(This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.)
To read more about how I established my domain name and created the basic elements of my blog read my post on How To Create A Blog.
This post is a follow-up in the series on My Blogging Journey to walk through how I’ve built on the basic elements of my blog to set it up to generate a profit.
I love to write but have resisted blogging for years. I always felt it would expose too much of my personal life to the global internet and that I didn’t have the time to invest in the hobby. However, after I gave birth to our daughter I found myself immersed in blog posts through the middle of the night reading and gleaning wisdom from other moms as I sought to navigate new motherhood myself. I realized that sharing parts of my journey in a blog could serve other desperate and sleep deprived moms in their journeys as well, even if only to encourage them that they are not alone in the trenches. I also never realized that writing a blog could actually be an income generating activity! I read about moms who took their children’s nap times to blog and wondered how they could be so devoted to the hobby. I had no understanding that their hobby was very likely also their financial contribution to their home. So after reading a couple articles on how a blog can generate unlimited and passive income, I was sold on starting my own!
I’ve done a lot of reading about ways to set up a blog for profit since I recently created mine and there are many ways including paid writing gigs for other blogs, the use of advertisements, and involvement in affiliate programs to name a few. While I’ve been approved for advertisement programs like Google Adsense on my site, I’ve chosen to focus on affiliate programs for a couple of reasons:
1. Affiliate programs allow me full control of what appears on my site and what products or companies I recommend.
Yes, I want to generate income from my site. But it is also really important to me that I maintain the integrity of my site and don’t just use it as a platform to sell. I truly want to bring value to my readers and share the lessons I am learning in life and faith. So yes, sometimes my posts have a strong focus on generating income. But I also have many posts that are straight from my heart and that is what I want the overall feel of my blog to reflect. Therefore, I prefer not to have key word or user focused ads automatically generating on my site and detracting from or contradicting the value of my content.
2. Affiliate programs allow for the generation of passive income.
Like affiliate programs, advertisement programs allow for the generation of passive income (which is why I do incorporate ads from the companies I’m affiliated with). However, writing posts for other sites or selling a service from a blog require dedicated hours of work to earn the piece of income that goes with each sale or opportunity. Using affiliate programs allows me to incorporate ads into my site and recommend products in my posts and then sit back, relax, and watch the money roll in over time. (Now in reality I work hard to circulate my posts on social media, etc. to gain readership after they are complete, but the source of the income is purely from reader responses to the initial post.)
3. Affiliate programs are an easy way to start!
I found it very easy to sign-up for and begin integrating affiliate links and advertisements into my site. One of the ad programs I looked into required pasting code into my site and was not very user friendly to incorporate. Writing for other blogs or selling a product/service was an even more difficult route to consider as it requires first gaining readership and traction on your own site and/or setting up an e-store type of platform. For me affiliate programs were an easy way to begin positioning my blog for profit. I simply visited the websites for the various programs I will outline below, signed up as an affiliate, and began pasting in product links and company advertisements. (For a few of them I did have to wait one or two days for the approval as an affiliate.)
So which affiliate programs did I join?
There are many more out there that I may still consider at some point in the future, but I began my venture as an affiliate blogger by working with the following companies:
Amazon has a very easy to use and comprehensive affiliate program. After signing up I was able to search for any Amazon product, click “Text”, “Image”, or “Text+Image”, in the header bar that then appeared on my screen, and paste the link for that product into my blog post. For an example of how I used these links check out my post My Diaper Bag Essentials.
Amazon also offers a slew of ad options in all formats that can be added within posts or to the sidebar or footer of a blog. I’ve also utilized their mobile popover ads to further enhance product links viewed on reader’s mobile devices as well as their native ads that can be customized to specific products to advertise within your post or page. Below is an example of a native ad that I specifically selected the products for. These are really easy to create and paste into posts to highlight products that coordinate with your content or site.
For an example of how I incorporated a native ad into one of my posts check out my post on 4 Things I Wish Had Been In My Hospital Delivery Bag.
To add Amazon advertisements in other formats to my site, I have simply copied the provided code from the Amazon affiliates site and pasted it into HTML widgets in my sidebar.
So far I have incorporated Amazon affiliate links into my site more than any other company simply because I have used and truly recommend many of the products. They are also very easy to work with and you make commission from ANY (with a few exceptions) item that a reader purchases from Amazon after clicking on your link, even if it’s not the product that you specifically linked to. If you are looking for an easy and controlled way to set up your blog for profit, I highly recommend Amazon’s affiliate program.
ShareASale is actually an umbrella company that brings together many affiliates and merchants, so signing up as an affiliate with them opens up the door to work with several other companies. I am an affiliate of several companies through ShareASale but have only actually incorporated advertisements from Teat and Cosset, Gymboree and ErgoBaby (mother and baby companies to go with the theme of my blog). To diversify the advertisements on my site I added the provided code for ads from the ShareASale site into the widgets on my sidebar and footer. Whenever a reader clicks through these (or any other ads from ShareASale) and makes a purchase, I receive a percentage of commission from the company. These percentages are all listed on the ShareASale site once you are approved by them and the specific merchant as an affiliate.
ShareASale and their network of companies also allow the capability to earn commission by pasting product or company links into the content of blog posts, much like my links to Primary.com and ISeeMe above.
As a ShareASale affiliate, I also make $1 of commission for anyone who signs up to become an affiliate through my link (once they have at least one purchase go through their own affiliate links). I plan to continue exploring ShareASale merchants and seeking to grow my affiliate relationships through them, but at this point I have primarily utilized ShareASale and it’s merchants for controlled advertisements of baby and parenting related products on my site.
Bluehost is the least versatile of the affiliate programs that I am part of, but potentially a very profitable one. Bluehost is the web hosting company that I purchased the domain name learningmomma.com from. I have incorporated one of their ads onto my site as well as a referral link in my post How To Create A Blog. Anyone who signs up to use Bluehost for their own site through the link in my post or the advertisement I’ve placed on my site earns me $65 (once they’ve kept their site with Bluehost for over 90 days).
While Bluehost is limited in that their exclusive product is web hosting, I’ve incorporated affiliate links for them into site due to the fact that they offer such profitable commission and service that I feel I can truly recommend.
There are other ways to generate income from a blog and many other affiliate programs out there, but these are the few that I have decided to focus on at this time for my blog. To date I have earned from my affiliate relationship with Amazon but have not yet returned any profit with ShareASale or Bluehost. I will continue to update on my progress toward generating income and maintaining my blog in My Blogging Journey so check back for more tips and methods that I learn along the way!
If you are thinking about creating your own blog as a hobby or for profit, check out my post on How To Create A Blog.
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