The bloggersphere has spawned a whole new career path, generated digital celebrities and created a lust for being your own boss like never before. Every other teenager now has a blog and aspires to be a full time blogger, which is a far cry from my day when everyone wanted to be either a vet or a Spice Girl. However, when it comes to full time blogging there are still certain questions that are somewhat unanswered; ambiguous blog posts may hint at generating an income from something that was once an understated hobby, but there’s very little advice on actually how to make money from your site. The majority of bloggers tend to keep their secrets under wraps, or learnings so closely held to their chest it makes you wonder why they’re worried about sharing the information around a little. When I first started writing about my favourite nail polishes and lipstick trends there wasn’t anybody that could offer up advice – it was a whole new industry with no right or wrong answers, that had yet to pave the way for future digital enthusiasts. However, now we collectively know enough to share we really should. So here’s a breakdown of how it’s possible to make money from your site, and what you need to do to ensure that’s a possibility. (If you want to that is!)

First things first, in order to generate income from your site you need to have traffic. You need hits, you need engagement, you need trust and you need influence. Far too many bloggers assume the label of ‘blogger’ gives them an automatic right to demand payment, gifts or freebies – but if you don’t offer a brand value, then there’s little reason they’re going to want to work with you. If you’re only recieving a few thousand hits a month or only have a couple hundred social media followers, focus your attention on growing your presence first. (I have loads of posts here, all about starting and growing a blog, that may be of help.) Once you’ve got that sorted, here are five ways I make money from my site and role as a blogger – and you could too.

The most obvious way to make money, but also the most intrusive. I used to host banner ads, MPU units (the square ones on the right hand side) and background takeovers, but made the decision to remove them about two years ago. You’re paid a small fee for every impression on your site, meaning there’s a direct correlation between hits and income; the fee decreases all the time as readers get so used to seeing them (and therefore ignore them/don’t click for more info,) making them slightly redundant in my opinion. The income I generated off the back of these didn’t justify the negative impact it had on the appearance or user experience on my site (as there’s no real control over what appears and when,) but for many this is the easiest way to commercialise a blog. Collectives such as Glam Media serve ads to your site via a small piece of code that you embed, with you just collecting your fee at the end of every month. However, I prefer to sell space occasionally to small businesses, bloggers and brands I’m working with on other projects – where I have control over the look, feel, message and placement. Effortless, but worth really weighing up the benefits.

Something that’s not often spoken about openly in the blogging world, but a really effective method of generating income if you’re featuring products. I know bloggers that make upwards of £10,000 a month from affiliate links (crazy, but because they’re shifting designer bags!), although the majority of us will be stuck around the couple-of-hundred mark. All you need to do is sign up to platforms such as RewardStyle, Affiliate Window or SkimLinks and include their tracked links in your posts. Whenever a reader clicks on your bespoke link and makes a purchase, you’ll receive a percentage of that sale – often anything from 5-25%. Most platforms offer a thirty day cookie policy, meaning that any other purchases made on that site over the next month will also generate a little kick-back too. Affiliate links are super simple to set up, unobtrusive and effective.

This is where the majority of my income comes from, as I believe it to be the most effective and enjoyable for both parties. I work with brands to tell a story, host a giveaway, discuss a brand campaign, run a reader trial or share content in the most relevant way. The brand pays me for my time, for the key links and information to be included that they need, for final approval before publishing and an agreed date for promotion. I’m able to write these in my normal style and in the way that I know my readers will get most benefit from; the selling points for the brand include the fact that it’s more ‘natural’ content and that the post can contain all their key marketing messages. This kind of collaboration is much more effective than a banner ad or seeding campaign, as there’s context and passion behind the information. If you’re interested in working with brands in this way, it’s worth setting up a media kit and outlining your costs so there’s clarity from both sides.

Because of my knowledge of the beauty industry, digital platforms and bloggersphere, I work with a lot of brands and agencies on a consultancy basis. It could be providing insight on current trends, identifying future opportunities or consumer needs, showcasing case studies of best practice, reaching out to bloggers or internal training. I’ve worked with a huge number of ‘mega brands’ to feedback on their product ideas, marketing concepts and outreach tools, or simply helped write leaflets for new launches. The possibilities are endless and somewhat exciting – however, you do need a lot of experience and knowledge to be able to do this. It’s also not a regular income source, as the opportunities tend to come around only a select number of times per year; it’s worth building relationships with brands and making your expertise known if this is something you’re specifically interested in.

I don’t mean sticking a picture me with my thumbs up on the front of an eyeshadow palette, but more working with brands on a strategic level to help educate and (at the end of the day) sell product. From filming video content, interviewing ambassadors or reporting on fashion week news, to being a guest on QVC or providing quotes to use within marketing material – the value of a blogger’s opinion increases every day. Consumers want to know what a ‘real’ person thinks, especially if they’re exposed to pretty much every new launch that hits stores. I’ve been part of some really exciting projects over the last few years, including filming some mini videos with Boots, appearing as a guest of UltraSun on QVC, testing out skin creams for Channel 4 and interviewing experts for E45. (More on that later!) These may or may not feature on my blog, but it’s fascinating to see brands using bloggers to endorse or celebrate a product more and more.

So there you have it, the five main ways I generate an income from my role as London Beauty Queen. I hope it helps to de-mystify how bloggers make a living, as well as giving a little boost to those of you wanting to do the same. Remember, the title of blogger doesn’t automatically entitle you to demand a fee – like anything in life, you have to build up your portfolio and experience first.

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  1. Yujung Kim
    September 28, 2015 / 8:16 am

    Thank you for your amazing tips!!xx

  2. Megan Phelps
    September 28, 2015 / 8:30 am

    Thanks for posting this, I'm so curious when it comes to this topic and how bloggers actually make a living! I'd like to think one day I could make a career out of my hobby. Megan / MeEmBeauty

  3. Pam Scalfi
    September 28, 2015 / 8:38 am

    such a detailed post! Thank you for sharing this..often people are too keen to expose how they make money, but it truly helps us just starting up :)Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  4. Courtney Williamson
    September 28, 2015 / 9:29 am

    This is really interesting & I didn't think there were so many ways to make money as a blogger. I'm a new blogger & I always forget to use affiliate links. I don't plan on using this as a full time job but, I mean a lil' bit of pocket money wouldn't go amiss.– Pretty Mad Things // Courtney xo

  5. Kate Wilson
    September 28, 2015 / 10:55 am

    It's strange how people still don't believe this to be a real job! xhttp://my–

  6. Toni May Skidmore
    September 28, 2015 / 4:24 pm

    This is really useful! Thank you for sharing. I'm still finding a direction with my blog so I'm not sure how many of these I can or would do, but it's still an amazing insight to gain. average adventures

  7. Megan Lillie
    September 28, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    Another really helpful and informative post Hayley. I get a tiny bit of income from Affiliate Links but can see it beginning to rise which is great. Do you approach brands for sponsored posts? Or do they approach you?Megan xoThumbelina Lillie | UK Beauty & Fashion Blog

  8. My Beauty Dreams
    September 29, 2015 / 12:35 am

    This is amazing! I love how you've turned your passion for beauty into a real job 🙂 One question – how long have you had your blog? Thanks

  9. Abigail Alice
    September 29, 2015 / 5:32 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips, signing up for skim links was definitely a great idea for me :)

  10. Kim
    September 29, 2015 / 7:07 am

    Thanks for sharing this detailed post.

  11. Rachel
    September 29, 2015 / 8:54 am

    Great breakdown. I think a lot of people still think all blogger's income comes through ads when for most that's the least lucrative way to do it!Rachel |

  12. Laura Brooks
    October 1, 2015 / 8:07 pm

    Great post Hayley thank you, and yes I did want to be a spice girl:) ha ha, Looks like your having a blast in Florida lovely to Laura// xxx

  13. Saira Bashir
    October 13, 2015 / 6:38 pm

    I find this post so interesting .. I have had my blog a little under a month, and am enjoying it so much. I currently work full time, but I find it so amazing how people have made blogging their full time job ! I love the idea of working with brands you loveThanks for the tips!Saira

  14. Emily Thorpe
    October 14, 2015 / 6:47 pm

    I'm so glad someone lifted the lid on this! So many people treat making money from a blog as a dirty secret. As long as that's not WHY the reason people blog, I don't see the problem! It's good to know this stuff though, especially as new blogger where it can be quite confusing.Musings & More

  15. Samantha Betteridge
    October 15, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    I think it's really great that you tackle topics that not many people are willing to discuss. I found this post really interesting (and helpful) and I think your honest mentality is really refreshing xxSam // Samantha Betteridge

  16. Hayley
    October 15, 2015 / 7:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, so many people are so funny if you ask about how they make money from blogging! All these tips are so useful. One thing I would ask though is can you or do you have any post that good into affiliate programs a little more clearly as I am rubbish with html and would love some help!

  17. Ty
    October 23, 2015 / 9:51 am

    So informative. Thank you for sharing

  18. Michelle Tyler
    October 27, 2015 / 6:00 pm

    I just popped over to read a bit of what you may be offering at Blognix. It's a big deal for me to go away as I have 3 small kids so I need to know if the retreat will be worthwhile. I can't "afford" a spa weekend it's purely business, I'm keen to push my Blog onwards & upwards & I think after reading this post I'll give Blognix a go to help me. Thanks x

  19. Style De Vivre
    October 28, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    These are great tips, and I think it's very honest of you to clarify your relationship with the brands so readers understand it too, especially because there are no regulations in Europe about disclosure (versus the US, where the FTC guidelines are quite restrictive.) Thank you for the post!

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