how to start making money as a blogger

If you’re a new blogger I’m sure you’ve wondered how you can start making money with your blog. It was a question I asked myself often back when I first started blogging many years ago, but I usually got too frustrated to really dive deep into figuring out what I could do to earn some extra income.

Now with Pinterest and so many other incredible resources out there, it’s a little easier to learn how you can start monetizing your blog. You may not see an immediate return in the beginning, but with consistency and the proper strategies, your hard work will pay off.

Assuming you are already producing consistent and quality content, you have a few options when it comes to monetizing your blog. I’ll briefly mention some of your options, but I’m going to focus on one specific area for today’s post:

  • Ads — specifically Google Adsense, although there are other banners and images you can incorporate from other companies in addition to Google Adsense

  • Sponsored Posts — brand collaborations in the form of promoting free/discounted products or paid posts

  • Digital Products — think ebooks, courses, webinars, other digital products that readers can purchase and download instantly

  • Affiliate Marketing — this is the area we’ll be focusing on today. Affiliate marketing is a way to earn a commission by posting a special link to a particular product(s). A reader clicks on your link, purchases the item, and you earn a commission based on the sale. It’s a pretty efficient way to start generating some income through your blog.

Where to Find Affiliate Links

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

There are several affiliate marketing companies you can sign up with even if you’re a new blogger. My personal favorites are:

ShareASale was the first affiliate marketing company I ever joined, so it made sense for me to return to it when I started this new blog. They have over 4,500 programs you can apply for to start advertising on your blog. It’s super quick and easy to navigate and get started. You can sign up to become an affiliate here.

Flex Offers came highly recommended from other bloggers, and it was easy to get approved and start using. They currently have over 12,000 different advertisers in their network, ranging from popular, well known companies like Macy’s, Target, Walmart, etc. to small “mom and pop” businesses. You’ll have to apply individually to each advertiser, but the approval process is fairly quick and you’ll be able to start adding your links as soon as you’re approved. You can sign up and apply for Flex Offers here.

CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction) also offers a wide variety of popular companies to link back to and is another highly blogger-recommended company. Some of their advertisers include Trip Advisor, Forever 21, Walgreens, TJ Maxx, and so many more! Similar to the other affiliate marketing companies, you’ll need to apply and be approved by each individual advertiser you’d like to work with. The approval process doesn’t take long, just know you could be waiting up to two business days at most.

Amazon has been great for recommending specific products, like the ones you see in my Amazon Favorites tab. I love Amazon for it’s quick approval process and how easy it is to find what you’re looking for. Like many of the other affiliate networks, you can choose how you want to advertise what you’re promoting, through a banner/graphic or solely a text link.

In addition to these companies, there are plenty of bloggers, creative entrepreneurs, companies and smaller business owners who offer their own affiliate programs. If you’ve previously purchased a product, ebook, course, or a digital download of some sort, check to see if the creator offers an affiliate program. If they do, you can apply and start promoting the products you’ve used and loved.

How to Start Using Affiliate Links

There are so many easy ways to start incorporating affiliate links into your posts — even posts that you’ve already published. Any time you mention a specific product or company, it’s an opportunity to include an affiliate link if they have one available. For example, if you’re doing a round up of favorite products for the holiday season, you can search for affiliate links in one of your networks, and even find companies you love that are currently running sales to share with your readers. Once you determine the link you want to include, a unique affiliate link will be generated for you, and you’ll simple copy and paste it into your post for your readers to click on.

A word of caution: you need to be fully transparent with your readers when including affiliate links. Even if you are including just one link in your post, you must inform your readers that you are using affiliate links, and that it is clearly visible — either at the beginning of your post, immediately before you share the link(s), or right next to the link itself. It can be as simple as the disclaimer I posted above. Whatever you do, do not forget this important step!

The Course That Helped Me Start Affiliate Marketing

There is one particular course I have my eye on — I’m just waiting until I have the funds to enroll. I’m hoping to sign up before the end of the year (I’ll share with you when I do), but in the meantime I found another incredibly helpful course that was more within my current budget.

Elise from The House of Brazen has a course on How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours. I absolutely adore her blog and she has so many amazing resources for bloggers and business owners. I honestly find myself on her page almost daily!

Not only was her course insanely helpful, but it was short, simple and to the point. It was so easy to apply what she taught me in her course. Plus I was able to gain access to some of her bonus resources and her Facebook group! If you are starting to dip your toes into affiliate marketing, aren’t sure where to start, and can’t quite afford some of the more expensive courses — I highly recommend signing up for hers. You can get access to the course by signing up here. I’ll be posting a full review on her course in the coming days.

Final Thoughts

If you want to start making money with your new blog, I highly, highly recommend purchasing Elise’s course and checking out the affiliate marketing companies above. Spend some time exploring each of the companies after you’re approved, and get a sense for the advertisers you’d like to link back to in your posts. There is one thing you have to promise me though — please do not ever throw in an affiliate link for the sake of linking. This tactic isn’t going to benefit you, and will completely turn off your readers. Only include links when it’s appropriate and will provide something of value to your readers. It is so obvious when bloggers post affiliate links for the sole purpose of hoping someone clicks on it. When you include an affiliate link, it has to relate to what you’re talking about in your post. It’s even better when you can include a link to something you know, use and love and can speak about why you love it so much.

As my knowledge on affiliate marketing increases, I’ll be sure to update you. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these companies or if you have any companies you like to work with! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below!