Friday, November 25, 2011

How Blogs Make Money

It's only been fairly recently that I've realized a lot of people don't know how blogs make money. Some people don't even realize that blogs can make money (not all do).

Chances are a fair number of the blogs you read, especially the bigger ones, make some amount of money for their writers. Once you know how that happens, you can actively help a blogger make a little more if you choose to do so.

So where is this money hiding?

First, ad revenue. A lot of blogs have ads on the sidebar. In some cases, those ads are placements that pay a per week or per month fee. The blogger accepts payment, puts up the ad and then takes it down again when the agreed time frame is over. In other cases, ads are shown on a pay per click basis. That means each time you view an ad, a few pennies go to the blogger. You don't have to click on the ad, just by opening the blogger's site and seeing the ad (some people have ad blockers that prevent them from showing, or read only through site feeds, where the ads don't show), you are helping them make some money. Each time the page reloads, you are giving the blogger a "click". So if you click a link that opens another post in the blog, that's an additional click (and more pennies). For small bloggers, this might add up to enough money for a book or a fancy cup of coffee each month. For a very few, very big bloggers, it can add up to a more than respectable full-time income (think, 6 figures).

Second, reviews and sponsored posts. Some bloggers get paid in cash or product to do reviews or write posts sponsored by certain companies. Their post should tell you if this is going on. Some bloggers also specifically point out when they are NOT getting paid to do a review so you can know they are doing the review just because they want to and not because of a relationship with the company.

Last, affiliate links. This is where you can really help a blogger you like make some extra bucks. I'll use Amazon as an example because I use the Amazon affiliate program and know how it works. If I link to something on Amazon and you click on that link, your price will be the same as it would be if you had just found the page on your own. However, a percentage of the price gets kicked back to me. In addition, anything else you buy on Amazon also pays a percentage to me, you don't have to actually buy what I linked to. Your session will stay "tagged" to pay me until you place an order, 24 hours elapses, or you click through someone else's affiliate link (whichever happens first). It's a small percentage, but it adds up. Like sponsored posts, a blogger ought to make a note that these links are affiliate links (I do this by putting an asterisk by the link and leaving a note at the bottom of the post). Amazon is probably the biggest, but there are several companies that have affiliate programs.

Other money making opportunities come along, but those are the common ones. Moral of the story, if there are bloggers you want to support, let their ads show and click their affiliate links!

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