Someone once told me that if you're thinking of your blog as a business, you shouldn't be blogging at all. Wrong! Don't be put off by people like that. There is no right way to blog - there's just you, your thoughts and your passion for writing (or making videos, of course). I mean, making money from something you love doing can only be a good thing, right?
Affiliate links, as I've said before, aren't the best way to earn money from your blog - unless you're a blogging superstar getting millions of views a month. But it doesn't do any harm, and it doesn't require a lot of effort to make an affiliate link, so what have you got to lose? It's a nice surprise when you get an email saying you've reached the payment threshold. Waterstones, here I come.
A slightly better option is doing sponsored posts. Some people are a bit iffy about sponsored posts because they're suddenly not sure if you're being genuine, but if you are being genuine and the post just happens to be sponsored, well... that's their problem and their opinion. As long as you stay true to yourself while promoting whatever it is you're promoting, there's nothing wrong with it and you earn some extra cash.
Ads are pretty good at bringing in some extra pennies, too. You can use things like Google Adsense where they pick ads to show on your blog and you get a small amount of money, but it only enters your bank account when you reach the payment threshold. The other option is to sell ad space yourself, like I did for the #HelpAmber campaign last year and which you can still see in the sidebar. Typically, you can charge £1 per 1,000 monthly views for small ads and scale up 20% for each bigger size. So, if you get 20,000 views per month, you could charge someone £20 per month for a small ad.
The next option is to join a network, a huge step and probably only something worth considering if you have a huge audience. This is mainly for YouTubers but I know a couple of bloggers who are part of a network, too. They'll negotiate with companies, getting you good sponsorship deals, sorting out anything legal, making you look more official... basically, they'll help to open doors you would struggle to open yourself. That said, they tend to take a cut of your earnings and you need to have a pretty big audience for them to even think about you. (Also, be very careful and do your research. Some networks/management companies aren't as legit as they might seem, and some would argue they're not as useful as they used to be. Plus, some networks end up owning your content as a condition of them doing all of this for you. Yup.)
Bear in mind that as soon as you start earning from your blog - even if it's just pennies - you need to register as self-employed - in the UK, at least. This is where I'm going to ask you to read this post for more info because it explains the financial side of things much better than I ever could.
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