"I would have never considered myself a crafty person, which is funny because that's what my blog is about," Johnston said. "The topic of crafting came about because I wanted to make things I would want for myself instead of buying them."
Once Johnston discovered she could start making more money than she originally thought with her blog, she looked into different money-making methods.
"I had seen on a lifestyle blog little advertising buttons you could tell were smaller shops, and it made me wonder how I could have a button for my own blog," Johnston said.
Deciding to start with Etsy sellers that sold items relating to her blog, Johnston sent out formal emails saying she would advertise for their shops in return for a certain amount of money. She would also run giveaways to help draw more people to their shops.
Johnston now works with two other larger networks and posts advertisements for them to earn revenue. Other large companies will also approach Johnston and ask her to make a craft to help with a charity, for which she receives compensation.
"This blog has been a huge blessing," Johnston said. "Since my husband has been in school for most of our marriage, he hasn't had a full-time job. So the profit I make off of my blog has been able to pay some of our bills and provide for our kids when needed."
Kate Jones and Sara Wells, two women who met on an online parenting forum, created a recipe blog in 2008 as a fun way to share recipes among friends and families. But four years and more than 500 recipes later, they are known as the women of "Our Best Bites." They have won a national cooking prize from Better Homes and Gardens and are getting more than a million visitors each month on their website. They have also published two cookbooks.
Even though they seem to be living the good life by making enough money to help support both of their families, their love of food, cooking and family continues to keep them motivated.
"I don't even think we even knew what a cooking blog was when we started it," Jones said. "I was planning on being a teacher and going back to grad school and Sara was doing some work as a landscape designer."
They said starting their business was more fun than anything.
"People have asked us if we've ever been frustrated with growing a small business, and the truth is it was never frustrating because we set our sights so low that anything good or profitable just came as a pleasant surprise," Wells said. "In the beginning, we never expected anyone besides our aunts and our old roommates to read it."
Jones and Wells started to post ads on their blog when it was only a few months old. They only made $7 the first month to split between the two of them. But over time, traffic to their blog increased and they developed a strong working relationship with their advertising partners.
Money has never been the driving factor for the bloggers of "Our Best Bites."
"We do it because we love it," Wells said. "We love the challenge, we love the food, the writing, the photography and the creativity. We love connecting with our readers and the opportunities we have been blessed with."
Just starting out
Valerie Stratford, a soon-to-be graduate of BYU-Idaho, started her blog in January 2010. After reading an article in the university's newspaper, the Scroll, she figured she would give it a try.
Recently, Stratford changed her blog's name from "Taking a Bite out of Life" to "Valpo Studio." Redesigning her blog with a new name and look, Stratford focuses on art, crafts, cooking, and life's ups and downs.
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