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!


how to make extra money online

Growing a profitable blog or business can certainly earn you money online, but those options take a ton of time, hard work, and require some sort of upfront cost. I always tell people if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. You might be running a business, growing your blog, going to school, or working full-time at your 9-5 but that doesn’t mean you can’t earn a little extra side income while you juggle your other responsibilities.

I’ve rounded up a few apps and websites that I have personally used or am planning on using to earn some extra cash. These options are completely free to sign up and can be done in your pockets of time. If you have some time to spare — while you’re commuting on public transportation, waiting at the airport, at the doctor’s office, etc. — you can earn a little extra cash pretty easily.

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

SwagBucks — This is hands down my absolute favorite way to earn easy side income. I have the app on my phone but also use their website fairly often. Swag Bucks awards you points (known as SB) for shopping online, taking surveys, watching videos, playing games, and conducting online searches. There are so many ways to earn SB. You can then redeem your points for free gift cards or PayPal cash. It is so easy to use and can actually be pretty fun to complete some of the tasks. You can sign up here and start earning points right away!

Inbox Dollars — I love this app for many reasons. One being that it’s the perfect thing to do when you’re winding down for the night and watching TV. Another being that it is really simple to use. Similar to Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars has you take surveys to earn cash. You have to reach at least $30 though until they pay out, which does take quite a bit of time to get to that point. I usually spend about 30 minutes to an hour taking surveys. You have to qualify for each survey, and most of them earn you anywhere from $0.10 to $0.50. Some will pay up to $5 but I have yet to qualify for one of those higher earning surveys. Some surveys will take you as little as just a few minutes to complete while others will take upwards of 15 minutes. Even when you don’t qualify for a survey you can earn free spins that will allow you to earn some extra change or credit towards bonuses. If you prefer accessing Inbox Dollars through their website, you can watch videos, complete offers and other small tasks in addition to completing surveys. You can use this link to sign up here.

Survey Junkie — This is another company I’ve enjoyed using. It’s similar to Swag Bucks and Inbox Dollars: you complete surveys, earn points, and then redeem them for cash or e-gift cards. Like the others, you can start earning points right away just by completing your user profile and confirming your e-mail address. You can start redeeming your cash once you’ve earned at least $10 (or 1000 points). Again, survey times vary — I’ve seen ones that can take up to 45 minutes but obviously pay out higher points. Some surveys will “fill up” and you won’t be able to participate, but there are plenty of others you can try to complete. You can visit their site to sign up and start earning.

Ebates — I’ve been able to earn a decent amount of cash back through Ebates over the last couple of years. If you purchase anything online, you need this. Even if you’re booking hotels through certain travel websites like Expedia you can earn cash back. Once you sign up, you can search their available offers or you can install their button to your browser and it will alert you of offers when you visit participating websites. I never purchase anything online without checking Ebates first! They also have an app that you can use if you’re on your phone. You won’t be able to collect pay-outs right away though; they send them through PayPal or check every few months. You can sign up through my link here to see their available offers before you shop!

GigWalk — This app gives you a task to complete at a specific location, usually in the form of taking a photo and submitting it and/or completing a survey in relation to the task. Most gigs that I’ve seen pay $5 for completed tasks, but I’ve seen some that pay $15. This does require a bit more leg work on your end, and some of the qualifications for certain gigs are very specific. This could just be dependent upon your location, though. You can download the app or sign up online.

Easy Shift — In the same realm as GigWalk, Easy Shift provides you with tasks based on your location. You’ll visit a store, snap a few photos of displays and earn cash in return. Depending on what your work schedule is like, you could essentially spend a few hours driving around to different locations and earn a decent chunk of cash. They will even notify you when there’s a new shift in your area. Once you reserve a location for your task, you have 24 hours to complete your shift. You can download their app through the App Store or Google Play.

Fiverr — If you’re fairly creative and have a bit more time on your hands, you can sign up to do some freelance work on Fiverr. I personally haven’t tried Fiverr out yet, but I know many people who have loved it and have been pretty successful with it (seriously there are people who do this as their full-time job). You can set up freelance gigs for writing, video editing, voiceovers, and so much more. They have over 100 categories you can browse through to get ideas for what to sell. Once you’re signed up, you’ll create your gig, offer your work, and get paid for it once a customer places an order. You can sign up to start creating gigs on Fiverr here.

While this certainly isn’t a FULL list of all the possible ways to make money online, these are great places to start to earn some extra cash. While companies like Fiverr, Easy Shift and GigWalk require a bit more effort and time, the survey sites are perfect for anyone to start using and earning right away. Of course it will take a bit of time to rack up enough points to meet the minimum payout requirements for some of these companies, but any bit of extra cash can help! I’ll be updating this list as I explore additional options, so if you have any recommendations that you’ve used feel free to let me know!