Whether you just started your first blog or you’ve been blogging for ages, there are tons of opportunities out there for you to use your little slice of the internet to make money and earn some cool free stuff. Below are 14 specific ways you can start, along with links to help you out. I know it’s long, but I wanted to be as helpful as possible. Happy blogging!
Izea // This is at the top of my list because I make the most money off this site by far. You can place “bids” on brand campaigns such as sponsored tweets or posts and the brands will accept your offer if they think you’re a good fit for their campaign (you also have the option to submit a sales pitch, if you want). I typically get paid around $5 to $10 per tweet and $100 per sponsored post, but I had to work up to it (so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t making that much immediately!). You can use their site for free, but I pay $1 per month for the pro membership and it is so worth it, in my opinion. Click here to sign up for Izea!
ShareASale // This program allows you to sign up for affiliate programs, where you work with certain brands for long periods of time. Once a brand accepts you into their affiliate program, you’re given banners, links, and sometimes even coupon codes for your readers so you can begin promoting that brand with ads on your site and with sponsored blog and social media posts. Each brand pays you based on a set commission, which is laid out for you before you even apply. Sign up with shareasale.com here! Once you’ve got your ShareASale account rolling, here are some affiliate programs you can apply for to get started: True & Co. (a bra company with a 15% commission rate), Craftsy (a company that offers online craft class and craft products with a 30% commission rate), and Shutterfly, Inc. (this incorporation owns Shutterfly, TinyPrints, Wedding Paper Divas, Treat, and Borrow Lenses—commision starts at 10%).
Sverve // Much like Izea, Sverve gives you opportunities to apply for campaigns. However, there’s a wider variety of campaigns (everything from sponsored posts to submission opportunities and unique URLs for sponsored tweets/social media posts) and you’re typically paid per click for the social media posts instead of being given a set amount of money for it, like you’re given with Izea. Overall, I appreciate the variety but I tend to make a lot more with Izea since I’m paid a set amount per tweet instead of being paid by the clicks. Still, it doesn’t hurt to pick up the money where you can with Sverve! Sign up here!
BoostInsider // With this site, campaigns are assigned to you and they come with unique URLS. You’re paid a certain amount for each click on your unique link, and the amount is set by the company who assigned the campaign. While I only recently signed up for this program, it seems like a good way to make some quick cash if you have a large social media following. Click here to sign up for BoostInsider!
Amazon Associates // This is another affiliate program, similar to the ones mentioned in the ShareASale paragraph up there, except you don’t have to go through ShareASale to become a part of the Amazon Associates program. Sign up here!
Google Adsense // This ad program gives you Google “smart ads” to display on your blog, which changes to match things your readers are interested in or to match the topics of your blog posts that are being viewed (I know, Google is creepy). It definitely won’t get you rich over night, but the pennies here and there do eventually add up. Sign up for Google Adsense here!
Advowire // I personally don’t like this site. While it’s extremely easy to use (you just click one button and it sends out a sponsored tweet or Facebook post for you) and while others seem to have great success with it, I just can’t figure it out. There are plenty of campaigns for me to view, but I’m never eligible for any of them because the brands have always exhausted their budget on other people posting or tweeting for them. Although I haven’t made any money off this program yet, I know that many people have, so I thought I’d still include it in this post in case you’d like to try your hand at it. Sign up here!
Adproval // This is the website I use for my own ad shop on my advertising page, where others can purchase ad space in my sidebar or sponsored social media posts from me. This site also connects you with brands and allows you to apply for ambassador programs (many of which I’ve had success with). Sometimes these brands will send you free stuff to review on a regular basis, and other times they’ll pay you to write sponsored posts. It always depends on the brand. Check it out here!
Have an Advertising Page on your Website or Blog // Speaking of my advertising page, it’s extremely important to have one of these on your blog or website if you’re serious about creating partnerships with brands and earning money. I just mentioned that I use Adproval for my ad shop, but there are more options out there (I used a free trial of Passion Fruit, but when the trial ended I found out about Adproval, which is free, and immediately switched). Make sure you include your blog and social media statistics and don’t forget to have a contact page on your website as well! You want brands to be able to easily get in touch with you if they decide they like what you have to offer. (Trust me, brands really will go straight to your advertise and contact page if they like what you have and want to work with you!)
Reach out to companies! // While this may seem a bit scary at first, it’s totally worth getting out of your comfort zone for. This is a great way to start building partnerships with brands that you love and are passionate about! The first time I reached out to brands on my own I contacted about five companies and was turned down by all but one of them. However, I ended up falling in love with the company that did want to work with me, and they ended up sending me free products to review and giveaway to my readers. I used the contact page on the brands’ websites to initially get in touch with the companies, and if an actual email address was provided (not just a contact form) I emailed them with my social media kit (which is basically a resume for your blog) along with my sales pitch. I strongly encourage you to do this at least once! Even if nobody responds, you’ll at least learn how to approach big scary brands on your own, and that’s a valuable skill for a blogger, in my opinion.
Massive Sway // This is a program that’s powered by the SITS Girls (a humungo blog that you’ve probably heard about). It’s a great program in theory, but from what I’ve seen it looks like a ton of bloggers are signed up for it while only a handful of opportunities actually exist. Despite never being accepted into an opportunity (my guess is that they also look for blogs with massive page views), I’m still on their mailing list and I usually apply to fitting opportunities as they come (which is seldom). If you’d like to try Massive Sway for yourself, sign up here!
MSB New Media // This is yet another program I have yet to receive any opportunities from, but it’s still on this list because maybe you’ll have better luck with it. MSB (Military Spouse Bloggers) New Media is a blog by milspouses and for milspouses. Their network is dedicated to providing paid campaigns to bloggers in the military niche (including veterans, service members, and those who support our troops). Sign up for MSB New Media here!
Influenster// This is a website that connects you with brands based on your interests, which is based on little surveys they call “snaps” along with your product reviews on items you’ve already used. Their campaigns include coupons (which are sometimes 100% off coupons), virtual campaigns where you can earn gift cards, and their famous “Vox Box,” which is a box full of awesome products they send out occasionally for people to review on their blogs. Sign up for Influenster here!
BrandBacker // This program connects you with brands who want to give you free stuff to review on your blog. I’ve gotten a lot of really cool full-sized products from this site, and I almost always reach out to the brand asking if they’d like to send me double the products so I can host a giveaway for the product(s) I’m reviewing (they say yes to the giveaways about 50% of the time, in my experience). It’s extremely easy to navigate, too. Sign up here!
A small word of advice…
As you use these programs to get attention from brands, make sure you keep your profiles on these sites updated! I know it can be a tedious task, but the last thing you want is to miss out on awesome opportunities because your profile is showing page view stats from several months ago that are significantly less than the page views you’re getting now!
Also, don’t forget the reasons you started blogging. Since it probably wasn’t for the money (or at least I hope not, because it takes a lot of work to start earning any!), keep your passions in mind and don’t let your blog or social media platforms get consumed with sponsored content and ads. At least half of your content should be original, sponsor-free content, if not more (although sprinkling affiliate links here and there don’t count in my book!).
Do you know of any programs I left out? Need a little help navigating these sites? I love reading your comments!