“I’m thinking about starting a blog- to make some money”, a friend said a few months ago. “Can you give me any pointers?”
“I don’t make any money from my blog. Not a cent”, I confessed. She looked at me with a mixture of disbelief and suspicion before moving on to greener conversational pastures.
Now, that statement is technically no longer true. In the months that have passed, I have now earned a total of $8 from the Donkey Dreaming blog. Yay! its a start.
How do you make money from a blog?
I didn’t want to clog the Donkey Dreaming blog up with ads (a potential source of revenue), but was looking at how I could start making the blog pay for itself. With this website costing around $100 a year in domain/ hosting fees and taking countless hours of time, I thought it reasonable to look at monetizing it in some way.
But affiliate marketing, or the idea of flogging crap to unsuspecting people by shamelessly plugging it on the blog kinda made me feel sick. After all, I write because it keeps me in practice, and its fun to compile and share information that you’re passionate about. But surely there was some ethical, satisfying, non-scammy way to make money blogging, right?
Answer- not really. All the successful bloggers out there seemed to either be selling something or selling something FOR somebody.
Affiliate marketing is basically where you put links to products in your blog posts. If a reader then clicks on that link and purchases the product, you earn a small commission from the retailer, at no added cost to the customer.
During my skeptical research, I came across the following:
“ To stay honest in affiliate marketing, don’t go seeking products to promote. Keep writing what inspires you, what you think will be useful or entertaining to your readers, then think about creating links to any products or gear thus may be related and thus also of some use.”
After reading that statement, something clicked for me. I would keep writing what I wanted to write, without a thought to how it would sell things, and chuck in some links as an afterthought. These would benefit the customer (getting more info and finding out about a product/ service they might find useful), the company (new customers!), and me (a financial return for my blogging efforts.)
When I went through my ‘I’m never going back to teaching’ existential meltdown, I read a tonne of entrepreneurial books. One of these was ‘The $100 Start-up”, by Chris Guillebeau, which was worth reading for this cute little Venn diagram alone:
Basically, it highlights the point that you can follow your passion all you like, but you won’t make a profit unless it overlaps with what others care about and can thus provide a service or be of some use.
So in the spirit of convergence, I decided to include affiliate links on the Donkey Dreaming blog. I also promised myself that I would never include companies or links that I didn’t believe in or recommend, and only those that I thought would be relevant or useful.
Following is a shameless plug of the main affiliate programs that the Donkey Dreaming blog is now involved with:
Wild Earth states that its mission is to inspire, equip and enable people with everything needed for a lightweight outdoor adventure. After being a Kathmandu aficionado for years, Wild Earth has won me over with its speedy shipping times and wider variety of brands. When preparing for the BNT, I spent half an hour on the phone with a very passionate Wild Earth salesman who was more than happy to discuss the relative pros and cons of Water filers vs Steripens. The customer service is excellent and their products never fail to disappoint.
The Book Depository describes itself as the world’s most international online bookstore offering over 17 million books with free delivery worldwide. After buying reading material from Amazon for years, these guys had me at ‘free delivery worldwide’. You can find just about any book on the site, and I am always pleasantly surprised at the reasonable book prices.
Awesome shoes and clothing- nobody does hiking sandals quite like Merrell.
Although Amazon is a bit of an ickily huge retail giant, they stuck some pretty cool bits and bobs that can be hard to find elsewhere, as well as the Trail max range of saddlebags from Outfitter Supply. Here’s to the next $8- thanks for reading!