Getting a blog off the ground was much harder work than I expected. I've compiled my tips and tricks for growing an audience and increasing affiliate sales - hopefully it'll save you some time and energy!
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links. If you purchase a linked item, I will made a commission, at no extra charge to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope the tips below will help jump start your blogging career and get you off to an amazing start - but remember, it takes time (and a shocking amount of hard work). Most importantly, don't give up if you aren't an "influencer" within a few weeks!
Social Media Promotion
Even when you're first getting started, one of your first (correct) instincts is to promote your blog through social media. Over time, you should ultimately build out Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest platforms, at a minimum. Many people's immediate inclination is to rely on Instagram as the social media platform to promote their blog, likely because we hear so much about Instagram "Influencers," and probably because many of us use Instagram in our personal lives.
However, experience has certainly taught me a few things. First, it's a bit hard to connect with your fellow bloggers on Instagram, both because it's a visual platform and because you can't share links (to your posts, or to anything else). Second, it's not easy to "share" information quickly among large groups. Thus, in actuality, one of the best ways to integrate yourself into blogging community is through Twitter. I had never used Twitter much in my personal life, but there is no better place to make connections and to ask for advice from your fellow bloggers! Start by following a few bloggers in your field (or just general bloggers), to see what they post and learn from them, and then Twitter will start connecting you to other people in that field. Be sure to follow both large and small bloggers - you'll make genuine connections with both! Also, Twitter is universally acknowledged as the easiest social media platform to grow, so it's a great place to start! And remember - supporting others is more important than self-promotion.
As far as social media, Pinterest is so important that it deserves its own category. To really grow your blog, you need to expand beyond your fellow bloggers (though they are, of course, amazing and wonderful!). The easiest way to do this is Pinterest. It actually took me several months to even create a Pinterest account for the blog - it didn't even cross my mind! But for me, Pinterest has been an absolute game changer - I get hundreds of visits each day from Pinterest alone, which is by far the highest referral rate of any one site (with Instagram being by far the lowest).
Set-up a Pinterest business account (it's not as difficult as it sounds!) And start pinning! Though it feels counterintuitive, focus not on pinning pretty pictures, but on making Pinterest "covers" - aka pins with the title of your blog article written on it (you'll see them at the top and bottom of this post). Do this using Canva - which is the Internet's gift to bloggers! It's free and easy to use - and you can even access stock images to use as your backgrounds. Use bold fonts and interesting titles that encourage people to click through to your page (you can even look up lists of eye catching title ideas to spark your imagination - check Pinterest!).
If you start liking Pinterest and want to continue to grow it, I definitely have to recommend Tailwind, which works in conjunction with Pinterest to your pins at appropriate intervals, when people are active on the site. Additionally, it posts for you far more often than you reasonably could. If you're looking for more info about Tailwind- check out my post about it.
Triberr is a platform for groups of bloggers to connect and share each other's content. You sign up, connect your Twitter account, and then the RSS feed on your blog (and you can update it for various pages) and it will import your blog posts onto the feed! It's not only a great way to get your content shared, but also a nice way to meet other bloggers, when you're just starting out. One really helpful tribe I've found is the Hardcore Travel Tribe. If you blog about traveling to England and Scotland, I hope you'll consider joining my tribe!
Monetizing your website
Most bloggers look forward to monetizing their site in someway. But, how to do it? The easiest monetizing approach for new bloggers is Google Ad Sense. Your blog "hosts" the ads (they show up on specific spots on your blog), and companies pay Google for facilitating this, and in turn, Google pays you, a very small fee when people view the ads, and a bit more for each click ($0.20-$0.55). When you're just starting out, the Ad Sense fees will be extremely small (sometimes even as minuscule as $0.01/day). So, just remember, it's a matter of time. Don't go too wild plastering them all over your blog. The payment threshold is $100, so it can take quite a while to get your money. I will be 100% honest and say that I have fairly decent traffic and I still haven't made it! (So that you can see what they look like - I've put a placeholder for an AdSense ad right below this paragraph - it will show an ad based on the cookies on your computer - so it may be different for each user.)
In addition to hosting advertisements on your blog, there are several different ways to make "affiliate sales" - where a company pays you a small amount if someone buys something you promoted. These pay far more than Google Ad Sense, but you only earn if someone buys - you don't earn just for people being on your page. I like to use a combination of both affiliate sales and Google AdSense. And remember, only promote things that you actually like. People can tell if you're just trying to get them to buy random stuff and...they won't come back for more. Also, always include a disclaimer on each page on which you use affiliate links - people need to know that you are profiting from recommendations.
Here are a few different platforms to easily get connected with companies who over payment in exchange for sales (in addition to just reaching out to companies, but that should wait until you're established and/or have a relationship with the brand):
Thanks again for stopping by and best of luck with your new blog! Feel free to connect on Instagram or Twitter!
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