this post sponsored by ShopStyle Collective
from time to time, readers ask how i started blogging. or i’ll have a newbie blogger email asking advice on how to grow a blog and/or monetize a blog? how many hours per week do i work? how do i come up with new content? what’s the best way to work with an affiliate network? what’s an affiliate network anyway? then there are more questions about social channels; how do you build a social media presence from scratch on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest? what equipment does YouTube require or Instagram Stories? what’s the best microphone? and many of you wonder when i partner with brands if i really get to keep all those clothes, makeup, or skincare products… yes, yes, and yes. who knew blogging was the best job in the world?! certainly not me. at least not in the beginning. but the best part and the one i love most is that i get to talk to you, my lovely readers, every day.
since i fell into this career quite by accident (read how i started blogging), i had no clue that a blog could be monetized or that i could work with amazing brands like Talbots, Ann Taylor, Walmart, or Colleen Rothschild; it was a steep learning curve at the beginning. i didn’t even know what an affiliate link was or how to use one. but i did have a passion for fashion, and readers kept asking where i purchased this or that. which is what kept me going in the early days as i navigated the responsibilities of operating a blog: taking photos, writing content for daily blog posts, creating sponsored content, sending emails to subscribers, engaging with readers on the blog and social channels (these days we can field over five hundred comments per day on the combined platforms). when you tally all of those working hours, you can see that blogging is a serious commitment and then some. and i haven’t even touched on the technical side of the business or how much it costs to host a blog or negotiating contracts, or, well, let’s start with the basics on how to grow a blog and how to monetize a blog. who knows? there might be a budding food blogger or lifestyle blogger who will read this post besides my daughter-in-law kelly, who recently introduced Djalali Cooks. and i’m happy to share ShopStyle Collective is launching the Standard Program suited for the micro or nano-influencer to learn affiliate marketing, audience growth, and content creation. now that’s good news!
how to grow a blog
before a blog can earn money or monetize, it needs to grow an audience. when i started this blogging venture, i started just like everyone else with zero followers. at the time, i was scratching my head on how to grow a blog. it seemed overwhelming since i had five Facebook friends… fast forward five years when we average over one million readers/viewers per month across Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. you might be wondering how Style at a Certain Age grew from zero to over a million per month? well, i’m happy to share a few tips i learned along the way to becoming an authority in the blogosphere. but i will mention ShopStyle Collective has been instrumental in offering me the tools, guidance, and resources necessary to succeed. now they’re offering those same tools to aspiring influencers with the Standard Program. it’s easy to sign up.
know your niche
when i started blogging over five years ago, i was fifty-six, just about to turn fifty-seven. at the time, i was vaguely aware that twenty-somethings were posting outfits of the day. in my mind, i couldn’t help but wonder that a fifty-something could do the same. so i focused on our unique niche group – women over fifty. not only do i love to share style tips with women of a certain age, but i also explore topics within our age bracket to fulfill our specific needs. growing older is new to all of us, but i know we all want to age with grace, strength, and beauty.
deliver quality content
content is king. from the get go i knew my job was to create engaging content that readers would love. and i’ve always put my readers first. which means curating the best photos (we’ve come a long way baby), and writing the best copy (english majors, i don’t use capitalization. it’s a stylistic choice. but punctuation and grammar are spot-on. the content is vetted by a linguistic PH.D. from Stanford).
whether it’s learning something new or finding a solution to a problem, it’s important to offer helpful information.
establish your authority
build your presence across all social channels and build a strong social media following. is it challenging to build an authentic social media presence? absolutely! but from the early days of the blog, i decided authenticity was of utmost importance. and i didn’t want to rely on one social channel alone. it was also important to me to redirect the social channels back to my blog. at the end of the day, i can’t control Instagram or Facebook, run by hand-selected CEOs. last spring, my Facebook account was hacked, which took several weeks to sort out and claim it for my own once again. during that ordeal, Style at a Certain Age kept going strong because i wasn’t dependent on one social channel. the blog is the only piece of real estate i own. and i get to be my own CEO. what’s better than that?!
how to monetize a blog
there are several ways to earn revenue from a blog. i listed ten streams of income below. but today, my main focus is on affiliate marketing.
what exactly is affiliate marketing? i have to admit i had no clue about affiliate links when i first started blogging. but inserting a link that redirects my reader to the clothing or home item i’m discussing in my blog post is a heck of a lot easier than fielding questions about where to purchase said item. with affiliate links, i also earn a commission every time you purchase an item i’ve featured. that’s where ShopStyle Collective comes in to make life easier. ShopStyle is the affiliate marketing company that gives me the tools, resources, and guidance i need to succeed. ShopStyle Collective is also launching the Standard Program for aspiring influencers. if you’re just starting in the blogosphere, the Standard Program is right up your ally. sign up here. ShopStyle Collective is dedicated to helping influencers achieve their goals and score campaigns, and work with brands you love. The Standard Program is a simplified version of the current ShopStyle Collective platform and supports influencers with under 10,000 followers. it offers straightforward tools consisting of Text Links and simplified analytics to understand how your content performs.
write sponsored posts
sponsored posts. yes, every blogger’s dream is to work with brands. but how does a partnership between a blogger and a brand transpire? do you make cold sales calls? do brands reach out to you? where does one begin? well, that’s where ShopStyle Collective can help. once you sign up for the Standard Program, you can start to earn affiliate commissions and be on your way to working with brands.
the ads that pop up when you visit a site on the web.
create a book that compiles your expertise.
sell online courses
create and teach a course online.
create a webinar
host your courses with a live audience.
host a virtual summit
create and host a conference.
offer consulting services
share your expertise one-to-one.
from clothing to books, you can set up a virtual shop.
business and subscription models are becoming increasingly popular. think Netflix. membership is a gated community where members subscribe monthly or yearly to have access to your content.
here are a few fun facts about blogs.
- the majority of bloggers are women.
- 77% of internet users read blogs.
- 6.7 million people blog on blogging sites.
- 12 million people blog via social networks.
a big thank you to ShopStyle Collective for this sponsored post. and thank you, lovely readers, for supporting the brands that allow me to bring you fresh ideas.