How blogs make money.

A few weeks ago I promised you I’d give you a bit of a refresher course on how blogs make money. In case you’re wondering how I make money.  Or anyone else who has a blog for that matter.

And I know you’re wondering because it’s the #2 asked question of me, right after how do I stop my arm hair from growing.

Blogs usually make money in one of two ways.  Advertising or sponsored posts.

Advertisements are … well … the ads you see around the site. There’s one long, skinny one right up at the top, a couple on the right side of the blog and one below all of my posts, just before the comments.  I use Google Ads and Tribal Fusion as my ad providers.  I also sell advertisements myself. Those are the little square ads on the righthand sidebar for Etsy shops and small businesses (usually craftspeople).

Different ad agencies determine how you get paid in different ways. Google and Tribal Fusion use a click per pay model.  So every time you click on an ad I get paid.  But don’t go clicking on all my ads right now so that I get paid.  Google is very savvy and if they see repeated clicks from one IP address they’ll assume shenanigans are going on and cancel your account. Or in this case my account.  Other agencies who provide ads pay you according to the number of times the ad is seen by someone. This is called the “impressions”.  So if my site has 20,000 pageviews in a day, that’s 20,000 impressions.  Payment is usually a set amount of money per 1,000 impressions.  So if a blog gets $2 per 1,000 impressions that works out to a total of $40 for the 20,000 impressions for the day.

The small square ads that I sell myself are sold according to how much space they take up.  $50 for a small ad, $90 for a medium ad and $150 for the largest one. At the moment my two largest ads are taken by Cattails Studio and Cement Tile Shop.  And as an added bonus, once a month I feature an item from each of my sponsors in a blog post.  You’ve come to recognize those as my sponsor posts.  I sell these ads at a really reasonable rate (cheap) to help encourage small businesses and Etsy sellers.

Sponsored posts are the other major way that blogs make money and they’re becoming more and more popular as rates for advertising from places like Google go down.  If you’re making less money with one thing it makes sense that you have to find a way to pick up the slack.  Sponsored posts is a great way to do that. Having said that I don’t really do sponsored posts.  In fact I turned down $2,000 just a month ago because I didn’t think the company really fit my website. I could have made it fit by taking a certain angle but it just didn’t feel right.

Looking back on it, and my bank account, it may not have felt right but it would have looked right in my savings account.

I’ve taken to contacting companies of products that I actually use and love to see if they’re interested in working together with me on a post.  The Wagner Spray Paint gun was an example of that.  Let me tell you, I love that thing.  I have another thing I fell completely in love with a month or so ago and am waiting to hear if they have a sponsored post in their budget.

Another trend that’s happening in blogging right now are workshops and courses.  Some of them live (like mine are) and some of them pre-recorded.  They can be a one off course, or a series of 5 or 6 lessons.  It all depends on the blogger.  The longer and more involved the course the more money it costs.  A lot of people ask why they’d pay for a course when they can find everything they want on YouTube.  The main reason is because you (presumably) trust the blogger and trust they aren’t just slinging bullshit at you.  Also, the blogger has already done all the watching, researching and trial and error.  These blogger courses also usually allow you to email the blogger if you’re stuck or confused about something, and some bloggers even allow you to “add on” to your course package by including things like a private Skype, extra email exchanges or a phone call.

There are a ton of other ways to make money from a blog as well, most of which I’ve done.  There’s working together with brands and magazines to get stuff for free (like most of my kitchen), there are writing opportunities if you’re truly a great writer (because of my blog I’ve been asked to write for Good Housekeeping, Canadian Living Magazine, Style at Home, and many more magazines).  I also write a regular column for the Lee Valley newsletter every month.  So even though those incomes aren’t actually from my blog, they’re opportunities I got solely because of my blog.

I also do the occasional speaking engagement, appearance and am writing a book.  I think.  It depends on whether my literary agent finds a publisher.  Hopefully they aren’t reading today’s post to judge my writing because I’m almost falling asleep myself while writing it.

If you want to learn more about how to make money blogging, I’m offering my 5 session course, The Art of Building a Blogging career for 75% OFF right now.  I’m dropping the price from $199 to $50 until Friday night at midnight.  My experience is, if you don’t do something right away you end up not doing it at all.  So if you’re interested in the course buy it now otherwise you’ll forget about it and then the price will be back up to $199 and you’ll get angry.  And anger causes overeating, wrinkles and stomach distress.

I think I’ll have hot dogs for dinner tonight.

I realize that came out of nowhere but it’s the truth.  I think I’ll have hot dogs for dinner tonight.

Now! Like I mentioned 700 paragraphs or so ago, every month I devote a post to featuring something from each of my sponsors.  And here those things are.

The Bordeaux tile from Cement Tile Shop.



Hand crafted drink Muddler from Cattails.  Ya drunkie.




Midcentury inspired, hand felted pillow from Diamond Dust Studio in Texas!


The love of my life.  Black, studded, buckle bracelet from LAB consignment.



according to Daniela at Curious Citizen


Have curly hair?  People come from far and wide to be treated to the DevaCurl products from Ellenoire. It’s a whole new thought process to tackling curly hair.


Stop the presses.  Linen bath sheets from Rough Linen. In black or natural.


Want to take my course but you haven’t even started a blog yet?

Wayne & Selina will get you up and running.

And I like them. And I trust them. And I use them.


Don’t forget The Art of Building a Blogging Career 75% off, only until Friday night at midnight.

Thanks to all who read this site, support my sponsors and keep me in business.  So I can buy hotdogs.


  1. Bill says:

    The price on the order page says $199. How do I get the $50 price?

    • Karen says:

      Sorry Bill … I just updated the page. I forgot to press “save” when I changed the price last night! ~ karen

  2. TucsonPatty says:

    Love the MCM inspired pillow. She did not follow your washing directions for that! It is beautiful. I am a hairstylist and can vouch for the awesome DevaCurl products, too!

  3. Kathleen says:

    LOVE the linen bath sheet!

    Thanks for another good read.

  4. Are you freaking kidding me? I’ve been saving my pennies for a minute to take this course. You just made my week, lady!!!

    P.S. awesome fell pillow!

    • Karen says:

      I don’t know if you clicked on it earlier Mondo but the price change didn’t work when I first did it last night. It’s up and running at the $50 price now! ~ karen

  5. IRS says:

    Not being a blogger, I did not know that bloggers get paid when a reader clicks on an ad, until I recently read one of the posts you wrote years ago, before I found you. One of the commenters mentioned this, and I have since clicked on a few. I’m glad that you mentioned not overdoing it, since I’ll admit, I was going to go on a clickathon to help you out. Can you be specific about how and when to click on your ads in order to get you the maximum benefit, without actually causing you harm? I should also mention that your business relationships with companies that appear on your blog have also led to sales for them. Because of your post about painting with the Wagner paint sprayer, I bought their top of the line sprayer available here in Canada. I haven’t pulled the couch growing out of my butt yet in order to use it, but all in due course. The point is I bought it. Paid the Visa bill and everything. I also contacted the company that delivers a crap load (literally) of soil or mulch or composted manure to your home in a humongous bag, and I am preparing to schedule a delivery from them. You’re coming over to wheelbarrow it into my raised beds, right? I’m also really curious about the cement tile store, and I’m looking into seeing how I could use their product. So you can show my little testimonial to anyone who is thinking of giving you hot dog money as proof that their ads/sponsorship of your blog really do yield results.

    • IRS says:

      Oh, and I should also mention Deva Curl. In your last post, I opened a can of worms that started a lively discussion, when I recommended using shampoo to wash sheepskins. That kind of led to my mentioning products that are good for wavy or curly hair, which a few of your readers seemed to find of interest. I should mention that in my research on the subject, I many times came across endorsements for Deva Curl products. I have not tried them myself – yet – but I plan to, since they are so highly recommended by real women. So once again, your ads and sponsorships are leading to sales for the companies that pay you. Make them pay for the jumbo size dogs. And some buns too!

      • IRS says:

        And it’s me again. Another ad (Google of course) just popped up for ArtBeads. I do a lot of bead design and already order tons online from this company, which is why I got the ad, when I’m sure none of your other readers did. Still, it reminded me that I need some Murano glass beads. So now Google owes you some mustard and relish. OK, I’ll go away now. It’s almost 3:00 AM, and I had coffee way too late.

      • Debbie says:

        Just got my new shampoo and will try it this morning. Keep commenting IRS!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks IRS. Don’t worry about randomly clicking. If you see something that interests you … then click. If not … don’t worry about it. I don’t think there’s any special time or anything that gets maximum benefit. Although who knows. They keep everything a bit of a mystery, those Google people. Even from the people using the ads. I’ll be there in about a half an hour with a shovel, so just stay right where you are. Don’t move until I get there. ~ karen!

      • IRS says:

        Me? Move? Har har! Couch growing out of arse, remember? But after you finish shoveling the manure, you can take the Wagner paint sprayer out of the box, and start in on the shutters.

  6. Ogden Kruger says:

    for $50.oo i would love to try this, but I can’t find the promo code…can you email it to me?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ogden! Sorry … when I changed the price on the course last night it didn’t save. I’ve updated it. No promo code needed .. just click now and the price will be $50. πŸ™‚ ~ karen!

  7. Sandra Lea says:

    Have you done a post on how to stop your arm hair from growing? I, for one, would be very interested in that.

    • christine hilton says:

      me too.

      • IRS says:

        I bought the No!No! about 4 years ago. I only used it twice, and within 6 months, my arm and leg hair stopped growing in. I honestly thought it would never work, but to this day I’m as smooth as a drag queen. Unless I have some weird medical condition, I can’t credit anything else. Go figure.

  8. Margaret says:

    I would rather know how to make my leg hair stop growing……so I agree if this is for real link me πŸ™‚

  9. Tigersmom says:

    I’ll chime in on the request for a post on stopping arm hair from growing, too.

    I appreciate the information on knowing how all this blogging for a living works. I appreciate your tried and true sponsors, too. But mostly, I appreciate your integrity for not accepting a sponsor that doesn’t fit with your blog and your readers. I know you can’t deposit this pat on the back in your checking account but, I hope it helps to know that there are those of us out there who respect that sort of thing and that it’s a big part of what keeps us reading you.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah I’ll admit I don’t feel all that pleased with my integrity as I look out my front window and see them ripping out my old sewer line to put in a new one. (for the third time in the past year). For those who don’t know sewer lines are extraordinarily expensive! Barf. But thanks for your thanks, lol! ~ karen

      • IRS says:

        Wait. What? You don’t install your own sewer line?

        • TucsonPatty says:

          Why aren’t they doing it correctly the first time? Are all the repairs in different spots? I think you are really lucky to have sewer, because I get to have a septic tank pumped and the root systems have grown up into the pipes and lifted the toilet off the floor! I only have had to do each of those once, and dig a new leach field once, so there is that…I would not like to have to deal with it multiple times a year!
          I realize it is a first world problem.

  10. I love these kinds of posts. I love you. That is all. Okay, maybe not, because now I sound like a weirdo.

    Design The Life You Want To Live

  11. Amber says:

    Yup, DevaCurl is good stuff. Kind of chemical smelling to me since I’ve used the all natural shampoos for years, but the hair gel is good too. The trick is to not wash out the conditioner completely: maybe 10 seconds rinsing, then just squeeze extra water out of your hair. Work gel through wet hair and let dry. Finally I no longer look like I’ve got a bad home perm. Actually it was worse: it was crazy cat-lady hair. Frighten small children hair. Never ever have a date again and spend the rest of my life telling people that I was attacked by raging hamsters in my sleep hair. You know what I mean.

    • IRS says:

      Yup, I do know. Am going Deva Curl shopping today. Although I love my Kinky Curly, I am curious about all the rave reviews for DC, and I could use some gel.

      • Debbie says:

        Loved the Kinky Curl. My hair is so soft. (As much as I have as it is very short.) I got the Spritz and it is very light. Let us know how the DevaCurl works.

  12. Allison Gorham says:

    You are the only blogger I need/read….too many of them out there to choose from. I’m so glad I found you…funny as hell, real, intelligent, creative.keep it up, neighbor to the north!

  13. Judi. McLeod says:

    The Art of Building a Blogging Career?
    Am I right in thinking that that is not a live course? I get the impression that the lessons might be accessible as the “reader” has time. Am I mistaken?
    Can the student go back over the material? Once you’ve viewed a chapter(lesson) and moved on can you go back and review it?

    • Erika says:

      I’d like to know that as well. I don’t often have time to just sit – I have to do most things in increments.

  14. Edith says:

    Hi Karen,

    Listen. Remember the time when you first started the blog and you almost had to quit? There was a donation /tip jar button for a short while and it helped you over the hump. I wouldn’t mind at all helping you out and I’m sure other faithful readers would do the same.

    As a matter of fact, I feel a little offended that you’ve been withholding that kind of assistance opportunity from me. I mean, it’s like I’m opening my arms to give you a hug and you pull away from me. What’s that all about? I thought we were friends? If you value our friendship at all, I suggest you put that dang button back up and quit being such a jerk about it.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! No, that’s O.K. I don’t need donations. I definitely DID when I put that button up years ago! Just support the site by telling people about it, looking at the odd ad and sticking around. That’s all anyone needs to do. πŸ™‚ ~ karen!

      • Mindy says:

        Asshat needs a tip jar. You should put yours back on the side bar, then wire the money to me. I’ll send ya a picture of me holding a cardboard sign, with three dirty little kids at my heel, and everything. πŸ˜‰

  15. Ev Wilcox says:

    First, it is very generous of you to share info in your own chosen field. Second, hope like crazy you get published!. Third, hope you keep bogging away for a long time! Thanks Karen!

  16. Erin says:

    I’m new to blogging but signed up! No time like the present.

    • Karen says:

      That’s the thing. If you don’t do it now you never do it. I myself, signed up for a course a couple of weeks ago and the only reason I did is because the person putting it on said the same thing, lol. Do it or you never will! ~ karen

  17. Laurie says:

    I saw this on etsy and thought of you. It isn’t my listing BTW. Love your blog and especially your sense of humor.
    Thanks for the daily laugh.

    • Karen says:

      I love it. I just love it! Not just because there are chickens on it, but because of the whole look of it. πŸ™‚ ~ karen!

  18. Gordy says:

    Thanks for the insight, Karen. I do click from time to time and have quickly become a daily reader. Love your point of view.

    Sorry about the sewer…


  19. Nancee says:

    thanks for the info. i would sign up for your class but i just had a stroke…no, really, i had a stroke this past saturday & think i’ll be pretty busy for a bit trying to urge quasi & modo to work again. (quasi is my left arm & modo is my left leg…i look a bit like quasimodo when i try to walk. got to keep a sense of humor or i’ll dissolve in tears)
    anyway, it’s taken me a bit to type this & i’ve forgotten my point. maybe i didn’t have one other than thank you for your blog. i enjoy visiting with you. you don’t flinch when you talk to me…an advantage of me on one side of the computer & you on another.

    • Karen says:

      Oh no! Nancee, I’m so sorry! That’s awful! I’m sure you’ll make an excellent recovery. If you’re already joking and typing then you’re obviously a good humoured tenacious person and that’s what counts when it comes to recovery. Let me know how you progress! ~ karen

  20. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Chips Karen…chips go good with hot dogs…

  21. Kiara says:

    I just disabled my adblocker on your page. I need to remember to do that for bloggers. Thank you for your thoughtful sponsor relationships. I love your recommendations

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Kiara! Seriously. It makes a big difference. Ad Blocker is a blogger’s nemesis. It’s the only way we make money! (well that and sponsored posts as I explained πŸ˜‰ ) ~ karen!

  22. Susan says:

    EXCELLENT! You can’t beat $50 with a stick! I am signed up and ready to rock ‘n roll. I’ve written articles and had a carving column for magazines, both here and in the U.K., and am currently writing for an ezine, but unfortunately, my woodcarving blog has fallen to the wayside.
    I’ve had my blog for over 4 years, ( Loved doing it, haven’t made one red cent from it, and this last month considered putting it to sleep, so Karen, your $50 special came at the perfect time.
    Thank you so much!
    Have to say that I REALLY enjoy you and your blog.

  23. j says:

    Talk to me about getting rid of body hair where one doesn’t want it! Does NoNo work? How? I’d leave a longer reply but I have to go shave my legs again,,,,

  24. Kathy says:

    Very interesting to learn the earning part of blogging. Self motivation is probably a must and you seem to be above average and maybe then some. Paying bills motivates most of us to keep on working, and working …….
    I have $5,000.00 dollars buried in my back yard in the form of a new sewer line. A glub or two from the toilet while showering didn’t seem too alarming but it led to a 6 ft deep trench, fences pulled down and dogs that couldn’t go outside unleashed. Going through that 3 times leaves me without words and my thoughts are with you.

  25. Liz says:

    is your Lee Valley column online too? Think I’ll go do some looking!

  26. Another Karen says:

    I appreciate you posting and being open about how you make money from the blog. I asked this a few weeks ago, but would you consider putting in an affiliate link to alongside your US and Canadian ones? I would be very happy to use it, and I’m sure your other British readers would be too.

  27. Kellie says:

    I took Karen’s course last fall and have been blogging for about a year now. The course was incredibly helpful and I’m not sure my blog would be where it is today without taking the course.

    She’s right “Do it now or you never will.”

    My second piece of testimony is that I e-met two other bloggers and we have become friends and support each other. They are probably more valuable to me than anything. When you first start out blogging as a business it is so great to have someone in your corner.

    Kellie from Princess and the Yard Ape

  28. ML says:

    I had one of those chicken clocks growing up Laurie! I had forgotten all about it!
    Karen, just wanted to say I got hooked on your blog after discovering you on the Costco mag and recognising the pic of you from your kitchen reno – I had kept that copy of your reno as I’m currently lobbying to update mine. Thanks for doing what you’re doing!

  29. Rose says:

    I’ve signed myself up for your course… can’t resist the offer. I’m impressed with your integrity too….not easy not to be swayed by the moola! Blessings on YOU!

  30. Amy Dutrisac says:

    Forwarded the post about the Wagner sprayer to my husband back in May when you wrote it, and told him to hold onto the idea for my dream gift list. Turns out he loved your writing (and review) so much that he went right out and bought a sprayer and hid it in his office for 2 months til I turned the big 5-0 this month! We’re talking about a man who shops at 7:00 on Christmas eve here! (Btw: the Flexio 890 is still sitting at the foot of my bed, instead of in the garage, as I want it to be pristine for my trial run!)

    So Karen, um, could you put together a little somethin’ somethin’ extolling the virtues of investment-quality squishy leather handbags, or maybe an endorsement for a classic Tiffany timepiece? I’ll be sure to send it on…

    Thanks a million!

    • Karen says:

      LOL! Well I can tell you I own a classic black Prada bag and it’s still like new. Love it. Although honestly it is kind of heavy, and NOW is the time to buy Tiffany anything because the price just keeps going up, up, up on all of it. So there. πŸ˜‰ ~ karen!

  31. Hey, you’re Canadian, why is the course in USD???

  32. Marcee ... ILLINOIS says:

    Wow. Very informative post Karen. I just met you 4-1/2 minutes ago! As usual, “accidently” found this blog. I like it, so I will keep it! Thanks for the education ….. your are funny!

  33. Leisa says:

    Finally bought and used my Wagner paint gun and I loved it! I went to the store three times before buying it have to say it’s life changing. Not sure if reader feedback helps with your sponsors but it’s a great product and I probably wouldnt have believed it had the recommendation not come from you! Thx

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Leisa! It helps a lot! I forward comments like this to the sponsors so they know their money was well spent. πŸ™‚ I appreciate it. ~ karen!

  34. Theresa says:

    I was wondering when/if you might be offering your blogging course for $50 again? I could splurge for $50 with my finances, but not $200. I have so been wanting to blog about so many things, but not sure if one should focus on one concept.

    Thank you.
    Theresa Coglianese

  35. G Peterson says:

    Really enjoy your blog but I can never figure what’s new, could you please be a little more specific. Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hey G. I’m not sure what you mean. Do you mean which blog posts are new? If that’s the case on the home page ( all the posts as you run down the page are in chronological order. So the very first post you see in the big long list of small photos that goes all the way down the page is my most recent post. Then one next to it is my second most recent … and so on. Or you could just subscribe to get my new posts emailed to you the second they come out. I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday without fail. ~ karen!

  36. kari says:

    Will you offer this course again Karen? I am one that missed the boat the first time around b/c I somehow didn’t read this original blog post. Pretty please?

  37. Gery says:

    Boy oh boy, do I love your blog, Karen.
    I’ve left my communications career to blog and am gaining followers and no money. Will you be offering your how-to course again?

  38. Gery says:

    Boy oh boy, do I love your blog, Karen.

    I’ve left my communications career to blog and am gaining followers and no money. Will you be offering your how-to course again?


  39. Jane says:

    well, now I know one more thing. I’m going to subscribe to Lee Valley’s monthly newsletters, just to read more of you!

  40. Burtine says:

    I would like to be able to take your course at the lower price if that is still available.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Burtine. I’m very sorry, but that was a one time thing. Also, the course is now a few years old and things change very quickly in blogging. I’d consider it outdated now. πŸ™‚ ~ karen!

  41. Burtine says:

    Hi Karen. I am recovering from a small accident , okay – I am a klutz, tripped and fell and now am typing with one finger. thought a short course would be such a fun thing. I love the way you write and am encouraged to get back to my journal again. I am reading – “No, I Do Not Need Reading Glasses. You and this author should meet. Virginia Ironside

  42. Marian says:

    Just discovered your blog while researching gardening ideas. You cracked me up, and as a fellow writer, I felt an instant connection with your tell-it-like-it-is manner. Can’t wait to catch up on all of the things I’ve missed on your pages and look forward to what’s coming.

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