Would you like to make money from your blog? Perhaps you harbour dreams of making the move from amateur blogger to professional writer or journalist?

A while ago I reviewed the expert telephone service from Greatvine, and found it really interesting, so I very happily agreed when they offered me the chance to review their new email expert service.

Because the question and answer are exchanged via email, I thought it would be great to ask a question that you all might be interested in, and to then reproduce the answer in full, so that you can get an idea of exactly what you get for your money.

My expert was Joycellyn Akuffo, a journalist and online business coach, and founder and editor of Mothers Who Work. I asked Joycellyn this:

"Make money from blogging"

Grab that cash

What advice do you have for ‘mummybloggers’ who want to turn their hobby into a job? How can someone go from being a blogger to a paid writer, earning a living while at the same time working flexibly around their family?

The answer came back to me in less than 24 hours, even though it was a weekend, and Joycellyn’s answer was very thorough. I would have perhaps liked to have seen some further sources of information included – it was an email, so it would have been easy to include hyperlinks – but then to be fair my question was fairly broad. I guess too that the experts want to leave scope for further questions!

Here is what Joycellyn said, so you can decide for yourself. Do let me know if you find it useful.

Writing and blogging – these days you could be forgiven for thinking that they are all the same. Some bloggers really know their stuff and they have a natural knack of getting the point across to thous ands of people every day or month.

But the two specialties differ, and with it does the training involved or required, and the income can vary too.

Making money from a blog

Let’s start with blogging. First of all a blog can be run by someone who isn’t a writer – most of them are owned by non-professional writers. Some are run by professional writers, journalists and editors.

There are a number of ways to make money from a blog, but they all require one basic thing – traffic and lots of it. So here goes:

1. Search Engine Advertising – this can be using the age-old Google Adsense ads. You would have seen text ads on some blogs, with Google Ads written on them, and sometimes banner ads, again with the Google branding on them. These won’t make you rich, but  if your blog gets lots of traffic, you could probably pay for your hosting or a handbag and shoes three or four times a year. How much you make will depend on the top ic of your blog (these ads are keyword based), and the cost that advertisers are prepared to pay for each click in the sector. Some keywords cost as little as a penny, others cost a couple to a few pounds.

Other search engines like Yahoo and Bing also have their own advertising programmes that basically do the same as Google Adsense.

2. Affiliate Marketing – this is when you promote other people’s products and services on your blog. You can sign up to affiliate platforms like Tradedoubler.com, Affiliatewindow.com and Clickbank.com and start adding links and banners from well-known brands to your website.

These can bring in commission as little as 5% per sale to around 20% per sale. Some schemes (though few and far between these days) will pay per click like Google Adsense, but they are mainly cat per action (this can be per sign-up for surveys, for example, or a purchase).

Many people like promoting relevant products on Amazon th rough their affiliate programme, but like all of these schemes, it won’t make you a millionaire.

3. Direct Advertising – this is when you deal with a brand or company directly. Either you call and speak with their marketing department or they contact you. This form of advertising could be a sponsored post, where they supply you with an article (or you can charge a little extra to write a post yourself).

A lot of advertising agencies do this and will contact blogs offering a pittance to put a post up to see if the blogger will either be too inexperienced to know they are being ripped off, or are too desperate to tell them where to go!

Sponsored ads can bring in from say £50-£500 per post, and will depend on not only your website’s traffic, but also your page rank.

If you’re interested in this form of making money, you should really create a media pack. This is usually a PDF which you can send out to advertisers when they request it (or when you’re trying to get advertising off your own back), and will contain details about your blog’s traffic stats, the type of people who visit your website, a rate card (cost of advertising) and contact details.

4. Selling Products/Services – if you can sell products or a service (like webinars, membership or other service), you can start to make ‘proper’ money. You will basically be providing something that your website visitors need and want and keep them coming back for more. It doesn’t have to be lots of products or services – sometimes just one or a handful will do the trick.

To move from being a mummyblogger to a money-making mummyblogger, you could use a mix of the above, or option 4. With a product that people want and need, and with enough promotion, your blog could become a business run by you, in your own time, generating the income that you need to sustain the right work-life balance that your family needs.

Writers

Without teaching a chicken to suck eggs, a writer is usually a person who writes books, or may come from say a medical background and is seen as an expert, so starts writing a column or a regular feature for a publication or website. Journalists are sometimes (incorrectly) lumped into the same group – especially freelance journalists, but clearly they come from a media background and have had the training and experience looking for a story and crafting it etc.

Writers of books and novels may not necessarily be trained. Some may have taken a creative writing course, if their interest is in books.

Journalists, like I said earlier are trained. They would usually have done a media writing course, a media law course and have worked on various publications – some have a specialty and some don’t…a journalist is trained to be able to write about any subject, you see.

If you are a blogger who is an expert, you could make money spiriting books. These days, you don’t need a great big publisher to succeed – thanks to Kindle and just having the ability to sell your own ebooks from any website. How much you make really depends on how much interest or need there is for your subject area, and how much promotion you can do. A lot of these types of writers often get a break with one good media push and then they get in a bestseller’s list and start raking in the cash!

Journalists usually pitch an idea to an editor. This is a small proposal of a few paragraphs which details what the article is going to be about, plus an idea of case studies/expert quotes etc.

What they are paid will vary – smaller publications can pay as little as £250 for a 1,000-word article…maybe less if the journalist has less experience. Larger publications like the nationals can pay up to and in excess of £1,000 for an investigative piece or a good celebrity interview. Again, it depends on the experience of the journalist and the editor’s budget.

Today I have a recipe for you, a recipe for the ultimate cheesecake.

We were out for lunch at a lovely restaurant today called At The Chapel in Bruton, to celebrate my sister’s birthday, when I came across said cheesecake recipe. While we were finishing our lunch, the venue was being prepared for a wedding party, and the wedding cake, made of cheese, was taking pride of place on the bar.

"cheesecake recipe"

Please pass the crackers

To make this beautiful cheesecake for yourself, follow my simple cheesecake recipe:

  1. Place one massive cheese on a large wooden board.
  2. Place a slightly less massive cheese on top.
  3. Then add another large, but more manageable cheese.
  4. Finally, finish the tower with an ordinary sized cheese.

Enjoy!

What do you reckon? Is the power of suggestion enough to rid you of food cravings and help you lose weight?

Apparently so…

For a few weeks now I’ve been trying out a new weight loss technique from Thinking Slimmer. The theory is that it’s not a diet at all, rather a shift in the way you think about food, which means you will lose weight without the need for willpower. This is a good job, because I don’t have any.

Every night for at least 21 days to start with, you have to listen to a recording – your ‘Slimpod’ – and over time you form new habits and new ways of thinking. According to the website, the Slimpod will “gently change your relationship to food and exercise by retuning the way your mind works, so you never diet again. There’s no calorie counting, no horrible tasting food replacements, no hunger pangs, no anguish, no guilt and no pain.”

There is the added bonus too that the man on the recording sounds a lot like Jude Law, and having Jude Law whisper how confident and lovely you are in your ear as you lie in bed every night is rather nice.

Sounds all too good to be true doesn’t it?

Well, I’ve listened to mine now for the initial 21 days and I must say I really have noticed differences in the way I think about food. Normally I think about food a lot, and I mean a lot, but it was less than a week into the trial before I began to find my thoughts less consumed with food than they normally are. It wasn’t a dramatic shift, just a gradual realisation that I was going for longer without thinking about snacking. When it does come to eating I seem to have a much more ‘take it or leave it’ approach, which makes it much easier to make the right choices.

"cupcake"

No thank you.

Saying no to puddings doesn’t feel like I’m depriving myself anymore, it feels like a positive choice, and this is a massive difference for me. I haven’t lost any weight yet (although I haven’t gained any either), but apparently this is OK, as it’s a long-term lifestyle change. I will keep listening, and let you know when the weight does start to shift.

Alongside my Slimpod, I’ve been listening to a Fitpod, designed to make you feel more inclined to exercise. To motivate me even further, I was given some fancy sportswear by Debenhams. My not very encouraging family took some pictures of me in it.

“Not like that,” said Boyfriend, “you look ridiculous. Just stand still! What’s wrong with your face?” Talk about pressure.

“Try and look sporty?” suggested Bee. So I did.

"Debenhams sports wear"

Me looking sporty

“Oh dear,” said Bee, “not like that. Try something else.”

“How about a bit of casual stretching?” I said.

"Debenhams sportswear"

Casual stretching

“Well, it’s better than the sporty look,” she admitted, “but still weird.”

We gave up in the end, and I went off to my netball match. My new sports gear does make me feel more professional on court than when I used to go in a pair of old pyjama bottoms and a Johnny Cash t-shirt, but to be honest I haven’t noticed the effects of the Fitpod as much as the Slimpod, and would still rather have a little sit down 95% of the time if given the choice.

I did wonder if it’s because the Slimpod comes first on my playlist, and I’m always snoozing by the second track, but I’ve been reassured it shouldn’t matter if I fall asleep.

Perhaps my laziness is just more deeply ingrained than my greed.

 

I use ‘swimwear’ in the loosest possible sense here, as actually, I can’t really swim.

Bit of a shocker isn’t it? I’ve never learnt proper strokes or breathing or anything, but I could once manage to get up and down the pool without drowning. I seem to have forgotten though. Now when I try to swim, Belle says I like look a walrus having a fit.

Not sexy.

Because of the shame of not being able to swim, I’ve never really felt I can justify spending money on swimwear, so when we went to Spain last year my choice was between a black one piece that straps my boobs down like I’m auditioning for a male part in a panto, and a ‘bikini’ made up of two very brightly coloured but clashing pieces from a discount bin in Monsoon.

Again, not terribly sexy.

This year I’m only going to Cornwall, but you never know, the rain may let off for long enough for me to want to lie on the beach, with the potential for paddling, so I feel I should splash out* on something that doesn’t make me look like a weirdo.

So, while I was meant to be working, I had a casual browse at Panache Swimwear, and am thinking of buying this:

"panache bikini"

Should I? Shouldn’t I?

What do you think? My finger is hovering over the ‘checkout’ button, but I’m just not sure. Obviously I’m under no illusion that I would actually look like that in it, but still, it would definitely be better than what I have now. On the down side, if I do buy it, it will most likely rain for the entirety of the holiday.

What should I do?

*See what I did there? Splash out? I’m so funny.

How do you feel about dressing up?

Fancy dress is one of those things that’s a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it.

I knew when I picked ‘burlesque’ as a fancy dress theme for a birthday party a few years back that I was taking a chance – not everyone is as keen as me to dress up for a party in just their pants – but fortunately for me the majority of my friends are exhibitionists, so I had a pretty good turn out.

"Burlesque fancy dress"

Who doesn’t love an excuse to wear their pants on the outside of their fishnets?

I was single at the time, and inclined to fill my time with odd projects, so I turned my shed into a cocktail den, painting it inside and out, and fitting it with fairylights and a home-made bar, beautifully crafted from a bookcase and a couple of offcuts. Black lace really does hide a multitude of sins.

For the party I had for ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day’ I had a range of pirate themed cocktails, and made my own skull and crossbones bunting. My friend Andy went as far as to grow a beard especially.

"Pirate fancy dress"

Try as she might, Nicky didn’t manage to grow a beard in time for the party

Perhaps my most expensive party was the one I had to mark my 32nd birthday – an important milestone in anyone’s life. The theme that year was ‘Grease’, and with the help of a hired jukebox, my kitchen became a diner for the evening.

"Grease fancy dress"

A T-bird casually hangs out at the jukebox

Whatever the occasion, whether it be a full on Burlesque experience or simply putting bin liners on your kids in place of Halloween costumes, I don’t think a person can fail to be cheered by a bit of dressing up.

Why not check out the fancy dress at fancydressball.co.uk and get inspired for your next birthday?

“Please can I have my study back?” I ask Belle, picking my way through the teddies lined up on the floor, notebooks at their feet, where a game of ‘schools’ was abandoned some days ago.

“Argh!” she replies. (It’s more of a snort and groan in one, but it’s hard to put into a word.) “But then I’ll have to carry all the teddies downstairs, and then come back up and carry the notebooks down, and then come up again and take down their school tables!”

“Um… yes,” I agree, “that is rather the point.”

Five minutes later though and we were regretting our insistence that Belle took everything down herself. The red leather ex-nightclub cube seats she had been using as desks left a selection of interesting red stains on the walls as she manoeuvred them down the stairs. A more cynical mother might wonder if she did it on purpose, like when men deliberately make a hash out of the chores they don’t want to be asked to do again.*

Normally I’m not really the type to care much about stains – I’m much more of a ‘rub it quickly into the carpet with my foot’ kind of person – but since we moved to Bristol, and had to put down a mahoosive deposit on our rented house, suddenly stains seem a lot more important. I can’t think why.

Recently we came back from a night away, to a selection of mysterious stains. It turned out that Bee had ‘had a few friends over’ while we were gone. Coffee stains on the table were easy to identify, and the smell of beer from the carpet gave us a clue there, but the waist height purple lines all around the dining room walls had us baffled for ages.

"coffee rings"

Coffee anyone?

We were sure they weren’t there before, but we just couldn’t think where they could have come from. And then I spotted my purple hula hoop in the corner of the room…

Funnily enough, the supermarket doesn’t stock anything designed to get hula hoop marks off walls, so if you have any stain removal tips please do let me know.

*Pure sexist slander.