When it comes to life-style friendly occupations that are out there, blogging tops the list. A significant number of women and stay at home parents are bloggers. We’ve been discussing various ways of building multiple streams of income in order not to remain a slave to a job or business. With multiple income sources, you are able to enjoy life better and have the flexibility to do the things you really care about.
Before these multiple income streams start flowing with gold and silver, you have to decide what you want to be doing and put in the work upfront. This website is devoted to sharing some ideas of possible income streams.
In one of our previous posts we discussed creating multiple income streams from your hobbies, blogging being one of them. You can find basic introduction to blogging there.
Years ago, blogging was very lucrative if you knew what you were doing mainly because there weren’t that many bloggers. If you are starting out now, you’ll be competing with millions more. In and of itself, blogging may not make you much money simply because a blog is a platform for building multiple streams of income working from home. We will examine how to monetise your blogging platform more effectively further below.
Back in the day here in the UK, one of the best known bloggers was Martin Lewis who started his money saving blog in 2003 attracting millions of visitors and subscribers on a monthly basis. He reportedly sold his blogging website in 2012 for a cool £87M. His was not an isolated success, there are many more who create significant incomes from blogging.
So Who Are These Bloggers? Some Facts and Figures
The groups that make up the blogging community comprise part time and full time professionals; hobby bloggers; corporate (as part of their job); and entrepreneurs. Overall, 14% of bloggers earn a salary from blogging. The majority of bloggers are women.
iBlog’s magazine, Women’s Blogging Industry and Business Annual Report 2015 survey identified that many people do not earn enough to replace their salary. Whilst only 6% of women surveyed earned six-figure salary, 62% earned nothing in the first six months. Over time, this number starts to increase as the bloggers build traffic and improve their brand reputation.
Those starting out today have stiffer competition, however there are still opportunities to make money. In this article, we will explore how to make money writing blogs, most of which are tried and tested strategies, specifically: advertisements, affiliate marketing and selling products & services.
First Things First…
7 Ways to Build a Foundation to Make Money From Your Blog
The old adage states that money does not grow on trees? Where does it grow then – on hard work and diligence? Let’s find out.
Before you start, there are a number of things you should consider and put in place in order to increase your chances of earning money writing blogs.
1. Create your blog website
You first decide on the name, purchase a domain name and establish a website. The process of building a website is much easier nowadays and a decent domain name costs approximately $10 per year. You can build your website for free with a decent professional theme and hosting here. You may also check out other domain hosting companies such as Namecheap, Hostgators, Dreamhost, etc. ranging from $4/month to $20/month.
2. Quality Content is King
This has been a common adage for many years not just among bloggers but also any business that wishes to establish its brand authority through article writing. Even e-commerce stores write some content to engage visitors.
To attract visitors to your site, you’ve got to give them something worth visiting and staying on your site for. Therefore give them content that is interesting and most likely to solve their problems or start a conversation. Bear your visitors in mind when you write. If your visitors do not read your content, you are wasting your time because you are unlikely to convert them into customers. ProBlogger provides help with writing compelling content to monetize your blog.
3. Enlist Your Passion
Blog on subjects you are passionate about. Remember that blogging does not give an overnight success and therefore be prepared for the long haul. In that case, are you ready to eat and breathe the subject you write about on a daily basis over a long period of time?
Furthermore, when you write about something you are passionate about, it flows naturally and your audience will feel and connect with your passion. If it is theoretical and dry, that will reflect the audience participation and income stream down the line.
The primary purpose of blogging should not be about making money because your audience will see through it. Blogging about something you love takes the pressure away from making money straight away. The energy of desperation to make money is negative and will put your visitors off. Money comes at the right time.
4. Target Profitable Niches
Unless you have no interest in monetising your blogs, it’s always good from the outset to identify niches that will fly. What are people interested in that everyone else out there is not blogging about?
Lifestyle blogging such as hobbies, fashion, beauty and well-being are quite popular and have the potential to become lucrative if you are creative about how you use your platform. We will return to this later.
To discover how to find profitable niches and get higher advertising rates from the right niche, Niche Site Duel is a good resource.
5. Building Relationships
A successful blog or platform has a lot to do with building relationships. These relationships include your sponsors, your visitors, affiliate partners, other bloggers, your niche networks, forums and relevant membership sites to strengthen your brand and blogs. Build trust by being genuine and sincere. Gradually you’ll become the expert in your field.
6. Personal Development
You cannot give what you do not have and therefore investing in yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and your blogging business. By equipping yourself with knowledge and skills, you are separating yourself from the masses that do not earn much from their blogs.
As you invest in your skills, you know what is trending, which social media outlets are more effective. As you grow, you are able to share your insights through your blogs. You put yourself in a better position for monetisation of your blog platform. BlogHer provides useful conferences, which you may find useful and Wealthy Affiliate provides one of the best generous and comprehensive Internet Marketing training I’ve come across.
When you put the above strategies in place, your blog platform will start growing organically including traffic. The time has come to begin monetising your blog platform in a strategic way. Let’s go…
How to Make Money on a Blog
Over time, your blog platform will become more than a hobby and you transition to a professional blogger. Blogging is like any business and ought to be treated as such with all the principles of running a business and working from home in place. This is when opportunities begin to open up mainly because you have increased your knowledge and skills and therefore know how to harvest these opportunities. The list below is by no means exhaustive.
How to Make Money On Your Blog Through Advertisements (Ads)
Similar to magazines and newspapers, you can sell ad space on your blog platform. Ads come in the form of PPC/CPC (pay per click or cost per click). These are usually banners in the content of your blog or in the side bar. You get paid every time someone clicks on it.
CPM is another form of Ad, which works out at cost per 1,000 impressions. It is based on the number of people that view your ads. This form of advertisement can complement Google AdSense as your traffic grows.
The secret is building traffic and your brand reputation. Instead of settling for or pursuing anything including low quality ads, advertisers will be willing to pay to get to your audience.
As you are starting out and until you build huge traffic and reputation to negotiate for private ads, there are several ad networks that act as intermediary between you and advertisers.
These ad networks include but not limited to Google AdSense, BlogHer, Federated Media. Google AdSense is the most popular. Depending on your niche and by joining the right forum, you will find other networks that may suit you better.
Can you Make Money From AdSense?
Unless you have huge traffic, you are not likely to create a salary from these ads. To place ads on your site, it’s important to follow Google’s AdSense guidelines. Of course when you have huge traffic, you are in a position to approach advertisers directly and negotiate your terms and fees. In this situation, you negotiate what’s right for you and your platform. Compared to other income sources such as sponsored post, private advertising, direct selling or affiliate, the money you make from AdSense is small change in comparison. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth exploring, if you are interested.
Banners or display ads are placed at the side, footer or header of your site. Ideally they should complement the content of your blogs.
If your site is not well established, then focus on other streams of income that will be discussed below until such time when your site is ready.
Advertising: the CONS
- Many people activate their pop-up ad blocker, which will make your ads ineffective
- Too many people are now in this business and therefore supply – demand ratio kicks in; advertising rates have declined unless you are exceptional
- If you are not careful, your website will look spammy and cluttered
- With too many ads, you desensitize your visitors who will ignore or may not even notice them
- Ads may become detrimental to your site and brand.
How to Get Sponsored Posts
This is another form of advertising, which you negotiate privately as your audience grows. You work with a company and write posts about their products and services.
Remember that you are writing about a specific company and promoting their brand and products, therefore it may not necessarily appeal to all your readers. Better to keep it to a minimum in order not to alienate some of your audience.
How Does Sponsored Post Work?
The company would sponsor your blog to help to promote their business or brand. You get paid for publishing a content provided by the company or you write the content and provide a contextual link. It could also be in the form of guest post. With up to 10,000 hits a month, you are in with a good chance of attracting and negotiating instead of applying to companies to consider you.
If your niche is unique, i.e. you get to say or write about what nobody else is covering, you get approached by a company that likes the market you’re appealing to as well as the content of your appeal. You can write about or give reviews of the advertiser’s product or service.
Another way to utilize a sponsored post is when it is underwritten by the sponsor. What this means is that you write about any topic that you like but the advertiser pays you for the mention in the post as “Brought to you by…” You can also increase your income by selling sponsorship space on your videos, podcasts or newsletter.
If you meet the criteria and are interested in exploring sponsored posts, there are several media companies around but here are two you may start with: Lingia which is about storytelling and Weave Made Media. You can also find out more about trends by joining blogging communities and niche FaceBook groups.
How To Make Money On Your Blog Through Affiliate Marketing
This section is not a course on affiliate marketing but instead, another strategy for making money on your blogs. The basic principle of affiliate marketing is that you get paid a percentage of sales to visitors to your website who make purchases.
As an affiliate you are required by law to disclose your affiliate interest in the products or services that you recommend. It’s always best to choose those that you can promote, of high standard and relevant to your niche. Otherwise you will appear as an amateur and worse still a spammer especially when you spray your website with affiliate links and ads. Once seen as a spammer, you will find it difficult to get good deals, not to mention Google’s punishment!
The best source of better deals are through affiliate networks although you can always look up affiliate programs yourself by entering your “niche +affiliate program” on Google search.
Here are a few examples of affiliate networks but feel free to explore others that may suit you better: Amazon Associates, Clickbank, Commission Junction, ShareAsale. Do your own due diligence and decide the best option for you. Percentage of commission payments ranges from 4% to 75% or more in some cases. You recommend products and services to your readers and if a purchase takes place, you get paid, simple!
Like advertising, once you are accepted, you have access to banners, links, graphics, and relevant promotional materials for your campaign. You also have your code and unique ID, which you can use when you promote the product or service from that company or affiliate network.
Example of how to earn from writing blogs
If your blog is about marathon running, and you mention a particular type of running shoes to which you have affiliate link to, when your readers click on this pair of shoes, they are directed to the company website where they can purchase the shoes. You get a commission on that one sale. This cycle continues.
Note that the primary focus is not about selling the running shoes. Instead, it’s about raising your visitors’ awareness on various ways to attain their marathon goal through your content. Affiliate sale is the result of what you give out.
Any success requires continuous personal improvement – upskilling yourself in order to make the best use of opportunities that are everywhere. Learning the right affiliate marketing skills with little or no cost to you will help you to attain your goals quicker.
With good content, when your blog takes off, you are likely to be contacted by companies offering affiliates, sponsored posts, advertisements including Google AdSense.
Other Ways You Can Earn Money Writing Blogs
With your website well established and driving traffic, you may consider any of the following:
Selling Digital Products
These may include:
- Online courses
These could be yours or other people’s products and can become another stream of income for you whilst your blog continues to establish itself as a brand marketing tool for you.
Selling Physical Products
- Home-made or manufactured products
These may include your products or merchandise. Make it relevant to your platform and listen to your customers instead of making your visitors fit into your product interest.
- Virtual PA
- Video editing
- Article writing
There are many services that can be offered on a freelance basis. Again, ensure that these fit in with your blog niche otherwise it will stick out like a sore thumb and put your visitors off.
Selling Premium Memberships
Many well-known bloggers now sell premium memberships as a way of creating additional income stream as well as creating a community where people learn and share. This is not about establishing a membership site for the sake of it but instead, providing your visitors with something unique and valuable.
This list is by no means exhaustive otherwise the post will become an eBook. It is simply an overview of ideas that may help you to build multiple streams of income from your blog, whether you are writing as a pro or as a hobbyist.
Do you have other strategies for making money on your blogs? Please share your ideas and if you like this post, do share with others who may benefit from these ideas.