Welcome back to the blogging series kids. Today I’m going to talk about my favorite products, where I learn the most, how I make money blogging (so you can too), and what it takes to put together a blogging event.
Bloggers I Look to for Help, Lots of Help:
Ashton – Something Swanky (design and general knowledge of bloggy-ness)
Dorothy – Crazy for Crust (my moving to WordPress bible-ish)
Lena – Lena B, Actually & Lena B Photography (sponsorship and photography guru)
Lindsay – Pinch of Yum (she’s all around amazing and I’m obsessed with Bijork’s monthly income reports)
Julie – This Gal Cooks (blog design, all day!)
Amy – Blogging with Amy (an unending fount of blogging tips and info to make your blog what you want it to be)
Maddie – Thriftary (my blog designer and all around inspiring gal)
Sites I Use:
Smitten Kitchen FAQs > Copy write info and all around general info
Pinch of Yum Resources for Food Bloggers > Techie website info, equipment, and traffic
Serendipity & Spice Blogger Series > All kinds of good stuff you need to know, including Legalities
How do you get paid? I started getting paid to post by signing up with Media Networks.
The first one I signed up with was Social Spark. They base your recommended earnings on your Google Analytics stats. Basically what happens is you get a lead, if you’re interested say you are, and if you want more money, negotiate the compensation amount. Almost all the leads I get are $15 to $20 starting price, and you can try for more. There are lots of brands you can work with, but they aren’t specific to your blog topic(s). They seems random, based on I don’t know what. If the advertiser chooses you, you get an email and a deadline. The post is submitted through Social Spark and then auto publishes to your blog later. Minimum payout is $50, or you can pay the $2 service charge to withdraw earlier. Social Spark does have a referral program as well. Grade: B+
The Clever Girls Collective was the second company I signed up with and they are my favorite. All the campaigns I’ve been chosen for have paid $50 to $105. My affiliation with CGC has gotten me a Unliever web site, and I was selected for the UbiChamps campaign where I get free video games as compensation. There are a variety of campaigns to sign up for and all the info you need about them is on the sign up sheet. Clever Girls pays directly to PayPal within 45 days after you submit your post information. They also have a lot of Twitter parties with prizes and good networking. I’ve won some stuff too. AND…they are really quick to respond to any emails I’ve set with campaigns I’m in not showing on my dashboard or any other help I need. Grade: A++
The SITS Girls is a big group and I’ve been chosen for one of their campaigns. It seems like they are more mom blogger focused with paid post options. I’m not totally sure. Their opportunities are a bit more spread out than CGC. However, the paid post I did for SITS Girls got me a free $250 car seat, a blogging meet up, and some yummy apps. So I made out pretty well. Grade: B
Pollinate Media Group was the last company I signed up with, but they have quickly moved up the list to my #2 paid post company. I’ve been with Pollinate for a few months and I’ve been involved in a couple campaigns already, each paying $50 to $100 plus free product to review. Pollinate has a FB group too where you can promote your posts, get questions answered, and network. Pollinate does require a minimum 20,000 page views per month to apply. This is why Google Analytics is important to have to get paid. Pollinate pays using Chase Quick Pay. It took me a minute to get things set up right, but I get paid within 30 days which is nice. Grade: A
Google AdSense is what I use. I have the maximum 3 ads allowed. It started off really slow in the beginning. So much so that I didn’t have ads on my blog for a really long time. I tried the ads from Social Spark, but I didn’t get paid nearly as much as AdSense in comparison. You don’t get paid out from AdSense until you have at least $100 in earnings to pay out to you, but it’s nice to get a big pay bump when they shell out the cash.
I haven’t tried Foodie Blog Roll, and BlogHer (which does ads and paid posts) is on a waiting list last I heard. I didn’t even get a response from my application email – which is odd I hear. It doesn’t hurt to experiment a little, but for me it’s Google AdSense right now.
I started doing paid sponsor spots when I joined Passionfruit. Everyone was doing it. But truth be told, paying for ad space on other people’s blogs isn’t usually in my budget. I do purchase on occasion, but not usually. I wasn’t making money with ad space either. Then came my free spaces.
On my sponsor page, I converted all my Passionfruit spots to free on the back end. The big spot is for GYCO winners, the medium spot is for giveaways, and the small spot is for swaps. All these spots are available for purchase too, but I get to use them to help the blog community too. I picked ad spot names for stuff I liked. Thriftary has my favorite ad spot names ever.
I have a promo code for each ad spot. I use medium ad space specifically for giveaway prizes. It doesn’t cost me anything to give the spot since I make a promo code for it, and the ad space gives a lot of bloggers something they’re looking for – exposure. Free works for me, if you want to get paid, I’d talk to Lena and see what she does. She’s kind of amazing, and always has tons of sponsors. I’ve had 2 spots actually purchased in the past.
This is one of my goals for 2013. I need to budget myself a lot more and start tracking income/expenses. I didn’t track anything (formally) in 2012 and I’m stressing tax time a little. I did find an eBook about taxes for bloggers that I’m planning on saving the day. I’m curious to see what I can do about my DSLR. Oh the suspense!
Luckily, I have a lot of the transactions documented with PayPal, and I’m pretty good about keeping like every email ever. So I know each time I donated ad space or a physical item/gift card for a giveaway too. I’m looking for a printable since I like to write things down, but I’ll probably have an excel file to track it all too. I like to manipulate the look of my records and if I have it on paper, I’m the kind of persona that would rewrite the ENTIRE page for on little change.
This is another goal of mine for 2013. I want to write an eCookbook of original recipes, for like $5 or so. Nothing crazy price wise, but good eats and a way to get my feet wet. eJunkie has a free eBook download about Publishing Your First eBook.
Don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off others. Ask around if someone would co-host and help you develop a concept. Just because you don’t have tons of experience with this type of blog topic, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It’s all trial and error in the end. Asking for help is smart, not silly.