Author Archives: Raunak Mahesh

How live streaming helps this creator connect with fans

Tokes Ojo-Ade is a marketing professional, wife, mother — and successful web creator. Her blog,Tokes’ Take On Style, offers fashion, styling and shopping tips for busy working women.

“As a working mom, I know we all juggle a lot,” says Tokes, who lives in the Washington, D.C. area and works full time in the financial services industry. “Given how time-strapped a lot of us are, we could all use effortless styling and shopping tips along with easy style inspiration,” she says.

Wearing a long-sleeved red dress, big sunglasses and hoop earrings, Tokes poses outside of an office building.

Fashion, style and beauty influencer Tokes blogs for busy, working women.

Tokes works to keep her blog’s content fresh and engaging, like adding tappableWeb Stories andYouTube videos to the mix.

She also live streams to connect with her fan base more directly. On her biweekly Instagram TV (IGTV) live stream, “Thursday Tips with Tokes,” she shares quick and easy styling tips with her audience — sometimes reaching over 21,000 views. Fans are drawn to Tokes’ warm, personal style, and her take on fashion and beauty to help women feel more confident.

Tokes spoke with us to share a few tips on how to create a successful live stream.

Wearing a long-sleeved blue dress and cream-colored pumps and carrying a designer tote, Tokes walks across a city street.

Through her blog, videos and live stream shows, Tokes helps women find style on a budget.

Prepare before you go live

While trial and error is part of the learning process, Tokes says preparation is key to live streaming success. “You have to figure out what the intent is, what the goal is, what you're trying to do,” Tokes says. “If I'm sharing tips, do I need props? If I'm showing and telling, what are the pieces that I want to share? How long am I going live for? How many outfits can I fit in during that time? Also, I have to anticipate questions that people may have.” She suggests making a list of everything you need for your live stream and reviewing it in advance to avoid any mid-stream glitches.

Tokes also recommends preparing based on the platform you’re using. She says while Instagram is great for quick and spontaneous live streams, her Amazon Live shows require more prep with choosing products to feature that are a good fit for her audience.

Involve your audience and other influencers

Tokes kicks off every live stream with some audience banter, welcoming her viewers by name. Engaging with the audience as soon as she goes live helps them feel like they’re part of the show. “I always ask where people are joining from because you're bringing them along,” Tokes shares. “It doesn't feel as much like you're talking to a screen because there's that engagement and interaction going on.”

Tokes also features other influencers on her shows as a way to expand her content and build community between their audiences. “I did [a live stream] recently with two plus-sized influencers, and we talked about styling tips for plus-sized women.”

While popular influencer live stream shows have a casual, laid-back feel, successful creators like Tokes put in plenty of prep time. That foundation makes it easier for creators to relax and have fun with their audiences, knowing they’ve mapped everything out in advance.

Want to hear more from Tokes? Watch our full interview on the Google for Creators YouTube channel and check out her Web Story.

4 tips to grow your blog’s audience

Christina Galbato may have started as a travel blogger, but her career as a content creator has taken her on a different journey – helping other creators achieve their goals. “I started to notice a lot of the questions I was getting were less about ‘What are your travel tips for this?’ and more ‘How can I do what you do?” she shares. Galbato has made it her mission to help other bloggers and influencers earn success while remaining authentic and relatable. She sat down with us recently to share her top tips for attracting readers to a new blog. 

Raunak Mahesh and Christina Galbato are pictured side by side, smiling.

Christina Galbato shares her top tips for bloggers hoping to grow their online followings.

1. Listen to your audience

Listening to your readers can help you create engaging content. When Christina realized her audience was interested in learning more about her business, she shifted gears and started creating content and classes that answered their questions. “I think the biggest thing has been constantly having conversations with my audience and understanding where they're at – remaining connected to what my audience wants to see is really important,” she explains. 

2. Focus on branding 

From your color scheme and imagery to the title of your blog, your site should let readers know at a glance exactly what to expect from your posts. “You always want to make sure the content you're creating is in line with your brand,” Christina says. Your site’s branding should always reflect the kind of content you’re promoting. For example, if you’re hoping to attract a high-end audience, she suggests going with “a more refined theme, maybe even adding some serif fonts as they tend to be more luxurious.”

3. Keep new readers coming back

Once someone has discovered your blog, it’s important to stay connected so they’ll know about your future posts. One of the best ways to do this is by offering bonus content in exchange for joining your mailing list. “You have to give people some sort of incentive to get on your list,” Christina says. “People only take action when there's something in it for them, so I would recommend creating some sort of freebie opt-in that your audience would be interested in.” Expert recommendations and educational content are great ideas for bonus posts. 

4. Promote your blog online 

So, how can you attract readers to your blog? Digital marketing can seem overwhelming at first, but Christina has a few suggestions to help you get started:

  • Learn SEO: “Before you even start writing blog posts,” Christina says, “I would get educated on SEO (search engine optimization) because that will really inform how you're writing your posts.” She recommends using KeySearchto find popular topics and keywords to help your blog rank in search results for your niche. 

  • Get on Pinterest: “One of my favorite things about Pinterest is that you don't necessarily need to have a following for a pin of yours to really pick up,” Christina shares. It’s okay to start small – three or four well-designed pins that tie in to your niche are enough to bring new readers to your blog. 

  • Give sneak peeks on social media:Blog posts are what Christina calls “macro content” – larger pieces that can be broken down into smaller pieces for use on social media or Web Stories. Social media is a great way to tease parts of your blog posts and entice your followers to click through to your blog. In her social posts, Christina shares, “I offer a tiny little snippet of what's in the blog post, and then tell people, ‘For more, for the juiciest stuff, you're going to have to go to the blog post.’" 

For more tips from Christina – including how to build brand partnerships after you establish your blog – check out our full video interview. And don’t forget to visit Christina’s site to learn more.

How to keep content coming

As writers, photographers, and artists, we have so much to do, but limited time to get it all done. With people online around the world and around the clock, there is pressure to turn out content frequently and across a growing number of platforms. So how can you keep up? Four creators we spoke to share their tips for optimizing the time you spend creating content so you can keep it coming — and keep it fun — while staying efficient and organized.

Block time on your calendar

It can be difficult to find the time every day to write a posts and promote them across channels. One strategy is to pick a routine time to create content and stick with it. Musician, entertainer, and lifestyle blogger Rigel Gemini recommends producing content on a weekly basis for at least one channel and keeping it fun. “If content becomes a chore or becomes too much work, you will start to dread it. So just figure out something that you can write about or photograph or talk about every week and dive in,” Rigel says.

photo of Rigel Gemini

Rigel Gemini is a musician and fashion fanatic who writes about art and culture for his blog.

Play to your strengths

Mata Leiataua writes about faith, fashion and decoration on The Mata Mix. “The truth is,” she says, “despite how it may look scrolling through your feed, no one feels inspired to create content 24/7.” Her advice is identifying your strengths and the “pillars you want to uphold fundamentally throughout your content.” She recommends asking yourself, “is your content in the moment or stylized? Do you prioritize your aesthetic or copywriting?” Once you understand your style, it becomes easier to know where to allot your time.

photo of Mata Leiataua

Mata Leiataua is a fashion expert who shares her favorite luxury, budget and thrifted finds.

Create in batches

You don’t bake one cookie at a time. Why would you take only one photo? Tiffany Williams writes about glitz and glam, beauty and wellness, and life off the runway and behind the scenes. “Batch create if you can,” she says. “Creating in real time can be a lot, so creating a ton of content ahead of time helps. That way you always have something new to post,” even when you don’t have the time. 

Tiffany Williams in a black and white dress

Tiffany Williams is the San Diego-based model behind the fashion and lifestyle blog, Glitz and Glam by Tiff.

Reduce, Rework and Repurpose your content

It’s important to “respect the attention span of your audience on all platforms,” says professional gardener, blogger, YouTuber and podcaster Kevin Espiritu. “The same person, on different platforms, is in a different state of mind and requires different presentation of the same content.” So make the most of your content by adapting it for different forms. A blog post can become a video,a video can become a Web Story and images can be reused on your blog.   

photo of Kevin Espiritu

Former professional poker player, Kevin Espiritu, now spends his time online sharing gardening tips and tools.

Prioritize value over quality

According to Rigel, one of the tallest hurdles before beginning is the fear of failure. “Don't make it hard on yourself by overthinking it or setting such a high standard that you don't get started. Your content will get better over time,” he says, “That’s the only way.” Kevin Espiritu adds, “Focus on the value you offer your readers. People will read a post that has an eye-catching image, but more importantly, people will return to your knowledge and expertise.

Kevin Espiritu’s Epic Gardening grew a business online

Kevin Espiritu never expected to be a gardener. As an accounting student at UC Santa Barbara, he supported himself by playing online poker. “When I graduated,” he said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”  Kevin spent looking at screens, playing professional poker and video games, and realized he needed to do something to “reset” himself. When his brother came home from college, the two decided to spend a summer gardening. 

Epic Gardening began as a blog where Kevin shared the cultivation techniques, strategies and tools and he had acquired. And from this garden, Kevin grew a thriving business. At Epic Gardening, he cultivated an enormous social media following, including over 1 million YouTube subscribers. Epic Gardening aims to educate 10 million people worldwide on how to start their gardens right in their backyards. I sat down with Kevin to discuss where his passion came from and how he grew his audience.

Kevin Espiritu kneels in his garden behind a bush and a wooden trellis.

Once a single blog, Epic Gardening is now two books, a podcast and a warehouse of supplies.

When you started gardening, it was hard to find beginner’s information. Was that the problem you were trying to solve? 

Without growing up as a gardener, there were two issues I noticed. All the terminology was only for gardeners — if you're trying to learn, that's not helpful — and the good information was buried in semi-inaccessible formats. I thought I'd write it in a blog format, which was the prevailing medium at the time.

How did you turn your garden blog into a successful online business? 

There were a lot of ups and downs because I didn't know much about monetization. I knew how to get some traffic and build a little community, so I tested different ways to make money online. I ran display ads and created affiliate links to products that I used. Those are two methods that still exist today in Epic Gardening. I had built websites and done marketing, and still hit a ceiling that I couldn't get past. So I went to work for a publishing company. I thought to myself, “If I can't figure out how to make a viable income on my own, I'll go work for someone who can. Then, once I learn enough, I'll jettison out and do Epic Gardening.” I learned a lot about business there before I dedicated myself to Epic Gardening.

What did you learn at the publisher that allowed you to take your business to the next level? 

I learned that it matters what you focus on and the order in which you focus on it.

For example, I added links everywhere and tried to blanket the site with affiliate links wherever it made sense. At the publishing company, I saw how focused and targeted they were. I dug into my Amazon affiliate data, and I asked a few questions: “What are the products I'm selling the most of by volume? What are the products I'm selling the most of by price, and how can I either expand that affiliate coverage by writing about a single piece of expensive equipment? Can I cover those in ways that increase the overall footprints and clicks?" 

I wrote a couple of articles on hydroponics on how to keep the reservoir cool. The chiller that I use made a nice commission on Amazon. Those two articles are still ticking away, making a decent amount of affiliate commission. That one activity accounted for a 30% increase in revenue.

Cover of Kevin Espiritu’s book: Field Guide to Urban Gardening

Kevin is the author of two books, Urban Gardening and Grow Bag Gardening.

How do you decide that 10 million people was the goal? 

One thousand came from Kevin Kelly's essay, “One Thousand True Fans.” The idea is that if you have one thousand people who are true fans, they'll buy and support whatever you put out — you can live off that and support yourself doing whatever you like. Then I multiplied that by ten because one thousand is not that many people in the grand scheme of things.

I went to 10,000 when my blog traffic hit one thousand. I went to 100,000when I hit 10,000 subscribers on YouTube and one million once I hit 100,000on YouTube. I went up again, to 100 million, so I should update the website.

Kevin Espiritu sits on a bench. Between his legs is a small potted tree with one orange.

Kevin Espiritu is a self-taught gardener who has shared his techniques with estimated 10 million people worldwide.

How did you clone yourself? You're able to manage multiple social media channels, sell physical products, write a book and travel the world.

I wish I could do that. I was writing probably 12 hours a day for months to get the blog up and running. At a certain point, I had enough stuff on the blog, which wasn’t the best use of my time. I needed people to read it, so I hired my first writer, trained her to do what I was doing and focused on promoting the content. When promotion stopped being the best use of time, I moved over to YouTube. I leave a trail of systems and people in my wake that help me keep everything going.  

As we sit here today, you have over 60 million views on YouTube and over one million subscribers. How did you get there?

That was a long journey. I was bad at YouTube and I don't really consider myself a YouTuber. The blog existed already and I asked, "What are the most popular blog articles that I have on a search traffic basis?" Then I made videos to better illustrate those concepts. Next, I started to make videos specifically for that audience. Before, I would only green-light a video if it could make sense within the whole ecosystem of Epic Gardening. If it does, that's a bonus. I try to create every piece of content contextual to the platform it's on and the people that are on it.  That makes it a lot harder, but obviously, your results are a lot better.

How to connect with your web audience

If you’re truly passionate about the content you’re creating, chances are there’s an online community that shares your interests and enthusiasm. So how do you develop a loyal following eager to check out your content? We asked successful web creators, bloggers and influencers for their tips on creating content that engages and resonates with their audiences — and helps them build their brands. 

Find your niche.

With millions of web content creators publishing on every topic under the sun (and beyond), it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Successful web creators like personal trainer and nutrition coachBrittany Noelle recommend finding a niche where you can focus your content development. “I love to teach people how to fit fitness into their lives,” says Brittany, who blogs about fitness, wellness, nutrition, lifestyle and travel. 

“Take time to interact with your audience and stick with a specific niche in the beginning,” Brittany  recommends. Her blog posts, such as Exercises to do at your office to help relieve low back pain, focus on her niche of helping regular people find easy ways to incorporate fitness into their daily routines.

Brittany holds a hand weight and kettlebell wearing black top and blue pants

Personal trainer Brittany Noelle helps people fit fitness into their daily lives.

Provide valuable content.

The most successful websites, blogs and social media channels provide something of value to their audiences. This can take the form of hints and tips, recommendations or suggestions, how-to advice and even witty insights and observations.

“Make sure you really care about the topics you’re talking about,” suggests fitness coach and life trainer Ana Snyder ofGet Buff with Ana, who blogs about fitness training and emotional wellness. Valuable content helps people improve their lives, gives them something to think about, teaches them something new or just makes their day a little brighter. “If you’re just posting hot photos of yourself,” notes Ana, “you won’t influence people as much as if you were providing them with knowledge.”

Ana smiles, standing with her hands on her hips and wearing a blue yoga top and pants

Fitness coach Ana Snyder gives her audience knowledge to improve their lives.

Men’s style, fashion and lifestyle bloggerCarlos Roberto notes you should know the audience you’re trying to reach. “Recognize how they speak and how to grab their attention, and make sure your posts are aligned to their interests,” he says. “Never make a post just to post. Quality content only!”

Carlos sits on the curb in style wearing a black leather biker jacket and black pants

Men’s lifestyle blogger Carlos Roberto says your audience makes your platform.

Ask your audience what they want.

Want to know what type of content your audience most wants from you? Ask them! You can invite comments in a blog post, an email blast, a social media posting — wherever you are publishing content, you can ask your audience to chime in with feedback and topics they’d like to learn more about.

“By running polls and asking questions, I get to understand my audience,” says self-described “millennial mom” Neha Malhotra, whose musings on parenting, fashion, travel and lifestyle appear in her Nehulicious blog. 

Fashion and beauty influencer Nikki Apostolou, who publishesThe Cosmeholic blog, would agree. “Take the time to personally reach out to them,” Nikki suggests. “See what they are up to. Go to their pages. Show an interest in them as they show in you. This mutual appreciation will create a more loyal and connected audience.”

Adds beauty and lifestyle influencer Mata Leiataua ofThe Mata Mix, “Having a desire to connect with your audience and learn the ways to best serve them will set you apart in a saturated market and can amplify your goals to build an engaged community for the long term.”
Mata smiles and is wearing a T-shirt and cutoff jean shorts with a white-and-black print wrap.

Beauty and lifestyle influencer Mata Leiataua builds audience connection.

Be authentic and relatable.

Your audience members want to feel like they can relate to you and the content you are sharing.    

Whatever type of content you choose to create, experts say you should bring your own unique perspective and invite your audience to participate, and share theirs. That’s a great foundation for developing a successful web presence. Influencer Carlos Roberto puts it this way: “Engage with all of your audience. Send a dedicated newsletter, respond to their questions, but make them feel special, because they are the ones who make your platform.”

Writers’ block? 8 Creators share tips and inspiration

Building an audience for your brand takes time, commitment and a lot of content.

Most successful web creators have been publishing consistently for years. That can seem daunting to new creators and it’s easy to panic when the well runs empty, but there is no reason to worry. We recently spoke with eight creators about the habits, tools and inspirations that help them spark fresh content ideas.

Record your thoughts when the thoughts come.

Over the last six years, Amy Jay used her site Go Fast Mommy to share how she balances “healthy living, working out, motherhood and life.” As a busy mom, it can be difficult to make time to brainstorm content. When asked how she comes up with ideas, Amy shares, “I usually get my best ideas when out for a run, so I will often stop to open notes on my iPhone or record a voice message when an idea hits.” This ensures that she shows up for her muses when they show up for her.

Amy Jay stands in front of a cactus looking in running attire and a baseball hat, looking to the right of the frame.

Amy Jay of Go Fast Mommy heads out for a run near her home in Phoenix

Track new developments in your niche.

San Francisco-based blogger Carlos Roberto refers to himself as “#JustABlokeInTheWild” and writes about men’s fashion, decor and design. He often uses Google Trends to see what men are searching for most. Google Trends helps Carlos identify popular search queries across time and for the categories he’s interested in. 

Carlos Roberto standing in a matching jacket and pants, looking to the right of the frame wearing sunglasses.

Carlos Roberto uses Google Trends to keep abreast of what is new.

Look around yourself and to others.

Kevin Espiritu founded Epic Gardening to “help teach 10 million people how to grow anything, no matter where they live in the world.” He says that in addition to following the trends sprouting online, many ideas for his content “stem from my own garden.” He asks himself, “What am I growing that we haven’t written about yet?” and also creates content based on what his followers ask him about.  

Fitness instructor Brittany Noelle of Brittany Noelle Fitness takes a similar approach to generating new content. “I get inspiration from similar accounts, suggestions from my audience, inspiration from being outside or around certain people,” she shares. Once a week she hosts an interactive Q&A with her followers on Instagram Live. She also frequently leads conversations on Clubhouse, the audio-based social networking app.

Tiffany Williams sits on a curb painted blue in a white shirt, brown shorts and white boots.

Tiffany Williams draws inspiration from the images seen behind the scenes.

Create a collage of inspiring images.

Many of the creators we surveyed said that collecting images is the main way they come up with ideas for content.

Tiffany Williams is a model and lifestyle blogger from San Diego, California. While working on runways, TV sets and photoshoots, she started Glitz and Glam by Tiff to show what goes on behind the scenes. “I often gather photos that I like and save them for style idea posts or videos,” she told us. “I save video clips of fashion shows that I like and may want to create looks from. I have a library of ideas.” 

 Likewise, Alexi Gleaves, the blogger behind House Gleaves, says, “My bookmarks folders on Instagram look like a Pinterest account, and my Pinterest account looks insane.”  A clothing designer, stylist and photographer, Alexi shares, “When I’ve pulled an outfit to shoot or have decided on a concept for a video or Reels, I go through all of my folders and pull out ideas to incorporate.” She adds, “If it’s a brand sponsorship, I try to incorporate the aesthetic and feel of the brand, but if it’s filler content for my Grid, Stories or a TikTok video, I have a lot more freedom to play.”

Neha Malhotra in sand in a dessert with an arm outstretched to touch the sand

Neha Malhotra beats back jet-lag by planning themed months and holiday-based content.

Keep a content calendar.

Among the most helpful strategies our creators suggested was to keep a content calendar. “When I have that creative block,” Neha Malhotra, the fashionista behind Nehulicious, says, “I get over it by organizing my content. I plan my posts/Reels that need to go live in a particular month. I make sure I curate content for national and international holidays. I also create content that is valuable to my audience and from which they can get inspired to create something on their own.”

Even if you don’t plan your content out very far ahead, every bit of preparation helps. Musician and lifestyle writer Rigel Gemini says, “It’s always easiest to be committed to content if you don’t have to force it….I often shoot content around things I am already planning.”

 Writer’s block can happen to anyone, but know that content ideas can come at any time — and from anywhere. When an idea strikes, write it down and put it into a content calendar to use later. And if you’re still stuck, turn to imagery, trends, and conversations with others to inspire a visit from your muses.

4 blogging pros share how they attract new visitors

Blogs are a powerful tool to reach a wide, global audience, but for those just starting out, it can be intimidating to get those first few readers and subscribers. We recently asked successful musicians, foodies, fitness instructors and fashionistas how they grow their blog followings. Here’s what they had to say.

Post regularly and be authentic.

The most common response we received from almost everyone we talked to was to post regularly. But about what? One strategy, according to queer, non-binary musician and lifestyle writer Rigel Gemini, is to answer common questions. “One of my top articles,” Rigel says, “answers the common question, ‘why are queer people creative?’ I wrote it without even realizing it was so heavily searched, but realized that as something that I have often wondered and thought about, so many other people have, too.“

An image of Rigel Gemini

Rigel Gemini regularly posts updates about music, fashion and Atlanta-based events on his eponymous blog.

And in addition to posting regularly, you’ll want to stay true to who you are. Fitness-focused parenting blogger Amy Jay of Go Fast Mommy adds, “It’s important to share the real you.” She says she makes sure to show her face and voice regularly on her Instagram stories, “so that my followers can relate to the real ‘me’ behind the pictures.”

Find your niche, but don’t be afraid to branch out.

Most creators build a following by carving a niche in one area, but they also shared that branching out can also help to reach new fans.

Rigel Gemini knows that the internet has always been a place to connect with people who have similar interests. It also offers a world of difference that can bring value to your blog. “I try to engage as much as I can across the internet and in my real community in the physical world,” he says.

Ana Snyder, fitness instructor and creator of Get Buff with Ana, began by sharing her bodybuilding  experience and expertise. “In order for me to grow my account,” Ana shared, “It was also important that I expand my niche a little bit from bodybuilding to more generalized health and wellness.” Now her content includes tips about handling isolation, expressing gratitude and maintaining financial wellness. 

Form partnerships.

Online, as in life away from the keyboard, one way to create a community and a career is to form meaningful relationships. Partnerships with brands and other content creators allow bloggers to blend communities, exchange ideas and reach new readers. Brand partnerships often pay influencers to promote their product. Ana Snyder, for instance, partners with a number of fitness and wellness brands and writes about them on her blog and social media. The products she promotes are ones she uses in her day-to-day life, and they allow her to reach fans of those brands. 

But keep in mind:  It’s important that brand partnerships be genuine and relevant to your content. “I only work with those [brands] whose message mirrors mine,” Ana says. “I often turn down partnerships with vegan companies. Although I eat vegan food occasionally, I’m not vegan, and I don’t want to give my followers a contradictory message.” Ana also writes bylined editorial content for a health and wellness platform. “This publicity has helped me get a lot of followers,” she told us. 

Ana Snyder standing in front of a stone wall

Ana Snyder blogs about health and wellness, fitness and bodybuilding.

Add events into the mix.

When the pandemic is over, social events will return to our lives, and these gatherings can be a powerful way to grow a following. Clarissa Mae of Clarissa Mae Yoga is a yoga instructor and mobility coach from South Dakota. She teaches yoga and social media branding classes both online and in person. These events drive deeper relationships with Clarissa’s brand — and when people bring friends to the events, Clarissa often gains new followers.

Clarissa Mae helps someone stretch in a yoga position in an exercise studio

Clarissa Mae supplements her blog’s content with regular events, workshops and seminars.

Rigel Gemini frequently attends events such as FABNORMAL, a queer arts showcase in Atlanta. Events like these help him network with other people with similar interests, and also give him compelling blog content that people are searching for online, such as written and video recaps.

These days, there are many ways to grow a blog. Try out the strategies we’ve shared, and learn what works best for you.

4 ways web creators are monetizing their blogs now

Most bloggers start out writing about passions, whether it’s fashion, travel, pets, food…whatever inspires them. And the most successful among them are as devoted to their blogs as they are to their passions and produce rich content on a weekly or even daily basis. 

But what does it take to turn a blog from a fun hobby into a source of income? We asked web creators who focus on a range of topics how they’re monetizing their blogs and websites to shed some light on the process. 

Let advertising work for you

Blogger Kevin Espiritu

Kevin Espiritu uses ads and affiliate links to monetize his blog, Epic Gardening.

Kevin Espiritu runs a blog about growing your own food called Epic Gardening, and one of his tips is to make use of advertising. "We monetize with curated display ads and affiliate links mostly," he says. "Ads are the base layer of monetization on the internet, and carefully selected affiliate links are a helpful, low-lift way to provide readers an option to purchase a product that will help them in the garden.”

One advertising option is Google AdSense, which offers bloggers and website creators a way to run display ads alongside their blog posts. Advertisers compete in a digital auction to place ads on your blog, and how much you earn depends on monthly traffic to your website and how many visitors see or interact with the ads.

Make use of affiliate links

Beauty blogger Nikki Apostolou

Beauty blogger Nikki Apostolou runs affiliate links to products she believes in

As Kevin mentioned, affiliate links are another way to generate revenue for your blog. With affiliate marketing, the blogger agrees to link to specific products that they feel good about sharing with their audience. An affiliate link takes the consumer to the merchant’s website, with the affiliate (the blogger) getting a commission for every sale. Multiple affiliate networks are out there to bring together merchants and products with bloggers and website creators. 

“With affiliate links, I love that I could leave a link in my bio, a swipe up in a story, or a link on a blog and get a percent of a sale,” says Native American beauty and fashion influencer Nikki Apostolou, who publishes The Cosmeholic blog. “If it’s something I'm passionate about, and I share all the time, it makes it an organic income stream.”

Experiment with sponsored posts

LGBTQ blogger and influencer Rigel Gemini

LGBTQ blogger and influencer Rigel Gemini monetizes his site with sponsored posts and brand partnerships

Rigel Gemini blogs on fashion, art, film, music, travel and lifestyle within the LGBTQ community. Sponsored posts are one way he earns income from his blog. 

In this scenario, brands will pay to have their company name, products or services featured on a blog. Sponsored posts offer brands a way to get exposure from popular bloggers and other influencers, while offering the content creator a fee. As with affiliate marketing, numerous sponsored post networks exist to bring together brands with bloggers and social media influencers. 

“I monetize via sponsored posts and brand partnerships mainly,” he says. “This has been a consistent stream of opportunities for years.” 

Adds lifestyle photographer Nicholas Valdo, “Affiliate links and sponsored posts seem to be the most organic and true way to promote products I genuinely believe in and have used.”

Seek out brands to build your own

A Treasure Dig activity from blogger Mothercould

Mothercould created a Treasure Dig activity for Nickelodeon's Santiago of the Seas.

Some bloggers, like Myriam Sandler of Mothercould, will reach out to companies whose products she already uses and wants to endorse. Myriam, who creates sensory games and activities for kids, approached a company whose food coloring she used in her recipes. The brand jumped at the chance to partner with Myriam to sponsor and create custom content. This led to other kid-friendly companies like Nickelodeon contacting Myriam to establish brand partnerships. “You get a lot of ‘nos’ before you get to a ‘yes,’” she explains. “For me, the [first] partnership gave me the confidence to pursue more.” 

How you choose to monetize and grow your blog is totally up to you. Some bloggers start out using advertising and affiliate links as they build their following and reputation as content-matter experts and influencers. Sponsored posts and brand partnerships may come later, as your blog and your online presence grow. Know you can mix and match your approaches — no need to stick to just one, and your approach can adapt as your blog evolves.

“It takes some time to start to build up a portfolio and cultivate relationships,” says Rigel Gemini, looking back on the content and revenue streams he’s developed. “But over time it's easy to start to build a reputation in brand work. Brands depend on working with creators who have professionalism and follow-through.”

Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen uses the web to go global

Rachel Brathen wants to create a more peaceful and harmonious world, one yoga pose at a time. A native of Sweden, Rachel moved to Aruba with her husband in 2010, where she’s taught yoga full-time ever since. 

Business started out slow, teaching a few students at a time. Then five students turned into 10, 10 turned into 20, then people beyond Rachel’s area started reaching out to her for more information. That’s when she established an online presence, and her brand took off.

Rachel teaches yoga in-person and online from her studio in Aruba.

Rachel teaches yoga in-person and online from her studio in Aruba.

Rachel has built an enormous worldwide following of yoga practitioners with her Yoga Girl website andblog. Her commitment to helping others get in touch with their authentic, inner selves — set against the backdrop of Aruba’s beaches — appeals to yoga enthusiasts of all skill levels. “I went from teaching 15 people on the beach to teaching hundreds of people in another country very, very quickly,” Rachel recalls. She offers online classes via her website and in-person classes at her Island Yoga studio in Noord, Aruba.

Over the years, she’s expanded her digital reach on social media, including YouTube and Instagram, where she has 2.1 million followers. She’s published two books, including the New York Times bestseller“Yoga Girl,” and she’s appeared on many magazine covers. She’s appeared on many magazine covers and hosts apodcast

She also runs two nonprofits: Sgt Pepper’s Friends, an animal rescue foundation in Aruba, and Yoga Girl Foundation, benefitting women and children in need. “I'm so grateful that we have the Internet,” Rachel says. “It's wild to think of where we would be without it.”

In a recent interview, we caught up with Rachel to learn how she used the web to build her worldwide Yoga Girl community.

Tell us how you got started with yoga.

I’ve had a lot of pain my whole life — back pain from scoliosis and from three car accidents when I was young. I found meditation when I was 17. Shortly after that, someone asked me, "If you're practicing meditation, why aren't you doing yoga for back pain?" I thought yoga was for super-flexible people, or you had to be up at four in the morning to do it. So I was hesitant in the beginning. I was lucky to find an amazing teacher and a style that was super helpful for my pain. In a few years, I started teaching and changed it my whole life.

How did you transition from yoga in a physical setting to a digital one?

I'm on a tiny island in the Caribbean. My original idea was to have an online presence so that the people who live here could find me. Then almost right away, people who didn't live physically in my location started reaching out, asking questions and wondering about the practice or how to start a practice.

I entered the social media space as a newbie, with the idea of wanting to inspire, educate or invite people into the practice. But I had a lot of ups and downs, with a lot of trial and error. I realized early that what really inspires people isn't so much the perfect poses, or the most beautiful pictures, or the green juices and the sunshine, which I was sharing — but the real, genuine, authentic stories about the good and the challenging parts of life.

The community section on

The community section on

How do you identify what your audience might be interested in?

I keep in touch with my community through direct messaging and comments and emails. We have a community board on, where people write in all day. So sometimes I can gauge that there's a topic bubbling up there. Oftentimes, it's the state of the world, which reflects the state of my inner world, which usually reflects how we all feel. 

So if I don't know what to record that week for the podcast, I'll just go to my biggest struggle right now — that thing that's hard for me in my life. And it blows my mind every week, how many people say, "That's my exact issue. I'm feeling exactly like that." We have this idea that we are so separate, but we're not. We all feel the same things, and it's nice to have someone on the other end just touch on that and validate that it's OK to have those struggles, too.

Rachel's Yoga Girl Daily podcast covers yoga, meditation, inspiration and more.

Rachel's Yoga Girl Daily podcast covers yoga, meditation, inspiration and more.

Let’s get your thoughts on a few different types of yoga. What do you think of Ashtanga?

Ashtanga is one of the first styles of yoga that I found my way to. For people who thrive in structure, it's a wonderful practice. But for me, it's a little too disciplined to fit my day-to-day.

What's your take on hot yoga?

A good instructor knows not to push boundaries, but to guide people to really listen to their own bodies. It's wonderful to sweat, and I have no problem with that. We don't have to heat the studio here. We just close the doors, and it's hot yoga.

What about acroyoga, which combines yoga with acrobatics?

With acroyoga online, we see really advanced stuff, because it looks so beautiful, and everyone is always super flexible, super thin. It's always exotic, on a cliff or on the beach somewhere. But I think actually acroyoga can be a bonding experience between people, with your partner, as a couple or with friends. There's something really joyful and light about having that physical connection.

What do you think of paddleboard or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga?

I love it. I really do. Taking a board out, anchoring somewhere and then just having my regular practice on the board or sitting in silence with my breath. There's something so special about nature, but it can also sound and feel a little bit gimmicky. It's not really the everyday yoga practice. It's really an adventure, and I think something that you probably would do on vacation.

Where can folks interested in signing up and subscribing find more information? is a great place to start. We have our subscription platform there with yoga and meditation classes. And on Instagram, I'm at @yoga_girl

How Carrots ‘N’ Cake adapts to changing digital trends

In 2008, Boston-area resident Tina Haupert wanted to get in shape for her wedding day. Never a fan of crash diets, she started reading healthy living blogs and figured, What the heck, why not start one of my own? She believed healthy foods could be combined with small servings of delicious, guilty pleasures, andCarrots ‘N’ Cake was born.

What began as a personal blog became, in Tina’s words, “a go-to resource for all things healthy living, from my love of delicious food and wine, to fun workouts, quick beauty and fashion tips, and the ‘true life’ of tackling a chronic illness, ulcerative colitis, head first.”

A former social media marketing consultant, Tina is now a full-time certified nutrition coach and functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, offering group and one-on-one coaching—as well as fitness and nutrition programs—to the Carrots ‘N’ Cake community. She’s built her brand online, attracting local and national media attention and landing book deals, including “The Everything Macro Diet Cookbook,” published in August 2020. And in late 2020, she launched the Carrots ‘N’ Cake podcast

Tina recently chatted with us about how her blog and her business took off.

Tell us about the evolution of your blog from its beginnings to how it became a full-time job.

Tina: I started the blog as a hobby. It was a side gig, but over time, more people started to read it. When I began to have more of an audience, I got in touch with an advertising company and started showing ads in the sidebar. Before ad companies knew what was going to happen with blogs, they used to pay us per page view, which was a pretty decent income for simply blogging and having ads on your site.

I was working full-time and doing the blog on the side for a good two to three years, then ended up quitting my full-time job and having a part-time job. I was doing about 20 hours a week at my part-time job, and then the rest of the time was spent on the blog. Over time, things just kept growing. I ended up getting book deals and traveling a ton so I couldn't keep the regular job and went all-in, full-time on the blog.

The cover of The Everything Macro Diet Cookbook

Tina’s blog led to a fitness and nutrition coaching business and a cookbook, published in August 2020.

How have your revenue streams changed over time?

Tina:Things have totally changed. When I started my blog, you could definitely rely on ads and that was probably 90 percent of my income. But over time, the ads have become less of a priority. There was also a phase where sponsored content was huge and I was doing two or three sponsored posts a week, but now that has slowed down, too. I still do sponsored content but I have shifted more of my time over to providing services to my readers. Over the years, I started to see the challenges that my readers were experiencing, with a lot of the same questions about what to eat, how much to eat, how to fit in workouts and more. So I've transitioned to providing nutrition coaching and at-home fitness programs and functional testing now. 

How does being service-based impact you and your business?

Tina: I'm able to connect with people better now because I'm working with clients one-on-one or  through group coaching. I feel like I'm helping people in a different way instead of them just reading what I'm doing in my life. Being service-based has also been good for my work-life balance, too, because it's not producing content all day, every day. 

What types of content work well for you and your readers these days?

Tina: Back in the early days, my blog posts would have 20 photos and a really long post about whatever I did during my day. Now, I feel like people don't always have the attention span to read something super long, so I'm posting short Instagram-like content like infographics or images that tell readers the story immediately. 

An Instagram post from Tina

In addition to blog articles, Tina shares tips and other quick bites of info with her readers via graphics, like this one from Instagram.

Do you embed your graphics into a blog post or do you use them in a Stories-type format?

Tina: It’s a little bit of both, actually. I now write short-form content but in Instagram Stories, for example, I post images where you can click through to see different steps. I've also been doing shorter videos. So, instead of doing a 15-minute YouTube video, I'll just do a two to three-minute video. For longer videos, it takes more for people to commit to listening to it.

Walk us through the process for writing an article or a blog from start to finish. 

Tina:If it's a basic blog post where I'm just writing what I want to write, it usually comes as an idea in the shower, driving or wherever. I write it down on a piece of paper, highlight key parts of the idea and start writing. With images, it's really important to name the images according to your topic; that's something that I didn’t do in the beginning, which wasn’t great for search engine optimization. You can even research Google keywords and find common words for your blog post topic to help you with SEO. That's really important today if you want people to find your content. I use Yoast, a plugin that helps with SEO. You write the way you want to write, and then add in some keywords.

If it's a recipe post, I use a WordPress plugin Tasty Recipes from WP Tasty called Tasty Recipes.They have a recipe card that helps you make recipes more standardized and also helps with SEO. And Tasty Links automatically links your keywords to URLs. I'm not affiliated with them, they just make a really good product. And then of course there's proofreading. 

And then I have a virtual assistant who creates and posts all of my pins on Pinterest. Make sure you’re using keywords and high-quality images for Pinterest.

The Carrots 'N Cake website

Part of Tina’s commitment to wellness includes sharing healthy recipes with her readers.

That's pretty much the process. Like I said, some posts are a lot more involved. It might take me a week to write one, and then sometimes I’m inspired and bust it one in an hour or two. It just depends on the content and what's going on in my life at the moment.