Before we start this post, here’s a link to a comprehensive post about affiliate links (one big avenue for making money) and how to use them on your blog.
These networks will provide you with ads that you can put up on your site and earn passive income. They will serve ads that are targeted to your readers. There is a new ad network popping up every week and you certainly won’t find them all on this list.
AdSense – With AdSense, you can run up to 3 display ads at one time on your site. There are tons of ad sizes available. You can also add link units, which are lines of ads that are just text links. AdSense is the original player in this space and is still one of the best. What I like about them is that they don’t require strict placements. You can have just one ad in one place on your site if you want.
AdThrive – this network comes VERY highly regarded by a lot of bloggers who give it credit for increasing their ad income by 50% or more. The MAJOR caveat here is that they only work with bloggers who get at least 100,000 pageviews per month. If you’re new, just keep this one in the back of your mind for down the road!
BlogHer/SheKnows Publishing Network – You’ll have to make it through their rigorous application process where your site design, content and other ad networks will come under scrutiny. Just be aware that they require a 6-month contract and strict ad placements on your blog.
Mediavine – another newer network that people are loving and crediting with income increases. Not as tough to get into as AdThrive.
Media.net – previously owned by Yahoo, this ad network is one of the oldest and largest ones. Not the best by any stretch though.
These companies pieces of code that you install on your blog that will turn regular links or pieces of text into PPC links or paid affiliate links. A lot of these are not popular, as they do negatively affect the user experience by turning random words into random links.
InfoLinks – creates links that produce small pop-out ads (when hovered over) out of pieces of text on your site.
VigLink – you’ll also find this under affiliate networks, but they also have a link program where you install code on your site and VigLink recognizes keywords (aka dress, new shoes, hotel) and automatically turns them into clickable affiliate links that make you money.
Get paid to blog by promoting products from your favorite stores. The majority of online merchants have affiliate programs, which pay publishers a percentage of sale when they refer customers from their site. Listed below are affiliate networks, which are networks containing the affiliate programs of a large number of merchants in addition to individual affiliates, such as Amazon.com.
Amazon Associates – receive a percentage of sale for referring people to Amazon to make a purchase. Perhaps the single most popular affiliate out there. Unfortunately, if you live in one of about 5 states (it changes a lot), you cannot join due to tax laws.
Commission Junction – CJ has a huge library of affiliates that you can apply for. They also have a premium publisher program that they are building right now which focuses on content heavy blogs.
Flex Offers – another good sized network with major merchants such as JCPenney, Kohl’s, Roxy and Sears to name a few.
Impact Radius – a smaller network, but still with large companies such as Forever 21, NastyGal, Lord & Taylor and approximately 250 more.
LinkShare – another huge network of affiliates including Macy’s, Kohl’s, iTunes and about 1,000 others. This is the network that companies like VigLink and Rstyle use to trac their own links.
Point Click Track – has a lot of spammy-type offers like “free” stuff but also has a few merchants like Ellie, Pacific Sunwear and Vistaprint.
ShareASale – yet another large network with merchants including Zulily, Reebok, Wayfair and about 3900 others.
*Bonus – ask your webhost if they have an affiliate program. Some (such as HostGator) pay $65 or more per referral!
Viglink – I love VigLink because they track very well and their reporting gives a lot of key data. They also have access to about 35,000 merchants. If you only decide to monetize via affiliates one way, join VigLink. Creating specific product links is a breeze with their bookmarklet and you can monetize just about any store you can think of with their massive library of merchants. The best part? They offer exclusive high commission rates for some merchants (like Nordstrom, for example).
Reward Style – the most popular sub-network in the fashion blogging world. They are the creators of the Like2Knowit app that allows you to monetize your Instagram posts in a way. Top publishers are making $100,000 per month while hundreds of publishers are making $1000s per month. Like VigLink, they offer high-commission rates for some retailers. The biggest complaint I have with them is their reporting is awful. You only know which links performed well, but you are not give details about which products are selling. That is HUGE information that you’re not getting.
Shopstyle Collective – very popular pay-per-click network that pays for every link clicked. They have access to paid links from a massive amount of merchants in the fashion industry like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and more.
Sponsored Content Networks
These are large networks with a lot of bloggers/Instagrammers in them. They seek out sponsored opportunities that you can apply for as a member. It’s a nice way of getting sponsored posts without having to go out and pitch yourself.
Activate by Bloglovin – provides a lot of really good opportunities. Sign up for their emails and they’ll send you all of their opportunities that you can apply for.
Collectively – one of my favorites. They work with some great brands and they pay good rates.
IZEA – a LOT of opportunities here.
Linqia – sponsored posts that pay per click. You are given a goal, but even if you don’t reach it, you get paid for the clicks you did get.
Massive Sway – the network created by the SITS Girls offers sponsored posts from a variety of brands.
Pollinate Media – Even less campaigns than Clever Girls, but some decent ones.
PopSugar Select – sponsored campaigns for fashion, food, beauty fitness and mom blogs.
Real Clever – less campaigns than some of the others, but the ones they do have are pretty good.
Social Fabric – a lot of grocery and food based sponsored posts with fairly picky requirements, but they pay decently and on time.
Social Stars – good opportunities from this newer network.
While not actual money, referral credits can be just as good as money if it’s used to purchase something that you would have bought anyway. Also, sometimes it’s okay to just rack up a little bit of fun money at some of the stores below. Note: many of these companies also have affiliate programs where you can earn actual money, but it will be a lower amount than the credits you can earn.
Blue Apron – credit (amount varies) for each person you refer.
Cell Phone Companies – check with yours- most companies (Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc) have a referral program which gets you $25 or more off of a bill for referring new customers.
Cable companies offer a bounty for referring customers. DirecTV actually gives you $100 toward your bill(s) so that’s significant!
Dropbox – get 500mb of space (up to 16GB) for each referral.
Gilt – earn $25 after your referral’s first order ships.
Groupon – get $10 in credit for everyone who you refer with your special link.
Hello Fresh – $50 off for your friend and $50 for you each time you refer someone who buys.
Hulu – get 2 weeks of free credits (and so does your referral) for sending people to Hulu Plus.
Postmates – credit for you and discounts for each person you refer.
Rue La La – get $10 for everyone you refer who makes a purchase. The nice part here is that they can join one day and make a purchase 3 weeks later and you still get credit for the purchase.
The Honest Company – get $20 for everyone who you refer who makes a purchase or starts a subscription.
ThredUp – get $10 for everyone you refer who makes a purchase. ThredUp makes it easy by giving everyone you refer a $10 credit to get them started.
*Bonus – my local pest control company has a referral program. Don’t hesitate to ask around – especially if you have a local audience.
*I could go on for pages and pages listing places with referral programs, so I’ll stop here, but that doesn’t mean you have to!
While I subscribe to the philosophy that free products don’t pay the bills, some people aren’t blogging for money, so free products are totally fine. Additionally, if a free product is something that you would have purchased anyway, it’s money saved, which is the same as money earned in my book.
BlogDash – write reviews of products that are sent to you for free. With clients like HP, Sands Resorts and Intel, you could land some nice freebies.
Tomoson – join and apply to receive free products in exchange for reviews on your blog.
Wolf at Best Buy – sponsored posts from Best Buy in return for free products.
Another trend in blogging is to use your blog as a trampoline into the product/services sales business. Using your blog to connect with potential customers can be a great way of promoting your business.
Etsy – sell craft/diy/art things among others at the one of internet’s most popular stores.
Instagram sales – a popular thing with fashion bloggers is holding sales on Instagram for their clothing. Quite a few bloggers make decent extra cash doing this. Running these sales on Instagram means you avoid eBay/etsy/Amazon seller fees.
MLM businesses – use your blog to promote your essential oil, Avon, Mary Kay, Stella & Dot and other mlm business.
eBooks – write an eBook around your content (or about anything) and sell it on your blog. Tutorials, guides and recipe books are also options.