how to grow a blog and monetize a blog

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

how to grow a blog

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).

offer value

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 grow a blog

how to grow a blog

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.

affiliate partner

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.

online ads

the ads that pop up when you visit a site on the web.

sell e-books

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.

sell merchandise

from clothing to books, you can set up a virtual shop.

sell membership

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.

how to grow a blog

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.

collen rothschild skincare

Colleen Rothschild

collen rothschild skincare

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears an outfit from Lord & Taylor, black pattern pants, white tunic blouse, Sam Edelman shoes

Walmart

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears a floral top, denim joggers, gold metallic block sandals, and carries a drawstring crossbody handbag. Walmart we dress America

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.

signature

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for SaaCA. See my complete disclosure policy here.

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13 Comments

  1. Kathleen McDermott wrote:

    I respect and appreciate the tremendous amount of work women like you put into their blogs. I adore fashion/style blogs so joyous and positive and fun! There’s not a woman out there who can’t look fabulous. You help them realize that. I’m 67 and not concerned about whether I “look my age”. I love when I was born and am my age. I just want to look like a pretty, fashionable 67-year-old. YOU, provide such inspiration and guidance. Thank you!

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  2. Great advice! You have certainly built a following and a brand with your style and witty posts. An Oscar!
    Thanks for sharing your tips. I’m an author and these all apply to book marketing as well.

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  3. Suzanne Smith wrote:

    You’ve always done a great job of networking and promoting other folks’ blogs, too. Not only does it help each of you but it brings new folks into each of the bloggers’ folds. You’ve done it all so well. I used to blog for years and then finally closed down my site, but trust me, I know what goes into it. I’ve loved seeing you grow yours and become the confident professional you are. Kudos! Now I’m excited to see Kelly’s, too!

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  4. Linda G wrote:

    I love your blog and the styles you put on it. I’m 69 and like to dress fashionably casual, it’s so nice to see ideas for looking great at this more mature age. Thanks.

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  5. Bobbi Jo wrote:

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I was very helpful to me as I run a blog myself called Two Adorable Labs where I talk about animal health, showcase my two labradors, create recipes for humans and our furry friends, home decor and tablescapes. I don’t have a lot of followers via my blog and am struggling in that area. I’m still fairly new to the process and any time a successful blogger can share their tips, I really appreciate it. So thank you again! You look amazing and I enjoy your blog. Bobbi Jo

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  6. Kara wrote:

    I’m so grateful to have found you; I’ve been a follower for a little over a year. I’m 46, but my style is classic and you are spot on for me. So much of what you post is timeless good taste, and I think women of any age can appreciate that. Thank you for your hard yet beautiful work!

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  7. Lindsey A wrote:

    What I really like and respect about your blog is that you post daily, and that you have informative content.

    There are other bloggers I follow too, (I’m early 40’s so check in with the 30’s women too) but sometimes weeks at a time will pass without a post and it starts getting really frustrating to visit a site and find nothing new – even when only checking once per week. I know a lot goes into it on the back end, but when it is even just a simple weekly post, much less 2-4 weeks without anything, it just looks lazy compared to you!

    And then with others, its basically a big image of products they’ve pulled together, but with no information on why they like them, how to style things, quality of the item etc, so my cynical side kicks in and I feel like I’m just a consumer to them for commissions, not a valued reader.

    With you, I know that after my initial skim of work emails, I can reliably come here and get high quality written content that I’m going to learn something from. And that is why this is one of only two that I check every day (the other being What Kate Wore, as I love the Duchess of Cambridge and her style, and again, that is another really high quality content site, as Susan there explains the purpose for the DoC’s visit and the work that the organization does, before she looks at the fashion, which I really appreciate. Plus the commenting community is also great, same as here).

    So, thank you for your hard work, professionalism and work ethic.

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  8. Deidra A Haywood wrote:

    I am so inspired after reading how you started your blog. There are a few subjects I am interested in and can perhaps fill a void. I just have to stop talking about all of my ideas and get to doing something about it. Thanks for the information, It will be very helpful to me in pursuing my destiny!!!

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  9. Tami wrote:

    What a timely post Beth! I have been inspired by YOU in so many ways over the past year since I have followed you. I am 59, a grandmother, elementary teacher and full-time, live-in caregiver to my 87 year old mother. I had become very unhealthy over the years. I was extremely overweight, due to the stress that comprised my “normal” After following you, I began to elevate my wardrobe, using the style tips you offered. You inspired me to take care of “me” first and I have dropped over 50 pounds and become more fit than I have been since my 20’s (I am a former dancer). My lifestyle and style transformation has so inspired people I know that I decided I wanted to work towards becoming a social media influencer myself! I have a name and a niche in mind, however, I just needed some guidance in getting things off the ground! My dream is to be able to retire from teaching children and work full time as a blogger. Thank you, on so many levels, for the time, effort and intentionality that you have created with this blog! Blessings!

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  10. Mary C wrote:

    Hi, Beth. I didn’t realize the extent of your venture and it’s good to know how much work goes into all the lovely and informative posts you put up. I really value Style At A Certain Age and look forward to your posts daily.

    Posted 11.12.20 Reply
  11. Dora Renata Pala wrote:

    Gentile Beth, ti seguo costantemente sempre, sei un po’ come avere un amica che abita dall’altra parte del mio mondo(Centro Italia) ho aperto Instagram qualche settimana fa con piccole foto di qualcosa di piacevole nella mia vita quotidiana nessuno lo sa perché mi sentivo un po’ supersuperficiale, sono volontaria per assistere i malati di tumore(Ant) e quindi uno scenario completamente diverso Sono appassionata di balletto classico perciò il mio Instagram è margotfontayne38 come il mio idolo, la grande ballerina donna di grande spessore eleganza e con una vita non facile. Grazie di avermi dedicato un momento del tuo tempo.

    Posted 11.13.20 Reply
  12. Vicki Holtzman wrote:

    I enjoy your blog and read it daily, love the classics and so happy to see someone our age look so beautiful.

    Posted 11.13.20 Reply
  13. Great advice Beth! It takes a lot of hard work and dedication and obviously great content. Thank you for sharing.
    Hope to work with you one day.

    Posted 11.13.20 Reply
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