I started blogging a little over 4 years ago back in August 2008 and am a part time blogger currently. I spend an average of 20 hours per week on blogging related activities and can tell you that I made over $1200 my first year blogging, $2500 my second year blogging and I made more than $6000 in my 3rd year blogging. My original goals were to bring in $500+ per month in side income and I have exceeded these goals and brought in more than $1,000 per month for 4+ months so far in 2012.
Because I am a part time blogger, I don’t make nearly as much blogging as someone who can invest more time. I can tell you that there is money to be made in online ventures and blogging especially combined with affiliate marketing and this page will help show you the programs I have become familiar with and what worked best for me and may work for you.
Nothing recommended on this page will cost you a dime to sign up for, these are all free programs to join and try that you earn from. This is not a sales page, and my only benefit in doing all this effort is some of these programs like SocialSpark have referral programs where if you sign up for them, I get some commission for referring you which comes out of IZEA’s share and not your earnings.
Affiliate Sales are one of the easiest ways to get a larger share of income with a smaller amount of traffic. You basically find products you really like and help resell them to others and keep a % of the sale. Some programs on Clickbank can earn as much as $25-40 per sale, while other affiliate sales like Amazon.com earn you 4% at first up to 6.5% if you sell enough items in a month. Affiliate sales work differently and you can affiliate sell on Social Media or your website/blog. Even forums can be a good place to affiliate sell products. Successful affiliate marketers can make tens of thousands of dollars, but I can tell you that I only made < $800 in affiliate sales in 2011 because I don’t heavily push specific products too often.
Advertising can mean anything from banner ads, to paid links. Advertising is basically leasing or selling a portion of your site for money. This can be in a set interval like per month, week, or even day. Or it can be a permanent ad inside a post or page. Advertising makes up most banner advertising networks including AdSense, Kontera, Chitika, Infolinks, BuySellAds, AdvertiseSpace, OIO Publisher, Cash Donator and more.
Sponsored Reviews are programs where you are paid to blog about a product or service and you are compensated for such work. This can include even being shipped products or services to test to write an actual review from a client perspective, or just a promotion for a product or service. It generally takes either blogs with a high volume of traffic or a higher PageRank to make great earnings but by leveraging several programs at the same time you can make several hundred per month from doing sponsored reviews on one or more blogs.
What to Choose?
Keep this in mind, you can’t get rich by any single one of these programs but by leveraging and combining several or all of them and with a successful blogging site or three and a popular Twitter/Facebook/Google+ account(s) you can make enough money to actually reward yourself online and in some people’s cases make a full time living from it and quit your day job.
Again, as mentioned: These programs will all earn you money and it costs you nothing to sign up for any of these programs and give them a try for yourself.
Here is a quick list of the top companies that pay you to blog by promoting products/services on Twitter or via your website/blog, that I use and recommend. You can read more details on each service below:
The above 6 are my top recommended and can help bloggers to earn a few hundred per month if you use them all and have a popular Twitter account, I do however earn with all the following and do full reviews after listing them here:
- IZEA SponsoredTweets (IZEA bought out Magpie)
- Google AdSense
- The Blog Frog
Earn With Twitter / Social Media:
SponsoredTweets is a very good way to earn commission for promoting products and or services. If you have over a thousand followers you can make between $10 and $20 per month if you price low at about $1.00 per tweet. If you have over 10,000 followers or greater you can probably make $50 per month, and some of the really popular twitter profiles can make more than $100 per tweet and possibly $500 or more per month. If you have a huge Twitter following, you can really profit from this program. I make about $12-$15 per month and have about 4600 Twitter followers, but I price at $2.00 per tweet and reject about 50-60% of offers that don’t fit my niche. I highly recommend SponsoredTweets if you aren’t using it yet to earn with your Twitter profile and you only need to have 100 followers to be eligible to qualify for paid opps. After you sign up and set your price and categories, you wait for Sponsors to hire you.
SponsoredTweets also has a referral program where you earn 10% of all earnings from people who sign up under you and I make about $4 per month just from people I referred who take sponsored opps.
I should note that IZEA merged Magpie with SponsoredTweets so Magpie no longer exists.
MyLikes is a program where you sign in and share the things you like on FaceBook, Twitter and FriendFeed. You establish a profile and can click on “Sponsored Likes” and get paid per click on services and products you promote on Twitter (I wish they let you earn from promoting on FaceBook and FriendFeed too, maybe later). Since you get paid per click (the rate is set and shown when you browse the products) you can make much more per tweet than you can from SponsoredTweets if a lot of people click on your promoted link. You also can promote the same link several times (though not more than 1x per day) so you can have higher potential earnings from the same promotion. MyLikes pays you out when you reach as little as $2 and directly pays your paypal account, which makes you have quicker earnings than SponsoredTweets which only pays out when you reach $50 dollars. You can also earn from Facebook as well by promoting likes on Facebook as well as Twitter. MyLikes also earns you $5 for each person you refer who uses MyLikes and starts making money with the service, only people with over 1,000 Twitter followers qualify to earn you a referral however and other conditions may apply.
WeReward is IZEA’s mobile application for iPhone, Android or Blackberry that allows you to earn money by checking into local businesses. If you are already using FourSquare and do checkins, this allows you to actually make money by checking into local companies that are participating. WeReward pays you in points like the SocialSpark 2 system and 1 point = 1 cent with 500 points being $5. You can also take other opps that can involve taking your picture at certain locations or even doing other activities to earn points.
Personally I think the offers are fairly low considering you are taking a picture of yourself with a brand logo/location and should be worth more per check in. But if you are dedicated you could make some extra money though it won’t add up like the other systems will.
Staree is another IZEA application for iOS, Android or just plain web access that allows you to earn money using this site to distribute all of your pictures/image uploads to your Twitter or Facebook accounts. The way it works is that instead of directly uploading a picture to Twitter or Facebook, you instead upload it to Staree and let it share the photo and link to your social media accounts. If users click on the photo to look at it, interact with it…etc. It increases your revenue based on views to the image.
It is another passive way of earning just by sharing images directly to Staree instead of to Facebook/Twitter and the more active and interactive you are the more you can earn from the program.
Earn By Writing Sponsored Posts/Reviews:
SponsoredReviews is one of the most popular and well known programs on the web that connects advertisers with bloggers. You sign up for the program and register your blogs and once approved you can browse advertisers and bid for any opps that your blog qualifies for. You also are in the system and advertisers can hire a paid review directly from you which is how I make most of my earnings from SponsoredReviews. On this site your PageRank of your blog determines how likely you are to get the opportunity, and high PR rules here in earnings. As a PR3 blog my earnings are between $50 – $100 on a good month from SponsoredReviews, I imagine you can make 2-3x that easily with a PR4 blog or higher.
BlogsVertise was always hit or miss for me and I made as much as $30 some months but lately that has dropped to between $9 – $12 per month. You will definitely get more offers if your blog has a high PageRank than if you have a PR2 or lower blog. They claim to have a grab bag which I haven’t ever seen for myself, but this is a tried and true program that does pay bloggers, it just isn’t one of my most profitable ones. BlogsVertise recently starting sending more paid offers and there are more opportunities in the Grab Bag which include the pay per click or pay per action type of programs. The higher your blog PageRank the more opportunities you will see from BlogsVertise.
SocialSpark is another service from IZEA and happens to be one of the best online earning programs for my blogs. This service pays you to write quality reviews for products or services and sometimes they will actually send you the product to try so you can give a full review. This service always has “nofollow” links to advertiser sites and has some of the best opp payouts compared to other services. I have made as much as $250 from a single paid opp on SocialSpark but my average is $25 dollar payment for a 200 word post. In SocialSpark an advertiser can hire you directly, or you can search through an available pool of opps that you qualify for and take them if they are open. You can also make one opp request per week and try to convince an advertiser to let you take that opportunity, when doing this you have to “sell yourself” and what you have to offer. I have requested opps before and have had advertisers give it to me, but only about 1 out of 9 times does this work. SocialSpark is one of the few programs where you can get good quality opps by having a lot of blog traffic, even if you have a low PageRank. Though you can also get good opps with good PageRank it isn’t as critical as some of the other online companies that pay you to blog. I always recommend SocialSpark, it is one of my favorites.
SocialSpark just recently added “Deals” which allows you to promote deals on Social Media including Facebook/Twitter and your website. With Deals you get a % of the sale instead of a pay per click or set rate and your limit is only by how many sales you can get for the deal until the duration of the deal expires. This has a great potential but is brand new so needs more advertisers in the system.
Out of all of the systems, 4 years later SocialSpark is still my favorite and earns me more money than any other single sponsored review program.
Teliad is a program where you can sign up as a publisher and sell links on your site or sell entire blog post reviews. The site will let you list your homepage or each individual page you want to put into the system to sell links on. Teliad will calculate the annual value of your page that you list and will allow you to choose the low/medium or high end of that price. Once your price is set you can request Teliad to adjust it by contacting their support directly if you feel it is not accurate. The only thing I am not very fond of is that you are paid out in monthly installments for sponsored reviews, and even if you sell 1 blog post for $120, you are paid in 12 $10 installments every month as they do this to ensure an advertisers post stays up for at least 12 months. Other than that the program still has potential to make bloggers money. Just remember that you have to list every page in your site separately that you want to potentially sell links on, this is a manual process and involves using your sitemap to get all site URL’s.
Teliad will generally net you more offers for blogs with a higher PageRank like several other services.
PayPerPost is yet another service from IZEA and happens to be another really successful and well put together service. You register your blog in PayPerPost and you don’t have to go through any approval process, your blog is automatically entered in their system and advertisers can directly hire you. Advertisers will sometimes generate leads to see which bloggers are interested in promoting their products and services. As a blogger you sign in and can show your interest, or request a higher payment if you feel the advertiser is paying to little for the opp. You also can reject any direct advertiser posts if they don’t fit your criteria. PayPerPost gives you complete control and sometimes you may just get an opp that wants a backlink, other times they want a full product review. You set your price, though you can negotiate the leads and even accept lower prices if you choose. PayPerPost gives far more opps to blogs that have a higher PageRank, I know this because my poetry blog with a PR3 and less than 1/8th as much traffic as this blog which is a PR2 gets 5x as many offers and leads. Just based on the amount of offers I get, you could easily make $50-$100 per month with PayPerPost if you have a few blogs with PR2 and higher. I have made about $70 in 4 months with PayPerPost so far in 2010 but I reject 80% of the opps that drop in my lap, I could have easily tripled this if I weren’t so busy and had the time to accept and do more offers.
PayPerPost will also yield more offers for a blog with a higher PageRank, but I have to say that PayPerPost seems to be declining in popularity compared to other IZEA services.
LinkWorth is a service that offers bloggers the ability to sell reviews, links, ads, banners, muras or other types of advertiser requests. So far I have done a few LinkPost and LinkAds and the payouts are pretty good if you have a blog with a decent Google Pagerank. They have a recurring billing and payment system so an advertiser can purchase a LinkAd and keep renewing it monthly while the publisher’s account balance keeps earning and collecting. LinkWorth pays out when balance reaches $25 and I earned enough in the few months I was with them to recommend them. I personally know a few bloggers who make hundreds per month with LinkWorth too, but here your blog needs to be a PR5 or higher to really earn more.
ReviewMe is a popular service that connects advertisers with bloggers. It isn’t easy to get your blog approved in the system sometimes (you have to contact support if your blog is first rejected). This site also has you list your blog and set some categories, they set a default price if someone hires you directly, but you can manually adjust this. Advertisers will then come to you with offers and you will get better offers depending on your PageRank, Alexa Rank and estimated RSS subscribers. Again here, PageRank seems to be the winner in the # of opps you get. I personally know a few bloggers who make over $200 per month with ReviewMe, but since I only have a PageRank 2 blog approved in the system, I get about $40 in offers, but only usually do $20 per month at this time. ReviewMe is highly valuable if you have a blog with a good PageRank though and don’t count the service out.
I had used PayU2Blog for my first eighteen months of blogging and really wish I could have stayed with the service, I made an average of $60-$90 per month and if your blog has a high PR rating you could easily have $150+ more per month in earnings, more if you have multiple blogs in the system. PayU2Blog works differently than other sites in that you don’t do reviews for the most part, they assign you links and keywords and you must write a post and include that link and keyword in your post. You don’t have an option to reject the opp, you must do all assignments and they typically pay $5 per assignment. They have occasional reviews where they pay more $12.50 or even $20 sometimes, as well as having special opps you can request and sign up for. The one disadvantage of PayU2Blog is that you can get so many assignments that you may find yourself having to write 10 blog posts per week just to make the assignments. The other bad thing about using PayU2Blog is they prohibit you using any service from IZEA and I was banned from their system for using IZEA paying programs on the same blog as my PayU2Blog site. You can’t use SocialSpark, Sponzai, SponsoredTweets, InPostLinks or even mention IZEA or one of their services on your blog if you use PayU2Blog or you will be banned without warning. So if you do decide to use PayU2Blog which I recommend for new bloggers that don’t yet have enough traffic or pagerank to capitalize on IZEA services, make sure you know this and are aware. PayU2Blog also declared some time ago that they won’t accept blogspot blogs, only self hosted wordpress blogs though a few were grandfathered in from years ago.
The Blog Frog is one of the newest programs I started using to earn money from writing what they call Sponsored Conversations. Unlike other programs which are strictly about the reviews, these encourage conversations and require that you use a custom commenting widget inside your post so the comments/conversation for sponsored conversations appears on The Blog Frog community and your post at the same time.
Right now the system has more opportunities for personal bloggers and mommy bloggers and I have only had 1 opp for my tech blog and 1 for my personal blog in the 4 months with the service. But I can tell you the offers pay very well compared to other networks and the quality of the advertisers is very sound. There is a lot of manual and direct communication with The Blog Frog team and they are very responsive and eager to help and foster communication with their bloggers in their network. This is a social network and encourages socializing and communities. It is similar in model to the way SocialSpark 1.0 was back in 2008 where you could friend other bloggers and join sub communities. SocialSpark since did away with the socializing part of their system, but it is interesting to see how it develops in The Blog Frog.
The Blog Frog still has a archaic payment arrangement system and doesn’t support direct payments via Paypal, they still pay you via manual check in a Net30 system where you get paid around 45 days after your post is published. Their system needs to have better earnings and analytics tracking and history but I have been impressed again with the quality of advertisers, staff interaction and earning potential of the sponsored conversations.
Link Vehicle is another newer program I started testing in late 2011 and early 2012 and has sponsored post opportunities as well as link opportunities. All have better offers if you have higher PageRank but the offers are fairly good for sponsored reviews and I have made $25-$50 on some months with LinkVehicle which when combined with other systems helps keep my income above the $600 average mark per month.
Warning, every single one of these programs is a violation of Google Terms of Service. If you put paid links inside your articles or homepage, Google will eventually find out and you could have your PageRank stripped. I lost my PageRank from 4 to 0 back in 2011 because I tested Teliad and Intellilinks. That being said, I earned hundreds while testing these services and if you are more interested in the earnings and willing to take the risk then these programs may be something you want to consider.
Intellilinks is a program which allows you to lease out links on your website for a recurring payment every month. Like most programs which pay you to sell a link these are frowned upon by Google and could get your PageRank penalized but there is also some good money to be made here if you have a blog with a higher PageRank. I have about 3 blogs listed in Intellilinks and get a recurring $40-$60 per month on average just from having a few links in a sidebar or footer on my sites. The amount you make depends on the PageRank of the page the link is being requested on. You can lease links on your homepage or specific sub pages on your blog.
Backlinks.com is another way to earn money automatically from posts on your website. You simply manually enter each and every subpage on your site that has a PageRank of 1 or higher and Backlinks.com will host it in their system and offer it out to advertisers. You can filter out what categories of advertising you will accept, but you don’t get to set your payrate it is a set payment schedule based on the homepage PR of your site and the sub page PR. I think the payments are pretty low overall but you do get paid monthly and the advertiser has to renew, so you aren’t selling permanent backlinks here. An example is if you have a PR4 site, then a backlink page that is PR2 will earn you $2.00 per month for the backlink. If you had a PR8 site the homepage backlink would earn you $85 per month (for example). I myself have only been testing the system for a while and it has some promise though finding all of your sub pages PageRank can be a challenge in itself, each page must be listed manually and you can only list PR1 or higher sub pages so some blogs may only have 3-5 pages to list while others can have dozens. Think about this though, if you had 10 pages listed and selling this could be an easy source of $20-30 per month automated without having to do anything but the initial page listing. If you are interested in getting into the selling of backlinks without having to spend time digging through forums or waiting for advertisers to contact you, consider testing backlinks.com for yourself. You can also sell multiple links on the same page and potentially earn quite a bit if you have a lot of posts with high PageRank.
Teliad mentioned above also does link sales/leases on sites in addition to sponsored posts and is another great option to look at for both reasons.
LinkWorth mentioned above also does link sales/leases on blogs including sub pages and sidebars and can earn you money every month like Intellilinks or Teliad.
LinkVehicle mentioned above also does link sales/leases on blog posts, homepage…etc. Like any link program, they care about blogs/posts with higher PR value to gain better offers.
Google Adsense is the most popular and widely known advertisement company in the world. You can embed AdSens units in your blog and start earning per click, but some key things have to be considered such as “ad unit placement”, “ad unit size”, “number of ad units”, “ad unit colors”…etc. I wrote a blog post dedicated to Optimizing AdSense for Earnings and I encourage you to read that post. With my blog getting about 16,000 unique visits per month I average now about $35-$40 per month in AdSense earnings, and I was only at about $20 per month before I optimized my ad blocks, so I wrote the post as it increased my earnings by nearly 80% by doing some simple tips. I actually optimized further and with my site traffic growth I was able to hit my all time highest $95 earnings in a single month of AdSense in November 2010. Since 2010, my AdSense earnings have averaged over $200 per month and have even hit as much as $300 in a single month.
One note, don’t neglect YouTube, if you run a YouTube Channel and get enough views you will qualify for AdSense for video’s which can bring in some extra AdSense income. I make about $20 per month average just from AdSense enabled on my YouTube videos.
Chitika is a way to display contextual ads on your blog to search engine visitors without displaying ads to your regular direct visitors, it is a very creative way to specifically target ads not only to the keywords that were searched to arrive on your site, but also will display local ads as well. Because of the specific targeting you have the potential to earn more per click than a broad program like AdSense but the earnings are only from visits originating in the U.S. and North America, but I don’t know if this has yet expanded. This is a good option if your site gets its primary traffic from the U.S. (use your Google Analytics to determine your traffic origins). Chitika also offers mobile ad units optimized for your site when it runs on a mobile platform like an Android or iPhone browser.
Luminate is a program that basically turns your own blog images into advertisements. Banners appear on the bottom part of your images and expand when they are hovered over. This allows you to earn from impressions as well as clicks and is a great option for photography blogs or blogs that are very image heavy where the images would distract from traditional banner advertisements.
In my first few months testing Luminate I made about $35 which isn’t bad considering all I did was enable the WordPress plugin and it automatically put a banner at the bottom of my images. This program can be combined with other programs but I will warn you that if you use Amazon affiliate links in your post like EasyAzon images, then the Luminate ad will insert itself over your affiliate images which could take away a sale. So use it cautiously if you combine with other attempts to monetize your images.
Failed Online Programs
This is a summary list of the programs I actively use now or have experimented with recently, there are other programs which I have signed up for but have given me 0 paid opps in the past few years.
None of the above services have had a single offer even in my queue and some may not be active any longer.
PostLinks automatically publishes to your site and pays a mere $1.00 or .50 cents for posting an article which is not recommend by me.
Adly.com requires you to be a big enough personality to attract offers, you don’t qualify if you have less than 150,000 followers.
BuyBlogReviews seems to have a lot of advertisers in the system, but most opps have a really low payout and I have never bothered to try and bid for an offer in the system.
I also can’t recommend InPostLinks because even though the concept is good (you get paid a small amount just to include a keyword and link in your post) the payment is very low and it takes $50 to cash out, with an average of $1 per link, you would have to embed 50 links in 50 posts in order to get your first payment which just isn’t practical. Also, you don’t get to see what the link or keyword is before you take the opp, and sometimes you get pretty ugly keyword links.
If you notice most of these services will give much more opps and higher earning potential for blogs with a higher PageRank regardless of site traffic. This is because the Google PR juice they get from your blog is worth more than the number of impressions and visits to the advertisers, the more PR they have linking to their sites the better their sites list on Google Search and other search engine listings which is why so many advertisers care more about PageRank than Alexa Rank or other statistics on your blog. The exception is sites like SocialSpark where advertisers want reviews and those reviews to be read by people, since all opps are nofollow you won’t get all the advertisers who just want PR juice on that service like you do on the other services.