The Fashion Blogger’s Quick Guide to Monetization

fashion blogger wearing glasses frame

Now that you've figured out it's time to monetize your fashion blog, how do you do it? There's no “one” right way or the “best” way to monetize your blog, you'll just have to figure out what works for you as you go along, but here are some ideas to get you started:

Sell ads directly

This is my favorite way to make money on my blogs because I love the personal interaction and the relationships I create with my advertisers. When I first started out in 2004, direct ad sales was by far my largest income stream and remained so through 2008. Now, I earn a much higher percentage from affiliate commissions, but still make about 15% of my income from direct ad sales.

Selling ads directly can be time consuming and it's not easy to figure out your banner ad rates, but it can be rewarding and it's the best way to nurture relationships with small boutiques and brands you love. A great way to start selling ads yourself is to target brands/companies you've already written about on your blog and reach out to them with some partnership ideas and your media kit. I definitely recommend doing this first, but if you find that you have a lot of potential advertisers coming to YOU, Passionfruit is a great way to set up an “ad store” on your site that streamlines the process a bit.

Work with an ad network

Using an ad network like BlogHer or Glam is a very easy way to start monetizing your blog, although they do tend to have strict standards with regard to content and traffic for blogs they partner with. I've never chosen this route because I like to have ultimate control over the ads I show and where they go on my site, but if you're willing to give up some of that control, this might be a good way for you to monetize your blog.

Google adsense

Back in the day Google adsense used to mean BIG money for bloggers, maybe it still does for many, but it's no longer the most important tool bloggers use to make money on their blogs. Google ads tend to work very well if you have a LOT of traffic and/or you have a very engaged audience (which is true for all ads). Because you earn money based on clicks (see this IFB article about advertising terms for more information) not sales, placement is very important for Google ads; I tend to earn the most from sidebar ads and ads after my first blog posts. If you have Google search installed on your blog, you can also earn money from ads placed on your search pages.

Affiliate Commission

As I mentioned before, so far this year, about 80% off my blog's income has come from earning affiliate commissions (you earn a percentage of the sale when a reader buys something via your affiliate link). If you are a personal style blogger or shopping-oriented blogger, working with affiliate programs might just be the most lucrative way for you to make money on your blog.

Earning affiliate commissions can be tricky though, and really requires you to have a strong, and trusting relationship with your readers. You must also disclose to your readers that you will earn a commission on sale made through links in your blog posts; the more open you are with your readers about how you're making money from your blog and ultimately their interaction with your blog, the more successful you'll be. I have found over the years that contextual/in-post links earn far more in commissions than graphic ads in sidebars. The more relevant the better, and even BETTER if you own & wear items you're linking to.

I have found the most success working with Reward Style and Skimlinks (these two companies have truly revolutionized affiliate marketing for fashion bloggers), but Ashe has written about her experience with other companies you might want to try.


Use the experience you've gained by writing your blog to write for other publications and/or consult for brands. This is relatively new territory for me, personally, but writing for IFB and my new role as an eBay Influencer is a nice change of pace from writing for my own blog, and provide a nice supplement to affiliate/ad sales income. Freelancing/consulting projects bring you out from “behind” your blog and can be the best stepping stone to a career other than blogging. They're also a great way to capitalize on your influence.

Sell something

Crosby wrote a great piece earlier this week on selling a product as a way to make money from your blog. This may not be for everyone, but if you have an idea for a product or service to sell, why not try? ProBlogger's biggest income stream by far is selling his e-books, and it's a great way to detach yourself from the volatility of direct ad sales and affiliate income.

How do you monetize your blog?

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12 Responses

  1. Anna Peel

    I always thought affiliate advertising and Google AdSense were basically only two ways you could make money from your blog. Good to know their are a few other ways to earn.

  2. Josie

    I actually tried using passionfruit. I loved the set up and look but my “ad store” had all these glitches, I used their help desk through their website and only got automated responses, and then tried e-mailing them directly and only got the same automated response. A week later I finally decided to forget and delete the whole things. I couldn’t believe how awful their customer service was!

  3. Michelle Kelly

    I think this is great advice for a new blogger like myself to give some advice on how it works!

    • Jen

      Yesss! same problem…
      I turned to picvpic partnershp program after that. we’ll see how it goes.

  4. Love Imbrochori


    this article was very helpful! I made a bunch of notes and i’m going to further research how i can turn my hobby into a business! i think i’m going to go for affiliate links / freelance & consult / sell a product!

    thank you for the information!

    Love x

  5. GlamThings

    Really good article!
    I need to experiement with Ad Networks and Affiliate links more.
    Google Adsence is good, but the return is quite small.
    Lately, I started to be approached by sponsored posts and I was able to charge from $100 to $150 a post.
    But, what I really want to work on and experiment isthe Direct ad sales. I think that is the way to go.

    Best Regards,

  6. Jessica

    Thank you for this article, really helpful for amateur bloggers like me! I did some research on the highest paying affiliate programs and the best one I found so far seems to be the one offered by picvpic.com – http://picvpic.com/partnership/overview They’re said to give you 100% commission on all purchases. Maybe you can do a comparative review on them and other programs? Again, thanks for the information!

  7. Fei

    Wow, so much useful tips, thank you! I actually found another affiliate program for fashion bloggers: picvpic.com partnership program http://picvpic.com/partnership/overview . They’re said to promise full commission on sales and from what I heard it really is so, no hidden fees or anything. Can you do a review on them or a comparison on them and other popular options? Thanks again for the article!

  8. Dara

    I tried different affiliate programs, some were great, others not so much, but the best one for me is picvpic partnership program. Very easy to set up, pays a lot, creates good content. Really recommend it. Thank you for the article 