The Perception and Reality of Style Bloggers & Revenue


This week in The Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Holmes brought the colliding worlds of personal style bloggers, fashion week, and monetization mainstream in her feature, “How Style Bloggers Earn Sales Commissions, One Click at a Time; Blog Links That Redirect Readers to Retail Sites Are Expanding to Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.” 

Here's an excerpt;

“Self-employed personal style bloggers have been embraced by the notoriously closed fashion industry, were the programs are a natural fit with the industry’s brand-centric, advice-heavy culture. Links are subtler than in-your-face display ads, and they are far simpler than the elaborate partnerships some brands have brokered with bloggers in exchange for sponsored posts, personal appearances and social-media mentions.

Acting as middlemen between retailers and bloggers, and helping attract more of each, are affiliate networks. In exchange for its own fee or percentage, a network provides the necessary technology to create links and track purchases, and writes commission checks. It verifies whether a blogger is worth doing business with, and brokers new relationships and deals”

For those unfamiliar with the blogging world, it certainly was well-researched and written, providing a solid insight into the general stream of revenue and sway that personal style bloggers capture and hold, however, I thought it would be helpful to IFB's community to further elaborate on some of the main points that this feature shares, and the video with the article is certainly worth a watch!

Here's what's important to consider from this piece:

You've Got to Have the Traffic Before You Start to See the Revenue

“A $40 trench coat Ms. Tanita linked to last fall sold out, she says, and hundreds of people bought a romper she posted,” reports Elizabeth Holmes. Just think about it for a minute; for a number in the hundreds of one item to be sold from a single blog link, first you have to have a high ratio of people reading your post, to then clicking through, having the item in their size, adding it to the cart, and buying it. There's no way around it, but you've really got to have incredible traffic before you're going to be making major bank off of your blog. I can't say of you get 100,000 unique visits in a month than you will be making a livable income off of your blog's affiliate links, but can say with certainty that this is the exception rather than the norm.

Don't Feel Bad If RewardStyle Didn't Accept You Into Its Program

According to the article, “The network accepts only about 10% of those who apply, says Amber Venz Box, RewardStyle’s co-founder and president.”

I know many bloggers who weren't accepted or shut out of the program after not meeting revenue minimums, which can really make you feel badly about yourself and your blog's position. Don't worry, they aren't the only option, and they may not be the best match for your blog anyways. Keep working on and perfecting your blog and it's branding, and apply for other programs; there are PLENTY of other ones out there, as well as those held with brands and retailers individually, with a few mentioned in the article for reference (ShopSense, Rakuten Affiliate Network).

Rule of Thumb: Post Current and Affordable Shopping Options

If you truly want to maximize your affiliate links, think from the consumer's perspective. The bloggers quoted in this piece offered up more affordable alternative when they featured designer luxury goods or items no longer available. The easier you make it for your reader, the more likely they will become a customer and purchase something that you linked to. Don't link to something that may be sold out, is one-of-a-kind, or only have one or two sizes options available, as this can be frustrating for the reader.

Sidenote: it's a good idea to have in your “about” section a privacy policy and disclosure about your affiliate marketing tools and the cookies that they may set our on your readers' computers.

 Your Photos REALLY Need to Be Good

It pains me to say this, but all of the top-grossing blogs may be varied in content, but unified in their image quality, and it is GOOD.

Even lesser known blogs have stellar photos, and in this day and age, you really need to carefully edit your photos to share just the best ones, and they need to be of professional quality. Times have changed and you can't just throw up any old photo any more, unfortunately, as the bar has certainly been raised to an almost unattainable standard. The good news? You CAN do it, and do it yourself! A simple search on Skillshare produced a ton of online courses you can take for photography, and sometimes it can be as simple as purchasing a remote and tripod  for your camera or smartphone (yes, I said it – some of the newer phones have AWESOME photo quality!), finding a great spot, and knowing a bit about lighting.

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About The Author

Blogging at her site Fashion Pulse Daily since 2008 and working on fashion's editorial side since 2003 has lent Julia the acumen to think creatively and endure in the colliding worlds of blogging, fashion and beauty. New York City is her backdrop for inspiration (and many a outfit photo), where she is often found on her couch, feverishly typing away at her latest post, with her trusty feline at her side. Follow her on Instagram , Twitter, and Pinterest.

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23 Responses

  1. Liz Lizo

    This was a great article! People think blogging is so easy but a lot of work goes into this profession.

    – Liz

  2. Mayra

    Very informative! I definitely noticed as I learned more about photography and started posting better quality photos the increase in traffic. Now if I can actually stop being shy and start taking pictures at different locations, that would be great!

  3. Onianwah

    Ah Julia, this is a hard pill to swallow for some who started blogging for the fame and fortune rather than for the passion. There are so many technicalities behind it that they are yet to realise and take cognisance of.
    Thank you so much for this great article.

    Lagos, Nigeria

    • julia

      Hi Sheryl, If you do a google search for it, it will pop up, and then you can get in and read the entire thing that way (at least it just worked for me).

  4. Karla

    I am going to be posting soon to my website, but I wondered if people had some advice for me. Should I start posting images with me wearing vintage/thrifter items which can not be directly linked too as in the beginning there will not be a lot of traffic probably, and I can save money by not buying new items, or should I start straight from the off wearing items that can be directly linked, but is it worth buying new items of clothing if few people will probably see it initially?

  5. Karla

    I am a little confused how start-up style bloggers or even people that have been blogging for a while, but don’t get a lot of money from their website and don’t have a rich family behind them giving them money, can continually post multiple times a week with new items of clothing, accessories etc

  6. Sabina @Oceanblue Style

    Totally true about photgraphy and ever since I started blogging about fashion seriously have been working on my photo skills by asking questions and reading. I also share my experience like working with a remote along the way. I also was not accepted by Reward which was not nice but does not really matter that much. I feel most blogs need to have a certainly “feel” to it -picture-wise” as well as when it comes to design, like “all whiteness”. And as much I have been tempted to follow here reminded myself would stick to what I have decided on setting up and what I like. This is also what my readers like I suppose and its constant growth is motivation. What also helps is studying successful blogs and poses though. Sabina | Oceanblue Style ~ the 40+ fashionblog

  7. arefin sid

    Hi there, simply turned int your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.I’ll appreciate if you should proceed this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  8. Amanda

    Thank you for sharing this! It sheds a lot of light on the blogging industry. Looking forward to reading more of your work.