Wouldn’t it be nice if you got paid for blogging?
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible: plenty of talented bloggers make money simply by posting content online.
There are a lot of different methods that can be used to make money blogging online, but all of them presuppose one thing: that you already have a large audience of readers who’ll make your blogging efforts pay off.
Whether it’s paid ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored blog posts, or your own informational products, the amount of money that you make will depend heavily on how many people are reading your blog.
For that reason, if you want to make a good amount of money from your blog regularly, you first need to do everything you can to build up a large audience.
To begin, we’ll tackle how to advertise and spread the popularity of your blog; then, we’ll cover a few of the ways you can use your newfound audience to generate revenue.
Step One: Write Good Content
While at this point it should go without saying, it’s important to make sure your blog’s content is high quality.
While this might seem like an obvious step, it’s surprising how many bloggers overlook simple steps like proofreading and fact checking.
There’s more than that to it, though: to draw in an audience, you need to make sure that your content offers a unique perspective – something readers can’t get anywhere else. Whether it’s humor, solid research, or impressive visuals, you need to provide something that makes your content stand out from the crowd.
Finding this perfect niche will help your efforts to publicize your content and build your audience run all the more smoothly. Take, for example, Rock and Roll Bride – a blog which focuses on quirky wedding ideas.
Among these posts, though, the blog’s owner often shares personal stories from her own life. These help audiences to develop a more personal relationship with her and encourage them to want to help her to succeed all the more.
Step Two: Publicize Online
Contrary to popular believe, the internet isn’t equally kind and inviting to all content.
To get seen by an audience, you need to go through the right channels. It’s important to get your blog to the places that people will see it; it’s very unlikely that anyone will stumble across your articles at random.
Connecting With Influencers
The best way to make sure that your content reaches out to the right audience is to make use of the networks that already exist online for distributing similar content.
These networks function very similarly to offline media – two people sharing a conversation on Twitter will generally only be heard by those two people, but a post on a popular website or social media profile will get far more attention. It’s the difference between two people talking about your article on a bus, or a major newspaper featuring your writing.
So how do you get your work to appear on one of these big networks? It often comes down to knowing the right people.
The good news is, it’s always easy to make friends online.
Most websites, blogs, and other influential networks are constantly looking for good content – the people who operate these services need material to keep their audience coming back for more.
For this reason, many big blogs have contact details that can be used to send in unique or interesting stories. All it takes is a quick email, and you might soon see big name websites featuring your content.
Making Friends Online
Alternatively, it’s possible to reach out to influencers directly. Through social media, you can tag or post directly to famous online celebrities who have large audiences of followers, and there’s a chance that, if they like what they see, they’ll share your work.
When doing this, it’s important to remember to always be polite: if an influencer does you a favor by sharing your blog post, they deserve your respect. Even if they don’t share it, you don’t want to burn any bridges, as they may like your next piece of content better.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re targeting the right influencers. Make sure that the content the person promotes online matches your own subject matter – otherwise, you won’t be helping your cause at all and you’ll just end up annoying people.
Do your best to look beyond simply getting your blog post in front of influential people. Try to form genuine friendships and relationships with these influencers, so that they’ll be more willing to help you in the future.
To do this, you need to be polite, friendly, and helpful – look beyond your initial blog promotion goals to strike up conversations about wider subjects that will appeal to the influencer you want to contact.
Promoting Through Social Media
As I said above, big name influencers carry more weight than individual conversations on social media.
That said, if you get enough people talking about your blog online, there’s a cumulative effect that can see your content reach out far further.
A large number of internet users get their news and reading materials from social media – when someone shares an article online, many of their friends will read it, as it comes recommended by someone they trust.
You want to build your blog posts so that people will want to share them on social media. A large part of this comes down to creating good content that people will want to share, but there are a number of other ways to improve your content’s reception online.
Create calls to action within your posts, asking people to share content on social media – simply asking is enough to encourage some of your readers to take action.
Promote your content multiple times through all of the social media channels that are available to you – remember that posts at different times of the day will catch different users’ attention.
Step Three: Make Money
There are plenty of different ways to generate money through your blog. The solution that’ll work best for you will depend on the audience that you have and the subjects you deal with.
The traditional way to make money through a blog is with advertisements. Ads can be displayed alongside your content, and you can either be paid per-click, meaning every time someone actually clicks your ad, or per-view, which means you’ll get a flat amount for every viewer of the ad.
Plenty of services exist that will let you make money from ads – the most commonly used is Google AdSense, which will generate ads based on your site visitors’ existing search preferences.
In practice, advertisements within a site aren’t nearly as good at making money now as they were in the early days of the internet. While at the start, ad banners were clicked by around 60% of viewers, now there’s less than 1% chance that anyone will click your ads.
This often means that revenue for website ads has dipped a lot, and often, ads don’t pull in any large revenue – especially for blogs with smaller audience. That said, the pennies you’ll earn do add up over time, so it might be worth looking at advertisements for a small amount of free income.
Far more lucrative in the modern era is affiliate marketing, which sees your site receive a percentage of revenue from any customers you directly point towards another site on which they make a sale.
The most common affiliate marketing program is offered by Amazon – a program that makes sense for a variety of blog topics, considering the wide range of products the company offers.
Depending on the affiliate marketing service you use, your blog could earn between 5% and 15% of all revenue from the online purchases made by your readers in relevant stores.
To increase the amount that you make, consider reviewing specific products on your blog as a kind of unofficial sponsorship – as readers learn your opinion on good products, they’ll want to try them for themselves.
The Personal Touch
If you decide to go the affiliate route, you need to be upfront with your readers. Make sure you explain why your readers should click your links specifically, rather than going directly to Amazon for their products.
To do this successfully, you need to be working to build a rapportwith your readers: use your blog posts to share a personal connection with your audience so that they actively want to show their appreciation and trust your recommendations.
Gawker Media, with its Gawker, Jezebel, Gizmodo, Jalopnik and Deadspin sub-sites, is a great example of affiliate marketing in the digital era. Every day, the company compiles a round-up of the web’s best deals, particularly those featuring products its readers have reviewed or expressed an interest in.
Taking a small share of products as small as cable ties may not seem lucrative, but according to Chief Executive Nick Denton, the company generated $10 million in affiliate revenue in 2014, and earned a stake of the $150 million in ecommerce transactions it drove in 2015.
The amount you make will vary depending on your blog topic – som reports have found that the average blog makes around $1,200 a year from affiliate marketing, with beauty bloggers making a higher average of $1,400 and fashion bloggers averaging over $1,500 a year.
Info Products Marketing
Perhaps the most lucrative option available to those looking to monetize the blogs they’ve built comes in the form of information products.
If you’re blogging right, you’re attracting a following of people who appreciate and respect what you have to say, whether you’re sharing your thoughts on Java development or the use of beauty blenders. Info products capitalize on these relationships by offering interested members of your audience the opportunity to gain access to even more of your insight – for a fee.
Info products take a number of different forms:
- Paid training courses
- Paid membership groups
- Book deals
Take Chris Guillebeau, founder of The Art of Non-Conformity blog, as an example. As a committed traveler who visited every country in the world, Chris found himself regularly receiving questions about how he leveraged frequent flyer miles to his advantage. In addition to answering their questions on his blog, Chris launched The Travel Hacking Cartel – a paid membership site where interested readers get access to exclusive tips and the deals he comes across.
Will you be the next Chris Guillebeau? Maybe. Know, however, that it’s a tough road that requires continual investment in community building and product development. As Dan, writing for Tropical MBA, states:
“An info product that provides the majority of the income for a business is much more likely to happen in businesses with developed cash flows, not a bootstrapped start-up situation.”
Think you have what it takes? Bear in mind that the list above isn’t exclusive. Listen to the needs of your audience and serve them the information they want in a format they’ll pay for. Who knows? You could soon be one of the many marketers who boast making $100,000+ per year from your blog.
Ultimately, making money from a blog isn’t all that difficult – as long as you’re willing to put in the work required to make something special and promote it widely by engaging with the right people online, you can pull in a tidy profit from your writing.
And that’s just the beginning – the more high quality content you produce and the more connections you make, the more your blog audience will grow, and the more money you’ll generate. Focus first on producing unique and interesting blog posts, and you’ll soon be on your way to building something fantastic.
Let’s take a look at more ways to start a blog and make money.
- Write Good Content
If you’re writing good content, people are going to want to read it. While this may seem a tad obvious, you’d be surprised at how many bloggers overlook simple things like grammar and checking their facts.
Having a unique perspective like a satirical tone or great visuals will bring you one step closer to turning your blog into a money making machine.
Remember, you need to write the kind of content that stands out from all the others. People want new, fresh, invigorating and inviting – so think about how you can create content like this.
- Publicize Online
A lot of the time, it’s about having a great blog. But most of the time, it’s about who you know and how you’re advertising your blog.
In order to attract an audience, you need to be exposing your blog through the right channels. It’s crucial that you get your blog on platforms where people will see it – and what’s more, people who are your target audience.
Using other social media platforms like your Facebook and Instagram is a good step in the right direction. You can’t keep all your eggs in one basket – you’ve got to branch out.
- Make Money: Advertising
Using ads on your blog is a surefire way to make money.
There are two ways of doing this: pay-per-click and pay-per-view. Pay-per-click means you get paid every time someone clicks on the ad, and pay-per-view means that you get paid every time someone just views the ad.
However, some would argue that this is an outdated way of making money online. At the beginning of the internet, people trusted ads and clicked on them a lot. Nowadays, people are shifting to different forms of consumer behavior and aren’t as interested in direct marketing anymore.
- Make Money: Affiliate Marketing
There’s a newer, smarter way to make money through your online blog. This is through affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing isn’t as in your face as traditional advertising is. It also is much more effective because, by the time the consumer is in front of the product, they’ve almost entirely made up their mind that they’re going to buy it.
This is because they’ve read your blog and been convinced by your article. They’ve followed your suggestion to click through to an affiliate company like Amazon and check out the product that you recommended.
If you’re planning on starting a blog, there are a number of things to remember to keep you on course.
As long as you’re putting yourself out there, writing great content and affiliating with the best companies, there’s no reason why you can’t start to make a profit from your blog.
Best of luck building your blog audience and monetizing that traffic however’s clever.