I've been a personal style blogger for just over three years. When I first began, I had no idea about the potential for my blog to be not only a fun and rewarding hobby, but a potentially lucrative outlet for my love of sharing my style and shopping adventures. As I gained more experience, grew my network and then started working here at IFB, I became more and more interested in how I could monetize my site. I'm not a full-time style blogger, nor do I frequently garner high-paying sponsored content or paid hosting or brand ambassador opportunities. For me, and I'm sure for many of you as well, blogging is currently a side project, so my monetizing channels are mostly self-realized – meaning I create, implement and manage them myself.
So, what goes into a money-making blog post? The tool that makes commissions possible is obviously crucial, but it's not just the links that actually monetize – it's each element of the post working together to create a composite that inspires sales. From personal experience, reading other blogs and the research I've done through IFB, I've nailed down five elements that make up a money-making personal style post.
- Clear images that showcase the full look and highlight key items
- Easy-to-find affiliate links to items currently available for purchase online
- Engaging copy
- A search engine-friendly headline
- Social media promotion
On my personal blog as well as Eat, Sleep, Denim, I also like to include detail shots that highlight the shoes, the bag or anything else unique or cool about my outfit (especially if I'm going to link out to it with an affiliate).
2. Affiliate Links
We broke down the basics of choosing affilate networks yesterday, so once you've applied and gotten set up with one (or many), it's time to start embedding those links in your content (put them in archived posts, too). Below, I've broken down my outfit literally from head to toe, listing out all the items I could use as potential commission-earning affiliate links (I am a member of both Fashion Traffic and rewardStyle). With each post and look you create, you'll have to decide how many items you want to link, and what your readers might actually buy. The key to successful use of affiliate links is to make their precence feel both natural and helpful to your readers.
The Head-to-Toe Break-Down:
- Topshop petites military shirt: $68
- $4.76 potential commission from Topshop.com via rewardStyle
- James Jeans ‘Twiggy' legging in Vanilla: $167
- $17.54 potential commission from BlueFly.com via rewardStyle
- Coach Legacy iPad clutch: $178
- No affiliate links found
- Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses: $145
- $18.27 potential commission from zappos.com via rewardStyle
- Michael Kors watch (similar): $250
- $26.25 potential commission from Nordstrom.com via rewardStyle
- Kenneth Jay Lane bracelet (similar): $112
- $3.62 potential commission from rewardStyle
- NARS ‘Heat Wave' lipstick: $24
- $3.60 potential commission from sephora.com via FashionTraffic
With each piece, I searched both of the affiliate networks to which I belong, looking for the highest commission rate both within that network as well as among the different merchants (sometimes the difference can be as much as double). For example, the highest commission possible for the jeans was found on rewardStyle, but the options varied greatly:
As a blogger you want to set yourself up for the highest potential earnings. You can see above that Piperlime has these jeans on sale, which might encourage more sales, but with much lower earnings per sale. Which way you go is up to you, and how you believe your readers shop. (If you wear a lot of vintage or thrifted items at once, this kind of monetization is going to be a bit trickier, but you can always search for similar items to yours and link out to those as an alternative option for your readers.)
3. Engaging Copy
True, some successful bloggers like Blair of Atlantic-Pacific and Andy of Style Scrapbook rely much more heavily on images than text in their posts – but many of us really enjoy (and gain readers with) our written content. Personally, I love the combination of show and tell that style blogging allows. Explaining to your readers why you like something, what else you might wear it with, an anecdote from your shopping experience – these elements create a more personal bond with your readers, one that will earn their trust and hopefully inspire them to shop right from your post.
4. A Search Engine-friendly Headline
Oh, SEO. It's a beautifull thing, isn't it? When you're hoping to make money from your personal style posts, incorperating keywords into your headline can be a crucial step for drawing in potential new readers (who may make purchases). Organic search is a key traffic-driver – so don't miss out on this opportunity. Whether you're exemplifying a key fall trend or showing how to wear a black dress three ways, be sure your headline says as much.
5. Social Media Promotion
Once your post goes live, sharing it on your social media channels is pretty par-for-the-course for us bloggers. For added monetization potential, you can use your same affiliate links in tweets (and Instagrams you push out to Twitter) and don't forget to pin them on Pinterest as well. (On Pinterest, be sure to mention that the item you're pinning is one you're wearing on your blog.)
So there you have it, that's how I monetize my personal style posts. What about you? Are there other elements you use to encourage purchasing and earn money through your blog?