how do bloggers make money?

the business of blogging

Some of you who read my blog may be familiar with how the blogging world works and some of you may not. Because I base this entire site on transparency I thought it best to stop and explain the business of blogging, blogging income and the economy behind it.

First, it’s important you understand that I blog out of joy. I started this bluegraygal journey by accident in November 2015. What started out as an experiment, quickly grew into a full on “job” that suits my personality well. I’ve always documented life, written and am an open book personality. If you never watched the video I made over a year ago about my story, I hope you will.

Once bluegraygal started I spent so much time on it, that it seemed only appropriate to see if I could make money while doing what I love. So I worked hard to understand the business of blogging and apply it to my passion. After all, the time it takes to do this takes me away from my family and really becomes work, therefore I try to get compensated for it in various ways.

blogging income & the blogging myth

You don’t automatically make money by being a blogger. And once you do have blogger income, it’s gas money at best. It’s a slow climb that like anything else, comes with a lot of work, a dedication to producing quality content and opening your own doors to partnerships!

affiliate links

I’ve been accepted into a few affiliate marketing programs, one of which is very hard to be accepted into, that allow me to make a lot of my links commissionable. What this means is that when I share a link that says I love this dress from White House Black Market and shoes from Nordstrom, those links have a built in tracking codes that allows me to make a small commission if you buy something from those websites.

Black fitted dress from White House Black Market with white cross body bag and Valentino Gold Studded Sandals. Photo in front of pink door in St Barths.

The catch – if you visit that website from my blog, and then go to another website where you see an ad say, The Nordstrom Anniversary sale after reading my page, and click that they make the commission and not me. So the last link you click is the one who gets the commission.

Note, this is how the world works now so I hope you don’t find it scary – every site from to have trackable links. We are in a new era for sure!

Also, this doesn’t impact you by makeing you pay more. The commission I make is done through the affiliate company who accepted me into their program.

company partnerships

I reach out to companies I love and ask to financially partner with them. Truth – I walk around my house and look at what I personally use and love – everything from hair care to home decor accessories to the plates I use in my kitchen and make a list. I work to find contacts at that company and email them in the hopes of working with them.

Many companies now pay bloggers to promote their products because people like me have a built in audience that they think is appropriate for their brand with proven eyeballs. They may pay me to create content for them and share it with you because they believe in my voice, aesthetic and work to bring you content I believe in.

The catch – not all companies pay for promotion. And those who do pay, may not pay me because my following is considered small by some standards. Sometimes they will give me product in exchange for my endorsement.

Note, I am very choosy with what I agree to promote. Very. I turn down a lot of companies who reach out to me because I just don’t like the product, or I don’t think you’ll want to hear about it. It’s my blog and I want it to be reflective of my taste. So you’ll only see endorsements on my bluegraygal site that I fully support.

instagram + social media

This is the real deal Holyfield in the business of blogging world. Well, for most bloggers in my arena it is. It’s not so true for me, but I’m working towards it. Why? It’s a very easy way for people to get the information they want. I do the hard work of sourcing information or products they want to get, and the interested shoppers get the information fast and easy.

Explaining how the technology works is far away the most difficult one to explain to my audience. Maybe primarily because my audience is over 25 (haa, I don’t feel old but I’m far from being a millennial. I know this because I go to bed at 9pm!) and we just don’t care to do new things. Or maybe it’s because we just don’t know (true for me for so many things) Regardless, my hope is to explain how to use a function on sites like Instagram to get quick links you want without the hassle.

It’s all done through a free app called “LikeToKnowIt.”  It’s actually very similar to Pinterest but it’s incorporated into Instagram. It deserves it’s own post to explain so I hope you’ll read it when it comes out later this week. If for nothing else, to understand the direction of our future generations and how it effects our economy. I find it nothing less than fascinating. I hope you’ll read that in an upcoming post. Sign up for my newsletter to stay informed of posts.


thoughts on the business of blogging?

Would love to hear you weigh in on this. Does any of it surprise you? Interest you? Turn you off of bloggers? Or make this all make sense now?

My hope is that you understand that I, Kelly, build this all myself. I design the website myself, I do all of the search engine optimization myself, I style all of the photos and invest my own money into photographer and work hard to grow my following and have NO assistants. This is a solo project. I hope you don’t feel like I’m coming across salesy. I do this blog out of joy but it’s work, no doubt. And the little blogging income side money that comes with helps my husband feel better when I forget to have dinner ready because I’ve been busy on my computer!

But boy oh boy does it bring my joy and a freedom I haven’t felt in a long time and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and following along!


Please share your thoughts!

%d bloggers like this: