When I first started blogging I had the vague notion that if your blog became popular, you could earn money. Nothing more specific than that. Now I know that if you want to earn money from your website you need to go looking for it – you need to build a site geared to making money. All that happens when your readers increase is your potential to earn increases. These methods and services are what helps me with that hustle.
Food Blogger Pro
Oh how I wish, wish, wish that I had signed up for Food Blogger Pro earlier! The financial outlay put me off for ages. I felt that as I wasn't earning anything, I shouldn't be laying anything out either. I guess I also thought that I wasn't really a 'pro' yet, so the site wouldn't really be applicable to me. All these things were proved entirely wrong the first day I looked round the site after signing up for my first trial month. To be honest, I thought I would sign up for the first month, get as much information as possible during that month and then cancel my subscription. I was wrong about that too.
If I had signed up earlier, I would have done so many things differently. I wouldn't now be laboriously editing all my previous posts for SEO. I would have my hyperlinks set up differently. I would have loads more information about who my readers were. I would be connected to so many helpful, interesting bloggers going through the same trials, tribulations and unbridled joy that I am every day I blog.
Not only is there an incredible amount of beautifully organised useful information, much of it joyously specific to the ins and outs of food blogging as a genre, the forums are an incredible resource. What ever your problem is, someone there will be able to answer it. That's one of the things you pay for really, targeted access to invaluable advice specific to you and your blog. No trawling Google for solutions that may or may not be applicable to your issue. They also have an extremely useful podcast for free tips and advice. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
How to monetize your food blog
Before I read this e-book by Kiersten Frase of Oh My Veggies (it has now been taken on and updated by Pinch of Yum), I had the vague notion that if your blog became popular, you could earn money. Nothing more specific than that. After reading this e-book I understood that if you want to earn money from blogging, you have to go and find it. There wasn't going to be anyone knocking on your door/inbox (okay, they do occasionally) thrusting money into your hand. This book lays out is clear, easy to understand detail exactly how you go about that hustle. It taught me that to earn money, you need to build a site that earns money. All that happens when your readers increase is that you earn more money.
Since then I have adapted my layouts, experimented with banner advertising, produced sponsored posts and created useful content that is a natural fit for affiliate links. These are only a few of the strategies outlined in the book. Everybody's site is run differently, everybody has different goals and standards that they want their site to adhere to. This book can help you, whoever you are and however you want your site to be.
I now have a site that makes money. Not an insane amount of money, but enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you hope to make money from food blogging, I encourage you to read this book as soon as possible – it will change the way you blog.
Geo-targeted Affiliate Links
One of the most effective ways to monetise your site is by generating affiliate commissions on products and services you recommend. I use affiliate links on my site for the various pieces of software, kitchen equipment and ingredients that I am happy to promote – resources I use in my kitchen or to build and run my website. Some of those links work correctly whatever country the buyer is in, but affiliate programmes like Amazon need different links for different countries.
I have experimented with a number of geo-targeting services and plugins, but GeoTargeting Pro (Lite is available in the WordPress directory) is my favourite so far. This plugin uses country-specific shortcodes which enable you to show different text, links and images to readers from different countries. The shortcodes look a bit intimidating at first – for the free Lite option you have to write your own shortcodes – but the Pro version makes this as easy as clicking a button on your WordPress toolbar. And it actually works!