on the side for $15-$20 per post.  Within a few more months, that grew into writing for more than half a dozen other bloggers and churning out 12+ extra posts needing to be written every week.  That by itself was bringing in $200 a week.

There are thousands of online services that you could perform for others – staff writing, ghost writing (posts you write as if you are the other person), virtual assistantship, social media management, tech support, theme design, etc.  If someone would want to outsource it, you can make money doing it.

What is blog advertising and how can women make money online?

After my blog started showing up regularly in search engine results, advertisers started reaching out to me with deals.  There are three main ways I’ve made money online with advertising on my blog –link sales, CPC/PPC/CPM ads, or through affiliate advertising.

Link Sales – I’ve made the most money so far by placing links to other sites in my own posts or along my sidebar in exchange for a set amount of money for each placement.  Link sales are volatile though because search engines do not want their results affected by the placement of purchased links.  It also competes with their own paid advertising.

That said, the big search engines like Google will penalize a site that accepts paid links by hampering where that blog would show up in their own search results.  So link sales are profitable but volatile.  They are also straight exchanges of ad placements for money.  It’s not passive income.

CPC/PPC/CPM Ads – Cost Per Click, Pay Per Click, Cost Per 1,000.  This means making money based on how many people interact with these types of ads on your blog.  For example, if I have a CPM ad that pays me $10 for every 1000 people who see their ad, then I’d be bringing in $5 a day if 500 people a day saw that ad.  This income stream is very passive but takes a long time to build up to significant money.

Affiliate Advertising – this is promoting other people’s products and services and earning a cut each time you help complete a sale.  Affiliate advertising takes a combination of finesse, sincerity, and generally 6+ months to build up traffic to a reasonable amount to make it possible.

I’ve just started concentrating on affiliate relationships and adding affiliate links to my own blog.  I needed some pointers, so I took Michelle Schroeder’s eCourse, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.   I am currently concentrating on promoting products that could help others too using the tips from that course.  Once you do the necessary build-up work, affiliate advertising can become much more passive.  It also can eventually bring in more money than the other types of advertising combined.

Do you sell any products online to make money?

A popular way of making money online is to develop your own product to sell.  This could be a physical product (spice mixes on a food blog for example), but usually, they are virtual.  If you are passionate or knowledgeable about anything, you can develop eCourses, eBooks, guides, etc.   Those virtual products can be sold for pretty penny depending on the value you pack into it and who you can get it exposed to so it doesn’t remain unknown.

My online products right now are my two eBooks – How I Make Money Blogging and Managing Your Monthly Nut.  I’ve been toying with the idea to create an eCourse as well, but I’ve decided to truly concentrate on growing my affiliate income first.  Spreading yourself too thin online can have the same consequences as in your day-to-day life – you can crash and burn out on it all because none of it gets the attention it needs.

Final thoughts on how to make money blogging

The majority of my online income has come from link sales.  That has been followed with some affiliate income and then eBook sales.  I’m working on growing the other income stream possibilities now just so as I am diversified as possible overall.

What about you?  Did any of these ways of making money online grab your attention?  Which of these methods have you already tried or mastered?

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