How to make extra income through your blog & Instagram (in a non-sleazy way)
I don’t think I’ve ever hidden the fact that I’d like to make a decent living through my blog and online creativity. That’s not a bad thing. That’s not me ‘selling out’ or becoming a capitalist. That’s just me wanting to contribute to the household income by doing something I love and feel passionate about.
There are a variety of ways in which I can make money. No income stream is massive but by doing multiple income steams they all add up and help towards 1) the running of this blog and YouTube account and 2) paying the mortgage.
But one way in which I don’t want to earn money is though a ‘sell sell sell’ environment. I don’t want to be constantly advertising to my lovely audience, I don’t want to be constantly telling them (you) to sign up for my course or to become a patron through Patreon.
I feel these things have to happen naturally and not through pressure. It has to be a good fit. This might mean my growth is slower but, so be it. I’m not doing it at the expense of the people who make time and effort to read my blog, to follow me on Instagram or watch my YouTube videos and subscribe to my channel.
One of the ways I make a bit of extra income is through sponsored posts, or adverts, on my Instagram feed. With these I turn down more than I take on because they just don’t suit me or my audience.
But the one I want to chat to you about right now is making a bit of extra cash through affiliate income. When I recommend a book or another product I place an affiliate link. Either on my blog or on the swipe up function of my Instagram Stories. And this affiliate link gives me a few pence if the person buys through that link.
This is at no extra expense to the buyer, I might add. It is just something companies do when they sell online.
So, how do I do this?
Well the first one, and most obvious one, is though Amazon. Now Amazon’s affiliate terms are not brilliant. The percentage you earn is small and the cookies only last twenty-four hours (I think) on someones computer. That means the buyer has to buy within twenty-four hours of clicking through on your link. If they click, have a look, then buy 48 hours later, for example, after thinking about it, you don’t get anything.
But it’s still worth doing just for the effort of converting a normal link into an affiliate one.
For me in December on amazon the conversion rate is about 5%. This month, to date, I’ve sold about £112 worth of products through my links and made the grand total of £7.49. As with most affiliate programmes payment will not be made until you reach a certain threshold. If you don’t meet the threshold one month it’ll carry on over to the next.
With Amazon you can do simple links to products and/or you can create a store front (like mine).
The second way in which I earn affiliate income is through Awin. Awin is slightly different. Firstly you have to sign up and be approved and pay a fee of £5 (in UK) I imagine it’s similar in other countries. I put off signing up to Awin for ages and ages because I thought - I have to pay???.
But I’ve been signed up for six weeks or so now and already I’ve earned back what I’ve paid out just from two product-based blog posts.
It works as you request to partner with various brands through the network. I’ve requested Joules, Etsy and Paperchase so far. And was turned down by John Lewis despite this being one of my favourite shops! Sophie Allport sent me a request which I accepted. And that’s because I like all of those stores and have bought products from them in the past. They might not all pay the best conversion rates but I’d rather do a store I recommend from personal experience that pays less than one that pays more but I cannot personally recommend. I tell you, there’s enough pretence in this online world as it is. I want no part in that.
I have done two blog posts with Awin links:
A Bookish Christmas Gift Guide - this one was purely Etsy gifts. I purchased my desk through Etsy a few months ago and was really impressed so that’s why I decided to do it. Etsy gave me a £10 gift card to spend for doing it which I used to buy my daughter’s Hermione print.
Cosy Winter Purchases - this is exactly what it sounds like. The things that I’ve bought for this winter that make me (or the dogs!) feel cosy.
I also do the occasional affiliate link on my Instagram Stories. The slow-feeder dog bowl, from Amazon (pictured above) has made such a massive difference to our puppy I had to mention it.
So how much have I earned in December from Awin? Bearing in mind this is only my sixth week or so of being part of the programme and only two blog posts, I have earned during December £6.64 from £126 worth of sales. This was through Joules and Etsy. The Joules conversion rate was minuscule - Etsy’s is more generous.
I am also part of Skimlinks. This is what I use to create links for brands I am not in partnership with such as Next. I think I’ve earned £2.41 with them since October.
So from this you can see I’m not going to be a millionaire any time soon.
Going forward into 2019 I’d like to increase the amount of make from affiliate income in this non-sleazy way. Books I’ve enjoyed, clothing that I use outdoors, bakeware, cooking products, pet products that I recommend. Things like that that are part of my blog and I would recommend anyway even without an affiliate link.
If I can meet the minimum payout - £25 I think on Amazon and maybe £50 on Awin during each month - I’d be very happy. As I know then that all the expenses from running the blog (Squarespace, music for videos, Adobe etc) are easily covered.
But I have to caveat all of the above with this: If you start a blog or Instagram account purely to make money through affiliate income it won’t work. Why? Because you need to be trusted. Work on that first. Work on creating interesting, useful, inspiring or entertaining content. Then start seeding in affiliate links.
And always mention that the links are affiliate.
(Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate by the way.)