5 Ways to Make Money as a Sustainable Blogger

by admin

Transitioning from a traditional office job to becoming a full-time freelancer and blogger has been a life-changing decision for me. Quitting my job has allowed me to escape long commutes, pursue my passion, work from anywhere, and have more control over my career and success. I owe a lot of my success to the valuable resources and insights I found online from fellow bloggers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. In an effort to give back, I want to share what I’ve learned about making money as a sustainable blogger with others who are considering this career path.

Throughout my blogging journey, I have received numerous questions about monetizing a blog, growing an audience, working with brands, and more. To help answer these questions, I have decided to document my strategies, tips, and recommended resources in the “Blogging” section of my website. If you’re new to blogging, I recommend reading the article titled “How to Start Your Own Conscious Blog” before diving into the monetization methods discussed here.

Now, let’s explore five ways to earn money as a conscious blogger…

1. Affiliates

What is affiliate income?

Affiliate income involves earning a commission from online sales generated through your blog. When someone clicks on an affiliate link on your blog, social media, or email and makes a purchase within a specific timeframe, you receive a percentage of that sale.

The length of time in which a purchase must be made after clicking on your affiliate link (known as the “cookie window”) varies by brand, typically ranging from 15 to 60 days. If a person clicks on your link but later makes a purchase through another blogger’s link, the last touch blogger usually receives the commission. Some brands may credit multiple sources, but this is not common.

The percentage of commission you earn depends on the brand, with ethical fashion and sustainable lifestyle brands typically offering between 5% and 20%. I generally avoid affiliate programs offering less than 3% or 4% commission unless it’s a brand with higher-priced items. Direct-to-consumer companies typically offer higher commission percentages (15-20%), while retailers tend to offer lower commissions (5-10%). However, retailers often have a wider selection of products, making them valuable affiliate partners.

To obtain affiliate links, you must sign up for an affiliate network that connects bloggers/publishers with brands. Some recommended networks for finding conscious fashion brands are ShareASale, Refersion, Affiliatly, RewardStyle, and AvantLink (which hosts Patagonia). Joining affiliate networks is typically free, but I recommend limiting the number of programs you join to minimize administrative work.

One of my favorite platforms is Skimlinks, an affiliate network aggregator. Skimlinks allows you to access brands from various affiliate programs, streamlining the process of obtaining affiliate links.

With most affiliate networks, you need to apply to each brand’s affiliate program and manually generate customized affiliate links for their website or specific product pages. Skimlinks eliminates this administrative work by automatically turning applicable links on your blog into Skimlinks affiliate links after a one-time setup.

How much money can you earn with affiliate income?

Earnings from affiliate income vary depending on several factors:

  1. The amount of traffic your blog posts with affiliate links receive.
  2. The alignment of brands/products with your audience’s interests and needs.
  3. The commission percentage you earn from affiliate links.

During the early stages of blogging, affiliate income may be minimal. However, as your website traffic increases, you work with more affiliates, and you refine your strategies for incorporating affiliate links, your earnings can become a significant portion of your income. It’s important to note that affiliate revenue fluctuates throughout the year, with November and December being typically higher months due to increased retail activity.

In addition to immediate revenue, affiliate links can also lead to valuable brand partnerships. By showcasing the value you can provide through affiliate links, you demonstrate your ability to deliver a return on investment for brands, making it easier to negotiate larger partnerships in the future.

2. Brand Sponsorships

What exactly is a brand sponsorship?

A brand sponsorship involves partnering with a brand to promote their products or services in exchange for compensation. Sponsorship can take the form of gifted products or monetary payment. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the paid aspect of brand sponsorships.

How do you get a brand sponsorship?

You may be surprised to receive brand pitches early on in your blogging journey. Brands recognize the value of smaller bloggers and influencers with engaged audiences. However, you don’t have to wait for brands to approach you; you can proactively pitch brands you want to work with.

Having worked on the brand side of influencer partnerships, I have a few tips for standing out in your pitch:

  1. Share your numbers: Include relevant statistics, such as website visitors, social media audience size and engagement, email subscribers, and audience demographics, in a media kit. Brands want to ensure that they are reaching their target audience, so providing these numbers helps them evaluate the potential value of partnering with you.
  2. Be specific: Customize your pitch to each brand by highlighting the features of their products or services that align with your audience’s interests. Specify the ways in which you can work with the brand (e.g., blog posts, Instagram posts, etc.) and include associated fees. This level of specificity makes your pitch stand out and increases the chances of a positive response.
  3. Be flexible: Flexibility is key in any professional relationship. While you should not undervalue your work, be open to adjusting your offerings to create a win-win situation for both you and the brand. This may involve providing unique types of sponsored content, offering additional incentives for larger sponsorships, or offering discounts in exchange for using brand affiliate links.
  4. Follow up: Don’t hesitate to follow up if you haven’t received a response after one or two attempts. Busy brand managers may have overlooked your email, so a friendly reminder can be helpful. If you still don’t get a response, consider reaching out to a different contact or moving on to the next brand.

In terms of earnings, the amount you can make from sponsorships varies based on factors such as your audience size, website traffic, and your expertise in a particular niche. Resources like Social Bluebook and Influencer Marketing Hub can provide guidance on determining rates for sponsored Instagram posts. Remember to consider your unique value as a conscious and sustainable blogger, as well as the quality of your content and photography. Partial blog features that include multiple brands can also be an option, with pricing based on a formula that takes into account the number of brands featured and the expected link clicks.

3. Website Advertising

Once your website attracts a significant number of page views and visitors, you can monetize your blog through website advertisements. While I have personally not explored this method yet, many conscious bloggers have found success with banner ads.

To start with website advertising, you can set up an account with Google AdSense, which allows you to place banner ads on your website. However, the quality of these ads can be hit or miss. Google AdSense provides estimates of potential earnings based on factors such as your website’s category, region, and monthly page views. Another option is to join Mediavine, a high-quality ad management platform available to larger publishers and bloggers. Mediavine requires a minimum of 50,000 sessions per month to gain access to their advertising partners.

4. Sell Your Own Products

In addition to earning money from sponsors, you can offer valuable products or services to your audience. Digital products like eBooks and online courses, designed around your expertise, can be an excellent source of revenue. Alternatively, you can create physical products such as customized zero waste essentials or upcycled accessories.

If developing a product is not feasible at the moment, consider offering consulting or one-on-one coaching in your area of expertise. This could involve providing guidance on vegan cooking, sustainable fashion, or social media marketing, depending on your skillset.

As your blog grows, you will receive more inquiries from your audience, which can guide you in determining the most valuable products or services to offer.

5. Set up a Patreon

Patreon is a popular platform for creators to earn income directly from their fans. With Patreon, your audience pays a monthly subscription fee (starting as low as $1) to access exclusive content and benefits. Successful creators on Patreon often offer different tiers of membership, each with its own set of perks.

While I don’t currently have a Patreon account, I have observed that creators who offer exclusive content tend to have the most success. Some ideas for exclusive content include ad-free versions of your content, patron-only Q&A sessions, community discussions, newsletters, blog posts, and shopping guides. You can also offer one-time payment options through platforms like PayPal or Venmo for those who may prefer not to commit to a recurring subscription.

In Conclusion…

There are many ways to monetize a blog once you have established a strong foundation with high-quality content and a growing audience, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some bloggers focus primarily on selling their own products, while others thrive on brand partnerships and affiliates. It is normal to adjust your income streams as your blog evolves. Diversifying your income sources is generally recommended to ensure resilience in the long run.

Remember, there is no fixed rule for determining the amount of money you can earn through each method. Various factors, such as audience size, web traffic, and expertise, influence your potential earnings. Pricing resources like the Blogger Rate Card can provide some guidance, but consider your unique value and be open to charging higher rates based on the quality of your work.

Ultimately, as you build your blog and engage with your audience, you will find what works best for you. Whether you choose affiliates, brand sponsorships, website advertising, selling your own products, or setting up a Patreon, focus on delivering value to your audience and building meaningful partnerships with brands to sustain your blogging career.

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