Update: We wanted to make sure you knew about our podcast interview over at Food Blogger Pro. In the interview we chatted about how to have a successful blog as a partnership. We explain how we started, how we work together as a team, and how we keep the working relationship healthy. Hop over and listen when you are done reading this post!
We are in the midst of a week-long series called Behind the Blog. Our hope is to give you a peek behind the scenes of Thriving Home and to answer some common questions. So far we have covered, “How did Thriving Home start?” And “How do you divide up the work?”
One of the most common questions we get from people, is “How do you make money blogging?” When we got started blogging we wondered the same thing! Keep reading to find out!
(answered by Rachel)
Hobby? Ministry? Business? Yes.
As Polly said in “How did Thriving Home start?“, we blog because we LOVE it–viewing it as a hobby and ministry. We’re passionate about equipping and encouraging moms to strive toward thriving homes. But, as entrepreneurial-minded gals, we’ve always viewed our blog as a business venture, too.
Our hope is to provide another steady income for our families, while staying home and engaged with our children. Family always comes first (at least that’s our goal!). But, now the blog has become another part-time job for us. We each hire a sitter once a week so we can have focused blog time, in addition to the time we spend in our free moments at home.
When did you start making money?
When we began in January 2012, we had little idea of where to start when it came to developing revenue streams for our blog. Now, as we’ve learned, the possibilities are nearly endless. We’ve experimented and continue to experiment with ways to increase profit, while being loyal to our vision and values.
We did not pay ourselves from our minimal earnings for the first year and a half of the blog. Our side bar ads made pennies for the first few months. By July 2013, we felt comfortable beginning to pay ourselves 40% each of our earnings per month and then saving 20% for taxes and future projects. And that’s what we’ve continued to do ever since. Our revenue has steadily increased, in sort of a two steps forward and one step back pattern, over the years.
Why is it necessary to have ads and sponsored posts?
We know that ads and sponsored posts can be an annoyance, at times, to blog readers. It certainly was to us before we understood why they’re necessary. However, these options provide a way for us to earn money while you benefit (hopefully!) from our free content and many hours of work. We try to be thoughtful in the kinds of ads and sponsors we accept and have often turned away opportunities that we feel aren’t consistent with what we believe. If you ever see a questionable ad pop up on our site, please let us know so we can fix it.
Now, how do you make money exactly?
Now, on to the big question at hand! What are our revenue streams? Here are our top earners in order currently:
1 – AdThrive: Display ads are our #1 revenue. These are the ads you see in the posts and on our sidebar. We know readers don’t love these so we try to keep them unobtrusive and related to our content.
2 – Digital Products like On the Job Meditations for Moms: 25 Encouraging Verse Cards or Freezer Meal Labels. You can see these along with our other products in our store.
3 – Private Sponsors: We sell some ad space on our side bar and in our weekly newsletter to businesses.
4 – Giveaways and Sponsored Posts: We offer private giveaways or reviews for products we stand behind, as well. We began charging for this service more recently, as it takes a good amount of time to administrate a giveaway and write a well-crafted review. As traffic has grown, the demand for this has grown. Now businesses contact us and send us freebies to review, instead of us asking them.
5 – Affiliates: An affiliate is someone who gets a cut from a sale just for referring the purchaser. Most major retailers (think Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc), book publishers and even bloggers who are trying to sell e-books offer this revenue opportunity to bloggers. Amazon is currently our largest affiliate.
Make sure to check out our Blogging Resources Page for a list of all of the software and services we use to keep Thriving Home running!