FAQ: How Do You Make Money From A DIY Blog?

We’re starting a few FAQ series where I cover some of the things we get asked most! First up, how do you make money from a DIY blog?

photo of Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloy DIY blog

There are a few questions that I get asked A LOT. And I figured it was due time I started writing about them!

I’m pretty much an open book (maybe even too much)! So I’m totally happy to answer as many questions as you guys have.

To start, our number one most asked question is “How do you make money from a DIY blog?”

It’s interesting how frequently I get asked this considering if I were to walk up to someone on the street and ask them how they make money, they’d probably be really offended.

That said, it’s kind of a mystery to us all sometimes (myself included)!

So it’s fair to wonder, and I’m going to lay it all out there for you!

How do you make money from a DIY blog? - Sugar & Cloth

How to Make Money From a Blog

First, I want to preface that I’m only speaking on my own behalf here, and not for DIY blogs as a whole.

Each blogger does things differently.

Some may make ten times what I make. Or some may make ten times less. It’s all relative.

And I have plenty of learning and growing to do myself when it comes to Sugar & Cloth!

Now, here’s the main breakdown based on the main steams of income:

Income breakdown:

— Sponsored blog posts

— Sponsored Instagram/social posts

— Creating content for brands

— Site ads

— Personal appearances/speaking

— Affiliate links

— Workshops

— Selling Random Possessions on Craigslist: I’m only half-joking on this one.

You may be wondering what half of these things are, so let me explain–

Sponsored Blog Posts

Sponsored blog posts are when a brand pays us a set fee to write a blog post that includes their product.

I try super, super hard to make sure this is something that comes across natural.

Because trust me, it’s just as annoying to me as a reader of other sites when it feels like you’re reading a letter from a car salesman in the form of a blog post.

Here’s an example of one of my favorite sponsored blog posts for HGTV Home and Stella Cheeses.

We always share sponsored blog posts across our social channels too.

Sponsored Instagram/Social Posts 

This is when a brand comes to us to create content solely for our social channels. (But mainly, it’s for Instagram instead of a blog post.)

This is an example of a sponsored Instagram post we created that also got pushed to our other social channels. 

My rule of thumb is that if it isn’t relevant or pretty enough to be on the blog, it can’t be on Instagram either.

That’s how I make sure I’m double-checking that Instagram is an extension of the blog too.

Creating Content for Brands 

We used to do a lot more of contention creation for brands but not so much now that the blog has grown a bit.

But I still like to work with a few key brands. Essentially this could be considered paid guest posting (like how we made posts for Minted). Or it’s also like the galleries we created for Food Network.

Sidebar Ads

This use to be one of our lesser paying revenue streams because when we first started we weren’t heavy on page views.

However, the revenue was still consistent enough to be up in the top 5.

Now that we have focused on search engine optimization, sidebar ads are probably now one of our top 3 sources of income.

We cannot stress enough the importance of writing SEO friendly content. It’s vital for all bloggers.

Most  of our blog traffic comes from organic searches.

Personal Appearances

These usually coincide with something like a sponsored blog post or social shares. But they’re definitely one of my favorites!

I think it’s the coolest thing getting to meet other influencers and readers while simultaneously stuffing my face with mini cheeseburgers served on cute plates.

Okay, so there’s not always mini food items, but when there is, it’s awesome!

Affiliate Links

I spent an abnormal amount of time curating and updating our little shop page. And those are considered affiliate links.

This means that when you click on a link and purchase something from that site, we will make a small commission off of it.

Hilariously, our most popular affiliate links of all time are from this DIY Flamingo Ring Toss idea!


I find workshops to be super fun.

But in order to keep the tickets affordable, they usually aren’t worth the amount of work that goes into planning DIY details for months on end.

That said, we recently hosted a sponsored DIY workshop that was free to attend because the client paid for everything, which was a win/win for everyone!

Selling Things On Craigslist

You may think I’m joking, but there was a time not-so-long ago that we were barely scraping by after jumping into Sugar & Cloth full time.

So we got reallllly acquainted with Craigslist!

That’s a story for another time, but if you’d like an overly honest post about the time I was facing the idea that Sugar & Cloth might fail, I’m happy to write that one too!

How do you make money from a DIY blog? - Sugar & Cloth

Things We Don’t Do or Sell for Income

Another important list to point out are the things we don’t make money on as to not sell out.

Yes, I love paying my bills every month while still being able to afford something to eat that’s not on the Chik-Fil-A kid’s menu, but I still have to sleep at night. These are certain things that just rub me the wrong way…

Things we don’t sell:

— Promote brands we would never be caught dead using in real life

— Share brand created content as our own

— Sponsored Guest Posts

— Text Link Ads

– Related Post Ads

Promoting Brands We Would Never Use

This is one of those things where integrity comes into play big time.

I’m going to be totally candid here and tell you that there have been times that we agree to do a post that includes a product I may not use a ton, or have never used at all.

BUT once being introduced to it, I loved it.

For instance, I had never had this vodka before our recipe post, but I love it now.

The other side of this is when we get approached by brands that are willing to pay a lot of money.

But I refuse because if it’s just not relevant to you or me, then I’d be selling out if I tried to make it work.

Sure, I could take the money and run. But why?

That would mean I’m only going to make you (the readers that are the reason we do everything that we do here) upset because it comes across spammy.

And secondly, make a brand upset because they didn’t get a good return on it because instead of me being honest and telling them you wouldn’t like it, I just cashed the check and didn’t look back.

The Catch 22 of this is that sometimes we work with brands that I LOVE.

But some people want to call us out on it not being authentic even though it is.

For instance, I haven’t gone more than a week without this creamer in years and I would’ve done that recipe post in exchange for no money and only the promise of free creamer for life.

Yet, some people didn’t think it was genuine.

All of that to say that sometimes you just can’t please everyone no matter how true it is.

Ashley Rose - Sugar & Cloth

Share Brand Created Content as Our Own

Sometimes brands want to pay us to share images that we didn’t take, style, or create, and that’s not cool with me.

We work really hard to bring you original, pretty content for a reason, and I’m not going to allow my countless nights of no sleep from trying to write you a DIY post before 6am CST to be watered down by that, money or not.

Sponsored Guest Posts

This goes hand-in-hand with the above.

I have no problem sharing cool content from our contributors that we know and love.

But I won’t promote content that’s not created by us or by a fellow creative that we are genuinely backing.

Text Link Ads

Text links are when a company goes to a blogger with a flat fee to have them trade out a link to a product (think DIY supplies, clothes, etc) that are in a post to be directed towards their site.

The reason I don’t allow these are because it usually is linking to a site that is not in your best interest.

For instance, we link to Amazon a lot because I’m addicted to using my Amazon Prime free shipping, and I assume everyone else in the world is to.

So I won’t link to a site that has $50 shipping, plus a higher product cost if I know you can get it somewhere else much cheaper.

That’s why we use a lot of affiliate links instead, because we make a huge effort to find you the best deal to begin with, instead of throwing you to the sharks so to speak.

Related Post Ads

These are the links and images to things like “other posts you may like”. But then when you look closer you realize it’s a paid ad spot.

We take time to make sure Sugar & Cloth content is highly curated.

And I don’t want some random site that we would never usually promote to pop up and trick you just so we can make a few bucks.

So we don’t allow them.

That about sums it all up for our income breakdown. But if I left anything out, feel free to ask!

Also be sure to leave a comment with your other FAQ so we can nail down a common question for the next overly honest post!

Please note that we may earn a commission for some of the above affiliate links. However, products featured are independently selected and personally well-loved by us!

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  1. Very helpful article for a newbie. You’ve mentioned it’s good to open a blog with a single niche. However, how are sites like mashable performing so well even though it has articles on many niches?

    1. Hi Holly! We’re glad this was helpful! Honestly, Mashable now more so a giant entertainment media outlet and website than a blog. It did start off as a simple blog with one writer and back then in 2005 it was way ahead of the game in terms of blogging about entertainment and pop culture. Back then, that may have been a simple niche but now there are so many similar ones to compete against with the digital realm. Once it found its simple niche and audience, they were able to expand to so many other topics. They now have the bandwidth and money to do so and kuddos to them because we love Mashable!

  2. I am planning to start blogging and soon work with Adsense. My question is, would the minimum cost you have talked about be a one time payment or would I have to pay those $70 each month.

    1. Hi Joseph! Can you clarify on the one time payment fee? We did not mention a fee for a program like Adsense. Sponsors will pay a one time campaign fee though.

  3. I am so glad I found your post on pinterest! I have been flirting with the idea of starting a blog to develop my writers platform online. However, I am a bit lost on how to do that; your post has helped me. I also might look into your consulting services if I get in a jam later on. Great post! Thanks for posting!

  4. I found your blog online and I would like to share an interesting product with you! Can I email and share more info of our WallArt Ecofriendly Plant fiber Wall Panels? Maybe I can send you a pack of our Panels so you can have a look at them? I hope You are interested because I really like your blog!

    1. Hi Casey! Please feel free to email us. You are more than welcome to send a pack of panels. XOXO

  5. Till time i was only known one way of earning money from blogs and i.e. Google adsence but after reading your blog i got another ideas as well. Thanks for this piece of useful information.

  6. I really enjoyed the post. I think your blog is great and I guess it’s just normal to struggle sometimes in whatever business you might work. So go girl, you’re doing a great job! And keep on writing honest posts, that’s very nice and refreshing :)

  7. As a fellow blogger, I love reading how the other bloggers are making it. Thanks for sharing!

    Brittany | thechicette.com

  8. Thank you for sharing! I know it must feel like spilling all your secrets, but it is seriously helpful for someone like me who is just starting out and trying to figure out the whole mysterious blog monetization thing. Thank you <3

  9. I really enjoyed your comments about how to make money on your blog. I am amazed at how many steps there are to even the simplest tasks in operating a blog, you have created a nice space.
    Thank you for all of the info, you are very helpful!

  10. Extraordinary data, thank you for sharing! As a maker and blogger who is simply bouncing into the amusement, it’s incredible to take in tips from the best!

  11. Hi dear! i found your blog today and i love it! this post will be very helpful for my new project on the internet. amazing work, well done!
    tks!! greetings from brazil! ;)

  12. I found your blog today and I am just in love! Thank you for the beautiful photos and for taking time to explain how you make money. I have a dream that has been tucked away in my heart for far too long and it’s time to take action. I would love to hear the story of you just barely scraping by. Please write it up, I would read it in a heartbeat. You are beautiful inside and out!!
    Love, Ashley

    1. Thanks so much for the encouraging words, Ashley! I will definitely write that post for you! Thinking of sitting down to do it this week! :)

  13. Thank you for this very interesting read. I have been wondering for a long time how people make a living blogging. I appreciate the effort you put out to be authentic.

  14. Thanks for being so honest here! You’re so refreshing in your approach to all this. We love you because you stand firm in what you believe and keep giving us loads of pretty to drool about straight from your heart. xo

  15. Fabulous post! We always want to know the secret don’t we. I see that you have come to very similar conclusions to me. My personal favourite is working with brands for product, but I will only use products that I like and would use myself. I totally agree that it has to be authentic, the minute it sounds salesy it becomes snore a minute. I have sadly come to the conclusion that I will never make much money blogging, but then blogging was always more about sharing ideas anyway, for me. It may lead somewhere interesting though and perhaps that is enough for now.

  16. Thank you for this open and honest post. It sure is an interesting question to be asked (I myself wondered a lot about it. I have a successful DIY blog but it’s very rare for a blog to make real money in Israel…). I love your attitude when it comes to making money vs. being true to your readers. It shows in everything you do, and it what makes your blog such an awesome place to visit!

  17. Thank you so much for this post! I have to ask, I have been approached by many companies to promote their products or write something about a topic that they might share later on their site – do you usually ask for a certain fee even if they do not offer one? I just feel awkward asking because I have so little experience with getting paid to blog and do not know how much to charge.

    1. If they’re syndicating a full post to their blog, they should definitely be paying an additional fee. We don’t allow full posts to be shared outside of the blog though, because we want to make sure it’s not duplicate content, but even if you were just creating content for their site only, you should still be charging a fee.

      The only exception would if they are offering you a product amount for free in exchange, and/or VERY specific promotion of your site in return.

      Hope this helps, but feel free to reach out if you have more questions! xo Ash

  18. Thanks for sharing. It really is a challenge as a blogger to know what things are worth, so the more people that stand up and say that their work is worth money (obviously!), the better it will get.

  19. This is so great! I wish all of my readers would read this. :) and I’d love to hear more about your season with Craigslist!

  20. Pretty much everything possible for a website or blog owner willing to monetize his/her online presence. Good blog post, congrats!

  21. thanks for being so honest and transparent! I love that you spend so much time and effort curating your content and site but maintaining your genuine voice. some blogs don’t do this very well.

  22. Thank you so much for not having pop up ads! They are so annoying and your beautiful blog would be ruined by them! Love your work ?

  23. Really great post and very helpful for fellow bloggers who are trying to make this as a full-time career. I had the opportunity to attend your Home Decor DIY workshop and got to see first hand how much effort you put into it.
    My blog right now is on the stage where I have just started to make very little money out of it. However there is still so much to learn. Would be great if you could share your experience and tips on managing the money part. Like if we should hire book-keepers / taxes etc. Permits required and licenses required. Are product reviews considered as income? Also if possible the legal issues bloggers could face and what to be careful of. I know that this topic may be uninteresting for some specially non-bloggers and you may not want to share this info. I can completely understand. However, I’m sure it will be very helpful for bloggers who are looking to earn some money from their blogs.
    Keep up the great work Ashley! Love your taste and style.

  24. Love these insights! It’s all still pretty new to me, and so far I’ve turned down the (very) few sponsored opportunities offered to me because they frankly came out of left field and had nothing to do with my blog. It was hard at first (I was honestly just flattered to be asked), but I knew it was the right thing. And reading your blog and others that take content seriously is a great motivator!

  25. Oh and I wonder what you charge a brand for a DIY workshop (sponsored) and what you charge for a Instagram pic?

  26. Would you share income or ranges for the various income sources above? What you have posted was already obvious for most of us but disclosing numbers is what I think everyone is interested in most. There is no industry standard for bloggers, no bloggers union, and as a result many get taken for a ride by brands. Also how do you determine your pricing and worth? Do you have an agency doing this for you, etc.

  27. Great information, thank you for sharing! As a creator and blogger who is just jumping into the game, it’s great to learn tips from the best!

  28. I think it’s so cool you’re so open about this. You have thought it all through so you can be the best for your readers. That’s incredibly nice, inspirational and good to read! Thank you!! x

  29. This is realy informative blog post! Thanks! Also, I’ve seen a photo on your instagram the other day with this similar (or same?) dress and a hat (that you have in this post as well) and I tried to find a DIY on yur blog (are the dress and a hat DIY as well?) but I could’t. Any suggestions? Thanks!! 。◕ ‿ ◕
    – IVA http://cosyhippie.blogspot.com/

  30. So useful thank you for being so transparent! I follow your blog and posts, you are such an inspiration to me! Carry on the good work :-)

    Juliette x

  31. What a great post! I love the transparency. I’m in the early stages of formulating blogging strategy and this is very helpful. Thank you!

  32. Thank You very much for sharing your thoughts and good practices!! You are always an inspiration!!