This blog post is about how to start a beauty blog and make money off of it. If you’ve explored my blog even a little bit, you’ve seen the ad banners and affiliate ad disclosures. It’s no secret that I’m trying to make money beauty blogging. If I’m going to pour hours into a hobby, I might as well find a way to pay for it!
This isn’t my first attempt at monetizing a blog. I was initially exposed to the idea after hearing about college classmates having success with blog passive income (with one of them now being a millionaire). Though I never quite took my blogging endeavors seriously enough to make a living from it, the extra pocket change was nice.
Fast forward to today, where I’m experiencing job burnout and wanting to try something new. Having read up on making money from beauty blogging, I know that the odds are greatly against me. I’ve even read blog posts saying not to bother because there’s no money in it. Unfortunately, I’ve reached a point in my life where the more someone tells me I can’t do something, the more likely I’m going to attempt it.
Right now, getting rich is not my goal (though it would be nice). I just want to fund my Asian skincare obsession and learn more about the blogging practices that have made my college classmates so successful. If I can replicate such results, that would be great. If not, I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried, as I don’t like the idea of living life with regrets.
In addition to my usual skincare and makeup posts, I’ll now be sharing my experiences in starting a beauty blog. Below is a basic guide that encompasses everything I’ve done so far to make money beauty blogging. I hope you’ll learn from my successes and failures! Happy blogging!
(Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and/or make a purchase I get a small commission. Thank you for your support!)
How to Start a Beauty Blog and Make Money
1) Pick a Niche
The first step in creating any monetized blog is finding a niche. If you’re reading this blog, then it’s quite likely that you’re into beauty/skincare products, hence making it easy to pick a niche. While this blog is predominantly an Asian skincare blog, I also write about beauty blogging and makeup products. This is fine, but be careful about drifting too far away from your niche.
2) Create Your Blog
Blogger and WordPress are two of the most popular blogging platforms and I’ve created blogs through both. In my opinion, Blogger is a lot easier to use for those who want to get their site up and running as soon as possible. Part of Blogger’s appeal is that it makes basic customization simple (e.g., changing font colors and sizing without knowing programming languages) and already includes plugins important to those blogging for money. For example, Blogger incorporates a feature that tracks your site’s visitors so you don’t have to connect your blog to third-party apps like Google Analytics or Slimstat. Blogger is also run by Google, so if you plan on monetizing your blog with AdSense, you can do so without having to figure out how to add extra code to your site.
While it’s easier to get started with Blogger, I feel that WordPress is the way to go with blogs. While the learning curve is much steeper, with the right tools and skills you can customize your blog to look however you like. In my opinion, WordPress blogs look more professional and visually pleasing than Blogger ones. If you’re trying to drive readers to your blog and retain them, aesthetics can make all the difference.
A Note on WordPress.org Vs. WordPress.com
When I talk about WordPress above, I’m referring to WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. With WordPress.org, you host your blog on your own web domain and server (using services such as Bluehost). Alternatively, WordPress.com blogs are hosted on WordPress’ server (though you can buy your own custom domain name through them). While basic WordPress.com blogs are free, they are not as customizable as WordPress.org or paid WordPress.com blogs. Additionally, Google AdSense ads are not allowed on WordPress.com blogs.
3) Create Quality Content
What constitutes quality content can mean different things for different people. For me, quality content consists of posts that rank high in SEO and attracts/retains readers.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
When you search for something on Google or Yahoo, you’ll see that the search results are ranked based on relevance. Search engine optimization is the process by which you tailor your content and website to get the best ranking possible for the search keywords you care about.
When trying to drive traffic to a website, bloggers try to create content that will rank high for specific keywords – what a user is trying to find. For instance, if a user is trying to find sunblock lotion (which is the keyword), they may type in words such as sunscreen, sun block, sun protection, and SPF (all of which are search queries).
The goal of many bloggers is to create content that ranks high for popular keywords so their website shows up higher on search engine rankings. That way, users are more likely to visit their website. While I’m all for this, I’d be wary of having your content quality suffer for the sake of rankings. I’ve seen my share of blogs “stuffed” with keywords, and while they did rank higher in search results, I won’t be visiting them again anytime soon.
Attracting and Retaining Readers
Instead of focusing on SEO, it’s best to focus on writing informative content that appeals to readers in your niche. For some beauty bloggers, this includes product reviews, skincare tips, and beauty tutorials. This involves some intuition, but if you’re able to successfully write about what your readers are into, then they’ll most likely come back to your blog.
4) Monetize Your Beauty Blog
Once you have some good content on your blog, next comes the exciting part – monetization! Currently, this blog makes what little money it makes through ad networks and affiliate marketing.
Ad networks are basically companies that advertisers pay so they can place ads on websites that want them. Why would someone want ads on their website? Whenever someone clicks on an ad, the website owner gets a cut of what advertisers pay to ad networks. The more clicks an ad receives, the more money a website owner receives.
I currently use Google AdSense on this blog. It’s a popular ad network for starters because it’s easy to set up and Google pretty much takes care of everything for you. I’m sure there are other ad networks out there, but for someone who’s just starting out, I think Google AdSense is fine.
Affiliate marketing is basically making commissions off of selling someone’s products, similar to how car dealers make money. On blogs, affiliate marketing often comes in the form of banner ads for specific products or links within blog posts. These ads and links often have tracking codes incorporated into them so companies know to compensate you when someone clicks your link and makes a purchase.
I currently use Amazon Affiliates, Linkshare, and Shopstyle on this blog. These work for me because Amazon carries a number of Asian Beauty products and Linkshare is affiliated with Sephora. Shopstyle covers a large variety of vendors and pays me every time someone clicks a link, which works for new blogs with a low number of hits. I’m also trying to get approved for Ulta (via Impact Radius).
5) Drive Traffic to Your Beauty Blog
Now that you have your blog set up and monetized, it’s time to get people to read it. This is currently the step I’m working on and definitely the hardest. Here are the methods I’m using to try to drive traffic to my blog:
Social Media Networking
I have social media accounts with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest to interact with beauty bloggers and fans of Asian beauty products. Currently, my main focus is to find people with similar interests, share my content, and build a following. It’s certainly been a slow process, since I prefer to obtain new followers organically rather than paying for them. However, at the time of this writing I’ve managed to amass over 100 Instagram followers. Once I write a post on which social media platforms to use for your beauty blogging needs, I’ll link it here.
Commenting on Other Blogs
By commenting on other beauty blogs, you start developing relationships with other bloggers which can lead to friendships and other opportunities in the future. Additionally, by commenting on blogs you are able to build something known as backlinks, or links back to your own site. This is a tactic used by many bloggers to increase their SEO ranking.
I would highly advise against spamming blogs for the sake of backlinks. It’s dishonest and will only annoy and deter your readers.
Writing Quality Content That Ranks High in SEO
The higher your blog ranks in SEO, the higher it’s listed on search engine listings. Highly ranked websites are more likely to get seen by readers simply because most searchers won’t bother to look beyond the first page or two of search results. In my opinion, having multiple blog posts with high SEO rankings is one of the most natural and organic ways to bring traffic to your blog.
Can I Really Make Money Beauty Blogging?
Whether you make money beauty blogging depends on a number of factors: content quality, connections, niche selection, and dedication. There are quite a few beauty bloggers out there who indeed make a living doing what they love. However, for every successful blog are scores of other high quality blogs with ominous warnings that there’s no money to be made in the beauty blogging, especially the Asian beauty blogging niche. To dedicate so much time, energy, and money into blogging, only to fail in the end is a harsh reality that most of us will likely have to face.
Ultimately, I feel that luck factors into a blog’s success more than people like to admit. My college classmates who have made significant money through blogging all started early, found the right connections, and became established forces in popular niches before other competition started pouring in.
As with any entrepreneurial pursuit, blogging with the intent to make money is a risk. Fortunately, starting a blog is fairly low-cost (unless you plan on buying extra beauty products to review), with the biggest investment being time. If you enjoy what you are doing and are into your blog niche, then such risks are certainly worth the potential rewards.