In our recent survey of interior design bloggers, 100% of part-time bloggers said they want to grow their blog to become full-time bloggers.
And the way to bridge that gap is to make more money from blogging.
Making money is one of the most difficult tasks that bloggers have, even with great writing, a large social following, and large amounts of traffic it can still be very tricky.
But what if we told you that you don’t need loads of social followers or a lot of traffic to become a full time blogger? It’s harder but still possible.
Making money as a blogger is never an overnight success, it takes time and effort to find the right method for you. But once you nail it, it will be the best thing you ever do.
Firstly, let’s go over what you need to get started making money…
What You Need To Make Money
Whilst WordPress and Blogger hosted blogs are fantastic for you to dip your toe in the water and try out whether blogging is for you (or whether you are for blogging), if you want to make money and be taken seriously as a blogger you need your own domain.
There are a few exceptions to this rule (but they are VERY few and far between), so stop procrastinating and get your blog ready to make some money.
For an easy guide on buying a domain, read our how to start a blog guide.
This is where you can show off your stats and display exactly what you are offering to potential clients/brands/PRs who want to work with you.
Media kits are not required for every money-making technique, however having one you keep updated is a great way to ensure that when enquiries come in you have a showcase of what you do offer and your amazing stats.
Melyssa Griffin has created a free bloggers’ media kit template that you can personalise for your blog, download it here.
As a bonus, make it clear where people can find this by having a ‘Work with Me’ page on your blog.
It’s a fact that the more traffic you have the easier it is to make more money blogging. However, it’s not the be-all and end-all.
How engaged your visitors are is much more important than the number. Just 1000 visitors a month who keep coming back, love everything you write and click on your product recommendations, will always be better than 10,000 visitors a month who read, don’t interact, leave and never come back.
(Preferred) An Email List
An engaged (see a emerging trend here) email list is an extremely powerful tool for making money as a blogger. These people have signed up to your email list because they value you, your writing, your recommendations, and in future – your products.
You can start an email list completely free of charge with great tools such as Mailchimp. So get growing your email list and the larger it grows the more money you could make.
(Optional) Social Media Followers
A (large) social following is 100% not required to make a full-time income as a blogger, however it can help create further income opportunities (and they normally don’t take that much work to do) through sponsored social posts.
Similar to both traffic and the email list, engagement is becoming even more important than ever with social media and brands have finally caught up with the trend of buying followers so it’s even harder to get away with it now too.
A Plan & Focus
Probably the most important part of making money as a blogger. If you just go out there with the approach of wanting to make money, trying to do every potential tactic going, with no real direction, you will fail.
By having a plan and a clear focus on what you want to do to make money as a blogger, you will be able to put all your efforts into the most important parts of your blog to maximise your chance of success.
One Money Making Technique That Almost Never Works
Firstly, the advice of just don’t do it should be enough – however let’s explain briefly why.
When was the last time you clicked on a banner advert on a blog? If you claim to remember, you’re lying.
Banner advertising has fallen into almost non-use (although still used for retargeting) and the money blogs can make with selling adverts on their sites (unless you have over 1 million visitors a month) is not likely to allow you to become the full time blogger you have always wanted to be.
Let's Make Some Money...
1. Create a Membership Site
Membership products have been around for a long time (phone lines, Sky TV, etc.) However people have started to realise the power of them for other products, shaving (Dollar Shave Club), beauty (Birchbox), alcohol (any gin/beer/wine membership site), and even meat.
It’s a recurring revenue dream!
An increasing trend is to create online membership courses, and this is one a lot of bloggers can capitalise on.
You might be thinking “what on earth could I create a membership site about”, well here’s one for how to look after Orchids. Anything you know that you can teach, you can sell as a membership…
Examples of potential membership sites you could create:
- How to create, launch & grow a blog
- How to become an interior designer
- How to decorate your home without an interior designer
- They may sound like blog posts, but blog posts never (or very rarely) go into the step-by-step actionable points required for people to really focus on doing those things.
Just take a look on this article itself, we’ve told you to create a membership site and told you some brief advice around it but you’ll still need to go out and do a lot of research to actually create it. Would you pay £20 per month for 6 months to learn how to create, launch and promote your own membership site if you knew you could make a full time income from it? Of course you would.
Whilst we focus on interiors, there are plenty of side-niches that are linked to the industry.
Pricing can be a difficult decision, but you can play around with it to find the right price, a great place to start would be working on the projections that you want or need to make from blogging.
For example, if you want to make £50,000 a year (about £4,200/month before tax) through your membership site, this could be:
- 50 people paying £84/month
- 100 people paying £42/month
- 200 people paying £21/month
- 400 people paying £11.50/month
Maintain a membership site is a lot of work, and it does require a high level of effort to set up in the first place – however it is probably one of the most lucrative opportunities for bloggers to make a full time income (and then some).
2. Become an Affiliate
A popular choice by bloggers in consumer niches (fashion, homeware, beauty, etc) is to utilising affiliate partnerships to make money by referring sales to companies.
Most large brands have an affiliate program (pssst. You can check out Amara’s over here) – and usually they will go through an affiliate network such as Linkshare or AWIN.
Once you’re signed up you can easily add links to your blog to these brands and then any sales you refer you will earn a commission (usually around 5-7%).
Here are a couple of ways you can promote products on your blog:
‘Shop the Look/Trend’ – if you’ve written a trend article or featured certain products within a lifestyle photo, you can pick out the products and feature them underneath the article/image. ‘Editors Pick’ to your email list – remember when we said your email list could be valuable, this could be an incredible way of making money as a blogger. A monthly email of recommended products (with reasons why) for the month based on certain trends, times of the year, etc. Affiliate marketing is not always very lucrative for bloggers, because most company’s sales attribution models will result in their referral being ‘overwritten’ by another source. However, the more you do it, the more clicks you get, and the more you test out different promotional tactics, it can be a really useful driver of additional revenue for your blog.
3. Sponsored Posts (Blog & Social)
Probably the most common tactic bloggers use to earn money – sponsored posts can earn you a decent income from brands looking to get exposure across your channels.
What you can charge for sponsored posts generally depend on the amount of traffic you get, the size of your social following and how engaged your audience is (both on site and off site).
A big warning about sponsored posts (and one most people reading this would already know), never lose your identity or ‘sell-out’ for sponsored posts that don’t reflect your personal brand or your audience would not be interested in. It will only hurt you, your blog, and your income in the long run.
4. Become an Online Interior Designer
A daunting one for a lot of interior bloggers, as imposter syndrome often adds a stumbling block to feeling like you can offer interior design advice to paying customers.
But don’t let it hold you back, if your readers love your content, and love you enough to sign up to your email list. You have a great chance of driving sales from these readers who value your opinion and rate your interior design knowledge very highly. Starting your own interior design service can end up an extremely lucrative tactic for interior design bloggers.
You can offer an array of services (depending on your skillset) such as:
- Product recommendations
- Moodboard Concepts
- Interior Styling Advice
As mentioned before you will need a clear plan on exactly what you want to do and what your focus should be. A vital element of offering these types of services is the sales page, it needs to be clear and authoritative, encouraging people to work with you.
5. Start Freelance Copywriting
All businesses need copywriting services, they all should have blogs that also need amazing content. These businesses often utilise the skillsets of bloggers who understand how to create relevant content for their audiences.
This may seem like a lot of work, but if you are committed to becoming a full time blogger, you can test the waters by taking on a little work on the side and seeing if you enjoy it.
There are two main ways to go about finding work as a freelance writer:
- Create incredible content on your blog, that gets found by the right people who then offer to pay you to write for them (this is the hard way – but long term will drive plenty of sales).
- Approach businesses and offer your services, set the minimum rate you want to earn for whatever it is you are writing, be bold, reach out and get hired before you know it.
There will be some rejection with the second option, but often that is because some businesses undervalue the importance of great copy – but stick with it and you will make it.
6. Create your own physical products
Ever dreamed of launching your own homeware brand? With your amazing designs printed on them, in other people’s homes. Who hasn’t right?!
It’s easier (and cheaper) than ever to get started creating your own physical products. You don’t need to take the risk of buying a lot of stock, outlaying thousands of pounds with no idea of how well it could go.
There are companies out there who essentially print-to-order products, and then ship them with your branding & packaging.
If you are in the UK, a great company to work with is Kite.ly – they only have a few homeware products but do offer cushions, towels & mugs which could be a great place to start and test the waters with your designs.
Using WordPress? You can install the free Woocommerce plugin and start selling in minutes. It’s owned and maintained by the creators of WordPress so it will always be a great plugin to use.
7. Become a Brand Ambassador
This is normally the dream job for most bloggers, you become a paid brand ambassador and get paid monthly for writing about your favourite brand(s).
However, this is probably the hardest to achieve with most brands being relatively shallow by looking for the highest traffic and social followings they can get, and requiring quite a lot in return for this type of role – which can sometimes lead to a similar issue with sponsored posts and losing your blog’s identity.
Becoming a brand ambassador for a brand that you love should be a long term goal of your activity on your blog.
The best way to demonstrate the power of your blog has for a brand is to proactively do the work that you would be as a brand ambassador and track how well it goes, and look to improve it to the point where they would be silly not to want you.
This doesn’t mean just write blog posts about the brand, but feature their products, join their affiliate program, drive visitors to their site and track how many people buy. See how much engagement on social media you can drive featuring them in the occasional Instagram post for example.
Once you have some stats to share with the brand, reach out to their community team (or whoever deals with bloggers in the brand) and approach them with a proposal. If they can see the value in what you’ve already done, they would be stupid not to take you up on the offer.
8. Sell a Digital Product
Want to be published but can’t find a publisher to print your book?
One of the easiest first steps to test the water to see if your audience would buy products from you is to sell a digital product, usually in the form of an ebook. It doesn’t need to be that long, but it needs to be packed full of relevant information that is worth paying for.
It’s easier than ever to get started by selling an ebook – either directly on your site, through third parties like Gumroad or through Amazon Kindle.
You can use fantastic tools like Canva to create visually pleasing ebook designs, and with your writing ability and interior design knowledge to create really detailed ebooks for your readers to buy.
Usually ebook’s are relatively cheap – between £9 and £17 – but if you can sell 100 then that’s an additional £900-£1700 you didn’t have before. Then you could create another one, sell 200 and then that’s £1800-£3400 in total you’ve made.
You can take it further than an ebook and even launch a paid online course (and even turn that into the membership site we mentioned in #1).
What do you mean what now? Go make some money!
Pick a tactic you like the look of most, create a plan, do some more research, and start earning some money from your blog.
Be brave, reach out, you can do it!